UK border checks failings
Credit: Reuters/Ki Price LONDON | Mon Oct 7, 2013 12:06am BST LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s banks and other financial firms are at their most optimistic for almost 17 years, according to an industry survey. Some 59 percent of UK financial services firms said they felt more optimistic about their business situation, compared to 6 percent who were less optimistic, according to the latest quarterly CBI/PwC financial services survey, released on Monday. The positive balance of 53 is the highest since December 1996. The survey, covering the three months to early September, also showed a net 24 percent of financial firms increased staff in the period, the biggest rise for six years. A net 14 percent of firms expect to increase staffing again in the current quarter. The CBI/PwC survey is based on the balance of firms reporting an increase and those reporting a decrease. The survey findings indicate about 10,000 jobs were added in the third quarter and another 2,000 will be created this quarter, taking UK financial services jobs to 1.14 million, CBI/PwC estimated. Business volumes fell in the latest quarter, however, mainly in banking. The CBI said 22 percent of financial firms reported a rise in business volumes, but 32 percent said they were down. A big majority of firms expect volumes to increase this quarter, it said. “Banks’ optimism is increasingly buoyant despite seeing a slight seasonal blip in commercial and industrial volumes. Activity and profitability are expected to grow as the economy recovers, and investment in new products and infrastructure is increasing,” said Kevin Burrowes, PwC’s UK financial services leader. Profitability rose for the fourth consecutive quarter, as companies managed to offset the fall in business volumes by increasing their margins, the survey showed.
UK factories drive shock fall in August industrial output
According to Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague , progress would take place on a “step-by-step reciprocal basis”. He however made it clear that “We are open to more direct contact,” adding that the coming months “may be unusually significant” in British-Iranian relations. Speaking to MPs in the House of Commons , Hague said “It is clear that the new president and ministers in Iran are presenting themselves and their country in a much more positive way than in the recent past. There is no doubt that the tone of the meetings with them is different. We must test the Iranian government’s sincerity to the full, and it is important that our channels of communication are open for that”. Hague further informed that he has had detailed discussions with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on how to improve the functioning of the UK-Iran bilateral relationship. The diplomatic relations between London and Tehran suffered a severe setback when UK’s embassy compounds in Tehran were overrun in 2011 and the Vienna Convention flouted. The Iranian Majles later voted to downgrade relations with the UK. “It is understood on both sides that given this history, progress in our bilateral relationship needs to proceed on a step-by-step and reciprocal basis. The Foreign Minister and I agreed our officials would meet to discuss this. The first such meeting has already taken place, and will be followed by a further meeting in Geneva next week” Hague added “I have made very clear to Mr Zarif that we are open to more direct contact and further improvements in our bilateral relationship. We have therefore agreed that both our countries will now appoint a non-resident Charge d’affaires tasked with implementing the building of relations, including interim steps on the way towards eventual re-opening of both our Embassies, as well as dialogue on other issues of mutual concern.” The development comes weeks after President Barack Obama and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani made history with a phone call, thawing three decade freeze between US and Iran. It was the first time that leaders from the US and Iran had directly communicated since the 1979 Iranian revolution. Britain’s foreign office later said in a statement “The UK will not have a diplomatic presence in Tehran until we are confident our staff will be safe and able to carry out the full range of functions. Hague however added that Iran was still in breach of six UN resolutions over its nuclear programme which Tehran has outrightly denied is intended to develop nuclear weapons.
UK, Iran agree to steps to reopen embassies
“A year ago, the Border Force had trouble with excessive queues at airports. Today, 99% of travellers are cleared within the service standards we’ve agreed. “The security of the border is now at the heart of everything Border Force does. “We have the best coverage of any country in Europe but we are working to improve our coverage further. We will take the findings of the Independent Chief Inspector into account as we continue to develop our API policies and coverage.” about 19 hours ago Deleted alerts had ‘significant impact’ on borders John Vine’s inspection of e-Borders found that records relating to drug and tobacco smuggling were deleted over a 10-month period due to “poor data quality and the prioritisation of immigration over customs work”. The report said: “These deletions had a significant impact on the ability of staff at the border to seize prohibited and restricted goods and deal with those responsible.” It added: “This amounted to three quarters of all the customs work generated in NBTC and impacted on the ability of e-Borders to deliver anticipated benefits in relation to the seizure of prohibited and restricted goods.” about 19 hours ago John Vine ‘surprised’ by e-Borders inspection findings Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine says he surprised the use of e-Borders information to “export the border” is not happening. Despite being in development for over a decade, and costing over half a billion pounds, the e-borders programme has yet to deliver many of the anticipated benefits originally set out in 2007. I was surprised that the use of e-Borders information to “export the border” by preventing the arrival of a passenger because they had either been deported or excluded from the UK previously, was not happening. Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine about 20 hours ago 649,000 smuggling alerts deleted without being read More than 649,000 alerts relating to potential drug and tobacco smuggling into the UK were deleted from a Government system for border controls without being read, an inspection has found. Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine has inspecting the Home Office’s e-borders programme. Credit: Press Association The deletions had a “significant impact” on the ability of staff at the border to seize banned goods and arrest those responsible for smuggling them into the country, the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine said.
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SPB UK Comes to Portsmouth
British industrial output fell by 1.1 percent on the month in August, the biggest drop since September 2012, after rising by 0.1 percent in July. This was far weaker than the 0.4 percent rise forecast by economists, and contrasts sharply with upbeat news from private-sector surveys of the manufacturing sector. August’s Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index showed the fastest increase in activity for two years, and a quarterly poll by the British Chambers of Commerce showed factories’ sales rising at the fastest rate since the early 1990s. Firms in the basic pharmaceuticals, melectronics and food and beverages sectors led the decline. Output from Britain’s oil and gas industry, which also feeds into the broader industrial output measure, was weak too. Production dropped by 0.1 percent on the month and is 17.0 percent lower than a year earlier, the biggest drop since March. The ONS said that there was no specific reason for the decline in manufacturing, but noted that output in August tended to be weak and that seasonal adjustment to offset this was complicated by the London Olympics in August last year. The manufacturing sector had a stronger performance in the three months to August however, with output up 1.2 percent, the biggest rise since October 2010. Britain’s economy expanded by 0.7 percent in the three months to June, and many economists expect it to beat that rate in the third quarter. Industrial output makes up 15 percent of Britain’s economy. Separate ONS data released at the same time showed that Britain’s goods trade deficit narrowed slightly but was still wider than expected at 9.625 billion pounds. Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCWorld