Monday newspaper round-up: Consumer spending, PPI, NI's £1bn, hurricane cost

Digital Look WebFG News | 11 Sep, 2017 07:10 - Updated: 07:10 | | |


Consumer spending is set for its weakest year since 2013 due to inflation and lacklustre wage growth. Expenditure on clothing was down again last month despite retailers promoting back-to-school ranges while spending on transport and communications fell for an eighth consecutive month as shoppers continued to rein in major purchases such as cars. - The Times

The financial regulator will impose stringent measures against banks if they do not handle payment protection insurance complaints adequately before the cut-off in two years. Megan Butler, director of supervision at the Financial Conduct Authority, said that the watchdog would monitor closely how banks managed the expected rise in PPI complaints before the August 2019 deadline. - The Times

Britain’s new chief trade negotiator has backed scrapping domestic regulations to get a trade deal in defiance of business leaders and ministers who vowed not to allow a “regulatory race to the bottom”. Crawford Falconer, 63, a British-born New Zealander, took up his job last month after a million-pound search for the right candidate to negotiate trade deals after Brexit. - The Times

Parliament will need to approve the release of £1bn in funding for Northern Ireland promised to the Democratic Unionist party by Theresa May to secure its support after the general election, the government has conceded. Challenged by the campaigner Gina Miller about the legal basis for releasing the funds, which have not yet been made available, the Treasury solicitor, who heads the Government Legal Department, said it “will have appropriate parliamentary authorisation”, adding: “No timetable has been set for the making of such payments.” - Guardian

Ministers are to signal this week that they are prepared to bust the 1% pay cap for police and prison officers, as a first step towards recognising the concerns of cash-strapped workers across the public sector. In a significant shift that was already being claimed as a victory by trade unions on Sunday night, Downing Street has indicated that it is time to consider easing the pay freeze imposed in 2010 by then chancellor George Osborne. - Guardian

The economic cost of Hurricane Irma could rise as high as $300bn (£227bn) as the storm lashes Florida, damaging homes, businesses and key crops including orange groves. Analysts said about $2tn of property lay in the storm’s path, and also pointed to the potential impact on US food prices. Florida is the second-largest produce grower in the US and the world’s second-largest producer of orange juice. - Guardian

Lloyd’s of London is braced to absorb an estimated $200 billion of losses from Hurricane Irma, its predecessor Harvey and the forthcoming Jose, with enough reinsurance to divert the bulk of expected claims from underwriters. However, experts say that if sufficient new finance that has flooded into the reinsurance market takes fright and pulls out again, rates across the sector eventually could start to rise — and not merely for those exposed to extreme weather risk. - The Times

The Chinese government has signalled it will join the line of nations queuing up to ban the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles in the coming decades. A senior official has told the Chinese car sector that the industry department in Beijing has begun “research on formulating a timetable to stop production and sales of traditional energy ­vehicles”, according to a report from the state news agency Xinhua. - Telegraph

The City's top lobby group is urging the Government to make sure any laws introduced post-Brexit do not dent demand for Islamic finance as enquiries from banks to set up Shariah-compliant services soar. TheCityUK, which represents Britain's banks and financial institutions, has sent a 32-page report to the UK Government highlighting that assets of UK firms offering Islamic finance services surpassed $5bn (£3.8bn) in 2016, up 11pc in two years. - Telegraph

Apple has suffered one of the biggest leaks in its history with details of new iPhones and other devices being revealed. Reports had stated that the technology company’s latest phone would be called the iPhone X and two tech websites revealed that two other new handsets — the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus — would be basic upgrades on the 7 and 7 Plus models featuring glass back panels, a new microprocessing chip and wireless inductive charging. - The Times

The value of bitcoin will be scrutinised by investors around the world after the cryptocurrency plunged by more than 7 per cent on Friday amid rumours that China is planning to shut local exchanges. After breaking through the $5,000 barrier a week earlier, bitcoin slid to as low as $4,241 in late trading in Britain before the weekend. - The Times

Britain’s biggest nightclub operator is set to turn up the volume in the bidding for Revolution Bars as it prepares to put a merger proposal on the table. Deltic Group, formerly Luminar, is believed to be close to completing due diligence on the vodka and rum bar business as it seeks to persuade the board of Revolution to switch its recommendation from Stonegate Pub Company. - The Times

One of the biggest veterinary drugs companies has tightened up disclosures in its accounts after a review by the regulator. Although Dechra Pharmaceuticals was not required to restate its accounts, “undertakings were given to enhance certain disclosures in the future in response to the Financial Reporting Council review”. - The Times

The finance director of support services firm Carillion is expected to step down on Monday, in a further blow to the beleaguered firm. Zafar Khan, who has been in the post of January, is thought to be stepping down after a period of unprecedented turbulence for the company in which it issued a shock profit warning, sending shares plunging to record lows. - Telegraph

The founder of the Agent Provocateur lingerie business is going to the High Court tomorrow to try to overturn an injunction that prevents anti-fracking protesters from using tactics such as walking slowly in front of lorries and climbing on their roofs. The tactics have caused long delays and cost millions of pounds in extra expenses at Cuadrilla’s fracking site in Lancashire. - The Times

A prominent Conservative thinktank is warning Philip Hammond against giving high-paid graduates a handout by cutting the interest rates on student loans in a bid to win over younger voters. The chancellor’s autumn budget is regarded by senior Tories as a key moment for the government to demonstrate that it has heard the concerns of voters during the election campaign, when Labour’s pledge to slash tuition fees helped boost Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity. - Guardian

Emmanuel Macron is bracing for his first showdown on the French streets this week, when the country's biggest public sector union stages a day of strike protests against his labour law. It will be the first of three major street demonstrations in the next two weeks - seen as a litmus test of the scale of resistance to the French president's radical reform agenda, at a time when his approval ratings have slumped. - Telegraph

Small businesses should be given millions of pounds of government backing so that they can provide better support for workers, a new report has proposed, after a pilot scheme suggested that such a move could boost productivity. The People Skills scheme provided free human resources services to small companies in Hackney, Stoke-on-Trent and Glasgow for a year, including face-to-face advice, a telephone helpline, online information and group training events. - The Times

Growing numbers of patients are paying for private treatment to beat rationing and delays for treatment imposed by the cash-strapped NHS. People who do not have health insurance are increasingly paying up to £14,880 for operations such as a hip or knee replacement or cataract removal, a report reveals. - Guardian

Britain is becoming “the sick man of Europe” as life expectancy surges in other countries, analysis shows. One of the world’s leading experts has demanded government action over “urgent and deepening problems with the nation’s health”, as he reveals that the rest of Europe is living ever longer while progress in Britain has stalled. - The Times

London's housing crisis will force workers to live in so-called “micro flats” to avoid being exiled to more affordable commuter towns. With housing in and near the centre of the capital is now so expensive that developers are resorting to building tiny homes in order to meet demand from young professionals, London-based firm U+I is one developer working up plans to build thousands of flats in the capital’s centre which are around half of the recommended size, in order to cater for workers who struggle to rent. - Telegraph

A Scottish housebuilder is preparing to make its stock market debut to take advantage of a £1.8bn subsidy plan to build tens of thousands of affordable homes in the next five years. Springfield Properties is seeking to raise up to £25m at a valuation of £55m-£65m and list on Aim before the end of the year. It builds a mixture of affordable homes and houses for private sale, concentrating on larger sites across central Scotland. - Telegraph

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