Investments  

Morning papers: Tax forecasts fall short

Revenues from tax increases imposed by the coalition government in 2010 are not helping to close the deficit as effectively as expected, the Financial Times reports.

According to the paper’s own calculations, the Office for Budget Responsibility has had to revise down its predictions on tax revenues almost every year since starting work in 2010.

For example, the OBR originally hoped tax would bring in revenues worth 38.8 per cent of national income in the 2014-15 tax year, but has since been revised down to 37 per cent.

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The FT points out that this does not indicate any faltering in the economy, but adds that weakness in corporation tax receipts from the financial sector, shrinking North Sea revenues and low pay growth have all contributed to HM Revenue and Customs taking in less than hoped.

Despite Mr Osborne’s extensive tax increases, the OBR’s most recent figure is no higher than that of 2010-11.

One in five UK homes sold through Help to Buy

A new report by Countrywide suggests that 20 per cent of new homes built in the UK were sold through the Help to Buy scheme and mostly to first-time buyers, the Daily Mail reports.

According to the paper, the property services website showed that the scheme was most beneficial in areas which experienced the smallest rise in house prices including the North East, where one in three new homes were sold through Help to Buy.

However, in London only one in nine new properties were purchased through the scheme.

Countrywide added that so far 14,823 new properties have been bought through the scheme and almost 5,000 more homes have been put aside for purchase.

Climate change will push food prices up

A new report has revealed that Britain could face higher food prices, water shortages, floods and heatwaves as a result of climate change, the Telegraph reports.

However, a major study by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that other parts of the world will be even more seriously affected.

Food shortages resulting from rising temperatures and other factors could lead to the outbreak of wars, the IPCC said.

The report suggested that warming by 4C (7.2F) from pre-industrial levels would lead to a “fundamentally different” world from today, while a rise of only 2C (3.6F) would result in a world “not dramatically different” from as it is currently, the IPCC working group co-chair said.

Author: US stock market rigged

High-frequency electronic trading on the US stock market is costing investors billions of dollars, author Michael Lewis has said in his new book A Wall Street Revolt.

According to the Guardian, Mr Lewis says that firms are using the advantage conferred by high-speed trading to profit by tens of billions of dollars at the expense of other market participants.

Speaking on television programme 60 Minutes, Mr Lewis said: “They are able to identify your desire to buy shares in Microsoft and buy them in front of you and sell them back to you at a higher price.