News Headlines: Thursday 29th November

Recruitment

Kathryn Hopkins in The Times reports on ONS stats laying bare the scale of under employment. Figures say one in ten people are underemployed and are desperate for more work. This figure has doubled over the past five years as the effects of the recession and low take home pay have been felt.

Property

The planning minister, Nick Boles, came under fire yesterday after suggesting an area of countryside twice the size of London should be built on. The National Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England warned that the plans were unrealistic and would affect the quality of life of millions. The CPRE claimed there is enough brownfield land to build 1.5m new homes without having to touch the countryside. Critics suggest Mr Boles doesn’t have a strong enough grasp of the reality of the UK housing situation and how much of the country is built on after he wrongly identified it as 9%m when the actual figure is more like 12%.

Personal Finance

Payday loans firms may face an interest rate cap after the government has agreed to an amendment of the forthcoming Financial Services Bill. Currently firms charge up to 4000% interest rates, something Justin Welby, the new Archbishop of Canterbury described as “usury” and a “moral” issue. The move has cross party support and is welcomed as a victory for campaigners and consumers alike

Corporate

BP has been banned from bidding for US contracts due to “a lack of integrity,” resulting from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The US Environment Protection Agency announced yesterday that it has suspended the energy group due to its mismanagement of the spill. The move does not affect existing contracts but means BP can’t bid for drilling new wells in the Gulf of Mexico – one of the world’s richest oilfields. BP is expected to campaign for the suspension to be lifted.

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