Paper summary: Tuesday 11th June 2013

Corporate

  • Britain’s biggest water company paid no corporation tax in 2012 despite imposing inflation-busting price rises on millions of customers.  Thames Water made profits of £549m after sales rose by 6% to £1.8bn (Daily Mail, p2). However, customers face higher bills to make up for the quarter of a million households who do not pay their water charges, with unpaid water and sewerage bills among the company’s 14m customers across London and the South East up by 90% since 2010 to £93m. (The Times, p1)

Economy

  • Pay packets have shrunk by £52bn (7.5%) in five years according to the TUC, creating a huge black hole in the economy.  The North West has been hardest hit, with the overall trend caused by wages failing to keep pace with inflation, fewer working hours and a cut in well-paid jobs. (Daily Mirror, p11, Guardian, p24)

Personal finance

  • The FCA has reached an agreement with seven of the UK’s biggest banks to use a same day “retry system” for Direct Debits and standing orders. It means when people have insufficient funds in their accounts to cover bills, banks will try transactions again in the afternoon – giving customers the chance to move money and top up their accounts before suffering penalty fees. (Daily Mirror, p41)
  • Cash is making a comeback as people’s preferred method of payment, with 20.8bn cash payments made in 2012, up by 200m on 2011. Despite electronic payments being more cost effective for banks to process, real money still accounts for 54% of all purchases and gives people a feeling of greater control over their spending, according to a report from the Payments Council and Link. (Daily Mail, p3)

Property

  • Property sales are at their highest level for three years, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, which recorded 17.9 property sales per member during May – the highest since January 2010.  Enquiries from first time buyer s were up by 30%, and with the Help to Buy scheme beginning to play a part, alongside the Funding for Lending Scheme, more than a third of surveyors (35%) expect to see more sales in the next three months. (Daily Express, p2)
  • High house prices are driving young families out of the countryside, where they are being replaced by retired people moving from the cities.  A study by the National Housing Federation showed an average decline of 9% in the number of 30-44 year olds living in rural areas. (Daily Telegraph, p14)

Recruitment

  • A survey by Manpower suggests more employers are planning to recruit staff than make them redundant in the months ahead, with recruitment plans in London the most positive for five years. The survey of 2,000 employers also predicted that construction may start to recover after five years of dragging down the economy with its poor performance. (Daily Mirror, p41)
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