Morning papers: US shutdown hits UK contractors

Around 2,000 employees of three of Britain’s biggest companies have been prevented from working as a result of the US government shutdown, reports the Independent.

Defence giant BAE Systems revealed yesterday that 1,200 staff in the US were unable to take up their posts since the stand-off between the Republicans and Democrats reached crisis point on October 1.

They have also not been paid since the end of last week, and join more than 800,000 US government employees who have been furloughed until a 2014 fiscal budget is agreed.

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US debt ceiling crisis talks under way

The White House and Republicans held their first serious talks to resolve the fiscal impasse gripping Washington, as they discussed ways to approve a short-term extension of the US debt limit and avert a potential default by the world’s largest economy, reports the Financial Times.

President Barack Obama did not immediately agree on a plan by House Republican leaders to extend the US borrowing authority by six weeks presented at a late-afternoon meeting at the White House. But Republicans leaving the meeting with Mr Obama described it as useful and constructive, and said further discussions would follow throughout the night.

Big banks make contingency plans for US default

Big banks and investors are preparing contingency plans to deal with the potential impact on the $5trn (£3.1trn) “repo market” of the US government missing a payment on its bonds, even as Republicans propose a six-week reprieve for the debt ceiling limit, reports the Financial Times.

With the status of short-term Treasury bills being called into question because of the debt ceiling deadlock in Washington, banks are being forced to rapidly reconsider the Treasury securities they can use as collateral.

Barclays faces US fine from regulators over power price manipulation charges

Barclays is facing court action in the US as energy regulators attempt to force the scandal-hit UK bank to pay a $470m penalty for allegedly manipulating power prices in California, reports the Guardian.

Legal & General gets tough on all-male boards with warning to FTSE 100 firms

One of the City’s biggest fund managers – Legal & General – has warned that it will vote against the chairman of any FTSE 100 company that persists with an all-male board after the government’s two-year deadline for board diversity, reports the Guardian.

UK fracking ambitions threatened by EU methane warning

The EU authorities have opened a new front in efforts to clamp down on shale gas, warning that the carbon footprint from methane emissions may be high enough to call into question the whole future of fracking in Europe, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Ed Miliband condemns ‘rip-off’ energy firms after SSE 8% price rise

The row over soaring fuel bills escalated on Thursday when Ed Miliband accused SSE, one of the country’s big six energy providers, of “ripping off” 7 million customers with an 8.2 per cent price increase, reports the Guardian.