Live updates

Ladbrokes announces profits slump 66%

Ladbrokes has announced its pre-tax profits fell 66% in 2013 to £67.6 million, as it continues to overhaul its digital businesses.

As well as the slump, the company warned it will close between 40 and 50 shops this year.

Ladbrokes also announced executive pay would be linked to a responsible gambling agenda. Credit: PA

The UK's second largest bookmaker blamed the hit on upgrades to its online gambling systems.

Developing gaming products used by smartphone or tablet users has taken longer than expected, the bookies said.


Odds on that opening of HS2 will be delayed

A spokesman for Ladbrokes has said the firm is "not prepared to offer long odds" on the HS2 line being subject to delays, alterations and cancellations.

The bookmaker is currently offering 4/5 that there will be delays when it comes to the opening of the service.

The government expects to complete the first phase of the high speed route from London to Birmingham by 2026, with the Manchester and Leeds extension being finished by 2033.