Supermarket giant Aldi has revealed the areas where it wants to open new stores as it invests £1.4bn over the next two years.
The company, Britain’s fourth largest supermarket chain, said it had attracted around one million extra customers in the past 12 months.
It opened its 1,000th store earlier this month and has a long-term target of 1,500 stores in the UK.
Priority locations where Aldi is searching for sites include parts of London, Penzance, Bath, Maidenhead, Worthing, Warrington, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Derby, Birmingham, Cambridge, York, Cardiff and Cathcart.
Richard Thornton, communications director at Aldi UK, said: “We want to make our great value groceries accessible to all, and to do that we need more stores, particularly in towns and areas that don’t have an Aldi already.
“The areas we’ve identified in our latest list are places where there is demand for stores and we are committed to continue investing.”
06:19 PM BST
See you tomorrow
That’s all from us. Before I go, let’s take a look at the markets.
Wall Street stocks have slipped as investors wait to get a clearer idea on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy outlook, expected after inflation data comes out later this week.
The blue-chip index ended the day down 0.4pc, despite oil stocks rising on news that the Rosebank oil and gas field project has got the go-ahead. It was dragged lower by real estate stocks after Jefferies said the capital city’s office market was in “rental recession”.
Join us again tomorrow morning for the latest market updates.
06:08 PM BST
Shell staff 'deeply concerned' by shift from green energy
Shell employees have said they are “deeply concerned” by the oil giant’s shift away from green energy in a blistering open letter to the chief executive.
As James Warrington reports:
Wael Sawan, chief executive of Shell, has set out plans to scale back the company’s investment in renewables in a bid to boost profits.
The strategy could involve the FTSE 100 company selling a stake in or even spinning off its green energy business entirely. It recently scrapped the role of global head of renewables.
The open letter, which was posted on Shell’s internal website and seen by Reuters, read: “For a long time, it has been Shell’s ambition to be a leader in the energy transition. It is the reason we work here.
“The recent announcements at and after the capital markets day deeply concern us ... We can only hope the optics of the CMD [Capital Markets Day] announcements are deceiving us and that Shell continues its path as a leader in the energy transition.”
05:42 PM BST
French oil giant to increase fossil fuel production
TotalEnergies, the French oil and gas giant, is planning to increase its fossil fuel production over the next five years, after saying it was in a “very favourable position to take advantage of changing energy prices”.
TotalEnergies said it will be increasing output by between 2pc and 3pc every year for the next five years, after years of falling production.
The company said its focus would be on liquefield natural gas, adding: “TotalEnergies reaffirms the relevance of its balanced multi-energy strategy considering the developments in the oil, gas and electricity markets.”
It comes amid growing concerns over oil and gas companies backing away from emission reduction pledges, with BP having watered down its 2030 target to cut production.
TotalEnergies said its oil and gas portfolio would be focused on projects with “low greenhouse gas emissions”.
05:08 PM BST
Potts exit 'key moment in the history of British grocery retailing"
Analysts have been reacting to the news that David Potts is stepping down from Morrisons in November, after more than eight years at the helm.
Clive Black, from Shore Capital, says:
“The announcement of his stepping down from the firm in November 2023 is a key moment in the history of British grocery retailing.
“Mr Potts is Champions League material when it comes to the British grocery scene, sitting alongside the greats of Lord John Sainsbury, Sir Kenneth Morrison, Archie Norman, Sir Terry Leahy, and Charles Wilson.
“His forthcoming step down as CEO of Morrisons represents the passing of a generation of great grocers to the next generation.”
04:41 PM BST
Only one in ten Britons see more oil and gas production as the best way to cut bills
Only one in ten people in the UK think more oil and gas production is the best way to cut their energy bills, according to a new survey released after the Government green-lit a new oil field project.
Around 8pc of UK adults said extra fossil fuel production would help improve energy security across the country, the YouGov survey found, while 10pc said it was the best option to cut energy bills. More than half of people surveyed said they believed increasing renewables was the best way to reduce their bills.
The findings were released after regulators gave the go-ahead for a project to drill in the largest undeveloped oil and gas field in the North Sea.
Claire Coutinho, Energy Security Secretary, on Wednesday said the project would “make us more secure against tyrants”.
She added that the Government would “continue to back the UK’s oil and gas industry to underpin our energy security”.
Dominic Kavakeb, co-director of campaigns at Global Witness, said:
“The public are clear, even if the Government is not: new oilfields like Rosebank won’t make the UK safer, and they won’t lower energy bills.
“By a large margin, the UK public want to see more renewables, not more oil and gas. The Government claims that Rosebank will strengthen our energy security, but the vast majority will be exported on to global markets.
“Approving Rosebank is an act of economic vandalism that only serves the fossil fuel industry and is woefully out of touch with public opinion.”
04:21 PM BST
Chapel Down boosted by UK's 'excellent growing' conditions for wine
British sparkling wine maker Chapel Down is expecting to produce more bottles this year than ever before, after hailing “excellent growing conditions”.
