The Business: Tuesday July 15 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Wonga is attempting to clean up its image after years of bearing the brunt of public anger over the payday loan industry. New chairman Andy Haste will oversee a review of how the business operates. He told the BBC that the Wonga grandparent puppets who feature in advertising for the firm will be scrapped. He said Wonga did not want to be associated with "anything which inadvertently attracts children".
British shoppers have closed their wallets and purses amid rumours of an early rise in interest rates, says The Times. The latest study from the British Retail Consortium found that sales, excluding new store openings, fell by 0.8% in the year to June. It is widely believed that consumers are exercising renewed caution while they await a decision on interest rates. The study follows disappointing retail figures from the CBI and worse than expected manufacturing and construction data.
Complaints about energy bills have risen to their highest ever level, according to data from the Energy Ombudsman. In the first six months of 2014 complaints to energy providers more than doubled to 22,671 - from 10,598 for the same period in 2013 - with 84% related to billing. The industry’s lobby group, Energy UK, says the sector "works hard" and is creating "resources and new systems" to resolve customers' issues.
Over-60s are the only group to have avoided a drop in income during the financial crisis, according to research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. This highlights a generational divide under which the “jinxed generation” of people in their twenties have suffered most since 2008, with those in their thirties, forties, and fifties also suffering substantial falls. The news could increase calls for the government to cut pensioners’ benefits.
“It's a cracking deal for United. But I'm blown away that Adidas have signed up for that amount. United are still a global club but there isn't as much penetration this season commercially as there will be no Champions League football for United.” James Igoe, a private client director at Hume Capital, tells the Manchester Evening News that Old Trafford has pulled off an unlikely victory with Adidas.
Scottish independence could see the value of sterling could drop by 10%, leaving the rest of the UK more vulnerable to financial risks, reports the Daily Telegraph. A study by economists at Morgan Stanley also found that a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum could delay a decision on raising interest rates until beyond next year’s general election. The news will increase pressure from the ‘no’ camp for this autumn’s vote.
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