Millions of Britons face higher council tax bills to cover the £60bn hole in local government pensions.
Figures obtained under freedom of information show councils' pension deficits have nearly trebled as a result of the recession, the Daily Mail reports.
Council tax bills next April will depend in part on a calculation of the size of the pensions deficit, due in March. The last survey in 2007 found the deficit was as high as £23bn, with 83 out of 87 local governments showing a shortfall.
Since then one in ten funds has conducted a new valuation which show deficits have grown by more than 280% on average - in part due to stock market falls.
If this is replicated across all pension funds, next year's valuation by the Government will show a deficit of more than £60bn in the scheme part-funded by employer contributions.
The deficit is equivalent to £2,608 for each of the 23 million council tax-paying households in England and Wales.
HSBC and Barclays are likely to be the biggest UK losers from President Barack Obama's Wall Street levy.
The two British banking giants have large New York subsidiaries, putting them in the firing line for the £55bn levy. RBS, which owns US financial group Citizens, is also forecast to take a knock, the Daily Mail reports.
Obama said yesterday the annual levy was would force Wall Street investment banks repay US taxpayer money. Fees could be imposed for a decade, raising at least £55bn.
HSBC could be forced to pay back £171m annually for ten years.
Obama said he wants his Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee to recover 'every single dime the American people are owed'.
Estimates from Morgan Stanley suggest Barclays, which bought Lehman Brothers' US securities division in 2008, could be forced to pay at least £223m a year under the President's plan. HSBC could pay £171m and RBS' Citizens division may have to pay £31m a year.
Obama's initiative, which will have to be approved by Congress, will affect around 50 firms, including 10-15 US subsidiaries of overseas companies. The idea is to claw back losses from the £430bn Troubled Asset Relief Program.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is set to clarify when consumer debts are unenforceable in draft guidance later this month.
The move follows a number of recent court rulings on what information lenders are required to give borrowers, the Times reports.
Claims management firms often argue loan and credit card debt can be wiped out in the courts if a lender fails to produce an original agreement document.
However, a significant case in the Manchester High Court last month ruled banks did not have to provide the original loan agreement on request. Instead, it ruled that a "true copy" was acceptable.
Business has been booming for claims management firms who target heavily indebted borrowers promising debts can be written off under section 78 of the Consumer Credit Act.
Many charge upfront fees of up to £600 to assess whether clients have a case worth pursuing. In the limited number of successful claims, handlers have secured an out-of-court settlement from lenders and then take up to 30% of the refund, plus VAT.
Man Group says the amount of money it manages fell 4% in the third quarter of 2009 to $42.4bn, as its AHL trading program posted losses and both private and institutional investors pulled cash.
Chief executive Peter Clarke blamed the decline in part on a normal seasonal slowdown in the three months to December, but the figures disappointed analysts, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Man Group in November had reported its first quarter of growth after 18 months of losing funds. Further gains were expected from fund sales.
The news sent shares down 6.7% to £2.94 in London market.
Assets managed by the U.K. hedge fund had been $44 billion at Sept. 30. At its peak in June 2008, Man Group managed $79.5 billion.
Cazenove said the asset decline was likely to disappoint the market "after the optimism that the company had been showing."
£1bn business since inception
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