Further proof that Britain is hauling itself off the economic rocks is offered today with news that one of the Big Four accountancy firms is to add thousands to its ranks to cope with growing demand for business advice. Ernst and Young will hire 3,700 people in Britain alone by the end of June next year as it embarks on an audacious expansion project that could lead to it overtaking its closest rival, The Times can reveal.
Eurozone tensions are simmering as the bloc faces four more years of tough austerity under the leadership of conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel. German exit polls on Sunday evening indicated that Mrs Merkel's conservative bloc won 42% of the vote, and may be just shy of a historic absolute majority. A projection by broadcaster ARD put Merkel's conservatives on 42.5%, just over the combined total for the left parties who together scored 41.6%, The Daily Telegraph reports.
A crucial North Sea gas field frozen by international sanctions against Iran is set to return to production following Government intervention aimed at lifting the ban. The Rhum gas field is jointly owned by BP and National Iranian Oil and once supplied five per cent of Britain's gas output. But the field has been idle for three years because of US and EU sanctions against Iran. However, the Government is understood to be close to agreeing a waiver for the field in a move that would allow the gas to flow once more. It would deliver a multi-million pound boost to BP and its Iranian partner, The Daily Mail says.
Confidence in the economy and support from US investors is turbocharging demand for stock market flotations in Britain, with the UK heading for its best year since the financial crisis. The value of UK-issued initial public offerings has reached $7.16bn this year - more than eight times the amount raised by the same stage in 2012, according to Dealogic - even before the government presses ahead with the float of Royal Mail, which hopes to raise £1.2bn, the FT writes.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, must on Monday start the hunt for a reliable coalition partner for a new government, after election results left her just five seats short of an absolute majority in the Bundestag. The outcome is seen as a remarkable personal victory for the chancellor, who steered her Christian Democrats to their best result in more than 20 years, winning 311 seats in the 630-seat parliament, a swing of 8 points to the largest party group, the FT explains.
Mark Carney's revolutionary "forward guidance" on interest rates is so half-baked it could pose a threat to financial stability, a former Bank of England economist has warned. Richard Barwell, senior European economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, said the central bank's commitment to keep rates at a record low of 0.5% until unemployment drops to 7% was "incomplete" because it did not map out the route back to normal monetary policy. Fuller guidance from Mr Carney, the new Governor, would have been more effective because clarity about the timing of a first increase may "quickly give way to increased uncertainty about the rate of ascent" once the economy is motoring, Mr Barwell, a senior economist at the Bank until 2011, said, according to The Daily Telegraph.