The Business: Tuesday April 22 2014

Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday

OSBORNE ‘CAN AFFORD £7BN TAX CUT’

The economic recovery could allow George Osborne to hand out tax cuts worth as much as £7bn in the run-up to next year’s general election, claims the Centre for Economics and Business Research. The consultancy said Osborne’s “credibility” in the City would allow him to overcome the traditional market “constraint” against “crowd-pleasing measures”. The group is forecasting continued global growth over the next two years.

EASTER FOOTFALL ‘DOWN 1.9%’

UK shops’ Easter weekend footfall was down 1.9% on 2013, claims retail data company Springboard. The claim will deal a fresh blow to hopes of a bounceback this month following a tough March. It also underlines the fragile nature of consumer confidence after years of tight household budgets. The figures, which count shoppers on the street rather than sales, showed that shopping centres did worst over the weekend, with out-of-town retail parks the best performing category.

BIG SIX URGED TO HAND £245M TO CONSUMER

The ‘big six’ energy companies have been encouraged to hand back at least £245m to consumers after it emerged that they will spend less than expected on a household insulation scheme. The Association for the Conservation of Energy says energy companies will save at least £44.90 per customer due to the shortfall in spending on the Energy Companies Obligation scheme. It added that the big six are “pulling the wool” over the eyes of the government.

ECCLESTONE COULD GET 10 YEARS IN JAIL

Bernie Eccelstone will stand trial in Munich for bribery this week in a case that may end with the 83-year-old being imprisoned for 10 years. The 256-page indictment against the Formula One billionaire portrays him as an autocrat so afraid of losing power that he paid part of a $44m (£26m) bribe to a former German banker, Gerhard Gribkowsky, to keep his job. Ecclestone denies any wrongdoing. The hearing may last until September.

QUOTE OF THE DAY… CABLE ON CAPITALISM’S ‘DARKER SIDE’

“I'm making sure we take tough action tackling the darker side of capitalism and the smoke and mirrors which have existed for too long.”
Vince Cable on the reform to force companies to list their true owners on a public register to combat tax evasion and money laundering.

NEIL YOUNG TO LAUNCH MUSIC PLAYER

Neil Young is to launch his own digital music player, reports The Times. The veteran singer-songwriter launched a Kickstarter campaign to launch the product. It has now raised $6.22m, the third most successful campaign in the crowd-funding site’s history. The rocker believes that low-quality players have caused people to lose interest in music, sparking a decline in record sales. “People have got used to music sounding terrible,” he says.

THE NUMBERS... AT 0745 GMT


FTSE-100: up +0.62 to 6625.25
Dow Jones: up +0.25 to 16449.25
Dax: up +0.99 to 9409.71
Cac-40: up +0.59 to 4431.81
Nikkei: down -0.61 to 14423.61
Hang Seng: down -0.35 to 22680.45
US dollar: buys €0.72470 and £0.59490
Sterling: buys $1.68080 and €1.21790
Oil: $109.95 up +0.3