OSBORNE POISED FOR BLEAK BUDGET - Britain's Finance Minister George Osborne has told his colleagues to come up with £2.5bn of extra spending cuts as he prepared one of the bleakest budgets in years, writes The Financial Times. The British Government faces stagnant growth, missed debt targets and poor poll ratings ahead of the announcement, however the newspaper says Mr Osborne will be sticking to his course in the hope of returning growth later this year. Mr Osborne will attempt to frame his budget as a positive for "people who want to work hard and get on", the newspaper says, with measures to raise tax allowance and a deferral of a planned fuel levy rise. He will also attempt to shift money from current spending to growth-friendly capital spending in an attempt to stimulate the British economy.
IRISH SAVERS DOUBLED DEPOSITS IN OVERSEAS BANKS IN 2010 - Statistics from the Revenue Commissioners showed that the amount of money deposited by Irish savers in overseas banks doubled in 2010, reports The Irish Times. Around €235 million was deposited by 901 individual or couples during that year, compared to €117 million in 2009. Taxpayers filing on a self-assessment must disclose details of foreign bank accounts, the newspaper says, meaning that the figures do not include PAYE workers. The figures represent a 261% increase in similar deposits in 2005, however Fiona Reddan's report says the number of depositors has largely stayed the same.
PEPPER TO TAKE OVER €600M DANSKE LOANS - Pepper Asset Servicing is to take over asset management of €600m in loans from Danske Bank, reports The Irish Independent. The Australian firm had previously bought GE Capital's Irish subprime mortgage book and was appointed to manage €380m worth of loans formerly owned by Lloyds, the newspaper says. The latest loans acquired by the firm relate to around 270 properties. Pepper will be working with Irish commercial real estate management firm, Arrow Asset Management, as part of the deal.
IRELAND AVAILS OF SECRET BANKS ARRANGEMENT FOR DEBT SWAP - Ireland is using a secret arrangement between eurozone central banks to ensure its debt swap does not fall foul of a ban on monetary state financing, reports The Irish Examiner. A central bank is limited in the number of its own government's bonds it can hold to ensure it is not directly financing the state, the newspaper says, so Ireland's central bank is being allowed to borrow unused capacity from its counterparts to ensure it does not breach this rule. A source suggested the extra capacity would be provided by the Eurosystem of Central Banks rather than from individual central banks that have room to spare in their investment portfolios.