Concern mounted yesterday that the Government’s Funding for Lending scheme is failing to improve business lending. Bank of England figures showed that net lending to businesses plunged by £4.5 billion in the three months to May, fuelling fears that credit-starved companies could hold back the economic recovery. (Times, p.39, Telegraph Business, p.4) Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott called the lending data for businesses “diabolical” and said it was a wake-up call to the Chancellor that Funding for Lending was not working for the business sector. (Guardian, p.28)
Mortgage lending rose to its highest monthly figure in nearly five years, reaching £42 billion in the second quarter of 2013, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. And tomorrow’s National Housing Market Monitor by haarts estate agents, is set to show a first-time buyers surge of 68 per cent last month – the biggest rise in a decade. (Sarah O’Grady, Daily Express, p.2) Meanwhile petrol prices are set to rocket by 5p a litre before the end of the summer, due to a surge in wholesale oil prices, reports the Express, (p12).
More than four women in 10 are now the main breadwinner in UK homes, and more men are happy to be ‘house husbands’ – reports Steve Hawkes in the Telegraph, p.3 (also Express p.3, Daily Mail, p.13). 41% of women now earn more than their partner, up from an estimated 26 per cent two decades ago, according to a survey by LV= insurers. Women working in engineering and government sectors are more likely than others to become the main earner in a couple.
House prices in Britain are predicted to rise by almost 20 per cent over the next five years as record low interest rates help to drive a property market recovery, according to the latest Savills/Markit report. London will continue to outperform the nation, with prices in the wealthiest parts of the capital expected to rise by 6 per cent in the next year. (Times, Kathryn Hopkins, p.11, Telegraph Business, p.5) Ed Conway argues that the Government’s Help to Buy scheme will further inflate prices in the capital, rather than solve the considerable undersupply of housing in the capital. (Times Opinion, p.24)