Labour’s economic plans would commit Britain to borrowing an extra £166billion over the next parliament, Treasury officials have calculated. This is the estimate of the impact of Labour’s recent promises. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have repeatedly accused Labour of fiscal irresponsibility, saying that excessive spending under the last government contributed to the financial crisis. Mr Balls made attempts last week to bolster Labour’s fiscal credibility, promising that a Labour government would act to balance the government’s books (p.4 of The Daily Telegraph)

Personal Finance

The government’s claim that living standards are finally improving has been challenged by independent experts, who have warned that they will not recover strongly for another few years. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a think-tank trusted by both left and right, the average British household is 6% poorer than before the financial crash and is unlikely to recover lost ground before next year’s general election. Forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility also show real wages are not expected to regain 2009/10 levels until 2018/19. (p.3 of Financial Times, p.5 of The Independent, p.2 of The Guardian and p.4 of The Daily Telegraph)


Lenders approved the highest number of mortgages last month in almost six years as Britain’s housing market revival continued. The Bank of England said mortgage approvals rose to 71,638 in December, the highest since January 2008 and roughly double the numbers seen in the recession. Net mortgage lending , which has lagged behind the recovery in approvals, increased at its fastest rate since January 2012. But corporate lending was subdued and net lending to small and medium-sized companies fell by £300m – the 22nd decline in the past 24 months (p. 4 of the FT)

A record number of homes were built last year in an effort to address the escalating housing supply crisis in Britain. The annual figures for home registrations rose by 28% to 133,670 last year, the highest number of new builds since the economic downturn, according to the National House-Building Council (NHBC). (p.B3 and cover of The Daily Telegraph)


Salaries being advertised on job vacancies have fallen by £2,136 over the past year despite the recovery taking grip. The 4.1% decline in annual pay to an average of £32,323 in December 2013 marks the third month running advertised salaries have fallen. They are now at a 16-month low, according to job search engine Adzuna. (p.B9 of The Daily Telegraph)



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