- The revised forecasts by the British Chambers of Commerce are another sign of growing confidence. But, writing in the Daily Express, Peter Cunliffe says its head John Longworth is right to warn against false dawns. The Middle East Crisis struggling eurozone and Chinese slowdown could hamper progress. “That is why it is vital the Government and the Bank of England create domestic conditions in which business can thrive.”
- The Co-op has warned its banking business will go bust if bondholders don’t support its £1.5bn recapitalisation plan. Last night The Evening Standard’s Nick Goodway was happy to leave the blame at previous management’s door in his comment on the story – as is the Daily Telegraph’s business leader piece. But writing in the Daily Mail, Alex Brummer says it is not good enough for the new management team to simply kick the past into the long grass. He says auditors KPMG were “asleep at the wheel”. The Guardian’s Nils Pratley says members were complacent and also takes a pop at the FSA. What’s the answer? Goodway thinks the best bet, given the benefit of hindsight provided by RBS, would be to transfer the bad bank to UK Asset Resolution, which is already winding down the bad bits of Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley, as soon as possible. The Times’ Ian King thinks the same – hand the keys over to UK Asset Resolution and save everyone a great deal of trouble. CityAM says the group is right to hang onto its best assets while Brummer says Co-op, banking regulators and the Department for Business should try and claw back money from Peter Marks and former Britannia boss Neville Richardson. Pratley says bondholders should argue for as large an ownership slice as possible of the re-capitalised bank (49%?) – in the end bondholders don’t have much choice but to hold their nose and back the management’s plan. Peter Cunliffe is sure of one thing – “taxpayers cannot be expected to step in again”.
Recruitment & Employment
- The Daily Mail reports that the cost of a room in a care home has rocketed by 9.3 per cent in two years. In the last year alone the cost rose by 3.5 per cent, a survey of 165 private care homes found. The average cost of a room is more than double the average pensioner income of £13,799 and the gap ‘continues to increase’, the survey said. Prestige Nursing+Care, which provides temporary staff for nursing and care roles and carried out the survey, said that since 2012 the average annual cost of a single room in a residential care home has risen by £963. The Daily Express meanwhile concentrates on the absolute numbers from the same report saying pensioners face a bill of almost £30,000 a year if they need to go into residential care.
- The Metro’s property section runs a brace of pieces on a new development within walking distance of the medieval town of Saffron Walden, The Avenue. This is a development within mature tree-lined avenues and landscaped gardens. Developer Hill Residential is helping to sell a mix of properties to appeal to all buyers, from first-timers to families and downsizers; CEO Andy Hill and says the properties are suitable for buyers considering relocating from London. That may be a smart move – The Guardian’s House Price Blog quotes estate agent Marsh & Parsons, who say rising property prices mean that the cost of a two-bedroom home in the richest borough in London is set to break through the £1m-mark in early 2014. The agent said the price of these properties had risen by 14% over the past year to reach £909,203. With an average of 18 buyers chasing every property, it said prices were set to continue to rise. If the £1m mark seems out of reach, The Metro also looks at Gun Place, EC1 – a “bargain buy” – a one bedroom flat in a converted warehouse off Wapping High Street. That’s on sale for £400,000 with Cluttons.