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Northern Ireland Economy


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#2251 Shotoflight

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 06:42 PM

Welfare Reform - Housing Benefit

http://www.nihe.gov....fare_reform.htm

We want to make sure that you are aware of some proposed changes to the benefits system which may affect you and your family from April 2013.

If the proposals go ahead, from the 1st April 2013 size criteria would be introduced for new and existing working-age Housing Benefit claimants - that’s anyone aged up to 61 years at April 2013 - living in a Housing Executive or housing association home.

Tenants would see their Housing Benefit payment reduced by 14% of their rent for under-occupation by one bedroom and by 25% for under-occupation by two or more bedrooms.

Example

Mr and Mrs Brown, a couple in their fifties whose children have grown up and left home, live in a housing association three bedroom house costing £72.91 per week in rent. At the moment Housing Benefit covers the full cost of their rent. Under the new rules they will be deemed to be under-occupied by two bedrooms. Their Housing Benefit will be reduced by 25% of their rent [25% of £72.91 = £18.23] to £54.68 per week. Therefore they will have to pay £18.23 per week towards their rent.

#2252 Shotoflight

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:12 AM

0.18% rise in new car sales - get those corks popping


New car sales are back in driving seat with first climb in five years


http://www.belfastte...s-16220082.html

One of the most accurate indicators of consumer confidence in Northern Ireland has shown a surprising upturn in fortunes.

New car sales - one of the first big-ticket items to feel the pinch during tough economic times - have climbed into positive territory for the first time in five years.

A grand total of 40,128 new cars were sold here in the nine months leading to the end of September.

That's a jump of only 76 on the same period last year, but, even so, it has managed to give the impression that the mood amongst Northern Ireland's beleaguered consumers is beginning to lift for the better.

But despite the recent uplift in new car sales here it's worth keeping a bit of perspective.

Richard Ramsey, chief economist at Ulster Bank, said the data shows a slight boost to consumer confidence, but pointed out we're still a long way off the heady days of 2007.

"It still represents 32.5% (almost one third) below the 2007 peak of 59,585 new car registrations between January and September 2007," he said.

#2253 Shotoflight

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:23 AM

Food shop to get pricier

0.18% rise in new car sales over 9 months - worth another mention!

http://www.belfastte...r-16220085.html

To put it in local terms, wheat today will go for close to £200 per ton in Northern Ireland while 10 years ago it was just £70 per ton.

That's a big increase and, with world grain supply showing no signs of picking up, the chances of further price rises look likely.

It doesn't seem to be having much of an effect at present, what with new car sales here heading north, but the coming months could see that basket of food become more and more pricey

#2254 Shotoflight

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:45 AM

The Northern (so successful it had to be renamed) cling on to this survey of 1,000 people. What with this, and a 0.18% rise in new car sales there is a forest of green shoots out there.

Inflation is 'only' 2.5% and Europe is settled :lol: according to Angela - that's all it takes. Perhaps those surveyed think it can't possibly get any worse so it has to get better? They'd be wrong.

£4 billion of cuts locally says so. (never mind inflation and Europe)

NI CONSUMER CONFIDENCE IMPROVES FOR FOURTH CONSECUTIVE QUARTER

https://www.northern...e-sept-2012.pdf

‘Household finances compared to 12 months ago’ in particular showing the greatest progress.

Expectations for spending also improved with a five per cent increase in the number of respondents who said that they planned to spend more on big-ticket items.

Only one aspect of the survey saw a deterioration, with expectations for future finances falling back from 130 to 128.6.

“Despite a small increase in positive responses when it comes to spending, 37 per cent of respondents are still planning to reduce their expenditure. This level of cautiousness will be bad news for retailers.


The ‘Consumer Confidence Index for Northern Ireland’ examines four key areas with a variance of -/+ 3 per cent.

#2255 Shotoflight

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 10:03 AM

IMF to cut growth forecast for UK in gloomy global outlook

The International Monetary Fund is expected to cut its growth forecast for the UK next week, when it downgrades the outlook for the global economy.

http://www.telegraph...al-outlook.html

The world’s financial and economic watchdog is expected to say the UK will contract by 0.1pc this year, a sharp downgrade from its forecast for 0.2pc growth in July. July’s outlook was already cut from April’s far more optimistic prediction of 0.8pc growth.

Earlier this week, IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard said the global economy would not be back in “decent shape” until 2018 at the earliest.


