Beleaguered bank RBS is poised to abandon the attempted £7bn sale of its insurance operations, which include the Direct Line and Churchill brand names, reports The Guardian .
There was also speculation over the weekend that headhunters employed by the bank, which was bailed out by the taxpayer this year, have approached Mervyn Davies, the chairman of Standard Chartered, to take up the equivalent job at RBS to work with new chief executive Stephen Hester.
Hester's arrival appears to have halted the sale of the insurance businesses. They were put on the block in March by the previous management - under Sir Fred Goodwin - as part of a fruitless attempt to persuade shareholders to back a massive rights issue. The government had to come to the rescue after investors snubbed the cash call and the taxpayer now owns almost 60% of the bank.
THE RECESSION WILL CLAIM 600,000 jobs next year, making 2009 the worst year for job losses in two decades, The Times reports.
Overall, job losses from the recession are expected to top one million, taking the total out of work to three million in 2010, employers' groups say today.
Fears for mounting job losses from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) come as the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is calling for a freeze in the level of the minimum wage because it says that business cannot afford any more costs. A survey by the CIPD also found that pay expectations among employees had slumped, with many fearing pay freezes and a minority expecting pay cuts.
John Philpott, the chief economist of the CIPD, said: "This time last year, in the face of some scepticism, the CIPD warned that 2008 would be the UK's worst year for jobs in a decade. It was. But, in retrospect, it will be seen as merely the slow-motion prelude to what will be the worst year for jobs in almost two decades."
THE BLEAK ECONOMIC OUTLOOK IN Britain sent the pound to a record low against the euro this morning, bringing parity a step closer, reports The Times.
The expectation that interest rates in the eurozone are likely to remain above those of Britain in the next few months pushed sterling to a record low of 96.8p against the euro.
The return of violence to the Middle East also sent oil and gold prices surging, and had a knock-on effect on natural resources stocks on European and Asian markets.IFAonline
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