Scotsman: Insurers fear tax rule could send jobs to India OFFSHORING jobs to India may become more widespread among insurance companies next year unless the government acts to prevent a new tax rule, the industry body has warned.The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has urged the government to delay the introduction of VAT on outsourced insurance services, which it says could increase the industry's tax burden by more than £200 million a year. The ruling will only apply to outsourcing within Europe, meaning insurance companies will have more incentive to explore low-cost economies such as India. "It is not good news for UK plc," the ABI said. "It is more likely that outsourced services will move outside Europe."
ManchesterOnline: Cheshire to axe HQ jobs CHESHIRE Building Society is to axe up to 70 head office posts and close four branches in a drive to save more than £2m a year. Chief executive Karen McCormick announced the changes following a review launched when she took over the role on a permanent basis last month.
Icliverpool: 500 jobs at risk in glass fight A LEGAL challenge that could put 500 new glass factory jobs in Ellesmere Port in jeopardy began yesterday in the High Court. Irish-based Quinn Glass this year completed the construction of Europe's largest glass making factory at the former Ince Power Station.
Just-Auto.com: Pressings plant axes 70 Welsh workers Up to 70 jobs will go within a month at Krupp Camford Pressings in Llanelli, Wales, after it lost a major order from Volkswagen. Around 165 staff remain at the plant and virtually all production is now for Land Rover, with some additional work for Bentley, another VW Group company.
Ananova: Chocolate Factory Broken Up The famous home of Terry's chocolates has been closed. More than 300 jobs are to go at the plant in York, which is now owned by Kraft Foods International. The site on Bishopthorpe Road has been making chocolate confectionery since 1926 and recently produced 20,000 tonnes of chocolate each year for the domestic and international market.
Reuters: ADC says to cut jobs in England, Scotland Communications equipment maker ADC Telecommunications Inc. (ADCT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Wednesday it would cut about 150 jobs in England and Scotland as part of a move to lower manufacturing costs.
PRW.com: Symphony to cut jobs due to low margins Degradable plastics company Symphony Plastic Technologies is to cut jobs and review directors’ salaries in response to low sales and margins. The planned cuts follow a review of the firm’s strategy, it said this morning when launching its first half figures
ThisisMoney: BA job cuts 'in the thousands' A STAFF cull at British Airways, likely to run to the loss of thousands of jobs under new chief executive Willie Walsh, is to kick off with secret plans to axe 500 baggage handlers and cargo loaders - workers who played a major role in this summer's Gate Gourmet fiasco.
Scotsman: Uniq to axe up to 90 jobs as overhaul continues UNIQ, the convenience food giant, today revealed that up to 90 jobs in Britain will be cut as it shakes its business in the midst of difficult trading conditions. The overhaul comes in the wake of the arrival last month of new chief executive Geoff Eaton and the loss of 100 UK jobs in May after the firm saw annual losses widen to £70.6 million, from £15.6m.
BBC NEWS | RAC call centre staff cut by half Two hundred jobs are to go from the RAC's call centres in Bristol by the end of the year. The work is being transferred to India as part of the company's rationalisation plans which were announced earlier this year.
TheBusinessEDP24: More jobs to go at Bernard Matthews Turkey producer Bernard Matthews yesterday announced a restructuring of the company with the loss of up to 110 jobs. The Norfolk-based company faces increasing competition from low-cost food producers based in the Far East and South America. At the same time, profit margins are being squeezed by major supermarkets and other outlets, which aim to pay less for its products.
Reuters: Consumer confidence falls unexpectedly Consumer confidence unexpectedly fell further in September to its lowest level in almost a year, pulled down by an increasingly pessimistic outlook for the economy, a report showed on Friday. Consultancy GfK Martin Hamblin said its confidence barometer fell to -5 from -4 in August. That was the lowest reading since October 2004, when it was -6. Analysts had predicted the index would remain at -4.
ThisisMoney: Sipps will 'hit first-time buyers' A NEW tax break will allow Britons to spend billions on second homes as part of their pension. The change effectively gives investors 51% off the price of a property. But it could send the prices of holiday homes and buy-to-let properties soaring, making it even harder for first-time buyers to afford a home.
Guardian: Labour's £10bn nuclear sell-off Operations at Sellafield and other major nuclear plants such as Sizewell and Dungeness are to be sold off to the private sector for more than £10bn under plans drawn up yesterday by the board of British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL).
TimesOnline: Poor growth 'due to public sector' INEFFICIENCY in the public sector was blamed by City economists yesterday for a drop in a key measure of Britain’s productivity growth to its lowest since present records began in the early 1990s. Official data gave a mixed picture of Britain’s productivity performance. But critics of the Government’s economic record seized on a new low for productivity growth measured by output per hour worked.
BBC News: Minimum wage increasing to £5.05 The minimum wage will rise on 1 October, benefiting more than one million workers. Adults must be paid at least £5.05 an hour, up from £4.85, while 18 to 21 year olds will get 15p more at £4.25.
The Australian: RBA warning of 'meltdown' Further rises in oil prices, the collapse of a major bank or an unexpected jump in inflation could be all it takes to send the increasingly fragile global financial system into meltdown.
International Herald Tribune: House-rich or poorhouse? Anyone concerned about recent signs that red-hot real estate markets may be cooling off - a group that would include Alan Greenspan, the Bank of England and many homeowners on both sides of the Atlantic - might want to review the cautionary tale of the Three Little Pigs.
MotleyFool: A Recipe For A Housing Crash! First of all, let me start by saying that I'm not an economist and, indeed, I've never been formally taught this subject. However, after eighteen years in financial services, I'm confident that I have a good understanding of what makes consumers tick when it comes to money matters. Sadly, all the information that I've collected leaves me worried about our nation's finances as a whole.
Here are eleven warning signs which suggest a bleak outlook for many households:
EN24: Virgin Money jobs at risk Scores of staff could lose their jobs at Virgin Money as the company is now planning on outsourcing jobs elsewhere in the UK. Bosses at the Richard Branson-owned company have revealed the company intends to restructure. The Whiting Road-based company said it planned to outsource all its back-office administration work and other jobs were being reviewed to meet a new organisational structure.
Scotsman: Shake-up fails to halt profits slide at Jenners JENNERS, the historic Edinburgh department store, has suffered a further slide in profits amid falling consumer sales - but new owner, House of Fraser, has promised that its back-office shake-up involving more than 100 job cuts will deliver annual savings of more than £3m.
BBC NEWS | Jobs will go at tobacco factory The loss of 134 jobs has been announced at a cigarette rolling papers factory in south Wales. The Imperial Tobacco Group blamed a cost cutting exercise for the closure of the plant at Treforest near Pontypridd.
SkyNews: BOOTS GLOOMY OVER XMAS Boots has reported a new fall in sales. And it says it does not see the chances of a major rise in consumer confidence this Christmas. Comparable sales fell by 1.6% in the second quarter - twice as fast as over the previous three months. But the firm said the first-half fall of 1.3% was distorted by cheaper medicines due to regulatory price changes, insisting that sales of its health and beauty ranges and toiletries had been encouraging.
