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Monday newspaper round-up: Scottish referendum, post-Brexit trade, fracking

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Monday newspaper round-up: Scottish referendum, post-Brexit trade, fracking

Mon, 13 March 2017
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Monday newspaper round-up: Scottish referendum, post-Brexit trade, fracking

(ShareCast News) - Nicola Sturgeon will threaten to derail Brexit by setting out plans for a second independence referendum unless Theresa May offers Scotland a special deal. The Scottish First Minister could name the date she intends to hold a new referendum as early as this week if Mrs May does not bow to her will. - Telegraph
If Britain leaves the European Union without a replacement trade deal its commercial links with the bloc will overnight become less favourable than any other major industrialised nation, a cross-party campaign has warned as Theresa May prepares to trigger article 50. Research commissioned by the Labour MP Pat McFadden - a supporter of Open Britain, which campaigns for continued ties with Europe in the aftermath of Brexit - found that no members of the G20 group of richer nations currently interact with the EU without some sort of trade arrangement. - Guardian

The tax burden on British households and businesses is on course to climb to a 40 year high by the end of the next parliament as slower growth and an ageing population forces policymakers to choose between more austerity or higher taxes. The Government's fiscal watchdog expects tax to continue rising as a share of national income over the next decade, climbing to 37.5pc of GDP by 2025-26, which would represent its highest share since 1986. - Telegraph

The government will go to court this week to defend test drilling at a fracking site in Lancashire as it comes under pressure to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to cover the cost of policing anti-fracking protests. The high court in Manchester will hear two cases on Wednesday that pit Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, against protesters who oppose the permission granted to fracking companies for test sites near Blackpool. - Guardian

Troubled builder Bovis Homes is in talks with rival construction firm Galliford Try over a merger that would create one of Britain's biggest housebuilders. Bovis, which has recently come under fire for the quality of its new-build homes, was forced to confirm over the weekend that it had received takeover approaches from both Galliford and another housebuilder, Redrow. - Guardian

It is a "high-risk", six-year project that is already behind schedule and if it fails to arrive on time ports will grind to a halt and gaps will appear on supermarket shelves, leaving traders and hauliers worried. A new computerised customs system to replace a creaking 25-year-old platform was supposed to be switched on for testing last month, before a full switchover in October. - The Times

Rents in Britain have recorded their first annual drop for six years, according to the UK's biggest estate and lettings agency. In February, the average rent in Britain was £921 a month, £5 lower than a year earlier, and the first annual decrease since 2011. - Guardian

The food and drink industry has called on the government to protect tariff-free trade with the Republic of Ireland. In an attempt to ensure a healthy future for Britain's largest manufacturing sector, it wants to highlight the risks faced if Brexit results in a "hard border" between Ireland and the UK. - The Times

Households have spent £180m over the past three years on spare power capacity that was never used, according to a report that comes as MPs prepare to debate what can be done about rising energy bills. Power stations have been put on standby over the winter since 2014 as part of the National Grid's supplemental balancing reserve but the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has found that the scheme, which closed in February, was never used. - Guardian

Seven gamblers lost more than £10,000 in a day while using controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) during a 10-month period, it has emerged. The losses, revealed in a submission to the government's gambling review by the GambleAware charity, has sparked renewed criticism of FOBTs. - Guardian

Britain is failing to turn world-class research into commercial success because there is too little focus on encouraging businesses to invest, MPs have warned. The Commons' science and technology committee said that while the nation's shortcomings in transforming promising academic work into wealth-creating companies were well known, responses had focused too much on the "supply-side" issue at universities. - The Times

Britain boasts more foreign chief executives than any other country. The number of non-UK nationals leading companies on the FTSE 100 rose from 21 in 2001 to 40 at the end of last year, research from Odgers Berndtson, the recruitment firm, found. They include Iván Arriagada, the Chilean boss of Antofagasta, the copper miner, Pascal Soriot, the French boss of Astrazeneca, and António Horta Osório, the Portuguese chief of Lloyds Banking Group. - The Times

Premier Oil is asking the Falkland Islands for a tax break to help to develop its Sea Lion field and deliver the area's first oil. The company is struggling to make the project commercially viable because of low crude prices. - The Times

Europe's biggest coffee roastery will be opened today (March 13) by high-street chain Costa Coffee enabling it to produce more than 2bn cups of the hot drink a year. The £38m site in Basildon, Essex, will more than quadruple the Whitbread company's roasting capacity from 11,000 tonnes per year to 45,000 tonnes and the site was chosen for its proximity to Tilbury Docks where its raw coffee beans are imported to. - Telegraph

Vodafone is attempting to repair the battered customer service record of its UK arm by bringing thousands of call centre jobs back from overseas. The company will create 2,100 roles at sites around the country, including 800 in Manchester, 600 in Newcastle and nearly 300 in Scotland. - Telegraph

A private jet company that has been dubbed the Uber of the skies has reported a 28 per cent increase in passenger numbers last year, with its growth driven by ultra-rich corporate clients who have given up owning their own jets. Cabin crew aboard the Vistajet fleet are trained by the British Butler Institute, the airline's catering is by Nobu and passengers can browse a library of books curated by Heywood Hill, an independent London bookseller. - The Times