UK at risk of downgrade, Fitch warns

Britain is edging closer to losing its gold-plated sovereign credit rating due weak growth and ballooning government borrowing, ratings agency Fitch has warned.

http://www.telegraph...itch-warns.html

#2256 Shotoflight

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 10:25 AM

Brace yourselves for another round of money printing

http://www.telegraph...y-printing.html

Last October, though, we fell back into recession again. Official GDP numbers confirm that, since then, the British economy kept shrinking at least until June this year. So this country has endured not only the first "double-dip" recession since the 1970s, but also the longest on record.

The latest unofficial commercial survey data, released last week, suggest that our July-September performance remained extremely downbeat. The Service PMI Employment subindex plunged from 51.3 to 48.3, while its manufacturing equivalent dropped from 49.8 to 47.0.

In the manufacturing sector, the input price index rocketed in September from 48.8 to 57.5 – an almost unprecedented rate. Food prices, meanwhile, are elevated and commodity costs are stubbornly high. This month we'll also see utility price rises and the impact of large increases in university tuition fees.

The UK is in the midst of the longest double-dip recession in history and inflation remains significantly above the Bank's 2pc target – as it has been for no less than 52 of the last 58 months. And that's while sterling remains firm and before fireworks in the Middle East cause an oil price spike.

So don't let anyone tell you that UK inflation is "subdued", certainly no one who works for an insolvent bank or with the power to implement more QE.

#2257 2buyornot2buy

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 05:03 PM

Utv now. Cameron on welfare and corporation tax.

Edited by 2buyornot2buy, 08 October 2012 - 05:33 PM.


#2258 Shotoflight

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 05:23 PM

More pain for private sector as slump hits 58 months

http://www.belfastte...s-16221089.html

September marked the 58th successive month of decline for the private sector in Northern Ireland - and there's no end in sight to the economic gloom.

Mr Ramsey said: "Outside of falling output, orders and employment, profitability is a growing concern.

"A number of Northern Ireland's flagship exporters have recently posted either very marginal profits or indeed losses despite rising sales and turnover."

#2259 Shotoflight

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 08:05 PM

0.18% rise in new car sales - get those corks popping


New car sales are back in driving seat with first climb in five years


http://www.belfastte...s-16220082.html

One of the most accurate indicators of consumer confidence in Northern Ireland has shown a surprising upturn in fortunes.

New car sales - one of the first big-ticket items to feel the pinch during tough economic times - have climbed into positive territory for the first time in five years.

A grand total of 40,128 new cars were sold here in the nine months leading to the end of September.

That's a jump of only 76 on the same period last year, but, even so, it has managed to give the impression that the mood amongst Northern Ireland's beleaguered consumers is beginning to lift for the better.

But despite the recent uplift in new car sales here it's worth keeping a bit of perspective.

Richard Ramsey, chief economist at Ulster Bank, said the data shows a slight boost to consumer confidence, but pointed out we're still a long way off the heady days of 2007.

"It still represents 32.5% (almost one third) below the 2007 peak of 59,585 new car registrations between January and September 2007," he said.



UK
September figures “overstated” warns analyst

Cr*p - put the corks back in again!

http://www.motortrad...

Self-registrations continued to distort the new car market during the September plate-change, according to analysis by Panmure Gordon, the stockbroker.

While welcoming the 8.2% new market growth reported today by the SMMT, noting it was the biggest quarterly rise in registrations since 2001, Mike Allen (pictured), executive director, warned the discrepancy between registrations and sales continues as the continental European new car market slow down.

“We think the data is overstated with self-registrations playing a part in this
. The demise of most European markets is also playing a part on this volume growth with the relative strength of Sterling allowing for some discounting activity,” he said.

“We therefore maintain a cautious outlook on the market given higher fuel costs, structurally high unemployment and fragile consumer confidence. Historically, to see a sustained recovery in new car sales UK GDP needs to be at least 2%, therefore we do not see significant scope for the new car market exceeding much above 2m registrations over the foreseeable future.”



Coincidentally, I bought a car from a main franchised dealer, registered to them on 29 Sept 10. Bought from them (15 months later) 45% off list price 7,000 miles on the clock.

#2260 Shotoflight

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 05:58 PM

McCausland presses case for Welfare Reform Bill in NI

http://www.bbc.co.uk...reland-19876306

Nipsa's deputy general secretary, Alison Millar, said: "At a time when unemployment is rising in Northern Ireland it is not appropriate that the Assembly are debating how to take £500m annually out of the NI economy.

#2261 Shotoflight

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:47 PM

Debt reduction could hit growth for years, says Lord Turner

What growth?

http://www.bbc.co.uk...siness-19917480

Reducing private, business and government debt post the financial crisis could impact economic growth for many years, the head of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has said.

Lord Turner also questioned the continuing effectiveness of Bank of England stimulus.

He said more "innovative and unconventional" policies were needed.

