The Bank of England stress test results on the British banking system are being issued December 16, alongside its half-yearly financial stability report. The tests focus on the housing market and the Bank’s ‘adverse scenario’ which has a correction factored in.

Tenancy checks for private landlords in the West Midlands are liable for a ‘Civil Penalty’ of up to £3,000 if a residential tenancy is given to a person ‘without the right to rent’, from 1 December.  Landlords may still be liable if premises are sub-let, despite the tenancy agreement being applicable to a person with the right-to-rent, however,  responsibility for the checks can be given to an agent to remove the liability from the landlord to the agent, but a written agreement (between the landlord and the agent) stating the agent has the obligation to make the applicable checks, must be in place.  If successful as a scheme it will be rolled out nationally during 2015.

Started in the US with the support of American Express, the second of what is an annual event now for the UK, is happening on 6 December. Intended to encourage and highlight the support of shopping locally, keeping trade local and the importance of small businesses, Small Business Saturday has marketing materials available to make the most of the event.

The beginning of December (1st) sees Leeds Building Society changing its lending criteria  for borrowers subject to Section 106 (S106) Agreements. This is being applied across its whole range of mortgages including Shared Ownership.

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill having being approved by Commons, has its second reading during December. Contained within the Bill is the appointment of 50 Small Business Champions, to handle appeals against decisions by the regulators; including publicans pay disputes, or tied tenants’ right to request a rent review (if they haven’t had one for five years), additionally it contains an amendment to allow pub landlords the right to buy beer on the open market. Will pub companies and brewers work together with their landlords?

Currently seeking a new Chairman and recently fined £56m from the FCA and the Bank of England, RBS continues to make the headlines. Likely facing more fines in the New Year connected to Forex, the most recent fine was connected to its 2012 IT ‘glitch’ which saw millions of its customers unable to make payments for up to three weeks.  Apparently, since the incident, some £500m has been spent on the system, although whether that means the system has been fixed, ‘patched’ or replaced, isn’t clear (the system being IT and not a reference to service and products). IT and software can be labour intensive, yet RBS have laid-off staff so there seems to be quite a lot that’s not clear in that quarter.

The European Commission has approved Britain’s new Business Bank, saying that it would address small firms’ access to finance without distorting completion. Its aim is to put all current Government schemes under one umbrella and use a funding boost to stimulate lending.

Autumn Statement (December 3rd), has whisperings of an announcement regarding financial support to cover the cost of SME business rates, as a way of encouraging business back onto the High Street, but, as a final statement before an election the press is mainly guesswork… with a lot of Scrooge or Santa headlines thrown in.

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