The European Commission has imposed a record penalty of £1.4 billion for a fresh rate rigging scandal. The fine is against six firms, including bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland, for colluding to fix key interest rate benchmarks. Total penalties for rigging libor and other key interest rate benchmarks now totals £3.5 billion. The Guardian, Pg 2; The Times, Business, Pg 54.
George Osborne was given a boost before today’s Autumn Statement with news that the economy is on track to grow at its fastest pace in almost four years in the final quarter of this year. Excellent performance by all three sectors last month indicated that the economy is likely to grow by 1% between October and December. The Times, Business, Pg 51.
Later today it will be announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement that the state retirement age is being raised to 70 – so people now in their twenties will have to work until they are 70 and those in their 40s until they are 69. In future workers will expect to spend around a third of their adult lives in retirement. The move will save around £500 billion over 50 years. Daily Express, Pg 2; Daily Mail, Pg 2; Guardian, Pg 1; The Times, Pg 1; The Independent, Pg 1; Daily Telegraph, Pg 1; FT, Pg 1 George Osborne is also set to announce £3 billion of public spending cuts.
Building contractors in London are warning of rising prices over the next 18 months as fresh demand for construction collides with a shortage of building materials and labour. Construction companies are forecasting a rise of up to 5% in tender prices in London over the period, after they secured twice as much work in 2014 than in 2012. Since 2008 350,000 people have left the construction industry as developments were stalled or cancelled. The FT, pg 4.
Also stamp duty changes: the 1 per cent rate could be extended to properties up to £300,000 (see City AM, Pg 2).