UK threw us under the bus, says French vaccine maker Valneva – live updates

, UK threw us under the bus, says French vaccine maker Valneva – live updates, The Evepost News

The UK threw Valneva “under the bus” when it scrapped a €1.4bn (£1.2bn) deal to supply Covid vaccines, the boss of the French company has said.

The Government cancelled the deal over an alleged breach of contract in a shock move in September, sparking a 42pc plunge in the company’s stock.

Chief executive Thomas Lingelbach said the move blindsided Valneva and came after it had spent months renegotiating its agreement with the vaccines taskforce.

He said: “They threw us under the bus at I would say the most difficult point in time… We continue to believe that there is some level of accountability that the UK government has to take.”

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Government hangs up on phone mast overhaul 

, UK threw us under the bus, says French vaccine maker Valneva – live updates, The Evepost News

Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Community groups across the country are set to miss out on millions of pounds in rent payments from telecoms giants for phone masts on their land after the Government rejected calls for a rule change.

PA has more details:

Visitor centres, churches and schools had been urging ministers to overturn controversial rules that led to a recalculation of rental values, leaving them around £1bn out of pocket since 2017.

The Digital Economy Act saw rents reduced by 90pc for organisations and landowners that host masts and telecoms infrastructure.

A consultation was opened by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to look at changing the rules but the Government has now rejected them, instead offering a new complaints process.

Campaigners reacted with fury at the decision and warned that charities and organisations could suffer.


UK accused of handing out £14bn in oil and gas subsidies

Britain has been accused of handing out almost £14bn in subsidies to the oil and gas industry since signing the Paris climate deal five years ago.

Companies received £9.9bn in tax relief for new exploration and production, as well as £3.7bn in payments for decommissioning sites between 2016 and 2020, according to campaign group Paid to Pollute, which cited OECD analysts.

The Government denied subsidising the fossil fuel industry, saying it follows guidelines issued by the International Energy Agency on phasing out subsidies.

Campaigners will appear in the High Court next month to argue that the UK’s oil and gas production strategy conflicts with its commitment to reaching net zero by 2050. They’re citing the development of a new oil field off the coast of Scotland, which is part-owned by Shell.

A number of countries committed to gradually eliminating fossil fuel subsidies at the COP26 climate summit this month. However, the UK refused to join an alliance of nations that set a date for phasing out production.


BBC Three gets green light for TV relaunch

, UK threw us under the bus, says French vaccine maker Valneva – live updates, The Evepost News

BBC Three has been home to a string of recent hits including Killing Eve

Aimee Spinks/BBC America

BBC Three will return to TV screens for the first time in six years after the plans were given the green light by regulator Ofcom.

The youth-focused channel was made online-only in 2016 as part of a major cost-cutting drive by the public service broadcaster.

But after a string of popular hits – including Normal People, Fleabag and Killing Eve – the BBC will bring the channel back on air in January.

Ofcom, which carried out a lengthy review of the proposals, said the move will help the BBC improve its reach among younger underserved viewers. The regulator will require 75pc of BBC Three’s shows to be original UK productions.


US urges Russia to open the taps as oil prices surge

The US is trying to persuade Russia to ramp up its oil output in an effort to tame the recent surge in prices.

The White House, which this week announced it would release 50m barrels of oils from its strategic reserves, is now lobbying the Kremlin to step up production, the Interfax news agency reported, citing Russia’s foreign ministry.

Tensions are rising between production cartel Opec – alongside allies such as Russia – and major consumers as they grapple for control over the turbulent global oil market.

The coordinate release of reserves by countries including the US, China and the UK comes after Opec resisted repeated calls to accelerate its production to help ease prices.

The production group is now said to be considering a pause to increases in its output in retaliation.

Read more on this story:  Joe Biden to release millions of barrels of oil along with UK to drive down fuel prices


Boris Johnson overhauls business advisers after CBI speech shocker

, UK threw us under the bus, says French vaccine maker Valneva – live updates, The Evepost News

Owen Humphreys / POOL / AFP

Downing Street is said to have started shaking up Boris Johnson’s business advisers amid a backlash over his bizarre speech at the CBI’s annual conference.

Sky News reports that officials in No. 10 have contacted members of the Build Back Better Council (BBBC) in recent weeks to inform them that their involvement would not be required in 2022.

The group, launched in January this year, had 30 members, including BP, British Airways, HSBC, BT and GlaxoSmithKline.

They were appointed for a term of 12 months, and the Government is now looking at bringing in a slate of new names.

