This week’s business round up
• Question marks over the future of Rover's Longbridge plant have reappeared after Porsche filed a complaint to the European Commission that the UK Government broke EU rules in its £152m aid package to Rover's parent BMW. The subsidy is to modernise the ageing plant, and is already subject to an investigation by the European Commission. BMW warned a delay to the aid package could force a rethink of the project. Separately, BMW became locked in a war of words after accusing Volkswagen of leaking false rumours about plans to lease the Longbridge factory to Volkswagen to make Golf cars. FT
Banking goes mobile
• The Halifax and NatWest have announced mobile phone banking services. The Halifax has signed a deal with BT and BT Cellnet to provide customers with access to bank services through their mobiles. NatWest, whose takeover by the Royal Bank of Scotland has been confirmed (see above), will launch mobile phone banking in association with the Orange network. FT
Firm builds £221m deal
• UK construction group Amec has become an international company with the takeover of Canadian engineering and building company Agra for £221m. This will create a firm with a turnover of nearly £4bn.
Anger at 'interference'
• BT has hit back at criticisms by the Chancellor Gordon Brown over the establishment of high-speed, low-cost Internet infrastructure for the UK. BT said the chancellor should not intervene in its internal affairs. Brown suggested BT's monopoly on local telephone exchanges should be ended before the planned date of 1 July 2001. He is keen that deregulation will spark the introduction of an Internet infrastructure to match the US. BT's statement said its low-cost package was "bogged down" in regulatory procedures. The Times