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UK weather: New thunderstorm warning issued for England and parts of Wales on Sunday as rainy end to Bank Holiday forecast | UK News

A weather warning for thunderstorms has been issued for England and parts of Wales on Sunday.

The Met Office yellow warning will be in force from 12pm to 8pm and covers hundreds of miles from Milton Keynes in the south, Norwich in the East, Liverpool in the North West and York in the North.

It also covers Birmingham, Manchester, Hull and Nottingham, as well as areas of northeastern Wales, and could bring between 20mm and 30mm of rain in just a few hours.

“Slow-moving heavy showers and thunderstorms,” will risk difficult driving conditions, homes and businesses being flooded, and lightning strikes, the Met Office said.

This could cause road closures and delays on public transport, the forecaster added.

The Met Office weather warning area on 26 May. Pic: Met Office
Image:
The Met Office weather warning area on 26 May. Pic: Met Office

Disruptive weather could add to weekend of busy travel

The transport network has already been hit by millions taking to the roads over the bank holiday weekend – and planned rail engineering works.

A Network Rail project has reduced services on the West Coast Main Line due to work around Crewe and Carlisle.

Trains are also being affected by track renewals between Carstairs and Lanark in Scotland, with significant changes to services on the Great Eastern Main Line because of work to build a new station at Beaulieu Park to the east of Chelmsford.

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The worst travel day of the weekend was Friday, however, when the start of the long weekend coincided with the half-term break for many schools.

Trains were forced to run at reduced speed between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton that day after thieves tried to steal signalling cables.

Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, London Northwestern Railway, Transport for Wales and West Midlands Railway passengers suffered delays until the damaged wires were repaired, Network Rail said.

Aviation analytics company Cirium said Friday was the busiest day of the year for UK airports since October 2019, with more than 3,150 departing flights.

Around 8,486 flights were scheduled to take to the skies between Saturday and Monday, with the most popular destinations for UK departures being Dublin, Amsterdam, Palma, Alicante and Malaga.

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Further showers likely on Bank Holiday Monday

Sky News weather producer Joanna Robinson said of the weekend’s conditions: “Rain will turn increasingly patchy on Sunday as it moves northwards, with heavy showers developing from the south. They’ll bring the risk of hail and thunder, with localised flooding possible.

“Bank Holiday Monday will bring further showers, some thundery, but western parts will turn drier later on.

“It’s worth keeping an eye on the forecast, as short-notice thunderstorm warnings may be issued on Sunday and Monday.

“Daytime temperatures will be around average, but it should feel warm in any sunshine.”

Met Office forecaster Craig Snell added: “Overall, it’s a pretty mixed picture, Saturday’s probably the best of the bunch, but there will still be some sunshine around on Sunday and Monday, but we’ll certainly be dodging downpours.

“Watch out for some thunderstorms especially across parts of northern and central England and northeast Wales too.”

Metro Bank raises £925m through debt and funding | Business News

Metro Bank has agreed a financing deal, strengthening its troubled balance sheet, following Sky News reports it was seeking the funding.

Nearly £1bn (£925m) has been raised by Metro Bank, which has 2.7 million customer accounts, making it one of the 10 largest banks in Britain.

In a statement the lender said it raised £325m in new funding and refinanced £600m of debt. The largest shareholder,
Spaldy Investments, an investment firm owned by a Colombian billionaire, is contributing £102m.

Sky News reported last week the high street bank was drawing up plans to raise hundreds of millions of pounds. Its share price fell steeply, nearly 30%, following the news.

Metro Bank also confirmed Sky News reporting that it was in discussion to sell up to £3bn of residential mortgages.

A “gradual shift” towards providing specialist mortgages, often providing alternative solutions for people who have been denied a traditional mortgage, and commercial lending will be facilitated via the funding and refinancing, Metro Bank said in a statement.