ThisisMoney: House prices continue to fall HOUSE prices are still falling despite a healthy pick-up in sales, Britain's biggest building society revealed today. Nationwide said the average price of a home slipped 0.2% to £156,517 in September following a similar fall the previous month. That pushed the year-on-year rate of increase down to 1.8% - the weakest since May.
Independent: Economy: Things can only get tougher Retail sales hit 22-year low. Growth at 12-year low. Inflation at nine-year high. Unemployment rising. Gordon Brown has suffered a body blow to his political reputation - just days after his confident speech to Labour conference - with the release of official figures showing the economy at its weakest level for 12 years.
Guardian: Struggling GCap threatens 100 job cuts GCap Media announced up to 100 job cuts and tripled its cost savings target yesterday as it sought to regain the confidence of the stock market after making a stuttering debut as the UK's largest commercial radio broadcaster.
Guardian: Blood on the shop floor as retailers report sales falling at the fastest rate since records began The fragile state of consumer spending was underlined yesterday as the CBI's latest survey of the retail sector showed sales volumes falling at their fastest rate in the report's 22-year history. The survey will worry the Bank of England, which cut interest rates last month and has said it expects consumer spending - which accounts for two-thirds of the economy and has been its main driver for several years - to recover in the second half of the year
Scotsman: Scotmid axes jobs on first loss in 20 years SCOTMID hit its 250,000-plus members with a triple whammy of bad news yesterday - store closures, job cuts and a first loss in 20 years - and admitted a rapid expansion over the past couple of years has dramatically backfired.The Edinburgh-based Advertisement supermarket-to- funeral parlour group has expanded aggressively in recent years, spending an estimated £40 million-plus on a range of acquisitions, including Dundee-based retail chain Morning, Noon & Night (MN&N) last August for £30 million.
ManchesterOnline: Co-op staff told to change or face the sack MORE than 2,000 financial advisers at Co-operative Insurance Society have been warned to accept new contracts or face the sack. The staff received a letter from the Manchester giant stating they had been dismissed from their current job, however they would be offered a new role at the company. But union leaders at Usdaw believe the contracts offer less favourable conditions and that some staff stand to lose around 20 per cent of their salary because of unachievable sales targets.
TimesOnline: Yet more blood on the high street Britain's embattled retailers know all about slowing economic growth - and so do their shareholders. Many will have lost count of the number of trading statements and interim results they have seen littered with references to the "difficult", "challenging", "tough" or "deteriorating" high street conditions.
BBC NEWS | Business | House price 'slowdown continues' Annual house price growth is continuing to slow, according to the Nationwide. Prices rose by just 1.8% during the 12 months to September - the lowest increase since May 1996, and a further decline on the August's 2.3% growth. But the Nationwide said August's 0.25% drop in interest rates to 4.5% may now be helping to boost the housing market.
Reuters: Kesa H1 earnings fall sharply Kesa Electricals Plc, Europe's third-biggest electrical retailer, said on Wednesday its first-half retail profits fell 27 percent and ruled out a market upturn in France and the UK in the near future. The owner of the Comet chain in the UK and Darty in France said retail earnings fell to 36.3 million pounds for the six months to July 31, on a 0.8 percent drop in like-for-like sales.
ThisisMoney: The OAPs still paying mortgages HALF a million homeowners are still paying off their mortgages after retiring from work, research revealed yesterday. Dreams of a debt-free retirement are disappearing, with the monthly repayments often remaining a burden long after working days end.
Guardian: Labour has £1bn defence float in its sights The government is expected to press ahead with a full privatisation of QinetiQ, the technology firm spun out of the Ministry of Defence, despite political opposition and City scepticism. Three top investment banks are working flat out on preparations for a controversial £1bn stock market debut, hoping to take advantage of the upturn in defence spending after 9/11.
TimesOnline: Oil becomes Brown's handy scapegoat AN OIL shock as bad as that of the Seventies. This was how Gordon Brown depicted the troubles facing the global economy as he explained on Friday why he is about to stage an embarrassing climbdown over his rose-tinted economic forecasts.
TimesOnline: Well-off get bigger tax breaks for buy-to-lets THE dispute over tax breaks for the wealthy intensified yesterday as it emerged that betteroff taxpayers will be able to buy holiday homes and buy-to-let properties through their personal pension funds and get back 51 per cent of the purchase price from the taxman.
TimesOnline: Britain 'less competitive' for business Whatever message Chancellor Gordon Brown may have been trying to impart about Britain's economic well-being this week, he will not have welcomed the findings of a global survey which says that Britain has become a markedly less favourable location for business in the past year.
ThisisMoney: Remortgagers boost property outlook BORROWERS piled in to remortgage in August, taking advantage of cheap deals. New figures from the British Bankers' Association showed gross mortgage lending exceeded the same period a year earlier for the first time in 12 months at £16.8bn.
ThisisMoney: Barratt warns of 'challenging' market THE boss of Britain's biggest housebuilder, Barratt Developments, today warned of another full year ahead of 'challenging' housing markets. But Barratt chief executive David Pretty said his firm is in a good position yet again to outperform the sector in terms of profit growth after delivering another year of forecast-beating figures.
LewRockwell: Panic Now and Beat the Rush An estimated $1.4 trillion in adjustable-rate mortgage debt will be reset in the next two years at considerably higher rates, adding to already swelling unsold home inventories. In short, the marginal U.S. consumer and his charitable lender are facing a financial version of the perfect storm.
Reuters: Mortgage approvals rise in August-BBA Mortgage approvals for home purchases showed their first annual rise in more than a year in August, adding to mounting evidence that Britain's cooling property market is stabilising, according to data on Tuesday.
FT: Rita causes record damage to oil rigs Hurricane Rita has caused more damage to oil rigs than any other storm in history and will force companies to delay drilling for oil in the US and as far away as the Middle East, initial damage assessments show.
SunOnline: Plot to keep Brown down TONY Blair’s allies are counting on an economic downturn to derail Gordon Brown’s bid for the Labour crown, a former minister claimed yesterday. The warning by ex-pensions chief Frank Field came amid signs the Chancellor’s eight-year run of luck at the Treasury may be running out.
BBC NEWS | Job cuts fear at steel producer Talks aimed at avoiding job losses at the last remaining big stainless steel producer in Sheffield are taking place. Outokumpu, the world's second-largest stainless steel producer is planning to move new orders from Coil Products in the city to Finland, hitting UK jobs.
BBC NEWS | Business | Allsports enters administration About 1,700 jobs are on the line after the sportswear retailer Allsports called in the administrators Tuesday. Many of the chain's 267 stores must close after a harsh price war, administrator BDO Stoy Hayward said.
ThisisMoney: Chancellor set for a £10bn cash grab NATIONAL Insurance, VAT and a windfall tax on oil companies and banks are the most likely targets of a cash grab by Gordon Brown. Experts warn the Chancellor needs to raise at least £10bn to ensure his arithmetic adds up.
Guardian: We can do this the nice way ... or the nasty way The International Monetary Fund made it clear last week that it saw the world's largest economy as an accident waiting to happen. The US could not continue to live beyond its means indefinitely, and there were only two ways to deal with the unsustainable imbalances in the global economy: the nice way or the nasty way.
