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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Government borrowing lower than forecast

Public sector borrowing, excluding the cost of bailing out the banks, was lower than expected over the 2010-11 financial year. In March 2011, the last month of the financial year, net borrowing was £18.6bn, which was down on the £19.8bn borrowed in March 2010. This means total public sector net borrowing was £141.1bn for the year, which compares with £156.5bn … Continue reading

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Surge in the use of renewable energy in the EU

Between 1999 and 2009 the share of renewable energy in the EU27 rose from 5% of total gross inland energy consumption in 1999 to 9% in 2009. Renewable energy comprises hydro, wind, biomass, geothermal and solar energy. All Member States showed increases in the share of renewable energy over this period but the largest increases were in Denmark (from 8% … Continue reading

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Large companies are swimming in cash, while consumers are drowning in debt

So says the Quarterly Economic forecast produced by the Ernst & Young Item Club. They forecast that UK GDP growth will be only 1.8% this year, but will rise to 2.3% in 2012 and 2.7% in 2013. Where will the growth come from? They believe that there will be a “major revival” in business spending and forecast that business investment … Continue reading

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Small drop in UK unemployment

The number of people out of work fell by 17,000 to 2.48m in the three months to February according to the Labour Force Survey measurement. The Office of National Statistics also noted that this represented a fall of 0.1 percentage point in the unemployment rate, to reach 7.8%. However, the alternative measure of unemployment, the jobseeker’s allowance or claimant count, … Continue reading

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Surprise fall in UK inflation rate

The Consumer Prices Index fell to 4.0% in March from 4.4% in February, according to data released by the Office for National Statistics. This came as a big surprise to most analysts as it was expected that the index would continue to push up to the 5% mark. It seems that we have to be thankful to falls in food … Continue reading

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Is it right to raise the minimum wage in the current climate?

The government has acted on the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission, which is an independent body, to raise the minimum wage for adults by 2.5% to £6.08 per hour. This rise will take place in October. The minimum wage for those aged 18 to 20 will go up by 6p to £4.98 per hour, and the rate for 16-17 … Continue reading

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UK Manufacturing grinds to a halt

Manufacturing has been driving our economic recovery, such as it is, and was expected to continue to do so. But, there is bad news. Although manufacturing output grew by 0.9% in January, it failed to grow at all in February. Alan Clarke, UK economist at BNP Paribas, was quoted as saying that the data was “bitterly disappointing”. The wider measure … Continue reading

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Homeowners paying off mortgages at record rate

In 2010, homeowners paid back over £24bn of their mortgage borrowings, which was the highest amount since records began in 1970. Detailed figures from the Bank of England also showed that £7bn was repaid in the final quarter of 2010, compared to £6.6bn in the third quarter. This means that mortgage repayments have exceeded borrowings for eleven consecutive quarters. This … Continue reading

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32 million foreigners living in the 27 EU States last year

The biggest driver of population growth in most EU Member States in recent years has been immigration. In fact, between 2004 and 2008, 3 to 4 million immigrants settled in the each year. This is according to the third Demography Report just published by the EU. In total, in 2010, there were 32.4 million foreigners living in an EU27 Member … Continue reading

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