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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Betfair lifts forecasts to help fend off unwanted CVC bid

Category : Business

Betting group says full year revenues and earnings beat expectations while cost savings rise

Online gaming group Betfair has issued an upbeat trading statement in an attempt to fend off an unwanted £920m bid from private equity group CVC Capital Partners.

Its shares added 16.5p to 861.5p. This is still below the 880p on offer from CVC, although some nonetheless believe the price will have to be raised to win the day.

Betfair said full year estimated earnings were likely to come in at around £73m, at the top end of its previous forecasts. Revenues had reached around £387m while it had £138m of cash on the balance sheet. It reported record new UK customers, and cut 500 staff as part of a restructuring.

Cost savings have been raised from £20m to £30m. But there was no mention of any cash return to investors, which some had been expecting.

Chief executive Breon Corcoran said the company’s new management team had successfully completed the shake-up ahead of schedule, and its new sportsbook was doing well in combination with its existing exchange business. Having bought Blue Square it is planning further targeted acquisitions. In a buy note Simon French at Panmure Gordon said:

The key thrust on strategy is that early indications are that the exchange and sportsbook products are more complimentary than originally envisaged and that “Exchange plus Sportsbook” can deliver a sustainable competitive advantage.

Some investors may be disappointed there is no commitment to return cash to shareholders but the group is looking to accelerate growth through international opportunities and balance sheet flexibility. [We] reiterate our buy recommendation and 1000p target price.

Nick Batram at Peel Hunt kept his hold recommendation but also welcomed the update:

As an initial defence, beating expectations and raising cost savings shouldn’t really surprise anyone, but it is nonetheless a good start for Betfair’s management.

There are three key positives from today’s announcement that suggest to us that CVC will have to significantly up its bid if it wants to secure Betfair. Firstly, while it is early days, the increased focus on the UK appears to be delivering strong customer acquisition numbers. Secondly, what might have been a back-foot defence now firmly looks like a business being positioned on the front foot. Finally, we are glad to see that returning cash to shareholders is not an option at this stage. In a rapidly evolving market and with the strategic opportunities open to Betfair, we believe the cash is better off being deployed in growing the company.

Eurozone crisis as it happened: Cypriot finance minister resigns as blame game begins

Category : Business

Cypriots are seeking out who is responsible for the crisis – and who had early notice of the meltdown – as negotiators seek to ease bailout terms

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Nick Clegg highlights Lib Dem plans to tax rich in Eastleigh campaign speech

Category : Business

Deputy prime minister will portray Liberal Democrats as party of fair tax in speech to mark beginning of byelection campaign

Nick Clegg will claim the mantle of the fair tax party on Thursday in a speech designed to fire the starting pistol for the Eastleigh byelection due to take place on 28 February.

The Liberal Democrats will issue the writ for the byelection in the wake of the resignation of the sitting MP Chris Huhne, after he pleaded guilty to swapping penalty points with his wife for speeding. The leader of the Liberal Democrat Eastleigh council has warned that the campaign will be bruising.

In his speech, Clegg will insist his party wants the rich to pay more in tax, but claim it has already done more to make the tax system fairer than Labour.

He will say: “Fair taxation has been a thread running through the last two and a half years. It has guided our tax reforms; it has shaped my personal priorities in government. Indeed, fairer tax has been a theme of my leadership of the Lib Dems.

“In less than three years we have done more to correct the grotesque unfairness in the tax system than Labour managed in 13.”

He will also defend the cut in the 50p top rate of tax, pointing out that the respected Institute of Fiscal Studies said this week that “the combination of the 45p income tax rate, the removal of the personal allowance for the highest earners, and reductions in the tax-free element of their pension pots together mean the wealthiest 10% of people are making the greatest contribution following the government’s tax changes”.

Clegg will also say: “In every single year of this parliament the rich will pay a greater share of our nation’s tax revenues than in any one of the 13 years that Labour were in office.”

He will describe Labour’s anger over the 50p rate as synthetic, pointing out that “the previous government only had it in place for 36 days out of a total of 4,748 days in office”.

Clegg will say tax is at the heart of the biggest question in British politics today: “When the public finances are so tight, and millions of families across Britain are feeling the squeeze, who do we ask to give a bit extra?

“For me, the answer is simple: those with the broadest shoulders should bear the biggest burden.”

He will call for the very wealthy to make a modest extra contribution. He says his preferred option is a mansion tax: a 1% levy on properties worth more than £2m, applied just to the value over and above £2m.

“Or, alternatively, we could introduce new council-tax bands at the top end, again affecting properties worth over £2m but integrated into an existing tax system.

“Right now there are properties for sale for tens of millions of pounds around Regent’s Park. Whoever buys them will pay the same in council tax as a family living in a three-bed semi in Lewisham.” In a dig at the Tories he will say: “It’s an open secret that our Conservative partners do not share our views on this.”

