UK households’ savings fall to record low in warning sign for economy

British households ran down their savings to a record low at the end of 2016, raising fears that the UK is on course for a fresh consumer debt crisis in the wake of the Brexit vote. The saving ratio – which estimates the amount of money households have available to save as a percentage of their total disposable income – fell sharply in the fourth quarter last year to 3.3% from 5.3% in the third. It was the lowest since records began in 1963, according to the Office for National…

Read More

British rail is nationalised all over again – by foreign states

At Romford station, in the Essex centre of “taking back control”, there’s a choice of trains into London: those run by the Dutch, or those run by the Chinese. Anyone heading for nearby Basildon has to change at Upminster and pay a fare to the Italian firm that has been operating C2C since January. Welsh railways fell to German-owned Arriva long ago, while ScotRail is also in the hands of the Netherlands’ Abellio. The French, as part of Govia, own much of Britain’s biggest commuter franchises, including Southern Rail. Still,…

Read More

Cool your jets, Michael O’Leary – Brexit unlikely to ground Ryanair

Every industry wants its interests to be uppermost in the trade negotiations between the UK and the EU, but few companies shout as loudly as Ryanair. In its latest dispatch, the Irish carrier warned there was “the distinct possibility of no flights between Europe and the UK for a period after March 2019 in the absence of a bilateral deal”. Technically speaking, Ryanair is correct. Once the UK leaves Europe’s “open skies” agreement, something will have to take its place. Historical World Trade Organization rules, as the company says, don’t…

Read More

No, wealth isn’t created at the top. It is merely devoured there

This piece is about one of the biggest taboos of our times. About a truth that is seldom acknowledged, and yet – on reflection – cannot be denied. The truth that we are living in an inverse welfare state. These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have “made it”. By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurialism that are helping to advance the whole world. Now, we may…

Read More

London will remain Europe’s financial capital despite Brexit

If Lloyd’s of London is serious about banning its brokers from enjoying a pint at lunchtime, which was last month’s edict from the top of the Richard Rogers building, Brussels is probably not the best place to open a new base. The beer is excellent. Still, Lloyd’s Belgium-bound contingent will be few in number. The insurance market is moving “a few tens” of jobs from a London office that houses 700. Gags about Lloyd’s of Brussels don’t work, especially as the Belgian subsidiary, on day one, will employ fewer people…

Read More