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Osborne: We'll protect Britain from Euro economic risks

Osborne: We'll protect Britain from Euro economic risks Credit: PA

Chancellor George Osborne said he would take whatever steps were needed to protect Britain from new threats to its economic security, a day after addressing parliament on the risks posed by Greece.

"We will take whatever further steps are needed to protect the UK from the new risks we see to our economic security," he said.

In a statement welcoming an upward revision to gross domestic productfigures, Osborne said Britain's economy was more resilient than five years ago.


Tesco UK sales decline by 1.3% in first quarter

Tesco said the results were 'another step in the right direction'. Credit: PA

Tesco's like-for-like sales in the UK fell by 1.3% in the three months to May 30, the supermarket giant has announced.

The figures are an improvement on the previous quarter, when sales were down by 1.7%.

In the same quarter last year the UK decline was 4%.

Like-for-like sales for the UK and the Republic of Ireland were down 1.5%, while internationally there was a 1.3% decline.

Chief Executive Dave Lewis said the results were "another step in the right direction".

Study: Pay rises to be 'stuck' at two per cent until 2016

Pay rises are likely to be "stuck" at two per cent until at least the end of the yar, after being at the same level for 14 consecutive quarters, according to a new report.

Pay analysts XpertHR said the median wage rise had stayed the same for the longest timespan since the end of 2006.

Wages have been 'stuck' at two per cent for 14 consecutive quarters Credit: PA

Analyst Sheila Attwood said current low levels of inflation meant workers were still getting "real-term" increases in wages.

We expect the stability in the level of pay awards to remain, with two per cent likely to be the going rate for pay awards through to the end of the year.

With RPI inflation forecast to remain below this level in 2015, employees will continue to receive a real-terms increase in wages.

– Sheila Attwood, XpertHR

Workers '£100 a week worse off than before recession'

UK workers are almost £100 a week worse off than before the credit crunch hit because of the country's poor productivity levels, a new report claims.

A financial study by the TUC union found that if average earnings had grown at the rate they had been increasing in the years leading up to 2008, workers would be bringing home an average of £95 a week more.

Poor productivity has hit workers' wages, the TUC says Credit: PA

Productivity is 16 per cent below its pre-recession trend, the study adds, thanks to eight years of economic under-performance and "weak" business investment growth.

Ahead of the budget on July 8, TUC general secretary Francis O'Grady urged the government to reconsider plans to cut spending and take action to boost productivity.

The Government's failure to get productivity growing again has hit workers in the pocket, leaving them £100 a week worse off.

A new round of extreme cuts will do nothing to increase productivity and will harm growth and wages.

We need strong, sustainable growth which can only be delivered with a major programme of investment in skills, infrastructure, innovation and high-quality public services.

– Francis O'Grady, TUC


Greece debt crisis: Tsipras makes last-minute offer

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens today. Credit: Reuters

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has made a new offer on reforms that could signal a late deal in the country's debt talks.

A statement from Tsipras' office said he had presented the leaders of Germany, France and the European Commission with the proposal for "a mutually beneficial agreement that will give a definitive solution and not a postponement of addressing the problem".

EU and IMF creditors were due to meet this afternoon to discuss the proposals, which come ahead of emergency talks about the situation tomorrow.

Tsipras was elected on a promise to end austerity, and has thus far resisted months of demands to cut spending and hike taxes in the country.

It is unclear what concessions were included in today's proposals.

Thousands expected to march against austerity

The Government faces its first big public protests since being elected when politicians, union leaders and celebrities join thousands of people on demonstrations against austerity, spending cuts and nuclear weapons.

Russell Brand joined a previous anti-austerity march last year Credit: Reuters

Organisers predict that the protests in London and Glasgow will be the biggest for years, especially in the capital, with people travelling from across the UK to march from the City of London to Westminster, where a rally will be held.

Activist Russell Brand and singer Charlotte Church will address the crowds as well as Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, firefighters' leader Matt Wrack, Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn and Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness.

Sam Fairbairn of the People's Assembly, which is organising the protests, said: "It will be the start of a campaign of protest, strikes, direct action and civil disobedience up and down the country.

Green MP Caroline Lucas is expected to say: "This Government is continuing to punish the poor for an economic crisis they didn't cause.

"Never in my lifetime has the country so desperately needed a real alternative."

ONS: Unemployment down by 43,000

Credit: PA

Unemployment fell by 43,000 between February and April to 1.81 million, official figures showed today.

The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits last month fell by 6,500 to 791,800, said the Office for National Statistics.

The unemployment figure was last lower in the three months to August 2008.

The number of people in work rose to 31.05 million, 114,000 more than in the three months to January.

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