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Updated on June 27, 2022 1:18 am

Elon Musk told to quit as chief executive


Elon Musk launched a poll on his leadership of Twitter and promised to 'abide by' the result - Yui Mok/PA Wire

Elon Musk launched a poll on his leadership of Twitter and promised to ‘abide by’ the result – Yui Mok/PA Wire

Millions of Twitter users have voted for Elon Musk to quit as chief executive leaving his future at the social media company in doubt after he promised to “abide by” the result.

More than 57pc of 17.5m Twitter users who took part said the world’s second richest man should quit as head of the platform.

Shares in his electric car company Tesla were up 5pc in pre-market trading as the direction of the poll became clear.

Mr Musk insists he “will abide by the results” of the poll which asked: Should I step down as head of Twitter?

However, he said “there is no successor”, tweeting: “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive.”

His tenure as boss of the social network has been a whirlwind of turmoil since he completed his ($44bn) £38bn takeover in October.

He has sacked 4,000 staff – more than half of its workforce – and last night declared war on Twitter’s social media rivals by banning the promotion of their accounts from his platform.

Last week, Mr Musk reinstated the Twitter accounts of several journalists that were suspended for a day over a controversy on publishing public data about the billionaire’s plane.

06:06 PM

Wrapping up

That’s all for today. Thanks for joining and hope to see you again tomorrow. Before you go, why not catch up on some of our top stories from the day:

05:53 PM

Alcohol duty frozen again in latest U-Turn

Alcohol duty will be frozen until August, the Government has announced, in the latest U-turn over the tax in recent months.

Alcohol duty rates were due to change in February next year, after Jeremy Hunt rowed back on plans to freeze the rates in his mini-Budget bonfire.

The change in stance to scrap the freeze was expected to mean higher prices for pub-goers, with customers missing out on a 7p saving on a pint of beer, and 38p for a bottle of wine.

Treasury minister James Cartlidge said the latest move to now push back the rate increase “reflects this government’s commitment to responsible management of the UK economy and supporting hospitality through a challenging winter”.

“We have acted now to give maximum certainty to industry and confirmed there will be just one set of industry-wide changes next summer.”

05:43 PM

UK competition watchdog names first female CEO

The Competition & Markets Authority has named its first female chief executive, amid pressure from Whitehall for the regulator to focus more on consumer rip-offs.

The UK’s competition watchdog said Sarah Cardell would be taking over the post permanently, having held it on an interim basis since July. She has worked at the CMA for more than 9 years, including as general counsel.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps said that, in her role, Ms Cardell “will help to ensure the regulator continues making competition work for consumers and businesses”.

It comes as the watchdog faces calls to spend more time on consumer issues rather than big mergers. Earlier this year, the Telegraph reported that Whitehall insiders were keen for the CMA to stop copying the EU approach and intervening, rather than “thinking about what is good for economic growth”.

Ms Cardell has previously spoken to the Law Society, saying it is “clear that effective competition enforcement is pro-business and pro-growth.”

05:24 PM

‘Silent majority’ of car industry is concerned about electric vehicles

A “silent majority” of car companies is concerned that electric vehicles will not alone be able to end reliance on fossil fuels, according to a senior Toyota executive.

As my colleague Howard Mustoe writes:

Akio Toyoda, the company’s president and grandson of its founder Kiichiro Toyoda, said that many concerned senior figures are reluctant to say what they really think because of the pressure to go green.

It comes as the industry struggles to ditch petrol and diesel, in the face of materials shortages and complex processes that have kept the cost of building electric cars high.

In comments on a visit to Thailand first reported by the Wall Street Journal, Mr Toyoda said: “People involved in the auto industry are largely a silent majority.

“That silent majority is wondering whether EVs [electric vehicles] are really OK to have as a single option. But they think it’s the trend so they can’t speak out loudly.”

Read more on it here.

05:03 PM

Purplebricks chairman survives ousting proposal

Purplebricks - MAY JAMES/REUTERS

Purplebricks – MAY JAMES/REUTERS

Purplebricks’s chairman has survived an effort to oust him from his post, as the company struggles to recover from a 62pc share price slide since the start of the year.

Activist investor Lecram Holdings – the investment vehicle of Adam Smith – had put forward a proposal to remove Paul Pindar as chairman of Purplebricks. Lecram, which holds a 5pc stake in the property company, had been seeking to replace him with Rightmove founder Harry Hill.

