[LINKS]: Links of the week

See all the links and our weekly headline roundup here.

  • Customer Demand Challenges Two Fifths of Businesses: Nearly 40% of mid-sized businesses face difficulties due to decreased customer numbers and spending, with manufacturing businesses feeling the impact most significantly. Read more
  • US Consumer Debt Reaches New Peaks Before Holidays: American consumers experienced increased spending growth expectations, indicating a rise in consumer debt during the holiday season. Read more
  • Post Office Scandal Highlights Need for Digital Evidence Law Reform: The mistreatment of subpostmasters in the Post Office Horizon scandal calls for changes in laws governing digital evidence. Read more
  • Small Businesses in Focus with the Advent of Real-Time Payments: The introduction of real-time payment systems shines a spotlight on the impact on small businesses. Read more
  • 25% Surge in SIM-Only Mobile Contracts Observed: A significant increase in consumers opting for SIM-only mobile contracts has been recorded, reflecting changing consumer preferences. Read more
  • Over 20% of Consumers Avoid Bank Branches Annually: A notable percentage of consumers haven’t visited a bank branch in the past year, emphasizing the shift towards digital banking. Read more
  • UK Families Face Significant Decline in Living Standards: The UK is the only G7 country where household disposable income hasn’t bounced back to pre-pandemic levels, highlighting economic challenges. Read more
  • UK Business Insolvencies Rise by 52% in Two Years: An alarming increase in company insolvencies in the UK is reported, attributed to the inflation crisis and the impacts of COVID-19 and Brexit. Read more
  • Energy Companies Resume Forced Meter Fittings: Energy firms are once again allowed to force-fit meters in homes for unpaid bills, following a temporary halt. Read more
  • Mortgage Rates Hit Seven-Month Low: The average rate on two-year fixed mortgages in the UK drops, offering some respite in the housing market. Read more
  • GOV.UK Promotes Independent Benefits Calculators: The UK government encourages the use of free, independent benefits calculators to help individuals understand their entitlements. Read more
  • 4.7 Million UK Adults Start New Year with Financial Worries: A significant portion of the UK population begins the new year feeling stressed and unable to cope with financial challenges. Read more
  • UK Government Introduces 15 Hours Free Childcare for Two-Year-Olds: A new policy in the UK will provide working parents with free childcare hours for their two-year-old children starting in April. Read more
  • Energy Bills in Great Britain Increase by 5%: Households in Great Britain face a 5% increase in energy bills as the new price cap takes effect at the start of the year. Read more
  • First-Time Home Buyers in UK at a Decade Low: The number of first-time home buyers in the UK has fallen to its lowest in ten years, amid rising mortgage rates and house prices. Read more
  • UK Businesses Repay £1.6 Billion in Loans in November: In November, UK non-financial businesses repaid a significant amount of loans, continuing a trend of loan repayments. Read more
  • Free Childcare Expands to Two-Year-Olds in the UK: The UK government’s new policy will offer free childcare for two-year-olds, aiming to support working parents. Read more
  • Energy Price Cap in Great Britain Leads to 5% Bill Increase: The adjustment in the energy price cap results in a 5% increase in household energy bills in Great Britain. Read more
  • UK Sees Lowest Number of First-Time Buyers in a Decade: The challenging economic climate in the UK has led to a significant decrease in the number of first-time home buyers. Read more
  • Bank of England Reports Loan Repayments by UK Businesses: UK businesses have been repaying loans at an increased rate, with significant repayments noted in November. Read more
  • AI Nationalism Marks a New Phase in Global Tech Development: National initiatives in AI development are shaping a new era in technology, focusing on domestic AI advancements. [Read more](https://www.economist.com/business/2024/01
See also  [LINKS]: Links of the week

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