29th March 2022
Bite-sized business news from the UK and beyond
Good morning Shrinkflation – when items reduce in size but remain at the same price – has hit the nation’s favourite chocolate. The size of a Cadbury Dairy Milk sharing bar has been cut by 10% but is still on sale for the same price. It follows similar moves from brands like Quaker Oats, Quality Street and Jaffa Cakes, as manufacturers try to find ways to combat spiralling inflation.
- Private hands: Gov sells down majority stake in Natwest
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Gov sells down majority stake in Natwest
What’s going on?
Why is this important?
Natwest, formerly Royal Bank of Scotland, received a £50bn bail out in 2008 during the Global Financial Crisis when the government took a 84% stake to stop the bank failing and damaging the wider economy.
The bank, which owns banking brands Natwest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Coutts, swung back into profit last year, boosted by recovering consumer spending post lockdown. It posted profits of £4bn in the 12 months to December 2021 after making a £351m loss the year before.
Since 2015 the taxpayer has been recouping its cash and Natwest is now 48% state owned. Although the government is still the biggest shareholder, the sell down is an important landmark on the road to returning the bank to full private ownership.
Despite more than a decade of majority ownership, the government has taken a hands-off approach and allowed the bank to be run in much the same way as other privately owned banks - Natwest has paid out £1.1bn in bonuses to its bankers over the last four years.
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