LONDON (Reuters) - The cost of an annual comprehensive motor insurance policy in Britain rose 3.5% in the second quarter of 2019, lifted by a rise in the cost of claims, a survey on Monday showed. The average premium for a comprehensive policy is now 789 pounds, according to the latest index from price comparison site Confused.com, compiled by insurance broker Willis Towers Watson. The report, based on price figures compiled using anonymous data from all enquiries submitted on Admiral’s (ADML.L) Confused.com site, said 2019 could see further price pressures. Companies such as Admiral, RSA (RSA.L), Direct Line (DLGD.L), esure and Hastings (HSTG.L) provide cover in Britain’s highly competitive motor insurance sector. The premiums saw an average 5% annual increase, up around 27 pounds from the previous quarter. British motorists are paying 37 pounds more than they were paying a year ago. “Ongoing claims inflation pressures” contributed to the price changes, Graham Wright, UK lead pro..
LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) - Britain said Iran seized two oil tankers in the Gulf on Friday and told Tehran to return the vessels or face consequences in the latest confrontation to ratchet up tension along a vital international oil shipping route. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said they had captured the British-flagged Stena Impero, announcing the move two weeks after the British navy seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar. Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency said the second vessel, the British-operated Mesdar, had not been seized. It said the ship had been allowed to continue its course after being given a warning over safety and environmental issues. The Stena Impero and Mesdar changed direction sharply within 40 minutes of each other shortly after entering the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz, taking up a course towards Iran, Refinitiv tracking data showed. The data later showed Mesdar changing direction again, heading westward back into the Gulf. “These seizures are unacceptabl..
LONDON (Reuters) - The European Union’s markets watchdog has published draft guidelines to harmonise how performance fees are calculated for EU-regulated retail investment funds. The funds, known as Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities, or UCITS, hold around 10 trillion euros in assets. “Performance fees are a key feature both for investors and funds alike. However, different practices exist, creating undue risks of regulatory arbitrage and inconsistent levels of investor protection,” Steven Maijoor, chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), said in a statement on Tuesday. Fees are often linked to how a fund’s performance compares with a benchmark like a stock index, but many EU states impose no constraints on which benchmarks funds use, ESMA said. The draft guidelines, which ESMA has put out to public consultation before issuing final guidance, look to harmonise general principles on models used for calculating and disclosing perfo..
(Reuters) - Three British cabinet ministers are set to resign the day Boris Johnson, if as expected, becomes Britain’s next prime minister, The Times newspaper reported on Thursday. British justice minister David Gauke is set to resign soon after Theresa May completes her last prime minister’s questions on next Wednesday, the newspaper reported on its web site. Philip Hammond, the country’s finance minister, and Rory Stewart, the international development minister, are also considering leaving before Johnson becomes prime minister, the report said.
LONDON (Reuters) - Lenders in Britain said demand for mortgages rose significantly in the second quarter and is expected to hold steady in the third quarter, a Bank of England survey showed, adding to other signs that a housing market slowdown might be bottoming out. Britain’s housing market has slowed since the June 2016 Brexit referendum. The BoE survey published on Thursday also showed demand for unsecured lending fell in the second quarter, pushed down by credit card lending. Credit card lending was expected to pick up in the third quarter, it showed.
LONDON (Reuters) - Boris Johnson, favourite to be the next British prime minister, on Wednesday refused to say whether he would seek to shut Parliament to facilitate a no-deal Brexit but agreed such a plan could be convenient for him. Sky News reported on Tuesday that Johnson is considering holding the Queen’s Speech, in which the prime minister lays out his policy programme, in November. That means lawmakers would be sent home two weeks earlier, hindering their ability to stop Britain’s leaving the European Union without a deal on Oct. 31. “I’m not going to comment on our programme,” Johnson said, asked at a hustings event when he would introduce a Queen’s Speech. Asked about the convenience of a November Queen’s Speech, he said, “I’m not going to dissent from you. That seems like a reasonable point.” On Tuesday, an already weak sterling fell further on the news on the no-deal Brexit plan, dipping below $1.24 for the first time since April 2017. Johnson, likely to be announced as ..
LONDON (Reuters) - House prices in London fell at the fastest pace in almost 10 years in May, according to official data that also showed inflation hitting the Bank of England’s 2% target for a second month running in June. House prices in London - which have been hit by worries about Brexit and its impact on the city’s attractiveness as a global finance centre - slid by 4.4% in annual terms, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. That marked the biggest fall since August 2009. Reflecting the weakness in the property market since the Brexit referendum more than three years ago, house price growth across the United Kingdom as a whole slowed to 1.2%, matching February’s six-year low. Some other surveys have suggested that the market might be borrowing out and analysts said London’s dip was not likely to be followed by the rest of the country. “The downturn in London probably isn’t a sign of an impending slump elsewhere, but instead reflects the slowdown in net migration, a g..
LONDON (Reuters) - Two-year-old twins joined at the head have undergone successful surgery at a British hospital to separate their skulls, brains and blood vessels, doctors said on Tuesday. The highly complex surgery involved multiple operations on Safa and Marwa Ullah, who were born in Pakistan in January 2017 with a condition known as “craniopagus” in which the girls’ skulls and parts of their brains were joined and intertwined. “Craniopagus is an exceptionally rare and complex condition,” said David J. Dunaway, who co-led the surgical team that treated the twins. The operation, conducted in February, was the most complex such separation his team had performed to date, he said. Having twins joined at the head with fused skulls and separate bodies occurs in less than one in a million births, while having the connection extend into the brain tissue is rarer still. Around 50 sets of craniopagus twins are estimated to be born around the world every year, of which only around 15 are th..
LONDON (Reuters) - British wages, excluding bonuses, rose at their fastest pace in nearly 11 years, official data showed on Tuesday, but there were potential signs of future weakness in jobs growth, the economy’s silver lining since the Brexit referendum. Core earnings rose by an annual 3.6% in the three months to May, the biggest increase since mid-2008 and stronger than the median forecast of 3.5% in a Reuters poll of economists. Including bonuses, pay growth beat all forecasts in the poll, rising to 3.4%, the Office for National Statistics said, with a change in the timing of public health workers’ pay rises accounting for a small part of the increase. Many economists say the strength of Britain’s labour market is at least in part due to employers hiring workers who they can later lay off if needed, rather than making longer-term investment commitments ahead of Brexit. Unemployment held at its joint lowest rate since the three months to January 1975, forcing many employers to of..
LONDON (Reuters) - The frontrunner to become Britain’s next prime minister, Boris Johnson, said on Monday that the leader of the main opposition Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, was guilty of anti-Semitism. “I think by condoning anti-Semitism the way he does, I’m afraid he’s effectively culpable of that vice,” Johnson told a leadership debate organised by the Sun newspaper and TalkRadio. The Labour Party has battled accusations of anti-Semitism since 2016 and Corbyn - a veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights - as well as other senior party officials have been accused of failing to take decisive action to deal with it. “Jeremy Corbyn is implacably opposed to anti-Semitism in all its forms and has campaigned against it throughout his life,” a Labour Party spokesperson said, calling Johnson’s comments “baseless”.