Leaked papers suggest Labour would not raise the retirement age of those employed in local government, potentially heaping £1bn in extra costs on local councils in the next three years, reports The Daily Telegraph.
The decision to scrap the move towards a higher retirement age of 65 was taken by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, the paper writes, and came after a deal to avert a 24-hour strike by local government employees ahead of the election.
The details were contained in a memo sent to MPs by the ODPM in January, and were revealed by Channel 4 News, the paper says.
The government denies the turnaround would lead to higher costs for councils, but the news comes just as the Tory party has unveiled its own election pledge to scrap revaluations of homes – which is likely to push many homeowners into a higher council tax bracket.
PRUDENTIAL RESULTS yesterday have cemented the provider’s lead over competitor Standard Life, according to comments in The Scotsman.
A 12% rise in first quarter new business has helped the Pru to a 8.9% market share, higher than the 8% declared by Standard Life last month, the paper says.
Pru is also set to continue an aggressive move to take market share by announcing a return to marketing personal pensions, which it stopped doing some four years ago in the face of cost issues.
However, while Standard Life may be suffering some of the effects of its moves towards demutualization, Pru also faces questions of possible further board changes following the departure of former chief executive Jonathan Bloomer after last year’s failure to sell internet bank Egg and a shock £1bn rights issue.
The Scotsman says finance director Philip Broadley, who announced the figures yesterday, “efused to be drawn on whether he had to shoulder some of the blame for the mishaps that led to Bloomer’s exit.” New chief executive Mark Tucker joins from HBOS – where he is finance director – on 6 May.
ACCOUNTANT ERNST & YOUNG has rejected claims Equitable Life’s directors would have put the company up for sale had it forced the company to set aside provisions against the cost of guaranteed pensions, reports the Telegraph.
The statement has come in the ongoing £2bn negligence case, which has seen the former accountant of Equitable and former directors sued for leading the company into its current quagmire.
"To suggest that the society would have abandoned its business model, made deep cuts to [policyholder] bonuses when returns were 17.2pc, and put itself up for sale - that is ridiculous,” the paper quotes E&Y’s legal representative Jonathan Gaisman, QC.
ABOUT 50,000 PEOPLE are expected to be compensated from the £144m split capital investment trust compensation fund, says the Telegraph.
Fund Distribution Ltd, the organisation set up to administer claims from splits victims has started mailing out forms to investors identified by the 20 asset manager groups that have signed up to the compensation package.
THE NEW YORK STOCK Exchange has agreed an historic merger with electronic share trading group Archipeligo, which will see the 213-year-old business lose its not for profit status, says The Times.
The 1,366 current seat owners of NYSE will receive $400m in cash, and own 70% in the new entitity, while the exchange’s regulatory arm will be spun off into a not for profit organisation.
Major changes expected as a result of the deal include a shift towards electronic trading, as NYSE has been criticised for putting its place as the biggest stock exchange in danger by sticking to its open outcry formula for too long.
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