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Sunday newspaper round-up: Brexit, Barclays, self-employed, AB Foods

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Sunday newspaper round-up: Brexit, Barclays, self-employed, AB Foods

Sun, 26 March 2017
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Sunday newspaper round-up: Brexit, Barclays, self-employed, AB Foods

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Extra customs checks could push up the cost of imported goods even if Britain signs a free trade deal with the EU, according to a leaked government document. Senior officials at HM Revenue & Customs warned that prices could rise by as much as 24%, while UK exports risked being subjected to "burdensome procedures" at EU ports. - Sunday Times

Brexit negotiations are on course to fail unless both Britain and the European Union ditch their winner-takes-all approach to the coming talks, the former president of the European commission José Manuel Barroso has said. With just days to go before Theresa May formally notifies Brussels of the UK's intention to leave the EU, Jean-Claude Juncker's predecessor said the two sides were playing a dangerous game. - Observer

New questions are emerging over Barclays' rescue fundraising in 2008 as the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Conduct Authority extend their inquiries into the deal. Court documents filed in a civil case related to the £7.3bn injection from Middle Eastern investors have drawn attention to a separate transaction at around the same time. - Sunday Times

Labour will refuse to vote in the House of Commons for any Brexit deal struck between Theresa May and the 27 remaining EU states unless the deal ensures precisely the same economic and trade benefits as Britain currently gains from full membership. In a major policy speech on Monday, Labour's Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, will set out six tests for May and EU leaders to meet, including a requirement that any agreement delivers the "exact same benefits" as the UK enjoys from being inside the single market and customs union. - Observer

Millions of European Union migrants who are in Britain when Theresa May triggers Brexit on Wednesday will be allowed to continue to receive child benefits to send to families back home. A document circulated among ministers by the Department for Exiting the European Union, has recommended that around three million EU migrants in the UK when the Prime Minister triggers Article 50 keep their welfare rights. - Telegraph

Ministers are expected to resist calls for sweeping new safeguards to protect Britain's corporate champions from overseas predators. The business secretary Greg Clark is finalising proposals for how the government should respond to takeover bids for British companies from foreign rivals. - Sunday Times

Plans to force millions of self-employed people to file multiple tax returns each year become reality from next week in the face of blanket opposition from taxpayers, business groups and senior political figures across all parties. Worst-hit will be the self-employed with turnovers of more than £85,000, who from April 2018 will have to file at least five returns per tax year. That will be in addition to regular VAT returns. -Sunday Telegraph

The Government is about to launch a reform of tax breaks aimed at helping entrepreneurs in a bid to focus the benefits on growing companies and curb their use by property investors. While there were no changes to tax-efficient investing in this month's Budget, a 'patient capital review' was announced by the Chancellor, Philip Hammond. - Mail on Sunday

Plummeting fixed rates look set to trigger a mortgage price war. But borrowers who are tempted by deals as low as 1 per cent or less are being urged to act fast as rising inflation - up to 2.3 per cent last week - could soon spell the end of super low interest rates. If the Bank of England decides to put up rates to control inflation such cheap deals will vanish. - Mail on Sunday

Boarded-up stores line the thoroughfare that bisects much of lower Manhattan. Many stores that are still open for business also display signs that read for lease or for rent. "It's not Trump," said one downcast store-owner recently. "It's not the economy. Something else is happening. People aren't spending." - Observer

The Government is expected to call for price caps on energy bills - but only for the poorest households. Its official response to a Competition and Markets Authority report into energy is expected within days and it is tipped to impose a top tariff on bills for those deemed 'fuel poor'. - Mail on Sunday

A crisis is looming over the Royal Navy's Astute hunter-killer submarines because of delays in the construction of a dry dock to repair them. The 7,000-ton nuclear-powered submarines, which have been beset by soaring costs, are being built by BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria. - Sunday Times

The chief executive of Britain's biggest quoted leisure group has called for a "sanity check" on the Government's corporate governance agenda as he warned management time is being "soaked up" with even more UK-led red tape. Nick Varney, chief executive of Legoland and Madame Tussauds owner Merlin Entertainment, hit out at the increasing layers of regulation he and the bosses of other large public companies are forced to contend with. - Sunday Telegraph