It comes amid widespread criticism of the Prime Minister’s speech earlier this week in which he lost his thread several times and began trumpeting the children’s cartoon character Peppa Pig.


Airbus skirmishes with Italian rival in MoD helicopter deal row

Airbus has hit out at an Italian rival for “dangling carrots” over UK investment as the two companies battle to win a major helicopter contract from the Ministry of Defence.

My colleague Howard Mustoe has more:

Leonardo, which owns AgustaWestland, has promised to invest £1bn in Britain if its bid to replace the ageing fleet of Puma medium-lift helicopters in 2025 is successful.

However Colin James, the UK boss of Airbus Helicopters, said his company invested about £300m a year in the UK, where it makes wings and landing gear for civilian aircraft.

“I haven’t heard [Leonardo] say what that £1bn will be used for, and I haven’t heard them say in what time period we’re talking about,” said Mr James. 

“But what we can unequivocally say is that in any three-year period, Airbus is doing £1bn of investment in the UK and we’re not in the business of dangling carrots.”

Read Howard’s full story here


Farfetch taps Clipper Logistics amid supply chain crunch

, UK threw us under the bus, says French vaccine maker Valneva – live updates, The Evepost News

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Luxury online retailer Farfetch has launched a joint venture with Clipper Logistics as it looks for extra support amid supply chain bottlenecks.

The companies said the 50:50 tie-up would create a logistics system for inventory from Farfetch’s businesses, as well as stock from other luxury brands.

The joint venture is expected to launch early next year, initially offering online fulfillment services in Europe, Asia and North America before expanded into more areas.

It comes after Farfetch said it’s in advanced talks to enhance its partnership with Cartier owner Richemont, which would see the company taking a minority stake in Yoox Net-a-Porter.


Two more energy suppliers go bust

Two more energy suppliers have collapsed, regulator Ofgem has announced.

Mansfield-based Entice Energy and London supplier Orbit Energy are both ceasing to trade.

It comes after Bulb collapsed into special administration last night, leaving taxpayers to pick up the £1.7bn bill.


Pound steadies ahead of Andrew Bailey speech

Sterling has steadied near its 2021 low against the dollar as traders turn their attention to a speech by Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey later today.

The pound flattened at $1.3331 after hitting its lowest level since December 2020 on Wednesday.

Analysts are looking for any indications of whether the Bank of England will lift interest rates at its meeting on 16 December after it shocked markets by holding steady earlier this month.

That sent the pound crashing 1.2pc, which has fallen further against the dollar amid a strengthening for the US currency on expectations the Fed will lift rates.

Against the euro, sterling edged 0.1pc lower at 84.15p, remaining close to a 21-month high reached on Monday as fresh Covid fears take their toll on the single currency.


EU nationals flee Britain as Covid and Brexit hit

The number of EU nationals in the UK has dropped sharply over the last year, highlighting the exodus from Britain that has contributed to acute worker shortages.

The population of EU nationals fell by 182,000 to 3.4m in the year to the end of June. Since June 2019, it’s fallen by more than 300,000.

ONS data also showed net migration fell “considerably” in 2020, with 94,000 more EU nationals estimated to have left the UK than to have arrived.

The body said the reduction in immigration was “most likely to be because of a combination of the impact of both the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit”.

, UK threw us under the bus, says French vaccine maker Valneva – live updates, The Evepost News



Brits rush to crisps and turkeys amid Christmas shortage fears

With growing fears of empty shelves this Christmas, Britons are rushing to stock up in good time. The most popular items? Multipack crisps and frozen turkeys.

The latest weekly data from the ONS and Kantar revealed stocks were lowest for multipacks of crisps, with shelf availability in 24pc of locations recorded as “low” or “none”.

Frozen turkey was completely unavailable in 10pc of locations – the highest of any item – as shoppers raced to get their Christmas dinners sorted.

Paracetamol and Ibuprofen were also among the least available items, which may suggest Britons are gearing up for some festive hangovers.

, UK threw us under the bus, says French vaccine maker Valneva – live updates, The Evepost News



Barclays: Flutter and Entain now price in ‘significant risk’

Analysts at Barclays reckon Flutter and Entain shares now price in “significant risk” and seem cheap amid the looming threat of tighter regulation.

, UK threw us under the bus, says French vaccine maker Valneva – live updates, The Evepost News

The bank writes that recent coverage on problem gambling in the UK has added pressure on the Government ahead of the publication of the Gambling Review’s white paper, expected early next year.

Ladbrokes owner Entain and Flutter, which owns Paddy Power and Betfair, both dropped on Wednesday following a Telegraph report that more than 160 MPs and peers are calling for a £2 cap on online betting.