Chapel Down said it remained on course to double the size of its business between 2021 and 2026, after net sales revenue jumped more than 20pc in the first half of 2023.
Chief executive Andrew Carter said growing appetite for English sparkling wine both in the UK and overseas was “fuelling strong and profitable growth across all our distribution channels”.
It comes after early signs that this year’s harvest season would produce a “materially larger” number of bottles of sparkling wine compared to last year.
Chapel Down said it was also expecting to beat its previous record, set in 2018, after good weather during the key flowering period and after crops were not damaged by the frost.
03:52 PM BST
Paddy Power owner bets on Serbia's MaxBet
Paddy Power-owner Flutter has snapped up a €141m (£123m) stake in Serbian sports betting company MaxBet as it expands its footprint in the Balkans.
Flutter said it had bought an initial 51pc stake in MaxBet, which is the second largest betting and gaming operator in Serbia. It also has the option to buy the remaining 49pc stake in MaxBet in 2029, under the terms of the deal.
The tie-up is part of a drive by Flutter to bolster its presence in fast-growing, regulated markets, with the betting market in Serbia estimated to be worth around €700m.
Chief executive Peter Jackson said Flutter was aiming to replicate the success it had experienced in Georgia, India and Italy “by acquiring a strong brand in a podium position”.
It comes as Flutter, the FTSE 100 company whose brands also include Sky Bet, prepares to launch a secondary listing in New York, expected to take place later this year.
03:31 PM BST
At this point, I’ll bid you farewell for the day and pass you over to my esteemed colleague Hannah Boland, who will make sure you stay up to date into the evening.
I’ll leave you with this picture the Flygildi Silent Flyer UAV - that’s an unmanned aerial vehicle to you and I.
It is a prototype UAV which flies by wing flapping and is camouflaged as a bird. It has gone on display at the DroneX Expo at ExCel in London.
03:17 PM BST
Why the pound is in freefall – and what it means for Sunak
The pound has tumbled to a six-month low against the US dollar as traders predict the end of interest rate rises from the Bank of England and as America’s economy proves remarkably resilient.
Our deputy economics editor Tim Wallace has the latest:
Sterling has dropped to $1.215, a level not seen since March and a sharp drop from its peak above $1.31 in July.
The currency has fallen more than 3pc against the dollar so far this month and is now on track for its worst month since the aftermath of the mini-Budget last year.
However, it remains well above the extraordinary depths of $1.068 plumbed a year ago in the wake of Liz Truss’s fiscal statement. Then, a bond market crunch took hold and shook confidence in Britain.
This time around, it is not so serious. However, the weaker currency threatens to add to inflationary pressures and could make it harder for Rishi Sunak to meet his goal of halving inflation by the end of the year.
03:03 PM BST
Mortgage costs inch back toward 6pc
The average five-year fixed-rate homeowner mortgage is edging closer to falling back below the 6pc mark, according to figures from the financial information website Moneyfacts.
Across all deposit sizes on the market, the average five-year fixed-rate homeowner mortgage is 6.03pc, edging down from 6.04pc on Tuesday.
The last time the average five-year fixed deal was below 6pc was on July 3, when it stood at 5.97pc.
The average two-year fixed residential mortgage rate is 6.53pc, down from an average rate of 6.54pc on Tuesday.
Some major mortgage lenders have been cutting rates this week, with the Bank of England base rate being left unchanged at 5.25pc last Thursday.
Mortgage borrowers with chunkier deposits can choose from five-year fixes at rates below 5pc.
On Wednesday, HSBC UK reduced a selection of mortgage rates by up to 0.16 percentage points.
02:50 PM BST
Amigo expects to cease to exist within months
Guarantor lender Amigo said that it expects to go into liquidation within “the next few months,” as the failed business continues to wind down its operations.
The company said that it was progressing with the plans to ensure that it can pay back as much of the money it can.
Bosses said they are still open to finding a buyer for the business, but if no-one comes forward “very soon,” shareholders will be left with nothing. Amigo said:
The situation facing the company remains challenging for all stakeholders.
The company continues to progress the orderly wind down of the business, ensuring we are able to maximise payments to redress creditors... whilst continuing to provide the best level of service possible to our customers and support for our staff.
Since the group started to wind down the company has been open to any expression of interest from third parties in all or any assets of the business. The company continues to be open to viable expressions of interest in all parts of the business.
However, in this context, should there not emerge, very soon, a viable alternative solution, the company will need to hold a separate general meeting, in which shareholder approval will be sought to delist the company from the London Stock Exchange and to enter the company into a members voluntary liquidation.
In such a situation there will be no value remaining for shareholders.
02:35 PM BST
Wall Street opens higher
The main US stock indexes opened higher as easing Treasury yields boosted megacap stocks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 63.93 points, or 0.2pc, at the open to 33,682.81 as investors await developments on a US funding bill that could avert a government shutdown within days.
The S&P 500 opened higher by 9.10 points, or 0.2pc, at 4,282.63, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 51.75 points, or 0.4pc, to 13,115.36 at the opening bell.