BBC NEWS | England | West Midlands | Job fears at Vodafone call centre Union officials have criticised mobile telephone company Vodafone following reports that its Birmingham call centre is to close with the loss of 600 jobs. Managers have asked all staff at the base in Brindleyplace, including those on sick and maternity leave, to attend a meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
Times Online: Brown will need to go beyond rhetoric After a succession of trade unionists had invoked memories of the bad old days of labour relations, the Chancellor was destined to sound like the embodiment of new Labour, even if he had to mention the extra tax that he would be needing to collect in order to balance his books.
Money Week: UK Taxes Are Set To Rise Chancellor Gordon Brown leaked the announcement that he was downgrading his forecasts for UK economic growth to coincide with Hurricane Rita and on a Saturday, when the financial markets were closed, in the hope that he could get away with the minimum of adverse publicity.
Money Week: The Bubble In The US Housing Sector Significantly, Mr Greenspan has drawn an important linkage in his analysis of the situation. He states not only that the ongoing process of monetary tightening could throw the escalating housing market into reverse, but...
Money Week: Stalemate For UK Interest Rates Rate expectations in the UK have been volatile so far this year. At the start of 2005 markets began to price in a rise in UK interest rates as likely, reflecting concerns of a re-acceleration of domestic growth and inflationary pressures...
FT: Bush tries to reassure public on high petrol prices President George W. Bush on Monday made a rare public appeal for Americans to share cars and curb non-essential driving as part of an effort to reduce high petrol prices following the two hurricanes that have struck the Gulf of Mexico coast.
ThisisMoney: Gordon Brown outlines his vision A SUPER-CONFIDENT Gordon Brown appeared to rule out emergency tax rises today. The Chancellor issued a 'don't panic' message to the City as he strode to the Labour conference to be crowned prime minister in waiting.
smh.com.au: Slowdown hits home for agents There are plenty of For Sale signs going up all over your suburb. But they are not being put up on your neighbours' houses. All over the city, real estate agents, hit by the downturn in listings and property sales, are selling their assets and shutting up shop.
'UK house prices will fall by up to 50%' - in2perspective In an article published in The Observer today, financier-turned-economic pundit Jim Mellon identifies five trends that he predicts will lead to a dramatic fall in house prices in the US and UK within three years. "Stock markets will collapse, house prices in the over-extended markets of the UK and the US will fall by up to 50%, and major investment banks and other financial institutions will go bust," forecasts Mellon.
Guardian: Oil market braced for Rita blast The world's oil markets are braced for a tumultuous week, with US refineries shut down in the wake of Hurricane Rita, and fears mounting that sky-high energy prices are taking their toll on gas-guzzling economies.
The Observer | Alphabet of global downturn: "Although a natural optimist, I am going to make a prediction that is almost apocalyptic. In a short time - a few years at most - the rich West and Japan will have a terrible shock. Living standards will fall precipitously, companies will fail en masse and established institutions will find themselves in financial peril. Asset prices - particularly those of houses - will fall dramatically in some countries, notably the US and UK, and world trade conditions will deteriorate significantly"
Sky News: Brown admits fault Gordon Brown has been forced to admit economic growth will not be as strong as he had predicted. The Chancellor has repeatedly refused to give in to pressure to cut his Budget forecast for growth.
BBC Panorama: Brown's miracle economy Panorama asks whether Gordon Brown's miracle economy is as miraculous as it seems. BBC economics reporter Stephanie Flanders examines whether we have experienced a sea-change in Britain's economic fortunes, or another old-fashioned spending binge that will eventually run dry.
BBC NEWS | Politics | Economy 'weaker than predicted' Economic growth in the UK will be weaker than predicted, Chancellor Gordon Brown is set to admit. He will tell the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that record oil prices and a slow global economy are to blame.
TimesOnline: British Land planning £1bn disposal BRITISH LAND, the FTSE 100 property company, is planning to sell more than £1 billion of property over the next 18 months after a strategic review of its portfolio, The Times has learnt. It is understood that British Land will seek to cash in on high demand for commercial property and soaring values by selling assets that it believes will underperform in the next few years. Buildings for sale include CityPoint, a £500 million office tower in the City of London, which will represent Britain’s largest single office investment sale.
This Is Money: Three big retailers awash with pessimism JOHN Lewis, Laura Ashley and Ottakar's added to the deepening gloom on Britain's High Streets. All said there was no sign of a pick-up before Christmas, chiming with recent downbeat comments from Next, Woolworths and B&Q.
Reuters: Inflation expectation fears stalk Bank of England After years of well-contained rices, Bank of England policymakers now fear that Britons could make their job harder by overreacting if inflation rises too far beyond its recent range. Climbing petrol prices and soaring household bills have pushed inflation well above the central bank's 2.0 percent target in recent months to a near-9 year high.
Action News: No down payment? No sweat "What happens when you run out of people who could even qualify to buy a house with an interest-only, (zero-down), variable-rate mortgage?" Thornberg asked. "The answer is ... there are no more shills to enter the bottom of this pyramid and, therefore, the pyramid scheme will have collapsed into itself."
Business Week: Housing Markets Are Stable ... Until They're Not Three top economists made a splash on the Wall Street Journal's editorial page this past Monday with a piece headlined "Bubble Trouble? Not Likely." But the way I read the research underlying the Journal piece, a better title would have been "Housing Markets Are Stable ... Until They're Not."
FT: Fears that Katrina has blown deep hole in deficit Now the hurricane seems likely to send American public finances plunging deeper into the red. The White House, sensing unrest in Republican ranks, has stressed that the total rebuilding cost remains unknown. But, with $62.3bn already appropriated, it seems reasonable to expect the Federal government's final bill will reach $200bn.
Bexley Times: Anger over possible job losses UP TO 600 workers at one of the borough's biggest employers are facing redundancy following the company's loss of a lucrative contract. Managers at Ferndale Foods, based in Hailey Road, Erith, have had a £40 million agreement with Asda supermarkets, to which they supply ready meals, terminated.
BBC NEWS | England | Staffordshire | Bathrooms firm set to axe 30 jobs Thirty people are being made redundant at the Twyford Bathrooms factory in south Cheshire. Employees at the plant in Alsager were told on Thursday the jobs will be axed by the end of October. The company said it has struggled with difficult trading conditions for the whole industry over the past year and is having to restructure.
BBC NEWS | England | Essex | Hundreds of jobs go with shutdown More than half the workforce at a factory in Basildon is to go after the firm announced production is to move. York International, which employs 450 people, is to stop making air conditioning units in the town as part of a restructuring. A company spokesman said production would be phased out over 12 months with the loss of 250 jobs
Guardian: It's tough out there, says John Lewis chief - but we can trade our way through it Conditions on the high street are "the worst for 15 years", the chairman of the John Lewis department store group said yesterday. Announcing a 3% dip in half year profits, to £78m, at the employee-owned partnership, Sir Stuart Hampson said trading conditions in the non-food sector were "exceptionally harsh" and that consumers had been "spooked" into curtailing their spending.
