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Shotoflight

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  1. Consumer confidence in UK at lowest level in 15 months, survey suggests

    UK - relatively small sample

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/apr/29/uk-consumer-confidence-barometer-eu-referendum-gfk

    The latest survey of 2,000 people conducted in the first two weeks of April showed confidence dropped in all the areas measured: their personal financial situation, their view of the UK economy and whether now was a good time to make big purchases.

    Fears of households over-stretching on borrowing as consumer credit grows

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/fears-of-households-overstretching-on-borrowing-as-consumer-credit-grows-34671386.html

    The Bank's Money and Credit report showed consumer credit increased by £1.9 billion in March, compared with an average of £1.4 billion over the previous six months.

    The figures also showed consumer credit recorded a 12-month growth rate of 9.7% in March, up from a rate of 9.5% in February and the highest rate recorded on this measure since late 2005.

    Peter Tutton, head of policy at StepChange Debt Charity, said: "Consumer credit has again risen rapidly and this is an area of growing concern.

    "Slow wage growth and the rise in insecure jobs have left millions of households financially vulnerable and we have already seen an increase in the number of people coming to us for debt advice in 2016.

    "If consumer credit continues to rise quickly, it risks increasing the vulnerability of households who are already struggling to make ends meet.

    "The last time consumer credit increased at this rate was in the lead-up to the recession, when credit was widely available and many households became seriously indebted.

  2. McGrath Bros: 171 jobs to go at Lisburn-based construction firm

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-36113741

    Joint managing director Brian McGrath said trading conditions in the manufacturing and construction sectors had a "severe impact" on the business.

    He said: "Legacy contracts taken on during the recession have also taken their toll on main contractors and specialist sub-contractors alike, all linking to underpayments of completed works and disputed final accounts."

    Thursday: 'No cuts at Ulster Bank'. Friday: 'Actually 60 jobs will go'

    http://www.irishnews.com/business/2016/04/16/news/thursday-no-cuts-at-ulster-bank-friday-actually-60-jobs-will-go--487827

    Bombardier says 630 jobs to be cut in NI in 2016

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-36091024

    Bombardier has adjusted its previously announced job cuts programme in Belfast, with a greater number of redundancies due this year.

    The aerospace company said in February that it was axing 1,080 posts over two years, about 20% of its Northern Ireland workforce.

    But it now says up to 630 will go in 2016 - as opposed to the 580 stated initially.

    Late last year the Northern Ireland workforce was asked to accept pay cuts and other changes to terms and conditions with the firm saying it was "in serious financial crisis".

    However the proposal was overwhelmingly rejected in a ballot of union members.

  3. Morrow launches new Rent to Own scheme

    Was on BBC Newsline tonight - Lord Morrow used to be an Estate Agent...............

    https://www.dsdni.gov.uk/news/morrow-launches-new-rent-own-scheme

    The Department for Social Development has invested over £12.5million in the pilot

    The funding will enable OwnCo Homes, a subsidiary of the Northern Ireland Co-Ownership Housing Association, to purchase 100 affordable new homes throughout Northern Ireland.

    The product will be available for homes throughout Northern Ireland and will typically provide new build turnkey type homes in the starter home price bracket of around £100,000 - £150,000.

  4. The Economy in Northern Ireland

    http://www.nisra.gov.uk/publications/default.asp5.htm

    The latest NI Composite Economic Index report published on the 21st January 2016 provides the most recent statistics on the performance of the NI economy. The headline figures over quarter 3 2015 show:

    • The Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index (NICEI) results show that NI economic activity decreased by 0.8% in real terms between the second and third quarter of 2015.

    • This is the first quarterly decrease in the NICEI in the last four quarters.

    • However, the index increased by 1.1% over the year (Quarter 3 2014 to Quarter 3 2015) in real terms.

    • Annual output (averaged over the four quarters to Quarter 3 2015) also increased by 1.6% compared to the previous four quarters.

    • Private sector output also fell by 0.8% over the quarter to Quarter 3 2015.

    • The Public sector jobs index also decreased by 0.8% over the quarter, and is now at its lowest level since the series began in 2002.

  5. Moore Stephens: Accountants who audited Presbyterian Mutual Society are fined £140,000

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-35706717

    The accountancy firm which audited the Presbyterian Mutual Society (PMS) has been fined £140,000. The PMS had to be bailed out by the government in 2010 after savers rushed to withdraw money. The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) found accountants Moore Stephens failed to obtain an adequate understanding of the legal and regulatory environment in which the PMS operated.

    Moore Stephens audit partner, David McClean, was also fined £20,000.

    The FRC said the firm and audit partner failed to adequately test PMS board and management assumptions that it was complying with its own rules and with legislation and regulation.

    It added that the firm also failed to apply professional scepticism and to obtain sufficient audit evidence to corroborate assurances and representations provided by management.

    The Department of Enterprise (DETI) bailed the PMS out with £225m of loans.

    Annual instalments are due to repay £175m over 10 years, with the £50m balance being paid when the society is wound up.

    The society could only make half of its scheduled loan repayments in the last two years.

    This does not alter the requirement on the society for the full repayment of the loan.