02:17 PM BST
US shutdown or strikes may help weaken economy, says Fed chief
A US government shutdown or prolonged strike by car workers could slow the economy and ease inflation without the need for more interest rate rises, a policymaker has said.
The fourth partial shutdown of the US government in a decade is four days away, with House Republicans preemptively rejecting a bipartisan bill advancing in the Senate that would fund agencies through mid-November.
Meanwhile, workers at the Big Three car manufacturers are staging strikes in a row over pay, with President Joe Biden joining them on the picket line on Tuesday,
Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari told CNN:
If these downside scenarios hit the US economy, we might then have to do less with our monetary policy to bring inflation back down to 2pc because the government shutdown or the auto strike may slow the economy for us.
I’m not hoping for that, but there’s an interaction there.
02:02 PM BST
Barbenheimer puts Everyman cinemas back on track
Cinema business Everyman has said losses widened over the first half of the year after a weaker slate of films but it is on track for the year after Barbie and Oppenheimer drew big audiences.
Alex Scrimgeour, chief executive of the group, said it saw “exceptional performance throughout July and August” as a result of Barbie and Oppenheimer.
The company also hailed strong performances from Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny and Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One.
Everyman told shareholders that it enjoyed a strong recovery after revenues declined to £38.3m over the first six months of the year, compared with £40.7m a year earlier.
It posted a pre-tax loss of £4.3m for the half-year as a result, widening from a £798,000 loss over the same period in 2022.
Everyman said the first half of 2022 had been more heavily weighted by strong audiences for film titles such as The Batman, Belfast and Top Gun: Maverick.
It also revealed that it saw revenues from the start of the year to the end of August of £60.2m, up from £53.1m last year.
Shares in Everyman Media edged lower after the update.
01:47 PM BST
Former Wilko stores to reopen as Poundland shops
Pepco will reopen 10 former Wilko stores at the end of the month as Poundland shops.
The company bought 71 of the collapsed discounter’s stores earlier this month.
It will reopen the following sites as Poundland stores on September 30:
- Broad Street, Chell Road, Stafford, Staffordshire, West Midlands
- Pendle Rise Shopping Centre, Nelson, Lancashire
- The Peel Centre, Great Portwood Street, Stockport, Greater Manchester
- The Mall, Church Street, Eccles, Manchester
- London Street, Southport, Merseyside
- Lord Street, Leigh, Greater Manchester
- East Street, Barking, London
- High Street, Maidenhead, Berkshire
- Bede Precinct, Viking Centre, Jarrow, South Tyneside
- The Broadway, Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire
01:34 PM BST
Scaled-back HS2 will jeopardise local investment, warns Tory Mayor
Rishi Sunak’s plan to scrap the northern leg of HS2 will undermine hundreds of millions of pounds of investment in the West Midlands, the region’s Conservative mayor has warned.
Our special correspondent Matt Oliver has the latest:
Andy Street urged Rishi Sunak to reconsider his opposition to the high-speed rail link, amid reports the Prime Minister is poised to scrap the Birmingham to Manchester section.
The Tory mayor, who was previously boss of the John Lewis Partnership, told the Telegraph: “A lot of people have made big investment decisions – literally hundreds of millions, if not billions, of pounds – on the promise of this [HS2] coming.
“I think it’s a very poor signal to say to businesses, ‘We’ve changed our mind and what you assumed in your investment decision is no longer right’.”
The intervention came days after the new American owners of Birmingham City Football Club warned that scaling back HS2 would damage Britain’s credibility with foreign investors.
01:06 PM BST
Oil prices near 10-month highs
Oil prices are nearing fresh 10-month highs as ministers insist the approval of new drilling in the North Sea will “underpin” Britain’s energy security.
Brent crude has broken back above $95 a barrel to put it within a whisker of a fresh highest point since November last year in the wake of supply cuts from Saudi Arabia and Russia.
It comes as regulators have given the green light to drill in the largest undeveloped oil and gas field in the North Sea sparking a backlash from climate campaigners.
Norwegian state energy company Equinor has received the go-ahead to progress with the Rosebank field roughly 80 miles west of the Shetland Islands.
12:47 PM BST
Labour mayors warn of North-South 'canyon' if HS2 scrapped
Rishi Sunak has been warned that he is “risking the cohesion” of the country, as Labour mayors met in the north of England to discuss concerns about the fate of HS2.
Labour mayors Sadiq Khan, Andy Burnham, Tracy Brabin, Oliver Coppard and Steve Rotheram gathered in Leeds on Wednesday to issue a joint plea to the Prime Minister not to cut HS2 further.
Ministers continue to face questions about the fate of the high-profile and expensive project, amid a political backlash over reports the Government is weighing axing the Birmingham-Manchester leg of HS2 over soaring costs.
The local politicians said that they were open to a “conversation” on the timetable for the project, but complained that the north of England was currently “in the dark” about the next steps.
Mr Burnham, the Greater Manchester mayor, warned that an adverse decision risked turning the North-South divide into a “canyon”.
“We will have a conversation about timetables and re-phasing, but do not pull the plug on this infrastructure. Do not pull the plug on this investment,” he told the PA news agency.
