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Summary

  1. Chinese travel giant C-trip is to buy flight search website Skyscanner for $1.7bn
  2. Chancellor Philip Hammond defends budgetary plans
  3. Consumer credit 'rising at fastest rate for a decade' says BBA
  4. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner and Daniel Thomas

All times stated are UK

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Goodnight

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Thanks for joining Business Live today. We'll be back tomorrow at 6.00am sharp when we'll be bringing you all the madness from the Black Friday sales. See you then.

Do you hate your boss?

Here's a little something to mull over before bedtime.

Do you loathe your boss? And, more importantly, what can you do about it?

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Trump, business and the presidency

Donald Trump
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What assets does Donald Trump own? Who does his business owe money to? Does the US president-elect have conflicts of interest?

The BBC investigates...

Iceland v Iceland

Iceland
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Iceland, the supermarket chain, has been trading since 1969.

However, Iceland, the country, has only just now taken exception to the retailer's name. So it has launched legal action over the company's trademark registration for the word "Iceland"

Iceland's foreign ministry said the Europe-wide registration had often left Icelandic firms unable to describe their products as Icelandic and the government had therefore asked the European Union Intellectual Property Office to invalidate it.  

It said: "Iceland Foods has aggressively pursued and won multiple cases against Icelandic companies which use "Iceland" in their representation or as part of their trademark, even in cases when the products and services do not compete."

The ministry wants to ensure the right of Icelandic companies to use the word "Iceland" in relation to their goods and services.

Bank 'to lift QE by £50bn'

Bank of England
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The Bank of England could increase its quantitative easing (QE) bond buying scheme again next year to support the UK through Brexit and a growing deficit.

Goldman Sachs forecasts that the Bank will increase QE by a further £50bn in 2017, the year when Theresa May hopes to trigger Article 50.   

Following the vote to leave the European Union, the Bank announced a further £60bn worth of asset purchases as well as cutting the interest rate to a new low of 0.25%.

If, as Goldman Sachs predicts, the Bank goes ahead next year it would take the QE programme to a total £485bn since it was launched in 2009.

Goldman Sachs also forecasts that UK GDP will grow by 1.4% both in 2017 and 2018. While this is in line with the OBR's prediction for next year, it is below the forecast for 1.7% growth in 2018.

Jumping the queue

There is an app for everything nowadays - even one that strikes at the heart of what it is to be a queue-loving Brit. 

Because now, there is an app where you can pay someone to stand in line for you.

But would you use it?

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Monte dei Paschi taps investors, again

Monte dei Paschi di Siena
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The saga involving the world's oldest bank just keeps on going.

On Thursday, shareholders in Monte dei Paschi di Siena approved a €5bn (£4.2bn) cash call, which is the bank's third fund-raising in three years.

Monte dei Paschi is now being steered by Marco Morelli, the former head of Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Italy, and he has presented a rescue plan to investors, though Reuters reports he is yet to get any firm backing. 

There is a rather large fly in the ointment - a constitutional referendum on 4 December which could topple Italy's reformist government and usher in a period of political instability.

If that happens, who knows what the next step will be for Monte dei Paschi.

Athens' bail-out blues

Demonstrations in Athens
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Yet another demo in Athens. Only last week police were using tear gas to break up demonstrations commemorating an uprising that helped end the colonel's regime in 1974. Today's affair was quieter. Several thousand protesters, including college students, pensioners, and civil servants, demonstrated while a 24-hour strike by unions paralysed ferries and halted public services. The government is promising to push through a new list of administrative and cost-cutting reforms which will qualify it for better terms on its bailout debt repayment. One union official said: "We have to push back because they are leading us back to middle ages in terms of labor rights,''

Black Friday thoughts

shoppers on Black Friday
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Black Friday. Perhaps - not a living hell after all

Some ideas about Black Friday. It may not be quite the scrimmage in the shops everyone is expecting. The sales started ten days ago on Amazon and in some of the supermarkets, like Tesco and Morrisons. More than half of the spending on the Friday is going to be online. And many of the shops, like IKEA, Next, Jigsaw are joining a growing list of Black Friday refuseniks. So - just perhaps - the high street may not be such a living hell after all. Enjoy...

India rupee ban hits cash machines

India's decision to ban 500 and 1,000 rupee notes to crack down on corruption is still causing chaos - this time at the country's cash machines.

India cash crisis: Why are Indian ATMs taking so long?

