Treasury secretary Ruth Kelly brushed off criticisms from the Treasury Select Committee yesterday to argue means-tested benefits do not deter savings, that there is no £27bn savings gap, and that consumer confidence in long-term savings will return.
The Alice in Wonderland approach, as reported in The Daily Telegraph caused the collective blood pressure of Committee members to hit the danger zone.
"Soft commissions, improper connections between analysts, late trading, share ramping, insider dealing. . . The market makes pick-pocketing look like bell-ringing on a Sunday. What's to be done about it? We have got partnerships, strategies, stakeholder products, working groups, important meetings. Where have we got a successful prosecution that will change behaviour?” said Labour MP Jim Cousins.
Even Kelly’s attempts to focus on the raising of the Stakeholder cap to 1.5% from 1% failed to draw applause: the Committee accused her of “switching philosophy”.
RISING INTEREST RATES are subject to much speculation ahead of a decision due in the next 48 hours by the US Federal Reserve to raise US rates for the first time in half a decade.
The Scotsman reports this change figures prominently in a warning from the Bank of England released yesterday, suggesting higher rates coupled with falling house prices and rising demand for hedge funds could cause a global economic collapse.
Faster than expected rates rises could trigger unwinding of investment positions in hedge funds, causing asset prices to fall sharply, while record high levels of personal debt would cause problems once people realise how much more of their disposable income will disappear in additional interest payments.
PROVIDENT FINANCIAL, the loans company specialising in poor credit customers has reported competition in the UK is hurting its earnings and profits, the FT says.
The statement comes soon after the firm and its peers were referred to the Office of Fair Trading in a “super complaint” from the National Consumer Council.
APR rates from some lenders are as high as 177%, other research suggests, while PF itself has been criticised by the NCC over a new credit card offering, which charges interest rates up to 64.9%.
BCCI IS A NAME to put fear into the hearts of several current and former banking and financial services regulatory officials in the UK.
However, yesterday saw the High Court told by lawyers acting for former Bank of England governor Eddie George and others that the chief banking regulator of the time was “told a lie” in an attempt to cover up a £2bn theft from accounts with BCCI.
Lawyers for Deloitte & Touche, liquidator for BCCI, stated it was “quite extraordinary” to believe George and other officials would believe the shifting of such sums could be written off as a “loan” from a Middle-Eastern royal family, The Daily Telegraph reports.
D&T is seeking £850m in damages from the BoE, charging that 22 officials were guilty of “misfeasance in public office”.
What made financial headlines over the weekend?
Q2 net sales dropped almost 50%
‘Important to have an anchor’
Lack of innovation for solutions