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Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng is to set out his plan to get UK debt falling this month

   News / 04 Oct 2022

Published: 04 October 2022
Location: London, UK

By Suzanne Evans, Director, Political Insight

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng is to set out his plan to get UK debt falling this month, the BBC reports, referencing an unnamed source who has told them a date has yet to be confirmed, but that a formal announcement will be made today. The Chancellor said previously that details on how his tax cuts will be paid for would not be released until 23rd November. In his speech to Conservative Party conference in Birmingham yesterday, after scraping plans to abolish the 45p additional rate of tax, Kwarteng acknowledged the "turbulence" caused by his mini-budget, but promising to deliver the rest of his £43bn package of tax cuts. Meanwhile, writing in The Daily Telegraph, Prime Minister Liz Truss said her government would "control public spending" and had a "firm commitment to fiscal responsibility". "The status quo is not an option," she wrote, adding that she and the chancellor had a "clear plan for economic success and security".

The UK’s manufacturing sector has contracted for a third month in a row, as orders in September declined for a fourth consecutive month, according to the S&P Global/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI. The closely watched index registered a score of 48.4 in September, up from 47.3 a month earlier, but still below the 50 mark which signifies growth. The data for the index is gleaned from responses to surveys sent to purchasing managers in some 650 British manufacturing firms.

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A report suggests we will be spending £4.4bn less on Christmas this year as household budgets tighten amid the cost of living crisis. A survey by e-commerce delivery technology Metapack and Retail Economics found over 70% of Brits expect to reduce their Christmas and Black Friday spending in some form.  

Analysis by gender and diversity consultancy firm The Pipeline has found that only 1 in 25 of CEOs in Britain's largest publicly listed companies are women. 96% of companies listed in the FTSE 350 are men, despite entry level recruitment often being close to 50:50, The Pipeline said. It found there were no women at all on 10% of the company’s executive committees, and almost 70% of companies have no female executive directors on their main boards. However, when women do become CEOs, they are four times more likely to appoint women executive directors onto their main board than male CEOs. The Women Count report has tracked the gender diversity of top British companies for the past seven years and describes progress over that time as "glacially slow". The prospect for women seeking advancement to the senior echelons of FTSE 350 companies "looks as desolate as ever", it said. However, there are four more female CEOs in the FTSE 250 this year than last. In the FTSE 100 there are 91 male CEOs and 7 women CEOs; and in the FTSE 250 there are 168 male CEOs and 5 female CEOs.

11 water companies have been fined a total of £150 million for missing performance targets on issues such as supply interruptions, pollution incidents and internal sewer flooding. They will have to refund the cash to their customers over the next two years, industry regulator Ofwat said yesterday. Thames Water and Southern Water received the two largest fines of £51m and £28.3m respectively

The best performing companies were Severn Trent Water in the South West and United Utilities in the North West. They will be permitted to generate an extra £62.9m and £24.1m in customer bills respectively.

The Telegraph says FTSE 100 pensions company Phoenix Group is preparing to back the government's plans for a nuclear renaissance, but only if ministers overhaul the funding model that previously led to the collapse of proposed power stations. CEO Andy Briggs has been in talks with officials about investment in nuclear power infrastructure, but cautioned that ministers need to give private sector investors greater clarity on returns around the investment if Phoenix is to back future projects. He told the newspaper: "We're in ongoing dialogue regularly [with Government] on this. To date, we haven't made significant investments into nuclear, [but] it's something we would consider." Ministers are looking to attract private investment into the sector to reduce the UK's reliance on foreign capital.

Vodafone has confirmed it is in talks with Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison about a possible merger of its UK business with Three UK. Following a report by Sky News, Vodafone said the potential deal would see Vodafone own 51% of the combined business, with CK Hutchison owning the rest. No cash consideration will be paid, Vodafone said.

Online furniture retailer Made.com said earlier today that it has entered into discussions with a number of interested parties regarding the potential sale of the company. Made announced last month that it was considering putting itself up for sale. Interested parties will be made aware that the current management plan for a standalone public company is expected to require aggregate funding of around £45m to £70m over the next 18 months, Sharecast News reports. "Current discussions may be altered or terminated at any time and, accordingly, there can be no certainty that an offer will be made, nor as to what the terms of any offer may be," the company said, adding that it will update shareholders further as appropriate.

FTSE 250 investment company AJ Bell is to pay Blythe Business Services (BBSL), the company owned by Bell’s former CEO and founder Andy Bell, an annual fee of £150,000 so he can continue to work with the company in a consultancy role. Andy Bell's departure was announced at the end of last month.  

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