Energy bills will continue to soar and ministers are powerless to protect households from them, Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, warned yesterday. Days after one of Britain's biggest utility companies increased its prices by more than 8 per cent, the Lib Dem minister said that politicians could not control the factors behind rising costs. He added that green levies applied to energy bills would not be cut to help consumers. Mr Davey questioned the promise by Ed Miliband to freeze prices for 20 months if he won the next general election because, he said, the costs that make up more than half an energy bill were beyond his control, according to The Times.
Senate leaders were locked in talks on Sunday in a desperate attempt to resolve the stalemate over the US debt ceiling amid warnings of a global recession should the US run out of money to pay its bills. With just four days left before the country faces the risk of default, Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, warned that if the debt ceiling - which will be reached at midnight on Thursday - is not lifted, the global economy would be disrupted, the Financial Times writes.
Royal Mail has been accused of "underhand" tactics after it allowed its boss to raid her pension pot despite previously stating she could only get the money when she left the company. It is the second pay controversy to engulf the company's Canadian Chief Executive Moya Greene, who was forced to pay back a £250,000 housing allowance earlier this year. The allegations date back to before the company's listing on Friday, which saw shares
rocket 38%. More than 100m shares were traded in the first hour as thousands of retail investors took profits, The Daily Mail reports.
Big banks in the US could be allowed to fail without bringing wholesale disruption to the financial system. In his final speech as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England Paul Tucker revealed that the resolution regime, which would allow one of the world's largest banks to collapse without being rescued, is now in place. "The necessary technology is clear. The necessary restructuring of firms is clear, and the necessary degrees and forms of cross-border co-operation are clear. It is now a matter of just doing it," Tucker told the Institute of International Finance in Washington, The Daily Mail says.
Britain's biggest union was accused of hypocrisy yesterday after it avoided more than £2m in tax. The Times has learnt that Unite has been presented with a bill for £2.3m by Revenue & Customs. HMRC ruled that Unite had been calculating its VAT in a "grossly unfair and unreasonable" way. The union has condemned multinational companies for not paying their fair share of tax. Len McCluskey, its general secretary, even accused one company of "daylight robbery".
Higher vegetable prices helped fuel Chinese inflation in September, although price rises for the year are likely to stay rooted below government targets. China's consumer price index for September rose 3.1% compared with a year earlier, accelerating from August's 2.6% year-on-year increase, according to National Statistics Bureau data released on Monday. Most of the increase was attributed to loftier food prices, which were up 6.1% in the month compared with a year earlier, driven by fresh vegetable prices that jumped nearly 19% and fresh fruit prices, up 12.5%, the Financial Times explains.