Britain’s struggling construction sector beat estimates for its latest monthly performance, as the Government-backed housing recovery helped to increase new business. The Office for National Statistics reported that output from the construction sector during July was up 2.2% on June, the fastest rate of growth in three months, and was 2% higher than it was in July last year. The office also reported that new orders in the construction sector from April to June rose 20% on the previous quarter and were up 32.8% on the same three months last year. (p.52 of The Times and p. 37 of The Daily Telegraph, p.65 of Daily Express, and p.92 of Daily Mail)

Vince Cable, the business secretary, is to press for an increase in the minimum wage amid concerns that the economic recovery is failing to lift living standards for large parts of the workforce. Cable is to ask the Low Pay Commission to restore its value, which he calculates has fallen in real terms by 10-12% since the crash of 2008. (Cover of The Guardian)

Personal Finance

Pensions minister Steve Webb has warned that 12 million people will face a shortfall in their pensions despite the introduction of automatic enrolment. He pointed out that middle-income workers are just as likely to be hit as low-paid ones. His concerns have been supported by figures from the latest Scottish Widows Workplace Pensions Report, which reveal that one in ten middle-income workers (defined as earning between £30,000-£50,000) has no pension at all, while one in five is currently not making any pension savings. (p.59 of The Independent)


The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said in a report published yesterday that the Bank of England should take steps to prevent the housing rebound from getting out of control by restricting mortgage lending if house price growth tops 5% a year. RICS also said that the Bank may have to target regional markets, such as London, to prevent them from overheating. (p.51 of The Times and p.14 of The Daily Telegraph)

The Bank of England is set to meet to discuss the growing concerns about a new property bubble amid mounting pressure for the central bank to prevent another debt-fuelled housing boom. The Financial Policy Committee will meet on Wednesday to examine whether increasing signs of life in the housing market are creating another bubble, and what it can do to prevent such an outcome. (Cover of the FT)


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