Barclays profits amid UK economic ‘uncertainty’ in UK

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Barclays has reported a profit of £3.5bn for 2018, unchanged on the previous year.

Its UK business made a provision of £150m for “anticipated economic uncertainty” related to Brexit.

If the economy was to take a hit after Brexit, the extra allowance would help Barclays cover costs like rising bad debts.

The bank’s chief executive Jes Staley said 2018 had been a “very significant” year, with several issues resolved.

Last year it took charges of £2.2bn to cover legal issues and fines, including a large settlement with US regulators and, in the UK, compensation over PPI.

Barclays confirmed that it will pay a dividend of 6.5p this year.

The company’s management is under pressure from US-based financier Edward Bramson to raise its performance.

Mr Bramson owns a 5.5% stake and wants to take a seat on the board.

In a statement accompanying the latest results, Mr Staley said the bank plans to return a greater proportion of the earnings to shareholders, including buying back shares in the company, which traditionally supports the share price.