New fracking sites could soon be springing up across the country.

Fracking: Britain's big balancing act

Shale gas is certainly controversial, but Brits may be more willing to accept it as the desperation for cheaper energy bills takes hold.

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Business leaders in Scotland back no vote in open letter

A group of 130 business leaders have insisted that the case for Scottish independence "has not been made," arguing that "by continuing to all work together we can keep Scotland flourishing".

The company chiefs, including Weir Group chief executive Keith Cochrane and Aggreko interim chief executive Angus Cockburn, have signed an open letter highlighting the "uncertainties" that surround leaving the union.

Yes and No campaign signs with Bank of Scotland and Bank of England bank notes
A group of 130 business leaders signed an open letter stating, 'By continuing to all work together we can keep Scotland flourishing'. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The letter states, "Uncertainty surrounds a number of vital issues including currency, regulation, tax, pensions, EU membership and support for our exports around the world; and uncertainty is bad for business."

Ryanair to launch 'business class' flights

No-frills airline Ryanair is to introduce a ,business class'.
No-frills airline Ryanair is to introduce a ,business class'. Credit: PA

It may be famous for its "no-frills" approach, but low-cost Irish airline Ryanair is set to launch business class flights.

While the 69.99 euro (£56) Business Plus package does not provide roomier seating, it does offer more discerning fliers a range of benefits, including:

  • Flexibility on ticket changes
  • 20kg (44lbs) of checked-in bag allowance
  • Fast-track airport security at selected airports
  • Priority boarding and 'premium' seats

Fliers must select Business Plus services during the booking process or face additional charges for any services added after payment has been made.


RBS 'failed to act' on FCA mortgage advice concerns

The Financial Services Authority, the FCA's predecessor, raised concerns in November 2011 about branch and telephone sales at RBS and NatWest but it was almost a year later before the firms started to take steps to put things right.

The firms made assurances to the FSA in July 2012 that the necessary changes were underway to address the regulator's concerns, but the FCA said this "failed to happen".

Where we raise concerns with firms we expect them to take effective action to resolve them without delay. This simply failed to happen in this case.

Taking out a mortgage is one of the most important financial decisions we can make. Poor advice could cost someone their home so it's vital that the advice process is fit for purpose. Both firms failed to ensure that their customers were getting the best advice for them.

– Tracey McDermott, director of enforcement and financial crime at the FCA

More: RBS fined £14.5m over advice given to mortgage customers

RBS to contact 30k customers over mortgage failings

The Royal Bank of Scotland will contact 30,000 mortgage customers who may be concerned about advice they were given by the state-backed bank after the Financial Conduct Authority found "serious failings" in its mortgage advice to consumers.

RBS fined £14.5m over 'unsuitable' mortgage advice.
RBS fined £14.5m over 'unsuitable' mortgage advice. Credit: PA

The City regulator said that only two of 164 sales made by the state-backed bank between June 2011 and March 2013 were considered to meet the standard required overall in a sales process.

It found RBS and its retail arm NatWest failed to consider the full extent of a customer's budget when making a recommendation, while staff did not advise customers what mortgage term was appropriate for them.

The regulator said there was no evidence that there was widespread detriment to customers, although RBS and NatWest will contact 30,000 consumers so they can raise any concerns they have about the advice they received.

RBS said that in response to the regulator's findings at the end of 2012, it overhauled its mortgage sales process and re-trained all mortgage advisers.

More: RBS fined £14.5m over 'unsuitable' mortgage advice

Kitemark to highlight trusted apps and websites

A new kitemark has been launched to help people identify apps and websites they can trust with their personal and financial details.

Website and apps will undergo
Website and apps will undergo Credit: British Standards Institution

Barclays' Pingit mobile payment service and Barclays Mobile Banking are the first products to have been independently assessed in order to be awarded the new BSI (British Standards Institution) kitemark for secure digital transactions.

Although the kitemark is initially being piloted within the banking industry, the BSI envisages that its use will be adopted by a wider range of firms - for example within the entertainment industry.

Producers of websites or apps which want to achieve the kitemark will need to undergo "rigorous" testing to make sure their security controls meet the required standards for handling confidential data, the BSI said.

Those that meet the standards will be able to give customers confidence by displaying the kitemark on their products and in their marketing materials.


'Confusing' financial jargon explained

New research suggests financial jargon could be driving customers away from banks and building societies.

Here are definitions of the terms that prove most confusing for customers.

  • FSCS stands for Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This is a safety net for people whose bank or building society goes bust that will compensate a consumer by up to £85,000
  • AER stands for the annual equivalent rate, which is used to help people compare returns on savings accounts means
  • Bacs is a central payment system used to process several different types of electronic payment, such as wages and pensions
  • Gross interest refers to interest that is paid before the deduction of tax

Banking customers 'bombarded' with financial jargon

Consumers are being "bombarded" with financial jargon by banks and building societies, according to the director of retail at National Savings and Investments (NS&I).

While new research has found that jargon is driving customers away from banks and building societies, Julian Hynd said it was important for people to check the information supplied to them.

He said: "It's clear that customers are being bombarded with financial jargon, not only from their bank/building society but other financial service providers too."

He added: "But it's important for customers to remember that although the information supplied to them won't be a riveting read, it will provide essential information relevant to them."

Financial jargon 'drives banking customers away'

Financial jargon is driving customers away from banks and building societies, new treasury backed research has found.

Financial jargon drives customers away from banks, new research has found.
Financial jargon drives customers away from banks, new research has found. Credit: PA

Three-fifths (60%) of consumers said they are likely to stop saving with a particular bank or building society if they cannot understand the way they explain their terms and conditions, according to the study by National Savings and Investments (NS&I).

More than half (54%) said confusing language would make them consider switching their custom to another firm.

Call centre staff were responsible for 41% of consumer confusion, while almost half (49%) said terminology in application forms had left them baffled.

Jargon used on company websites had also confused 50% of those polled. One quarter (25%) said they had stopped saving with a particular bank or building society as a result of website jargon.

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