Takeover bids from rival bank Shawbrook have been rejected by Metro Bank

A so-called challenger bank, Metro Bank became the first new lender to open on Britain’s high streets in more than 100 years when it launched in 2010, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

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It offers current and business accounts, personal loans and insurance products and employs about 4,000 people, operating from about 75 branches across the country.

The latest news “marks a new chapter for Metro Bank, facilitating the delivery of continued profitable growth over the coming years”, said Daniel Frumkin, Metro Bank chief executive.

“Metro Bank made a statutory profit after tax in Q3 2023, and continues to demonstrate ongoing momentum as we strive towards our ambition to be the UK’s number one community bank.

“Our strong franchise is underpinned by our loyal customer base and engaged colleagues and we will continue to develop the Metro Bank offer to provide the digital and physical banking services our customers expect.”

The Bank of England said it “welcomes the steps taken by Metro Bank to strengthen its capital position”.

Metro Bank rejected secret Shawbrook takeover approaches | Business News

The board of Metro Bank rejected a secret takeover approach last month from a rival British lender, just days before its share price crashed when it emerged that it was seeking hundreds of millions of pounds to shore up its finances.

Sky News can exclusively reveal that Shawbrook has tabled several bid proposals to Metro Bank, including one that was lodged as recently as the second half of September.

News of the approaches comes hours before a group of Metro Bank bondholders are expected to meet with the company’s bosses for talks about a financing package totalling more than £500m.

The objective of the talks is to agree a deal before the London stock market opens on Monday morning, according to insiders.

Analysts believe that Metro Bank will need to explore a sale of the company in case alternative proposals, such as a bondholder-led refinancing or a standalone capital-raising, were to fail.

This weekend, City sources said that Shawbrook’s recent overtures had been rebuffed by the high street retail bank.

It was unclear whether any live discussions were ongoing between the two companies, while the valuation of Shawbrook’s offers could not be established.

The proposals were not disclosed to the stock market by Metro Bank’s board.

The emergence of a credible buyer may raise questions about its directors’ decision not to engage in constructive talks given the company’s need to strengthen its balance sheet.

Shawbrook is also among a small number of banks vying to buy the Co-operative Bank, which is up for sale.

A Metro Bank spokeswoman declined to comment on the approaches from Shawbrook, which also declined to comment.

The so-called challenger bank endured a torrid week, with its share price crashing nearly 30% on Thursday in the wake of a Sky News report that it is working with investment bankers on asset disposals, the sale of new shares and the refinancing of a £350m bond due next year.

On Friday, the stock rallied 20% to close at 45.25p, giving it a market capitalisation of less than £80m.

Metro Bank, which is being advised by Morgan Stanley, Moelis and Royal Bank of Canada, has been planning to raise at least £100m from a share sale, although the viability of that plan is doubtful given the scale of its share price collapse.

At one point in 2018, the lender – which promised to revolutionise retail banking when it opened its first branch in London in 2010 – had a market capitalisation of £3.5bn.

Further details of the proposals from bondholders, who are being advised by PJT Partners, were unclear on Saturday.

One source described the situation as “fluid” but confirmed that talks were scheduled to take place on Saturday, potentially lasting all weekend.

Shawbrook’s most recent approach to Metro Bank is said to have come more than a week after the latter disclosed to the stock market that Britain’s banking regulator had rejected its application to switch to a capital-light model that would have provided significant balance sheet headroom.

Its shares halved in the weeks following that announcement, prompting Mr Sharpe and Dan Frumkin, chief executive, to draw up a new capital-raising plan.

On Thursday, Sky News revealed that Metro Bank had approached high street rivals including Lloyds Banking Group and NatWest Group about selling a £3bn chunk of its mortgage book.

Metro Bank became the first new lender to open on Britain’s high streets in over 100 years when it launched in 2010, soon after the last financial crisis.

It has 2.7m customer accounts, making it one of the ten largest banks in Britain, and offers current accounts, business accounts, personal loans and insurance products.

