UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from MacroScope:

Show us the money

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It says something about the current world that a new economic indicator is about to be unleashed by the Bank of England and it basically tells you whether banks have been doing what they are supposed to do -- lend.

The first Trends in Lending report is due out on April 21 at 0830 GMT. Always nice to have a new indicator, but this one may get a bit more attention than would have been the case a few years ago. It is designed to provide up-to-date information about bank lending to households and businesses.

Consumer groups, regulators trade bodies, the BoE, the UK government and lenders themselves will draw up the report under the rubric of something called The Lending Panel -- which a cruel cycnic might say sounds a bit like a high-interest loan shop.

Clearly, the purpose of the report is to show whether banks have been passing on the ultra-low interest rates that the BoE has been handing out.  What do you think it will show?

Web round-up: Managing the cost of higher education

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Getting into university is quite often the easy part, while figuring out how to pay for it is the real challenge. And higher education could get even more expensive if university chiefs get their way.

Vice-chancellors from 12 universities said in a report commissioned by Universities UK that an average fee of up to 7,000 pounds a year is necessary to secure long-term funding for teaching. The National Union of Students condemned the proposal, saying that it would deter poorer students from applying and leave graduates with massive debts.

Easing the pain for small businesses

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The government has unveiled a plan to guarantee up to 20 billion pounds of loans to help small businesses survive the credit crunch.

But there are concerns that will not be enough to get the banks lending sufficient funds to help businesses get access to cash.

“Dragons’ Den” star Bannatyne says it’s hard to raise funds

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Duncan Bannatyne, the straight-talking Scottish entrepreneur and star of TV’s “Dragons’ Den” has been talking about how his business has been affected by the credit crunch.

“My businesses are up from last year, so we’re doing well and most small businesses I speak to are still actually doing quite well,” he told Digital Spy in an interview ahead of the launch of his new BBC2 show “Beat the Bank” on Thursday.

Media’s take on bank bailout

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Bank of EnglandThe Bank of England’s 50 billion pound credit swap for banks hit by the global credit crunch leaves a “sour taste ” for the Daily Mail, which accepts it is a necessary evil.

“How could allowing banks to swap their risky mortgage and credit card debts (amassed during years of lunatically-excessive lending) for cast-iron Government bonds be anything else?,” it asks. “So much for moral hazard.”

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