Barclays said Flutter shares were pricing in a 60pc cut to online earnings, while Entain shares were pricing in a downgrade of around 40pc.

Read more: Limit online bets to maximum of £2, say gambling reformers


Hochschild surges as Peru backs down on mine closures

Miner Hochschild has been given a much-needed boost this morning after Peru appeared to back down from threats to shut two of the company’s key mines.

The FTSE 250 firm lost a third of its value on Monday after it emerged the Peruvian government may force it to shutter two silver miners.

But Hochschild surged as much as 26pc this morning – clawing back much of its losses – after the threats appeared to ease.

Chief executive Ignacio Bustamante said:

We are pleased that our Inmaculada and Pallancata mines can continue to operate without further uncertainty and, furthermore, we reaffirm our goal to increasing our resources and extending our mine lives, in accordance with current legislation.


Sir, this is a(nother) Wendy’s

, UK threw us under the bus, says French vaccine maker Valneva – live updates, The Evepost News

Adam Gerrard

American fast food favourite Wendy’s could be given a new lease of life in the UK as bosses look to expand its presence in Blighty after a successful relaunch.

Wendy’s, which returned to the UK in June after a two-decade hiatus, is planning to open a further 50 sites across the country next year.

The burger chain said it was seeking franchise partners and also had its eye on Europe, with launches in France, Germany and Spain.

Abigail Pringle, Wendy’s chief development officer, said: “We have seen incredible success that outperformed our expectations, and it’s clear to us that customers are loving our fresh, high-quality food.”

Wendy’s opened five restaurants in Reading, Stratford, Oxford, Croydon and Romford earlier this year. New locations planned for 2022 include Brighton, the Midlands and discussions are ongoing with franchise partners in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.


Fuel retailer Vivo Energy snapped up in £1.7bn deal

Shares in Vivo Energy have jumped this morning after it secured a takeover deal from trading giant Vitol Group worth around $2.3bn (£1.7bn).

Rotterdam-based Vitol, which already owns 36pc of Vivo, will pay $1.85 per share for the company, which distributes and markets Shell and Engen branded fuels across Africa.

The deal brings Vivo back in house for the oil trader, which floated the British firm in a £2bn stock market debut in 2018.

It marks efforts by the world’s biggest independent oil trader to find new outlets for traditional fuels as Western companies accelerate their shift to green energy.

Shares in Vivo leapt as much as 20pc following the announcement.


FTSE risers and fallers

The FTSE 100 has edged higher this morning, spurred on by gains for mining stocks amid rising commodity prices.

The blue-chip index rose as much as 0.2pc before paring gains, with FergusonBHP and Anglo American among the biggest driving forces.

The progress was held back by heavyweight stocks Vodafone and Imperial Brands, however, which both fell nearly 4pc as they began trading ex-dividend.

The FTSE 250 gained 0.3pc, with All Bar One owner Mitchells & Butler rising as much as 7pc after narrowing losses. The biggest gainer was Vivo Energy, which jumped 20pc after it announced a $2.3bn (£1.7bn) takeover deal.


UK threw us under the bus, says French vaccine maker Valneva

, UK threw us under the bus, says French vaccine maker Valneva – live updates, The Evepost News

 REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

The Government threw Valneva “under the bus” when it scrapped a €1.4bn (£1.2bn) Covid vaccine agreement, the boss of the French company has said.

Britain cancelled the deal over an alleged breach of contract in a shock move in September, sparking a 42pc plunge in the company’s stock.

Chief executive Thomas Lingelbach said the move blindsided Valneva and came after it had spent months renegotiating its agreement with the Vaccines Taskforce.

He said: “They threw us under the bus at I would say the most difficult point in time… We continue to believe that there is some level of accountability that the UK government has to take.”

On Wednesday Boris Johnson said he was disappointed the Valneva jab hadn’t gained approval in Britain.


China hits back at US over latest sanctions

Tensions between the US and China continue to escalate this morning, with Beijing saying it will take all measures necessary to protect its companies and threatening retaliation over the latest wave of US sanctions.

The US government added 12 firms to its trade blacklist on Wednesday over national security and foreign policy concerns, in some cases citing their help in developing the Chinese military’s quantum-computing efforts. 

Commerce ministry spokesperson Shu Jueting described the measures as groundless and said China reserved the right to take countermeasures.


All Bar One owner jumps despite cost warning

, UK threw us under the bus, says French vaccine maker Valneva – live updates, The Evepost News

Jim Winslet

All Bar One owner Mitchells & Butlers has narrowed its losses for the year, but warned it was facing a hit from surging energy and wage costs.

