BUSINESS LIVE: UK GDP decline beats expectations; BAT reveals £2bn share buyback as revenues climb; Gupta’s tax bill puts steel jobs at risk
Britain’s economy shrank by 0.2 per cent in December amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, beating analyst expectations of a 0.6 per cent decline.
December GDP was 6.0 per cent higher than a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday, just missing analyst expectations of a 6.3 per cent rise.
British American Tobacco saw a 7 per cent rise in fourth-quarter adjusted revenue to $25.7billion as more people shifted over to e-cigarettes and oral nicotine amid health concerns during the pandemic.
The world’s second-largest tobacco company also announced a dividend increase of 1 per cent to 217.8p and a £2billion share repurchase programme for 2022.
More than 2,000 steel jobs are hanging in the balance as the taxman chases scandal-hit metals magnate Sanjeev Gupta.
HM Revenue & Customs is pushing for four of the tycoon’s companies to be wound up as it seeks to recover more than £26million in unpaid taxes. The documents filed in the High Court this week could push Gupta’s Liberty Steel into insolvency.
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Vaping and e-cigarettes have become a growing part of BAT revenues