Business Briefs - May 15

Markus Stadlmann
Markus Stadlmann

Edinburgh-based Lloyds Banking Group has reported that UK household wealth has grown by £1.5 trillion or 19 per cent over the last year.

The jump is the largest rise since records began in 2001 and has been attributed to rising house prices and buoyant financial markets.

The figures show that individual households have seen their wealth increase by £126,572 on average since 2004, standing at an estimated £326,414 in 2014.

Since 2004, total wealth held by households has grown by £3.9 trillion.

A 9 per cent rise in average property values last year has driven the rise, according to the report, which found 39 per cent of total household wealth is now held in property.

But a doubling in the value of financial assets such as stocks and shares, bank deposits, government bonds and pensions has seen financial wealth become increasingly important over the past decade.

Financial assets now account for 61 per cent of wealth, up from 55 per cent in 2004.

Markus Stadlmann, chief investment officer at Lloyds Bank Private Banking, said: “Since 2004, substantial growth in the value of the housing stock and financial assets has boosted net household wealth by close to £4 trillion. A booming housing market up to 2007 coupled with the rising value of households’ financial assets held and a growing number of older households are the key drivers.”

 

Challenger bank Aldermore has reported first-quarter lending up seven per cent.

The group cited the added of more customers including homeowners and small and medium enterprises as reason for the rise.

The bank, founded by former Barclays executive Phillip Monks in 2009 with backing from AnaCap, said it was on track to achieve £1.4 billion of net new lending in 2015.

Net lending to customers in the first quarter ended March rose to £5.1bn from £4.8bn at the end of 2014.

Total customer deposits in the period grew by four per cent to £4.7bn. Shares in Aldermore were down 4p, or 1.6 per cent, at 250p.

 

The value of fish landed by Scottish boats last year hit a record high, according to the Scottish Government.

Official figures showed landings increased by almost a fifth in value in 2014 to reach an all-time high of £513 million, and the quantity rose by almost a third.

Mackerel was the most valuable stock, followed by langoustines, which made up half of the total shellfish catch.

 

The sister of US mogul Donald Trump has donated £158,000 to a care home in the Western Isles.

Maryanne Trump Barry, a senior appeal judge in the US, made the donation in memory of her mother, Maryann Macleod Trump, who came from Lewis.

The cash from the 78-yearold will help secure nine new beds at Bethesda Care Home in Stornoway.

The community-run home, which heavily depends on fundraising and grants, provides accommodation for the island’s elderly.

Carol Somerville, manager of the home, said: “She wanted to make a donation. She didn’t want any glory – it was in loving memory of her mother.

“She still has relatives in Tong. It was them that said Bethesda.”

 

Scottish Power received the highest number of complaints ever recorded for a UK energy provider in a three-month period, according to figures from Citizens Advice.

For every 100,000 Scottish Power customers, more than 1,100 made a complaint in the final quarter of 2014.

In the year as a whole, complaints rose by 600% with problems caused by a new billing system believed to be a factor.

The company has apologised and said it is working hard to improve its service.

 

The old Boroughmuir High School in Edinburgh is to be turned into major residential block with around 100 apartments after councillors decided to sell the site to Cala Homes.

The developer’s £14.5 million bid to transform the historic high school was approved by 11 votes to two and ends hopes of a community bid turn it into an arts hub.

The decision was made at the City of Edinburgh Council’s finance and resources committee on Wednesday.

Councillors have also backed plans to plough proceeds into schools and elderly care, with developments such as a proposed new south Edinburgh primary set to benefit.

Pupils and staff at Boroughmuir High are preparing to move to a £35m campus on the former Fountain Brewery grounds next year.

A total of 20 bids had been made to the council for the site in the Viewforth area of the city.

 

An extra £500,000 has been pledged to help attract a greater number of women and people from minority groups on to modern apprenticeship schemes.

The funding, made available by the Scottish Government, will be used by Skills Development Scotland(SDS) to promote equality within the flagship youth employment programmes.

It is also hoped the money, which was announced during a debate at the Scottish Parliament, will be used to encourage care leavers and disabled people to sign up for the apprenticeships.

The announcement comes ahead of next week’s Scottish Apprenticeship Week, which aims to showcase the benefits of on-the-job training schemes.

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