“Our approach is simple: taxes on mansions; tax cuts for millions. An approach to tax that puts payslips before palaces, if you like.”

The Liberal Democrat leader will also highlight that this April the personal allowance will be £2,965 higher than in 2010, arguing that more than 20 million basic-rate taxpayers will be – in total – £600 better off.

He adds: “2.2 million of the lowest earners will pay no income tax at all.”

He will call for other changes to the tax system, including dealing “effectively with wealthy individuals and big corporations who set up elaborate schemes to avoid tax”. He will argue: “Just as it is right for the tax system to encourage good business, it is equally as important it rewards hard-working individuals.”

Tapping into public anger about tax avoidance by big multinational corporations, Clegg will say: “It’s a sign of the times that people form views about their coffee houses, search engines and booksellers on the basis of their tax returns.

“Now, more than ever, there is a growing sense within the public debate that how you approach tax says something about who you are.”

A Lib Dem source said: “It’s a speech that sets out the distinctive approach of the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government when it comes to tax.”This is going to be a very keenly contested byelection and Nick is eager to remind the voters of Eastleigh, as well as the rest of the country, that the Liberal Democrats are cutting taxes for those on low and middle incomes.”

Rachel Reeves MP, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, commenting on Nick Clegg’s speech on tax fairness, said: “This is a laughable speech from an increasingly desperate Nick Clegg. He campaigned against a VAT rise, but then delivered it after the election. He failed to deliver a mansion tax, but went along with a £3 billion tax cut for the richest. And his cuts to tax credits will dwarf any gain from the rise in personal allowance for millions of working families.”

The Lib Dems are expected to select their candidate at a hustings on Friday.

Clegg: Capital spending cut wrong

Category : Business

The coalition made a mistake in cutting back capital spending when it came into office, Nick Clegg says, as the UK’s latest GDP figures are awaited.

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Leveson: a new year, but little sign of a resolution

Category : Business

Christmas gave us a break from the report’s complexities, but its problems don’t look any more soluble now than they did in 2012

What, four blessed weeks of feasting and forgetfulness later, was Leveson all about? What do we need to remember on 10 January as the whole circus hits the road again? Just two killer words: independence and trust.

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg don’t trust the press to regulate itself. They want independent regulation. But David doesn’t think anyone he appoints can be truly independent, because he appoints them. Meanwhile, Nick and Ed don’t trust David, though they’re fatally shy at defining independence themselves. Here comes the judge! Or perhaps Sir David Normington, sacred “commissioner for public appointments” – though, curses!, he’s vetted by MPs. Newspapers don’t trust anyone, especially not MPs, to keep their fingers out of the legal cookie jar. But most MPs have nil trust in papers’ ability to stop drinking in last-chance saloons.

Do the editors around the negotiating table trust each other? Smile a pained smile. And the publishers who pay their wages? They say it’s they, not the editors, who must call the shots – via Lord Hunt at the Press Complaints Commission, who now trusts a former head of the supreme court to give him independent advice, along with Simon Jenkins of the Guardian (though Sir Simon doesn’t trust the “discourteous nitpicking and time wasting” of inquiries like Leveson’s, which may be a tad too independent of him). Enter the Queen and some royal charter, just like the BBC’s, but even more independent than Chris Patten’s latest call for Lord Hall. And the Media Standards Trust (birth mother of Hacked Off)? It doesn’t much trust anybody or anything except Hugh Grant.

There now … that shouldn’t take long to sort out, should it?

Eurozone crisis live: Ireland to unveil another austerity budget

Category : Business

Dublin will announce billions of euros in fresh spending cuts today as the pain of austerity continues

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Eurozone crisis as it happened: Anger in Greece as debt talks fail

Category : Business

Greece’s prime minister says there is no justification for the eurozone finance ministers’ failing to agree a deal on its bailout in overnight talks

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South-east Asia, China and India: economic outlook

Category : Business

GDP growth in South-East Asia will recover to a ‘robust’ annual pace of 5.5% over the next five years – despite the recent weakening of China and India, according to the OECD

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Nick Clegg to attack ‘dishonest’ Labour over EU vote – BBC News

Category : Stocks

BBC News
Nick Clegg to attack 'dishonest' Labour over EU vote
BBC News
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is to use a speech to attack Labour after it sided with Conservative rebels to inflict a defeat on the government over the EU budget. The rebel MPs passed an amendment calling for a real-terms cut in EU spending between
British PM loses parliamentary vote on EU budgetXinhua
PMQs snapshot: Heseltine, Labour's latest Tory
One in five of region's Tory MPs rebel on EuropeITV News
Financial Times

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Projects share £1bn growth funds

Category : Business

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says 130 projects in areas of England “that need it most” will share £1bn aimed at boosting economic growth.

See the article here: Projects share £1bn growth funds

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