One of Britain’s big four banks has warned that the government’s Help to Buy mortgage scheme risks creating a dangerous bubble in property prices unless steps are taken to free up planning restrictions and boost the supply of new housing, reports the Financial Times.
António Horta-Osório, chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group and one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the government’s initiative to make home ownership more affordable, said the policy could only succeed if accompanied by broader reform.
Osborne launches ‘super priority’ visas for Chinese businesses
George Osborne has announced the launch of a 24-hour “super priority” visa application for Chinese business visitors to the UK in a bid remove bureaucratic barriers that hamper trade, reports The Daily Telegraph.
The chancellor, who is on trade mission in Beijing, said the new visa was part of an effort to simplify the application process for Chinese visitors that has been criticised for being “colonial”. Britain is thought to be losing £1.2bn a year in lost revenues as Chinese visitors are put off by the visa rules.
Energy costs ‘impossible to avoid’ says Ed Davey
Energy bills will continue to soar and ministers are powerless to protect households from them, Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, warned yesterday, reports The Times.
Days after one of Britain’s biggest utility companies increased its prices by more than 8 per cent, the Lib Dem minister said that politicians could not control the factors behind rising costs.
Postal workers push ahead with strike plans over pay and conditions
Royal Mail staff are pushing ahead with plans for strikes in the run up to Christmas as the battle over privatisation intensifies, reports The Guardian.
The Royal Mail’s 150,000 workers were handed £2,200 worth of free shares as part of the privatisation, handing them at least an £800 instant paper profit on the first day of trading.
Sir Richard Branson denies that he ‘left Britain for tax reasons’
Sir Richard Branson has had to defend his tax arrangements after a spotlight was cast on the billionaire’s decision to move to his luxury island in the Caribbean, reports the Financial Times.
The entrepreneur, one of the most public advocates for British industry across the world, has not paid taxes on non-UK personal income since moving to Necker Island in 2007.