Lunchtime news Thursday 24 April 2023

Hopes of further cuts in interest rates may not amount to much as minutes from the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee meeting this month showed a three way split in the decision to cut the rate to 5 per cent. Two members voted to keep the rate the same, one wanted a large drop in rates of a half a point, while six voted in favour of a quarter point cut, arguing that a move would reduce the risk of the economy slowing sharply.

The director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) singled out the bonus culture as one of the main causes of the financial problems now engulfing the world’s banks. The bonuses rewarded success but did not penalise failure, while banks were ‘cavalier’ in their approach to risk, the CBI chief said. He also added that companies could face further problems because scarce credit and a slowing economic growth made it ‘highly likely’ that corporate failure would follow.

Energy companies were accused of failing to help millions of people on low incomes with their bills. Yesterday’s meeting was described as ‘disappointing’ and ‘falling far short of expectations’ by consumer groups and ministers, who complained that there was no tangible promise to lower the bills of the estimated 4.5 million households who spent at least 10 per cent of their income on gas and electricity. Energy firms did agree to provide advice on switching suppliers and helping find the best deals.

A ruling by the courts yesterday means that couples who live together and buy a house together may now have to split the proceeds equally if they break up. An appeal court decision found that at the end of a 23-year relationship a couple whose house was registered in joint names although only one of the partners contributed to the mortgage payments had to equally split their assets. The partner who had not contributed to the mortgage, was found to have paid household expenses from her income and benefits during the relationship, and therefore it was the couple’s intention that whatever their ‘unequal contributions’ were, this did not matter as much as their ‘shared intentions’.

And finally, an amusement park is coming to Baghdad. A multi-million dollar fifty-acre site in central Baghdad is being developed to include an America-style amusement park featuring a skateboard park, rides, a theatre and museum. The Iraqi government is optimistic of its future saying: ‘there is a shortage of entertainment in the city… The fun park is badly needed for Baghdad. Children don’t have any opportunities to enjoy their childhood’, before adding that entry to the park will be strictly controlled.