Sunday newspaper round-up: UK growth, Brexit, banks, diesel, Tesco

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Sunday newspaper round-up: UK growth, Brexit, banks, diesel, Tesco

Sun, 09 April 2017
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Sunday newspaper round-up: UK growth, Brexit, banks, diesel, Tesco

(ShareCast News) - Britain is on the verge of an export and spending boom as economists rule out the likelihood of a slowdown this year. The EY Item Club has predicted strong global growth combined with the weak pound will send overseas sales soaring, giving businesses the confidence to ramp up investment, with a surge in foreign demand and domestic business investment reinforcing growth even as inflation dents households' spending power. - Sunday Telegraph
Civil service documents, photographed on a train, reveal that Britain plans to scale down its concern over climate change and the trade in illegal wildlife to clear the way for post-Brexit trade deals. Details of the policy change were contained in the papers of a senior civil servant at the Department for International Trade (DIT) photographed by a passenger earlier this month. - Sunday Times

Britain may not be in a position to strike free trade deals until after the next general election, a former trade minister has warned. Lord (Ian) Livingston said it will take the government between "12 and 24 months" after Britain quits the EU to start signing agreements with new partners. - Sunday Times

Eurosceptics believe ending EU payments after Brexit is more important than stopping free movement, a new poll has found in a warning shot to Theresa May. Leave voters asked to rate Brexit negotiating targets by importance put ending contributions into the EU budget above immigration controls. - Sunday Telegraph

A pro-Brexit group supported by a number of Conservative MPs has called for net migration to be cut to 50,000 a year by barring all non-skilled workers and linking visas for new arrivals to a yearly salary of at least £35,000. The plan by the Leave Means Leave group was criticised by MPs who support a softer EU exit, with backers of the Open Britain group saying it would badly damage the economy and harm the NHS. - Observer

Banks could face a fresh multi-billion pound hit to their profits under a planned crackdown on overdraft charges. The Financial Conduct Authority is aiming to take action to impose limits on overdraft fees and other high-cost credit. - Mail on Sunday

Employers have been told they are legally obliged to protect their staff from diesel fumes - and could be sued if workers develop cancer later in life. The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have issued the warnings because diesel fumes have been reclassified as a "grade 1 carcinogen", meaning they are a "definite cause of cancer". - Sunday Times

Tesco will this week seek to draw a line under its accounting disaster claiming a dramatic improvement in its relationship with suppliers as well as a sharp upturn in profits. The scandal wiped billions of pounds off the value of the company two years ago and led to the grocery watchdog fiercely condemning the supermarket giant's treatment of smaller companies. - Mail on Sunday

Peterborough is due to become the unlikely battleground for Tesco's multi-billion pound takeover of Booker as the competition watchdog decides whether the deal will hand the pair too much power over the grocery industry. Data obtained by The Telegraph shows the two companies run 37 of out of a total of 117 food shops in the city, 31pc of the local market. - Sunday Telegraph

A Hong Kong billionaire has built a stake of close to 20% in Shaftesbury, putting the property company that owns Carnaby Street, Chinatown and swathes of Soho in central London on alert for a takeover bid. Samuel Tak Lee, who already controls almost 14 acres north of Oxford Street, has steadily built a holding in Shaftesbury since the Brexit vote last June. - Sunday Times

The boss of Unilever has hit out at "fast money" hedge funds which snap up a company's shares during bid battles as he prepares to press the Government to harden up the UK's takeover rules. Calling for an "intelligent discussion" about the UK's takeover rules, Paul Polman questioned whether hedge funds that buy into a company after it has received an approach should be allowed a say in its future. - Sunday Telegraph

Up to 270,000 new and former customers of payday loan firm Wonga may have had their personal data stolen. The lender said it was "urgently investigating illegal and unauthorised access to the personal data of some of its customers in the UK and Poland". - Observer

The timetable for the controversial HS2 rail link could be thrown off track in the row over how contracts were awarded on the £56bn project. CH2M pulled out of the £170m Phase 2B deal to design part of the line a fortnight ago because rival Mace threatened legal action over its close links to the assignment. - Sunday Telegraph