Fuel duty: the fantasy and the reality

IFS director Paul Johnson is teasing the Office for Budget Responsibility over its statement on fuel duty.

However, it is quite startling to look at seven years worth of proposed petrol tax rises which were subsequently frozen and what has actually happened the rate. 

View more on twitter

FTSE and sterling rise

The FTSE 100 index ended the day up 11.49 points, or 0.17%, at 6829.20.

In a fairly subdued day of trading, the pound edged up 0.1% against the US dollar to $1.245, and 0.2% against the euro to €1.179.   

Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at CMC markets, says: "To be fair to the FTSE and sterling, they have both dealt with the Autumn Statement with minimal fuss."

He adds: "Tomorrow should be a bit more interesting. Not only do the US markets return from their Thanksgiving break, but investors get an update on the state of the UK's third quarter growth."

It is the second reading of British GDP growth, the first of which measured output at 0.5% between July and September. 

Wage squeeze hits Britain's young

Britain's younger citizens are bearing the brunt of poor wage growth.

In its analysis of the Autumn Statement, the Institute for Fiscal Studies says workers will earn less in real wages in 2021 than they did in 2008. 

However, the impact is varies greatly across different generations. 

Wage growth
IFS

Where first for infrastructure boost?

Congestion
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As part of the Autumn Statement, the National Infrastructure Commission has been tasked by the government to help it decide where to spend the £23bn being borrowed to invest in infrastructure.

Bridget Rosewell is one of the commissioners, and she’s been on BBC Radio 5 live talking to Sean Farrington about the government’s infrastructure plans. How long will it take for them to decide where to spend it?

“We can’t spend £23bn all in one go. We will be working on some things on a quicker timetable, and some things on a longer one”

Why don’t they have plans in place, ready to be used?

“Unfortunately the world doesn’t work like that. The world changes, so we need to create plans which are robust for that. Moreover, we need to think about how these things interact with one another. There’s no point putting a road in, if you haven’t got a development plan and the planning availability to put all the housing in which is going to use that infrastructure.”

Black Friday is a 'deception'

Peter Ruis, chief executive of the fashion chain Jigsaw, claims that retailers create "discounts that aren't really discounts" on Black Friday. 

Jigsaw boss: Black Friday is a 'complete and utter deception'

Alitalia jobs on the line in turnaround

Alitalia
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There's more bad news for Europe's airlines.

Reuters is reporting that Italy's Alitalia may cut up to 2,000 jobs as part of a turnaround plan. 

The company's major shareholder, Etihad Airways, is understood to be pressing for big changes to stem losses at Alitalia. 

These could also include grounding 20 planes to reduce unprofitable routes.   

Meanwhile in Germany, Lufthansa pilots are striking over pay, forcing the company to cancel 900 flights. They are seeking a 3.7% pay rise for pilots dating back to 2012. 

There may be turbulence ahead. 

Morrissey targets GM over leather seats

Morrissey
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He famously declared "meat is murder" and Morrissey has not changed his stance.

The Manchester-born singer, and former frontman of the Smiths, has written to General Motors' boss Mary Barra to ask that the company replace leather seats and interiors in some models with imitation leather.

Ahead of a concert in Detroit, Morrissey writes: "GM is named in (PETA) brand-new investigation of cattle ranches, on which animals are branded on the face, electro-shocked, and beaten before they're slaughtered and used to make leather interiors for car companies, including yours."

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), rivals such as Tesla Motors offer vegan leather interiors on some of its cars.

Will GM be next?  

What does US exit from TPP mean for trade?

Looking at the Trans-Pacific Partnership and trade deals affecting China and the US.

Donald Trump confirmed he will be abandoning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal with other countries in the Pacific region. Daily Politics reporter Adam Fleming looks at what this could mean for the balance of power in the region, especially with regards to China.

Labour attacks Tories' 'failed' policy

John McDonnell MP
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Labour says that the Institute for Fiscal Studies's prediction that workers will earn less in 2021 than they did in 2008 is a " damning indictment of the total, abject failure of the Tories’ economic policy during their six wasted years in office." 

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell says: "The so-called ‘long-term economic plan’ has meant long-term decline in living standards for working people even as the super-rich and the big corporations are given large tax giveaways."

He adds: “Chancellor Philip Hammond promised action in the Autumn Statement for those ‘just about managing’.

