News headlines for Tuesday 11th September 2012

Economics

The government is being criticised by MPs for its “scandalous” failings in its £1.4bn fund to spur growth in England’s regions after finding that so far only £60m has been released to businesses on the front line. According to a new report by the Public Accounts Committee, some £364m of the Regional Growth Fund has been held up in intermediaries such as banks and local authorities. MPs have also said that they were “highly disappointed” that only 2,442 jobs had been created, when 36,800 were expected over the lifetime of the project. P.2 of Financial Times and cover of The Times.

Following the success of the Olympics, politicians were urged yesterday to unite behind “one clear plan and vision” to ensure the country benefits from a golden Olympic legacy. P. 5 The Independent.

Property

House prices have continued to fall in August, but at a slightly slower pace, according to a monthly survey by RICS. London, however, appears to have bucked a national downward housing trend once again and was the only region where house prices were rising. This robust London market, which has performed consistently well, is driving optimism in the capital, which was in fact recorded by a YouGov poll yesterday. P.24 of City A.M. and p.4 of Financial Times.

Personal Finance

HSBC has pledged to make £17bn available for UK mortgage lending this year, including £1bn for home improvement loans. This figure is £2bn more than the amount the bank promised back in January, which reflects the coalition’s recent proposals to relax planning laws for homeowners. HSBC said it had already approved £10.6bn of this year’s loan allocation by the end of the June. P.13 of City A.M.

Recruitment

Universities have been forced to lower their offer grades in a frantic attempt to fill places this summer. Many vice-chancellors say this was by far the most “chaotic” and “uncertain” admissions round they have ever experienced. Elite institutions are slamming the government for failing to predict what looks like a dramatic fall in the number of top students in the system. Many universities have struggled to meet their recruitment targets, and experts have warned that some of the less popular subjects could face being cut. P.42 The Guardian.

A number of leading universities are recruiting more foreign students despite mounting concerns over restrictions on international study visas, new figures show. They are hoping to boost the income that they have lost elsewhere. P.12 of Daily Telegraph.

A new generation of entrepreneurs will lift the UK out of its economic recession, according to a report out this morning by a leading educational society.  The proportion of surveyed twenty-somethings who want to start their own business has risen dramatically from 17% in 1998 to 29% in 2010. This new wave of aspirational young adults have been dubbed Generation Enterprise. The report suggests that “economic uncertainty and job insecurity” has encouraged people to think about self-employment. Cover of City A.M.

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