The Department for Transport yesterday lowered the forecasted benefits of the High Speed 2 Railway, but insisted that the £50billion project will still be of significant benefit to the economy. The Y-shaped route from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds is now expected to generate £2.30 for every pound invested (lower than the original £2.50), due to the project’s inflating budget. City AM, pg 2. Meanwhile Labour will back the scheme if the project’s incoming chairman, Sir David Higgins, has a free hand in bringing down costs. Pg 1, The Guardian.
Executives representing the big six energy companies faced MPs in the House of Commons yesterday, blaming increases in green taxes, transport costs and wholesale costs for the increased prices of gas and electricity. Tony Cocker, of eON, was the only CEO to attend. EVERYWHERE.
Excessive pension fund fees will be legally capped in a move that will prevent workers from being “fleeced” out of hundreds of thousands of pounds, ministers will announce today. Steve Webb, pensions minister, said that this is a “full frontal assault” on fees that can eat up as much as half of a worker’s retirement savings. The Daily Telegraph, pg 1; The Times, pg2; The Express, pg 1; The Daily Mail, pg9
Statistics from the Bank of England yesterday stated that 66,735 loans were approved for house purchase in September – the most since February 2008. Analysts say that this is further evidence that the housing market is improving off the back of state backed mortgage lending scheme. However, the figure is still well below the pre-recession peak of around 100,000 approvals per month. Daily Mail, pg71.
Junior staff at Goldman Sachs are to get more regular hours and a wider circle of peers to share the burden of their workload, the investment bank said yesterday. The proposals are among several which have been proposed by a new task force which is monitoring the working conditions of junior bankers. City AM, pg1.
Mortgage approvals hit post-crash high but lending to small and medium sized businesses is down again according to statistics from the Bank of England. The Bank’s monthly report in September showed that lending to SMEs fell by £400million in a month whereas overall net lending was up £700million in September. The Times, pg46