Guardian: Exporters forced to cut prices despite oil rise The continued sluggish performance of the eurozone - destination for half of British overseas sales - has sent manufacturing export orders to their lowest since the turn of the year, the CBI said yesterday. The CBI's latest snapshot of industry showed firms expect to have to cut the prices of their goods in spite of big cost rises caused by surging oil prices.
Policy Exchange: Bigger Better Faster More Britain has some of the oldest, pokiest and most expensive homes in the world. Our search for better alternatives took us to four countries with similar demand side pressures to find out how their planning systems succeed (and fail) to provide high quality, spacious homes at affordable prices.
FT: Latest storm could hit refineries harder than Katrina More than 1m people on Thursday fled their homes along the Texas and Louisiana coast to escape Hurricane Rita as President George W. Bush sought to avoid a repeat of the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina by urging a mass evacuation.
BBC NEWS | Business | UK factory orders 'remain weak' Manufacturing orders improved slightly in September, but remain near two-year lows, business group the CBI has said. Its latest monthly industrial trends survey showed that 39% of firms said order books were below normal, while only 12% said they were above.
TimesOnline: MPC ponders how to deal with high oil price threat MEMBERS of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) are in a quandary over how to respond to high oil prices. Minutes of their latest meeting on September 7 and 8 show that the nine economists and Bank officials fear that high oil prices will raise inflation but slow the growth of output and spending. There appear to be wide differences, however, over how monetary policy should be used to deal with these opposing threats.
Reuters: OPEC powerless as oil keeps climbing after deal OPEC ministers left Vienna on Wednesday powerless over oil prices that kept climbing despite the cartel's commitment to offer up every last barrel of its spare production to reassure consumers. "We have done everything we can. This is the time for others to do what they can," Libya's Oil Minister Fathi Omar Bin Shatwan told Reuters ahead of his departure.
Economist: Reluctant party-poopers Despite the economic impact of Katrina, which dealt a stiff blow to America’s oil markets, the Federal Reserve has once again raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point. With high fuel prices threatening to bring on both inflation and recession, being a central banker is harder than it used to be.
This is Money: Record numbers remortgaging Homeowners are remortgaging in record numbers to snap up the best interest rates. The amount loaned in remortgages reached £11.7bn last month, the same amount which used to be handed out in a whole year only a decade ago.
Independent: Surge in tax receipts cuts UK budget deficit Gordon Brown's quest to slash government borrowing was helped by a surge in tax receipts last month that narrowed the budget shortfall. Income from taxes rose twice as fast as spending, helping to keep the lid on public sector net borrowing (PSNB), which stood at £4.8bn in August - way below City forecasts of a £6bn deficit.
ThisisMoney: Record numbers remortgaging HOMEOWNERS are remortgaging in record numbers to snap up the best interest rates. The amount loaned in remortgages reached £11.7bn last month, the same amount which used to be handed out in a whole year only a decade ago.
New York Times: Putting the Squeeze on a Bubble Richard Bernstein, a strategist at Merrill Lynch, pointed out in a note to clients that construction company executives had been vigorously selling their shares in their businesses. Heavy insider selling is a red flag.
This Is Money: Your past needn't be a problem BORROWERS with a less-than-perfect credit history have often had a hard time getting a mortgage, with many turned down or charged high rates. But High Street lenders are now taking a more relaxed approach.
CNN Money: Housing prices can go down Across America, real-estate prices continue to confound the skeptics. Many Americans have come to think of their homes as rock-solid investments with little downside.
BBC News: Credit card spending falls again Spending on credit cards fell again in August, according to the British Bankers Association (BBA). Borrowing fell by £146m as card holders paid off more of their debts in August, triggering the second monthly fall in spending on credit cards this year
ICWales: More than 500 job cuts at Irish Ferries THE loss of 500 jobs on ferries sailing between Wales and Ireland has been blamed on fuel costs and competition from cheap flights. The planned cuts come after mounting costs at Irish Ferries, which sails out of Pembroke Dock and Holyhead. The company has offered voluntary redundancy to 543 staff, it was announced yesterday.
Examiner: Beatties plan to axe 300 jobs STAFF at Beatties department store in Huddersfield face uncertainty today after a decision to axe 300 jobs at the company. Beatties' owner House of Fraser is to close Beatties' loss-making Birmingham store with about 140 job losses. Another 30 jobs will go at the Beatties head office in Wolverhampton. The rest of the job losses will be at the chain's remaining 11 branches, which includes the store at Kingsgate.
EuroNews: Siemens announces more job losses The German engineering firm, Siemens is to lay off 2,400 workers at its computer-services division and reduce costs by 1.5 billion euros over the next two years. The head of that unit is also being replaced. In addition, the company will eliminate an unspecified number of jobs at Siemens Communications and break up its loss-making logistics unit.
BBC NEWS | England | Beds/Bucks/Herts | Factory shuts with 370 jobs lost The first Shredded Wheat factory to be built in the UK is to close after almost 80 years in production. The Grade II listed factory in Welwyn Garden City, Herts, will close in 2007 - with the loss of 370 jobs. Parent firm Cereal Partners said production of the cereal would be moved to their factory in Staverton, Wilts. A spokesman for the firm said the move was regrettable but that: "Lower manufacturing costs can only be achieved with fewer factories."
FT: New US hurricane threat sends energy prices soaring The threat of a new hurricane heading towards the Gulf of Mexico repeating the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina sent oil, petrol and gas prices soaring on Monday and overshadowed the ministerial meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Money Week: A Bumpier Road Ahead For the US ...Reconciling these forces in my view implies changes in asset prices. In particular, the shift in the saving-investment balance will likely drive up US real rates. But volatility and real interest rates may rise globally, testing risky asset markets.
Money Week: The Simple Economics of Oil I had lunch earlier this week with a very clever economist who pointed out that economics really isn’t that hard. To be good at it, he said, you need only understand two things – supply and demand.
Money Week: Renting Looks Cheaper Than Buying As the housing market has cooled over the past year or so, agents and landlords have reported a steady demand for rented property. This is not surprising, as the modest falls in average house prices reported to date have yet to make much of a difference to first time buyers already priced out of the market.
FT.Com: Rate cuts predicted if growth in UK falls short There is a “serious risk” that economic growth will fall short of the Bank of England's forecast, forcing further interest rate cuts, Stephen Nickell, a member of its monetary policy committee, has told the Financial Times.
Reuters: House prices ease as sales rise House price inflation continued to ease in the last month but the number of house sales rose sharply, probably helped by August's interest rate cut, in a sign the property market slowdown may have troughed.
Reuters: Inflation expectations up in Aug Britons' expectations for inflation over the coming year rose to a median 2.2 percent in August from 2.0 percent in May, the Bank of England reported in its quarterly inflation attitudes survey on Monday.
ThisisMoney: Warning over £1 trillion mountain of debt BRITAIN'S £1trillion personal debt mountain may be starting to fall apart with dire consequences for millions of households, the International Monetary Fund warned yesterday. The highly-respected economic watchdog sounded the alarm over the recent record increase in personal bankruptcies. They rose by 37% to 11,195 between April and June compared to the same period last year, according to government figures.
