Week ending 21st October 2011
The banks, the stockmarket and the Eurozone dominated this week’s financial news headlines with the FTSE100 seeming to regain lost ground. With still no clear news on an agreement in the Eurozone, stockmarkets remain wobbly. Some good news in the UK with the CO-op opening more bank branches in-store and ISA limits increasing, although gloom hung around with news of possible job losses at Royal Bank of Scotland and inflation rising to 5.2%
• FTSE100 passes the 5,500 mark
The FTSE100 rose past 5,500 points on Monday morning with BP making the greatest gains in early trades. Stock markets across Europe were also up.
• 5,000 jobs in jeopardy at Royal Bank of Scotland
The Royal Bank of Scotland may be cutting around 5,000 jobs as part of a big restructure of its global investment banking division. Stephen Hester, the bank’s Chief Executive, is expected to focus on operations in the UK and US while cutting back on European outposts.
• Biggest ever house price gap between North and South
According to property website Rightmove, property prices in the South are now double those in the North. In October, prices in Southern regions rose by 4.7%, while in Northern regions, falls of 0.7% were seen.
• Private rental sector running out of properties
According to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), there are now more tenants wanting rental properties than there are properties available. Figures released by ARLA show that 74% of its members report demand outstripping supply.
Source: Economic Voice
• Co-op bank bucks trend and opens new branches
The Co-op bank is in the process of opening 8 new in-store bank branches across the country in an 18 month pilot scheme.
• ISA limit to increase by £600
The ISA limit seems set to rise by £600 in April 2012. Currently, you can invest £10,680 in an ISA. From April 2012, you will be able to invest £11,280, of which half can be invested in a cash ISA.
• UK inflation reaches 5.2%
The Consumer Prices Index measured inflation at 5.2% in September. In August, inflation had been at 4.5%. The rise in energy prices has been seen as a contributing factor.
• £250,000 prize offered to ‘end’ Euro
A £250,000 prize has been offered for anyone who can come up with the best plan to ‘wind up’ the Euro. The prize has been offered by Simon Wolfson who is a Conservative peer and chief executive of Next.
• Millions more to receive either a tax rebate or bill from HMRC
HMRC calculates that around 6 million people could receive a tax rebate, with the average payment being £300. A million other people face a bill for underpayment of tax. This comes after HMRC’s annual check on whether employers’ deductions match their records.