"Instead he has betrayed them by continuing to slash in-work benefits, failing to raise the ‘National Living Wage’ to the level promised, failing to deliver more funding for our NHS and social care and now he’s threatening pensioners with removing the ‘triple lock’."

Reviewing the Autumn Statement

Linda Yueh, Patrick Minford, Nadhim Zahawi and Rebecca Long Bailey talk UK economics.

The vote for the UK to leave the EU appeared to shape some of the forecasts and announcements in Philip Hammond's first Autumn Statement. Daily Politics presenter Jo Coburn heard reaction from economist Linda Yueh, Patrick Minford of Economists for Brexit, Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi and the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Rebecca Long Bailey.

By George, he's struck gold

Should Philip Hammond ever tire of being chancellor, there's plenty of money to be made away from the Treasury.

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That sinking feeling

US Navy
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Another day, another data breach.

This time it is, rather bizarrely, the turn of the US Navy

According to our seafaring friends, the personal information of more than 130,000 sailors has been accessed.

Apparently the breach occurred after the laptop of an employee at Hewlett Packard Enterprise working on a naval contract was "compromised".

It appears that the data includes names and social security numbers.

Fortunately, the Navy does not currently believe it was misused.  

Oil rise ahead of key meeting

Oil field
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Oil glided higher on Thursday ahead of a key meeting with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) next week.

Brent crude rose to $49.01 a barrel and US oil increased to $48.03.

There are hopes that the Opec cartel of oil producing nations may agree to cap output, potentially in agreement with Russia. 

Energy minister Alexander Novak said Russia, which is not a member of Opec but is the world's second largest producer according to the International Energy Agency, could revise down its 2017 oil production plans if a global output freeze comes into force, effectively cutting output by 200,000-300,000 barrels per day.

However, there are some doubts that Iran, which is shipping oil again after international sanctions were lifted, will agree to a cap.

Tamas Varga, at brokerage PVM Oil, said: "Despite 13 countries participating, an Iranian rejection to chip in would be more than enough to kill the deal."

Economists for Brexit react to Autumn Statement

Flag flown from cab
Reuters

So what do those economists who supported Brexit make of the forecasts in the Autumn Statement? 

Writing in the New Statesman magazine on Thursday, co-founder of Economists for Brexit, Gerard Lyons, said there was some "pessimistic thinking" in the Autumn Statement's assessment of Brexit. 

But he also said: "The independent Office for Budget Responsibility has produced a credible set of economic forecasts for the next couple of years."

But Patrick Minford, the co-chair of Economists for Brexit said: "These official forecasts have been horribly wrong this year, and there is no sign that they are learning their lesson."

Here are his latest forecasts for economic growth (followed by the OBR's).

2017: 2.6%   (1.4%)

2018: 2.7%   (1.7%)

2019: 2.8%   (2.1%)

2020: 3.2%   (2.1%)

Black Friday: the facts

Black Friday shopping
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While we've all still got a bit of money in our pockets - which won't be for long according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies - now is the time to take advantage of Black Friday.

This post-Thanksgiving shopping splurge, which Britain has imported from the US, is all very exciting but how does it compare to other famous sale bonanzas? 

The BBC has investigated and here are our findings.

Putting the UK's house in order

Iain Duncan Smith
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Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith has joined the chorus of those who think the Office for Budget Responsibility is being far too pessimistic about Britain's economy.

Mr Duncan Smith tells the BBC that the UK economy has "confounded" those who thought it would fall following Britain's vote to leave Europe - GDP grew by 0.5% in the third quarter.  

He says that the UK has "moved into territory where no-one knows what the future holds", but the best thing to do is to put our house in order.  

And another thing...

Kenneth Clarke
PA

As if the Institute for Fiscal Studies report weren't depressing enough, there's a kicker at the end for Philip Hammond and his plans to bin the Autumn Statement. 

"Given that uncertainty it seems right that this Autumn Statement had the feeling of a “wait and see” fiscal event.

"To return to where I started. We will also wait and see whether this really is the last Autumn Statement. We have been here before after all. Chancellor Kenneth Clarke also moved from a separate Autumn Statement and Spring Budget to a single Autumn Budget. That didn’t survive a change of occupancy at number 11."

Hammond infrastructure plans 'significant'

The chancellor's Autumn Statement plan for extra £23bn of infrastructure spending is "significant", says Mr Johnson. 

"Often announcements of additional capital spending are over-hyped. That was not the case yesterday," he said. 

