Pregnant Kate faces hospital stay
THE Duchess of Cambridge has spent the night in hospital with severe morning sickness as the nation celebrates the news that she is pregnant.
Months of speculation about a royal pregnancy were ended yesterday afternoon when William and Kate told the world they are to be parents for the first time.
But the excitement about the eagerly-anticipated announcement was tinged with concern after it was revealed that the Duchess was admitted to a private London hospital for hyperemesis gravidarum – very acute morning sickness.
Osborne set to unveil PFI reforms
A “FASTER and more transparent” system to lever in private funding for public infrastructure projects is expected to be unveiled by George Osborne tomorrow, Government sources indicated.
The Chancellor will use his Autumn Statement to detail reforms to the heavily criticised Private Finance Initiative (PFI) aimed at reducing taxpayer costs and risks.
Among the changes will be limits on the types of services such as maintenance included in contracts and more flexible terms allowing the state to opt out of others later.
BCC cuts future growth forecasts
ONE of the UK’s biggest business networks kept up the pressure on Chancellor George Osborne today ahead of his Autumn Statement as it slashed growth forecasts for the next two years.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) now expects the economy to grow 1.2% in 2013 and 1.8% in 2014, compared with previous estimates of 1.2% and 2.2% respectively.
However, the BCC, which covers 52 Chambers of Commerce, representing more than 104,000 business members, raised its 2012 forecast to a decline of 0.1% from a fall of 0.4%.
Shops ‘nervous’ about festive sales
RETAILERS are in a “state of nervousness” amid signs that shoppers are holding off on Christmas purchases in the hope of bargains in the coming weeks, an industry report said today.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said UK retail sales were 0.4% higher last month on a like-for-like basis than a year ago, but the figures were flattered by weak comparisons with last year, when sales dropped 1.6%.
Retailers had been hoping for stronger November trading after a battering the previous month when retail sales volumes dropped 0.8% month on month, amid declining consumer confidence and rising inflation.
Mortgage fraud predicted to soar
CASES of mortgage fraud are expected to surge next year as more people attempt to misrepresent their finances or hide adverse credit histories.
Information services company Experian predicts that a total of 43 out of every 10,000 applications will be identified as fraudulent, an increase of 13% on this year and up 26% on 2011.
It pointed out that almost 90% of mortgage fraud tends to stem from individuals offering misleading information about their own financial and employment backgrounds.