Just over 70pc of shareholders voted against the proposal to remove Mr Pindar, while 58pc voted against appointing Mr Hill to the board.

Purplebricks chief executive Helena Marston said the company understood shareholder concerns. “Our past performance has not been good enough. But we have a new team, with an agreed plan that is being delivered at pace.”

A spokesman for Lecram said: “Nearly 30pc of shareholders that voted, and a majority of independent shareholders not represented on the board, have supported our motion to remove Paul Pindar as chairman. We note the company has recognised the level of feeling among investors and it should draw the appropriate conclusion.”

04:36 PM

High street hit by cold snap in Christmas run-up

Footfall in UK high streets slumped by more than 10pc last week compared to a week earlier, as the cold weather and rail strikes forced more people to stay at home over going Christmas shopping in city centres.

Springboard said last week should have been a “peak trading week”, but that there were fewer people across UK stores, despite it being one of the last weeks before Christmas.

“By far the hardest hit of the three key destination types were high streets, which lost both shoppers who couldn’t reach towns and cities by rail, but also employees who chose to work at home last week.”

Last week, the country was hit by two 48-hour rail strikes.

It means footfall is around 1.8pc below where it was last year in the UK high streets, despite concerns over Covid cases last Christmas. Ministers had at the time reintroduced rules around face masks in stores, as the country was hit by the Omicron strain of Covid.

04:02 PM

Handing over

That is all from me today. Hannah Boland will take you through the evening.

04:01 PM

EU agrees to cap gas prices to ease energy crisis

Energy ministers from European Union countries have approved a cap on gas prices.

European nations reached the deal to cap natural gas prices at €180, ending months of political wrangling over whether to intervene in an energy crisis that has risked pushing the region into a recession.

The so-called gas market correction mechanism, designed to prevent extreme price swings, will apply from Feb 15.

It is significantly lower than an earlier proposal by the European Commission, which would not have prevented the spikes that the region saw earlier this year as Russia curbed gas supplies in the wake of its war in Ukraine.

The new cap will only take effect if the price difference with global liquefied natural gas prices is greater than €35. Prices would have to stay above both ceilings for three days to trigger the mechanism.

03:57 PM

How pubs aim to ‘make the absolute most’ of coronation

The Government has launched a public consultation today on whether pubs should be allowed to open longer during the coronation next year.

The coronation will take place at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, May, 6.

The plans extend opening hours from 11pm to 1am on Friday, May 4, Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7, ending on Monday, May 8, in England and Wales.

Emma McClarkin, chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:

The coronation of his Majesty the King is sure to be a time for community celebration and the great British pub is at the heart of both.

The opportunity to extend opening hours would allow pubs to make the absolute most of this joyous occasion and be at the centre of parties up and down the country, with people given even more chances to raise a toast to his Majesty across the three days.

British Beer and Pub Association - mediaphotos

British Beer and Pub Association – mediaphotos

03:43 PM

Oil prices rise despite global growth worries

Oil has performed strongly despite debate over the outlook for global growth.

Traders have been weighing up the impact of interest-rate rises against a pledge from China to revive consumption as it abandons its zero-Covid policies.

Brent crude fluctuated and traded near $80 a barrel after losing more than 4pc in the final two sessions of last week.

Trading volumes were below the 30-day average for both the global benchmark and West Texas Intermediate (WTI).

Today, brent crude is up 1.9pc to $80.54, while US-produced WTI 1.8pc to $75.65.

Oil is still headed for a second monthly loss as concerns about recessions in the US and Europe mount.

03:27 PM

Simon Cowell invests in British streaming service ROXi

Simon Cowell has taken a stake in British streaming service ROXi as the company prepares to launch in the US next year.

My colleague James Warrington has the latest:

The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent presenter will curate playlists on ROXi, which offers a catalogue of 90m music videos and 400,000 karaoke tracks through its TV app.

He is the latest star to sign up to the streaming service alongside singers including Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue.

Guy Hands, the billionaire founder of private equity firm Terra Firma who oversaw the collapse of record label EMI, is also an investor.

Rob Lewis, chief executive of ROXi, said Mr Cowell was the “most successful person in history to marry music with TV”.

It comes as London-based ROXi prepares to roll out its streaming platform in the US in 2023, with talks underway with several companies about potential licensing deals.

