Bank of England to probe George Osborne’s new bank tax

Treasury committee asks Bank to scrutinise new tax fearign changes will favour ‘big four’ and harm competition in banking sector

George Osborne’s new tax on banks is facing fresh scrutiny from the Bank of England after MPs urged Threadneedle Street to consider the implications for competition in the sector.

Banks such as Metro and Secure Trust – which are trying to take on the “big four” on the high street – have been arguing that the tax puts newcomers at a disadvantage. In July, the chancellor announced that the Treasury will impose an extra 8% of corporation tax on banks making profits of more than £25m from next year, in a move that will also hit the balance sheets of smaller players.

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Hinkley Point fails on cost and reliability, but the show must go on

George Osborne, instead of travelling to Beijing, should have stayed at home and ordered an independent review of Hinkley’s economics

Infrastructure analysts know the phenomenon well. A project becomes so expensive and difficult during the planning stage that the sensible course would be to abandon it altogether. Yet the backers plough on regardless because they have invested so much time, money and energy. As financial assumptions are undermined, and delays occur, new reasons to proceed are invented. In this way, the project acquires a life of its own. Completion, at almost any cost, becomes the priority.

Related: Hinkley Point: Osborne seeks to ease doubts with £2bn guarantee

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Competition watchdog extends deadline for UK energy industry report

Further six months needed to sift through responses to preliminary proposals, says Competition and Markets AuthorityThe Competition and Markets Authority has extended its investigation into the energy industry by six months, in the second delay to a CM…

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Poundland gets final clearance for 99p Stores takeover

Regulator rules that robust competition in low-price retailing means £55m acquisition will not harm consumers

Poundland has received final clearance for the £55m takeover of its single-price rival 99p Stores after the competition regulator withdrew early objections that the deal could be bad for consumers.

The ruling by the Competition and Markets Authority gives Poundland the all-clear to complete the takeover more than six months after it was announced.

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Osborne’s bank profits tax could stifle competition, warns Andrew Tyrie

Treasury select committee chairman says it is crucial 8% surcharge does not impede attempts to increase competition in the sector

George Osborne has received a new warning about the potential impact of his new tax on banks amid concerns it will impede new entrants to the sector.

Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury select committee, raised the potential competition threat on the eve of a meeting between Treasury officials and representatives of the challenger banks, such as Metro and Secure Trust, about the tax which was announced in July’s budget.

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Competition watchdog postpones publication of banking inquiry

Preliminary outcome of study into dominance of Britain’s big four banks delayed by a month until October

The Competition and Markets Authority has backtracked on its pledge to publish the provisional findings of its investigation into the banking sector this month.

The competition watchdog has now set October as the month it will publish highly anticipated findings that could recommend breaking up of the dominant “big four” of Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Barclays, if the CMA concludes there is not enough competition in the sector.

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Poundland’s green light proves the value of talking to shoppers

Competition watchdog belatedly realised it was a good idea to understand the modern high street before ruling on takeover of 99p Stores

Who would have thought that speaking to shoppers or ­actually visiting a shop would be a useful place to start for a regulator investigating a major high street deal? Well, that is what the Competition and Markets Authority appear to have belatedly discovered.

The competition regulator has provisionally given the green light to Poundland’s £55m takeover of 99p Stores after an “in-depth phase two investigation”. This is a different conclusion to the CMA’s phase one inquiry, in which it said it could force Poundland to sell off 80 stores as well as 12 forthcoming ones for the deal to be agreed.

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In for a penny, in for a pound: 99p Stores set to be bought by Poundland

Competition and Markets Authority says proliferation of value retailers means customers won’t lose out if single-price operators merge

The competition watchdog has provisionally cleared Poundland’s £55m takeover of its rival single-price retailer, 99p Stores, arguing that there are enough value chains vying for customers to allow the deal.

The Competition and Markets Authority said its four-month review of the proposed deal had found that competition would not be damaged if Poundland were to buy 99p Stores to create an 800-store chain. Both retailers sell similar ranges of consumer goods, stationery, food and drink, and homeware.

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Pfizer and Flynn Pharma accused of breaching competition laws

Competition and Markets Authority says companies abused position by raising prices of epilepsy drug by up to 2,600%

The competition watchdog has accused Pfizer and Flynn Pharma of breaching UK and European law by ramping up the cost of an epilepsy drug given to more than 50,000 British patients by as much as 2,600%.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said its provisional view was that the companies abused a dominant position by charging “excessive and unfair” prices for phenytoin sodium capsules.

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