Prudential Regulation Authority Launches Public Consultation On Eligibility Of Guarantees

Bank of England

Bank of England

The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) has launched a public consultation on the eligibility of guarantees as unfunded credit protection.

The proposed changes seek to clarify what contracts are eligible to be treated as guarantees for credit risk mitigation under the Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR). Some of the suggestions proposals made in the consultation document could impact the capital treatment of UKEF guaranteed loans.

UKEF is in touch with the PRA and is working closely with them to answer their questions on export credit guarantees and the international obligations that influence the terms of our guarantee.

Find out more and download the consultation paper.

The consultation closes on Wednesday 16 May.

Employment Rate Reaches Joint Record High

The employment rate is at 75.3% – up from 74.6% compared to a year ago and the joint highest since records began

Employment rate is at 75.3%

Employment rate is at 75.3%

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that 402,000 more people have moved into employment in the last year.

The unemployment rate (4.3%) has not been lower since 1975, and the number of people out of work is down by 127,000 compared to a year ago.

The number of people not working and not looking for work fell by 158,000 on the year. The rate has not been lower since records began.

Since 2010, over 70% of employment growth has been in permanent roles, with around 70% in higher skilled work.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey said:

Getting a job means securing an income for a family and the chance to build a better future. That’s why up and down the country we are doing all we can to help people into work.

And from next month, we’ll be taking thousands more people out of paying tax and also increasing the National Living Wage, benefiting those on the lowest pay and making sure they keep more of what they earn.

In fact by raising the National Living Wage we have ensured that the lowest earners have seen their wages grow by almost 7% above inflation since 2015.

The amount of money people can earn before they start paying income tax will rise in April 2018 from £11,500 to £11,850. From 1 April 2018, the National Living Wage – the minimum paid to employees aged over 25 – will rise from £7.50 an hour to £7.83, equating to a £600 annual pay rise for full-time workers on basic pay.

This comes as we have reformed welfare to make work pay, backed businesses to take more people on, and built a stronger, fairer economy.

But we want to help even more people benefit from a well-paid job. That’s why we are:

  • improving the welfare system with Universal Credit, which helps people move into work faster and to stay in work longer than under the old system
  • introducing a modern Industrial strategy to help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the UK
  • helping people stay in work longer with our Fuller Working Lives strategy, which supports employers to recruit, retrain and retain older workers
  • tackling inequalities in employment highlighted by the Race Disparity Audit, through targeted support in 20 areas around the country and £90 million announced by the Prime Minister to help young people

Today’s figures also show:

  • since 2010, the number of people in employment has increased by around 3.2 million
  • 83.4% of employment is in the private sector, with 16.6% in the public sector
  • the female employment rate is at a record high of 70.9%, with over 15 million women in work – a rise of 234,000 on the year

Separate figures out today showed that 770,000 people are now on Universal Credit as the rollout of the new benefit continues. Of these, 39% were in employment (300,000). Through Universal Credit, people are keeping more of their earnings as their Universal Credit payment gradually adjusts when their income climbs.

Read the Labour Market Statistics – March 2018 from the Office for National Statistics.

New River Forecasts For North East Communities

The Environment Agency has made 36-hour river level forecasts available online for two communities

Environment Agency

Environment Agency

A new service which allows people to get forecasts for river levels to help them plan for flooding is available for two locations in the North East.

It is being provided by the Environment Agency on the website for the River Tyne at Hexham, Northumberland, and Lustrum Beck at Stockton-on-Tees.

All communities can see observed data for river levels for the past five days. Now people living in these two areas can also see their future flood risk in a 36-hour river level forecast.

The aim is to help communities be more aware of their flood risk and be able to plan for potential flooding incidents. The new river forecasts are calculated by computer models that take into account data like current flows and expected rainfall.

Forecast information can change quickly so people are still advised to sign up for the Environment Agency’s free flood warning service to ensure they are notified if a warning is issued for their community.

And residents and businesses can still get the most up-to-date and accurate situation from the live online map which updates every 15 minutes and details the current Severe Flood Warnings, Flood Warnings and Alerts in place.

Help residents manage flood risk

Phil Taylor, from the Environment Agency’s Flood Resilience Team in the North East, said:

We are always looking at ways to use technology to better share information with people, and residents have told us that they would find it really useful to see these forecasts to help them manage their flood risk.

We want people to know if they are at risk of flooding, be prepared, and take action to protect themselves and their families. A wealth of information is available on our website for people to find out if they are at risk and understand how to prepare.

Everything residents and businesses need to know about how to check their risk and prepare for flooding is online on the Floods Destroy website.

