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Today’s headlines

03 August 2015

George Osborne asks public sector for help finding spending cuts

The chancellor, George Osborne, is to ask public sector workers to participate in a survey to identify areas where savings can be made, as he seeks to deliver a further £20bn of cuts in the autumn spending review. Having conducted a similar exercise in the previous parliament, Mr Osborne is asking those who know “first hand”, including nurses, civil servants, diplomats and soldiers, where “we can provide a better services for less money.” The chancellor said all “good ideas” received by 4th September will be considered as part of the spending review process. More info.

Leslie: Corbyn win would harm the poor

The shadow chancellor, Chris Leslie, has attacked the economic policies of the Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn, who will reportedly set out his plan to end “political and economic austerity” by 2020 through increased public spending. Mr Leslie has criticised the “starry-eyed, hard left” vision laid out by the MP for Islington North, which he argues would damage the poor and vulnerable and deliver another decade of Tory rule. The shadow chancellor joined leadership hopefuls Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper in confirming that they he would resign from his front bench brief if Mr Corbyn is elected leader. More info.

Government may begin RBS offload

The government has may begin the process of selling of its stake in the bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) as soon as next week. James Leigh-Pemberton, chief executive of the UK Financial Investments Limited, which manages the government’s stake in RBS, has told the chancellor George Osborne that at least £2bn can be sold by April. In this year’s Mansion House Speech, Mr Osborne signalled his appetite to begin the process of returning RBS to private sector, saying that any loss on bank would be covered by profits made on the sale of other bailed-out banks, including Lloyds and Northern Rock. The bank’s share price ended last week at 341p, valuing the taxpayer’s stake at just over £30bn around £15bn less than what was paid for them in 2008. More info.

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