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Markets Today: Tax hike and social care reform on the cards, Abba announces comeback

Catch up with this morning's top news stories
Markets Today: Tax hike and social care reform on the cards, Abba announces comeback
  • Tories consider tax increase to fund social care, raising questions for investors in the sector
  • Abba, the iconic pop group and free market advocates, announce first album in 40 years

All eyes on US jobs figures

Markets in London were becalmed in early trading this morning as traders waited for key non-farm payroll figures coming from the US later today which usually give a good indicator of the health of the US economy at a time when concerns are growing that the economic rebound globally is running out of steam. Read Neil Wilson's market report here. 

Social care reform bad news for private providers?

In a year of surprises, here’s another sentence you never thought you’d hear: the Tories want to raise taxes.

Reports circulated in the press this morning that government ministers are contemplating a rise in national insurance payments to help fund the country’s troubled social care services. The Telegraph claims Downing Street is pushing for a 1 per cent increase, while The Times says health secretary Sajid Javid wants a 2 per cent hike.

This is hardly the comprehensive plan for reform that Boris Johnson promised on his first day as prime minister. But investors in Caretech (CTH) and other private companies that run the UK’s care homes should question whether the government is getting serious about its plans for a radical shake-up.

Indeed, ministers are coming under increasing pressure to overhaul the beleaguered and largely privately operated care system for elderly and vulnerable people, which while delivering bumper profits for the likes of Caretech has become a source of shame in a country that takes pride in its state-run NHS. Earlier this year a government-commissioned review said there was an “urgent need” for a new approach to children’s social care, where the average cost per child has increased 40 per cent over six years. OT 

Abba, the legendary free market advocates, announce comeback

Voulez-vous a brand new album by Abba?

Fans of the Swedish pop sensation were overjoyed yesterday when the group announced plans to release its first studio record in 40 years.

Many Investors’ Chronicle readers will remember when Abba shot to fame in the 1970s, with timeless hits like “Dancing Queen”, “Mamma Mia” and “Waterloo”. But today less people are familiar with the role the group played in supporting the rise of shareholder capitalism. In an article earlier this year we explained what happened when Abba campaigned against the Swedish government’s plans to hand more company shares to workers. OT