Lord Turner is seen as one of the leading candidates to take over as the next governor of the Bank.

#2262 Shotoflight

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 05:48 PM

Northern Ireland economy weakens, more become jobless

http://www.bbc.co.uk...reland-19977124

The Index of Construction also showed falling output in the second quarter.

The total volume of construction output decreased by 8.2% over the quarter and was 2.3% lower compared to the same time in 2011.

#2263 Shotoflight

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 09:44 AM

Thousands on welfare worse off by £70 a week

http://www.belfastte...k-16227076.html

“The recent rise in the minimum number of hours a couple need to work in order to claim working tax credit has made 20,000 households in Northern Ireland poorer by up to £70 per week.”

He will argue the reforms are impacting on the most vulnerable in the province, with changes to housing allowances leading to the number of private rental properties that are affordable to low-|income families dramatically reduced.

The attack comes ahead of a new statement on the issue from Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland to the Assembly following renewed negotiations with national government ministers that took place in London last week.

Mr Lowry is also to tell the one-day event at the Grosvenor Hall in Belfast: “Behind the hyperbole people in Northern Ireland struggle to achieve an acceptable quality of life and indeed struggle to live.

“Your postcode in Belfast determines your life expectancy. With every bus stop you pass from the city centre to the suburbs you can add on three or four years of life every time.

“By the time you reach the Upper Malone Road you’ll live at least 20 years longer than your neighbours in parts of the inner city,” said Mr Lowry.

#2264 Shotoflight

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 12:59 PM

High streets suffer as multiples retreat

http://www.newslette...treat-1-4386570

The winners in Britain’s High Street survival include cheque cashing (payday loans), pawnbrokers, discount stores, convenience stores, coffee shops, bookmakers, and charity shops, the LDC survey says.

Stephen Cave, a director with PwC’s business recovery team in Belfast, says there are a number of common factors between Northern Ireland and GB.

“Multiple retailers trading across the UK are suffering financially from a lack of consumer confidence, evident by an average of 20 stores a day closing in the first half of 2012,” he said. “A common factor amongst multiple retailers in distress is that they had expanded into too many locations in the boom times, many no longer being financially viable, with the collapse of Game, Peacocks and Clintons clearly demonstrating this.

“Many signed up to relatively long leases, often with inflexible terms when the economy was growing, but these present significant challenges now when trying to restructure businesses and preserve the viable elements.”

A detailed analysis of LDC’s data for England, Scotland and Wales shows that, between January and June 2012, the number of cheque cashing (payday loans) retail outlets increased by more than 11 per cent, with an eight per cent increase in the number of pawnbrokers.

In stark contrast, the number of computer game outlets fell by 44 per cent, with gift shops and home furnishing/furniture outlets each declining by 36 per cent. Around a fifth (19 per cent) of retail outlets across Northern Ireland are vacant, as compared to the UK average of 11.4 per cent. Matthew Hopkinson, director of the Local Data Company, said the rapid loss of the multiple retailers was not unexpected.

“The departure of so many larger stores is a major issue for many town centres, especially in secondary centres, where they have for many years been their high street’s anchors,” he said.

#2265 Shotoflight

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 04:14 PM

A collective winding in of necks

UK

Firms and households shunning new debt, says BBA


http://www.bbc.co.uk...siness-20040793

Households and businesses have "no appetite" to take on new debts as the UK economic outlook remains uncertain, a banking body has said.

Unsecured borrowing through loans and overdrafts has dropped by 7.7% in the year to September, the British Bankers' Association (BBA) said.

"Households are reducing borrowing requirements and have no appetite to take on more and new debt. Where they can individuals are putting money aside for household expenditure. Firms are holding back on borrowing for investment until trade prospects improve."

Total overdrafts held by consumers have fallen to just over £8.3bn, the lowest in cash terms for eight years, while outstanding personal loans have dropped to £35.6bn, the lowest since the turn of the century, the BBA figures show.

Personal loans tend to be used for buying cars, improving homes and buying kitchen equipment. New borrowing, at £1.1bn in September, is running at barely a third of its level before the financial crisis.

Mortgage slowdown


The BBA figures show that the mortgage market is similarly lacking in activity.

The number of mortgage approvals for house purchases stood at 31,175 in September, up slightly on the previous month but down 6% on a year earlier.

The drop in remortgaging was even greater, with approvals 15% lower than in September 2011, the figures show.

"Lack of demand and people's struggle to find deposits, rather than prohibitively high rates, are now holding the industry back," said Ashley Brown, director of mortgage broker Moneysprite.

"The cause may have changed, but the symptoms, and the pain, are the same."




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