The pub and restaurant group, which also owns brands including Toby Carvery, Miller & Carter and Browns, slimmed its pre-tax losses to £42m for the year to 25 September, down from £123m the previous year.

Sales dropped 9.6pc over the year due to lockdown closures, but the company said trading had picked up 2.7pc in the last eight weeks as punters flocked back. Shares jumped as much as 7.6pc in early trading.

However, Mitchells & Butlers issued a cautious outlook on the upcoming year, saying it was battling a rise in costs, especially in utilities and employment.

The group said that while it was mitigating the impact of these cost rises, there would “inevitably” be an impact on its full-year performance.

Chief executive Phil Urban said: 

The trading environment remains challenging and cost headwinds continue to put pressure on the sector. 

However, we have strengthened our balance sheet and returned to profitability and cash generation, allowing us to resume our capital plan and Ignite programme which will deliver sales and efficiency improvements to help combat these challenges. 


FTSE ticks up at the open

The FTSE 100 has nudged higher at the open as it targets its fourth day of gains.

The blue-chip index is up 0.1pc at 7,294 points.


How bad is the German fourth wave?

Germany was already battling huge inflation and supply chain troubles, which have taken their toll on its key manufacturing sector.

But a recent resurgence of Covid cases and tighter restrictions now threaten to derail its services sector too.

Official figures released today show Germany has become the latest country to surpass 100,000 deaths from Covid since the pandemic began.

The country’s disease control agency said it recorded 351 additional deaths over the past 24 hours, taking the total toll to 100,119.

It’s the fifth European country to pass this mark after Russia, the UK, Italy and France. However, its current case numbers are the worst across the continent.


Outlook for Christmas ‘somewhat bleak’

The latest barrage of downbeat economic data is casting something of a shadow over the upcoming arrival of Olaf Scholz, who yesterday secured an agreement to replace Angela Merkel as Chancellor at the helm of a new coalition government.

Germany has tightened some restrictions to combat rising cases, including shutting Christmas markets and barring unvaccinated people from bars, gyms and leisure centres in some regions.

But fears are growing about a full-blown lockdown in line with neighbouring Austria.

The GfK survey found that Germans were significantly more pessimistic about the outlook for the economy than last month. Income expectations also dropped, while the willingness to splash out on big purchases hit a nine-month low.

GfK consumer expert Rolf Buerkl said:

Consumer sentiment is currently being squeezed from two sides. On the one hand, the number of cases in the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic is exploding, which threatens to overwhelm the health system and could lead to further restrictions.

On the other hand, the purchasing power of consumers is dwindling due to a high inflation rate of 4pc. The outlook for the upcoming Christmas season is now somewhat bleak.

Read more: Germany faces winter of stagnation as Covid surge savages eurozone economy


German consumer confidence slumps

Good morning. 

There’s even more misery over in Germany this morning, where a slew of new data has compounded fears about the outlook for Europe’s largest economy.

The forward-looking GfK barometer showed consumer confidence tumbled to -1.6 for December, down 2.6 points from the previous month.

Meanwhile, estimates for economic growth in the third quarter were revised down from 1.8pc to 1.7pc.

The figures reflect the huge inflationary pressures weighing on Germany’s manufacturing-heavy economy. These are now being compounded by renewed Covid worries, with a recent surge in cases sparking fears of another lockdown.

5 things to start your day 

1)  Germany faces winter of stagnation  Business confidence sinks to a seven-month low as as a fourth Covid wave and climbing energy prices batter companies

2)  New Zealand raises interest rates again  Country races to tackle rocketing prices after ‘zero Covid’ strategy fails to protect economy from pandemic

3)  JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon apologises twice for Chinese Communist Party joke  Bank chief said ‘they are probably listening anyway’

4)  Boss of French telecoms firm Orange quits after fraud trial  Stephane Richard was found guilty of complicity in misuse of public funds

5)  Google staff protests over compulsory jabs show cracks in Joe Biden’s vaccine policy  Hundreds of the tech giant’s staff sign petition against mandatory vaccines 

What happened overnight 

Equity markets in Asia mostly fell on Thursday as a batch of strong economic data spurred expectations that the Federal Reserve will withdraw its vast financial support and lift interest rates earlier than thought. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed on Wednesday with healthy gains ahead of the Thanksgiving break. But the Dow edged slightly lower, and Asia largely followed suit.

Coming up today

  • Corporate: Mitchells & Butlers, MJ Hudson (Full-year results); Aviva (Trading update)
  • Economics: GDP (Ger)