Telegraph: Gloom deepens as stores suffer 20pc drop in sales Retail sales collapsed last week, with some stores reporting falls of up to 20 per cent, as an anticipated autumn recovery failed to materialise. A senior retailing executive said: "There were a number of causes of this particular disaster. People were queuing for petrol, the weather was warm, they were watching the cricket, and so on."
Telegraph: Whitehall sees off pressure for redundancies There has not been a single voluntary or compulsory redundancy of a full-time employee in seven of the Government's most important departments during the 14 months since the Chancellor pledged to slash Whitehall costs. However, there has been an explosion of expenditure on management consultants, hired to find cost savings.
Independent: Chains will go under, warns retail expert An expert on struggling retail businesses has predicted a glut of collapses on the high street in the run-up to Christmas. Paul McGowan, the UK chairman of Hilco - a US group that specialises in distressed debt and underperforming retail firms - said conditions were tough now but likely to get tougher, which would make further casualties unavoidable.
Independent: Chancellor is looking down a barrel as growth hopes take a knock A leading economic forecaster has been forced to shave its predictions for UK growth as high oil prices start to hit home. Ernst & Young's Item Club, which uses the Treasury's economic forecasting models, said GDP growth would slow to 2 per cent this year if oil prices remained around their current level of $65 a barrel. That is well below the forecast of the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, who is looking for growth of 3 per cent, and also marks a 0.1 per cent reduction in the Item Club's most recent prediction.
TimesOnline: Brown warns on oil price as retailers report plunge in sales GORDON BROWN will tell the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank next weekend that Britain is being hit by a global slowdown as a result of high oil prices. The Ernst & Young Item club, in a new report, says high oil prices could slow Britain’s growth for three years.
NCPA: The Bicoastal Housing Bubble (USA) Speculative "bubbles" can appear in various sectors of the economy when the Federal Reserve eases monetary policy by lowering interest rates. Generally speaking, when the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy, the sectors of the economy that went up the most during the easing phase will fall the hardest as the bubble bursts.
Economist: Don’t blame the savers Some economists argue that the imbalances in the world economy can be blamed, in part, on a glut of savings from developing countries gushing into American assets. New reports from the IMF and the World Bank say the problem lies elsewhere.
MoneyWeek: High Oil Prices Are Here To Stay It now seems to us quite unlikely that oil prices will be much lower at any time this year. The high oil price has hit American gasoline prices, which proportionately rise much more than the UK petrol prices because of the low level of taxation.
Moneyweek: Housing slump demolishes builders' profits We have long been worried about house prices here at MoneyWeek. But last May, we finally got worried enough to run a four-page feature (by James Ferguson) explaining why the house price bubble had pretty much run its course.
ThisisMoney: Birds Eye up for grabs FROZEN food giant Birds Eye has been put up for sale and could fetch as much as £1bn in the latest shakeup at Unilever's sprawling Persil and PG Tips-to-Wall's ice cream empire.
Yahoo: Secured loans demand 'to ease off' Demand for secured loans is set to cool over the coming five years as the property market continues to slow down, research has claimed. Market analyst Datamonitor said the double digit growth in secured lending seen during the past few years was unlikely to be repeated in the near future. Instead it expects total advances of the loans, which are secured against people's homes, to increase at a rate of just 5.3% a year between now and the end of 2009 to reach £35.4 billion a year.
Yahoo: £34bn spent on home improvements Britons are collectively investing £34 billion a year in improving their properties, research has shown. More than half of those questioned had already made changes to their home this year, and a further 16% are planning to make modifications during the next 12 months, according to savings group ING Direct. On average, home owners estimate they spend more than £350 a month on their properties, with just under a fifth saying they save the money they need to carry out their improvements.
TimesOnline: High street gloom increases as sales slump at supermarkets HIGH street tills failed to ring up any rise in sales last month as battered retailers were hit by a slump in trading at food stores. Retail sales volumes stagnated in August, while a decline in sales in July was revised to show a drop of 0.6 per cent — twice as large as previously reported.
ThisisMoney: Labour's tax on the family FAMILIES are being encouraged to break up by Labour's tax and benefits policies. Parents can receive £4,000 more in handouts if they split up, says a report by the think-tank Civitas.
Guardian: Next chief says sector is having its worst time in 13 years Simon Wolfson, chief executive of the fashion chain Next, described high-street conditions yesterday as the worst he had experienced since joining the retail business in 1992. The Next Group, which is Britain's third-biggest clothing business, said sales in the last six weeks had deteriorated further from the poor trading of the first half. Its shares lost 48p to £14.42 and led to falls across the retail sector.
ChannelRegister: Job losses loom at SiemensSiemens could be about to announce a rack of job cuts as part of moves to restructure the business and stem losses, according to reports from Germany. Some 1,300 jobs are due for the chop at Siemens' SBS IT division, according to a report by Sueddeutsche-Zeitung by way of AFX, as it seeks to find €1.5bn in cost savings.
BBC News: US jobless claims at 10-year high Before Katrina struck, the US economy was creating new jobs US unemployment has surged in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, with the weekly rise in the number of people claiming benefits jumping to 10-year highs.
BBC2: Get Rich Quick Filmmaker Saul Dibb follows one of the booming number of investment schemes that claim they can create vast amounts of wealth in very short spaces of time. Revealing, funny and at times deeply poignant, the result is a gripping modern morality tale.
MoneyWeek: Is the World Headed for Stagflation? Recent economic data, combined with the rise in energy prices this summer and the likely policy reactions in Washington to Hurricane Katrina, have firmed my belief that the global macro environment will turn stagflationary soon.
MoneyWeek: Australia Points The Way for UK House Market In recent months we have highlighted developments in Australia, another economy whose very rapid rates of house price growth in recent years appear to have left its housing market significantly overvalued and vulnerable to a correction.
ITVNews: Mortgage customers 'wasting thousands' Britons coming to the end of a mortgage deal are collectively wasting £20 million a month by failing to switch to a better rate.. Around 50 per cent of homeowners have a fixed or tracker rate mortgage, but 35 per cent of these say they will not bother remortgaging when their current deal expires, according to high street bank Abbey.
Reuters: Kingfisher H1 profit slumps, to revamp B&Q Kingfisher (KGF.L: Quote, Profile, Research), owner of B&Q and France's Castorama home improvement chains, posted a 23 percent fall in first-half profits on Thursday and said market conditions remained weak in the second half.
ThisisMoney: Next plunge chills High St FASHION chain Next sent a chill wind through the High Street today as it said trading in the past six weeks has been far worse than in the whole of the first half of the year and admitted it was not keeping up with fashions quickly enough.
Telegraph:Property nightmare - taking a fall in value Falling property values brought about by the recession in the 1990s may seem like a thing of the past, but when Richard and Carol Odendaal came to sell their four bedroom home they found themselves out of pocket, writes Christopher Browne
FT.Com: Crude surges after drop in inventories Crude oil prices rallied after a larger than expected fall in US oil inventories was reported by the Energy Information Administration in the second week after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast.