“If they build this line, not even from central London but outer London through the Home Counties to the West Midlands, basically it will become a permanent symbol of the places that Whitehall cares about. It would be a huge message to the north of England that we just don’t feature in their thinking.”
12:32 PM BST
Morrisons boss to step down after nine years
David Potts is stepping down as the boss of Morrisons after nine years in charge of the supermarket.
He will step aside in November nearly two years after the company was taken private by US private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) for £7bn in October 2021.
Former Carrefour France boss Rami Baitiéh will become the company’s new chief executive in November.
It comes as Morrisons reported improving like-for-like sales for the fifth straight quarter, rising by 2.9pc.
Total sales excluding fuel grew by 3.1pc to £3.8bn as it opened a further 122 Morrisons Daily convenience stores, with a further 89 opened so far in the fourth quarter, taking the current total to 607.
12:15 PM BST
UBS shares halted as US steps up investigation on sanctions breaches
UBS shares have plunged amid reports that the US is stepping up its probe into alleged compliance failures at the bank and its newly acquired rival Credit Suisse.
Shares in UBS were temporarily halted and have since dropped by 7.9pc after the report by Bloomberg that the Department of Justice is launching a full-scale investigation focusing on Credit Suisse.
The investigation is still at an early stage and may not result in charges or a settlement, it was reported.
It was alleged that Credit Suisse was exposed to sanctions violations since it was formally taken over by UBS in June.
UBS has been contacted for comment.
12:12 PM BST
Gold and silver investments surge at Royal Mint
More investors are pouring money into gold and silver as people opt for “safe haven” investments to boost their savings amid the cost-of-living crisis, the Royal Mint has said.
The company said investors could be turning to precious metals as an alternative to high-street savings rates and disappointing returns on stocks and shares investments.
It reported a 17pc increase in first-time precious metal investors during the first half of 2023 compared to last year.
The volume of investments in gold jumped by a 10th and investments in silver rose by 16pc year-on-year over the same period, it revealed.
The Royal Mint, which is the official maker of British coins in the UK, said that the uplift was distributed across all age groups, indicating that the commodities have mainstream investment appeal.
Andrew Dickey, the Royal Mint’s director of precious metals, said: “As high street savings rates and returns on the stock market remain low the pendulum has swung towards investments with the potential to offer better returns.”
11:48 AM BST
Telegraph readers: Rosebank drilling 'is a pragmatic solution'
Telegraph readers are pleased at the news that oil companies Equinor and Ithaca Energy have been given the green light to drill for oil and gas in the North Sea.
Here are some of the thoughts in our comments section below:
J Finnemore: “Good news, thank you HMG. We should be energy independent of foreign countries, especially where they have a record of turning off energy supplies when it is convenient for their wider political aims.
“Fossil fuels are still going to need to be used, as is the production of plastics. Climate change is not an excuse for luddism.”
M Bonorino: “This discovery and approval to drill for both oil and gas will assist the UK to transition to green energy when the Government finally makes-up its mind what will become our future sources of energy. We have to be one of the ‘greenest’ countries on the planet now so at least by using our own natural resources we can chart our own destiny.”
J D Haan: “In a perfect world you would import gas and oil from existing sources. In a perfect world there wouldn’t be a war in Ukraine. This is a pragmatic solution during the transition to cleaner energy.”
Join the conversation in the comments section below - just look for the speech bubble icon underneath the first post of the day.
11:34 AM BST
Wall Street ready to bounce back despite rate fears
US stocks are poised for a rebound after the sell-off triggered by concerns about interest rates remaining higher for longer.
A pullback in the 10-year Treasury yield has provided some relief to megacap growth stocks including Apple, Microsoft, Tesla and Alphabet, which are up between 0.4pc and 0.6pc in premarket trading.
Amazon.com edged 0.2pc higher after Tuesday’s sell-off following the US Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust lawsuit against the online retailer.
All the three major stock indexes closed more than 1pc lower on Tuesday as 10-year Treasury yields held its 16-year highs, with investors wrestling with prospects for a long period of high interest rates and an economic fallout.
Ahead of the opening bell on Wall Street, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.2pc, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 had gained 0.3pc .
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are set for their worst monthly showing so far this year, while all the three indexes including the Dow eyeing their first quarterly decline in 2023.
11:02 AM BST
London’s offices emptiest in 30 years, warn analysts
London’s office market is in a “rental recession” as volumes of empty space across the West End, City and Canary Wharf hit a 30-year high, Jefferies has said.
Commercial property giants Land Securities, British Land, Derwent London and Great Portland Estates were all downgraded by analysts the investment bank today.
Jefferies has estimated there has been a 20pc contraction in London office usage amid post-pandemic hybrid working and increasing occupier preference for greener buildings in the suburbs.
A note to investors said: “Retail was technology’s first casualty and we think offices are next. Utilisation has shrunk and landlords are losing pricing power as tenants offload surplus space.”
Real estate companies have slumped 1.3pc across the FTSE 350, with Great Portland Estates down 3.6pc, Derwent down 2.9pc, Land Securities falling 2.3pc and British Land hit by 2.1pc.
