October 5, 2011

UK economic growth at 0.1% in Q2

by Kay Mitchell

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today announced the UK economy grew by 0.1% in the second quarter – slightly less than a previous estimate of 0.2%. Today’s reading is the third and final one for the April to June period and third quarter figures will be available later this month. In the meantime, […]




October 4, 2011

Euro zone delay decision for next Greek financial instalment

by Kay Mitchell

European stock markets lost ground this morning after it emerged that euro zone finance ministers have postponed the approval of Greece’s next instalment of its bailout loan. A meeting was scheduled for October 13, at which time finance ministers were expected to approve the next tranche but this has now been cancelled. London’s FTSE was […]




S&P maintains UK’s AAA credit rating

by Kay Mitchell

Credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) yesterday affirmed the UK’s AAA credit rating with a “stable” outlook. An AAA rating is the highest possible and the agency said in a statement: “In our view, the U.K. has a wealthy, open, and diversified economy, supported by a well-established political system and macroeconomic policy framework, which […]




October 3, 2011

Shares down as fears grow for Greece default

by Kay Mitchell

European stock markets have fallen sharply today over concerns that crisis-torn Greece will not meet its deficit target this year. The country showed a deficit of 8.5% of gross domestic product for this year – missing targets of 7.6%. London’s FTSE lost just over 2%, while Germany’s Dax and France’s CAC both lost around 2.5% […]




September 26, 2011

Labour sets out growth plan at party conference

by Jan Harris

The shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, would give SMEs a one year exemption from national insurance in return for creating jobs, as part of a five-point plan designed to stimulate the economy. This would be paid for from the failed £1 billion national insurance rebate fund. The other elements of the plan include: reducing VAT to […]




Shares rally on euro zone rescue plan hopes

by Kay Mitchell

European stock markets rallied this morning after G20 talks at the weekend proposed an action plan for the debt-laden euro zone. Germany’s Dax index and France’s Cac 40 both gained more than 3% at lunchtime today, while London’s FTSE was up more than 50 points, led by banks. Barclays was up 7.2%, while taxpayer-owned Lloyds […]




September 23, 2011

CBI: UK manufacturing orders fall in September

by Kay Mitchell

The Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) industrial trends survey today revealed factory orders fell in September after growing in August. The survey’s total order book balance fell to -9 this month from August’s reading of +1 – way below forecasts of a reading of -5. In the meantime, the export order book balance fell considerably […]




September 21, 2011

Bank minutes suggest further round of QE

by Kay Mitchell

Minutes of the Bank of England’s September 7-8 meeting have been released today and have revealed all nine members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to keep interest rates at the historic low of 0.5%. This was the second consecutive month that the Committee voted unanimously to keep rates at the record low after […]




September 20, 2011

IMF issues warning for global economy

by Kay Mitchell

Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) has today said the global economy has entered a “dangerous new phase” and slashed its growth forecast for the UK. In its World Economic Outlook bi-annual report, the Fund which is now headed by Christine Largarde, warned that the global economy is struggling amid the euro zone debt crisis and […]




September 16, 2011

Vince Cable supports fresh round of QE

by Kay Mitchell

Business Secretary Vince Cable has today said the Bank of England should consider a fresh round of quantitative easing (QE) to stimulate the economy. A recent slew of weak data has also led some analysts to believe that the central bank will consider further QE – also known as printing money. In a pamphlet published […]




September 12, 2011

UK business confidence sinks to two-year low

by Kay Mitchell

A survey among UK companies has found that confidence has fallen to a level not seen since June 2009. BDO’s output index, which measures businesses’ predictions about their turnover, slumped to 93.6 last month from 95.0 in July – the lowest in 26 months. Peter Hemington, a partner at the accountancy firm, said it is […]




ICB final report recommends ring-fencing

by Kay Mitchell

The Independent Commission on Banking’s (ICB) final report has been published today and is recommending that UK banks should ring-fence their retail banking operations. According to the report, ring-fencing would protect banks from riskier investment banking divisions and would “make it easier and less costly to resolve banks that get into trouble”. The ICB, which […]




September 7, 2011

Leading economists urge Coalition to drop 50p tax rate

by Kay Mitchell

A group of twenty leading economists have called on the Coalition Government to scrap the top 50p tax rate as it is damaging the UK economy. The request comes at a time when many experts believe the economy could be heading towards a double-dip recession and the rate should be dropped in order to boost […]




July 15, 2011

FTSE falls in face of bank stress test

by Jan Harris

The FTSE 100 fell 0.5 percent this morning, with results of the European bank stress test due at 1600 GMT. The pessimism of rating agencies Standard & Poors, and Moody’s, over the U.S. economy, also made investors jittery. The European Banking Authority’s stress test results will offer an assessment of the financial health of 90 […]




October 18, 2010

Ernst & Young upbeat on the economy

by Jan Harris

The respected economic forecasting group, Ernst & Young ITEM Club, has issued a moderately encouraging report on the UK economy today. Going against recent warnings of a potential double-dip recession, the report suggests that gross domestic product (GDP) will grow 1.4% in 2010 and 2.2% in 2011. It also predicts that house prices will fall […]




April 5, 2010

Labour defend National Insurance rise

by Kay Mitchell

Chancellor Alistair Darling has been forced to defend Labour’s planned rise in National Insurance (NI) contributions after the Conservative Party said the hike would lead to job losses. Last month’s Budget confirmed that the Labour Government will raise National Insurance contributions by a further 0.5% from next year, on top of the 0.5% rise announced […]




April 1, 2010

Business leaders support Tory plan to reverse NI increase

by Kay Mitchell

Earlier this week, the UK’s Conservative Party pledged to reverse the Labour Government’s plans to increase national insurance contributions by 1%. The increase will apply to everyone earning over £20,000 but the Tories have said they plan to scrap the increase altogether for everyone earning under £35,000. However, weekly thresholds will be increased to offset […]




March 28, 2008

Recession risk warning for business

by Brian Turner

Investment bank Lehman Brothers has warned that they see a 1 in 3 chance of the UK going into recession over the next 2 years. A report by Lehman Brothers, one of the world’s largest investment banks, has concluded that the UK faces a significant chance of entering recession within the next two years. According […]