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  1. Get in touch:
  2. Philips closes Glemsford plant
  3. Morgan Stanley results disappoint investors
  4. Decision due on Hitachi power plant
  5. Primark sees modest fall in trade
  6. Whitbread shares fall on cautious outlook

Live Reporting

By Mary-Ann Russon

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    BBC testcard

    That's it for today on Business Live - thanks for reading. We'll be back bright and early at 06:00 on Friday.

    Do join us then for all the latest breaking news and analysis.

  2. Gordon Brown calls for Brexit delay

    Former British prime minister Gordon Brown

    Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for the UK government to delay Britain's exit from the European Union by a year in a new speech on Thursday evening.

    He is concerned that the UK's democracy now looks "dysfunctional", and that many British people now feel that no political party speaks for them.

    “We should be attempting even now to consult, to build a consensus on the issue on which even the cabinet cannot agree – whether we have a trade deal similar to that of Norway or similar to that of Canada, and whether Britain becomes a low regulation free, low tax zone or whether we meet proper standards for environment taxation and workers’ rights in the future arrangements we have," he said, according to Scottish magazine Daily Business.

    “What is clear is that we cannot end the Brexit crisis without also repairing the trust and rebuilding the unity of a divided country.”

  3. Wall Street ends higher

    Wall Street trading floor

    Wall Street shares have ended slightly higher, as investor confidence rose and then waned on the possible news that the US could lift trade tariffs on Chinese goods, which the Treasury then said was unsubstantiated.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.67% ahead at 24,370.

    The S&P 500 finished 0.61% higher at 2,632.

    And finally, the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended 0.71% ahead to 7,084.

  4. Trump cancels Pelosi trip over shutdown

    Composite image of Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump
    Image caption: Mr Trump has postponed Ms Pelosi's trip a day after she called on him to postpone his address to Congress

    US President Donald Trump has postponed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's upcoming trip to Brussels, Afghanistan and Egypt, citing the government shutdown.

    "I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate," Mr Trump said in a letter.

    Mrs Pelosi urged Mr Trump on Wednesday to postpone his State of the Union address, citing the political deadlock.

    Mr Trump's move came on the 27th day of a partial US government shutdown.

  5. Markets dip after news revealed to be rumour

    Wall Street traders

    Wall Street has reversed gains, as it seems the news that the US could lift tariffs on Chinese goods could be just a rumour.

    "Neither Secretary Mnuchin nor Ambassador Lighthizer have made any recommendations to anyone with respect to tariffs or other parts of the negotiation with China," a Treasury spokesman told CNBC.

    "This an ongoing process with the Chinese that is nowhere near completion."

    The Dow Jones is now up 0.4% to 24,307.75, the S&P 500 is 0.5% higher to 2,630.01, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is 0.5% ahead to 7,072.97.

  6. SFO investigating failed regeneration schemes

    New Chinatown concept art

    The UK's Serious Fraud Office is currently investigating three failed property developments in Liverpool and Manchester on suspicion of fraud.

    The developments concerned are the New Chinatown and North Point Pall Mall developments in Liverpool, and the Angelgate development in central Manchester, according to the FT.

    In particular, the New Chinatown scheme had received political backing from former chancellor George Osborne in 2015. At the time, Mr Osborne had told the media that he had hoped the plan would bring 1,000 new homes, and new jobs from new shops and hotels in the area.

    The New Chinatown project received a lot of interest and hundreds of Chinese and Hong Kong-based individual investors purchased apartments in the development, but in 2016 the construction contractor went into administration, and the developer North Point Global ended up in a legal dispute over payments with the landowner Liverpool City Council.

    North Point Global later entered an insolvency arrangement in September 2017, and it entered the process of liquidation in 2018.

  7. BreakingWall Street jumps on possible lift of trade tariffs

    Wall Street traders

    Wall Street shares have jumped on the news that the US government is apparently considering easing trade tariffs on Chinese goods during the trade negotiations with China.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average is now 150.7 points or 0.6% higher to 24,357.86, the S&P 500 is 19.4 points or 0.7% ahead to 2,635.49, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is 40.3 points or 0.6% up to 7,075.04.

  8. Fossil shares jump on Google sale

    Fossil smartwatch

    Watchmaker Fossil has seen its share price jump by almost 11% after announcing it is selling its smartwatch technology to Google for $40m.

    The deal, which closes in January, means that some of Fossil's research and development staff will move over to Google.

    Smartwatches are currently the watchmaker's fastest growing category.

  9. Why are the Chinese buying fewer cars?

    President Trump's Cadillac limousine

    Last year was a tough year for the car industry in China, the world's biggest car market.

    The sector is a key driver of industrial output and a barometer of consumer demand.

    The BBC's Robin Brant visited a Cadillac dealership near Shanghai to find out why the auto industry is stuck in first gear.

    Read more

  10. Jack Bogle: The man who pioneered index investing

    John Clifton Bogle, also known as Jack Bogle

    When Jack Bogle first said he was going to sell index tracker funds back in 1976, he was ridiculed.

    But the idea was destined to upend the status quo by providing ordinary people with cheap and low-risk ways to invest.

    When news came through, that the "the father of indexing" had passed away aged 89, he was widely praised as a pioneer who advanced the interests of individual investors and considered the benefits to society over the long-term.

    "Jack did more for American investors as a whole than any individual I've known," billionaire Warren Buffett said. He praised Mr Bogle for putting "tens of billions of dollars" back into the pockets of investors.