The company employs about 4,000 people, operating from about 75 branches across the country.

Banking regulators and the Treasury are closely monitoring Metro Bank’s capital-raising plans for any sign of increased deposit withdrawals.

Rumours have circulated for years about its finances.

In 2019, customers formed sizeable queues at some of its branches after suggestions circulated on social media that it was in financial distress.

Days later, it unveiled a £350m share placing in a move designed to allay such concerns.

Metro Bank has had a chequered history with City regulators, despite its relatively brief existence.

Last December, it was fined £10m by the Financial Conduct Authority for publishing incorrect information to investors, while the PRA slapped it with a £5.4m penalty for similar infringements a year earlier.

The lender was founded in 2009 by Anthony Thompson, a financial services entrepreneur, and Vernon Hill, an American who eventually left in controversial circumstances in 2019.

Metro Bank has been forced to sell assets in the past, announcing a deal in December 2020 to sell a portfolio of owner-occupied residential mortgages to NatWest Group for up to £3.1bn.

Metro Bank plots capital-raise in bid to allay City concerns | Business News

Metro Bank, the high street lender, is drawing up plans to raise hundreds of millions of pounds of new capital in weeks in a bid to strengthen its troubled balance sheet.

Sky News has learnt that Metro Bank – the first new lender to open on Britain’s high streets in over 100 years when it launched in 2010 – is working with advisers to secure several hundred million pounds in new debt and equity.

City sources said on Wednesday evening that the company had hired bankers at Morgan Stanley to work on the capital-raising plans, while Moelis, another investment bank, is also thought to be involved.

Royal Bank of Canada, Metro Bank’s corporate broker, is also involved in the equity-raise.

Metro Bank’s board, which is chaired by Robert Sharpe, a veteran banker, is exploring a range of options to shore up its troubled balance sheet.

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A potential equity-raise of more than £100m is understood to be among them, although analysts and industry executives have cast doubt on its ability to deliver that following a precipitous fall in its share price.

Metro Bank has 2.7 million customer accounts, making it one of the 10 largest banks in Britain.

It offers current accounts, business accounts, personal loans and insurance products, and employs about 4,000 people, operating from about 75 branches across the country.

Shares in Metro Bank have halved during the last month to leave it with a market capitalisation of less than £100m, having been valued at about £3.5bn at its peak in 2018.

The company’s directors are also understood to be trying to raise roughly £200m of loss-absorbing capital known as MREL.

Metro Bank needs to refinance £350m of existing MREL debt which is due to expire this time next year.

Another alternative being considered would involve the sale of billions of pounds of mortgage assets, a move that would reduce its earnings but also sharply reduce the amount of capital it is forced to hold.

Further options could entail a debt-for-equity swap or an outright sale of the company.

In a statement issued to Sky News, a Metro Bank spokesman said: “As previously stated, Metro Bank continues to consider how best to optimise its capital resources to allow it to take advantage of the deposit and asset origination platform that has been built.”

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Sky’s business presenter Ian King says Treasury plans aim to maintain access to cash for consumers and businesses.

On Wednesday evening, City insiders said that banking regulators and the Treasury were closely monitoring Metro Bank’s capital-raising plans.

While there is no suggestion that it is at risk of imminent collapse, rumours have circulated for years about its finances.

In 2019, customers formed sizeable queues at some of its branches after suggestions circulated on social media that it was in financial distress.

Days later, it unveiled a £350m share placing in a move designed to allay such concerns.

News of Metro Bank’s efforts to secure a new capital injection comes weeks after it was dealt a severe blow by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), which supervises British banks’ capital and solvency.

In mid-September, it announced to the London stock market that the PRA had informed it that it would not gain approval this year for an internal ratings-based model allowing it to hold less capital against its mortgage assets.

Metro Bank has had a chequered history with City regulators, despite its relatively brief existence.

