News Summary: 15 February

Feb 15, 2013   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Breaking News  //  Comments Off on News Summary: 15 February

A round-up of the main news stories from this week.

Barclays & ING Cut Thousands of Jobs

Both Barclays and ING have announced thousands of job cuts as part of a cost-cutting strategy. Barclays is to shed 3,700 jobs, half of which will come from the Asian arm of the investment bank. Chief executive Antony Jenkins said that the bank was closing a segment of the investment bank that helped clients to avoid tax. Dutch bank ING, whose UK division has been acquired by Barclays, is to axe 2,400 jobs across Belgium and the Netherlands in an effort to save €270 million per year.

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Change to Whiplash Claims Could Lower Premiums – Aviva

The UK’s biggest insurer has said that motorists could save an average of £60 a year on their car insurance if the system for whiplash claims was changed to cut out the middle-men. Aviva says that the majority of the 550,000 cases made each year are filed by lawyers and claims management firms, who are charging big fees. These even include referral fees paid to breakdown companies for information about accident victims. The insurer wants to see the injured party submitting a claim directly to the guilty party’s insurer in the first instance to help lower the cost of policies.

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Mortgages Reach 5-Year High

The total number of mortgages approved in 2012 was the highest in five years, the Council of Mortgage Lenders has said. Banks and building societies advanced 540,000 last year, worth a total of around £81 billion. The number of first-time buyers, at 216,000 also reached a five-year high. The data showed that lending increased towards the end of the year as the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending Scheme began to filter slowly towards first-time buyers.

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Government Scoring “Own Goals” Over Inflation

The outbound governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King, has blamed a series of government “own goals” for keeping inflation high. Sir Mervyn, who leaves his post later this year, said that green taxes and higher tuition fees had maintained upwards pressure on inflation and made the Bank’s job more difficult. He said that inflation would exceed 3% in the summer, but that there was signs of recovery on the distant horizon.

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