Thursday 9 January 2014

Thursday, January 09, 2014 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, January 09, 2014 with No comments | Labels:

Cabinet split over George Osborne's plan for £12bn more welfare cuts
Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith is alarmed at the chancellor's approach to social security reform, while deputy prime minister Nick Clegg warns of a 'monumental mistake.' As the debate intensified, Robert Chote, head of the Office for Budget Responsibility, confirmed that Osborne's plans would mean hitting the sick and disabled. Clegg criticised Osborne for ruling out a tax rise and even countenancing a tax cut for high earners, later adding: "I literally don't know of a serious economist who believes that you only do it from that lopsided, unbalanced approach. Almost all serious economists say you have some kind of mix." GUARDIAN

Lending to business suffers biggest fall since 2011, Bank of England data shows
The news raises concerns that economic growth is dependent on household spending, and casting doubt on the effectiveness of schemes intended to increase banks' appetite to lend. Lending to non-financial companies fell by £4.7bn in November, compared with a monthly average decrease of £1bn over the previous six months. But it was caused by a drop in loans to big businesses, whereas small business lending actually rose for the first time in five months. GUARDIAN

UK car sales at highest since 2007, helped by bank mis-selling compensation payouts
British new car sales rose to their highest level since 2007 last year, bucking a weak European trend to grow by 10.8 percent on the year. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says the sales were fuelled by growing confidence, cheap finance deals and PPI payments, shifting 2.265 million cars in 2013. Mike Hawes, the SMMT's chief executive, said it was difficult to measure the precise impact of the estimated £18bn of Payment Protection Insurance compensation, but that average payouts of £3,000 were having an impact: "It's enough to put a deposit down on a car." GUARDIAN

Workers to demand better pay deals after driving British car industry to an 11% sales surge
Unions say it is only fair that employees who took a pay hit when times were tough should share in the industry's current success. Mike Hawes, chief executive of trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, ­acknowledged: “The support the unions have given has been key.” But Mark Ovenden, boss of Ford in the UK, warned: “It is ­important to qualify the improvement.” He said Ford’s European arm would lose more than £600million this year, and wouldn’t break even until 2015. Yet it came as the manufacturer celebrated a bumper 2013 in which it notched up 37 years as Britain’s best selling car maker. DAILY MIRROR

Pensions annuities risk causing the next big financial mis-selling scandal, says Conservative MP
Gloucester MP Richard Graham raised concerns about consumers’ ability to fully understand the annuities products they were offered, adding many were not clear about the fees they would have to pay. He said: ‘Since this is potentially the second biggest financial purchase of our lives, I believe the state of things is worrying.’ Mr Graham referred to a recent seminar on annuities, which he chaired, during which he asked the Association of British Insurers if there was a danger of any of its members being sued for mis-selling.  ‘There was a long pause before the answer came: 'Not yet'', the MP said today. DAILY MAIL

Alcohol pricing: government 'dancing to the tune of drinks industry'
Senior doctors have accused the government of "dancing to the tune of the drinks industry" after it emerged that health officials and ministers had 130 meetings with alcohol and supermarket lobbyists while they were considering new price controls. An investigation by the British Medical Journal was undertaken after David Cameron backed plans to impose a minimum price per unit of alcohol, and then dropped the policy in July last year over a lack of "concrete evidence" it would reduce harmful drinking. Prof Sir Ian Gilmore, special adviser on alcohol for the Royal College of Physicians, raised fears that "big business is trumping public health concerns in Westminster". "The drinks industry continues to have high-level access to government ministers and officials while no forum currently exists for the public health community to put forward its case in an environment free from vested interests," Gilmore said. GUARDIAN


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