Here are the top business stories making the headlines in the morning newspapers.

Speculation about future of Neptune

Neptune Energy is reported to be moving ahead with plans for a sale after talks about a takeover by Italian energy group Eni cooled.

The oil and gas explorer, which is backed by private equity firms Carlyle Group and CVC Capital Partners, is said to be working with advisers as it speaks to potential buyers.

Energy Voice says Eni’s interest in a deal has waned in recent weeks after disagreements over price,

Average age of Treasury staff just 33

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is urging over-50s back into work, but the average age of Treasury staff is only 33.6, the BBC has learned.

Just under 10% of Treasury staff are over 50, it also revealed.

The Treasury said its recruitment processes were "fair, open and based on merit".

Charities warn that over-50s do want to work, but often face ageism from recruiters.

The BBC used a Freedom of Information request asking to see the ages of all applicants to roles at the Treasury over the past five years.

The results revealed that far fewer over-50s apply for jobs at the Treasury than younger workers.

Those over-50s that were invited for interviews, were less likely to be offered a job than younger workers.

On average, over the past five years, 17% of over-50s who got interviews at the Treasury, were successful at getting job offers. The figure is 20% for people in their 30s, and 22% for under-30s.

Amigo winds down

Struggling high-cost lender Amigo has said it will halt all lending and wind down its business after failing to raise extra funds from investors.

Its failure has left more than 200,000 customers in the dark over compensation they will receive for mis-sold products, a debt expert said.

The BBC says Amigo had been sanctioned by regulators for insufficient affordability checks on the people it lent to.

It had been trying to raise money to help pay the compensation owed.

Amigo lent to people with poor credit ratings at interest rates of up to 49.9%.

The business had sought a £15million cash injection from investors to help pay compensation to the 210,000 borrowers who had made complaints about the company.

But, after "exploring several options", it said it had been forced to use its "fallback option" and would instead wind down the business and use surplus assets to pay off customers who were due redress.

"In due course, Amigo Loans Limited will be liquidated", a statement said.

Food banks used by more than two million

About 3% of families in the UK - at least 2.1million people - used a food bank in the year to March 2022, according to official figures.

That rose to 11% for families receiving state income-related benefits.

Those in the north of England and Scotland were most likely to have used a food bank in the previous 12 months compared to the rest of the UK.

The BBC says these are the first Department for Work and Pensions figures on food bank use.

The data was collected between April 2021 and March 2022, with people asked if they had been to a food bank in the last 12 months and last 30 days. So the figures cover some of the pandemic but miss most of the energy-price crisis, which hit in April 2022.

It comes amid the continuing cost-of-living crisis, with prices rising more than expected, according to new inflation figures released this week.

Dorsey faces scrutiny

Tech billionaire Jack Dorsey is facing scrutiny, after a report accuses the payments company he leads of inflating user numbers and catering to criminals.

The firm, Block, rejected the claims which had sent its shares tumbling 15%.

The report came from short-seller Hindenburg Research, which is known for taking on high-profile targets such as Indian tycoon Gautam Adani.

The BBC explains the company makes money by betting shares will fall, and is poised to benefit from the slide.

Block, which former Twitter boss Mr Dorsey co-founded in 2009 and leads as chief executive, said it was exploring legal action against Hindenburg for the "factually inaccurate and misleading report".

"We are a highly-regulated public company with regular disclosures, and are confident in our products, reporting, compliance programs, and controls. We will not be distracted by typical short-seller tactics."

Formerly known as Square, Block made its name with a sleek, small white credit-card reader that became popular among vendors at farmer's markets, and other small businesses, allowing the firm to fetch £2.4billion valuation when it listed in 2015.

Now worth more than £24.4billion, it was renamed Block in 2021, to reflect another, fast growing side of its business, Cash App - a payments app that was the focus of Hindenburg's report.

French pension protests continue

Bordeaux town hall has been set on fire as French protests continued over plans to raise the pension age.

More than a million people took to the streets across France on Thursday, with 119,000 in Paris, according to figures from the interior ministry.

Police fired tear gas at protesters in the capital and 80 people were arrested across the country.

The demonstrations were sparked by legislation raising the retirement age by two years to 64.

Fire engulfed the front door of the town hall in the south-west city of Bordeaux on Thursday evening after a day of protests and clashes.

The BBC says it was not clear who was responsible for the blaze, which was quickly put out by firefighters.

Dog costs owner more than £1million

A millionaire former paparazzi boss has lost an appeal against paying a Capital Gains Tax bill after a judge ruled his dog showed he was living in the UK.

Darryn Lyons, who ran agency Big Pictures and drew attention when he appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2011 with a surgically-enhanced six-pack, went to court to fight a CGT tax bill totalling more than a million pounds.

The Telegraph says the bill related to the sale of properties he owned in the UK during the tax year 2012-13.

Mr Lyons claimed he was not a resident in the UK during that tax period, however, and was not liable to pay the bill.

The businessman and reality star, who is now mayor of Geelong in Victoria, Australia, had been in the process of moving back to the country in November 2011.

He had transferred a large amount of his jewellery and his Ferrari to Australia in this period.

But the judge in the Tax Tribunal found that Mr Lyons' dog, Amber, to whom he was "extremely attached", was still in Britain during the tax period in question.

More like this…

View all