Labour's natural supporters are returning to the fold, giving the party a nine-point lead over the Conservatives as the most trusted to deal with the recession, a poll for The Times reveals.
Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are favoured over David Cameron and George Osborne by 40 per cent to 31 per cent - a six-point jump in their lead since the Pre-Budget Report was presented on November 24.
The boost has improved Labour's position generally, with the overall Conservative poll lead narrowing to four points and the number of Labour voters who are considering switching to the Tories dropping markedly.
The poll puts the Conservatives on 39 per cent, down two percentage points; Labour on 35 per cent, unchanged from November; and the Liberal Democrats on 17 per cent, up one point. It is the narrowest Tory lead in a Populus poll since March.
THE CHIEF EXECUTIVES OF MERRILL LYNCH and Morgan Stanley have waived their bonuses amid an extraordinary intervention by New York's attorney general, who warned that awarding windfalls at bailed-out banks represented a "thumb in the eye to taxpayers", reports The Guardian.
In the latest sign that the era of big bonuses in the financial industry is over, Merrill boss John Thain reportedly refused a bonus and his Morgan Stanley counterpart, John Mack, confirmed that he will not accept a bonus for the second year running.
"I have decided and recommended to the compensation committee that given the extraordinary challenges facing the financial industry ... I will forgo a bonus for 2008," said Mack in a memo to staff.
New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo wrote to the Merrill board yesterday following a report that Thain had requested a $10m (£6.7m) bonus. In a scathing letter, Cuomo said that was unacceptable in the same year the bank has posted net losses of $11.67bn.
DEFLATION, THE FINANCIAL SPECTRE that stalked Japanese industry for nearly a decade, may be returning to the world's second-biggest economy in a "perfect storm" of crashing commodity prices and a surging yen, according to The Times.
Fears of deflation are rising around the world, as the economic slowdown and the threat of deepening recession in the United States have hit the cost of raw materials.
The Baltic Dry Index - the principal gauge of what it costs to move materials around the world - has tumbled by 95% since its highs earlier in the year. Manufacturers are struggling to push through price increases as commodity prices fall and a strong yen has boosted the buying power of retailers, pushing down prices on the Japanese high street.
Contact: Scott Sinclair, News Editor, 020 7484 9791 - [email protected]IFAonline
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