Household debt in the UK will hit £1trn in the next few weeks following the Bank of England's publication yesterday of its latest lending figures, says The Daily Telegraph.
The total debt in April stood at £985bn, but credit cards, mortgages, overdrafts and loans added £1.1bn in that month alone, and there is no sign of a decrease in consumption despite rising interest rates.
Another increase in interest rates is being talked of as a certainty either this month or next, the paper writes.
MANY OF Germany’s 120-odd life assurers face extinction because of the cost of redesigning products to meet new tax rules being introduced, the FT reports.
At stake is a tax exemption on endowment policies, which the government has now scrapped and replaced with a rule allowing 50% of gains from such policies to remain tax free, but only if the policy has been held for at least 12 years and the policyholder is at least 60 years old when the policy matures.
The German government is trying to push through a number of tax law changes by the end of this year in order to encourage more private long-term savings, but experts believe even a slight tax liability will discourage most people, and make it even more difficult for providers to reengineer their products. EUROPEAN BANKS may have to use at transitional accounting regime for up to two years while the spat over new accounting standards goes on, the FT reports European internal market commissioner Fritz Bolkestein as saying.
The new rules were supposed to be introduced by 1 January 2005, but wrangling over rules covering accounting of derivatives has pushed the EC, banks and national governments to the brink in terms of meeting the deadline.
International accounting standards are supposed to provide additional transparency – important for regulators following the accounting scandals of recent years such as Parmalat in Italy and WorldCom and Enron in the US – but critics say the rules on derivatives would introduce too much volatility in reported numbers.
FIRST DODGY ACCOUNTANTS, then mutual fund mangers, and now GlaxoSmithKline, Europe’s biggest pharmaceuticals company, is under the microscope of New York’s attorney general Eliot Spitzer, reports The Times.
Spitzer alleges Glaxo pushed an anti-depressant for children despite clinical evidence the drug was ineffective and could cause suicidal thoughts.
If successful, the lawsuit could cost the firm up to $400m in legal liabilities, The Times adds.
To promote 'long-term investment'
Switching 'hard and expensive'
Smaller funds still packing a punch
To drive progress