Top stories

  • Prime Minister launches campaign to save Brexit deal
  • UK Finance October Household and Business Update published
  • Boardrooms fear accountability for cyber attacks

Stat of the day

2.6 per cent – the increase in deposits held in instant access accounts since October 2017, according to the UK Finance October Household Finance Update published today.

Prime Minister launches campaign to save Brexit deal

Prime minister Theresa May has launched a two-week campaign to save her Brexit deal, warning MPs that they must support her or face going back to “square one”, reports The Times (£, p1). This follows developments at the EU summit over the weekend, where all 27 European Union governments formally backed the withdrawal agreement and political declaration between the UK and EU. As part of her campaign, it’s reported, Mrs May has challenged Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn  to a TV debate over the Brexit deal, which Corbyn is expected to accept (The Daily Telegraph, £, p1). This could take place in the final days before Parliament’s “meaningful vote” next month. According to the Guardian (p1), the prime minister’s greatest challenge will be getting the deal through the Commons, following increasing discontent among her own MPs about the deal, as well as promises from the DUP and Labour to vote it down.

In response to the deal being approved by EU leaders, Stephen Jones, Chief Executive of UK Finance, said:

“The European Council’s endorsement of the withdrawal agreement and political declaration is another important step towards avoiding a ‘no-deal’ cliff edge, which remains the absolute priority for the banking and finance industry.

“Despite the preparations that are being put in place, a ‘no-deal’ cliff edge Brexit would have devastating consequences for the UK’s economy. The UK’s Parliament now has the responsibility to ensure that this does not happen.”

UK Finance October Household and Business Update published

Gross mortgage lending across the residential market was 5.6 per cent higher than last October totalling £25.5 billion, with business lending to the manufacturing sector 6.9 per cent higher than the previous year according to the latest UK Finance Household and Business update published today.

Commenting on the household data, Eric Leenders, Managing Director, Personal Finance at UK Finance, said:

“Overall mortgage lending grew in October, despite an uncertain economic environment, while house purchase mortgage approvals by the main high street banks were also up on the previous year.

“However remortgaging activity has softened, following a period of strong growth driven by fixed rate loans reaching maturity and anticipation of August’s base rate rise.

“Households are taking a measured approach to credit, with repayments on credit cards broadly in line with spending.

“This reflects the growing preference of customers to use their credit cards as a means of payment rather than a borrowing mechanism, making the most of additional consumer protections and value-added benefits.”

Commenting on the business data, Stephen Pegge, Managing Director, Commercial Finance at UK Finance, said: 

“Appetite for finance amongst business remains subdued with overall borrowing down slightly from the same period last year.

“However, lending to the manufacturing, agriculture and accommodation sectors has increased.

Business deposits also continue to grow, which suggests firms are stockpiling cash in the face of an uncertain economic climate.”

Boardrooms fear accountability for cyber attacks

Data breaches and cyberattacks have become the biggest causes for concern for directors of public companies when considering personal liability according to a report by Allen & Overy, and Willis Towers Watson. The report found 51 per cent of public companies had experienced a significant cyberattack or data loss in the past 12 months, up from 30 per cent last year. It’s reported the arrival of European Union data protections in May have added ‘another layer of complexity’ to an already challenging environment (The Times p42 £).

Joanna Page, head of Allen & Overy’s insurance litigation group, said: “High-ranking individuals in public and privately held corporations face unprecedented scrutiny and bear the brunt of global enforcement efforts by regulators to combat corporate failings.” UK Finance called for greater organisational collaboration across the financial services sector, working alongside law enforcement and government agencies, in a report published earlier this year.

Latest from UK Finance

Paul Chisnall blogs about the success of our inaugural Women In Finance event last week and how it is leading the way towards a more equal workplace.

News in Brief

The Guardian (p43) reports that shadow chancellor John McDonnell has called for a government investigation into the use of high-cost bank loans after a report found local councils may waste up to £16 billion on interest payments over the next 40 years.

A cache of Facebook documents has been seized by MPs investigating the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, through rarely used parliamentary powers according to the BBC (online only).

Open Banking has the ability to transform the market for small and medium-sized enterprises, according to a report published today by KPMG.

Isabel Schnabel, a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s independent council of economic advisers, has said it is imperative that a banking union is created to improve stability in the eurozone (Bloomberg, online only)

What the commentators say

Commentator Wulfgang Munchau writes in the Financial Times (p13, £) that the Brexit deal secured by Theresa May is the best available. He argues that the EU has made a number of concessions, including on tariff-free trade in goods and on the UK-wide backstop for the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. In conclusion he emphasises that the withdrawal agreement keeps options open including a potential return to future EU membership, whereas a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would likely “kill this option for a generation”.

Writing in this morning’s Daily Mail (p65) Business Editor Ruth Sunderland warns that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would put financial services at risk. Ahead of Mark Carney’s evidence to the Commons Treasury committee on Thursday, Sunderland praises the work done by the Bank of England including the recent “doomsday” tests designed to evaluate shocks to the system which all banks are expected to pass. Sunderland comments that, unfortunately, politicians too often seem unconcerned with the economic impact of their actions within the Westminster bubble.

Calendar

  • UK Finance Household Finance and Business Finance updates for October 2018
  • Theresa May chairs Cabinet meeting on Brexit
  • Theresa May gives Brexit statement to the House of Commons
  • Mark Carney and Alan Greenspan speak at Policy Exchange event

For a full list of upcoming UK Finance statistics releases, please click here.

News in brief – 26 November 2018