Today’s headlines

Economics

Research by the City of London Corporation shows that the Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) will hike sovereign and business funding costs, meaning George Osborne will be forced to raise a further £4bn through tax hikes or spending cuts. Cover of City A.M.

The fragility of the economy was highlighted by data released yesterday which showed that lending to households and companies contracted slightly in February despite the central bank’s efforts to increase the flow of credit to the real economy via its Funding for Lending scheme. This new data has arrived just in time, as monetary policy makers at the Bank of England are due to vote tomorrow over whether to pump more stimulus into the economy. p.4 of Financial Times.

Property

Fears that London’s high-end residential property market was in danger of overheating were dismissed yesterday as property advisory firm Savills reported an “unprecedented” two and a half years of price growth. Savills’ prime London residential property index shows ten quarters of single-digit growth, marking a period of stability not seen since the index was launched 30 years ago. P.9 of City A.M.

Personal Finance

Mortgage interest rates continued to fall in February, with many fixed rates plummeting to their lowest ever levels. The average quoted rate for a two year 75% LTV mortgage was 2.87% in February, the Bank of England revealed yesterday, down from 3.07% the month before. It was also the lowest result seen since the measure was first recorded in January 1995, when the rate stood at 8.13%. P.5 of City A.M.

Iain Duncan Smith dismissed demands for him to try to make ends meet on £53 a week as a “complete stunt” and insisted he had experienced life “on the breadline” as ministers yesterday confronted their critics over wider-ranging cuts to benefits. The Work and Pensions Secretary was backed by Chancellor George Osborne in arguing that welfare reforms were essential to helping recipients back into work – and to tackle Britain’s previously burgeoning benefits bill. P.8 of The Independent,p.14 of Metro, p.4 of The Guardian, and cover of Daily Telegraph.

Recruitment

Joblessness continued to soar in the crisis-stricken Eurozone, figures showed yesterday, climbing to yet another all-time record in February. Across the 17 members of the troubled currency area, 19.07m jobseekers were unable to find work in February, adding a further 33,000 to January’s previous all-time record. The new figures from Eurostat show that 12% of the Eurozone’s total population is currently unemployed, up more than a percentage point since February this time last year, when 10.9% were out of work. P.2 of City A.M, and p.2 of the Daily Mail.

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