Just days after the Office for National Statistics said UK inflation was being held in check partly ...
Just days after the Office for National Statistics said UK inflation was being held in check partly by steady motoring insurance rates, along comes The Times today to warn that the Treasury may be about to force the UK insurance industry to cough up more cash to cover terrorism liabilities.
Negotiations between the government and insurers over Pool Re, the pot created to cover terrorism related insurance costs, have resulted in demands that insurers pay out more money and double premiums for insurance against terrorist incidents.
The problem is that Pool Re currently only covers a strictly limited number of events defined as acts of terrorism, while security experts have identified a number of ways terrorists could act that would not be covered by the insurance scheme.
The new rules mean that Pool Re will cover incidents such as the blowing up of the Thames Barrier if that resulted in flood damage to properties in London, while insurers will have to find the extra re-insurance to cover their new liabilities.
John Prescott, the deputy prime minister, is to build up to 90,000 new homes with the additional money he has been given by the chancellor Gordon Brown in this week's spending review plans, the FT says today.
Most of these new dwellings are likely to be erected in London and the Southeast by 2006, in order to provide more affordable housing for key workers, such as nurses and teachers.
The housing market is also likely to be affected by the announcement that the government is doing a u-turn over proposals to allow parliament to ram through planning permission for major infrastructure projects, such as new airports.
The fallout from Abbey National's disastrous foray into bond market investments is continuing with the news that two more executives are walking the plank, according to the FT.
Alex Braun and Paul Caldwell are leaving after the business in their hands racked up losses of nearly £0.5bn.
Abbey says their departure is not a punishment, the FT writes, but merely part of a "restructuring" of the business that requires a different set of skills.
The FT carries fighting words from LSE chairman Don Cruickshank who says the Treasury must end its cosy relationship with regulators and the banks in order to ensure more competition and fairer deals, especially for smaller businesses.
The theme echoes his previous stint investigating the banking sector on behalf of chancellor Gordon Brown.
Cruickshank has also slammed Whitehall in general for meddling in "independent" reviews in order to protect departmental turf.
This, of course, is all a bit rich coming from the man who ran the telecoms regulator, which despite worshiping at the alter of competition essentially allowed BT to maintain its stranglehold over UK fixed phone lines.
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