FIGURES ON manufacturing output and consumer spending released yesterday have raised fears of anothe...
FIGURES ON manufacturing output and consumer spending released yesterday have raised fears of another recession hitting the US, UK and Europe, The Times says today.
The fear is that with economies already doing poorly, the cost of war in Iraq will tip them over the edge, or at the very least make balancing government books extremely difficult.
Yesterday saw the worst set of retail sales figures for more than a decade as shoppers stayed away in droves during March, coupled with another steep drop in UK manufacturing as companies delayed putting out orders because of uncertainties caused by the threat of war.
A survey of US purchasing managers meanwhile showed that output there is falling too, The Times adds.
PRESSURE IS NOW building on the Bank of England to cut rates in light of the new economic figures, The Scotsman says, as they indicate "fundamental weakness" in the UK economy.
"Consumers have been the principal prop for the economy and if that is removed there are few other supports to take its place. The UK economy is beginning to look fundamentally weak," the paper quotes Jonathan Loynes, chief UK economist at Capital Economics.
The paper says that other analysts have forecast rates falling to 3% "in coming months".
THE SCOTSMAN adds in another piece that the Budget decisions announced by Gordon Brown next week will take on additional meaning in Scotland, because it marks the first time ever that a Budget is announced during an election campaign
The Electoral Commission has formerly replied to a question from the SNP that April 9 is slap-bang in the middle of the traditional "purdah" period when governments traditionally try not to announce major new decisions.
Whatever Gordon Brown announces on the day, it is likely to affect elections for the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.
THE FINDINGS of the Higgs Review into non-executive directorships has run into more flak after Peter Wyman, president of the institute of chartered accountants in England and Wales, said the proposed code on corporate governance released with the report should be "completely rewritten", The Daily Telegraph says.
Wyman's main criticism is that the draft code is "too prescriptive" and that it risks creating a system of "box-ticking", the paper adds.
The criticism echoes that made in March by the Confederation of British Industry, and from individual companies that have criticised particular conclusions of the Review.
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