Simon Cowell at the Variety Club Showbusiness Awards at the London Hilton last month - Ian West/PA Wire

Simon Cowell at the Variety Club Showbusiness Awards at the London Hilton last month – Ian West/PA Wire

03:08 PM

Facebook owner faces billions in fines over Marketplace dominance

Facebook is facing the prospect of billions of pounds in fines after being accused by the European Union of “abusing its dominance” to boost its sales of classified ads.

Senior technology reporter Matthew Field has the details:

The European Commission warned its parent company Meta that Facebook’s “Marketplace” shopping tool, where internet users can buy and sell goods, was distorting competition.

Brussels can impose fines worth up to 10pc of global turnover on Meta for wrongdoing, equivalent to billions of pounds.

Facebook launched Marketplace in 2016 as a place for users to list items for sale, competing with the likes of eBay and Craigslist. The section of the Facebook app has since grown to more than one billion users.

However, the European Commission said Facebook’s huge user base meant it had an unfair advantage over rivals in selling classified adverts.

It also said Meta’s terms and conditions imposed unfair rules on other advertisers, such as allowing the tech giant to use their data to improve its Marketplace service.

Sources close to Meta insisted that advertising data from its rivals is not used to help boost the performance of its Marketplace business. Insiders argue its business remains relatively small compared to rivals such as eBay and Amazon.

A cyclist rides past the Meta sign outside the headquarters of Facebook's parent company in Mountain View, California - REUTERS/Peter DaSilva

A cyclist rides past the Meta sign outside the headquarters of Facebook’s parent company in Mountain View, California – REUTERS/Peter DaSilva

02:51 PM

Sam Bankman-Fried expected to reverse decision to contest extradition

Former FTX chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried is expected to appear in court in the Bahamas today to reverse his decision to contest extradition to the United States, where he faces fraud charges.

The 30-year-old cryptocurrency mogul was indicted in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday and accused of engaging in a scheme to defraud FTX customers.

It is alleged he used billions of dollars in stolen deposits to pay for expenses and debts and to make investments for his crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research.

His decision to consent to extradition would pave the way for him to appear in US court to face wire fraud, money laundering and campaign finance charges, Reuters reported.

At his initial court hearing in Manhattan, Mr Bankman-Fried would be asked to enter a plea and a judge would make a determination on bail, said defense lawyer Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma.

Sam Bankman-Fried is expected to appear in court today - REUTERS/Dante Carrer

Sam Bankman-Fried is expected to appear in court today – REUTERS/Dante Carrer

02:37 PM

Wall Street opens lower

Wall Street has started the day lower as traders mull the Federal Reserve’s path next year.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.2pc to 3,846.01 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 0.5pc to 10,653.52.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat at 32,915.64.

02:26 PM

Musk poll ‘preserves Chief Twit’s ego’

The poll that has seen Twitter users ask Elon Musk to quit as chief executive of Twitter is a “convenient way” to give everyone what they want while allowing the world’s second-richest man to save face, experts suggest.

Stuart Skinner, group managing director at digital agency The PHA Group, said:

You would think followers of Musk on Twitter would be more favourable towards him than most but even they have voted in favour of him standing down.

Perhaps they have seen this pseudo democratic exercise for what it is: a convenient way of giving investors, shareholders and employees of Twitter what they want, and at the same time preserving the Chief Twit’s ego.

Whether he will follow through on the promise, time will tell. Twitter polls are hardly binding but given he’s still its owner, the platform’s problems will not disappear overnight anyway.

A bigger strategy reset under new leadership is needed and, in the meantime, perhaps the most telling aspect of this farce is the apparent manipulation of Twitter and its users to reach an essential business decision.

02:08 PM

BlackRock bets inflation will be worse than banks suggest

BlackRock thinks markets are too complacent about inflation and is maximizing assets that hedge against the risk it will stay higher for longer.

While its strategists acknowledge that a decline in US prices is playing out faster than expected, they are sticking to a view that inflation will remain above central bank targets.

The world’s biggest asset manager is recommending that investors are underweight on government bonds in favor of inflation-linked debt and investment-grade credit next year.

Scott Thiel, its chief fixed-income strategist, sees US inflation only easing to 3.5pc toward the end of 2023, although the market is pricing inflation much closer to the Federal Reserve’s 2pc target. Mr Thiel said:

We simply think that is too low.

