Headlines on Friday 7 February

Personal finance

Struggling Brits are weighed down with an estimated £139bn worth of unsecured debt. Research by Moneysupermarket shows the average debt – excluding mortgages – is £4,412. The typical 18 to 24 year old owes more than £1,000 extra. Rock bottom interest rates could be fuelling the problem by tempting people to borrow more. One in five of us have at least two forms of unsecured borrowing such as an overdraft, credit card, personal loan or store card. (Mirror p2)

Property

Almost 300,000 families are housing another family under their roof as stagnant wages and rising house prices take their toll. Official figures show the number of “concealed families” has risen by 70 per cent in the last decade to almost 300,000. Concealed families include young couples living with one set of parents, older people living with adult children and their families, lone parents living with their parents and totally unrelated families sharing a home (Times p4, Telegraph p8).

Business/economy

The European Central Bank has rejected calls for radical action to head off deflation and relieve pressure on emerging markets. Despite stating it is ready to act if inflation falls even further below target or if the recovery falters, it has offered no clear guidance on future policy. Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, Barclays and RBS had all been expecting a cut in the main interest rate, currently 0.25%, while widespread reports suggested the ECB would open the door to quantitative easing (Telegraph b1).

Recruitment

Canadian manufacturer Bombardier has won a £1bn contract to supply the trains for Crossrail, Lnodon’s new east-west rail line. The move will create 340 jobs at its plant in Derby as well as 260 positions at a maintenance depot in northwest London, preserving the future of Britain’s sole surviving train factory (FT p2, Telegraph b1, Express p30).

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