UK credit rating 'at risk'

The credit rating agency Fitch has warned that the Chancellor's confession during the Autumn Statement that he missed its debt target could threaten the UK's AAA rating. But George Osborne has downplayed the impact potential if that happened.

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CBI: Government now has 'everything to prove'

The CBI has been crying out for real action on infrastructure, investment and exports. £5 billion on near-term infrastructure, like the tube to Battersea, half a billion a year tax relief for small firms, and £1.5 billion extra export support should boost investment and create jobs.

The Government now has everything to prove by delivering. Businesses need to see the Chancellor's words translated into building sites on the ground. It is no surprise that after a difficult year the economic realities dictate that austerity and debt reduction will take longer.

The Chancellor has stuck to his guns on deficit reduction - avoiding deeper cuts or more borrowing in order to retain international credibility.


Unemployment set to rise while inflation shows fall

by - Former Business Editor
  • The Office for Budget Responsibility says unemployment will be higher in 2013 and 2014 than it is now - peaking at 8.3%
  • It also says inflation should fall gradually over the next couple of years, but higher than the OBR had previously forecast.
  • The OBR says the deficit should be down to £8 billion by 2017/18 - but could they be too optimistic?


Chancellor's plans could 'destabilise pensions'

The Government will take twice as much from this tax hit on pensions as it will from the increase in the bank levy. That cannot be fair, and will only undermine confidence in pension saving.

The Chancellor is wrong to say that the changes will only affect those at the top of the wage tree. Osborne claims he is taking a carrot away from the rich, but he is also beating many middle class savers with a stick. Middle managers in the public and private sectors will get caught in the net.

People in a final salary pension who have worked loyally for the same employer for years and then get a pay rise, or a promotion, could end up with a tax bill of several thousand pounds. This is a charge just for saving into a pension. The self-employed and those nearing retirement desperately trying to catch up by boosting their pension are also at risk.

– National Association of Pension Funds


Govt needs to pass law to to bring in 1% benefits freeze

by - Deputy Political Editor

The Government needs to pass legislation to set the one percent rise in benefits over three years (rather than have it set annually by the Work and Pensions Secretary) as it would otherwise be subject to judicial review.

The Uprating Bill will be introduced by Christmas. There will be a second reading in the New Year.

This means there will be a vote - Labour will have to decide whether or not to support it.

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