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BUSINESS LIVE: UK wage growth maintains record pace


BUSINESS LIVE: UK wage growth maintains record pace


BUSINESS LIVE: UK wage growth maintains record pace

The FTSE 100 will open at 8am. Among the companies with reports and trading updates today are AB Foods, Fevertree, Dowlais Group, Chemring, The Gym Group and Wickes. Read the Tuesday 12 September Business Live blog below.

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RBS shamed for axing hundreds of its branches: Bank named as UK’s worst offender

RBS has been named and shamed as the bank that has closed the most of its branches after axing hundreds of High Street sites over the last eight years.

The bank, which is owned by NatWest and was bailed out by the taxpayer during the last financial crisis, has shuttered more than 80 per cent of its locations since 2015.

It is the worst offender of the major High Street banks, having closed the biggest portion of its branch network, the Daily Mail can reveal.

Triple locks provides second ‘blockbuster’ state pension jump

Tom Selby, head of retirement policy at AJ Bell:

‘Retirees are set to receive their second blockbuster state pension increase in a row as a result of the government’s ‘triple-lock’ policy.

‘With price rises seemingly on a steady downward trajectory, it is almost certain – barring a major inflationary shock – that today’s 8.5% earnings growth figure will be used for next year’s state pension rise. As a result, the full new state pension will surge to £221.20 per week, while those in receipt of the old state pension will see their benefits increase to £169.50 per week.

‘This comes hot on the heels of the bumper 10.1% state pension increase applied in April this year, in line with inflation in the prior September.’

Fevertree earnings squeezed by higher costs

Fevertree Drinks profits fell in the first half as margins took a hit from elevated glass manufacturing costs despite price increases.

The London-based company, which sells most of its drink mixers in glass bottles, said its adjusted core profit came in at £10.2million for the six months ended 30 June, compared with £22million the previous year.

‘Gloom is starting to settle in across the employment landscape’

Sarah Coles, head of personal finance, Hargreaves Lansdown:

‘Gloom is starting to settle in across the employment landscape. We’re not seeing a deluge of job losses or redundancies, but the steady creep of bad news means that for some people, the outlook is increasingly ominous.

‘Throughout the turbulence of the last couple of years, the one thing we’ve been able to cling to was job security. And while we’re not facing sweeping job losses, it’s worth at least considering what we’d do if the tide was to turn.’

AB Foods lifts profit expectations

AB Foods has raised its full-year profit outlook for the second time in four months, driven by a strong performance from both its Primark clothing business and its food operations.

The group now expects full-year adjusted operating profit, its key profit measure, to be ‘slightly better’ than its previous expectations of ‘moderately ahead’ of last year’s earnings of £1.44billion.

David Beckham-backed online gaming group Guild Esports seals Sky TV deal

Shares in an online gaming group co-owned by David Beckham surged after it signed another deal with Sky.

Guild Esports, whose teams of video game professionals compete against rivals for money, appointed Sky Glass as its official television partner.

Sky Glass is the streaming TV service from Sky that does not require a satellite dish.

UK wage growth maintains record pace

British wages excluding bonuses were 7.8 per cent per cent higher than a year earlier in the three months to July, unchanged from the three months to June, but fresh Office for National Statistics data shows signs that Britain’s labour market is finally cooling.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.3 per cent in the three months to July from 4.2 per cent a month earlier, its highest since the three months to September 2021.

The unemployment rate is already higher than the 4.1 per cent the Bank of England had pencilled in for the third quarter as a whole, when it published its last set of forecasts in early August.

The figures will be scrutinised ahead of the BoE’s next interest rate decision, with the bank likely to be encouraged by a softening labour market but cautious of still-high wage growth.

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