Former chancellors slam Help to Buy
Three former chancellors of the exchequer have urged George Osborne to rethink his Help to Buy programme, with the OECD also calling on the government to scale back the mortgage support scheme. Lord Lawson, Lord Lamont and Alistair Darling – all predecessors of Osborne at the Treasury – said the second phase of the scheme, which guarantees very high loan-to-value mortgages, has the potential to inflate a future housing bubble. Osborne faces a growing cross-party consensus that “Help to Buy 2” should be scaled back, with Vince Cable among those to have called on him to reconsider it because of a “raging housing boom”.
NBC pays $7.75bn for Olympics deal
NBC Universal, the US media group owned by Comcast, has agreed to pay $7.75bn (£4.57bn) for a 12-year extension to its deal to broadcast the Olympics, running to 2032. The network first broadcast the Olympics in 1964 and has held the US rights exclusively since 1988.
First results from Dubai state firm
Dubai’s state holding company has for the first time revealed financial results, as the Gulf emirate seeks to tempt investors back to its reviving economy. The Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) owns many of Dubai’s corporate jewels, such as the Emirates airline. The prospectus reveals that revenues at ICD rose 18 per cent to $24.8bn (£14.62bn) in the second half of 2013, driven by increased airline passengers.
Putin calls for delay to referendums President Putin unexpectedly hauled Ukraine back from the brink of civil war last night when he urged pro-Russian rebels in the east to delay referendums on dismembering the country in three days’ time. Putin gave qualified backing to Ukraine’s presidential election planned for 25 May, calling it “a step in the right direction”. A day earlier, Sergei Lavrov, his foreign minister, had said that the poll to pick a successor to the deposed Viktor Yanukovych should be delayed until the end of the year. His intervention came with caveats, including an insistence that Kiev should end its military operation against the separatists , and push through constitutional changes before the presidential elections.
The Daily Telegraph
Hayward to be Glencore Xstrata chair
Tony Hayward is to be named as chairman of Glencore Xstrata following a year-long search to replace Sir John Bond. It is thought Hayward, who has been interim chairman since last May, will step down from his role as chief executive of Genel Energy within a year or two as a result of the new appointment.
Expats in Portugal may lose homes
UK expats who own waterfront property in Portugal may lose their homes if they cannot find documents that prove the land has been privately owned for 150 years. Proof must be produced by July, but many owners claim the country’s land archives are not comprehensive enough.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Tesla research costs prompt losses
Tesla reported a loss of $49.8m (£29.36m) for the first quarter, as research and development costs surged ahead of the launch of a new line of sport-utility vehicles. Research and development costs rose to $81.5m from $54.9m a year ago. The firm said it expects R&D expenses for the second quarter to grow by 30% from the first quarter.
Fox scores with Super Bowl
21st Century Fox posted solid operating profit growth for the March quarter, driven by its cable networks and advertising revenue from the Fox broadcast network’s airing of the Super Bowl. Operating income rose by 14 per cent, and the media giant reported a profit of $1.05bn (£619m).