Transport chiefs are locked in crisis talks over the High Speed 2 rail line, amid growing fears that a key contract is about to be scrapped over alleged conflicts of interest. HS2 Ltd, the taxpayer-owned company building the £56bn North-South line, is in turmoil over its decision to award a giant contract to an American engineering giant. - Sunday Times

Investors in LSE Group have called for Xavier Rolet to remain as chief executive, despite the impending collapse of its £24bn merger with Deutsche Boerse. As the European Commission prepares this week to block the tie-up of the two exchanges, shareholders in the British bourse have backed the Frenchman, even though he was due to leave as part of the deal. - Sunday Telegraph

The Bank of England has called in advisers to help prepare for a possible closure of Co-operative Bank. The ethical lender was last week said to be under "intensive supervision" - as The Sunday Times revealed in January. - Sunday Times

Uber has suspended its fleet of self-driving cars while it investigates a crash in Arizona involving one of its vehicles. Photographs posted online show the car lying on its side next to another badly damaged vehicle. There were no serious injuries as a result of the incident. - Observer

Technology companies should no longer be able to provide encrypted messaging services that cannot be accessed in emergencies by the security services, the home secretary, Amber Rudd, said on Sunday. Speaking after it emerged that the police were investigating reports that Khalid Masood had used the encrypted WhatsApp service just before he launched the attack in Westminister, in which he killed four people, Rudd said it was "completely unacceptable" that the police and security services were shut out from messages of this kind.- Observer

Primark and British Sugar owner ABF is attempting a £60m health kick after buying two sports nutrition companies favoured by muscle men and marathon runners. The FTSE 100 company has snapped up Reflex Nutrition, which sells tubs of protein supplements online, and High 5, which produces energy gel sachets for athletes on the go. - Sunday Telegraph

Investors are worrying over how the competition watchdog will assess the proposed £200m acquisition of online food delivery specialist Hungryhouse by its larger rival Just Eat. If the Competition and Markets Authority analyses the tie-up in the context of the entire food take-away industry, investors believe the proposed merger will get the green light. - Sunday Telegraph

A former adviser to Boris Johnson is plotting a £530m takeover of restaurant chain Wagamama. Financier Edi Truell is one of a handful of suitors to have made tentative approaches for the noodle bar chain in recent months. Speculation is mounting that the business will soon be put up for sale. - Sunday Times

The owners of the bowling alley operator Tenpin are closing in on a float that will value it at approximately £100m. Tenpin, which operates 40 sites across the country from Plymouth to Edinburgh, is ultimately owned by Harwood Capital. - Sunday Telegraph

Lancashire's textile industry has won an unexpected Brexit boost as one of Britain's largest providers of workers' uniforms has brought manufacturing back to the UK. Alsico had been buying fabric from Italy, but the slump in the value of the pound drove up its costs and the contract has been transferred to Bolton fabric company Carrington Workwear, whose fabrics go into uniforms for McDonald's and the British Army. - Mail on Sunday

Music-streaming giant SoundCloud has raised $70m in loans after a fruitless search for a buyer. The lifeline for the Berlin-based company comes as music tech companies struggle to craft profitable businesses out of their large user bases. SoundCloud has more than 175m users - far more than any of its rivals - but the vast majority do not pay for the service. - Sunday Times

Campaigners and telecoms industry insiders have renewed calls for the government to cap the fees charged by directory service numbers in the wake of three-figure bills racked up by customers for a single call. One 90-year-old woman was billed £501 after a directory inquiries number-finding service, operated by Telecom2, tried repeatedly to connect her to her requested number at a cost of £7.99 a minute. - Observer

It's been a bad week for Google, with major brands pulling millions of dollars in advertising amid rows over extremist content on YouTube. In the US, the telecom companies AT&T and Verizon, as well as the pharmaceutical company GSK, Pepsi, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson and the car rental firm Enterprise, have all pulled advertising from Google's video-sharing platform, a contagion spreading from Europe, where a number of high-profile advertisers pulled out of YouTube following an investigation by the Times. - Observer