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Friday newspaper round-up: Construction firms, Ofgem, Credit Suisse, council tax

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Friday 24 Mar 2023

Friday newspaper round-up: Construction firms, Ofgem, Credit Suisse, council tax

(Sharecast News) - Ten construction firms have been fined a combined £60m by the competition regulator for "illegally colluding" to rig bids for lucrative contracts for projects including Bow Street magistrates court and Selfridges department store. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that the companies had acted as a cartel over 19 private and public sector contracts that were worth a total of £150m. - Guardian
The energy regulator Ofgem is preparing to crack down on UK power firms to prevent them from "manipulating" the market with a manoeuvre that has bolstered their profits by millions of pounds. The practice, which does not break existing market rules, involves generators warning the electricity system operator that they are turning their power plants off at times of peak demand and subsequently offering to keep them running in exchange for a "balancing" payment. -Guardian

Google's artificial intelligence chatbot is still making the same error that contributed to a $120bn wipeout for the tech giant's share price a month ago. Bard, which was opened to the public in the US and UK on Tuesday, still incorrectly claims that the James Webb Space Telescope took "the very first pictures of a planet outside of our own solar system". - Telegraph

The Swiss financial regulator has defended its controversial decision to wipe out $17 billion of Credit Suisse bonds but spare some value for the troubled bank's shareholders as part of the state-orchestrated rescue of the lender. Finma, the country's watchdog, has faced a fierce backlash from debt investors over the decimated bonds and fund managers are preparing legal action. The regulator said yesterday it stood by its decision. - The Times

Households are facing more financial pain as mortgage bills rise, cost of living payments end and the average council tax exceeds £2,000 for the first time. More than a million homeowners with variable rate mortgages will spend hundreds of pounds more a year on repayments after an eleventh consecutive interest rate rise by the Bank of England, which took the cost of borrowing to 4.25 per cent. - The Times


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