PRESS DIGEST - British Business - Jan 24

LONDON Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:56pm EST

LONDON Jan 24 (Reuters) - The Daily Telegraph ENERGY COMPANY CENTRICA LUKEWARM ON SHALE GAS BENEFITS The chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica said shale gas would not deliver the boost to Britain's economy that politicians were hoping for because of obstacles to its development. Sam Laidlaw said on the sidelines of an energy event at Davos that shale gas would not be the "game changer we've seen in North America", the newspaper said, and production would not come on line for at least a decade.

IMF LOWERS GROWTH FORECAST FOR BRITAIN The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for Britain's economic growth to 1 percent, down from its 1.1 percent prediction in October and below the government's official forecast of 1.2 percent. The bad news for Britain's finance minister came on the same day as the Bank of England said there remained "substantial headwinds" to the country's economic recovery.

The Times BILLION-DOLLAR ICE CREAM BOOSTS UNILEVER Anglo-Dutch consumer group Unilever said sales of its Magnum ice cream broke the 1 billion euro barrier last year, helping the group, which also makes Sunsilk hair products and Flora spreads, exceed 50 billion euros in sales for the first time.

The Guardian BRITISH WAGES SQUEEZED ALTHOUGH EMPLOYMENT GROWS Average earnings grew in Britain by 1.4 percent last year, official figures showed, well below the rate of inflation, resulting in a continued squeeze on living standards. Employers were able to keep a lid on wage increases despite unemployment falling and the number of people in work reaching a record level in November, the newspaper said.

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