There are those political cynics that claim that when Tony Blair stood down three years ago, he was well aware of the financial train wreck waiting his natural successor Gordon Brown around the next bend. And the same people might well now be saying that Gordon and his well known cohort Alasdair can’t wait to hand over the keys of numbers ten and eleven Downing Street to anyone who will take them
Because who ever gets the keys will also inherit a financial deficit of around £150 billion. The only way to live with, never mind reduce such a deficit, is to make yourself highly unpopular, both with the people who voted for you and against you. Political analysts now predict that whoever wins the election are looking for a comparably short term stay in power, unless some kind of unprecedented financial miracle occurs. We live in hope.
A recent survey taken over 1,400 companies, still suggests that small firms remain reluctant to go to banks requesting funding. Of the companies surveyed, it was discovered that less than twenty percent of respondents applied for new credit in February and March, with only half being successful., Sixteen percent of the companies surveyed who were holding bank loans said their cost had risen in February and March.
Operators of the South-eastern franchise, Britain’s first high-speed rail service, the Go-Ahead Group will be eligible receive a continuation of the government subsidy they have received for the next four years. The continuation has been granted due to the non-completion of expected property developments around Stratford and Ebbsfleet stations, after the group won the tender in 2005. Although Go-Ahead reported an increase in passenger traffic and turnover of eight percent in the first three months of the year, they are reporting profit growth of at least ten percent for the same period.
Recent figures released by the British Franchise Association (BFA) show that, despite the recession, the franchise industry in the UK has grown in 2009. The sector’s revenue increased by £400 million pounds to £11.8 billion in 2009, with the number of franchise systems active in the UK increasing by seven form 835 to 842 . The number of employees working for franchise based operations, according to the BFA figures fell by 2,000 during 2009 to 465,000 including both full-time and part-time workers. On average, it was reported that franchises reduced the number of full-time staff, while hiring more part-time staff in 2009.
Sales of Apple’s iPhone has helped mobile phone operator Orange return to growth with revenue increasing by almost six percent to €1.3 billion since it began selling the smart phone device last November. Orange, the first UK operator to break Apple’s exclusivity deal with O2, have reported that in the last six month sit has won 220,000 new contract customers the company, owned by France Telecom has begun an integration process with T-Mobile which will make them the biggest mobile phone operator in the UK.
Arts and craft retailer HobbyCraft announce the sale of the company private equity firm Bridgepoint in a management buyout for a figure in excess of £100 million, stating that intense competition among other interested parties pushed up the price from its initial level of £75 million with profits forecasted to have increased for the recently completed financial year HobbyCraft’s most recent accounts show a 42 percent increase in earnings to £7.5 million for the year ending February 2009. Bridgepoint’s plans for HobbyCraft are to open up to an additional 100 stores over the next five years.
Shares in High Street banking giant Barclays have fallen 6.4% despite a considerable increase in pre-tax profits for the first three months of 2010.
Barclays announced profits for the first quarter of £1.82 billion, up 47% on the same period of last year. Most of the profits came from their investment banking arm Barclays Capital, although analysts expected that the division would earn more. On the news before the weekend, Barclays earned the dubious award of being the biggest faller on the FTSE 100 index, down 23 pence to 338 pence.
Uncertainty regarding the Euro pushed Sterling up against the dollar while the Euro fell again. The pound closed on $1.5309 and €1.509
On the FTSE, stocks plunged at the fasted rate for one day for five months after the economies of both Greece and Portugal were downgraded spurring concern that these heavily in debt European nations are moving closer to default. The index sank 200 points to 5,553. 29, its biggest drop for six months
The US economy grew at an annualised rate of 3.2% in the first three months of the year, down from the previous quarter. The reason for the slower growth was attributed to reduced government spending and a fall in exports. According to figures issues by the Commerce Department economy grew at a rate of 5.6% in the final quarter of 2009, with the continued recovery in the economy founded on strong personal consumption.
Before the weekend, shares on Wall Street made a minor recovery after falling sharply on Thursday. The Dow Jones closed up seventeen points to 11008.61 while NASDAQ fell 10 points to 2461.47.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has warned the country to be prepared for a new round of austerity measures. The news comes as the European Union (EU) meet to trash out details of an emergency plan to help tackle Greece’s crippling debt.
The findings of the negotiations between Greece, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the EU were expected to be announced on Sunday, with a . new series of cuts and tax rises expected to be demanded of Greece.
The Greek government have pressed to have the loan deal completed by the 19th May to avoid a devastating debt default. Eurozone members and the IMF have agreed a €110 billion (£95 billion) three-year bail-out package to rescue Greece’s embattled economy. The EU will provide €80 billion in funding with the rest will come from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Before the funds can be released, the loan must first be approved by each of the fifteen 15 Eurozone members.
Official figures relating to the Spain’s unemployment rate show that there are 4.6 million people out of work in the country at the end of March, taking the unemployment levels in the country to 20% for the first time since 1997,
Spain’s jobless rate is the highest in the Eurozone. With the European Union (EU) figures showed that the eurozone unemployment rate remained unchanged at a 10% level in March.