EXPERTS PREDICT interest rates will rise in four week's time after the Bank of England yesterday decided to keep borrowing costs on hold at 4%, says the Scotsman.
According to a majority of the paper's 'shadow monetary policy committee', a quarter-point hike could be expected when the BoE next meets on April 7-8.
The Scotsman panel believes house price growth and continuing consumer spending in the past month had made an April increase possible.
WHILE YESTERDAY'S rate announcement came as a relief for British businesses, the President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet last night faced harsh criticism from his fellow European leaders after he rejected demands for lower interest rates.
The Times reports Trichet and his 17 colleagues on the Governing Council of the Frankfurt-based ECB ignored pleas from both Gerhard Schröder, Germany’s Chancellor, and Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the French Prime Minister, to lower rates and left its key lending rate unchanged at 2%.
A disappointed Schröder refused to back down from his stance, and said: "I have to respect the European Central Bank’s decision but I have not changed my opinion."
BACK IN the UK, Standard Life yesterday revealed it is cutting its sales force in the UK, claiming the changing shape of the financial services market has left it with "no option", the Scotsman says.
The Edinburgh-based insurer said it will be cutting 360 jobs across the country, including 90-100 posts in Edinburgh, and a further 25 redundancies from offices in Dundee and Glasgow.
The company, however, stressed it was not abandoning its direct sales team altogether.
Nathan Parnaby, sales director at Standard Life, said: "The biggest drop is in the face-to-face sales team, which is falling to about 80 consultants from 170. There is a bigger market over the phone for most products and, obviously, it’s more efficient way to do it that way."IFAonline
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