In the first statement coming out of Labour election headquarters, current U.K. Business Secretary Peter Mandelson has put up an argument stating that the sitting government has the constitutional right for the “first go” in trying to remain in power when no party wins a majority in the House of Commons.
“The rules are, if it’s a hung parliament, it’s not the party with the largest number of seats that has the first go, it’s the sitting government,” Mandelson said. “After three terms in office, of course many people have turned away from the Labour Party but they haven’t embraced the Conservatives.” He added
According to a recent survey, manufacturing output and exports in the UK expanded at their fastest rate in 15 years. These findings meant that whichever party eventually wins the right to govern in the UK, are liable to inherit an economy already showing signs of recovery with manufacturing output growing by as much as two percent in the past three months. A growth level that suggests the manufacturing sector will make a significant contribution to second-quarter gross domestic product growth in the UK.
Recent figures also show that the next government are set to inherit a jobs market that, while currently still looking a little weak, looks is poised for recovery but still fragile. Unemployment stands at 2.5 million, or eight percent of the work force, far below the three million-plus predicted last year.
Channel 4 announced the public service broadcaster would boost the budget of its film division by a fifth this year to 10 million pounds. The decision returns Film 4’s budget to its 2007 level before the recession, and partly reflects a cautious confidence at the group. Chief executive David Abraham said the Digital Economy Act had also influenced the decision to increase investment in Film 4. The Act formally stated that as part of its public service remit, Channel 4 should make “high quality films” for cinema release in the UK.
Alliance Boots has replaced Marks & Spencer at the top of an annual ranking of UK companies by the strength of their corporate reputation. Boots, which enters the Reputation Institute’s UK Pulse Report for the first time, ranks first in the survey that measures corporate reputation among the general public. Other companies in the top 10 include Cadbury, Morrisons and Rolls Royce, with John Lewis Partnership, Debenhams, Sainsbury’s and Tesco among the top 20 places. In broadcasting, the BBC came ahead of ITV and BSkyB, and HSBC has become the top-ranked bank. Companies are selected by the organization based on revenue and visibility among the general public, but can decide whether or not to be included. There is no fee for inclusion.
Followers of Google’s UK-based email will now be able to have @gmail.com addresses, rather than @googlemail.com. The news comes after the search engine marketing giant won an arduous trademark battle with a British research company that had applied for the “gmail” name prior to Google launching its email service. After finally reaching a settlement, Google are now able to offer users that registered after 2005, a change to the shorter address of @gmail.com Google went on to use the @googlemail.com address for those that had registered after this time.
A spokesman for Google stated that the company was satisfied with the conclusion of the proceedings, saying:”We know how important email accounts are to users and we wanted to provide the best user experience possible. We engineered the infrastructure to enable users to switch their accounts to @gmail.com accounts should they choose, as well as directing all new users to set up @gmail.com accounts in the UK.”
Power and oil firm Essar Energy were left wishing that they had timed their entry onto the FTSE a little better than this week, after suffering the worst debut of a big London flotation since the early noughties. The group’s shares plummeted 7.2 percent to 389.5 pence on its first day of trading. The fall from the UK’s largest stock market listing in more than two years is the worst seen since HMV, the music retailer, dropped 7.5 percent in May 2002. Essar’s listing came on a challenging day for the markets, with the FTSE 100 index closing down 2.5 percent on the day
The Euro remains under heavy pressure, falling to below 1.27 against the dollar. The pound strengthened took a late slump against the dollar to 1.463 and at 1.550 against the Euro.
International rating agencies continue to voice concerns over the crisis of confidence which is spreading across Europe, with countries such as Portugal, Italy, Spain, Ireland and Britain looking unstable, as the public and politicians in Athens attempt come to terms with the harsh economic conditions which have come with the EEC and IMF bail-out. The European Commission has said it expects the Greek economy to shrink by 3% this year, amid continued market jitters over the country’s debt crisis.
Banking systems still face “very real, common threats” if doubts were raised about their governments’ abilities to pay debts.
Fears of another round of instability meant another volatile session for the FTSE 100 index, which saw it shed 80.9 points to close in 5261 as the UK also went to the polls, with the prospects of a hung Parliament looking very much a reality.
US mortgage giant Freddie Mac announced a loss of $8 billion (£5.3 billion) for the first three months of 2010. Reports from the company hint that they are liable to ask for a further $10.6 billion in state aid. The firm has made a number of federal cash requests since it was taken over by regulators in September 2008, whilst stating that as the US housing market has not yet fully recovered they would continue to be in need of continued government funding. If the latest request is granted, it will bring the total cost of the Freddie Mac rescue to $61.3 billion.
Stock exchange bosses and regulators were last night scrambling to explain the cause of a plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which took the index down by the largest number of points in its history, setting off a short term panic in an already fragile financial market.
A little over an hour before the close of trading in New York. The result was a period of unprecedented chaos that also dragged in currency and credit markets. At 2.20 pm, EPT the Dow stood at 10,460, already down 400 points, when it suddenly tumbled 600 points with the space of just seven minutes to 9,869, a drop of 9.2 per cent, the largest points fall ever.
The Dow snapped back but continued to swing wildly until the close of trading, when it settled at 10,520.32, down 347.80 points on the day, a fall of 3.2 per cent. The NASDAQ also closed down 82.65 points to 2319.64.
US productivity grew at a better-than -expected annual rate of 3.6% in the first quarter of 2010, while a separate report showed that applications for jobless benefits dropped for a third week in a row.
The US economy has been growing since last summer, but firms have been reluctant to take workers back on, instead pushing smaller workforces to produce more, which has increased productivity – measured as the amount of output per hour of work.
Carmaker BMW has reported a return to profit compared with a year earlier and given an upbeat forecast for sales in the coming year.
The group reported a net profit of €324 million (£277 million) for the first quarter of 2010, compared to a loss of €150 million for the comparative period last year. Turnover was up 8% to €12.4 billion with the company reporting a 100% increase in sales in China as it did a year earlier.