Week ending 23rd December 2011
Welcome to Worldwide’s final financial news round-up of 2011! It’s been a difficult year for the financial sector and the economy, with wild fluctuations in the markets and continuing uncertainty in the Eurozone. The US, too, suffered the humiliation of a credit downgrade by one of the ‘big three’ ratings agencies and the same is becoming a possibility for the UK.
With only a few days to go now until 2012, the prospects of a better year for the financial world are not looking promising; although this week has seen the FTSE100 rise and some agreement has been reached with unions about public sector pensions.
Happy New Year to you all!
• Pension concessions wins unions over
The Government has ‘won over’ some of the Unions with agreements about pensions, including improved accrual rates, in return for agreement on some of the Hutton report proposals.
• Banks scrap foreign currency debit card charges
Five big UK banks have scrapped charges made when people buy foreign currency with their debit cards. The charges varied from 1.5% to 2%.
• HMRC attacked by MPs for ‘cosy’ corporate relationships
The cross party Public Accounts Committee has attacked ‘poor practice’ of senior officials at HMRC when dealing with the tax affairs of large corporations, claiming that millions of pounds may be being lost.
• £125 billion loan to IMF reached by Euro ministers
The details of a £125 billion loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been reached by Eurozone ministers, so it can increase its resources to counter the debt crisis.
• Cuts to the solar subsidy ‘rushed’ says MPs
The government’s halving of ‘Feed-in Tariffs’ (FiTs) for solar electricity may have ‘fatally damaged’ the industry and was a plan which was rushed through and ‘clumsy’, a new report by MPs states.