This is Money: To buy or not to buy Buying your first home is always fraught, even at the best of times. But with house prices in some regions falling, would it be better to put off that purchase for a few months?
Fox News: Is The US Housing Market About to Bubble Over? The reason you want to pay close attention to Shiller, a professor at Yale University, is that he is remarkably prescient: his book "Irrational Exuberance," which predicted the bursting of the technology stock bubble, came out in early 2000. A month later the market started its painful three-year decline.
Times Argus: US Consumer confidence plummets Consumer confidence tumbled in early September as Hurricane Katrina made people feel increasingly anxious about the economy's prospects and their own in the months ahead, according to figures released Friday.
MoneyWeek: Will The Fed Freeze Interest Rates? At Alan Greenspan's pre-Katrina speech at Jackson Hole, he clearly indicated that the Fed is targeting what he feels is an unhealthy rise in asset prices, and specifically the rise in your home values. Even for a Greenspan speech, or maybe especially for a Greenspan speech, it was not subtle.
SkyNews: HP TO AXE HUNDREDS US computer giant Hewlett-Packard is to cut 968 jobs in Britain over the next 12 months. The cuts will be part of a total of 5,900 jobs around the world. The UK jobs are to go at Hewlett-Packard's five British sites: Bracknell, Bristol, Glasgow, Reading and Warrington.
Motley Fool: Your Home Could Become A Prison! I watched a very gloomy programme on ITV1 last night, entitled Repossession, Repossession, Repossession (a title we suggested in this article). The show featured real-life tales from homeowners who had been turned out of their homes after getting into difficulty with debt or mortgage repayments.
Guardian: City says homeowners should be braced for period of falling prices · Official figures challenged by analysts· Warning that market is already in retreat. The City was last night warning homeowners to brace themselves for a period of falling house prices after the latest figures from the government showed the value of property rising at its slowest rate since the year before Tony Blair entered Downing Street.
SkyNews: AUGUST LONDON SALES DIVE Shoppers' reluctance to go to central London following the July attacks on the Tube brought about a 11.5% slump in sales on the same time last year. The fall was the worst since the London Retail Sales Monitor began in October 2002.
ThisisMoney: The Iron Chancellor should bend a little GORDON Brown finds himself at the centre of a political firestorm over surging oil, petrol and energy costs. The Chancellor knows that rising oil prices will boost his tax revenues and encourage North Sea oil production.
Independent: Demand for commercial property grinds to a halt, says RICS UK businesses' demand for property has ground to a standstill as retailers and factories respond to the sharp fall in consumer spending, a report showed today. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said the number of firms cutting back their property budget outnumbered those raising their demand.
FT.com: Housing chains pay to keep buyers “Co-operation” is a rarely heard phrase in the dog-eat-dog world of property sales. But in today's sluggish housing market, some buyers are shelling out thousands of pounds to strangers just to stop housing chains from collapsing.
Yahoo: EU demands more and cheaper oil European ministers urged the oil-producing countries on Saturday to boost supplies rapidly to combat soaring fuel bills and told oil companies to reinvest more of their vast profits in exploration and refining.
The Times: Fears that higher oil prices are pushing up UK inflation Higher oil prices are exerting significant upward pressure on inflation, official figures are set to show this week. After a month in which crude oil prices topped a record $70 a barrel, figures tomorrow are set to show industry’s raw material and fuel costs rising at their fastest rate for more than 20 years.
Scotsman.com: A first foot on the ladder A NEW mortgage to help first-time buyers take that initial step up the home ownership ladder will be launched this week, at a time when other deals to help property market newcomers are being withdrawn.
TimesOnline: Is buy-to-let a letdown? ALL THE STATISTICS now tell us that the soar-away British housing market is sinking into a period of price stagnation, if not outright and sustained falls. Does this mean that buy-to-let can now be consigned to the dustbin of Cabbage Patch doll investments, all the rage one day, all but disappeared the next? If we look back on the behaviour of buy-to-let since it became a market phenomenon about five or six years ago, we can see three main explanations for its popularity:
ThisisMoney: Power price blow for millions MILLIONS of British Gas customers were today hit with a 14.2% rise in their energy bills - the third increase since January last year. Parent company Centrica said the soaring oil prices and dwindling North Sea gas reserves had forced it to follow the lead of rivals Powergen and EDF Energy.
FT.Com: House price inflation slows to near zero House prices in England and Wales fell for the sixth month in a row in August, according to the FT house price index, the most reliable guide to the prices achieved by sellers in the property market, published on Friday. After another small monthly drop of 0.1 per cent last month, the annual rate of house price inflation has declined from 15.2 per cent in August 2004 to 3 per cent.
BurtonMail: TOO MANY NEW HOUSES BUILT BURTON’s housing boom appears to have come to a halt after council bosses unveiled plans to block new developments in the town over fears that supply is outstripping demand.
SkyNews: JAGUAR TO SHED HUNDREDS Hundreds of white collar jobs are to go at luxury car maker Jaguar and its Ford-owned stablemate Land Rover. Up to 300 office posts could be lost at the two companies as part of a voluntary redundancy scheme to restructure the car makers.
ThisisMoney: Banks warned on cheap loans BRITAIN'S banks face a growing threat as they continue to lend cheaply in an economic environment that is becoming more uncertain, John Tiner, head of the Financial Service Authority has warned.
Independent: Estate agents to share £77m bonus Estate agents at Savills will share in a bonus of as much as £77m after sales of multimillion-pound houses and commercial properties continued to prosper in the first six months of the year.
SkyNews: MORTGAGE COSTS RISE The average cost of servicing a mortgage rose slightly during August despite the interest rate cut. People in England and Wales spent an average of £512 on mortgage repayments during the month, £10 more than they spent in July, according to the Woolwich.
Reuters: BoE set to leave interest rates steady this week The Bank of England looks almost certain to keep interest rates steady at 4.5 percent this week after last month's quarter-point cut but analysts are increasingly divided over what the next move in policy will be. All 47 analysts polled by Reuters last week predicted no change on Thursday. After that, 17 said a slowing economy would prompt another easing later this year. Another 17 said the BoE would wait until 2006 before cutting rates any further.
Reuters: UK consumer services see business stagnating-CBI UK consumer service firms expect business to stagnate over the next three months and costs will keep rising and dent profits, a survey showed on Wednesday. A quarterly survey of consumer services by the Confederation of British Industry and accountancy firm Grant Thornton, showed business volumes rose modestly in the three months to August to a balance of +9 from 0 in the May survey.
ThisisMoney: Credit card spending falls SPENDING on credit cards in the South East fell last year for the first time on record as consumers fell out of love with their plastic. A report published tomorrow by Apacs, the UK payments association, will show people living in the England's most affluent region spent £33bn on credit cards last year, down from £37bn in 2003.
Guardian: Bank fees have cost shoppers millions Britain's consumer watchdog ruled yesterday that UK shoppers have been unfairly "taxed" hundreds of millions of pounds because banks have been charging retailers excessively high fees. Following a five-and-a-half-year investigation, the Office of Fair Trading said an agreement between Mastercard and Britain's major banks - concerning the fees charged when consumers used their credit cards to buy goods - breached competition law.