10:44 AM BST
Gas prices fall amid warmer weather
The go-ahead for drilling in the Rosebank oil field comes as European natural gas prices fell today amid warm weather.
Prices are easing off from last week’s gains as temperatures are expected to stay above average over the coming weeks, tempering demand.
Gas consumption has stayed below historical averages after last year’s energy crisis prompted households to reduce their usage.
Flows from Norway are also rebounding after maintenance works ended at its Troll field in the North Sea.
Dutch front-month futures, Europe’s benchmark, were down 1.7pc to less than €40 per megawatt hour.
10:31 AM BST
Climate campaigners vow to sue Government over Rosebank approval
Campaigners have vowed to take legal action against the Government over its decision to approve drilling in the largest untapped oil field in the North Sea.
The campaign group Uplift has written to the Secretary of State and the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), the government-owned body partly responsible for the decision, stating that it has “strong grounds” to believe that the approval of exploration in the Rosebank field is unlawful.
It said the decision is incompatible with Britain’s climate targets and said there had been a potential failure to assess the environmental impacts created by burning Rosebank’s oil.
The approval of drilling at the site roughly 80 miles west of the Shetland Islands comes a day after the International Energy Agency warned that the window for the world hitting net zero by 2050 was shrinking.
Tessa Khan, executive director of Uplift and a climate lawyer said:
By approving Rosebank, Rishi Sunak has confirmed he couldn’t care less about climate change. As we’ve heard repeatedly, our world can no longer sustain new oil and gas drilling.
There are strong grounds to believe that the way this government has come to this decision is unlawful. We shouldn’t have to fight this government for cheap, clean energy and a liveable climate, but we will.
10:12 AM BST
Yousaf accuses Government of 'climate denial'
Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has said the approval of new oil and gas fields risks the pace of the transition to green energy as he said he was “disappointed” that drilling at Rosebank had been approved.
He wrote on X:
🧵I'm disappointed #Rosebank has been given the go-ahead. We've raised concerns that the majority of what is extracted from Rosebank will go overseas, not remain in Scotland or the UK.
We're investing £500m so workers & industry transition from fossil fuels to a net zero future. https://t.co/YfcJCqs5QQ
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) September 27, 2023
We recognise the significant contribution the oil & gas sector makes to Scotland. However, our future is not in unlimited oil & gas extraction. It is in accelerating our just transition to renewables.
New oil & gas fields being approved risk the pace of that transition.
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) September 27, 2023
In the face of a climate catastrophe, the UK Government have dropped their green pledges & committed to approving 100 new oil & gas licences. That isn't climate leadership. It is climate denial.
Scotland will remain on the right side of history & demonstrate climate leadership.
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) September 27, 2023
10:04 AM BST
It's better to source gas from domestic supplies, says union
Union bosses have backed the approval of drilling in the Rosebank oil field in the North Sea, saying it will “unlock investment for carbon capture” as well as protect jobs.
GMB General Secretary Gary Smith said:
The UK must be honest about where we are going to get the gas we need up to 2050 and beyond.
Sourcing this securely from domestic supplies is so much better than doubling down on our dependence on imported gas, especially in an increasingly volatile world.
Taking responsibility for more of our own gas supply will support good union jobs, both directly and in the wider supply chain.
Crucially, it will also unlock investment for the carbon capture and clean power developments we need to confront the climate crisis.
If the UK is to achieve better energy independence and be in the global race for climate jobs, we need a plan, not bans.
09:57 AM BST
Government has 'abandoned climate commitments', says SNP minister
After the approval of drilling at the Rosebank oil field in the North Sea, Scotland’s Energy Secretary Neil Gray said:
The Scottish Government has long expressed our concern about Rosebank being given the go-ahead, as the majority of what is extracted will go overseas and not necessarily contribute to our domestic energy security.
We are therefore disappointed that approval has been given by the UK Government while these concerns remain unaddressed.
The oil and gas industry continues to make a significant contribution to our economy, and our society. We also recognise - as the industry itself does - that we must balance our future energy needs with our climate obligations and, critically, ensuring a fair and just transition to net zero for our workforce.
However, to be clear, Scotland’s future is not in unlimited oil and gas extraction, it is in maximising the potential of our renewables industry, which will help turn the North East into the net zero capital of Europe, if not the world.
Every oil and gas field that is given approval risks slowing down the just transition, away from fossil fuels and towards a sustainable future. The Scottish Government’s £500m Just Transition Fund will help ensure that we protect workers during this transition.
In the face of a climate catastrophe, the UK Government have abandoned their climate commitments and committed to giving approval for 100 new oil and gas licences - that is not climate leadership, it is climate denial.
09:42 AM BST
Rosebank approval 'shows Government's climate denial'
Friends of the Earth Scotland’s oil and gas campaigner Freya Aitchison said:
The disgraceful decision to give Rosebank the green light shows the extent of the UK Government’s climate denial.
Fossil fuels are driving both climate breakdown and the cost-of-living crisis, yet the UK Government is slamming its foot down on the accelerator.
