What made the nationals: sponsored by PressChoice
Deficit battle blazes trail for big decisions
By Chris Giles, Economics Editor
Nothing is more important to the coalition than its central mission to rectify Britain’s public finances. But as the latest monthly public finance figures are published on Friday, little within government is in more flux than its fiscal strategy.
The week in politics has been dominated by the effects of deficit reduction: the conviction behind pension reforms has slipped as the money to compensate losers is not there; some Conservatives have floated ideas to boost public spending on infrastructure in the hope of boosting growth; and others have sought to freeze benefits to the poor to save money.
Sir Mervyn King suggests recession is over – but warns recovery will be slow
By Hugo Duncan
Sir Mervyn King last night suggested the longest double-dip recession for more than 50 years was finally over – but warned the recovery will be slow.
The Governor of the Bank of England said the economy was now growing again following nine months of contraction.
But he said the crisis in the eurozone was like ‘a black cloud of uncertainty hanging over British businesses’, and added Britain’s fate depended on what happened in the rest of the world.
Governor offers Osborne lifeline on debt target
By Russell Lynch
The Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King threw the Chancellor, George Osborne, a vital political lifeline last night as he said it would be “acceptable” for the Government to miss its debt-cutting target due to slowing global growth.
In his first-ever live television interview, Sir Mervyn faced questions on the Coalition’s target of putting public debt as a share of the economy on a downward course by 2015/16.
Olympics: G4S ‘Should Be Blacklisted’ Say MPs
A report into the potential problems over security at this summer’s Olympic Games has been scathing about the performance of security firm G4S.
The company had only itself to blame for its problems, MPs on the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee declared in their report on Olympics Security.
Lloyds boss blasts bonus bullies
By Steve Hawkes, Business Editor
Lloyds bank branch chief Alison Brittain has vowed to clean up the business — and stamp out any bullying by bonus-chasing managers.
Speaking to The Sun yesterday the head of retail banking said Lloyds would “lead the industry” in putting customer care at the heart of each of its brands.
Revolts over top pay see fewer bosses get rises
By Rupert Neate
Almost half of the bosses of the UK’s biggest companies failed to secure a rise in their salaries this year during the “shareholder spring” move against excessive boardroom pay.
The chief executives of 46% of FTSE 100 companies had their basic salary frozen, according to Deloitte Consulting.
Investment bank jobs slashed in new cuts round
By Tim Wallace
Five years since the financial crisis began, investment banks are embarking on a new round of job cuts, slashing expenses to try to cope with the prolonged economic downturn.
Nomura yesterday commenced its $1bn (£617m) savings programme, which is set to see one-third of its European investment bankers lose their jobs – many of whom are in London.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BoAML) is also reportedly accelerating its programme of 16,000 job cuts.
Fears for tenants as rental costs rise
A charity has called for more security for tenants, as a survey suggests that the cost of renting rose to a record high in August.
The average cost rose to £734 a month on average in England and Wales, up 2.9% on a year earlier, LSL Property Services said.
Olympics casts cloud over shops and UK economy
By Julian Knight
The Olympics may have lifted the country but not, it seems, the crucial retail sector. Sales in Britain’s shops, excluding petrol, fell 0.3 per cent in August, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said. This was roughly in line with most analysts’ forecasts, but nevertheless is yet another sign of Britain’s current economic woes.
Few medals for Scots firms after Olympic benefit passes them by
By Dominic Jeff
Four out of five Scottish businesses failed to get any sort of boost from the Olympic Games, according to new research, as further evidence mounted that retailers also failed to benefit from the event.
Despite the organising committee’s initial estimate that the Games would bring £6.5 billion worth of work to UK firms, 82.6 per cent of businesses in Scotland said they hadn’t benefited from the event at all.
Ofcom attack on James Murdoch throws his future into doubt
By Katherine Rushton
The broadcasting regulator on Thursday declared that BSkyB, the satellite television business, was “fit and proper” to hold a broadcasting licence, but it was unsparing in its assessment of Mr Murdoch, its former chairman.
His failure to deal with the phone-hacking and police bribery scandals at News International, where he was also chair, was “difficult to comprehend and ill-judged”, Ofcom said. It added that Mr Murdoch “repeatedly fell short” of his duties as chairman, raising questions about his “competence” and attitude towards wrongdoing at the company.
French Connection out of fashion
Winners and losers of the UK’s fashion sector were uncovered yesterday as Zara owner Inditex and online group ASOS hailed booming sales while French Connection fell into the red.
Spanish group Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer with 94 UK stores, reported a 32 per cent leap in first-half profit to £758.5million on sales up 17 per cent to £5.8billion.