Tag Archives: UK retailers

UK unemployment, VAT, consumer pressures and the banking sector

Unemployment in the UK increased by 35,000 in the three months to October to 2.5 million, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said. It is the first time that the jobless measure has risen for six months however 33,000 of the increase was in the public sector, raising the overall unemployment rate up to 7.9%. It has been assumed that the private sector will mitigate many, if not all, of all current and future losses now resulting from the full impact of public sector cuts………..but with UK retailers suffering, VAT rising in January and businesses holding on to cash rather than investing there is a fragility to the economic recovery.

Millions of families are struggling to pay their bills — and the number is likely to increase in the new year, according to analysis from the Bank of England. The report published this week shows that two fifths of households have difficulty from time to time or constantly in meeting their monthly bills, compared with a third last year, and more than half regard their overdrafts or credit cards as a burden.

More than three years after the start of the credit crunch, the Bank of England warns today that a lack of available credit “continues to be one of the main factors holding back the economic recovery” and repeat warnings about the size and concentration of Britain’s banking sector.

The Bank of England is forcing high street lenders to repay £185 bn of emergency loans in an attempt to avert a new market meltdown next year. Bank officials have recently held meetings with four major banking groups and the biggest building societies demanding that the loans, which were handed out at the peak of the financial crisis, be paid back sooner than planned. Analysts warn that the tough line could stop banks lending to small businesses and slow down Britain’s economic recovery.

The messages therefore for a UK economic recovery are not looking good for 2011.