Volatility in the CPI numbers is something that the market should expect. It’s going to be hard to call month-on-month. But it’s probably easier to come down from 7pc to 5pc than from 5pc to 3pc.

01:56 PM

Manufacturing bosses fear next three months

British factory output fell at the fastest pace in more than two years as manufacturing bosses warned the next three months will be even tougher.

Our economics editor Szu Ping Chan has the details.

The drop in the three months to December was led by the food and drink industry as well as paper and printing factories and the mechanical engineering sector, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

This resulted in the biggest fall in output since the three months to September 2020, when the government started introducing tighter Covid measures ahead of the UK’s second lockdown in October.

Factory bosses said they expected output to be even lower in the next three months as price pressures continue to erode margins, even as companies plan to pass higher costs on to customers.

Anna Leach, the CBI’s deputy chief economist, said higher prices were here to stay, at least in the short term.

The Government is expected to announce a fresh package of support for businesses to help with energy costs in the coming weeks. The CBI has warned that business energy bills will more than double next year without extra financial support.

01:35 PM

Unions hits out at Musk’s ‘attention seeking’

Twitter’s strategy and “knee jerk decision making” will not change even if Elon Musk steps down, according to union chiefs.

Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect, a leading tech union representing many Twitter staff in the UK, said:

This latest erratic behaviour by Elon Musk, once again underlines the deep issues over the way this company is being run.

Whether or not Musk carries through on this vote, and is the chief executive going forward, he will still own the business. This means it seems highly doubtful that we will see a sea change in strategy.

The way that Twitter under Musk has treated its staff has been appalling, riding roughshod over the principles that underpin UK employment law.

What is needed is a fundamental change in approach, rather than more attention seeking, knee jerk decision making.

Twitter chief executive Elon Musk - AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Twitter chief executive Elon Musk – AP Photo/Susan Walsh

01:25 PM

Twitter users should ‘expect the unexpected’ after poll

Twitter users have been told to “expect the unexpected” after they voted in favour of Elon Musk stepping down as the site’s chief executive in an online poll – a result the billionaire said he would respect.

Industry expert Paolo Pescatore of PP Foresight said the company’s future was now even more unpredictable following the vote – which was run by Mr Musk himself.

It comes after an already turbulent period under his leadership which has seen a number of controversies and several major policy U-turns.

Mr Pescatore told the PA news agency: “One thing I’d say is expect the unexpected. Ultimately he still owns the company and is the one calling the shots.”

Jukka Vaananen, chief executive of PR platform, Newspage, said:

Even if he steps down as CEO, Musk will still be pulling the strings at Twitter, that much is for sure.

Whether you believe Musk is genuinely aspiring to create a digital town square or turning Twitter into a 1970s banana republic, truth is it’s Musk’s gig and he’s going nowhere.

01:15 PM

Savers enjoy highest rates since 2009

The average easy-access cash-savings rate has hit its highest point since January 2009, according to analysis.

Savers can now typically get returns of 1.43pc with this type of account, financial information website Moneyfacts.co.uk said.

A year ago, in December 2021, the average easy-access savings rate was just 0.19pc.

Someone putting away £1,000 for a year at 0.19pc would get £1.90 in savings interest, but at 1.43pc they would receive £14.30.

Finding decent savings returns can help to offset the eroding impacts of high inflation, although at 10.7pc, inflation is significantly higher than typical easy-access savings rates.

01:04 PM

French train guards to go ahead with Christmas and New Year strike

Train guards at France’s state-owned railway operator SNCF have decided to go ahead with a strike planned for the Christmas and New Year weekends, the SUD Rail union said.

SNCF management has offered to give train guards a €600 (£522) bonus to recognise the special nature of their work, on top of a general 5.9pc salary increase across the company.

Unions had until today to decide whether to accept the bonus offer.

A previous SNCF strike in early December over wages and working conditions as high inflation eats into salaries saw 6pc of trains across France being cancelled.

Passengers during a nationwide strike by SNCF ticket inspectors at Gare de Lyon train station in Paris - YOAN VALAT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Passengers during a nationwide strike by SNCF ticket inspectors at Gare de Lyon train station in Paris – YOAN VALAT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

12:47 PM

Bank of England backs plan to scrap bonuses

Brussels’ cap on banker bonuses has backfired and fuelled higher salaries in the industry, the Bank of England said as it backed plans to end the policy.

