Review of the year - December 2011
As the year draws to a close we're still in one piece... just
Economy overtakenIt wasn't a proud month for Britain, as we saw Brazil overtake us to become the world's sixth largest economy, according to think tank the Centre for Economics and Business Research. The UK has been relegated to seventh place in the wake of the financial crisis and subsequent severe recession. The US, China, Japan, Germany and France remain in the top five places.
European crisisThe crisis rumbled on, with bail-out fund following disaster recovery plan, following tough talking and an embarrassing missed handshake. In December it emerged that Britain could be slapped for a £25bn IMF contribution to bailing out the euro.
Renault slashedRenault UK announced wide-ranging cuts on is model range in December. Gone is the entire Laguna line-up, Modus, Espace plus Kangoo. The cuts aren't just relegated to cars. Up to 30% of Renault's dealers are also to be killed off. The news follows a 29% sales plunge.
Banks in troubleRatings agency Fitch downgraded a handful of international banks, including Barclays. Barclays' rating was cut two notches from an AA– rating to an A. However, it says something about how low our expectations have dropped that the markets didn't flinch, and consumers took it on the chin.
HMRC woesIt emerged that beleaguered HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) boss Dave Hartnett is to quit. He will stagger on until the summer, but then will quietly retire and leave the controversy of his tax deals far behind him. We, however, will still have to deal with the consequences of his decisions.
SalesBut nothing could stop us spending in the sales. Millions of shoppers braved the sales, and were expected to spend £22.8 billion by the third week of January - that's £338 million more than in 2010 - despite the ongoing economic uncertainty.
Life, it seems, goes on