UK interest rates can only head one way and that is up according to comments by Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Paul Tucker, carried in The Scotsman.
The comments came during a visit to Edinburgh yesterday, in which he stressed the point consumer spending has remained virtually unchanged despite two increases in the base rate since November.
Combined with global economic recovery, the strength of UK consumption would squeeze out "slack" within the economy, creating inflationary pressures.
"Gradually one would expect interest rates to rise," the paper quotes Tucker.
CALLS FOR compensation to be paid to Equitable Life policyholders through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme will be resisted by other life companies, which do not want to pay for the folly of one of their competitors, the FT reports.
A courtroom battle royal therefore looms after the government shifted responsibility for compensation back on the industry through the statements of Treasury secretary Ruth Kelly.
With compensation claims possibly heading north of £3bn, the FT quotes one life company representative saying: "It's wrong that our policyholders and shareholders should suffer because of mismanagement elsewhere."
GOVERNMENT ATTEMPTS to close tax avoidance loopholes in the latest Budget have left many scratching their heads after a meeting yesterday involving permanent secretary to the Treasury Gus O’Donnell failed to clarify the new rules, The Daily Telegarph says.
The new retrospective rules mean accountants, businesses and individuals must register tax shelters with the Revenue, but it is still unclear what constitutes "an acceptable scheme", the paper notes.
It quotes Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of tax at accounting institute ACCA, saying: "It looks like there will not be any specific definition on avoidance in the legislation. That's going to create huge uncertainty for taxpayers and professional advisers as nobody will know what they're supposed to be reporting."
Undisclosed schemes will be hit with a £5,000 penalty and another £600 for every additional day the offence is deemed by the Treasury to persist, the Telegraph adds.
SHELL’S PROBLEMS are spreading to the rest of the oil and gas sector with news the US Securities and Exchange Commission is to investigate a number of giant companies such as BP, Statoil and ExxonMobil because of problems estimating reserves.
Shell yesterday shocked the City by reporting for the second time in a month that it had overestimated reserves, this time specifically related to one of the North Sea’s biggest oil fields, The Times writes.
This forced the company to postpone both the publication of its annual results for 2003 and its annual general meeting, while the SEC decided enough was enough and started investigating all companies with exposure to the same Norwegian oil field.IFAonline
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