- The front page of the Financial Times is given over to Help to Buy. Lloyds, one of Britain’s big four banks, has warned that the government’s scheme risks creating a dangerous bubble in property prices unless steps are taken to free up planning restrictions and boost the supply of housing. António Horta-Osório, one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the government’s initiative said the policy could only succeed if it led to broader reform.
- Metro runs a piece on research from LSL Property Services about the cost of stamp duty – the average price that a first time buyer pays is now £1,457. At the other end of the spectrum, the i paper, shows that almost 7,400 homes around Great Britain changed hands for more than £1m last year, a 2% increase on 2011. Those figures, however, only cover property that was sold during 2012 – a small number of houses worth over £1m. Zoopla puts the total figure at around 323,77 and of those, almost a quarter – or about 78,999 – have moved to valuations above £1m over the past 12 months.
- Both the leader pieces in The Sun and the Daily Express look at green taxes and subsidies that form a substantial and growing component of domestic energy bills (adding £132 to our power bills according to an editorial in the Daily Mail). While The Sun focuses on a case study, The Express says David Cameron could not only help millions of hard-pressed families but also remind them that many of these measures came in when Ed Miliband was climate change secretary in the last Labour administration – “to fail to adjust to the new straitened circumstances that have prevailed since the 2008 crash is not just bad politics but cruel politics as well. Many people are on the verge of having to choose between heating and eating.”
RECRUITMENT & EMPLOYMENT
- The Financial Times reports that London achieved the fastest rise on business activity last month, a survey of 1200 employers found for the Lloyds Banking Commercial regional purchasing managers’ index.