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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. FTSE 100 boosted by strong utility shares
  3. First day of Northern Rail emergency timetable
  4. Hotel Chocolat repays £6.4m chocolate bonds
  5. CYBG sweetens offer for Virgin Money

Live Reporting

By Bill Wilson

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight

    That's all folks from Business Live for the day.

    Join us bright and early for another day of business news tomorrow morning.

  2. Government U-turn on nuclear deal

    Simon Jack

    BBC Business Editor

    Artist's impression of nuclear plant

    The government has confirmed it is considering putting taxpayers' money into a project to build a new nuclear power station at Wylfa in North Wales.

    It's a decision that, if taken (and it almost certainly will be), will mark a significant U-turn in the government's approach to procuring new nuclear power.

    In 2010, the government was adamant that the UK public should never have to run the risk of lengthy and costly overruns that have become a hallmark of nuclear plant construction.

    In the case of Hinkley Point C in Somerset, the government made much of the fact that come what may, the UK taxpayer would be insulated from the skyrocketing costs that the contractor, EDF, had incurred on a similar plant in France.

    Read more here.

  3. Nasdaq closes at record high

    The tech based Nasdaq has closed at a record high.

    The Dow Jones rose 178.48 points, or 0.72%, to 24,813.69, the S&P 500 added 12.27 points, or 0.45 %, to 2,746.89 and the Nasdaq put on 52.13 points, or 0.69%, to close at 7,606.46.

    Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Netflix also closed at record highs.

  4. Accor takes to the skies?

    Chris Johnston

    Business reporter, BBC News

    Air France tailfins

    Accor Hotels may take a stake in Air France-KLM to compete better with the broader travel packages offered by online rivals such as Expedia and Booking.com.

    Accor, Europe's largest hotel group, said it was considering the move after Les Echos newspaper reported that it may buy some or all of the French state's 14.3% stake in Air France-KLM.

    Shares in the airline jumped about 7% in late trading in Paris, as investors bet a sale of Paris's stake could help the airline push through painful reforms that are politically difficult for the state to support.

    However, shares in AccorHotels fell about 6% as some analysts questioned the logic of buying a stake in the airline.

  5. Lush 'using me to sell soap'

    Lush ad campaign

    A former animal rights activist who had a baby with an undercover police officer has demanded an apology from the cosmetics company Lush.

    Jacqui said her case had been cited by the chain to defend their controversial #spycops advertising campaign.

    Lush said no specific names or examples have been used in interviews.

    Apublic inquiryinto allegations of wrongdoing by undercover officers is ongoing.

    Lush has been heavily criticised on social mediafor a campaign aimed at drawing attention to the so-called UK "spy cops" scandal.

    Jacqui said no-one from Lush had contacted her about the campaign and that she had received a barrage of calls since it was launched.

    Read more here.

  6. PwC bans all-male shortlists

    People waiting on chairs

    Accountancy giant PwC has banned all-male shortlists for jobs in the UK in an attempt to increase the number of women in senior roles at the firm.

    It said the move was prompted by its recent pay gap report showing men on average earned 43.8% more than women.

  7. Former FBI lawyer to head Serious Fraud Office

    Lisa Osofsky

    The new boss of the Serious Fraud Office is former FBI lawyer Lisa Osofsky.

    She will replace David Green on 3 September.

    Ms Osofsky joins from Exiger, where she led the firm's investigative and compliance activities, including money laundering and sanctions programmes.

    She has also worked as money laundering officer at Goldman Sachs, in corporate investigations at Control Risks, as a US federal prosecutor and as special attorney at the US Department of Justice.

  8. Transport Focus' response to ongoing rail chaos

    Transport Focus’s response to Chris Grayling’s statement on special compensation and the Office of Rail and Road inquiry.

    Anthony Smith, chief executive of the watchdog Transport Focus, said: "Unprecedented delays, confusion and cancellations have made life miserable in recent weeks for some Northern, Thameslink and Great Northern passengers.

    "The promise of special compensation above and beyond the usual is welcome. But passengers’ first priority is to get services running so that they can plan their lives with some certainty.

    "An inquiry into what has happened and why is welcome - including an understanding of how, despite strong assurances, these welcome investments and potential improvements have gone so sour.

    "The relative roles played by governments, Network Rail and train companies need to be analysed and understood so that timetable planning can be put back on a proper footing for the long term."

  9. US markets trade higher

    US traders

    Wall Street is still in positive territory as last Friday's strong US jobs report overshadows investor concerns about a looming trade war.

    The Dow Jones is up 0.7% at 24,804.98 points while the S&P 500 is 0.4% higher at 2744.90.

    The tech-rich Nasdaq is up 0.5% at 7595.33.

