Rishi Sunak’s £6,000 grants ‘border on insulting’, say hospitality bosses – live updates

Good morning.

Fresh figures out from the ONS this morning show UK borrowing remained high in November — even before the omicron variant began to wreak havoc.

Public sector borrowing excluding banks stood at £17.4bn last month. While this was down from November 2020, it’s still ahead of forecasts and the second highest level for the month on record.

The figure doesn’t bode well for the state of public finances as Chancellor Rishi Sunak braces for possible new Covid restrictions, which would likely require more Government support for individuals and businesses.

5 things to start your day 

1) ‘Painful’ £2,000 energy bills price cap coming for consumers  Rising gas prices and the costs linked to suppliers’ collapses are expected to pile pressure on households

2) Three and EE first to strike deal to roll out mobile coverage on London Underground  The new Elizabeth Line will be among the first to benefit from 4G connectivity when it opens next year

3) Give single earner families a £2,500 tax break, says Tory think tank Onward  The non-working parent would benefit from a full £12,570 tax allowance according to the proposal

4) SFO director faces fresh battle as second Unaoil bribery convict launches appeal  Paul Bond was one of four men jailed in the Unaoil case alongside Ziad Akle, Stephen Whiteley and Basil Al Jarah

5) Maduro suffers legal blow over claim for gold held at Bank of England Supreme Court rules that the UK Government does not recognise Maduro as Venezuela’s president

What happened overnight 

Asian shares advanced on Tuesday, shrugging off a bruising Wall Street session, as Chinese markets cheered Beijing’s move to help troubled property firms, although surging cases of the omicron coronavirus variant remain a worry for investors.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 0.8pc after declining on Monday to the lowest in a year.

Japan’s Nikkei rose 2pc after two sessions of decline with chip-related Tokyo Electron and Advantest leading the pack, as investors bought into Monday’s heavy selloff. Australian stocks were up 0.9pc.

Coming up today

  • Corporate: Cheerios, Haagen-Dazs, General Mills (Interim results); Go-Ahead (AGM)
  • Economics: Government borrowing (UK), consumer confidence (EU), HMRC house sales (UK), CBI Monthly Distributive Trades Survey (UK)

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