Business Briefs - April 14

Latest data from the Office for National Statistics has shown the UK’s inflation rate remained at a record low of 0 per cent in March.

The official figures show cheaper clothing and footwear, offset by a rise in petrol prices, helped to maintain the rate at 0 per cent for a second month.

The figure was the lowest rate of Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation since estimates of the measure began in the late 1980s.

It means the cost of living is broadly the same as it was a year earlier.

However, the ONS said that if the rate of inflation was calculated to two decimal places, prices were 0.01 per cent lower than a year before - a first fall on record for the CPI measure.

The CPI figure leaves inflation well below the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target.

Bosses at Edinburgh’s five star Scotsman Hotel are to announce a ten-room extension on the back of staff cut savings.

However, the news comes as staff at the North Bridge hotel have been warned that management are currently determining those eligible for voluntary redundancy.

But general manager Helen Gallagher said that while cuts need to be made, the “restructuring” was designed to make the hotel “more efficient” and allow for the creation of a minimum of ten new rooms.

‘Big four’ accountant Deloitte has had a £14 million fine relating to its dealings with collapsed car maker MG Rover cut to £3m after an appeal.

The reduced penalty was announced after an appeals tribunal earlier this year threw out eight of 13 charges against the firm in a case brought by the Financial Reporting Council.

 

Home-owner house purchase lending declined in February both compared to the previous month and February 2014. The number of loans advanced totalled 40,600, down 1 per cent on January and 16 per cent compared to the same month in 2014, according to latest data from the Council for Mortgage Lenders.

The loans totaled £6.8bn, which was down 3 per cent on January and 13 per cent on February last year.

There were 18,700 loans advanced to first-time buyers - down 1 per cent on January and 16 per cent compared to February 2014. These loans by value were £2.7 billion, which was down 4 per cent on January and 13 per cent down on February last year.

Home movers were advanced 21,900 loans, a decline of 2 per cent compared to January and 16 per cent down year-on-year. These loans totalled in value £4.1bn – 2 per cent down on January and 13 per cent down compared to February 2014.

Remortgage lending decreased month-on-month with 21,500 loans advanced - down 16 per cent on January and 14 per cent down on February 2014.

The value of these loans (£3.3 billion) also decreased month-on-month by 20 per cent and was down 11 per cent year-on-year compared to February 2014.

There were 15,900 buy-to-let loans in February - down 13 per cent on the previous month but up 11 per cent on the same period in 2014. These loans came to £2.2bn in value, down 12 per cent compared to January but up 16 per cent on February 2014.

Ayrshire-based tinned haggis supplier Grant’s Foods has secured an exclusive deal with supermarket giant Asda to stock a new range of soups and canned ready meals.

A total of 18 products will be launched this month by Grant’s, which was established in 1885. Several of the new lines will be stocked exclusively by Asda.

As part of the launch, Grant’s is investing in an extensive rebrand in a bid to “tap into new food trends”.

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