The International Monetary Fund has told France to take urgent measures to head off national economic decline, warning that the country risks being left behind as southern Europe embraces reform. Throwing the guantlet at the feet of the Socialist president Francois Hollande, the IMF said rising tax rates are undermining France as a place “to work and invest” and leading to a “significant loss of competitiveness”. “There is a risk it will get worse if France does not adapt at the same pace as its trading partners in Europe, notably Italy and Spain,” it said. The IMF challenge had an added piquancy coming from a body headed by France’s Christine Lagarde, widely touted as the next Gaulliste leader and a future rival for the French presidency, The Telegraph says.
The earnings of directors at Britain’s top companies rose last year, despite the influence of the Shareholder Spring and government opposition. Total earnings for FTSE 100 directors rose by almost 11% and salaries by 3.5%, according to a report by Incomes Data Services, the research group. Bonuses fell by 4.9% to £605,000 — the first dip since 2008 — but the value of long-term incentive plans rose by 81% from £519,625 last year to £938,888. The schemes belonging to chief executives rose to £1.6m, according to The Times.
“Not only is youth unemployment costing us billions now, but the damage done to the future employment and earnings prospects of those affected will cost us billions for years to come, every year, long after the economy as a whole has recovered.” So said Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), on launching a report into the “scarring effect” of youth unemployment earlier this year. Total unemployment has been remarkably low during the most recent recession, peaking at 8.4% compared with 10.7% in the 1990s, but the hard times have fallen disproportionately on the young, The Telegraph explains.
Apple’s share of the global tablet market has fallen from two-thirds to a half in the past six months, market researchers say, raising the stakes for its new iPad mini against a slew of new challengers using Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows software. The iPad mini almost sold out after it went on sale this weekend, Apple said on Monday, but the iPad’s dominance of the tablet market is under assault from lower-priced competitors, led by Samsung and Amazon, while Microsoft’s new Surface is taking aim at the business market. After a slow start, tablets using Google’s free operating system have now put a “sizable dent” in Apple’s tablet market share, IDC, an analyst group, said on Monday. Apple’s share of worldwide tablet shipments fell from 59.7% a year ago to 50.4% in the three months to the end of September, IDC said, while Samsung’s leapt from 6.5% to 18.4%, The Financial Times reports.
Two of Britain’s biggest banks have said that they could ring-fence high street operations from riskier investment divisions earlier than planned, as they urged the Government to make sure that such proposals were “flexible”. Barclays and HSBC said that they may act before the 2019 deadline to introduce the separation set out by Sir John Vickers in the report by the Independent Commission on Banking. However, Santander UK said it would impossible for it to speed up the timetable. The banks said that any acceleration was conditional on the Government and Parliament agreeing the precise nature of the plans as quickly as possible, complaining that uncertainty was damaging, writes The Times.