The Bank has launched a consultation on undoing the rules introduced before Brexit, saying the proposals will “strengthen the effectiveness of the remuneration regime”.

The restrictions were introduced to curb risky behaviour following the 2008 financial crisis.

However, two policy analysts at the Bank of England said that in fact, the rules had simply meant that fixed salaries increased to offset the curbs — particularly the delay in bonus payments.

The European Union introduced a bonus cap of up to two times salary in 2014 on “material risk takers”.

The deadline for responses to the consultation is March 31.

 Bank of England - Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Bank of England – Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

12:21 PM

US markets expected to open higher

Wall Street is expected to enjoy a stronger open, lifted by hopes that central banks will win their battle against inflation .

Futures on the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 ticked higher, led by energy and tech shares.

Among the biggest risers in US premarket trading was Tesla, which surged more than 5pc in anticipation of Elon Musk stepping back from Twitter.

The broad-based S&P 500 futures rose 0.3pc, while Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.4pc. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2pc.

12:11 PM

Snoop Dogg polls Twitter users on takeover

Snoop Dogg has put himself forward to run Twitter, accruing more than a million votes in an online poll urging the American rapper to take over from Elon Musk.

So far 81pc of voters think he should take control of the social network:

12:01 PM

Win Bischoff stepping down from JPMorgan Chase

As the world waits to see whether Elon Musk will step down as Twitter boss, another of the world’s major boardroom figures has announced he is quitting.

Sir Win Bischoff will step down as the chairman of JPMorgan Chase’s main operating business in the UK after a seven year term.

Timothy Flynn will replace Bischoff as chairman of JP Morgan Securities Plc, which houses the investment bank.

Sir Win, 81, took on the role in 2015. He has also served in a variety of board roles, including chairman of its UK
remuneration committee.

He is one of the City of London’s most prominent financiers and has held a series of senior jobs including as chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, chairman and chief executive officer of Schroders and interim chief executive and chairman of Citigroup in the wake of the lender’s bailout.

Sir Win Bischoff - Paul Grover

Sir Win Bischoff – Paul Grover

11:39 AM

Tesla share rise after Musk Twitter poll result

Tesla shares have fallen 33pc since Elon Musk closed his $44bn deal for Twitter – and are down 58pc since its chief executive first revealed in April that he had taken a stake in the social network.

The electric car maker’s share are expected to open high when US markets open at 2.30pm and are up 5.3pc in pre-market trading.

Mr Musk has previously taken cues from Twitter users on his decisions, from whether she should trim his stake in the car company to whether he should reinstate Donald Trump’s account.

11:30 AM

Twitter has been ‘black eye moment’ for Musk

Analysts at  privately-held investment firm Wedbush think it is time for Elon Musk to say goodbye to Twitter.

Analysts Daniel Ives and John Katsingris said:

From the botched verification subscription plan to banning journalists to political firestorms caused on a daily basis, it has been the perfect storm as advertisers have run for the hills and left Twitter squarely in the red ink, potentially on track to lose roughly $4bn per year we estimate.

More red ink means funding gaps causing Musk to sell more Tesla stock which has been used as his own personal ATM machine since this saga began in April.

As such, this has been a black eye moment for Musk and been a major overhang on Tesla’s stock which continues to suffer in a brutal way since the Twitter soap opera began with brand deterioration related to Musk a real issue.

Musk is Tesla and Tesla is Musk.

Attention focused on Twitter instead of golden child Tesla has been another big issue for investors and likely is behind this poll results with many Musk loyalists wanting him to leave as CEO of Twitter.

11:19 AM

Binance chief urges Musk to ‘stay the course’

Changpeng Zhao, the chief executive of crypto exchange Binance, has urged Elon Musk not to step down as Twitter chief executive.

11:06 AM

Migrants ‘worked 99-hour weeks at factory supplying Tesco’

Tesco is facing a landmark lawsuit over allegations that migrant workers were forced to work 99-hour weeks on illegally low pay, making jeans for the supermarket giant’s F&F fashion brand.

A group of 130 former employees at VK Garment Factory in Thailand are suing Tesco and auditing specialists Intertek for “alleged negligence and unjust enrichment”.