Last December, it was fined £10m by the Financial Conduct Authority for publishing incorrect information to investors, while the PRA slapped it with a £5.4m penalty for similar infringements a year earlier.

The lender was founded in 2009 by Anthony Thompson, a financial services entrepreneur, and Vernon Hill, an American who eventually left in controversial circumstances in 2019.

Metro Bank has been forced to sell assets in the past, announcing a deal in December 2020 to sell a portfolio of owner-occupied residential mortgages to NatWest Group for up to £3.1bn.

Bank of England’s ‘regrettable’ mistakes fuelled inflation, its former top economist says | Business News

The Bank of England “regrettably” made mistakes that have fuelled inflation in the UK, its former chief economist has told Sky News.

Andy Haldane said the Bank had printed money through its programme of quantitative easing “longer than it needed to” as it tried to help the economy recover from COVID – and also suggested it had acted too slowly to increase interest rates.

While inflation has been coming down from its peak of 11.1% last October, the rate of price rises – which was 6.8% in the year to July – remains high and continues to put a major strain on many households amid the cost of living crisis.

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Hunt: You can’t end ‘misery’ until you get inflation down

Mr Haldane, who stepped down from the Bank in September 2021, also said it was “an evens bet” whether the UK would fall into a recession.

He further criticised what he described as a lack of investment in infrastructure such as hospitals and schools – as highlighted by the classroom concrete crisis this week.

Mr Haldane, who now heads the Royal Society of Arts, made the comments during an interview for Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge, which will be broadcast on Sky News on Tuesday.

When asked about inflation, Mr Haldane said: “It [the Bank of England] kept on printing money for a bit longer than it needed to.

“I think with the benefit of hindsight … we probably did a little bit too much for a little too long. I make no apologies about the greater sway of that easing – that was needed, I think, at the time of COVID to protect jobs and to protect households and to protect businesses.

“But did we persist with that a little longer than we needed to? And did they step on the brakes a little too late – and therefore a little harder now than they needed to? I think that is probably where we find ourselves, regrettably.”

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Inflation: ‘We’re getting poorer’

It comes following criticism of the Bank over its strategy to bring inflation down to its target of 2%.

Its Monetary Policy Committee hiked interest rates for the 14th time in a row last month to 5.25%. But some commentators have warned the UK could tip into a recession if rates remain high.

Mr Haldane described the economy as “pancake-like” and “flatlining for 18 months”, even with the recent upward revisions to the UK’s growth figures.

He added: “The story of the last 18 months remains intact. That is to say, we have been stuck. Growth is absent. That means it would take only the tiniest of tilt for us to enter recessionary territory.”

When asked if recession was still a danger, Mr Haldane replied: “It’s definitely still a danger. I would hope not a sharp recession. But could that rise in the cost of borrowing take the legs from beneath an embryonic recovery? I think it could and that is definitely a risk.

“I’d say it’s an evens bet as things stand.”

On the wider economy, he said there had been “underinvesting in the assets of UK plc” and claimed the concrete crisis in schools had been “foreseeable”.

He added: “We fare poorly when it comes to the amount we save as a country, save as a nation and the amount we invest as a nation. And that’s the main reason why we’re seeing these problems, these fragilities in our infrastructure show up – whether it’s crumbling schools or congested motorways and railways.”

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Education sec watches clip of herself swearing

The Bank of England has defended its strategy to try and bring down inflation, while chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said he is confident it will be halved by the end of the year.

Mr Haldane’s successor as chief economist, Huw Pill, said last week the Bank was determined to “see the job through” – but also admitted he was wary about the risk of “unnecessary damage” being inflicted on employment and growth if interest rates increased too much.

The full interview with Mr Haldane will be broadcast on Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge at 7pm on Tuesday 5 September on Sky News.

Bank of Ireland glitch ‘allowed customers with no money to withdraw funds from ATM’ | World News

A glitch with Bank of Ireland’s online app reportedly allowed customers with no money to transfer funds and withdraw it from an ATM.

