Chancellor George Osborne will be forced to find £27bn in further spending cuts starting in 2015, the Institute of Fiscal Studies said yesterday. This came after Osborne admitted in the Autumn Statement on Wednesday that austerity would be extended for a year longer than originally anticipated to 2018. The IFS calculates that, on the chancellor’s currents plan, achieving these additional cuts over three years would see almost a third slashed from some departmental budgets by the end of the austerity period. This would hit unprotected sectors including defence, the home office, local government and business. Cover of City A.M., Cover of The Guardian, p.7 of The Times, and cover of the Daily Telegraph.
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) sat tight yesterday, keeping interest rates and the quantitative easing (QE) programme unchanged, despite growing fears that the economy is contracting again. P.19 of City A.M. and p.4 of the Financial Times.
Halifax bank said yesterday that house prices are set to remain flat in 2013, as weak economic growth and pressure on household finances continues to constrain demand. It also announced that the price of an average UK home rose by one per cent month-on-month to £160,879 in November. Increased demand for rented property is set to boost the buy-to-let market next year, while values in London and the south east will continue to outperform the rest of the country. P.19 of City A.M.
More than half a million disabled people will each lose up to £400 over the course of the next three years as part of the Government’s raid on welfare. Among those affected are almost 200,000 of the most severely disabled, despite a pledge by George Osborne to protect the vulnerable from cuts. Cover of The Times.
The results of a survey by consumer group Which? strongly suggests that mis-selling by bank staff is still widespread. More than four out of ten frontline bank staff believe that they are being forced to sell potentially inappropriate products to customers. This completely undermines claims that banks are changing their sales culture in the light of scandals involving mis-sold products such as payment protection insurance. P.53 of The Times.
Students from poorer backgrounds are being disadvantaged by personal statements when applying to uni because they do not have the same contacts to get high-profile work experience placements. Researchers called for fresh curbs on personal statements in applications to stop the system being used to exploit the “privileged” position of pupils from private schools. New rules were needed because of fears that statements that were being submitted as part of applications to degree courses were descending into little more than an “excuse to highlight past advantages”, it was claimed. P. 14 of the Daily Telegraph.