The fight against Rosebank will continue. Fossil fuel projects rely not only on Government support, but also financing and broader public acceptance.
People power forced Shell to pull out of the controversial Cambo oil field and Rosebank is three times bigger.
There is widespread anger at this irresponsible decision and we will keep up the pressure on the UK and Scottish Governments to reject the Rosebank oil field, as well as taking the fight directly to Equinor and Rosebank’s corporate financiers.
09:28 AM BST
Ithaca shares jump as North Sea drilling approved
Ithaca Energy shares have jumped as much as 8.5pc after the development of the Rosebank oil field was approved.
The British oil explorer, which owns 20pc of the site in the North Sea, is the top performing company on the FTSE 250.
The wider sector has gained 0.7pc today.
Last month, Ithaca warned it is being forced to cancel projects and reduce production because of the “severe impact” of the Government’s windfall tax.
The company, which holds a 70pc interest in the Cambo oil field licence, said in August that production is expected to fall next year by at least 6pc as a result of the lower investment.
It will jointly invest $3.8bn (£3.1bn) with Norwegian company Equinor in the initial phase of the Rosebank field.
09:17 AM BST
Oil prices rise amid Saudi and Russian supply cuts
The approval of drilling in the Rosebank oil field comes as the price of Brent crude heads back toward $95 a barrel amid tightening supplies in the market.
The global benchmark has risen 0.7pc today while the US-produced West Texas Intermediate advanced 1pc above $91 a barrel after ending 0.8pc higher on Tuesday.
It comes as Saudi Arabia and Russia push on with their cuts to supplies in a bid to boost the price of oil.
Gao Jian, an analyst at Shandong-based Qisheng Futures, said “oil’s fundamentals are still strong”.
09:05 AM BST
Oil field green light avoids 'higher carbon imports,' says industry chief
David Whitehouse, the boss of Offshore Energy UK which represents the oil and gas industry, said:
This is good news for our jobs, our economy, and our secure energy future.
By promoting homegrown production, we avoid costlier, higher carbon imports while making more reliable supplies of energy in the UK, for the UK.
We need more projects like Rosebank if we are serious about delivering a homegrown UK energy future.
We have around 283 fields in the North Sea, but over 180 of those will stop producing within the next decade.
If these are not replaced, we will import 80pc of the oil and gas the UK we will need.
08:55 AM BST
Property stocks weigh down FTSE 100
London stocks have been subdued in early trading amid concerns over higher-for-longer interest rates, while real estate shares fell after Jefferies analysts said London’s embattled office market is in ‘rental recession’.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 are both little changed on the day after falling slightly at the open.
London’s embattled office market is in “rental recession” as volumes of empty space across the capital’s West End, City and Canary Wharf business districts hit a 30-year high, analysts at Jefferies said.
Land Securities, British Land, Derwent London and Great Portland Estates fell between 2pc and 3pc after Jefferies downgraded all the stocks.
The broader real estate index fell 1.4pc.
Wall Street’s main indexes fell on Tuesday, while Asian stocks traded mixed on Wednesday and benchmark US Treasury yields were near multi-year highs, as investors fretted over the impact of higher-for-longer interest rates.
Pendragon shares jumped 7.9pc after the automotive retailer revealed higher half-year profits and said it received an unsolicited proposal from AutoNation for about £447m in cash.
08:48 AM BST
Warm weather hits autumn sales at H&M
High street fashion retailer H&M has warned over tumbling sales in September as unusually hot weather across many European markets dented demand for autumn ranges.
The Swedish group said it expects sales this month to fall by 10pc year-on-year in local currencies.
While four percentage points of the sales decline is down to the group’s discontinued operations in Russia, it said the drop should be “seen in the light of unusually hot weather in several of the company’s European markets, which has had a substantial negative impact on sales during the month”.
H&M reported a leap in earnings over the three months to August 31, at 4.7bn Swedish krona (£345m), up from 902m Swedish krona (£65.6m) a year earlier, when results were hit by its exit from Russia.
08:43 AM BST
Sturgeon: North Sea approval 'risks slowing the green transition'
Scotland’s former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon posted on social media that she agrees with Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, who described the decision to give consent to Rosebank as the “greatest act of environmental vandalism in my lifetime”.
Ms Sturgeon wrote on X:
Agree with @CarolineLucas. Also, by consuming scarce resources that could be going to renewables, it risks slowing the green transition and the jobs that come from it. That’s not in interests of those who work in oil & gas - they need that transition to happen at pace #rosebank https://t.co/tRwfy14V2i
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) September 27, 2023
08:38 AM BST
Labour would not revoke Rosebank licence, says shadow minister
Labour has said that, while it opposed the Rosebank development, it would not revoke the licence if it won the next general election.
Shadow business and trade secretary Jonathan Reynolds told Sky News:
We don’t support Rosebank, we think the priority for the country should be transitioning away from fossil fuel partly because of the volatility of the price of fossil fuels.
And we’ve seen since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine just what that has meant not just for heating prices but for electricity.
