Energy giant SSE has piled more pressure on UK ministers to rethink their policy on "green taxes" by vowing to scale back its planned price hike if the controversial levies were overhauled. The pledge came as the Perth-based group, which trades as Scottish Hydro north of the Border, said its retail division had fallen into the red during the first half of the year because of higher wholesale gas prices, rising distribution costs and "government-sponsored social and environmental obligations", The Daily Mail writes.
The fragile recovery in new company flotations came under threat yesterday as shares
in several of the market's most recent debutantes took a hammering. Leading blue-chip investors said that fatigue was creeping into the market for initial public offerings, which has been booming for more than a year after blowout offerings from Direct Line, Countrywide, Merlin Entertainment and Royal Mail. They blamed the way investment banks have handled recent flotations for a turn in sentiment, with leading long-term shareholders growing frustrated with the process, The Times explains.
Janet Yellen will say the US economy is performing "far short" of its potential at her confirmation hearing on Thursday in prepared remarks that justify continued monetary stimulus. "We have made good progress, but we have farther to go to regain the ground lost in the crisis and the recession," the nominee for chair of the US Federal Reserve will say, according to prepared testimony. Yellen's remarks suggest she will strike a dovish tone before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday morning but they give away little about current policy or the specifics of how the Fed might act in the future, The Financial Times says.
Spain's historic Rio Tinto copper mine is at the centre of an ownership dispute between an AIM-quoted miner and Trafigura, the privately owned commodities trader. Emed Mining, the listed explorer and developer, yesterday rejected claims by Trafigura that it had acquired an option to take over the rights of the mothballed mine, according to The Times.
Energy firm SSE has announced an inflation-busting dividend for shareholders just two days before it puts up customer bills by 8.2%. SSE's dividend to shareholders will go up by 3.2% to 26p a share, a healthy return above the 2.2% inflation rate. On Friday SSE's 10m customers - largely in Scotland and southern England - will see their bills going up well above inflation, taking the average dual-fuel bill to £1,380, in the same week that the National Audit Office warned of above-inflation energy bills until 2030, according to The Guardian.
Pressure on the squeezed middle classes is growing as the economy finds a 'new normal' in the wake of the financial crisis with the number of low-paid, low-skill and high-paid, high-skill jobs increasing, but those caught in the middle dropping in availability. New research from think-tank the Resolution Foundation and the London School of Economics adds to concerns the UK is heading for a two-tier labour market as result of the prolonged downturn, The Daily Telegraph reports.