Live updates

SSE to slash gas prices by 4.1%

SSE to cut household gas prices at end of April Credit: PA Wire

SSE is to reduce household gas prices by 4.1% on April 30 before extending its energy price freeze until at least July 2016.

It is the latest energy firm to announce a cut in gas prices.

British Gas announced a five per cent cut in prices, npower is to cut its standard tariff by an average of 5.1%, E.ON reduced tariffs by 3.5 per cent, and Scottish Power announced a 4.8 per cent drop in prices starting February 20.

Advertisement

Pair jailed over reheated Xmas lunch that killed diner

A pub manager and her chef are beginning a jail term tonight after a Christmas dinner they served killed one woman and left 30 others ill from food poisoning.

Della Callagher died after the meal at the Railway Hotel in Hornchurch in 2012.

Ann-Marie McSweeney and Mehmet Kaya were both found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot reports.

Technology 'will improve lives of world's poorest by 2030'

Bill Gates Credit: PA Wire

Technology will drive breakthroughs in global health, education and agriculture, improving the lives of people in the world's poorest countries faster over the next 15 years than at any other time in history, Bill Gates has predicted.

In the latest Gates Foundation annual letter, Gates and his wife Melinda write that people will have more opportunities to get an education, eat nutritious food and benefit from mobile banking.

These breakthroughs will be driven by innovation in technology - ranging from new vaccines and hardier crops to much cheaper smartphones and tablets - and by innovations that help deliver those things to more people, they said.

The Gates Foundation predicts the following breakthroughs by 2030:

  • Child deaths will be halved and more diseases will be eradicated.
  • The number of women who die in childbirth will be reduced by two thirds.
  • Diseases such as polio, guinea worm, elephantiasis and blinding trachoma will be eradicated.
  • People with malaria will be prevented from spending it to the mosqutios that bite them due to a vaccine.
  • Agricultural productivity will increase by 50% across Africa.
  • Digital banking will grow. By 2030, 2 billion people who don’t have a bank account today will be storing money and making payments with their phones.
  • Online education will flourish due to software developments, the growth of high-speed networks and smartphones becoming more affordable.

Davey: Customers should cash in on gas price war

Energy Secretary Ed Davey has urged homeowners to cash in on the gas price war and switch suppliers to get the best possible price.

As npower becomes the latest Bix Six energy firm to slash bills, with a cut of 5.1 per cent, the Lib Dem MP also urged SSE and EDF to follow suit and cut tariffs.

It comes amid plummeting wholesale costs, with Ofgem revealing prices have fallen by 19 per cent year-on-year.

Energy chiefs say more gas bill cuts 'under review'

More gas bill cuts could be on the cards if wholesale prices continue to fall, bosses at energy firm npower have promised.

Chief executive Paul Massara vowed that bills would be kept under review - and said the firm had cut tariffs as much as possible amid plummeting wholesale prices, while reflecting increasing costs elsewhere.

Bosses claim they have had to balance falling wholesale prices with increasing costs elsewhere Credit: PA

The announcement of a 5.1 per cent price cut by npower - the largest drop of the Big Six firms - comes as wholesale energy prices fall by around 19 per cent.

Today's announcement means we can get the benefits we are seeing in the wholesale market to our customers pockets as soon as possible.

We have balanced this wholesale price fall against increases in the other costs we are charged. If there are further falls in wholesale prices, we will keep these under review to see if we can cut further.

– Paul Massara, npower chief executive

Advertisement

Textile, clothing and footwear see online sale boost

Some £718.7m was spent online each week in 2014, the ONS said.

Textile, clothing and footwear stores saw the biggest increase in online spending in the year.

Cheaper petrol helps drive store prices down

Average store prices fell by 2.2% in December 2014 compared with December 2013, figures from the Office for National Statistics show. The biggest contribution to the year-on-year fall came from lower prices at petrol stations, it said.

Read more: Retail sales increased by 4.3% year-on-year in December

Retail sales increased by 4.3% year-on-year in December

Retail sales increased by 4.3% in December 2014 in comparison to a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said.

It said internet sales rose 8% in December, compared with the previous year, but fell 2.8% from November 2014.

Read more: Cheaper petrol helps drive store prices down

Energy firm npower to slash more than 5% off gas bills

Energy giant npower has become the latest firm to announce a cut in gas prices.

From February 16, the supplier will cut its standard gas tariff by an average of 5.1 per cent - the biggest price cut of its competitors - benefiting its 1.3 million customers by around £35 a year.

More than half of the so-called Big Six energy firms have now reduced tariffs this month Credit: PA

It comes after British Gas announced a five per cent cut in prices, E.ON reduced tariffs by 3.5 per cent, and Scottish Power announced a 4.8 per cent drop in prices starting February 20.

It means more than half of the so-called Big Six energy firms have now reduced tariffs this month, in line with a sharp fall in wholesale costs.

SSE and EDF have not yet announced any changes.

Load more updates