UK Paper Summary: 27th November 2013

Personal Finance

Brits are withdrawing more cash from their properties to pay for Christmas, according to The Sun. New research from LMS shows borrowing against an existing mortgage is 30 per cent higher than a year ago, as total remortgage lending rose to £4.73 billion in October. That was equal to the average homeowner releasing £21,579 in extra equity. Andy Knee, chief executive of LMS said: “About 18 per cent of the equity released will go on home improvements, 11 per cent on debt repayment and 71 per cent on Christmas.” (The Sun p.43)


Mark Carney yesterday raised his doubts about George Osborne’s Help to Buy mortgage scheme, telling MPs on the Treasury Select Committee that there was yet to be any evidence that the scheme was encouraging more homes to be built. He told MPs that the main constraints holding back the supply of new homes were Britain’s difficult planning regime, and the shortage of construction materials.

And Chancellor George Osborne announced that he would be bringing forward a Bank of England review into the ‘leverage ratio’ from 2017 to this year. After intense pressure from his peers, the chancellor announced that he would be reviewing whether the Financial Policy Committee need additional powers over the leverage ratio, which controls the volume of risky lending by banks (The Times p.8)


The north-south divide in the jobs market has widened sharply, buoyed by a rise in construction vacancies in the South, according to the latest Jobs Report from job search engine Adzuna. Nine of the ten best cities to find a job were in the South of England, while nine of the ten worst were in the North, and it was 100 times more difficult to get a job in Salford, where there were 28 jobseekers per vacancy, than in Cambridge, where there were just 0.28 jobseekers per vacancy. (Financial Times p.4, The Sun p.10, Guardian p.25)

Whistleblowers require more protection, to encourage them to speak out about wrongdoing at work, according to a report by Public Concern at Work. Experts have made 25 recommendations to tackle the ‘culture of silence’ including simplifying and strengthening the Public Disclosure Act, adding measures to prevent the gagging or blacklisting of whistleblowers, and getting board-level staff to audit whistleblowing arrangements. Cathy James, chief executive of Public Concern at Work said: “We’ve had so many scandals and in each case there have been questions asked why people are not speaking up. It’s a problem that needs official attention.” (Daily Telegraph B6, FT p.23, Guardian p.37)


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