News headlines – Sunday 10th February

Personal Finance

Consumers are being urged to be more vigilant with their personal information after hackers stole data from a quarter of a million Twitter users last week.  The fraud prevention service Cifas revealed 113,000 cases of ID fraud were reported in 2012. (Independent Money, p92)

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to announce a rise in the assets threshold for state care support from £23,500 to £123,000 on Monday, with a £75,000 cap on costs. Thousands more people will pay inheritance tax to fund what has been described as a watered-down version of the Dilnot plan for universal state funding for elderly and social care (everywhere)

Thousands of savers have been left with pensions paying a little as £1 a year as insurers delay over reforms planned to give retirees greater control over small pension pots by allowing savers with funds worth less than £2,000 to take the money as a lump sum (Mail, p83).

Business/economics

Organised criminal gangs with an international reach are suspected of playing a major role in the horsemeat scandal that has seen Britain’s supermarkets clear their shelves of frozen and chilled beef products (Observer, p4)

Barclays is to shut down its Structured Capital Market division, accused of orchestrating tax avoidance on an ‘industrial scale’, in a full review of the bank’s operations to be announced by its new chief executive Antony Jenkin as part of his vision for a ‘socially useful bank’ (Telegraph Business, p1, Mail, p75, Observer, p3, )

The top 1% of earners are taking home 10% of all income, while the poorest half of Britain’s population take home on 18p in every pound between them, according to a report from the Resolution Foundation (Observer, p10)

Recruitment

Nearly four million people of working age in Britain have never had a full- or part-time job, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (Sun on Sunday, p35). Outside of London, Birmingham is the city most affected.

Property

House prices are set for the strongest spring bounce since the credit crunch as buyers take advantage of a mortgage lending rates war.  Buyer demand has been driven by the Funding for Lending Scheme, with estate agents and brokers experiencing a surge of enquiries from new buyers chasing rock-bottom loan rates (Times Money, p1)

The average price of a London property will exceed £500,000 by the end of the decade, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Times Money, p1)

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