Guardian: OECD warns on UK interest rates The west's leading economic thinktank last night sharply cut its forecast for the UK this year and warned that the Bank of England might need to cut interest rates further to boost flagging growth. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, based in Paris, Britain will grow by 1.9% in 2005 - barely more than half the rate predicted by the chancellor, Gordon Brown, in the budget .
EANews: Revenue slump set to continue... THERE is unlikely to be any recovery in the value of the estate agency market until 2008. That is the prediction of market analysts Key Note, who reckon that a revenue decline of 9.1 per cent this year will be followed by a further decline of 10.3 per cent in 2006. Their forecast comes as a drop in transactions and profits and consequent branch closures continue to afflict wide sections of the industry.
TheCourier: City braces itself for major job losses MANUFACTURING workers employed by NCR in Dundee are bracing themselves for potentially substantial jobs losses among their ranks after an announcement by the US-owned company that it is to open a new plant in eastern Europe. NCR employs some 1500 personnel in Dundee, around 800 of whom are manufacturing workers at the Gourdie factory on Kingsway Wes
ThisisMoney: Retail sales in summer doldrums RETAILERS suffered another month of falling sales in August – the sixth time business has declined this year.The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said like-for-like sales fell 1% in August, better than the decline of 1.9% seen in July but still disappointing when placed against weak trading a year earlier.
Reuters: UK watchdog criticises small mortgage brokers Britain's financial watchdog criticised small mortgage brokers on Tuesday for poor record-keeping and potentially recommending low-income borrowers take on more debt than they can afford. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) said it had referred three firms to its enforcement unit for further investigation after it uncovered evidence they were potentially helping people to obtain mortgages by possibly inflating incomes on application forms.
Guardian: 150 jobs to go at Travis Perkins Building materials group Travis Perkins is to shed 150 jobs as it speeds up its cost-cutting in the wake of a 7.4% fall in like-for-like retail sales at the newly-acquired Wickes. Back office, IT and finance staff at the former Wickes headquarters at Harrow, north London, and Travis's base in Northampton are at risk of redundancies.
Guardian: Summer sales fail to lift gloom Bombs, the weather, cricket and the new mood of consumer caution conspired to provide Britain's shops and stores with another grim month's trading in August, the British Retail Consortium reports today.
Independent: Jobs axed as DIY feels High St gloom THE gloom on Britain's High Streets has spread to the DIY sector as the axe is brought down on up to 1300 jobs. Travis Perkins, owner of the Wickes chain of DIY stores, has already shed 735 jobs over the past few months to deal with what its boss called 'challenging trading'.
Reuters: UK manufacturers cautiously upbeat,output slows British manufacturers' confidence about their future order books has risen even though actual output has declined and firms are struggling to pass on the cost of soaring energy prices, an industry survey showed on Monday. The latest Engineering Employers' Federation survey showed firms predicted export orders would pick up as would overall output even though official data has shown Britain's manufacturing sector slipped into recession earlier this year. "We are certainly not looking at the big confidence balances of last year but companies are guardedly optimistic about the future," said EEF chief economist Steve Radley.
Reuters: August services growth slows, costs rise British service sector growth slowed more than expected in August as soaring oil prices pushed up costs at their fastest rate in four months, a report showed on Monday. The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply/NTC Research said its services Business Activity Index slipped to 55.2 last month, its weakest in three months, from 56.3 in July. That was below consensus expectations for a slight fall to 56.0 but still showed relatively strong growth and is unlikely to change expectations that the Bank of England will leave interest rates at 4.5 percent this week.
BBC NEWS | Business | Manufacturing job hopes 'worsen' Employment prospects in manufacturing have hit their weakest levels in two years, a report from the Engineering Employers Federation (EEF) has said. The EEF said most areas of the sector cut jobs in the three months to August.
Yahoo: Jobcentre staff consider actionThousands of workers in job centres, benefit offices and pensions centres are to vote on whether to stage a strike in protest at job cuts. Around 10,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) in London will be balloted over the next few weeks on whether to hold a one day walkout followed by other forms of industrial action. The union said it was starting to mobilise possible action in London because 1,000 jobs had already been axed in the capital, hitting benefit payments
Yahoo: First time buyers told 'head north' First-time buyers looking for the best return on their investment should head north to purchase a home, research claims. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) said three of the top five property hotspots for first-time buyers were in the north of England, while one was in Scotland and one was in Wales. The group looked at a range of factors to find where the best places for first-time buyers to get on to the property ladder were, taking into account factors which would affect future house price
Reuters: Manufacturers cautiously upbeat, output slows British manufacturers' confidence about their future order books has risen even though actual output has declined and firms are struggling to pass on the cost of soaring energy prices, an industry survey showed on Monday.
Independent: Millions of savers lose out as banks take advantage of interest rate cut Leading banks and building societies are taking advantage of last month's base rate reduction by cutting the interest they pay savers much more sharply. A report published today by market analyst Moneyfacts reveals that several savings account providers have cut their interest rates by as much as 0.6 percentage points, even though the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee's August reduction was just 0.25 percentage points.
TimesOnline: Banks set for sharp increase in mortgages to landlords BANKS in the buy-to-let market are looking forward to a sharp rise in demand for loans resulting from an expected 40 per cent surge in the private rented sector. The Centre for Economics and Business Research believes that Britain’s private rented sector will surge by a million homes to 3.5 million over the next eight years.
BBC NEWS | Business | B&Q 'to axe hundreds of workers' DIY chain B&Q is to cut almost a third of its head office workers, a newspaper report says. On Tuesday the firm will announce it is cutting 400 staff from its 1,400-strong workforce at its HQ in Eastleigh, Hampshire, the Mail on Sunday reported.
Scotsman.com: Economy blown off course Hurricane Katrina will deliver a huge blow to the US, and potentially the global, economy following this week's devastating hit on the Gulf Coast, as the loss of production and rising oil price holds back GDP growth.
Times Online: Give your savings a better home There is no better kind of loan than the offset mortgage, or at least that’s what some lenders are telling the nation’s homebuyers. This mortgage, we are told, will solve all your financial dilemmas and leave you happier and richer.
Scotsman: Speed of manufacturing job losses increases BRITISH manufacturers facing pressure from falling sales and rising raw material costs have been shedding jobs at the fastest rate for two years, according to a new report. The squeeze on the workforce came as firms continued to report lacklustre levels of activity, albeit at a stronger rate than the past four months.
Money Week: Beware the US Housing Bubble Alan Greenspan, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, has upped the ante. Having said in May that parts of the US housing market were looking frothy, last week he described the US housing boom as an “economic imbalance” and warned that prices, fuelled by “investors accepting lower compensation for risk”, could go into reverse. Basically, says Paul Krugman in The New York Times, he’s saying “beware the bursting bubble”.
