Ben Chapman, The Independent

Ben Chapman

The Independent

United Kingdom

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Recent articles by Ben:

Royal Mail strike: Christmas postal walkout looms as workers vote to back industrial action

Royal Mail workers have voted overwhelmingly to strike in a dispute over working conditions that threatens to impact postal services in the busy run-up to Christmas. More than 97 per cent of votes backed strike action on a turnout of 76 per cent. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said Royal Mail is failing to honour an agreement reached last year to raise pay and reform → Read More

Drivers to save £1,100 each after crackdown on car finance commissions

Drivers will save around £165m a year under a crackdown on certain types of commission that give salesmen and brokers an incentive to overcharge customers. The financial watchdog is proposing a ban on commission linked to the interest rate customers pay on their motor finance. This encourages salesmen and brokers to bump up the interest rate in order to boost their own → Read More

UK supermarkets selling 'sustainable' Scottish salmon linked to collapse of wild fish stocks

Shoppers buying supposedly sustainable farmed fish such as prawns and Scottish salmon from major UK supermarkets may unwittingly be contributing to the collapse of fish stocks in Asia and Africa, a report has found. → Read More

Pound surges against dollar and euro as EU agrees to intensified Brexit talks

The pound surged against the dollar and the euro on Friday as hopes grew that a Brexit deal can be done before the imminent deadline. Sterling jumped 1.8 per cent against the dollar to $1.267 and 1.5 per cent against the euro to €1.146. The gains eclipsed those made yesterday, which resulted in the pound’s best daily rise since March. → Read More

Pound rises on hopes Brexit deal can be reached after Brexit deal talks intensify

Renewed hopes that the government can reach a Brexit deal sent the pound soaring on Friday, adding to strong gains on Thursday. The pound broke past $1.26 after EU Council president Donald Tusk said he had heard "optimistic messages" that a Brexit deal can be struck. Markets rose across Europe are up this morning as Donald Trump prepares to meet Chinese officials for trade → Read More

Brexit: Government's migration curbs after EU exit will put economy in parts of UK 'at risk'

Plans to restrict immigration after Brexit risk causing serious damage to local economies in the UK, according to a new report that focuses on the example of England’s south-west. Skilled migration will be significantly reduced under proposals in the government’s 2018 Immigration White Paper, leaving businesses in Bristol and the surrounding area struggling to recruit → Read More

Business news live: Brexit fears push UK housing market to three-year low, as GDP report expected to reveal slowdown

Homeowners are increasingly shunning the property market because of heightened uncertainty about Britain's future, research has found. The number of new homes coming to the market slumped to a three-year low in September while buyer demand also fell, a poll by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors found. It comes ahead of the latest UK GDP data which is expected to show → Read More

UK farmers 'betrayed' by government's Brexit tariff plans that risk flooding UK with lower-quality imported food

The government has “betrayed” UK farmers with its no-deal Brexit tariff plans, which risk flooding the country with cheap food produced to lower animal welfare and environmental standards, the farming industry trade body has said. Under new plans the vast majority of goods entering the UK will be tariff-free, a move the government hopes will help mitigate the negative effects → Read More

Pound falls sharply as Boris Johnson's Brexit deal hopes lie in tatters

The pound fell by almost a cent against the euro after Boris Johnson told Angela Merkel on Tuesday that a Brexit deal is now “essentially impossible”. Mr Johnson’s 8am call with Germany’s chancellor ended with no progress made on the crucial issue of Northern Ireland’s status after Brexit, scheduled for the end of this month. Sterling dropped 0.75 per cent against the single → Read More

Business news live: Government unveils low-tariff plans for no-deal Brexit

The government has unveiled plans to cut tariffs on most goods entering the UK to mitigate the risk of a recession after a no-deal Brexit. Following lobbying from industries expected to be hit hard by a disorderly departure from the EU, the government made some changes to the regime proposed last March. Meanwhile, the pound has slumped to a three-week low against the dollar as → Read More

Pound tumbles against dollar and euro as Ireland roundly rejects Boris Johnson's Brexit plan

The pound tumbled more than half a per cent against the euro on Tuesday after Ireland vehemently rejected Boris Johnson’s latest Brexit plans for checks near the Irish border. A UK manufacturing survey also revealed a fifth consecutive month of contraction in the sector as uncertainty around the economy’s prospects dragged on output, orders and employment. Sterling dropped → Read More

Four energy firms ordered to pay £15m unpaid green taxes or face losing licences

Four energy suppliers have been ordered to pay £14.7m in overdue green taxes by the end of the month or face having their licences revoked. Energy watchdog Ofgem said on Tuesday that Robin Hood Energy, Toto Energy, Gnergy, and Delta Gas and Power missed a 1 September deadline to make payments under the Renewables Obligation. → Read More

Thomas Cook auditors EY investigated over checking of tour operators' books before collapse

Thomas Cook’s auditor is under investigation by the accounting watchdog over its work for the collapsed tour operator. → Read More

UK house prices fell unexpectedly in September amid intensifying Brexit uncertainty

House prices fell unexpectedly in September as uncertainty around Brexit dampened activity, according to Nationwide’s index. The building society recorded a 0.2 per cent fall from a month earlier, below a 0.1 per cent rise forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts. Compared with September last year, the average house price across the UK rose by 0.2 per cent to £215,352. But → Read More

Harland and Wolff shipyard that built the Titanic saved from closure along with 79 jobs

A historic Belfast shipyard that built the Titanic has been saved from closure by a £6m rescue takeover. Harland and Wolff has been bought by energy infrastructure specialist InfraStrata. The deal protects all 79 jobs at the Belfast yard, and InfraStrata said it plans to add hundreds more jobs in the coming years. → Read More

UK financial services sector suffers worst fall in business and prospects in years, survey shows

Revenues, profitability and confidence at UK financial services firms have all taken a beating in the past three months, according to a survey that has revealed the sharpest deterioration in the sector in years. Although still unpopular in the wake of the financial crisis, the industry which includes banks, insurers and investment managers is important to the broader economy. → Read More

Brexit: UK business confidence slumps to lowest point since EU referendum as no-deal fears intensify

Businesses are more pessimistic about the UK economy than they have been at any point since the June 2016 EU referendum, according to a new survey. Lloyds found that optimism among British firms slumped 5 points in September to minus 10 per cent. Its poll subtracts the percentage of firms that have a negative view from the percentage that have a positive view to come to a net → Read More

Saudi crown prince warns of ‘unimaginably high’ oil price unless world deals with Iran threat

Saudi Arabia's crown prince has warned the price of oil could spike to "unimaginably high" levels unless action is taken against Iran, the kingdom's main enemy. Mohammad bin Salman's comments come after attacks on Saudi oil facilities knocked out 5 per cent of global supply. The finger has been pointed at Iran which denies involvement in the attacks. → Read More

Energy suppliers claim to sell '100% renewable' electricity without producing any green power

Energy suppliers that do not generate or directly source green energy risk misleading customers by claiming they are “100 per cent renewable”, according to a report. → Read More

Business news live: Pound falls sharply as Bank of England hints at interest rate cut to deal with Brexit uncertainty

The pound has dropped more than half a cent against the dollar this morning after a senior Bank of England policymaker suggested interest rates may be cut soon. Michael Saunders said the BoE could “loosen policy” - meaning cut rates - in the event of prolonged Brexit uncertainty, even if the UK avoids a no-deal departure from the EU. Please wait a moment for the live blog to → Read More