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FirstFT: KPMG threatened with ban on bidding for UK authorities contracts

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KPMG dangers a ban on bidding for public contracts if there’s a repeat of current scandals on the Huge 4 marketing consultant, the Cupboard Workplace has warned.

The menace to one of many UK authorities’s largest suppliers of consulting companies was made in a letter in search of assurances that there could be no additional misconduct on the agency, individuals with data of the matter advised the Monetary Instances.

KPMG’s popularity has suffered lately after a sequence of fines for misconduct. It’s also below investigation over different allegations of malpractice.

The agency was the third-biggest winner of public sector consulting contracts by worth within the monetary yr to March 2021, behind Deloitte and PwC. KPMG was awarded authorities work valued at £244m in that interval, in response to knowledge supplier Tussell. Its whole UK revenues had been £2.3bn within the 12 months to September 2020.

Thanks for studying FirstFT Europe/Africa. Right here is the remainder of right now’s information — Jennifer

1. US junk bonds undergo sharpest sell-off in over a yr Excessive-yield bonds fell in November by essentially the most in additional than a yr on fears the unfold of the Omicron coronavirus variant will hinder low-rated firms’ capacity to repay money owed.

Column chart of Monthly total return (%) showing Junk bonds suffer biggest losses since September 2020

2. Meta ordered to promote Giphy The UK’s Competitors and Markets Authority has compelled the corporate previously generally known as Fb to promote on-line picture platform Giphy, the primary time the regulator has unwound a accomplished Huge Tech deal, which might have been value $315m had it gone forward.

3. Fed chair alerts assist for faster ‘taper’ Jay Powell signalled his assist for a faster withdrawal of the Federal Reserve’s huge asset buy programme, feedback that raised the spectre of earlier rate of interest rises subsequent yr and exacerbated a inventory market sell-off on Tuesday.

4. MI6 chief warns of China safety menace Beijing’s overconfidence and perception in its personal anti-western propaganda has put it prone to “miscalculation”, which might threaten worldwide safety, the pinnacle of the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service has warned in his first public speech within the function.

5. Holmes defends response to Theranos reporting Prosecutors interrogated Elizabeth Holmes about her response to the investigative article that pierced her rosy picture in 2015 because the Theranos founder took the stand for a fifth day of testimony in her prison fraud trial.

Coronavirus digest

  • Scientists are racing to stress-test present Covid-19 vaccines in opposition to the brand new Omicron variant.

  • Early testing signifies the mutations of Omicron might hamper the effectiveness of Regeneron’s Covid antibody drug, the corporate stated.

  • Boris Johnson pledged to supply all eligible adults in England a booster jab by the top of January. However Seth Berkley, chief govt of the Gavi vaccine alliance, has urged wealthy nations to prioritise inoculating individuals worldwide.

  • The UK nationwide spending watchdog has warned that NHS England’s ready lists for sufferers in search of elective care might be longer in 2025 than it’s right now.

  • European populists are casting themselves more and more because the torchbearers of vaccine scepticism and anti-lockdown libertarianism.

Thanks for the replies to yesterday’s query about your journey plans. Some readers are already rescheduling journeys, corresponding to Jean Turmel, who’s going again to Canada from the US 10 days sooner than deliberate.

A London-based reader, nonetheless, has a visit deliberate with two colleagues to see purchasers in a number of US cities. “For example of various international locations’ reactions to the virus basically and the newest mutation particularly, I had no calls or issues in any respect from US purchasers yesterday. In the meantime, I had a number of emails from varied London colleagues all of whom appeared to imagine that the journey could be cancelled,” the reader stated.

Hold the feedback coming to firstft@ft.com.

Graphic showing mutations of Omicron

The day forward

UK cuts taper fee for common credit score The quantity withdrawn for every pound somebody earns will probably be lowered from 63p to 55p, a controversial transfer that was introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak after he lower the £20 uplift in funds made firstly of the pandemic.

EU units out €300bn infrastructure spend The European Fee will element draft proposals to mobilise spending on international infrastructure and different tasks to counter China’s Belt and Highway Initiative.

PMI outcomes IHS Markit PMIs will present perception into manufacturing circumstances within the eurozone, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the US. The OECD will even launch its newest financial outlook, whereas the Federal Reserve publishes its last Beige E book of 2021.

US Supreme Courtroom to listen to abortion case Justices will hear a problem to a Mississippi legislation that bans abortions beginning at 15 weeks of being pregnant. A ruling is anticipated by June 2022.

FT and McKinsey Enterprise E book of the Yr The winner of the seventeenth annual award will probably be revealed at a ceremony in London. Right here is the quick checklist of titles chosen by the esteemed panel. The winner of the £15,000 Bracken Bower Prize for younger authors will even be introduced.

Be part of greater than 100 influential leaders and the FT’s high journalists from throughout America and all over the world for the World Boardroom convention as they focus on learn how to construct resilient, sustainable, inclusive economies and companies in a world remodeled by disaster. Register totally free right here.

What else we’re studying

Classes in ‘levelling up’ from the Basque nation How are declining areas to be revitalised? This query arises wherever erstwhile bastions of heavy business have collapsed in high-income international locations. The Basque nation in Spain has succeeded in regenerating. Martin Wolf examines how.

Russia’s Arctic ambitions In a distant Siberian port lies the world’s first floating nuclear energy plant, an indication of Vladimir Putin’s ambitions to open up a serious delivery lane by the Arctic. Might it provide an alternative choice to the Suez Canal?

UK inventory market dangers changing into a worldwide backwater Britain is falling behind as US and Chinese language markets forge forward and fund managers obsess over dividends quite than progress. London has largely failed to participate within the international rally that started in 2015, writes Paul Marshall, chair of Marshall Wace.

Inflation all the time punishes America’s left Inflation hawks are susceptible to crying wolf, argues Edward Luce. Since they spent the post-2008 years forecasting hyperinflation that by no means arrived, it was no shock that few individuals sat up after they issued the identical warnings final yr. Now the hawks are proper — however for the flawed causes.

The promise of extra sustainable seafood About an hour south of Oslo, tons of of hundreds of salmon swim in chilly, darkish depths. However they aren’t within the ocean or within the river. As an alternative, they survive in enormous round swimming pools at a land-based fish farm, a follow that might herald a inexperienced revolution.

A water filtration system
The RAS — recirculating aquaculture system — at Fredrikstad was custom-designed by Danish engineers. The system permits water to be constantly filtered © Esan Swan/FT

Food and drinks

Excessive-end scorching chocolate could be as nuanced as espresso or wine. Single-origin specialist Cartografie makes 4 sustainably sourced scorching sweets that highlight totally different terroirs. Its Venezuelan is delicate and creamy, with notes of Earl Gray. The Tanzanian is fruitier: caramelised banana, pineapple and espresso.

Cups of hot chocolate

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