News Headlines – Monday 9th December

Economics/SMEs
Southeast England overtook London last month as the region with the fastest growing private sector business activity in the latest Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking regional PMI. All 12 regions and nations saw their economies grow though at a slightly slower pace than in recent months. The headline index measuring overall business activity across the UK was 60.2, dpwn from 61.8 in October but still well above the 50 mark which separates expansion from contraction. FT, p.2

Personal finance/Employment
Starting salary growth has hit a six year high amid skills shortages and rising vacancies. According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG, vacancy rates are rising at their fastest in 15 years as demand for staff is fuelled by private sector recovery. The skills shortages are being driven by employees remaining nervous about job security and deciding not to move positions. The REC chief said the figures indicate that we can expect salaries to increase and job fluidity to accelerate in 2014.

Employment
Headteachers should be allowed to hire unqualified staff if they are right for the school, according to the chief schools inspector. This comes as the headmaster of Brighton College calls on ministers to set tough minimum standard for teachers following his shock at the poor spelling and grammatical mistakes in job applications to his college. He is calling for teachers to require a minimum of three Bs at A-level and an upper second class degree in their subject before they are allowed to teach. Daily Telegraph, p,12; Daily Mail, p.26

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