Banks

RBS share drop accelerates on stress test flop

Stressed. Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland have accelerated their losses this morning, falling over 4.5 per cent after the state-backed lender came in bottom of the heap in the Bank of England’s latest stress tests. RBS failed the toughest ever stress tests carried out by the BoE, with results this morning showing the lender’s […]

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Capital Markets, Financial

BGC Partners eyes new platform to trade US Treasuries

BGC Partners plans to launch a new platform to trade US Treasuries early next year, in a bid to return to a market in the middle of evolution, according to people familiar with the plans.  The company, spun out of Howard Lutnick’s Cantor Fitzgerald in 2004, sold eSpeed, the second-largest interdealer platform for trading Treasuries, […]

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Financial

Sales in Rocket Internet’s portfolio companies rise 30%

Revenues at Rocket Internet rose strongly at its portfolio companies in the first nine months of the year as the German tech group said it was making strides on the “path towards profitability”. Sales at its main companies increased 30.6 per cent to €1.58bn while losses narrowed. Rocket said the adjusted margin for earnings before […]

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Currencies

Renminbi strengthens further despite gains by dollar

The renminbi on track for a fourth day of firming against the dollar on Wednesday after China’s central bank once again pushed the currency’s trading band (marginally) stronger. The onshore exchange rate (CNY) for the reniminbi was 0.28 per cent stronger at Rmb6.8855 in afternoon trade, bringing it 0.53 per cent firmer since it last […]

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Currencies

Nomura rounds up markets’ biggest misses in 2016

Forecasting markets a year in advance is never easy, but with “year-ahead investment themes” season well underway, Nomura has provided a handy reminder of quite how difficult it is, with an overview of markets’ biggest hits and misses (OK, mostly misses) from the start of 2016. The biggest miss among analysts, according to Nomura’s Sam […]

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Categorized | Property

Victim of postwar ‘cultural vandalism’ saved by Philip Hammond


Posted on November 23, 2016

Despite the pressures on the UK economy, Philip Hammond still managed to find £7.6m to save the largest private house in England, Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham.

It was a chance to rescue a Palladian mansion that is bigger than Buckingham Palace and score points off the Labour party at the same time.

The 365-room house is subsiding because the National Coal Board opted to mine in its vast grounds after the second world war — what the chancellor described as an “extraordinary act of cultural vandalism”.

Manny Shinwell, Labour’s minister of fuel and scourge of the aristocracy, told its owner at the time that he would bring mines “right up to your bloody front door”.

During the 1970s Wentworth Woodhouse was a college and students played badminton in the marble saloon. A £100m claim against the Coal Authority for compensation failed in June.

“I will act today, with just seven days to spare, to save one of the UK’s most important historic houses,” said the chancellor on Wednesday.

A campaign group had raised £7m to buy the house but needed more money for urgent repairs. Some donors said they would have to withdraw pledges on November 30.

Marcus Binney, president of Save Britain’s Heritage, said the grant would ensure that essential repairs could be carried out. Wentworth needs at least £35m more over 15 years for its transformation plan, which would convert some areas into apartments and business units.

“It is wonderful news,” he said. “It’s a place of unusual splendour, like a Russian palace outside St Petersburg.”

The house is being sold by the family of the late Clifford Newbold, the architect of Millbank tower. The sale is likely to conclude in January. Some rooms are already open for tours.

Wentworth was said to be the inspiration for Pemberley, in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, while Turner, the biopic of the artist, was filmed there.

Mr Hammond recently met John Healey, the local Labour MP, and Robert Jenrick, MP for Newark, to talk about the house.