The technical blunder meant people were able to put money into a Revolut digital account and then withdraw it from a cash point.

Some claimed that they were able to access as much as €1,000 (£859), but the bank insisted the daily withdrawal limit is €500 (£429), according to Independent.ie.

Various videos circulating on social media showed long queues at ATMs in various cities, as well as some police guarding pay points.

The bank confirmed it was working on a technical issue that was impacting multiple services, including the mobile app and online banking portal, 365Online, on Tuesday.

It warned customers that any money transferred or withdrawn over normal limits “will be debited from their account”.

“We are conscious customers may not be able to check balances, but should not withdraw/transfer if they are likely to become overdrawn,” it said in a statement posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Apologising for the disruption, the bank said both the app and 365Online, were back working on Wednesday, and that overnight payments “may appear throughout the day”.

“We are aware that the technical issue meant some customers were able to withdraw or transfer funds above their normal limits. These transfers and withdrawals will be applied to customers’ accounts today,” it said in a statement.

“We urge any customer who may find themselves in financial difficulty due to overdrawing on their account to contact us.”

The issue comes after another IT outage at the bank in June, according to Independent.ie.

This did not result in people getting access to funds they did not have in their accounts.

Shawbrook plots £3.5bn merger with Co-operative Bank | Business News

One of Britain’s biggest lenders to small businesses is hatching plans for a £3.5bn tie-up with the Co-operative Bank.

Sky News has learnt that Shawbrook Group has approached the owners of the Co-operative Bank in recent weeks to outline plans for a stock-based combination of the two companies.

Sources said this weekend that the preliminary proposal represented an attempt by Shawbrook to pre-empt a full auction of the erstwhile division of the Co-op Group.

The approach comprised an offer to hand the Co-operative Bank’s shareholders roughly 29% of the combined banking group in a deal that would have valued the target at approximately £800m, they said.

Shawbrook has hired investment bankers at Barclays to advise it on its interest in its smaller, consumer-focused peer.

One added that the indicative offer was unlikely to lead to further talks ahead of a wider auction.

Shawbrook remains interested in a takeover of the Co-operative Bank and is expected to participate actively in that process, which will formally get underway as soon as next month.

On a combined basis, Shawbrook and the Co-operative Bank reported underlying profit last year of nearly £375m.

A tie-up between Shawbrook and the Co-operative Bank would rank among the most significant banking sector deals since the 2008 financial crisis.

It would come as the industry has been buoyed by rising interest rates while simultaneously being shaken by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the emergency takeover of Credit Suisse by Swiss rival UBS.

Other lenders are also expected to explore formal offers for the Co-operative Bank.

OneSavings Bank has long been considered one of its likeliest suitors, although a recent alert that profits would be hit by customers racing to secure new fixed-rate deals has caused some City analysts to question whether it will bid.

Aldermore, Nationwide and Paragon Bank have all also been named as prospective bidders.

Barclays’ role as an adviser to Shawbrook is likely to rule out the major high street bank as a bidder for the Co-operative Bank in its own right.

Shawbrook itself has been the subject of speculation about a transaction that would realise value for its owners, the private equity firms BC Partners and Pollen Street Capital.

A mooted sale process that would have been expected to value Shawbrook at more than £2bn was shelved nearly a year ago as a result of difficult market conditions.

In the autumn of 2021, the Co-operative Bank approached Spanish-owned TSB about a merger, but talks failed to progress.

A successful sale of the formerly mutually owned bank would come as a relief to regulators which have twice had to play roles in rescues over the last decade.

In 2013, the Co-operative Bank’s bid to acquire the branch network which became TSB was left in ruins when the scale of its own crisis emerged.

It was forced to turn to American hedge funds to secure a £1.5bn rescue, while its former chairman, Paul Flowers, was left humiliated by tabloid revelations about his private life.

