George Osborne has little scope for giveaways as he puts the finishing touches to his Autumn Statement, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned, in spite of news that the economic recovery has boosted the Treasury’s coffers, reports the Guardian.
The chancellor is expected to announce stronger-than-expected growth forecasts and a moderate improvement in the public finances when he presents his Autumn Statement on December 5.
House sales forecast to top 1m for first time since 2007
The number of UK house sales is forecast to top one million for the first time since 2007 this year, as first-time buyers return to the housing market in droves, reports the Daily Mail.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders said the number of homes sold to new buyers this year was on target to hit 270,000, some 40 per cent above the trough hit in 2009 when house prices and mortgage lending collapsed in the wake of the financial crisis.
Scots warned that independence means expulsion from sterling
Scotland will be forced to quit the sterling currency union if it votes for independence next year, a cabinet minister has said, in the starkest warning yet for Scottish voters to remain in the UK, reports the Financial Times.
Speaking to the Financial Times days before the Scottish government releases its vision for an independent Scotland, Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish secretary, warned Holyrood not to assume it will be let back into the sterling area if the country becomes independent.
Paul Flowers arrested in drugs inquiry
Police have arrested Paul Flowers, the former chairman of the Co-operative Bank who is at the centre of a drugs, expenses and impropriety scandal that has plunged the group into crisis, reports the Guardian.
West Yorkshire police said a man aged 63 had been arrested on Thursday night in the Merseyside area in connection with an ongoing drugs supply investigation.
Rate-setters unconvinced of rally’s staying power
The Bank of England’s rate-setters still harbour “uncertainties over the durability of the recovery”, it emerged yesterday, in spite of Threadneedle Street sharply upgrading its growth forecasts, reports the Independent.
Minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee’s November meeting also underlined that interest rates could stay at their 0.5 per cent record low after unemployment reaches the 7 per cent threshold under the Bank’s forward guidance, as long as infla- tion expectations remain under control.
Fed chair nominee Janet Yellen wins Senate committee backing
US Federal Reserve chair nominee Janet Yellen received approval by the Senate banking committee on Thursday, clearing the way for a full Senate vote possibly before the end of the year reports the Financial Times.
Ms Yellen’s nomination to become the most powerful woman in global finance secured 14 votes in favour to eight against. Eleven of the 12 Democrats on the 22-member committee voted for Ms Yellen, who was also backed by three Republicans.