So real energy security will only come from moving to nuclear, to renewables, to technologies that will insulate us from those pressures.
But we have said we understand this is a difficult position for investors. We will not revoke any licences that the Government chooses to grant but we don’t think this is good value for money.
08:34 AM BST
Labour mayors issue plea on HS2
Five Labour mayors will gather in Leeds to issue a joint plea to the Prime Minister not to cut HS2 further.
Andy Burnham, Sadiq Khan, Tracy Brabin, Oliver Coppard and Steve Rotheram will call for HS2 to be spared from further cuts in a joint declaration.
Cabinet minister Lucy Frazer said that Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt “listen to a wide variety of voices” on HS2.
The Culture Secretary told Sky News:
I’m sure the Prime Minister and the Chancellor listen to a wide variety of voices.
But as you will know, it’s the responsibility of the Government to keep all projects under consideration.
And that’s what the Chancellor is doing. He is, as he does on all matters which are spending billions of pounds of taxpayers’ funding, is looking at a whole range of projects to make sure that they are value for money.
Asked whether HS2 will run to Manchester, she said: “Well, that is a decision, as you know, for the Chancellor, not for me.”
08:28 AM BST
North Sea oil field 'morally obscene,' says Lucas
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said:
Giving the green light to this huge new oil field is morally obscene. This Government must be held accountable for its complicity in this climate crime.
Amidst a summer of raging wildfires and the hottest July on record, this Government approves the biggest undeveloped oil and gas field in the North Sea - set to produce more than the combined CO2 emissions of all 28 low-income countries in the world.
Energy security and cheaper bills aren’t delivered by allowing highly-subsidised, foreign-owned fossil fuel giants to extract more oil and gas from these islands and sell it overseas to the highest bidder.
08:25 AM BST
There is continued need for oil and gas, says Equinor
Ithaca Energy and Equinor said the Rosebank field is expected to start producing in 2026-2027.
Arne Gurtner, senior vice president upstream at Equinor in the UK, said:
We know that the world needs to transition to new, cleaner energy systems and our broad energy investments into the UK support this.
And while we do this there is going to be a continued need for oil and gas, which currently meets 76pc of the UK’s energy needs.
08:18 AM BST
Rosebank is a rip off, say campaigners
Tessa Khan, a climate lawyer and executive director of Uplift, which helped coordinate the Stop Rosebank campaign, said:
Rosebank will do nothing to lower fuel bills or boost UK energy security.
Most of this oil will be shipped abroad and then sold back to us at whatever price makes the oil and gas industry the most profit.
People in the UK overwhelmingly support moving to cheaper, cleaner renewable energy.
This government should be prioritising making sure no pensioner, or family with small children is living in a cold, damp home this winter, not handing billions in tax breaks to obscenely wealthy foreign companies.
Rosebank is a rip off. It’s another case of the Government allowing foreign companies to profit, while the costs are put on British people who worry about the world we are handing on to our children.
There are strong grounds to believe that the way this government has come to this decision is unlawful and we will see them in court if so. We shouldn’t have to fight this Government for cheap, clean energy and a liveable climate, but we will.
08:13 AM BST
Greenpeace: Sunak pandering to vested interests
After the North Sea Transition Authority approved the Rosebank oil field, Greenpeace UK climate campaigner Philip Evans said:
Rishi Sunak has proven once and for all that he puts the profits of oil companies above everyday people.
We know that relying on fossil fuels is terrible for our energy security, the cost of living, and the climate. Our sky-high bills and recent extreme weather have shown us that.
The ugly truth is that Sunak is pandering to vested interests, demonstrating the stranglehold the fossil fuel lobby has on Government decision making. And it’s bill payers and the climate that will suffer because of it. Why else would he make such a reckless decision?
08:03 AM BST
FTSE 100 falls at the open
UK markets have edged lower at the open as investors sour on both stocks and bonds amid worries about the impact of higher-for-longer interest rates.
The FTSE 100 slipped 0.1pc to 7,615.85 after the open while the midcap FTSE 250 has fallen 0.2pc to 18,297.25.
07:59 AM BST
We will need oil and gas on path to net zero, says minister
After the Rosebank field was approved by the the North Sea Transition Authority, the Government-owned body which makes decisions on oil and gas development, Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said:
We are investing on our world-leading renewable energy but, as the independent Climate Change Committee recognise, we will need oil and gas as part of that mix on the path to net zero and so it makes sense to use our own supplies from North Sea fields such as Rosebank.
The jobs and billions of pounds this is worth to our economy will enable us to have greater energy independence, making us more secure against tyrants like (Vladimir) Putin.
We will continue to back the UK’s oil and gas industry to underpin our energy security, grow our economy and help us deliver the transition to cheaper, cleaner energy.
07:53 AM BST
Saga held back by motor insurance business
Over-50s travel and insurance group Saga said that it expects to beat current market expectations, growing profit by double digits this year despite a drop in the first six months.
Saga said that “we expect to achieve significant double-digit growth in revenue and underlying profit before tax when compared with the prior year, ahead of current estimates”.