  10. Peugeot owner to quit Iran

    Peugot factory

    French car-maker PSA is to pull out of two joint ventures to sell its cars in Iran after the US reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

    The Peugeot and Citroen maker said it was doing so to comply with a 6 August US deadline.

    EU companies must decide whether to continue working in Iran if doing so puts their US operations at risk of huge fines.

    PSA struck deals with two Iranian car-makers, Iran Khodro and Saipa, in 2016 after sanctions were lifted following the landmark 2015 accord aimed at preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

  11. France's Soc Gen fined over bribery and Libor charges

    Soc Gen logo

    Societe Generale will pay US authorities $1.34bn to settle allegations that it bribed officials in Libya and also manipulated the Libor interest rate benchmark.

    The French bank will plead guilty to the Libya bribery charges, which involved payments made between 2004 and 2009 to win contracts from the Libyan government.

    The Libor allegations stemmed from 2010-2011, when, the US Justice Department says, managers ordered staff to manipulate the key rate in a way that would make the bank look financially stronger and more credit-worthy than it actually was.

    "For years, Societe Generale undermined the integrity of global markets and foreign institutions by issuing false financial data and by fraudulently securing contracts through bribery," said acting assistant attorney General John Cronan.

  12. Union sues Amazon delivery firms

    Amazon office

    Legal action is being taken against three delivery firms used by Amazon by the GMB union.

    It wants its drivers to be given guaranteed hours and the minimum wage as well as sick and holiday pay.

    The union said drivers should be classed as full-time employees rather than self-employed workers.

    Amazon said its delivery providers were "contractually obligated" to pay drivers minimum wage.

  13. How much will RBS share sale cost taxpayer?

    Sterling coins and notes

    ‘The RBS share price has bounced back from its slump after the EU referendum, but the taxpayer’s still going to be significantly out of pocket as the government sells down its stake," says Laith Khalaf, Senior Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

    "Few argue the RBS bailout was necessary to maintain financial stability, but the cost of that intervention is now starting to emerge.

    "We will learn more when details of the share price attained in the sale are released. In August 2015 the government sold 5.4% of the bank at £3.30 per share, which the National Audit Office estimated crystallised a loss of £1.1 billion, or £1.9 billion if you include the cost of financing."

  14. Inquiry to be held into rail disruptions

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Mr Grayling once again apologises for passengers and staff who have been caught in the changes to timetables.

    His "immediate priority" is to ensure that there is an acceptable level of service for all.

    He announces an inquiry into the rail companies and their implementation of their new timetables.

    "I won't hold back from taking action where there has been negligent behaviour," says Mr Grayling.

    But Labour and some trades unions are calling for Chris Grayling's head.

  15. FTSE ahead at close

    The FTSE-100 index at close was up 39.52 points, or 0.51%, at 7741.29.

  16. Sir Michael Fallon: Grayling must sort rail 'scandal'

    Transport Secretary Chris Grayling must "get a grip" on rail disruption which is "becoming a scandal", a former cabinet minister says.

    Ex-defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said he would leave his former cabinet colleague "in absolutely no doubt" of the "raw anger" of commuters.

    Mr Grayling will face MPs' questions in the Commons later about the problems.

    Despite hundreds of trains being removed from service, delays and cancellations have continued.

    Read more here.

  17. 'Sorry that this has taken place' - Grayling

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Chris Grayling

    Transport Secretary Chris Grayling says that passengers in these franchises are facing "totally unsatisfactory levels of service".

    He says he is "sorry that this has taken place", adding that the most important thing is to provide stability for passengers.

    There has to be a proper investigation into what has taken place, he says, as infrastructure upgrades were not supplied in time, meaning that plans had to be changed at a late stage.

    Nothern and GTR did not "have a clear fall back plan" in introducing their new timetables.

    He has demanded that Network Rail and the train operators work together to resolve the problems.

  18. Commons hears statement on rail timetabling

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Northern Train

    Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is making a statement on rail timetabling.

    Northern Rail has brought in a timetable which removes 165 train services a day until 29 July, while the company has aborted around 2,000 services since new timetables started on 20 May.

    On Monday, more than 100 trains were still cancelled or severely delayed. Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern have all introduced a reduced service.

    Northern's managing director has apologised for the "very poor start" to the reduced timetable

  19. 'UK must continue to support EU over steel tariffs'

    Quote Message: “The top priority for UK government must be to continue to support the European Commission to secure a complete and permanent exemption for the EU from these absurd tariffs. With Trump closing off US markets to steel from round the world, the EU must ensure we are not now overwhelmed with boats lining up to offload steel at British ports. We have already seen EU steel imports increase by 8.4% in the first quarter of the year, there is no time to lose. Robust safeguard measures must be introduced now to maintain market stability and a fair and level playing field for EU steel producers. from Gareth Stace UK Steel
    Gareth StaceUK Steel