BLUE CHIP companies tempted to follow Rentokil Initial's landmark move to water down staff pension rights were warned by unions yesterday to expect fierce resistance, according to the Times .
The TUC, the union umbrella body, sounded a warning note to any employers contemplating a copycat move to scrap future final-salary benefits for existing employees, says the paper.
Brendan Barber, the TUC’s General Secretary, said: “Working people are not about to give up their retirement income and the bad employers who attempt similar moves can expect stiff resistance from staff.”
THE BUDGET deficit in November was the second largest for a single month since records began in 1993, stoking fears that the Chancellor will have to raise taxes in the new year, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The Office for National Statistics said the public finances were £6.9bn in the red last month, and that Britain had a net debt of £445.3bn.
November is, traditionally, a weak month for the public finances, but last month was the weakest November seen. Statisticians blamed a shortfall of tax and a rapid increase in public spending.
THE INTERNATIONAL Monetary Fund (IMF) has praised the "remarkable" stability of the UK economy, and also forecast economic growth would pick up in 2006 and 2007 - to 2.25% and 2.75% respectively - as the country shook off the current "soft patch", says the Scotsman.
"Macro-economic stability in the UK remains remarkable," its latest report said yesterday, but it did warn that the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, needs to rein in spending to stop budget deficits widening further, and questioned his decision to restate the current economic cycle.
"Fiscal rules are playing an important role in disciplining fiscal policy, although at times this role is overshadowed by peripheral controversies," it said.
GORDON BROWN yesterday unveiled the full price of the UK’s recent concession on its European Union budget rebate, stating the annual cost to the Treasury would hit about £1.9bn a year by the end of the decade, reports the Financial Times.
As Tony Blair continued to defend the budget deal in a visit to the European parliament, the chancellor said the annual cost to the taxpayer of the concession would progressively rise from 2008 to 2013.
Under the deal, agreed by the prime minister at the weekend, Britain will no longer get a rebate when the EU spends cash on development projects for the new member states of eastern Europe.
The full year cost to Britain of this measure amounts to between £1.6bn and £1.9bn a year. As the FT revealed this week, this shows the full cost of the concession to the taxpayer is well over the £1bn a year indicated by Downing Street.
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