The allegations, which were first reported following an investigation by The Guardian, were made by workers who produced jeans, denim jackets and other F&F clothing for adults and children for the Thai branch of Tesco’s business between 2017 and 2020.

Tesco completed the sale of its Thailand and Malaysia business in December 2020 for around £8bn.

In the UK legal case, led by law firm Leigh Day, it is claimed that the migrants were paid at most around £4 a day, working seven days a week, and were “trapped in a cycle of forced labour”.

Tesco was not involved in the day-to-day running of the factory but the supply chain workers are nevertheless bringing the case directly against the business.

Tesco - Nicholas.T.Ansell/PA Wire

Tesco – Nicholas.T.Ansell/PA Wire

10:50 AM

Nearly half think it is a bad time to buy a house

Just one in seven people thinks now is a good time to buy a house – one of the lowest confidence ratings recorded by building societies in nearly 15 years.

While 14pc of people think now is a good time to buy a property, 47pc do not think now is a good time to purchase a home, the Building Societies Association (BSA) found.

Weighing these two figures up against each other, this gave a net confidence rating of minus 33pc of people believing now is a good time to buy a home – which the BSA said is one of the lowest levels of confidence it has seen since its records started nearly 15 years ago.

High house prices, rising mortgage rates and rapidly increasing essential living costs are among the factors dragging on market confidence, the BSA said.

Just one in seven people thinks now is a good time to buy a house - Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Just one in seven people thinks now is a good time to buy a house – Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

10:30 AM

Heathrow asks airlines to halt Christmas ticket sales

Heathrow airport is asking airlines to halt ticket sales on inbound flights over Christmas in a bid to minimise disruption during walkouts by Border Force staff.

The plan was devised with the cooperation of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, which are based at the hub and intend to comply.

Border Force earlier wrote to airports asking them to limit demand to no more than 80pc of 2019 levels for arrivals during the protests, Heathrow said.

It said the move to halt sales is not being unilaterally imposed, having been agreed with BA and Virgin, and remains a request for other operators.

Officials represented by the PCS union are set to strike over pay at Heathrow and other major UK hubs from Dec 23 to New Year’s Eve, hitting the first Christmas travel rush since the easing of Covid restrictions.

A BA aircraft lands at Heathrow - Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

A BA aircraft lands at Heathrow – Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

10:02 AM

Spring Budget date announced

Jeremy Hunt will set out a Spring Budget on March 15, 2023, the Treasury has just announced.

In a written statement he said: “Today I can inform the House that I have asked the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to prepare a forecast for March 15, 2023, to accompany a Spring Budget.

“This forecast, in addition to the forecast that took place in November 2022, will fulfil the obligation for the OBR to produce at least two forecasts in a financial year, as is required by legislation.”

Jeremy Hunt - Zara Farrar/HM Treasury

Jeremy Hunt – Zara Farrar/HM Treasury

10:02 AM

Musk poll heading for ‘yes’ vote

If Elon Musk is true to his word, he could be on his way out at Twitter.

After 16.3m votes, 57.5pc have said “yes” he should step down as head of the social network.

09:57 AM

Britain’s growth in inactivity rate among world’s highest

The UK has experienced one of the largest increases in its economic inactivity rate since the pandemic.

Britain is one of four of the 37 advanced economies in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) where the fall in the employment rate relative to prior to the pandemic is driven by a rise in the rate of economic inactivity rather than an increase in unemployment.

Among OECD countries, only Colombia, Chile and Switzerland have seen a higher proportion of people become economically inactive since the last quarter of 2019.

09:47 AM

More long-term sick and over-50s leaving work than before Covid

There are 565,000 more people in economic inactivity than prior to the coronavirus pandemic, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics.

The majority of these people are those aged over 50 years and those who have become long-term sick.

09:42 AM

Insolvencies rise 15pc in Britain

Corporate insolvencies in Britain were up 15pc last week compared to the same time a year earlier.

At least 789 companies filed for insolvency, while 40 administrators were appointed to companies in the UK, a year-on-year increase of 135pc.

Administrators are appointed when a company is unable to pay its debts and needs temporary relief from creditors.

Liquidators are appointed to sell off a company’s assets and shut down the business.

Tom Pringle, head of restructuring at Gowling WLG, said:

That insolvencies are increasing will be of no surprise to anyone who has been paying any attention to the economy recently.