Apple is embarking on a hiring spree in London as it ramps up efforts to develop its own graphics technology just days after pulling the plug on Imagination Technologies. Job adverts posted in the last month reveal a string of openings at Apple's "UK Design Centre" for roles in graphics unit design. It is likely to increase fears that Imagination will lose more staff to the iPhone maker after dozens of employees have jumped ship from the Hertfordshire-based group. - Sunday Telegraph

Early investors in "punk" beer firm BrewDog will be able to bank a hefty profit this week. An injection of cash from a private equity house valued the company at £1bn, 10 years after it began life in its co-founder's mother's garage. San Francisco-based TSG Consumer Partners, which also owns US brewer Pabst and snack firm Pop Chips, agreed to buy 22% of BrewDog in a deal worth £213m. - Observer

Sports Direct billionaire Mike Ashley has lost the latest round in a legal fight with a former adviser who claims he is owed £14m from a deal sealed in a London pub. Ashley, 52, failed in an attempt to submit new expert evidence in a court battle with Jeff Blue on Friday. - Sunday Times

Environmental campaigners promised to wage fierce and protracted legal battles against "outrageous and wrong-headed" Trump administration moves to open Atlantic and Arctic waters for drilling and loosen smog limits. Such moves, which would be only the latest rollbacks of Obama-era environmental protections, were signalled by administration officials this week. - Observer

China is considering clamping down on its heavily polluting aluminium producers, fuelling speculation of a possible win-win trade deal with America. President Xi Jinping held a summit last week with US President Donald Trump at the property tycoon's winter White House in Palm Beach, Florida. - Sunday Times

The US Department of Labour has accused internet giant Google of not paying women employees the same as men. The agency found "systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce", according to Janette Wipper, a Labour Department regional director. - Independent on Sunday

Oil minnow Serica Energy is eyeing BP assets as part of its hunt for fresh acquisitions in the North Sea basin. City sources have said the firm is circling the energy giant's older gas fields in the hopes of a second transformational deal after its successful swoop on BP's share of the Erskine field two years ago. - Sunday Telegraph

JP Morgan has snapped up the company that will provide trains for Britain's TransPennine Express franchise, in a deal worth about €1bn (£855m). Buyout firm Pamplona Capital Management, which is backed by billionaires Mikhail Fridman and Alexander Knaster, has agreed to sell the rolling stock business Beacon Rail Leasing to an infrastructure fund managed by the US bank. - Sunday Times

Twitter has urged investors to vote against a radical proposal to convert the ailing social media giant into a co-operative. The plan, to be put to a vote at the annual meeting next month, was drawn up by a group of small shareholders alarmed at Twitter's sinking share price and the apparent inability of part-time chief executive Jack Dorsey to staunch mounting losses. - Sunday Times

The Body Shop could be one step closer to separating from L'Oréal this week as bidders for the ethical beauty chain put forward their initial offers. The chain has more than 3,000 stores in 66 countries, and sales and profits have come under pressure amid rising competition and an unhappy alliance between two very different brands. - Observer

One of Germany's most controversial energy companies is set to gatecrash the UK's booming retail energy market. Brilliant Energy is the latest venture for the company behind one of Germany's least-liked suppliers, Stromio Energy, which has topped a popular German complaints website. - Sunday Telegraph

Councils went on a £1.3bn commercial property buying spree last year as they used cheap loans from an obscure Treasury unit to help plug a growing gap in their finances. Local authorities used debt from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB), which offers interest rates of about 2%, to strike 76 deals, according to the consultancy CBRE. - Sunday Times

Upmarket burger outlet Byron has suffered a profit slump as it faces off against a growing number of new rivals and beefed up incumbents. The company said the "increasing intensity of competition" in the sector had meant sales growth had fallen to 16.7pc in the year to June 26 2016, from 24.4pc in the same period in 2015. - Sunday Telegraph