Underlying pre-tax profit fell by 4pc in the six months to the end of July to £13.4m, the company reported. Revenue, however, was up 15pc at £355.3m.
The business said that its motor insurance division had weighed on its results. Its travel business is on track to return to profit this year.
07:49 AM BST
North Sea drilling will have 'substantial economic impact'
Ithaca Energy said the development of the Rosebank oil field in the North Sea will support around 1,600 jobs during the height of the construction phase of the project, and will continue to support around 450 UK-based jobs during its lifetime.
Executive chairman Gilad Myerson said:
We are delighted to announce the decision to move forward with the Rosebank development alongside Equinor.
Rosebank stands as the largest undeveloped field in the UK, and with the receipt of development consent from the NSTA, we are now poised to embark on a journey that will not only provide critically important domestic energy but also ignite substantial economic impact.
The Rosebank project will create thousands of jobs and contribute significantly to securing the UK’s energy needs for many years to come.
Chief executive Alan Bruce added: Rosebank would be “one of the lowest emission intensity assets in the UK” and “represents a significant investment in the UK and Scotland”.
07:45 AM BST
Pendragon boosts profits amid takeover tussle
Car dealership Pendragon has posted higher half-year profits as the group becomes the centre of a three-way takeover tussle.
Its half-year figures, which come just hours after it revealed a rival bid approach from US car retail giant AutoNation, show pre-tax profits rising 10.6pc to £36.4m in the six months to June 30.
The owner of the Stratstone and Evans Halshaw dealership brands said like-for-like revenues lifted 15.5pc in a “strong” first half, which it said came “despite what remain challenging economic conditions, with pressure from higher interest rates and ongoing elevated levels of cost inflation”.
On Tuesday evening, Pendragon said AutoNation had put in an unsolicited takeover proposal worth around £447m or 32p a share in cash.
Pendragon had said last week said it would sell its UK motor and leasing businesses to US motor group Lithia Motors for £250m, valuing Pendragon at 27.4p a share.
But Pendragon shareholder Hedin, which owns a 26pc stake, then launched a joint unsolicited bid with Penske, which owns Britain’s bigger motor dealer, Sytner.
07:37 AM BST
Largest untapped British oil field approval sparks climate backlash
Regulators have given the green light to drill in the largest undeveloped oil and gas field in the North Sea sparking a backlash from climate campaigners.
Norwegian state energy company Equinor has received the go-ahead to progress with the Rosebank field roughly 80 miles west of the Shetland Islands.
The company expects to produce 300m barrels of oil from the field in its lifetime.
The North Sea Transition Authority said: “We have today approved the Rosebank Field Development Plan which allows the owners to proceed with their project.”
Together with its British partner Ithaca Energy, Equinor will invest $3.8bn (£3.1bn) in the first phase of the development, which is expected to lead to £8.1bn of total direct investment.
The announcement comes after Rishi Sunak last week delayed the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to 2035 as he watered down interim plans designed to help the UK hit net zero by 2050.
07:29 AM BST
Thanks for joining me. A long-awaited decision has been made on the Rosebank oil and gas field in the North Sea, with UK regulators giving the green light for drilling.
Norwegian state energy company Equinor has received the go-ahead to progress with development at the site, which is expected to produce 300m barrels of oil from the field in its lifetime.
5 things to start your day
1) Tories ‘don’t deserve to win the next election’, says Thatcher donor Lord Harris | Conservative peer criticises Sunak Government for its lack of clear vision
2) JPMorgan settles Epstein Virgin Islands case for $75m | Wall Street bank also strikes deal with Jes Staley, an ex-employee and the former Barclays chief
3) Meta pays £149m to ditch London office as staff work from home | It comes as the social media giant rolls out a new hybrid working policy for employees
4) Amazon uses ‘coercive tactics’ to protect its dominance, claims Biden tsar | It’s the latest in a flurry of competition cases launched by FTC against Big Tech
5) Financial Times considers scrapping print newspaper as weekday newsstand sales drop below 5,000 | City broadsheet is weighing the viability of its print edition in various locations
What happened overnight
Asian stocks slumped following Wall Street lower as investors contemplate a protracted period of higher interest rates. The dollar held onto gains from its recent rally.
Benchmarks across the region declined, with stocks in Australia and South Korea all falling.
Tokyo stocks reversed earlier losses and ended higher, as Asian shares headed north while investors looked for new clues.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.2pc, or 56.85 points, to 32,371.90, while the broader Topix index rose 0.3pc, or 7.59 points, to 2,379.53.
US stocks slumped to their lowest level since June on Tuesday after a consumer confidence index fell by more than expected, sparking fears of recession.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.1pc and the Nasdaq 100 dropped by 1.7pc.
The S&P 500 Index fell by 1.6pc, driven by a tech sell off. The S&P 500 Information Technology Index has dropped by more than a tenth since its summer peak.
This followed a drop in the Conference Board’s US consumer confidence index from 108.7 in August to 103 in September, well below the consensus forecast of 105.5.
The VIX – which tracks markets’ expectations for share price volatility – jumped by nearly 7pc to hit its highest level since late May.