The key macro-economic, personal finance and property stories from today’s papers, read by Wriglesworth Director James Staunton.
The key macro-economic, personal finance, property and recruitment stories from today’s papers, read by Wriglesworth Director James Staunton.
- Mark Field, MP for the Cities of London & Westminster writes in the Daily Telegraph business section that the interest rate has provided UK business and individuals alike with breathing space. Nevertheless, the real question that should be foremost in the minds of policymakers after five straight years of emergency monetary stimulus, is at what cost to the nation’s long-term economic interests? Field feels the young and middle-class savers who are being significantly impoverished by Treasury policies. He says today’s young people grapple with sky-high rents and house prices, a less secure employment market and increasing personal debt. But, he says, ultra-low interest rates carry a cost – and it’s starting to rack up.
Recruitment & Employment
- Writing in today’s Daily Mail, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Home Secretary Theresa May announce a crackdown on jobless immigrants seeking to access housing benefit. In the Mail’s leaders it backs IDS to the hilt: “Any doubts that Iain Duncan Smith’s crusade against welfare dependency is having the desired effect should be dispelled by an extraordinary set of figures published today. They show that in the last five years of the Labour government the number of British people in work fell by 413,000, while the number of migrants employed soared by 736,000. Yet since the 2010 election that depressing trend has been completely reversed, with 538,000 Britons finding new jobs compared with 247,000 foreigners.” In an interview with The Independent, shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves has said that a Labour government would deny people unemployment benefit if they are unable to demonstrate that they have the basic skills needed to find work after six weeks on the dole. The Mirror’s leader piece comes out strongly against Reeves’ plans – “Make Jobs, not exams’ is the headline.
- In The Times, Deidre Hipwell reports that criticism of the Government’s Help to Buy initiative from a City financiers who has warned that London’s housing market is overheating, as research shows asking prices are rising by record amounts. Nigel Wilson, the chief executive of Legal & General said house prices in London and the South East had reached “absurd” levels and would soon only be affordable to the wealthy. He said young people were being encouraged to buy homes in “over- leveraged” situations and warned that the Government should stop stoking demand through its Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme.
- The Independent reports a fourth capital raise at Metro Bank has brought in £387.5m to aid growth, taking the total equity raised to £641m. Founder and Chairman Vernon W Hill said: ‘The revolution in British banking continues, with strong support from existing and new investors.’ Elsewhere in the sector, Treasury officials are believed to be considering a second sale of Lloyds shares as early as mid-February, following publication of the bank’s annual results on February 13 – that story runs in the Daily Mail.
- There’s a neat summary of house price forecasts for 2014 from Hilary Osborne in The Guardian. The bulls: Rightmove and RICS (8 per cent). The bears: “the normally downbeat” Capital Economics (5 per cent). the consensus appears to be about 6.75 per cent. There’s also, an analysis of the accuracy of predictions for 2013. The booby prizes went to Knight Frank (who forecast a fall of 2 per cent and reported an increase of 7 per cent) and arch pessimists Capital Economics, who forecast Nationwide’s index would fall 5 per cent – the Nationwide HPI rose 6.5 per cent over the year. Closest call was RICS who forecast a rise of 2 per cent then reported a rise of 5 per cent.
- In an editorial piece in the Daily Express (beneath an expression of gratitude to our troops and above a rather toadying message to the Queen – “here’s to the next royal baby, Ma’am!) the paper highlights the importance of pensions (sparked by a report on a potential pensions disaster for the next generation). The Express says, “If half the population aren’t paying enough towards their pensions or are leaving it too late to join then there is a time bomb ticking that will cause immense hardship and worry. If youngsters won’t listen to the Government or experts then it is the duty of parents and grandparents to put them wise to one of the best investments anyone can make”
- Leader pieces in the Daily Mirror and the Daily Telegraph focus on flooding. In “Joy’s at a premium” the Daily Mirror argues that insurance companies should play fair and pay up promptly. “Instead of quibbling they should help put the lives of those affected back together rather than hindering them. Firms who happily pocket the monthly premiums have a moral duty to write a big cheque when a legitimate claim is made by a policy holder”. The Daily Telegraph, on the other hand, says should consider if we are doing all we can to ward against flooding. Earlier this year, the Coalition announced that it would spend more on flood defences, after cutting back when it came to power. But MPs warned this would still not keep pace with increasing risks: “a renewed focus on this issue will prevent the wreaking of similar devastation on more homes, and more lives, in the years to come.”
Recruitment and Employment
- The BBCs reports a survey by the recruitment organisation, Randstad, which shows that while the recession has led to a drop in the number of people commuting as people lost their jobs – there has been an increase in people travelling more three hours a day. The poll, which looked at the commuting patterns of 2,000 workers between 2008 and 2013, found that almost one in 10 respondents were now travelling for that period a day – compared with one in 20 previously.
The key macro-economic, personal finance, property and recruitment stories from today’s papers, read by Wriglesworth director James Staunton
The key macro-economic, personal finance, property and recruitment stories from today’s papers read by Wriglesworth Director James Staunton
RECRUITMENT & EMPLOYMENT
- In the Daily Mail, Linda Whitney reports candidates are still having to work hard at making their applications stand out – although Adzuna has some good news, saying fewer than two people are now chasing every job. Mark Bull, chief executive of recruiter Randstad UK says, “Match your skills and experience to the vacancy but also understand what it offers that will fulfil you and ensure this comes through in your application and interview.” He also advises candidates to demonstrate they are high-fliers who should be considered above others. He says, “Highlight your extracurricular activities and the skills they have given you – employers look for rounded individuals”
- The Daily Telegraph reports elderly people will have to spend nearly twice as much on care bills as previously thought before qualifying for state help. The Coalition’s pledge to overhaul care by introducing a £72,000 cap on care costs is misleading because it excludes tens of thousands of pounds in accommodation fees according to care agency Prestige Nursing+Care. Norman Lamb, the care minister, said the Government had always made clear that the cap would not apply to accommodation costs, which residents would continue to pay even after they qualify for state support.
- Elsewhere in The Daily Telegraph, personal finance reporter Kyle Caldwell looks at how to make a deposit for a first house stretch further. His advice includes investing in residential property funds and cutting back on discretionary spending including moving back in with friends or parents. As average London rents hit £1,100 a month according to LSL Property Services, “would-be buyers are ploughing much of their hard-earned cash into landlord’s pockets”