Friday Headlines

Corporate

After a patchy start, the Government’s Funding for Lending scheme is finding its feet according to the Bank of England’s Credit Conditions Survey. Credit availability rose sharply in the final three months of 2012, and the availability of loans for prospective homeowners and businesses is due to rise significantly in the next three months according to lenders. According to some critics, small businesses are not seeing enough of the money, and Alan Clark at Scotiabank suggests that the figures may not be accurate anyway due to lenders’ self-interest.

Property

Research from Zoopla has found fewer than 20% of the UK’s property millionaires live outside London, and the total across the country has passed 300,000 for the first time. The total is up 19% on last year as prime property prices rise in the capital. Lawrence Hall of Zoopla said, “The top end of the market operates seemingly in isolation… wealthier buyers are relatively impervious to the economic problems affecting the rest of the market.”

Personal Finance and Recruitment

Labour has announced plans to fund a compulsory minimum wage job for all those who have been out of work for more than 2 years by reducing the level of tax relief on pension savings to 20% for those who earn over £150,000 per year, from its current level of 45%. As one of Ed Balls first policy announcement, it receives a lukewarm response, being branded a “pension grab” in the FT and a “pension tax raid” in the Telegraph and Times. The move would raise £1bn per year which would be used to tackle what the Shadow Chancellor terms “the scar of long term unemployment.” The Daily Mail welcomes the policy broadly due its stipulation that those people not accepting jobs would have their benefit cut.

Personal Finance

Research from Aviva finds that 1 in 4 over-65s is still working – marking the genesis of a new type of the retiree who is likely to be more sociable and healthy, but also more like to stay in work well into their seventies.

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