The front page of the Daily Mail says Britain’s two state-backed banks have been accused of running thousands of small firms by using “disgraceful” business practices. RBS and Lloyds “harmed their customers through their decisions and caused their financial downfall” according to a bombshell report released today by Laurence Tomlinson. The report claims RBS acted like a “hit squad” by deliberately causing healthy businesses to go bust for its own gain.
Immigrants and the seriously ill are in line for “a fresh Tory welfare raid” according to Tom McTague, in the Daily Mirror. More than 500,000 sufferers of long-term conditions such as cancer face losing benefits currently paid to them as they train for a return to work.
In the Daily Express, Sarah O’Grady reports that house prices jumped by £7430 last month – and are up £1,300 a week according to estate agency Sequence. Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors said, “Help to Buy has opened a flood of new buyers, causing prices to surge upwards.” The second phase of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme was launched in October and offers lenders a taxpayer-backed guarantee on 95 per cent mortgages on homes costing up to £600,000. In the first month, 2,000 sales were arranged.
Employment & Recruitment
The FT’s editorial looks at university degrees pointing out that, since the 1963 Robbins report, widening access to university has been a central aim of UK education policy. Roughly half of young people now study for a degree, against 4 per cent when the report was written.
But the FT’s stance is that rising participation is welcome only if the benefits justify the cost: “young people’s horizons will not be widened by pushing university for its own sake.”