The lender then needed a further bailout by investors in 2017, with two major investors – Bain Capital Credit and JC Flowers – subsequently taking a 10% stake in the company.

The remainder of its equity is owned by a syndicate of hedge funds.

Earlier talks about a sale of the Co-operative Bank to Cerberus Capital Management, an often-controversial investor, broke down in December 2020.

PJT Partners and Fenchurch Advisory Partners are advising the Co-operative Bank on its forthcoming sale process.

On Saturday, a spokesman for Shawbrook declined to comment while the Co-operative Bank could not be reached for comment.

Nigel Farage says Coutts has offered to reinstate his bank accounts | Politics News

Nigel Farage has said Coutts has offered to reinstate his personal and business accounts.

The former Ukip leader said he was seeking compensation from the private bank.

Mr Farage said “the fight goes on” as he outlined his desire for a face-to-face meeting with the bank’s bosses in a bid to understand how many other people had been affected by account closures.

The former MEP claimed his bank account was unfairly shut down by Coutts, owned by NatWest Group, because it did not agree with his political views.

NatWest has since announced an independent review, with lawyers probing the closure of Mr Farage’s account and other instances of de-banking by Coutts.

Speaking on his GB News programme, Mr Farage said: “The new chief executive of Coutts, Mo Syed, somebody who has held very senior positions within that bank, is now the boss and he has written to me to say I can keep both my personal and my business accounts.

“And that’s good and I thank him for it.”

Coutts has not publicly confirmed that Mr Syed is the new chief executive.

But Mr Farage said “enormous harm” has been done to him in the last few months.

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Farage: ’10 banks turned me down’

Farage seeks compensation

Mr Farage added: “It has taken up a huge amount of my time and it has cost me, so far, quite a lot of money in legal fees so I have today sent a legal litigation letter to Coutts where I want some full apologies, I want some compensation for my costs, but – more important than all of that – I want a face-to-face meeting with the bank’s bosses.

“I want to find out how many other people in Coutts or NatWest have had accounts closed because of their political opinions, and I want to make sure this never happens to anybody else ever again.

“So the fight goes on.”

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Former Ukip leader campaigns to tackle account closures

The media storm around Mr Farage’s account closure led to the resignation of NatWest chief executive Dame Alison Rose after she admitted being the source behind an incorrect BBC story about Mr Farage’s Coutts account, followed by Coutts boss Peter Flavel.

Mr Farage has launched a campaign to tackle account closures, which has received support from ministers and Tory MPs.

Lloyds Bank issues ticket scam warning to football fans after jump in reported incidents last season | UK News

Football fans are being warned to watch out for ticket scams, after it recorded a jump in reported incidents last season.

Lloyds Bank said, based on analysis of reported fraud cases among its own personal banking customers, the number of people being scammed when buying football tickets more than doubled (a 101% increase) last season compared with the season before, with victims losing £154 on average.

The bank’s data indicated that many scams originate on social media and people aged 18 to 24 are particularly likely to fall victim.

It also indicated that supporters of Liverpool and Manchester United fell victim most often last season, along with Arsenal and Chelsea fans.

When tickets for big events are scarce or in high demand, fraudsters know they can cash in on desperate fans willing to pay much more.

They create fake posts on social media or online marketplaces to advertise tickets that do not exist. Often they will include pictures of real tickets to convince the buyer that they are genuine.

The victim is often tricked into sending money via bank transfer.

The bank looked at reports made by Lloyds Banking Group customers between August 2022 and May 2023, compared with the same period a year earlier.

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Fans of some of the biggest clubs in England, where demand for tickets is particularly strong, are particularly likely to be targeted, Lloyds warned.

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Popularity for women’s football soars

Once the money has been transferred, the fraudster simply disappears, and the victim receives nothing.

Liz Ziegler, fraud prevention director, Lloyds Bank, said people should look to buy directly from football clubs or their official ticket partners.