Paper Summary – Wednesday 27th February 2013

Economics

  • The potential introduction of negative interest rates was suggested by Paul Tucker, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, at a meeting of the Commons Treasury Select Committee yesterday.  Admitting it would be “an extraordinary thing to do” which would “need to be thought through carefully”, the move would be designed to kick-start the economy by encouraging lending from high street banks.  (Times p1, Express p2 and 57, Mail p4, Telegraph Business p1 and 2, Independent p1,7,20, Guardian p21, FT p1 and 4)
  • Olli Rehn, vice-president of the European Commission, has called on George Osborne to reject calls for a budgetary U-turn because it would threaten Britain’s ultra-low bond yields.  He argued that the deficit reduction plan is still decisive in maintaining low borrowing costs (Times Business, p29)

Business

  • Millions of workers will reject the offer of a company pension scheme, according to Aviva’s latest Working Lives report.  Nearly 4 in 10 (37%) plan to opt out of the scheme while a further 28% are undecided. The National Association of Pension Funds has called on private sector companies to do more to highlight the benefits of saving to staff (Times Business, p34)
  • One of Britain’s oldest companies, Pilkington Glass, is threatening to freeze staff pay for good unless they sign away their pensions.  The company wants staff to agree that any future wage rise will not count towards their pension pots, regardless of how junior their current role (Sun, p40)

Personal finance

  • Experts have warned that savers would be hit by negative interest rates, suggesting that banks would respond by lowering rates on savings accounts and increasing the cost of other products like current accounts (Times p1, Mirror p6, Express p35)
  • Debt charities are being overwhelmed with pleas for help with payday loans. More than 20,000 people contacted advice lines last year with more than half hit by late-payment penalties (Sun, p22)
  • Secondary schools will introduce compulsory personal finance lessons for pupils via maths and citizenship classes included in the new draft National Curriculum for England (Sun, p41)
  • Older holiday makers are taking an expensive gamble by failing to buy adequate travel insurance – with one in ten taking off without any cover at all. Many are being put off by large insurance firms disadvantaging those over-65, especially with pre-existing medical conditions (Mirror, p36).
  • British Gas is expected to announce another energy price hike today, despite an expected 10% increase in its profits for 2012 with its five top executives rumoured to be in line for £10m in bonuses. (Mail, p2)
  • Research from Confused.com has revealed that motor insurance premiums can double as a result of motoring convictions – with those caught drunk at the wheel facing a 115% increase (Mail, p24)

Property

  • Four in 10 houses have been sold at a loss since 2007 in England and Wales, according to Castle Trust.  London bucked the trend with 715 of houses sold during this period making a profit, despite the tough economy (FT p2, Guardian, p26)
  • A new, free app from Mortgage Brain called UKMortgages will act as a personal finance advisor by helping housebuyers to search through all currently available mortgage products (Sun, p41)

Recruitment

  • A slump in recruitment by the big banks has been blamed by recruiter Robert Walters for a 49% fall in its full-year pre-tax profits.  (Times Business p35, Independent p52).
  • Small businesses have created almost 20,000 Apprenticeships over the last nine months through the Government’s AGE  16 to 24 incentive that provides grants of up to £1,500. The scheme was originally meant to run out in April but has now been extended for another year (Mirror, 39).
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