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This week’s roundup includes news that British Gas is increasing its prices by 5.5%, Brexit could end up costing the city regulator £30m and the US deficit is forecast to hit $1 trillion with debt returning to WWII levels. 

British Gas to increase prices by 5.5%

British Gas is to increase the energy prices for those on standard tariffs by an average of 5.5% - or £60 a year.

The rise, which applies to both gas and electricity, will see the average annual dual-fuel bill go up to £1,161.

The company, the UK's largest energy supplier, said that 4.1 million of its customers would be affected.

The increase will take effect from 29 May and means British Gas is the first of the major suppliers to raise prices this spring.

It last increased its prices in September, when domestic electricity prices were raised by 12.5%. British Gas blamed government policy for part of that rise, a suggestion that was rejected by ministers.

Waitrose to stop using disposable coffee cups

Waitrose is to stop using disposable coffee cups in a move the supermarket says will save 52 million cups a year, removing them from all stores by autumn.

Around 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away annually in the UK, almost none of which are recycled because of their plastic lining.

Members of its loyalty scheme will still be able to get free tea or coffee from self-service machines but must use their own reusable cup.

Tor Harris, Waitrose Head of Sustainability, said: ‘We realise this is a major change, but we ... are confident the majority of customers will support the environmental benefits.’

City regulator faces £30m Brexit bill

The City regulator has said it is facing a £30m Brexit bill in the year running up to the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will ditch ‘non-critical’ work to find £14m, while the rest will come from reserves and fees from the financial industry. Last year, the FCA had to find an extra £2.5m for Brexit-related work.

The costs were revealed for the first time in its business plan for the coming year. FCA Chief Executive Andrew Bailey said: ‘Uncertainty around Brexit is a challenge. We must be prepared to adjust [our plan].’

He also said that preparing for Brexit could not just be added on to everything else the regulator would otherwise do: ‘It's not feasible for us. It is not feasible for industry.’

US deficit forecast to hit $1 trillion

The US is heading for an annual budget deficit of more than $1 trillion (£707bn) by 2020 following tax cuts and higher public spending, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

It said that while the measures will temporarily boost the US economy, they will exacerbate its long-term debt.

The agency said US debt could rise to a level comparable to World War II and the financial crisis.

However, the non-partisan CBO said the deficit - the difference between what the government spends and what it receives through tax receipts - is expected to rise to $804bn in 2018 from $665bn in the previous year.

The budget deficit is then expected to grow to $1 trillion by 2020.

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