PROPERTY
Residential rents rise at fastest pace in 13 years

A quarterly survey of by property website Zoopla reveals that the cost of renting a property is rising at its fastest pace in 13 years with the average UK tenant facing a bill of nearly £1,000 a month. Rents rose by an annual 8.3% in the last quarter of 2021 as demand soared and supply remains tight. "The flooding of rental demand back into city centres thanks to office workers, students and international demand returning to cities means the post-pandemic recalibration of the rental market is well underway," said Grainne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla. Supply has also been constrained by landlords leaving the sector as a result of tax and regulatory changes and because renters are staying put as house price growth stymies plans to buy.

BBC News, Financial Times
EMPLOYMENT
Pay rises for new starters

A survey by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation and KPMG found firms are having to increase pay rates to recruit staff as demand continues to rise. The pace of hiring rose at the slowest rate for nine months, although pay growth remained strong. Neil Carberry, REC chief executive, said: "The jobs market is still growing strongly. With competition for staff still hot, companies are having to raise pay rates for new starters to attract the best people. And the cost of living crisis means there is also more pressure from job-seekers who want a pay rise."

Financial Times, Daily Mail, The Times
SUPPORT
UK’s small business support scheme suffers slow take-up

The Government’s Help to Grow programme – a scheme designed to boost productivity among SMEs – has only signed up 2,500 companies, less than 10% of its target of 30,000. The £520m scheme was described by Chancellor Rishi Sunak when it was announced in the March 2021 Budget as a way to ensure SMEs “are embracing the latest technology and management training \[and] fuelling our Plan for Jobs by boosting productivity in all corners of the UK.” But Craig Beaumont, chief of external affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, said the scheme was badly designed and that around 90% of SMEs were not eligible due largely to the requirement that businesses need to have at least five employees.

Financial Times, City AM
FINANCE
FCA warns banks of Russian cyber attacks

The Financial Conduct Authority has told banks to stress test their cyber defences, warning of a heightened risk of attack if a Russian invasion in Ukraine leads to strict financial sanctions. The FCA confirmed in a statement it has been in touch with UK lenders to shore up security systems. “As you’d expect, we’re contacting firms to highlight the National Cyber Security Centre’s statement that organisations should bolster their cyber security resilience,” the regulator said.

Financial Times, The Times, City AM, The Daily Telegraph