A long awaited boost to Britain’s economy has been triggered by glorious weather, a new heir to the throne and a historic summer of sport, experts said yesterday. The high street last month enjoyed its biggest uplift for more than two years – thanks to a surge in food, alcohol and clothes sales driven by the heatwave. Figures from the Office of National Statstics last night revealed sales were up three per cent on last year – the biggest rise for two-and-a-half years.
Daily Express, p.1
Britain’s wealth rocketed to £7.3 trillion in 2012 – or £114,000 for every man, woman or child in the country. The value of the UK’s homes, businesses and other assets has more than trebled in the last 25 years, official stats revealed yesterday.
The Sun, p.2
The government has declared an end to the half-decade slump in housebuilding after cheap borrowing and the Help to Buy scheme prompted a 6% increase in the start of work on new homes in the three months to June. But the claim was challenged by the charity Shelter, which said the 110,530 housing starts in the 12 months to June were less than half of what was needed to tackle the UK’s housing shortage.
The Guardian, p.26
Plans to overhaul the Army Reserves are in peril because a drive to increase the number of new recruits is failing. Under government reforms, the former Territorial Army must hit a trained strength of 30,000, with a further 8,000 in training by 2018 to offset cuts of 20,000 regular soldiers. The target requires the Army Reserves to increase recruitment by 66% in 2013, but figures released yesterday by the DASA show that the opposite is happening, with the overall strength of the Army Reserves dropping 5.3% in the past year.
The Times, p.14
David Cameron is backing small businesses in their battle to prevent big energy suppliers from automatically rolling them on to more expensive electricity and gas contracts when their fixed-term deals expire. The Prime Minister has urged EDF Energy, Scottish Power and E.ON to end the practice, which he said “can lock small companies into paying above market rates”.
The Times, p.36