The new 36-hour river forecasting for Hexham and Stockton can be found online at:

Lustrum Beck, Stockton-On-Tees and River Tyne at Hexham

The plan is to continue to refine the service based on feedback from users before rolling it out to other areas in the future.

People who live in areas where the 36-hour forecast is not available can still view data on river levels from the previous five days.

Fuelling The Momentum For A Mid Wales Growth Deal

Lord Bourne gathers sector leads to explore growth deal proposals

Office of the Secretary of State for Wales

Office of the Secretary of State for Wales

The UK Government will push forward the agenda for a growth deal for Mid Wales today when Wales Office Minister Lord Bourne hosts a meeting of project team members in Aberystwyth today (FRIDAY 16 March 2018).

Lord Bourne will meet with business leaders and representatives from the agriculture sector and further education establishments to discuss their vision for a Mid Wales Growth Deal and to underline the UK Government’s support for the area’s economy.

During last year’s Autumn Budget, the UK Government announced it would welcome proposals for a Mid Wales growth deal. At Friday’s meeting, members of the Growing Mid Wales Partnership will set out what work has already been undertaken to progress the deal and how the proposed projects fit together.

UK Government Minister Lord Bourne said:

Giving local areas powers and freedoms to help support economic growth, create jobs and drive investment is a key part of achieving a Britain that works for everybody.

This is Mid Wales’ opportunity to benefit from this growing City and Growth Deal movement. I want to see what progress is being made on developing the vision for the region’s economic future.

It is for the partners involved to come up with proposals, and to work with the UK and Welsh Governments to achieve the best deal for Mid Wales. I have no doubt about the ambition of leaders in Mid Wales to get this right as we work together to agree a new deal that will drive growth across the region.

The UK Government has already delivered the £1.2 billion Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and last year, the Prime Minister signed the Swansea Bay City Region Deal. It is also working towards delivering a growth deal for North Wales, working with local partners and the Welsh Government to identify the best way to strengthen the region’s economy and make the most of its connections to the Northern Powerhouse.

A successful proposal for Mid Wales would see every part of Wales benefitting from a UK Government growth deal.

Brexit Offers Big Opportunities To Showcase Our Creativity And Innovation

Op-Ed Contributor

Dr Liam Fox

Dr Liam Fox

Some people may say that Britain will struggle to trade with the rest of the world after we leave the European Union. Such a gloomy outlook fails to recognise the continued strength of the UK economy, with record inward investment, an 11% increase in exports and employment at a historic high.

In reality, the UK has cutting-edge capabilities. We lead the world in art and culture, food and drink, finance and education.

Last year we had 58,000 tech start-ups in the UK, a new tech business every hour. Digital technology has helped reduce many of the old barriers to trade and made the world more connected. You don’t have to leave Basingstoke to sell your digital app to someone in Beijing. UK businesses have a huge amount to gain from this trend.

The IMF predicts 90% of global growth will be generated beyond the borders of Europe in the coming years.

Much of this will come from Asian economies, where new markets are growing to match their new wealth. Trade between the UK and China is already at record levels, worth more than £59 billion, while UK exports to China increased by over 25% last year.

China’s middle class is expected to number 600 million by 2020 – greater than the current population of the EU. This offers big opportunities for UK businesses in a market that wants UK goods and services, and this government is putting the UK in a position to benefit.

This week I will take a delegation of nearly 300 UK businesses to the GREAT Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong, which has been organised by the Department for International Trade. Entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes will come together to showcase the best of British creativity and innovation.

The festival will explore how the world will work, live, play and learn in the future, and it’s a golden opportunity for British companies to create new business relationships not only with Hong Kong, China and the wider Asian region, but across the world.

There are already brilliant partnerships between UK and Asian companies of every kind, from large corporates to new start-ups.

From cutting-edge UK robotics making construction safer in Hong Kong, to Chinese automotive technology cleaning the air we breathe in UK cities.

Today I’m launching 3 campaigns to showcase the best of British fashion, beauty, food and consumer goods on some of Asia’s top commerce platforms and mobile shopping apps.

More than 160 UK brands will benefit – from Waitrose and Neal’s Yard Remedies, to Boohoo, Cath Kidston, Victoria Beckham and Burberry. This type of e-commerce will be the new frontier of global trade. It favours smaller companies, and ensures more women can be involved in international trade.

That’s why, as the digital economy continues to develop, the UK will use our new independent trade policy to make sure global rules benefit British businesses.

We are an innovation nation ready for the hi-tech opportunities around the world that Brexit will open up. Demand for UK goods and services is growing, and the new relationships we forge at the GREAT festival will maintain this momentum, so we can deliver a brighter, more prosperous future for every part of the UK.

Britain is not struggling, it is blossoming.

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