Scotsman: Troubled waters for landlords It seems like only yesterday that every man and his dog wanted to be a buy-to-let investor. Buying off-plan on the waterfront was a passport to riches and staring off into the horizon all we could see were calm waters offering exponential capital growth and a tidy sum each year from rental profits. As the reality of both over-supply of investor-friendly flats and over-optimistic predictions takes hold, however, the tranquil waters of buy-to-let have taken on a distinctly choppy cast.
CreditAction: Debt Facts and Figures - Compiled 1st September 2005 Total UK personal debt broke through the £1.1 trillion barrier (£1,100,000,000,000) in June 2005. This is 11 months since it broke through the £1 trillion barrier in July 2004. Britain's personal debt is increasing by £1 million every four minutes. At the end of July 2005 the total UK personal debt was £1,114bn. The growth rate remains strong at 10.7% for the previous 12 months. 2004 saw the largest single-year increase in debt (£116bn) since the Bank of England was founded in 1694.
Independent: King comments quash rate hopes Mervyn King appeared to quash any lingering hopes of an imminent cut in interest rates yesterday, hailing the economy's prospects as "optimistic" and warning of continued high oil prices.
Guardian: Rate cut fails to lift property prices The Nationwide said yesterday the average house price fell 0.2% last month, reversing July's gain and dragging the annual rate of growth down to just 2.3%, the weakest for nine years.The survey showed that the Bank of England's interest rate cut at the beginning of August had done little to breathe new life into a moribund housing market.
Guardian: Petrol to hit £1 a litre after US buys up supplies Motorists were warned last night that petrol prices seem certain to pass £1 a litre within days after Hurricane Katrina wiped out many of the oil refineries on the US Gulf coast. As US oil companies bought up 20 shiploads of European petrol yesterday, the wholesale price of petrol on the Rotterdam spot market soared to a record of $855 a tonne (more than $100 a barrel), up more than 20% in two days and something experts said would feed through to the forecourt within days.
TimesOnline: £1 litre looms as US oil firms target European fuel supplies THE economic damage from Hurricane Katrina will soon be felt in Britain with petrol prices possibly soaring as high as £1 per litre. Flood-damaged American oil companies are expected to turn to European refineries for alternative supplies of road fuel, forcing up the price of petrol and diesel in Britain.
TimesOnline: Fuel prices soar as US rushes to fill petrol shortfall THE transatlantic fuel crisis deepened yesterday as it emerged that Hurricane Katrina has left America with an acute gasoline (petrol) shortage that could continue for several months. Flood-hit US oil companies need to find one million barrels per day to keep the American market in balance and are now scouring the globe for alternative petrol supplies.
TimesOnline: House price rises move into line with inflation HOUSE prices fell in August, marking the third monthly fall this year, Nationwide has reported, taking the property inflation rate to its lowest level in nine years but leaving analysts divided on how much longer the slowdown will continue. The building society said that house prices fell by 0.2 per cent last month, fully reversing a 0.2 per cent rise in prices in July.
Guardian: House price growth still slowing, says Nationwide The year-on-year rise in house prices fell to its lowest rate since May 1986 in August, but first-time buyers now need to find a deposit of £17,000, according to figures published today. Nationwide building society said prices were down 0.2% over the month, reducing annual price inflation to 2.3%. This is compared to annual growth of 2.6% in July and 18.9% in August last year.
SkyNews: FUEL PRICES HIKES NEAR The knock-on effect of Hurricane Katrina is threatening to push up petrol and diesel prices in Britain. The wholesale cost of fuel has leapt on both sides of the Atlantic as traders expect America to start snapping up supplies after oil refineries were put out of action.
ThisisMoney: House prices slide again HOUSE prices fell again in August despite the cut in interest rates at the beginning of the month, Britain's biggest building society revealed today. Nationwide said the average price of a home slipped 0.2% to £157,310, wiping out the previous month's 0.2% rise. That pushed the year-on-year rate of increase down to 2.3% - the weakest since May 1996.
BBC NEWS | Business | House prices head lower in August House price growth has slowed to its lowest level in nine years, according to figures from the Nationwide. Price continued to decelerate, falling 0.2% in August from July and leaving the annual rate of increase at 2.3%.
Silicon.com: Barclays to axe 500 UK IT jobs Barclays is preparing to cut up to 500 jobs from its UK IT department in the next month as part of a massive shake-up that includes the restructuring of a key $350m desktop outsourcing deal with EDS. Multiple sources have confirmed to silicon.com that the bank will sack between 450 and 500 middle and lower ranking staff from Barclays' 2,500 UK IT workforce over the next four weeks after staff were told that their jobs are at risk.
ISP Review: THUS To Shift 60 Jobs Offshore THUS (Demon Internet) is reported to be planning a cull of 60 jobs at its Southend office, with some tech support being shifted offshore to India. The move is part of a cost cutting drive for the operator, which recently failed in its bid to acquire rival Energis:
FT.Com: Hurricane raises fears of global energy crisis Fears of an international energy crisis mounted on Wednesday as the scale of human and economic devastation caused in the southern US by Hurricane Katrina became fully apparent. The death toll of more than 100 in official tallies was expected to rise much higher, with the mayor of New Orleans warning that the number of dead in his city would be “minimum hundreds, most likely thousands”. A massive operation was under way to rescue people stranded by floodwater and to care for the many thousands made homeless.
Reuters: House prices fall 0.2 pct in AugustHouse prices fell 0.2 percent on the month in August taking the annual rate of increase to its weakest in more than nine years, the Nationwide building society said on Thursday. The annual rate of just 2.3 percent was the slowest since May 1996 and took the price of the average home to 157,310 pounds from 158,348 the month before. House prices edged up a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in July, leaving them up 2.6 percent on the year.
Guardian: Job ad fall hurts Johnston Press Johnston Press became the latest regional newspaper publisher to issue a downbeat trading outlook yesterday after warning of depressed advertising revenues for the rest of the year. The owner of 276 titles including the Yorkshire Post said the recruitment market, its largest source of advertising income, suffered a near-double digit decline in the first half of 2005. Advertising revenues for the six months to June 30 fell 0.8%, but tight control of costs and a doubling in profits from Johnston's online business helped pre-tax profits rise 9% to £82.2m. Total revenues rose 1.2% to £264.6m.
TimesOnline: Big banks set to slash savings rates MORE than half of the UK’s banks and building societies are expected to cut interest rates on savings accounts on Thursday, reducing the value of millions of savers’ investments. Big players such as Abbey, Alliance & Leicester, Barclays, Woolwich, Halifax, HSBC and Lloyds TSB have yet to advertise savings rate changes, but a barrage of cuts is expected on September 1 in response to this month’s quarter-point drop in the Bank of England base rate to 4.5 per cent.
TimesOnline: Chinese deadlock threatens small fry THE deadlock over Chinese clothing quotas could threaten the survival of hundreds of small companies. The fears emerged last night as Snowbee, a Portsmouth company that imports clothing and equipment for fly-fishing from China, said that a prolonged impasse would jeopardise the business.
BBC NEWS | Business | Katrina threatens petrol prices Oil prices have fallen back from record levels after the US said it will release crude from its emergency stock following Hurricane Katrina. However, the price of gasoline jumped higher on concerns that refineries will take time to get back to full output.