Leader of the Conservative party David Cameron was finally accepted as the UK Prime Minister late on Tuesday after his party and the Liberal Democrats (the Lib-Dems) agreed on a five-year deal to form the UK’s first coalition government since the Second World War, on the promise of forming a “strong and stable government”. Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg was confirmed as deputy PM while George Osborne will become Chancellor of the Exchequer. After winding up five days of political negotiations, Cameron pledged that the new government’s number one priority will be to tackle the UK’s £163 billion budget deficit., As Gordon Brown announced his resignation, Messrs. Cameron and Clegg declared that they had struck their remarkable political bargain to provide strong and stable government at a moment of crisis. A nation awaits with bated breath for the outcome
Meanwhile its has been announced that the number of UK unemployed rose by 53,000 to 2.51 million during the three months to March According to official figures issued by the Office for National Statistics the level of unemployment total is now since December 1994. On the positive front, the total number of people claiming unemployment benefit fell in April by 27,100 to just over 1.5 million, leaving the unemployment.
Data released on Tuesday by the Financial Services Authority revealed that banks and building societies had to deal with more than two million complaints between July and December 2009, as a waiver that had allowed them to defer claims relating to high penalty charges was lifted. The figure was more than double than processed in the first half of the year. The steep increase was mainly a result of the backlog of complaints relating to unauthorised bank charges. Complaints were put on hold for over two years as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) entered a battle with a number of big banks to obtain a final ruling on the legality of the high level of charges imposed on customers who exceeded their overdraft limit. The waiver was lifted in December when the case was resolved, with banks winning a surprise victory over the OFT. Banks are estimated to have made more than £2.6 billion a year from unauthorised overdraft charges and might have faced claims of more than £1 billion if had they lost the case.
Blame for the “financial and economic crisis” in the UK has been attributed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). To private sector wages tumbling further behind inflation more than in any other industrialised territory, excluding Mexico, Turkey and Iceland Research by OECD the Paris-based think tank revealed the gross average wage in Britain rose by 0.5 percent to £33,745, which is calculated to be the equivalent to a 1.6 percent fall after factoring in inflation. The OECD went on to warn that low-salaried workers were also more vulnerable to losing their jobs.
All in the entire financial well being of UK consumers was seen to deteriorate during the first quarter of 2010, following four successive quarters of relative improvement. A spokesperson for the body behind the index explained that the downward trend has been largely due to lower levels of earnings growth and the negative impact of higher levels of inflation on real disposable income. In addition, economic activity remains relatively subdued and there has been only a very slight improvement in the labour market.
UK Households have been helped during the last few months by some recovery in house prices and relatively strong equity market performance, but the prospect of cuts in public spending and increases in taxation following the election are expected to add further to the pressures facing households. [Read more…]