Coalition tensions over the Conservative party’s “strivers versus skivers” message on welfare were exposed on Monday, as David Cameron and Nick Clegg put on a show of unity and insisted their coalition would last the full five years, reports the Financial Times.
In a midterm coalition progress report, Mr Cameron (pictured) and Mr Clegg insisted they were delivering tough reforms to make Britain more competitive and would remain “steadfast and united” until the 2015 election.
The euro crisis is over, declares José Manuel Barroso
The euro has been saved and the euro crisis is a thing of the past, European commission president José Manuel Barroso has declared, reports The Guardian.
But his optimistic comments and the prospect of looser rules for banks failed to lift markets, which ended a strong run of recent gains.
Online sales surge at Christmas to stabilise struggling retailers
Like-for-like sales rose 0.3 per cent for retailers in December, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG sales monitor said, suggesting that the high street avoided a calamitous Christmas, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Helen Dickinson, director-general of the BRC, said the results are “not a cause for celebration, but not a disaster either”.
House prices flat in 2012 ... and they’ll be flat again in 2013, says Halifax
Property values increased by an average of 1.3 per cent last month but are likely to end 2013 at levels close to where they began, Halifax said in its house price index this morning, reports the Daily Mail.
The bank reported an average house price of £163,845, up from £161,795 in November. Over the course of the year, values have remained little changed with six monthly rises and six decreases month-on-month.
Big banks settle mortgage hangover
Major banks agreed to pay $20bn (£12.4bn) to settle mortgage-related legal disputes in Wall Street’s latest bid to put alleged abuses of the home-lending process in the rearview mirror, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The deals come as near-record low interest rates are feeding a new upturn in the US housing market. That recovery, and expectations that banks finally will surmount the legal challenges that have dogged them since the financial crisis in 2008, have sent bank shares surging to recent highs.