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IMF: Greece's debts could outweigh GDP for decades

Greece's debts are set to remain higher than its national income for years to come if tough economic reforms are not pushed through, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned.

In a preliminary draft of a debt sustainability report, the IMF estimated that the struggling country would need an extra 50 billion euros (£35.6bn) of help due to policy slippages and the latest proposals from Athens.

Greece could need an extra £35.6bn of help, the IMF has warned Credit: PA

Even if Greek policies get back on track, the IMF said, loans from Europe would need to be extended "significantly", with further concessional financing required.

Under its most optimistic projections, with such funding reaching through 2018, the IMF said Greece's national debt would still be 50 per cent higher than its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020, and 40 per cent higher than GDP in 2022.

A lower economic growth of just one per cent would mean debt staying above GDP for the next three decades, it added.

The warning comes just days before a referendum in Greece over the terms of an international bailout deal, which Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has urged voters to reject.

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

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Government plans to sell off Green Investment Bank

The government is set to announce plans to sell off the Green Investment Bank to private owners.

The Edinburgh-based bank has invested £2 billion of taxpayers' money in 50 green infrastructure projects and funds since its launch in 2012.

The decision to privatise the project has been branded "reckless" by critics.

The Green Investment Bank has invested £2bn in green infrastructure projects Credit: PA

Business Secretary Sajid Javid will announce the plans at the bank's annual review event in London.

In a speech, he is expected to say that the move would "free" the bank from limitations on borrowing.

But Green Party MP Caroline Lucas called the plans "rash and irresponsible".

At precisely the time when we should be leading the world in the fight against climate change our Government appears to be in retreat.

The Government should keep at least a majority stake in the Green Investment Bank to ensure investor confidence is upheld and the commitment to low-carbon lending remains.

– Caroline Lucas MP

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
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