Gordon Brown has decided not to reveal the full extent of off-sheet debt owed by the government, reports The Daily Telegraph
Latest official accounts are to be published in two weeks’ time, but leaving such data out has raised fears the public purse is struggling to deal with guarantees supporting the £21bn of Network Rail debt, as well as other ‘hidden’ debt, the paper writes.
The Consolidated Fund and National Loan Fund accounts have hitherto been the only way for Parliament to gain a full understanding of the nation’s finances. However, nothing has been seen of the accounts’ figures since the last ones were published in November 1993.
”If the Government were a company, Mr Brown would be in breach of the Companies Act for failing to file in time,” the Telegraph writes.
One reason for the delay, according to some economists, is the sums involved, if included in official accounts, could push government borrowing beyond levels that would break commitments to only borrow to invest. That could prove politically embarrassing.
TOP TAXPAYERS ARE shouldering more than half the income tax burden, according to figures in today’s Telegraph.
It says 3.6 million people are paying £73.2bn in income tax, meaning 6% of the population is paying 55% of this particular tax. Income tax receipts are expected to hit £134bn this year, the paper adds.
Fiscal drag, or bracket creep, is expected to see some 200,000 additional taxpayers move up to become higher rate payers this fiscal year as the result of earnings rising faster than income tax bands, the paper notes.
ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND could be sending its executives on German language courses soon if The Scotsman’s story on a potential takeover of HVB is followed through.
The German bank has already agreed a 20bn euro (£13.4bn) deal with Italy’s UniCredito, so any action by RBS would be considered ‘hostile’, and would easily make it the biggest cross-border bancassurance deal ever in Europe – Abbey’s takeover by Stantander was valued at a bit more than £8bn.
It would also give RBS Germany’s second biggest bank, while HVB and UniCredito has already announced savings of more than 1bn euros from their proposed tie-up.
RBS is not commenting on what it calls ‘speculation’ The Scotsman writes, but its growth model has been heavily based on acquisitions thus far, the paper adds.
STANDARD LIFE IS in the news for the slightly bizarre reason that Scottish property developers are miffed at the company’s withdrawal of plans to sell one of its key Edinburgh sites – this after said developers drew up plans related to the property costing thousands of pounds.
The 4.75 acre Tanfield Silvermills site was put on the block in January with a price of £25m, The Scotsman reports. Six bids are reported to have come in, but none were high enough, and the property was taken off the market.
”Many developers are unwilling to publicly criticise Standard Life because it could hamper their chances of working with the financial giant in the future,” the paper writes.
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