UK mortgage approvals rise to highest since Dec 2009
The joint venture plans to build up to 3.6 gigawatts of new nuclear capacity at the site, which it has named Moorside. For the site alone, NuGen paid an initial 19.5 million pounds ($31.3 million) and agreed to pay another 50.5 million pounds over six years, or more than 8 million pounds a year, the 2009 agreement showed. Neither the government nor NuGen would reveal details of the deadline or the progress required due to commercial confidentiality. The site remains untouched, while NuGen has yet to find a reactor builder and has lost one of its partners, SSE. Frustrated by the delay at Sellafield, the government is considering its options for the site as it pushes through an ambitious nuclear new-build programme, which is needed to replace ageing reactors. “They are thinking about auctioning the site,” said an industry source, who requested anonymity because of the confidentiality of the topic. The information was confirmed by another two industry sources familiar with the situation. The energy ministry and the NDA declined to comment, and officials at NuGen could not be reached for comment. “If the option is not exercised by the agreed deadline, there may be a number of alternative scenarios, and we would have to consider these carefully when the position becomes clearer,” a spokesman for Britain’s energy ministry said, without elaborating on the scenarios available. NuGen partner Iberdrola is in talks with Toshiba’s Westinghouse unit to take over its 50 percent stake in the joint venture, a deal that could rejuvenate the project. The Sellafield property, if reopened for auction, is likely to attract strong interest as a cheap option for investors to secure a British nuclear new-build site.
Figures from mortgage lender Halifax already point to house prices rising at an annual rate of more than 5 percent, above the rate considered sustainable by property industry body the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and raising concerns about the risk of a new boom-bust cycle. The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) said on Tuesday that its members approved 38,228 mortgages in August, up from 37,428 in July and more than a quarter higher than in August last year. The figures act as a leading indicator for more comprehensive BoE data due on September 30. “Housing market activity is now really stepping up a gear, supported by markedly strengthening consumer confidence and elevated employment, and fuelled by the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) and the Help to Buy initiative,” said Howard Archer, chief UK economist for IHS Global Insight. The government launched the FLS last year and Help to Buy in March to help home buyers. The FLS has lowered banks’ finance costs, leading to cheaper mortgages, while Help to Buy assists home buyers struggling to find a large deposit for house purchase. The BBA reported that net mortgage lending remained muted, however, with the total amount outstanding on British mortgages dropping by 47 million pounds as repayments slightly exceeded new lending. Mortgage approvals are also still well below the levels seen in the boom running up to the 2008 financial crisis. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has promised to be “vigilant” about the risk of another house price bubble and has indicated a preference to use more intensive supervision of lending, rather than interest rates, as an initial response. Unsecured consumer lending also rose modestly, with net new credit card lending of 175 million pounds slightly exceeding 99 million pounds in repayment of personal loans and overdrafts. “These figures suggest that consumer confidence is growing. For the first time in four years, annual growth in household borrowing on credit cards and personal loans has turned positive,” said David Dooks, the BBA’s director of statistics. The picture on business lending was more mixed, with net lending continuing to fall but at a more modest rate than earlier this year.
UK mulls new auction of NuGen nuclear site after delays -sources
Don’t miss it! eBay is already known as the leading marketplace for amateur online resellers, but now the company is looking to brick-and-mortar retailers as its next big driver for growth in the UK. Click & Collect is a new initiative that will give eBay customers the ability to buy products from their preferred retailer and then pick them up in store. Admittedly, its not a particularly new or innovative idea: plenty of retailers already offer this reservation scheme through their own dedicated sites. Argos is one of the major retailers supporting Click & Collect at launch. Theyve also partnered with eBay to allow a number of smaller merchants to specify an Argos store as a pick-up location for their customers. Its a formidable deal, given that Argos has the scale and high street presence needed to make Click & Collect a viable option. The feature helps to reaffirm eBays bid to be a centralized, unified portal for all e-commerce. If users know that all of their favorite retailers support Click & Collect, theres a chance that theyll head to eBay to complete all of their purchases in one fell swoop, rather than jumping across the Web to submit orders at different sites. Retailers will always be keen to increase their own sales in the UK, both through payments online and raising the footfall in their physical store. Click & Collect caters to both these needs, with the only downside being that theyre directing a large portion of their customers away from their purpose-built e-commerce site. Amazon already has a similar concept called Amazon Locker . These are essentially automated safes, which you can specify to have any of your Amazon parcels delivered to. A unique code is sent via email and you can then pick up your package at a time convenient to you. The problem is that Amazon Lockers arent particularly prevalent in the UK yet.
UK authorities clear Baba Ramdev after second round of questioning
The immigration officer later allowed Ramdev to enter the UK lawfully and carry on with his programmes. Ramdev alleged that he did not get support from the Indian government and he suspected that the British officials were misguided. “I am sad to state that my government did not support me. I was told there was a red alert attached to my name, which is only linked with terrorists and criminals. I will wait for full details but I have a doubt that my eight-hour detention yesterday was a result of the Indian government’s attempt to misguide the UK immigration department,” Ramdev told reporters outside the airport after being cleared. “While the Indian government may have played a villain’s role in this whole episode, Britain’s NRI community and Keith Vaz (British-Indian MP) stood by me,” he said. “I thank the UK government that they did not stay misguided for too long,” he said, adding that he had not been given any explanation for being detained. “I have never done anything illegal, immoral or unethical. So I kept asking them to let me know what my fault was. I was not informed about the reasons. But there was no bad behaviour on their part. At one point one of the officials did get angry but I stayed cool so there was no problem,” Ramdev said in reference to his detention. Ramdev is in the UK to chair a series of yoga shivirs and talks organised by the Patanjali Yog Peeth (UK) Trust. Vaz, who had accompanied the yoga guru from a gathering in Leicester for the meeting here today, said he would make further inquiries into the reasons behind the hours of questioning. “No Indian citizen travelling on a valid visa should be held in this way.