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

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KPMG risks a ban on bidding for government contracts if there is a repeat of recent scandals at the Big Four consultant, the Cabinet Office has warned.

The threat to one of the UK’s largest consultancy service providers was framed in a letter asking for assurance that there would be no more misconduct at the company, people told the Financial Times aware of the matter.

KPMG’s reputation has suffered in recent years after a series of malpractice fines. He is also being investigated into other allegations of professional misconduct.

The firm was the third largest winner of public sector consulting contracts by value in the fiscal year ended March 2021, behind Deloitte and PwC. KPMG secured government work valued at £ 244million during that period, according to data provider Tussell. Its total UK revenue was £ 2.3 billion in the 12 months ending September 2020.

Thanks for reading FirstFT Europe / Africa. Here is the rest of today’s news – Jennifer

1. US junk bonds experience the biggest sell-off in over a year High-yield bonds fell the most in November for more than a year, over concerns that the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant could hamper the ability of lower-rated companies to repay their debts.

2. Meta ordered to sell Giphy The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority forced the company formerly known as Facebook to sell the online image platform Giphy, the first time the regulator has untied a Big Tech deal, which has reportedly cost $ 315 million if it had been concluded.

3. Fed chair signals support for faster “taper” Jay Powell has expressed support for a faster withdrawal from the Federal Reserve’s massive asset purchase program, comments that have raised the specter of an interest rate hike next year and exacerbated a stock market liquidation Tuesday.

4. MI6 chief warns of Chinese security threat Beijing’s overconfidence and belief in its own anti-Western propaganda put it at risk of “miscalculation” which could threaten international security, the British intelligence chief warned in his first public discourse in this role.

5. Holmes defends response to Theranos report Prosecutors questioned Elizabeth Holmes about her response to the investigative article that pierced her pink image in 2015 as the Theranos founder testified for a fifth day of testimony in her criminal fraud trial.

Coronavirus digest

  • Scientists rush to test for existing stress Vaccines against covid-19 against the new Omicron variant.

  • Early tests indicate that Omicron mutations may hinder the effectiveness of by Regeneron Covid antibody, the company said.

  • Boris Johnson has pledged to offer all eligible adults in England a booster by the end of January. Corn Seth Berkley, chief executive of the Gavi vaccine alliance, urged rich countries to prioritize immunizing people around the world.

  • The UK’s national spending watchdog has warned that NHS England waiting lists for patients seeking elective care could be longer in 2025 than today.

  • European populists more and more present themselves as the torchbearers of vaccine skepticism and anti-containment libertarianism.

Thanks for the answers to yesterday’s question about your travel plans. Some readers are already rescheduling their trips, such as Jean Turmel, who returns from the United States to Canada 10 days earlier than expected.

A London-based reader, however, planned a trip with two colleagues to see clients in several US cities. “As an example of the reactions of different countries to the virus in general and the latest mutation in particular, I had no calls or concerns from US customers yesterday. During this time I received several emails from various London colleagues who all seemed to assume the trip would be canceled, ”the reader said.

Keep comments coming [email protected].

Graph showing Omicron mutations

The day to come

UK cuts universal credit degression rate The amount withdrawn for every pound someone earns will be reduced from 63p to 55p, a controversial move which was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak after slashing the £ 20 increase in payments made at the start of the pandemic.

EU announces € 300 billion in infrastructure spending The European Commission will detail the draft proposals to mobilize global infrastructure spending and other projects to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

PMI results IHS Markit’s PMIs will provide insight into manufacturing conditions in the Eurozone, France, Germany, Italy, UK and US. The OECD will also release its latest economic outlook, while the Federal Reserve will release its final 2021 Beige Book.

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Abortion Case Judges will hear a challenge to a Mississippi law that prohibits abortions from 15 weeks pregnant. A decision is expected by June 2022.

FT and McKinsey Business Book of the Year The winner of the 17th annual award will be unveiled at a ceremony in London. Here is the short list of titles chosen by the esteemed panel. The winner of the £ 15,000 Bracken Bower Prize for Young Authors will also be announced.

Join over 100 influential leaders and top FT journalists from America and around the world for the Global Boardroom conference as they discuss how to build resilient, sustainable and inclusive economies and businesses in a world transformed by crisis. Free registration here.

What else do we read

Basque Country “leveling” lessons How to revitalize regions in decline? This question arises wherever the old strongholds of heavy industry collapsed in high-income countries. The Basque Country in Spain has managed to regenerate. Martin Wolf examines how.

Russia’s Arctic ambitions In a remote Siberian port is the world’s first floating nuclear power plant, a sign of Vladimir Putin’s ambitions to open an important shipping route through the Arctic. Could it offer an alternative to the Suez Canal?

The British stock market risks becoming a global backwater Britain is falling behind as the US and Chinese markets move forward and fund managers obsess over dividends rather than growth. London largely failed to participate in the world rally that started in 2015, writes Paul Marshall, chairman of Marshall Wace.

Inflation still punishes the American left Inflation hawks are prone to cry wolf, argues Edward Luce. Since they spent the post-2008 years predicting hyperinflation that never happened, it’s no surprise that few people sat down when they issued the same warnings last year. Now the hawks are right, but for the wrong reasons.

The promise of more sustainable seafood About an hour south of Oslo, hundreds of thousands of salmon swim in cold, dark depths. But they are not in the ocean or in the river. Instead, they survive in huge circular ponds on a land-based fish farm, a practice that could herald a green revolution.

A water filtration system

The RAS – recirculating aquaculture system – at Fredrikstad was custom designed by Danish engineers. The system allows continuous water filtration © Esan Swan / FT

Food and drink

Premium hot chocolate can be as nuanced as coffee or wine. The unique origin specialist Cartografie makes four hot chocolates from sustainable sources that highlight different terroirs. His Venezuela is smooth and creamy, with notes of Earl Gray. The Tanzanian is more fruity: caramelized banana, pineapple and espresso.

Cups of hot chocolate

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