    Read more here.

  11. Oxford's statement

    Oxford University

    Oxford University has issued a statement regarding its decision to stop accepting funding from Huawei.

    “Oxford University decided on 8 January this year that it will not pursue new funding opportunities with Huawei Technologies Co Ltd or its related group companies at present. Huawei has been notified of the decision, which the University will keep under review. The decision applies both to the funding of research contracts and of philanthropic donations," Oxford university said in the statement.

    “The decision has been taken in the light of public concerns raised in recent months surrounding UK partnerships with Huawei. We hope these matters can be resolved shortly and note Huawei’s own willingness to reassure governments about its role and activities.

    “The university will continue with existing research contracts where funding from Huawei has already been received or committed. We currently have two such on-going projects, with a combined funding from Huawei of £692k. Both projects were approved under the University’s regulatory processes before the current levels of uncertainty arose.”

  12. Sears retail chain in $5.2bn rescue plan

    Sears department store sign on the ground

    Sears, the long-troubled US department store chain, is set to stagger on.

    Billionaire Eddie Lampert, a hedge fund financier who is chairman of Sears and its former chief executive, has won a bankruptcy court auction to purchase the company for $5.2bn (£4bn).

    His plan will keep more than 400 stores open and preserve up to 45,000 jobs.

    But doubts remain about the prospect of a turnaround for the firm, which has seen years of sales declines.

  13. Oxford University blocks Huawei - report

    Huawei advert

    Oxford University is suspending all new research grants and donations from Chinese tech firm Huawei, reports the South China Morning Post.

    The newspaper has seen an email sent to computer science doctoral students.

    The email said: The [committee] met last week and have decided to suspend Huawei as an approved gift donor/research sponsor,” it said.

    “This decision will be revisited by the committee in 3-6 months and does not impact existing donations or research projects which have already been agreed and signed, and are in progress.”

    Oxford University has told the BBC it will provide more detail shortly.

    Huawei has been the focus of international scrutiny, with several countries raising security concerns about its products.

    Huawei has denied those claims, saying it doesn't pose a spying risk.

  14. London ends flat

    London Stock Exchange

    London shares have ended flat, as US-China trade war fears weighed down the markets, and entertainment and airline stocks saw losses.

    The FTSE 100 closed 27.8 points or 0.4% down to 6,834.92. Top of the losers was ITV, which fell 6% to 129.1p after Merrill Lynch cut its stock rating from "buy" to "underperform".

    The FTSE 250 ended 50.6 points or 0.3% ahead to 18,537.32. Retirement financial provider Just Group led the winners, jumping 5% to 96.4p.

  15. More on Philips plant closure

    Philips UK and Ireland

    Further to the news that Philips is to close its Glemsford factory in 2020.

    Although a majority of the factory's operations will be moved to the Netherlands, Philips says the UK is still important.

    “I recognise that our proposed plan will have a profound impact on our colleagues working at the Glemsford site, and our manufacturing presence in the UK,” said Neil Mesher, chief executive of Philips UK & Ireland.

    “We have announced the proposal after careful consideration, and over the next period, we will work closely with the impacted colleagues on next steps. Philips has a long, established history of serving customers within the UK, and we remain committed to them.

    "The UK is an important market for us, and we will continue to invest in our commercial organisation and innovation programs in the country.”

  16. Former boss sues CBS over severance

    Les Moonves

    Les Moonves, the former chief executive of CBS, is suing the US broadcaster over a $120m exit package he was denied after being terminated in December.

    In July 2018, six women made claims of sexual harassment against Mr Moonves in the New Yorker.

    CBS began investigating the claims, and Mr Moonves resigned in September, following fresh accusations from six more women in the same week. He was still in line for the exit package, pending the results of the investigation.

    In December, CBS announced it would not be paying Mr Moonves any of the $120m exit package because he had misled investigators and destroyed evidence. These actions gave the broadcaster grounds to fire him, it said.

    But Mr Moonves believes he was wrongfully terminated, and is now suing the broadcaster, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission document filed by CBS on Wednesday.

  17. Philips to close UK plant with 430 jobs

    Avent products

    Electronics giant Philips is closing a plant in Glemsford, Suffolk putting 430 jobs at risk.

    The operations will be transferred to the Netherlands.

    The factory makes baby feeding products under the Avent brand.

    Philips said the closure is part of a plan to reduce the number of plants it operates from 50 to 30.

    Last year, the company's chief executive voiced concern about the impact of Brexit on the UK economy.

  18. Housing market outlook worst 'for 20 years'

    For sale sign

    The housing market outlook over the next three months is the worst for 20 years, surveyors say.

    A net balance of 28% of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) members expect sales to fall in the next three months.

    It's the most downbeat reading since records started in October 1998 and the pessimism is blamed on the lack of clarity around Brexit.

    Lack of supply and affordability also continued to affect the market.

  19. UAE's hyperloop could be ready next year


    The world's first commercial hyperloop system is set open in Abu Dhabi in 2020, reports Gulf Business which has spoken to the chairman of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Bibop Gresta.

    Hyperloop is a transport system, where carriages sit in vacuum tubes and are propelled on powerfull magnets.

    The lack of friction means they should be able to travel at speeds of up to 700 mph (1,123 km/h).

    The first phase of the Abu Dhabi project is 10km long, and is set to be ready next year.

    It is costing between $20m and $40m per kilometre, the report said.