The Times leads today with a report that Gordon Brown last night slammed the brakes on any head...
The Times leads today with a report that Gordon Brown last night slammed the brakes on any headlong rush into the euro as he published a new report showing how much work is yet to be done before the Government can recommend entry. The tone of his speech was in sharp contrast to Tony Blair's rallying call at the Labour Party conference for the Government to have "the courage" to stand up for its pro-euro convictions and hold a referendum on entry if the economy passed the Treasury's five tests.
The FT writes that Argentina may seek deeper cuts in interest payments on its $132bn debt than it had previously indicated, according to the banker advising the country on its planned debt restructuring. Jacob Frenkel, chairman of Merrill Lynch International, told the Financial Times that Argentina needed to reduce debt service payments by "at least" $4bn a year. He suggested that it might otherwise face the possibility of outright default on its $132bn debt.
The FT also says British consumers are expected to continue spending in November and December despite uncertainty surrounding the September 11 attacks in the US, worries of a global recession and events in Afghanistan, according to a study by Verdict, the retail consultancy. Verdict's five-year market forecast for the UK retail sector published on Monday, said consumers would spend nearly £43bn ($62.9bn) in the run-up to Christmas with almost £26bn going into tills for December.
Up to 50,000 Inland Revenue employees are threatening to strike unless their pay demands are met, worsening widespread disruption and mounting backlogs that are building up in tax offices nationwide writes the Times today.
Revenue workers are already operating an overtime ban in pursuit of their claim. Accountants report that unprocessed tax returns are piling up in tax offices and show no sign of being completed. Taxpayers may not be told until the last minute how much they owe, say accountants, putting them at risk of missing the payment deadline of January 31, 2002.
The Times also reports that Royal & SunAlliance, the insurer, is mulling over a multibillion-pound rights issue to fund its rapidly expanding general insurance arm. The company is considering a range of options designed to increase the capital available to its general insurance business in an attempt to take advantage of the recent upsurge in premiums. Among the options on the table are a rights issue, sources said, although a final decision has yet to be taken.
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