Saturday’s Papers

Economics

George Osborne has announced that the £35bn cash proceeds from the Bank of England’s QE programme will be handed back to the Treasury. It will be used to pay down Government debt over the next few years. Some commentators had feared that more austerity measures would be announced to reach the debt target in the Autumn Statement reports The Guardian. Labour has accused the Government of using ‘smoke and mirrors’ to obscure the real state of the country’s debt.

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) has said that the combined GDP of China and India will surpass that of the G7 economies by 2060 reports The Times

Personal Finance

Millions face a freeze in their welfare benefits for two years from next April reveals The Times. The Autumn Statement on December 5th will set out the details but is likely to include jobseekers’ allowance, income support and employment support.  An end to housing benefit for under 25s and child benefits for additional children of workless parents, who already have two or more, are also expected to be announced.

James Blunt is revealed in The Telegraph as one of HSBC’s many offshore customers in Jersey. The list was presented by a whistleblower to HM Revenue and Customs and a tax investigation is under way. Others on the list include major criminals and Margaret Thatcher’s son.

Property

Linden Homes reported a 7% rise in sales for July – November. The Times reports that the company said its sale prices were ahead of expectations and its had secured 81% of its land bank at current market values.

The FT reports that the gap between London house prices and the rest of the UK is now so wide that it poses serious obstacles to any housing market recovery. This is down to the flow of money from overseas investors in the capital which Knight Frank says has led to the “complete separation between London’s economic trajectory and that of the rest of the UK”.

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