Wealth of the Average Household: Great Britain, 2008/10

Wealth of the Average Household: Great Britain, 2008/10: ONS

  • In 2008/10, middle wealth households had total wealth of between £158,000 and £317,000.
  • Almost nine in ten middle wealth households owned their main residence.
  • Over three in five middle wealth households were headed by an employed or self employed individual.

SME finance – 2012 in review

SME Finance Monitor: BDRC

  • In Q4 2012, 41% of SMEs reported using any external finance, virtually unchanged from either Q3 2012, or the equivalent Q4 in 2011.
  • Larger SMEs remained more likely to be using external finance than smaller ones, but the proportion is declining over time.
  • Half of all SMEs had some ‘personal’ element to their business finance, while a third met the definition of a ‘Permanent non seeker’ of finance, and this proportion of SMEs is increasing gradually over time.
  • The proportion making a profit was stable, but smaller profits are being reported and there has been a slight increase in the proportion of SMEs with a worse than average external risk rating

Minimum Income Standard

Minimum Income Standard for the UK

  • The Minimum Income Standard is the income that people need in order to reach a minimum socially acceptable standard of living in the United Kingdom today, based on what members of the public think. Requirements for each household type specify how much they need to spend and what they need to earn in order to reach this standard.
  • A minimum standard of living in Britain today includes, but is more than just, food, clothes and shelter. It is about having what you need in order to have the opportunities and choices necessary to participate in society.
  • A Minimum Income Standard in the United Kingdom is an ongoing programme of research to define what level of income is needed to allow a minimum acceptable standard of living in the UK today.

European employment

European employment Q4 2012: Eurostat

  • The number of persons employed decreased by 0.3% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.2% in the EU27 in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the previous quarter.
  • In the third quarter of 2012, employment decreased by 0.1% in the euro area and remained stable in the EU27. These figures are seasonally adjusted.
  • Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, employment fell by 0.8% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU27 in the fourth quarter of 2012 (after -0.6% and -0.4% respectively in the third quarter of 2012).
  • Over the whole year 2012, employment decreased by 0.7% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU27, compared with +0.3% in both zones in 2011.
  • In the fourth quarter of 2012, 222.6 million men and women were employed in the EU27, of which 145.7 million were in the euro area. These figures are seasonally adjusted.

Uncertainty shocks

The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks on the UK Economy: IMF


  • This paper quantifies the economic impact of uncertainty shocks in the UK using data that span the recent Great Recession. We find that uncertainty shocks have a significant impact on economic activity in the UK, depressing industrial production and GDP.The peak impact is felt fairly quickly at around 6-12 months after the shock, and becomes statistically negligible after 18 months. Interestingly, the impact of uncertainty shocks on industrial production in the UK is strikingly similar to that of the US both in terms of the shape and magnitude of the response. However, unemployment in the UK is less affected by uncertainty shocks. Finally, we find that uncertainty shocks can account for about a quarter of the decline in industrial production during the Great Recession.

February Expenditure Index

February Expenditure Index: Visa 

  • Second successive monthly rise in consumer spending: growth of +0.8% registered in February (January: +0.9%). The combined effect of two months of expenditure growth increases the likelihood that the UK will avoid recession in Q1 2013
  • Year-on-year spending unchanged in February (January: -0.9%).
  • Underlying spending continued to fall, but at slower rate: February 3m/3m rate at -1.1% (January: -1.3%).

More business optimism

‘Voice of Small Business’ Index: FSB

  • Small firms’ confidence has increased, but their investment intentions have fallen – and retailers and manufacturers expect conditions to deteriorate
  • Firms cite the domestic economy, consumer demand and access to finance as the main barriers to achieving growth.
  • Small businesses expect to marginally increase their staffing levels over the coming three months
  • Financial and business services firms remain the most optimistic about the business environment
  • Eight regions have seen confidence increase year-on-year, with the north east recording the largest annual increase in their confidence reading of +15, while businesses in the southern regions retain strong optimism levels
  • Fuel (56%) and utilities (51%) remain the main driver of increased business costs in the quarter