Wriglesworth Vlog: Paper Summary for 7th February 2014

The key macro-economic, personal finance, property and recruitment stories from today’s papers, read by Wriglesworth Senior Account Manager Andy Lane


News Headlines: Tuesday 4th February


A new planning court will fast-track large scale developments under plans to beat costly legal challenges. Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling is to put forward the measures which include a stipulation that only groups with a financial interest can lodge a complaint. Judicial review applications more than doubled between 2000 and 2012, leading to concerns that major projects are being held up.


The state pension is to rise by around £1,000 by the end of the decade as the Lib Dems agree to the triple lock pledge. They are the last of the three major parties to do so, guaranteeing a rise of around £20 per week. The National Pensioners’ Convention welcomed the news but expressed dismay that the consumer price index is used, rather than the retail price index which is higher.


The public could be offered the chance to buy shares in Lloyd’s banking group as early as next month in a surprise announcement ahead of its results. Six per cent of the bank has already been sold to institutional investors but the chancellor is expected to authorise the sale of a larger part of the government’s 33% stake to both institutional investors and the public. Ian King in the Times comments that Ed Miliband’s recent promise to tackle a lack of competition in the banking market may affect the price, and should be given space in the retail prospectus.


The Association of Graduate Recruiters predicts a rise of 10.2% in vacancies for the coming recruitment round, following a rise of 4.3% last year. The biggest rises were in IT and Telecoms, the public sector, energy companies and banking and the financial sector.


News Headlines – Monday 27th January 2014

Businesses have accused Labour of being “anti-business” following their assertion they will reinstate the 50p rate of tax for high earners should they win the next election. The plan to revive the top rate of tax until the defecit has been cleared has been criticised by business leaders as well as former Labour ministers including Lord Myners. The Telegraph Leader accuses Labour of making the pledge for political rather than exonomic reasons stating that throughout most of Labour’s 13 years in office, the top rate of tax was 40p. It only increased to 50p just before the general election for populist reasons rather than economic ones – indeed, the move lost the treasury income. The pledge by Labour has also caused 17 business leaders including Sir Stuart Rose and Karren Brady to write a joint letter to the Telegraph saying the move will discourage investment into Britain, jeopardise the economic recovery and cause the loss of jobs. Telegraph, p.1, 23; FT, p.1

The economic recovery is widening the gap between London and other UK cities according to the latest Cities Outlook report from think tank Centre for Cities. London accounted for 79% of national jobs growth in the private sector between 2010 and 2012 with 216,700 jobs created over that period – 10 times more than the second fastest growing city, Edinburgh. The latest ONS data shows that London accounted for 22% of overall employment growth over the period, growing twice as fast as the national average. In contrast, towns such as Bradford, Blackpool and Glasgow have had job losses in both private and public sectors. FT, p,4

David Cameron will today announce a drive to build thousands more homes by slashing building regulations. More than 100 rules applied to new homes will be cut to fewer than 10. The move will save developers £60m a year, equivalent to £500 for every new property built. Rules setting out minimum window sizes, the dimensions of rooms, the strength of front doors, and arrangements for lavatories, lighting, telephone lines and disabled access will be culled. It is hoped the move will result in far more homes being constructed. Telegraph, p.2

Personal Finance
Workers could increase their pension by a third in exchange for fewer guarantees about retirement income under a far-reaching pre-election shake-up of the industry. The Government will try to transform the pensions market by backing controversial occupational schemes commonly used in the Netherlands but previously rejected in Britain over fears the dangers were too great. Amid growing concern about falling pension incomes, ministers believe they can build enough safeguards into the proposed schemes to make them acceptable. Studies suugest the collective pensions could deliver returns of about 30% more than the occupational scheme currently used by most British employers. Times, p.1,2

News Headlines – Tuesday 21st January 2014

The IMF will today upgrade its growth forecasts for the UK by more than any other nation, cementing Britain’s position as one of the fastest growing major economies. The IMF is expected to revise its UK growth forecast for 2014 to 2.4% from the 1.9% it predicted in October. The IMF’s stance contrasts with its view a year ago, when Oliver Blanchard, its chief economist, said George Osborne was “playing with fire” with his austerity drive. Telegraph p.1,B1; Daily mail, p.2

Personal Finance
Paying into a pension pot should be made compulsory in the same way as paying taxes according to think tank Policy Exchange who have called on the Government to create a “Help to Save” scheme. Amid concerns that people are not saving enough for retirement the scheme would make it obligatory for people to build a pension pot by removing the opt-out in the existing auto-enrolment scheme. Research from PE found that someone earning £27,000 will need to save six and a half times more than they currently do to generate the recommended retirement income of £16,200. The average pension pot is estimated to be £36,000, which on current annuity rates would generate a retirement income of £1,340. Telegraph, p.6

Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, has asserted that mothers working in the City are worth less to their employers than their male counterparts. Farage said yesterday that women should sacrifice having a family if they want to get on in the City, arguing that taking extended breaks for child rearing damaged client relationships. FT, p.2; Daily Mail, p.12; Daily Mirror, p.6

Zoopla has ended its sponsorship of West Bromich Albion following the furore surrounding the “Quennelle” gesture made by Nicolas Anelka in a match against West Ham over Christmas. Zoopla have sponsored West Brom since the beginning of the 2012 season. Daily Mail, p.79,80; Daily Express, p.72, 68; Sun, p.27: Daily Mirror, p.61,64