UK interest rates rise to 4.25% after Bank of England decision

UK interest rates rise to 4.25% after Bank of England decision

The Bank of England has pushed up the cost of borrowing to its highest level in nearly 15 years amid concerns that inflation will persist.

The central bank raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point to 4.25 per cent, its highest level since November 2008, in the latest increase as the central bank races to tame inflation that has stayed in double digits.

Rates have now risen by 4.15 points in eleven rate rises since December 2021, when they were at a historical low of 0.1 per cent. It is the fastest tightening of monetary policy since the Bank took responsibility for interest rates in the late 1990s.

The consumer prices index, which is the headline measure of inflation, surprised forecasters with a rise to 10.4 per cent last month, up from 10.1 per cent at the start of the year owing to stubbornly high food prices. Economists had predicted a fall to below 10 per cent, continuing the decline from a 41-year high of 11.1 per cent in October. The Bank’s target is 2 per cent.

Rate setters said that the cost of borrowing should rise because, although wages rises in the private sector were slower … Read More

Worried consumers still plan to spend big

Worried consumers still plan to spend big

Consumer confidence continued to rise this month despite growing concern about personal finances, a closely watched survey shows.

It rose by two points to minus 36 on the monthly index by GfK, the market intelligence company. The biggest factor was a rise in the likelihood that people would buy big-ticket items such as furniture and electrical goods. This metric rose by four points to minus 33 according to the survey of 2,000 people aged 16 and over between March 1 and 14.

However, the overall growth masks a decline in consumer sentiment about personal finances, which fell by three points on the barometer to minus 21.

Finances have been squeezed not only by the cost of living crisis but also by rises in interest rates as the Bank of England races to contain inflation.

The headline inflation rate surprised forecasters by rising to 10.4 per cent in February, the latest figures show, up from 10.1 per cent in January. It is thought to have peaked at a 41-year high of 11.1 per cent in October, and had been falling until a surge in food prices last month. The Bank of England yesterday implemented its eleventh rise in interest rates since … Read More

Colmore BID & Hollie Gazzard Trust launch supporter organisation scheme for not-for-profits 

Colmore BID & Hollie Gazzard Trust launch supporter organisation scheme for not-for-profits 

Birmingham’s Colmore BID (Business Improvement District) has partnered with the Hollie Gazzard Trust to launch a new Supporter Organisation Scheme to educate staff on domestic abuse issues and help safeguard employees. 

Colmore BID, which is responsible for delivering projects, initiatives and services in Birmingham’s commercial and professional services quarter, is the first to partner with the charity to trial the national scheme.  

The programme provides not-for-profit organisations with safeguard training for staff members, a subscription to the UK’s largest safety app and 24/7 monitoring service, Hollie Guard Extra, at a discounted rate and monthly editions of the Hollie Gazette, a news, guidance and information e-newsletter. 

Since 2009, Colmore BID’s Safe and Sound Working Group has been committed to ensuring a safe and secure environment for businesses and visitors to the area. This investment forms part of the group’s wider strategy to upskill the District, providing all with valuable skills to keep each other safe and care for those in need. 

Kate Bailey, Colmore BID Board Director and lead of the Safe and Sound Working Group, said: “We want to set the standard that any form of violence against women and girls is unacceptable. Partnering with the Hollie Gazzard TrustRead More

Jeremy Hunt backs inflation battle and says UK is financially stable

Jeremy Hunt backs inflation battle and says UK is financially stable

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has backed the Bank of England to prioritise tackling inflation, despite concerns rapid increases in interest rates have contributed to recent volatility in the banking sector.

The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee meets this week amid speculation it may pause its recent trajectory of raising rates when it announces its decision on Thursday.

Mr Hunt told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee that he discusses the issue “regularly” with Bank governor Andrew Bailey, and that reducing inflation remained the government’s focus.

“It’s [inflation] over 10% at the moment, that’s dangerously high, and we need to do everything we can to maintain our focus on bringing it down,” the chancellor said.

“So I only ever say to him, please do what you think is necessary, as indeed you are legally bound to do under the Bank of England Act.”

Moves by central banks to rapidly increase rates after more than a decade of historically low returns is cited as a significant factor in recent financial turbulence.

Silicon Valley Bank collapsed after the value of its medium-term fixed-income holdings plummeted, and the lack of confidence proved contagious, passing rapidly to Credit Suisse, which was bought by USB at the … Read More

Ex-Virgin Money chief Gadhia explores sale of finance app Snoop

Ex-Virgin Money chief Gadhia explores sale of finance app Snoop

Snoop, the moneysaving app set up by the former boss of Virgin Money, is exploring a sale after receiving a series of unsolicited takeover approaches.

Sky News has learnt that Snoop’s founder, Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, is working with bankers at Rothschild on plans to raise new capital or sell the company outright.

Snoop was launched in 2019 and uses so-called ‘open banking’ technology to track users’ spending and promote ways for them to save money.

Its app has been installed more than 1.2m times and generated over £1m in revenue last year, according to insiders.

The latest process is not the first time she has received interest in acquiring the start-up.

In 2020, Sky News revealed that it had had an approach from Moneysupermarket, although the talks failed to progress.

The identities of its latest suitors were unclear on Tuesday, and a fundraising remains a strong possibility.

One person close to Snoop said it required no more than £10m of new investment to break even.

The company’s existing investors include Paulson & Co, which at one stage ranked among Wall Street’s most successful hedge funds, and individuals including Sir Lloyd Dorfman, the Travelex billionaire.

A previous fundraising valued the business … Read More