The dramatic rise in winding up petitions and liquidations is alarming, with the prolonged rise in liquidations showing that for many companies, there was simply no business left to be saved when insolvency hit.

Directors of struggling companies need to be aware that there are many options now available to them to save or rescue their businesses, as long as they get the right advice as early as possible. Delay spells disaster.

09:20 AM

Tesla shares surge in pre-market trading

Tesla shares gained 4.8pc in pre-market trading after Elon Musk polled Twitter users on whether he should step down as head of the social network.

The electric-vehicle maker’s shares have plummeted by 57pc this year amid Mr Musk’s chaotic turnover of Twitter in October.

The world’s second-richest man sold another 22 million shares of Tesla shares last week, raising $3.6bn (£2.9bn).

The Tesla Model 3 - LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images

The Tesla Model 3 – LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images

09:12 AM

Elon Musk declares war on Twitter rivals

Elon Musk has declared war on Twitter’s social media rivals by banning the promotion of their accounts from his platform in a move that will be seen as a warning to Mark Zuckerberg.

Our banking & financial services correspondent Simon Foy has the details:

Twitter said it will block the promotion of Facebook and Instagram content in the latest radical move by the billionaire entrepreneur to shake-up the social media giant since his $44bn (£36.3bn) takeover in October.

The decision means that Twitter users can no longer post links to their profiles on other social media sites, including Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram, as well as Mastodon and Donald Trump’s Truth Social.

In what will be interpreted as a broadside against rivals, the move highlights how Mr Musk is willing to directly take on Mr Zuckerberg and Mr Trump’s platforms.

Read how Twitter bosses may be concerned about users migrating to rival sites.

08:56 AM

Pound rises against the dollar

The pound was up in early trading as investors bet that the Bank of England may ease the pace of its interest rate rises.

The Bank opted to increase rates by 0.5 percentage points to 3.5pc last week – its highest since 2008.

However, Governor Andrew Bailey suggested inflation in Britain may be at its peak, allowing policymakers to slow the pace of hikes.

This morning, sterling climbed by 0.5pc to just over $1.22.

08:34 AM

Markets lifted by energy and mining stocks

The FTSE 100 edged higher this morning, buoyed by energy firms and miners.

However, concerns about slowing economic growth kept investors on edge after the Bank of England, US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank stuck to their hawkish monetary policy stance last week.

The export-oriented FTSE 100 climbed as much as 0.5pc, although it is now up 0.3pc to 7,357.03. The domestically focussed FTSE 250 rose 0.2pc to 18,629.97.

Energy firms and miners added 2.5pc and 0.8pc, respectively, tracking upbeat oil and copper prices as loosening Covid restrictions in China aided hopes of a recovery in demand.

However, pharmaceutical firms dropped 0.4pc, bogged down by AstraZeneca’s 0.7pc fall after its lung cancer drug failed in a late-stage trial.

The biggest faller opn the FTSE 100 was Ocado, down 2.5pc. On the FTSE 250 the biggest decline came from Currys, down 5.1pc.

08:26 AM

British economy will shrink 1.3pc next year, says KPMG

The UK economy is on track to shrink by 1.3pc in 2023 amid a recession which is set to last until the end of next year, according to a new economic forecast.

Economists at KPMG have predicted that the UK has already entered a “shallow but protracted” recession amid continued inflation and higher interest rates.

Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, said increases in food and energy costs this year have dragged back households’ spending power.

KPMG predicted that the country entered recession in the third quarter of 2022.

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the economy shrank by 0.2pc in the third quarter, between July and September.

A technical recession is defined as at least two consecutive quarters of contraction.

08:20 AM

EU to hold crunch meeting on gas price cap

European gas prices have fluctuated ahead of a key European Union meeting to discuss a price cap on gas that is nearly a third lower than first proposed.

Benchmark futures slipped as much as 3pc this morning but then rose as much as 1.3pc.

EU countries are trying to break the deadlock over the historic proposal aimed at limiting the impact of the energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Czech government, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, suggested lowering the ceiling to €188 per megawatt hour, compared with €275 proposed to the European Commission last month.

Dutch futures, the international benchmark, were down 1.3pc to €114 a megawatt hour this morning.

08:05 AM

Markets open higher

Markets in London have begun the week positively after tough couple of days following the Bank of England’s increasing of interest rates.

