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Communications ‘getting cheaper’
People spend more time using communications devices than they did five years ago but prices are falling, according to a study by Ofcom. The report found that the average person spends seven hours and nine minutes a day on the internet, using a mobile phone or watching television, with the latter accounting for three hours and 38 minutes. ... more

One in four workers ‘unhappy’
Over a quarter of office workers now describe themselves as unhappy in the wake of the economic downturn, according to a survey by recruitment consultancy Badenoch & Clark. The rate of 26% is up from 21% in April 2007 and has been attributed to employees being asked to take on extra responsibilities as companies look to keep staff levels to a minimum. ... more

Inflation hits 11-year high
UK inflation soared to 4.4% in January, taking it to the highest level since the current measure began in 1997. The rate of inflation rose by 0.6% in July alone, the biggest single increase over the same period. ... more

Ryanair scraps third-party bookings
Ryanair has announced plans to cancel thousands of bookings made through internet travel sites which it claims are illegal. The price comparison websites – known as screen-scrapers in the industry – allow customers to purchase flights without having to go direct to Ryanair, which the budget airline says runs counter to its terms of conditions and slows down its site for other customers. ... more

Final salary pension deficit
Final salary pension schemes have gone back into the red and now face a deficit of £24.1bn, according to figures released by the Pension Protection Fund. The data revealed a decline from a surplus of £8.3bn in June and from £83.3bn in July 2007. ... more

Economy ‘worse than expected’
The UK economy is in a worse state than many had expected, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned. The organisation admitted it – along with other forecasters – had been too optimistic about the economic situation, having originally predicted that the effects of the credit crunch would only last a year. ... more

BCC: small firms need energy help
Small businesses are more vulnerable than consumers to exploitation by energy firms and should receive helping in dealing with them, according to the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC). The group has also called on the energy regulator Ofgem to explain why businesses have to sign long-term deals with companies whereas consumers can switch after just 28 days. ... more

Interest rates held again
The Bank of England has held interest rates at 5% despite growing evidence that the UK is heading for recession. Business groups the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the British Retail Consortium had argued for a rate cut to boost high street spending but with inflation likely to top 4% when the next set of figures are released, the monetary policy committee (MPC) decided against a cut. ... more

FSB calls for apprentice help
The Federation of Small Businesses is calling for more help to assist small firms in taking on apprentices. The lobby group believes apprentices should be paid the same rate as 16-18-year-olds in ordinary employment and called for better support to ensure apprentices complete their course. ... more

Pension deficit stands at £41bn
The pension funds of the FTSE 100 companies currently have a deficit of £41bn, according to research by actuarial group Lane Clark & Peacock (LCP). The data represents the biggest annual swing in funding since 2002, with the same companies enjoying a £12bn surplus in July 2007. ... more

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