Hargreaves Lansdown

Monday newspaper round-up: Missing £490bn, May to Brussels, Chancellor's plans

Mon 16 October 2017 07:04 | A A A

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(ShareCast News) - Global banks and international bond strategists have been left stunned by revised ONS figures showing that Britain is £490bn poorer than had been 'assumed and no longer has any reserve of net foreign assets, depriving the country of its safety margin as Brexit talks reach a crucial juncture. A massive write-down in the UK balance of payments data shows that Britain's stock of wealth - the net international investment position - has collapsed from a surplus of £469bn to a net deficit of £22bn. This transforms the outlook for sterling and the gilts markets. - Telegraph

Theresa May and David Davis will make a surprise visit to Brussels for a private dinner with the EU commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the EU's top Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, in a diplomacy blitz before a crucial summit this week. May and Davis will visit Juncker and Barnier in the Belgian capital on Monday evening, where they are expected to make the case for EU leaders to agree to move on negotiations, to pave the way for discussions of Britain's future relationship with the EU. - Guardian

Philip Hammond is planning a Budget raid on older workers to pay for tax breaks for younger people as he battles to save his job. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is understood to be examining ways to link tax to age to promote "intergenerational fairness" in next month's Budget. Tax breaks would be offered to workers in their 20s and 30s, paid for by cutting reliefs for older and better off workers. - Telegraph

Philip Hammond is pushing for an international trade agreement in services to "rehabilitate globalisation" in the West to counter recent populist surges in Europe and America. The chancellor used his platform at the International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington to urge countries to redouble their efforts to build a global framework in services, such as banking, healthcare and transport, that would match the long-established arrangement for goods. - The Times

Confidence among chief financial officers has rebounded from a low point after the election, but Brexit is still expected to hit investment and hiring. The latest quarterly survey of finance officers, undertaken by Deloitte, has found that just under two thirds expect leaving the European Union to harm the business environment, down from nearly three quarters.

A Norwegian entrepreneur and investor who is seeking to oust the chairwoman at Johnston Press has set his sights on a wider shake-up the British media scene, with ambitions to buy the Metro newspaper and the Evening Standard. Christen Ager-Hanssen, owner of the Swedish Metro newspaper, is set to go head to head with Camilla Rhodes at an extraordinary meeting to determine the future of one of Britain's oldest newspaper groups. -The Times

One of the UK's biggest energy companies is allowing its customers to fall as much as £1,600 into debt on their energy bills before intervening to help them repay it. The energy regulator, Ofgem, said the "big-six" firm npower, along with the smaller suppliers Utility Warehouse, Ecotricity, iSupplyEnergy, and First Utility, let customers accrue an average of £800 of debt for electricity before acting. In some extreme cases, debts rose to more than £1,000. - Guardian

Profits fell at half of Britain's law firms last year as pay rises and hiring sprees at the larger players took their toll. Research being published today reveals that firms were hit by falling profit margins, with about 70 per cent of legal practices registering relatively small fee income growth over the past year. - The Times

Tesla Motors fired hundreds of workers after completing its annual performance reviews this week, even though the electric automaker is trying to ramp up production to meet the demand for its new Model 3 sedan. The Palo Alto-based company confirmed the cuts in a statement on Saturday but did not disclose how many of its 33,000 workers were jettisoned. - Guardian

The people of Canvey Island in Essex are planning a Catalan-style revolt to break away from mainland Britain. The island, which covers seven square miles and has a population of almost 40,000, is governed by the Conservative-run Castle Point council. However, 14 of the island's own 17 councillors are members of the Canvey Island Independent Party (CIIP). - The Times

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