In the papers today …
Nick Clegg has suggested the Coalition cut spending too far and too fast when it first came to office, claiming instead that continued investment would have helped to boost growth and create more jobs. His comments came as the IMF urged George Osborne to come up with a Plan B to replace austerity cuts, with the suspicion that new GDP figures would show Britain on the verge of a triple dip recession. (Independent, p.1, Mirror, p.13, Times, p.15, Telegraph, p.4, Guardian p.1, FT p.2, Mail p.12, Express p.7).
Leaders of Britain’s biggest multinational companies have also warned David Cameron to abandon plans to force companies to disclose their tax affairs, arguing that the move to prevent corporate tax avoidance will instead undermine the recovery (Telegraph, p.1 and B4, Guardian, p.4, Mail p.20).
A judge yesterday named the Barclays bosses who tried to keep their identities secret in the court case relating to the Libor rate-fixing scandal (everywhere).
The Bank of England’s Funding for Lending scheme pushed mortgage lending to an 11-month high in December, according to the British Bankers’ Association (Independent, p.55). However, while rates are falling and credit is more readily available, experts are skeptical about the long-term boost to the housing market. (Times)
Calls about council tax debt rose by 20% last year according to the charity Debtline. More than 36,000 people rang up for help to tackle council tax arrears, with the Money Advice Trust saying the increase was partly due to bailiffs being used to collect local authority debts – including parking charges worth just £50. (Mirror)
Retailers expect petrol prices to rise by up to 4p a litre in the next few days, with the AA accusing the industry of failing to pass on recent falls in wholesale prices to motorists as quickly as they pass on increases (Telegraph, p.1).
Hundreds of workers in the insulation industry risk losing their jobs after British Gas broke its promise to insulate thousands of homes for free. Despite lining up the UK’s biggest installers to carry out the work, the multimillion-pound project to insulate 40,000 homes has been shelved. (Times, p.35)