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Equilibrium's Finance and Investment News Roundup

In this week's roundup we have news of yet more uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum's potential impact on economic growth, figures that suggest house prices are set to continue to rise significantly over the next 15 years, and insight into the difficulties facing banks.


UK growth forecasts cut ahead of EU referendum

The UK's economic growth forecasts have been cut ahead of the referendum to determine whether or not the UK should remain in the European Union (EU). The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said it expects the economy to grow by 2% a year in 2016 and 2017, which is lower than the 2.3% and 2.1% predicted in February.

The CBI explained that concerns about the EU vote, which will take place on June 23, and subdued forecasts from retail and pay experts are contributing to a wider economic slowdown.

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, commented: "A dark cloud of uncertainty is looming over global growth, particularly around weakening emerging markets and the outcome of the EU referendum, which is chilling some firms' plans to invest." 

Average house price in England "to reach £450k+ by 2030"

New research has suggested that the average house price in England could reach more than £450,000 by the year 2030, while London homes will fetch an average of £1 million.

According to City A.M., a study carried out by emoov suggested there will be 12 counties where average house prices will reach more than £500,000 in 14 years' time: Kent; Essex; Berkshire; Oxfordshire; Buckinghamshire; Cambridgeshire; Rutland; Dorset; Surrey; East and West Sussex; and Hertfordshire.

The research suggests Barking and Dagenham will be the cheapest parts of London in 2030 - at an average of £450,000. House prices there are currently £246,000. Kensington and Chelsea, where average prices are £1.9 million at the moment, are expected to reach £3.4 million.

The only regions of England that are expected to offer house prices of under £280,000 in 2030 are Durham, East Riding and Merseyside. 

840 IT jobs cut at HSBC

HSBC cut 840 IT jobs on Monday as part of its plans to slash 8,000 jobs in the UK by the end of 2017. This was the first phase of the restructuring plan that will ultimately lead to the loss of around one-sixth of HSBC jobs in Britain and one job in five worldwide.

The majority of these initial job losses have taken place in London, Sheffield and Tankersley and John Hackett, Chief Operating Officer of HSBC UK, said in a statement that the 840 non-customer-facing IT roles will be transferred from the UK to other parts of the world.

More cuts are expected from Europe's biggest bank over the coming months, a source told Reuters. 

600+ bank branches have closed in the past year

More than 600 bank branches have shut down around the UK over the past 12 months, figures obtained by the BBC have shown. According to the findings, rural areas have been the worst affected by the closures, with the highest number per population lost between April 2015 and April 2016 occurring in parts of Wales, Scotland and south west England.

Demand for branches appears to be falling as customers increasingly make use of online banking. The data was collected from the 'big six' high street banks: HSBC, Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Barclays, Santander and the Co-operative.

It was shown that the bank with the most branch closures was RBS with 166, ahead of HSBC with 146.