  6. Ex-Nama official Ronnie Hanna to be called before Project Eagle inquiry

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/exnama-official-ronnie-hanna-to-be-called-before-project-eagle-inquiry-34505669.html

    Ronnie Hanna, Nama’s former head of asset recovery, is to be summoned to appear before Stormont’s committee on finance and personnel, which is investigating the €1.6bn sale of the agency’s Project Eagle northern loan portfolio.

    The move follows a BBC Spotlight programme which featured a covert recording in which it was suggested Mr Hanna “prevented people’s lights going out”.

    The comment was made by former Nama advisor Frank Cushnahan, who is at the centre of controversy over his alleged role in the Project Eagle deal.

    At a meeting on Wednesday, MLAs resolved to invite both Mr Hanna and public relations executive Gareth Robinson, son of former Northern Ireland Assembly First Minister Peter Robinson, to give evidence.

    A man called Ronnie, believed to be Mr Hanna, was discussed during a secretly recorded conversation involving Mr Cushnahan and Co Down developer John Miskelly, whose loans were previously in Nama.

    Speaking about 'Ronnie', Mr Cushnahan said: “People’s lights would have gone out except for him. I mean that sincerely.”

    Mr Miskelly said: “You remember when Gareth Robinson phoned me that morning and told me to go to your office and you phoned Ronnie. I know mine would have been out – and I’m not the only one.”

  7. Survival warning over building firms in Northern Ireland

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/survival-warning-over-building-firms-in-northern-ireland-34499280.html

    Oliver McAllister, PwC director of construction and real estate, said the survey suggests that the recovery in construction may be losing momentum. "Overall, the UK economy has been recovering well with solid job creation and infrastructure investment increasing in London and Great Britain regions," he said. "This is not being reflected in Northern Ireland."

    The CEF also said the industry had seen a 2% decline in output at the end of last year. Mr McAllister said: "Anecdotally, there appears to be uncertainty around the availability of commercial finance concerns over the cost and availability of development land and little progress in modernising planning regulations."

    CEF managing director John Armstrong described the findings as "a mixed bag".

    "This is an industry that generates high wages, significant levels of gross value added and extensive downstream investment and job creation, but it relies on developer confidence and public sector investment," he said.

    Under one-third of the firms anticipated growth this year.

  8. Mixed messages - prices up 0.2% for the quarter but 4.7% when 'weighted', 9% for the year with the market 'buoyant'! (page 3).

    Average price £155k - for a low wage economy

    Shortage of supply highlighted by Frey (though predicted need substantially reduced by recent research) but this general yarn is ripped apart in another thread on the main board

    http://rpp.ulster.ac.uk/research/housing-index/q4-2015.pdf

  9. Belfast KPMG partners quit months after arrests

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-35616599

    In a statement the accountancy firm said they "have now retired following a period of administrative leave".Jon D'Arcy, Eamonn Donaghy, Arthur O'Brien and Paul Hollway were detained by HM Revenue and Customs on 25 November.

    The four are directors in a property investment company, JEAP Limited, which made a £4m loss when the Irish property market crashed in 2008.

    Mr Donaghy was KPMG's head of tax in Belfast and was heavily involved in the campaign to devolve corporation tax powers to Northern Ireland.

  10. Social housing: Private developer contributions 'not realistic'

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-35610849

    A scheme to compel private developers to contribute towards building social housing is "not realistic" for most of Northern Ireland, a report has found.

    The report was commissioned by Stormont's Department for Social Development (DSD) and the Department of the Environment (DoE).

    DSD had proposed an "affordable housing contribution" would apply to all developments of five homes or more.Similar schemes operate in the rest of the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

    The departments commissioned the research from Heriot Watt University and Three Dragons Consultancy.

    It concluded that introducing a scheme "with a single percentage of affordable housing across Northern Ireland will not work given current market conditions".

  11. Looks like closer to 1100 jobs with potential for more

    Bombardier bombshell as 1000 Belfast jobs axed in cuts workers never saw coming

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/bombardier-bombshell-as-1000-belfast-jobs-axed-in-cuts-workers-never-saw-coming-34463622.html

    Last year the company received a $1bn (£660m) bailout from the Quebec regional government. The firm has also received more than £70m from Invest NI since 2002.

    The aerospace giant's vice-president Michael Ryan said he could not rule out additional job losses in the coming years.

    "No. I would be a fool to try and do that," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

    Bombardier said it was "taking steps to optimise" its workforce and "must adjust its workforce levels downwards by around 580 this year". A further 500 jobs are expected to go next year.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-35594320

    Late last year the Northern Ireland workforce was asked to accept pay cuts and other changes to terms and conditions with the firm saying it was "in serious financial crisis".

    However the proposal was overwhelmingly rejected in a ballot of union members.

  12. Landlords urged to take action now as new tax costs loom

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/landlords-urged-to-take-action-now-as-new-tax-costs-loom-34459338.html

    Buy-to-let landlords will be hit with new costs from this April when a controversial extra 3% stamp duty charge will be introduced. And from April next year, landlords face being taxed on rental income before mortgage interest payments are deducted and before they can gain a tax credit for the interest.

    And accountancy firm RSM said that the prospect of the changes was already dampening the buy-to-let sector.

    RSM said there was evidence that confidence was already lagging in the buy-to-let sector as the changes loom.RSM said figures from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive also pointed to a fall in the sector.

    There were 11,500 rental agreements in the private rented sector in Northern Ireland during the first half of last year, which was down 5% on the first half of 2014, RSM said.

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