Monday newspaper round-up: Drax, gas prices, NatWest, Ovo

by | Sep 26, 2022

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The number of people visiting UK shops this Christmas could remain almost a fifth below pre-pandemic levels as shoppers struggle with the cost of living crisis, according to forecasts. Retail footfall in December is expected to be 18% lower than the same month in 2019, said Springboard, a retail data company. – Guardian
The UK government has been accused of funding environmental racism by giving £2m a day in subsidies to an energy company that has paid out millions over claims it breached pollution limits in the US south. An investigation by Unearthed, Greenpeace’s investigative unit, found Drax Biomass paid millions of dollars to US regulators over claims it exceeded limits on chemicals emissions at wood chip plants close to black and low-income communities. – Guardian

Britain’s energy bills freeze could prove much less costly than feared by early next year, as City forecasters predict that gas prices will plunge this winter following a successful scramble across Europe to fill reserves. A halving in gas prices in the coming months would push average household bills below the £2,500 limit set by the Government’s Energy Price Guarantee, slashing the cost of the intervention, according to estimates by Deutsche Bank. – Telegraph

NatWest has told its male bankers that they can take a full year off when they become a father, as it races to reinvent itself as more family friendly. The bank will next year introduce a policy that allows all new parents to take up to a year off regardless of their gender, of which half will be fully paid. Equal paid parental leave is increasingly common, but NatWest is unusual in offering fathers a full year off. – Telegraph

Ovo has been forced to give assurances that recent government interventions have shored up its finances after newly published accounts included a warning that its future could be in doubt. The owner of Britain’s third biggest household energy supplier, which has 4.5 million customers, said in accounts for 2021 published at the weekend that there was “a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt on the group’s and company’s ability to continue as a going concern”. – The Times

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