A round-up of the main news stories this week. [Apologies for poor audio quality again!]
UK Economy Returns to Growth
The UK economy has emerged from recession after growing by 1% between July and September. The initial estimates from the Office of National Statistics show the UK to have reached its fastest rate of growth since 2007. Despite the uplift, critics have pointed out that the economy finds itself roughly where it was one year ago, and still some way below the level it achieved prior to the financial crisis.
High Street Banks Averse to Loans
High-street banks rejected 27,000 applications for loans from businesses in the first quarter of the year. Challenger bank Cambridge & Counties said that the applications were worth a total of £1.3 billion. The figures suggest that banks would rather overlook the incentives available to them; such is their aversion to lending.
Tougher New Rules on Mortgages
Tougher new rules on mortgages will force banks to make more stringent checks on applicants to make sure that they will be able to afford their loans. The new rules drawn up by the Financial Services Authority will come into place in 2014. The regulator has said that it wants to put “common sense at the heart of the mortgage market.”
Santander Reports 94% Fall in Profits
Spanish bank Santander has announced a 94% fall in profits between July and September as it set aside billions to account for toxic loans in Spain. Net income at the bank fell to just £100 million compared to £1.8 billion in the equivalent period last year. The bank’s recently aborted bid to buy 316 branches from the Royal Bank of Scotland cost it an estimated £52 million.
EDF Next to Hike Energy Prices
EDF has become the fifth major energy company to hike its prices after announcing a 10.8% rise, the largest of all suppliers so far. The company said that a typical standard variable dual fuel bill would rise by £2.35 per week. The announcement comes during Big Energy Saving Week, which aims to help people reduce their bills ahead of the winter months.
And finally, for a feast of Halloween fun over the next couple of days, keep a close eye on Which4U and our Finance Blog. You never know quite what we’ve got up our sleeves!