The FTSE 100 opened up 0.3pc to 7,351.73 while the FTSE 250 has risen 0.1pc to 18,612.66.

07:54 AM

Oil and gas companies fined in emissions crackdown

Three major oil and gas firms have been fined a total of £265,000 for actions that have impacted the industry’s efforts to cut back on emissions, a regulatory body has said.

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), previously known as the Oil and Gas Authority, cracks down on behaviour that risks the industry reaching its net zero targets.

Inspectors revealed UK-based EnQuest was fined £150,000 for flaring an excess 262 tonnes of gas on the Magnus Field, in the North Sea, between November 30 and December 1 last year, despite knowing it did not have the necessary consent in place.

The NSTA’s flaring and venting guidance aims to eliminate unnecessary or wasteful flaring and venting of gas, with an aim for zero routine flaring and venting by 2030.

Norway-based Equinor was also fined £65,000 for flaring at least 348 tonnes of CO2 above the amount permitted on the Barnacle Field, located in the North Sea, between June and November 2020.

Meanwhile, Spirit Energy has been fined £50,000 for exceeding the maximum allowed production volumes from two fields over three years.

07:48 AM

Bus firms to cap fares at £2

More than 130 bus operators will participate in a scheme capping fares at £2, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.

National Express and Stagecoach are among the companies which will introduce the upper limit for single fares in England outside London from the start of January to the end of March.

The cap is being backed by £60m of Government funding.

Single local bus fares in England cost an average of £2.80 but can exceed £5 in rural areas, according to the DfT.

A bus in Maidstone, Kent - Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

A bus in Maidstone, Kent – Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

07:28 AM

Huge week of industrial action

Businesses and ministers have to contend with a huge week of industrial action in the lead-up to Christmas.

DWP officials walk out today, followed by nurses on Tuesday, ambulance workers on Wednesday, postal workers and border guards on Friday and railway staff on Saturday.

Postal workers on strike earlier this month - DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images

Postal workers on strike earlier this month – DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images

07:24 AM

Retailers fear lacklustre run-up to Christmas

Retailers are braced for a subdued last few days of build-up to Christmas as households bear the brunt of energy and economic shocks.

Analysts Springboard said the declines from month to month from September to November and then just a modest predicted rise this month would eradicate the gains made over much of this year.

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said footfall would rise in all three destination types from November to December, although would be “more subdued than in previous years”.

She said it would be down by 4.5pc in high streets, 5pc in retail parks, and 10pc in shopping centres.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said:

Despite facing huge cost pressures, retailers are doing all they can to keep prices affordable for all their customers.

But the cost-of-living crisis means many families might dial back their festive plans.

07:15 AM

Musk launches poll after watching World Cup final

Elon Musk watched the World Cup final at Lusail Stadium in Lusail City, Qatar - Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Elon Musk watched the World Cup final at Lusail Stadium in Lusail City, Qatar – Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Elon Musk launched his poll shortly after attending the World Cup final.

Argentina won the thrilling contest against France on penalties after the match ended 3-3 after extra time.

06:55 AM

Good morning

Elon Musk may well be stepping down as the boss of Twitter in the near future after he launched a poll asking users on the social network to decide his future.

The Tesla and SpaceX chief executive asked users: Should I step down as head of Twitter?

He promised to “abide by the results of this poll”.

5 things to start your day

1) Elon Musk declares war on Twitter rivals | Twitter said it will block the promotion of Facebook and Instagram content.

2) Last minute challenge to Abramovich’s telecoms deal | Truphone founder seeks to gatecrash sale of company agreed between oligarch and Turkish entrepreneur.

3) Former SpaceX executive quits British rocket start-up | Lee Rosen quits Skyrora less than six months after he joined.

4) Record central bank gold rush triggered by fears of Western sanctions | Central banks snapped up more gold in the first nine months of 2022 than all the annual totals since 1967.

5) Royal Mail shelves plans to deliver via drones as strikes cripple business | Wave of strikes hammer the company’s finances.

What happened overnight

Asian stock markets dropped again as investors wrestled with fears the Federal Reserve and European central banks might be willing to cause a recession to crush inflation.

The Shanghai Composite Index declined 1.3pc to 3,127.78, despite China announcing on Friday that it will try to reverse an economic slump by stimulating domestic consumption and the real estate market.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 1.1pc to 27,218.28 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.7pc to 19,316.58.

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