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Equilibrium's Finance and Investment News Roundup

Our roundup this week includes the latest Brexit poll pointing to a 13 point lead for the Remain campaign, a profits climb for Nationwide, figures suggesting cheques are not yet a spent force as a payment option and new findings showing that Britons are continuing to spend on trips abroad, despite recent terrorist scares.

 

ORB Brexit poll: Remain campaign 13 points ahead

The latest ORB poll regarding public opinion ahead of the European Union (EU) referendum in June has indicated a 13 point lead for the Remain campaign. Published by the Telegraph, the results point towards the Remain campaign gathering more support from men, Conservative voters and those aged over 65.

It was shown that, among people who are definitely planning to vote on June 23, 55% intend to vote to remain in the bloc while 42% wish to leave.

This was the latest in a series of polls involving 800 telephone voters, which have been published by the newspaper since March. In the first survey, pensioners had appeared in favour of leaving the EU, but this latest poll suggests a shift in opinion. 

Nationwide reports 23% profits rise

Building society Nationwide has posted a 23% climb in full-year pre-tax profit. Joe Garner, Nationwide's Chief Executive, cited strong mortgage lending and savings inflows as the main reasons for the increase, which pushed profits up to £1.3 billion.

Mr Garner also praised the building society's "outstanding" customer service. It was revealed that Nationwide's net mortgage lending for the year ending April 4 increased to £9.1 billion, representing a 28% climb on the previous year.

The society noted uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum is likely to impact the market, stating: "We expect the housing market to remain resilient, with any dampening of activity from modest increases in interest rates offset by a strengthening labour market and an under supply of housing." 

Cheques 'are still a valued means of payment'

Cheques remain a popular form of payment in the UK, despite predictions that newer forms of payment, such as contactless, could see the method disappearing. This is according to new findings from Payments UK, which found that 500 million cheques were written in 2015.

Despite this, the figure represents a 13% drop on the previous year. However, Payments UK said that the sheer number of cheques still being written shows they are still considered a valued means of payment by many.

Cheques will remain a form of payment for as long as necessary after an initial deadline to phase them out in 2018 was dismissed by MPs. 

Britons 'not deterred' from travelling abroad

Recent terrorist attacks in popular tourist destinations do not appear to have deterred Britons from holidaying abroad, new figures have suggested. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of trips overseas by UK residents climbed by 9.4% last year.

More than 65 million foreign holidays or business trips were taken by Britons in 2015, and the 9.4% increase was the largest rise since 1998.

The rise comes despite attacks affecting tourists in Tunisia in June and in Paris in November last year. The figures showed that Spain is the most popular destination for Britons to visit, with 13 million trips made there last year.