"[The government] will take public sector net investment to around 2.3% of GDP - pretty much exactly Labour’s pre-crisis planned level of investment, and well above the average over the last 30 years."

Increase in incomes 'unlikely' over next five years

IFS chief Paul Johnson speaks to the BBC's Andrew Verity...

IFS chief: 'Worst decade for living standards'

'Worst decade for living standards since the war'

In the UK, living standards are the worst for quite some time, Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies says: 

“This has, for sure, been the worst decade for living standards certainly since the last war and probably since the 1920s. We’ve seen no increase in average incomes so far and it doesn’t look like we’re going to get much of an increase over the next four or five years either.”

Little love for Jams, says Johnson

Mr Johnson points out that - despite expectations to the contrary - Mr Hammond gave relatively little to just about managing families, or "Jams", yesterday. 

Mr Hammond directed "most of what largesse he felt able to afford to paying for additional investment spending – roads, housing, research and development – to support the economy in the long run, rather than to pay to support the incomes of the 'just-about-managing', or indeed public services, in the short run", he said.

The one small offer to the Jams was a cut in the taper rate for Universal Credit from 65% to 63%. But he says "this is a small increase in generosity relative to the cuts announced last year".

Hammond embracing looser fiscal rules, says IFS

Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies notes that Mr Hammond embraced "new, much looser, fiscal rules" in yesterday's Autumn Statement. 

This involved "the turning of a £10bn surplus in 2019-20 into a £20bn deficit that year".

"In the face of deteriorating forecasts Mr Hammond neither tightened fiscal policy nor followed his predecessor’s example of sticking with previous spending plans. 

"He loosened by an annual £10bn or so. And he loosened in a rather specific way, mostly by increasing planned capital spending."

Breaking'Outlook for living standards has deteriorated', says IFS

Paul Johnson
BBC

The outlook for living standards and for the public finances has "deteriorated pretty sharply" over the last nine months, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said in the wake of yesterday's Autumn Statement.

This is despite the OBR's forecasts being "modestly upbeat" relative to some other forecasters - in particular the Bank of England - Paul Johnson said.

"The OBR think national income in 2020-21 will be £30 billion lower than they projected back in March – that’s equivalent to £1,000 per household." he said.

Rents continue to rise

Kevin Peachey

Personal finance reporter

Lettings signs
BBC

The cost of renting a home continues to increase faster than inflation, official figures have revealed.

Private rental prices paid by tenants in Britain rose by 2.3% in the 12 months to October, the Office for National Statistics said.

The picture varied across the country. Rents rose by 2.5% in England, were up 0.4% in Wales but were down by 0.2% in Scotland.

In his Autumn Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond signalled the government's intention to plan upfront lettings fees being charged to tenants. Landlords will face the charges instead.  

Skyscanner deal: Good or bad?

Simon Jack

BBC Business Editor

Young Scottish company bought by bigger Chinese rival for £1.4bn. Is this good news or bad news?

Is it another vote of confidence in a UK "open for business"? Or is it a crying shame to see another of the crown jewels of UK technology sold to a foreign acquiror?

Earlier this year, Skyscanner successfully raised £120m from investors to fund expansion and acquisitions - and yet it finds itself being acquired.

Just yesterday the Chancellor proudly announced a £400m fund to help small companies grew into the giants of tomorrow rather than selling up to the first foreign rival who writes a big enough cheque.

Its not the first time deals have provoked mixed feelings. Previous ministers have shown concern when important British companies fall into foreign hands.

Vince Cable, when Business Secretary, wanted to make it more difficult by imposing a "national interest" test and seek commitments to preserve jobs and investment after Kraft cut jobs after aquiring Cadbury and Pfizer threatened to swallow Astra Zeneca.

The truth is that Skyscanner doesn't really fit into either of these categories

The Chancellor's new fund is for small companies that sell up because they find it hard to raise money - Skyscanner didn't.  It’s also quite a stretch to describe a travel website with 60 UK employees as triggering a national interest veto - even if one existed.

This government may want to take a more interventionist role in business but unless it wants to actually legislate against foreign takeovers (an unthinkable move for a free market conservative party) it will have to accept that deals like this prove that "open for business" also means "up for sale".

CEO Secrets: Skyscanner boss shares his business tips

CEO Secrets: Skyscanner boss shares his business tips

BBC Business video journalist Dougal Shaw caught up with Gareth Williams, co-founder of travel search engine Skyscanner, earlier this year.

He offered the business advice he wishes he had been given when he started out.