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Morrisons report rise in Christmas sales

Morrisons sales are up 0.2% over the festive period Credit: Press Association

Bradford-based supermarket Morrisons has revealed a surprise rise in sales over the festive season.

The grocer reported a 0.2% rise in like-for-like sales excluding fuel in the nine weeks to January 3 - a marked turnaround after recent hefty sales declines.

Morrisons chief executive David Potts said:

"We are pleased with our improved trading performance over the Christmas period.

While there is of course much more to do, we are making important progress in improving all aspects of the shopping trip."

– David Potts, Chief Executive

Siemens vision of its future in Hull

2016 will see the culmination of the years of planning that have gone into the multi-million pound Siemens development. Around 1,000 jobs will be created at what will be the biggest wind turbine factory in Europe.

The plant is due to open in September and after years of steady decline, it should bring much needed prosperity to the city of Hull. James Webster has been given an exclusive tour of the site to see how work is progressing and meet some of those hoping to work there.

After his tour, James met up with the Siemens Project Director, Finbarr Dowling, to find out more about the company's vision for their future in Hull.

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Construction work progressing well on Alexandra Dock site

Construction work on the Green Port Hull Alexandra Dock site is progressing well and is on schedule for an early 2017 completion, Associated British Ports (ABP) has announced.

Alexandra Dock in Hull Credit: Associated British Ports

The 54-acre site, which ABP and its main contractor GRAHAM Lagan Construction Group Joint Venture (JV) are preparing for Siemens’ offshore wind turbine manufacturing facility, is being transformed in Hull’s biggest engineering project since the port was built.

The enabling works undertaken by ABP and their contractors are worth £150 million.

The dock infill has now been completed, with one million cubic metres of sand pumped into the dock to fill one third of the water area.

Excess sand was stored during this process to be used for the 7.5 hectare reclaim, which will become the new quayside and component storage areas, and this is now being pumped into position around the existing timber sheds and jetties, which will be demolished in the coming weeks.

Marine piling for the new quay wall is almost complete and piling for the anchor wall and roll on-roll off ramp is continuing.

The JV has now taken control of the east side of the site to begin preparatory works for the 25,000 square metre service building. Five substations, which will supply 6MVA to the site, are also being built to supply the new facility with electricity.

“It’s fantastic to see the site beginning to take shape and it’s testament to the hard work of the ABP project team, the main contractor and all of those organisations and individuals involved in the enabling works that the project is on schedule and Siemens’ facility will be operational by the end of 2016.”

– Simon Bird, ABP Director Humber

Government failed to notice steel 'warning bells'

National steel protest in Sheffield

The Government was not alert enough to the warning bells sounded by the UK steel industry, says the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee in a report published today.

The BIS Committee found that while the Government identified the steel industry as of vital importance, it did not have effective warning systems in place to detect and address mounting problems in the industry.

The Committee also found that a lack of action at EU level, and a failure by UK Governments to push for EU action, helped leave the UK heavily exposed to Chinese dumping, a global oversupply of steel, and a 'perfect storm' of difficulties for the industry.

More than 1,500 steel jobs are under threat in Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire alone.

In recent months, a series of site closures and job losses at sites including in Redcar, Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire, have dealt a major blow to the UK Steel industry. The steel industry is now on the verge of terminal decline. For too long the Government failed to be alert to the alarms raised by the industry and act at home to maintain a steel industry in the UK when other European countries were acting to safeguard their own strategic steel industries.

The industry isn't looking for a hand-out, it's looking for a level-playing field: for too long there was little action from the Government, with some asks from the industry taking years, if at all, to deliver.

The Government have now woken up to the steel crisis and have begun to take action. But this recent activity still needs to translate to concrete results for the industry and the communities they sustain.

– Iain Wright MP, BIS Committee chair

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Steel industry to get £45 million in state aid

The European Commission has approved £45 million in state aid for the beleaguered steel industry to help pay for its energy costs.

The compensation was one of the main requests made by the industry to help it recover in the worldwide market. Hundreds of jobs are under threat at the Tata steel plant in Scunthorpe, although a number of bidders have shown an interest in buying the plant.

Yorkshire-based Morrisons cuts petrol price

Yorkshire-based supermarket Morrisons is one of two retailers to cut petrol prices to under one pound a litre.

Morrisons have cut fuel prices to under £1. Credit: Press Association

The Bradford-based chain joins Asda in slashing prices at the pump raising the stakes in the Christmas price war.

The Asda price drop, falling by 2p to 99.7p, will last three days from today, while Morrisons said it hopes to keep its everyday price of 99.9p for "as long as possible".

Asda said the price of diesel will also be cut to 103.7p per litre, while Morrisons will cut its by 1p.

Asda have cut unleaded fuel to 99.7p per litre. Credit: ITV News

Today, for the first time in more than six years, we are moving unleaded prices down to below £1 a litre. This is a moment where motorists will feel some relief after being clobbered by tax and price rises for the last decade.

– Bryan Burger, Morrisons petrol retail director
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