Royal Mail set to deliver a strike this Christmas

Royal Mail was last night reported to have lost a £25 million contract with Amazon, its second largest customer, as a national strike looms over the crucial Christmas period.

The struggling company, which has been buffeted by a series of wildcat strikes since July, could suffer more cancellations if its service continues to be disrupted.

Retailers prepare for a gloomy Christmas

This week a survey of Britain’s leading store group executives found that 34% do not expect strong growth until 2011 and are preparing for a ‘flat Christmas’ Couple this with August’s findings by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), stating that retail sales in Central London had fallen by 5.9%, and Christmas is not looking very jolly for retailers.

Walker review on bonuses and risk-taking attacked by Institute of Directors

Corporate Britain should be protected from proposed sweeping reforms on bonuses and risk-taking, according to the Institute of Directors (IoD).

In its first detailed response to Sir David Walker’s review of banks’ bonus culture and risk practices, the IoD will say today that some of his proposed measures are too draconian and should not be forced on companies outside the financial sector.

Business loans fell by record figures in July

Business lending fell by the largest amount on record in July after banks wrote off £2.2billion of corporate debt.

Lending contracted by £8.4billion between June and July as banks pulled in their horns amid soaring defaults. The Bank of England figures suggest claims from lenders that they are giving more credit to business customers should be treated with extreme scepticism.

Regional super funds get Mandelson backing

The Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has intervened in what had become a turf war between the regions and Whitehall will lead to the Treasury signing off one £125m fund proposed by OneNorthEast.

A second £140m fund designed by the North West Regional Development Agency is being revised and will be resubmitted for Treasury approval this week.

Dig deep for broadband if you are out in the country

If your business is based in a rural location and you want broadband access then you might find that you are hit with higher charges than your inner city cousins as Stephen Timms, MP for Newham East, who has replaced Lord Carter at the head of the government’s Digital Britain initiative, said that he could not rule out higher charges for broadband subscribers who live in remote areas.

Earlier this year, the Government committed to ensuring that every UK household will have access to broadband at a minimum speed of two megabits per second (2Mbps) by 2012. Today more than 10 per cent of households cannot be provided with that basic level of service, many of them because they are too far from the local telephone exchange – that figure rises to 42 per cent in rural areas.

Skype could be cut off for good over dispute

Skype might have to shut down because of a dispute over the core technology used to make the internet telephone system work.

EBay, which paid $2.6 billion (£1.6 billion) for the voice-over-the-internet system in 2005, is facing a court battle with the original founders of the company who retained the rights to the technology at the heart of the system.