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RBS profits surge in first half of 2014

Profits at taxpayer-backed RBS have risen significantly in the first half of the year.

The bank said its preliminary results were "significantly stronger than the marked has been expecting", with an operating profit of £2.6bn compared to £708m in the first half of 2013.

RBS' profits for the first half of the year were much better than expected.
RBS' profits for the first half of the year were much better than expected. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire/Press Association Images

However chief executive Ross McEwan issued a note of caution, saying there would still be "bumps in the road ahead" as the bank deals with various "legacy issues", such as the mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance.

Along with the good news on profits, RBS also announced it had set aside an extra £250m to cover fines for mis-selling PPI and interest rate swap products.

Read: RBS boss admits 'shock' over depth of bank's problems

GDP expected at pre-recession levels

Official figures on the state of the UK economy released today are expected to show gross domestic product (GDP) has recovered to pre-recession levels.

  • GDP is forecast to have grown 0.8% in the second quarter of the year, maintaining the pace of the first quarter
  • Growth in the first three months of the year was just 0.6% of its previous peak in early 2008

Read: UK's growth forecast raised a year after IMF warning

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Dave Lewis 'will sustain and improve' Tesco

The appointment of Unilever executive Dave Lewis as Tesco chief executive will bring the company a "wealth of international consumer experience", Tesco's chairman has said.

Sir Richard Broadbent said the company's board felt Mr Lewis' leadership would "sustain and improve [Tesco's} leading position in the retail market".

Mr Lewis is replacing current chief executive Philip Clarke, a Tesco veteran who worked his way to the top job after beginning on the shop floor.

The 49-year old has spent 28 years at Unilever, the company behind a huge range of household brands including Flora, Dove, Wall's and PG Tips.

He was previously Unilever's UK and Ireland chairman, then president for the Americas before moving to his current role as Global President, Personal Care.

Read: Tesco sales and profits 'somewhat below expectations'

Tesco sales and profits 'somewhat below expectations'

Philip Clarke's departure as Tesco chief executive follows a disappointing set of sales figures for the first half of this year, the company said in a statement.

The supermarket giant said "challenging" trading conditions and a weaker than expected market meant "sales and trading profit in the first half of the year are somewhat below expectations".

Tesco said the first half of this year has seen sales and profits 'below expectations'.
Tesco said the first half of this year has seen sales and profits 'below expectations'. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The company's chairman Sir Richard Broadbent paid tribute to Mr Clarke's achievements but said it was time for "a new leader with fresh perspectives and a new profile".

Mr Clarke said it was "the right moment" to hand over the reins and that he was "delighted" that Unilever executive Dave Lewis had been chosen as his replacement.

Read: Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke to step down

Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke to step down

Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke is to step down in October, it was announced today.

Tesco's Chief Executive Philip Clarke.
Tesco's Chief Executive Philip Clarke. Credit: PA

Tesco announced that Dave Lewis is to join the Tesco board from October 1st as chief executive officer in succession to Philip Clarke.

Mr Lewis will receive a basic salary of £1.25 million along with standard benefits.

He will receive a sum of £525,000 in lieu of his current cash bonus from Unilever, where he worked in a variety of roles for almost 28 years.

Minister vows to 'slay health and safety culture'

Employees who hurt themselves by "doing something dumb" at work could lose the right to claim damages if their bosses have taken sensible precautions.

Chris Grayling says injury compensation claims have become 'a real headache' for firms.
Chris Grayling says injury compensation claims have become 'a real headache' for firms. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, says employers who "do the right thing" should not have to face being sued because their employees have had an accident that is "entirely their own fault".

He is bringing through legislation in Parliament that he says is "out to try and slay the health and safety culture".

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Grayling says employees claiming compensation for workplace injuries has become "a real headache" for small businesses and can put them off taking on more staff.

"If we overdo the regulation and make people liable for things where common sense says they have got no responsibility then you just have fewer people in jobs and that can’t be right,” Mr Grayling argues.

Read: Prisoners who climbed on jail's roof offered sun cream

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