Daily Newspaper Summary: Friday 27th December 2013

Economics

Fears of a festive slump across the retail sector were dispelled on Boxing Day as sales delivered a Christmas boost to Britain’s retailers. More than £2.7 billion was spent in stores and at online retailers across the UK with many shops reporting their busiest Boxing Day to date. Around 1.4 million shoppers were expected to have spent a total of more than £50 million in London’s West End yesterday. The Daily Telegraph, front page and everywhere else.

Personal Finance

The current strength of the pound is making exotic holiday destinations such as Bali and South Africa ore affordable as Brits find that their money goes further. The stronger sterling is giving Britons up to 28 per cent more spending money abroad this month, compared to this time last year. The Times, pg 21; The Daily Mail, pg 49

Fifty per cent of pensioners want higher interest rates to counteract the disastrous effects of years of low returns on their savings. Fifty per cent of the over sixties say a rise in interest rates would make them better off, according to a survey. By contrast, just seven per cent say they would be worse off. The Daily Mail, pg 18.

Property

There is currently a boom in sales of £1 million + houses  which have risen by ten per cent above the previous peak they of 2007, with 9,700 transactions at that level, according to Hamptons International’s analysis of Land Registry data. London accounted for around 70 per cent of £1 million + house sales this year and according the research new hotspots have emerged over the last six years with Battersea and St John’s Wood both moving into the £1 million + top ten. The Times, pg 11; The Daily Mail, pg 37

Britain’s high end housing market risks falling into a “zombie zone” as political rhetoric against foreign investors builds in the run up to the general election. George Osborne utilised his autumn statement to kick off the Tory party’s re-election aspirations with a crackdown on wealthy foreign homeowners who will be liable to pay capital gains tax in future. Ed Mead, Director at Douglas & Gordon, said the market was likely to fall into a zombie state, with a slowdown of growth at the top end of the market generated by uncertainty. The FT, pg 2.

Recruitment / HR

According to an exclusive in The Mirror staff in just three governmental departments pocketed more than £15 million in bonuses last year. £6.5 million of tax payer money was dished out to Home Office workers alone, 44.9% higher than the previous year. The Mirror, pg 6.

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