Brown roots: Portents of economic doom?

Dead roots litter Britain's economic landscape. Record job losses, collapsing car sales and gloomy forecasts from the Bank of England all show UK Plc is still in the mire. Here are 20 reasons why battered Britain will continue to suffer for some time
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The Independent Online

1. The number of homes repossessed by lenders in Britain rose to 12,800 in the first three months of this year from 10,400 in thefourth quarter of last year, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said on Friday.

2. BT announced it is cutting 15,000 jobs after unveiling a £134m loss.

3. France, one of the UK's biggest trading partners, officially went into recession after its second quarter of a contracting economy.

4. There were just 31,000 new home loans agreed in March, down 33 per cent from last year.

5. Unemployment rose in every London borough by a total of 80,000 on last year. About 2.2 million people are unemployed in Britain, a 10-year high.

6. The minimum wage rose by a paltry 7p an hour, the smallest rise since it was introduced in 1999.

7. The number of buy-to-let mortgages in arrears by more than three months has risen from 0.92 per cent to 3.09 per cent in the past year. Buy-to-let mortgage agreements have fallen from £9.5bn last year to £2.1bn this year.

8. "This crisis is not yet over, and there will be further tests ahead," Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the International Monetary Fund's managing director, said on Friday.

9. The eurozone's economy shrank by a bigger than expected 2.5 per cent in the first three months of the year, dragged down by Germany's record economic contraction of 3.8 per cent.

10. Fujitsu is to close its pension benefit scheme to UK workers. The scheme is running at a £1bn deficit.

11. Manufacturing continued to fall in the UK in March, by 0.1 per cent, bringing the total decline for the year to 12.9 per cent.

12. The FTSE 100 fell by 2.6 per cent last week.

13. Johnston Press, which owns The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post, reported advertising revenues down 34.4 per cent in the 19 weeks to 9 May.

14. Britain's recession will be much deeper than expected, according to a poll of 40 economists.

15. The Bank of England said the UK economic recovery is likely to be slow and take place over a longer period than initially thought.

16. UK car sales fell by 24 per cent year on year in April. The number of cars sold – 133,475 – is the lowest figure since 1991.

17. Ladbrokes, Britain's biggest bookmaker, has reported a 34 per cent fall in profits in the four months to the end of April.

18. The number of workless households increased by 100,000 in the three months to December, raising the spectre of long-term unemployment in families.

19. More and more UK companies are raising money through rights issues – calling for increased investment from shareholders. The almost £20bn raised so far this year is more than for the same period combined over the past 13 years.

20. Money put into private investment funds has fallen from £647m in the first quarter of last year to £378m this year.