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Thursday newspaper round-up: Scotland, Standard Life, Ogden, Google

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Thursday newspaper round-up: Scotland, Standard Life, Ogden, Google

Thu, 09 March 2017
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Thursday newspaper round-up: Scotland, Standard Life, Ogden, Google

(ShareCast News) - Nicola Sturgeon has claimed autumn 2018 would be the 'common-sense time' to stage a second Scottish independence referendum. The First Minister yesterday refused to rule out holding another divisive vote on breaking up the Union within the next 18 months. - Daily Mail
One of Standard Life's star fund managers has quit only four days after the Scottish investment house's parent company unveiled a shock £11 billion mega-merger with Aberdeen Asset Management. David Cumming, the head of equities, has left Standard Life Investments with immediate effect "to pursue other interests" but his exit after 18 years at the group is thought to be linked to the looming merger. - Times

The government's finances will take a near-£6bn hit as a result of the increased bill faced by the NHS and other parts of the public sector as a result of changes made to the way compensation awards for botched operations and other errors are calculated. The lord chancellor, Liz Truss, announced a cut to the so-called Ogden discount rate last month which is pushing up the payouts to claimants but increasing the cost to organisations such as the NHS. - Guardian

Soaring rental costs and caps to housing benefits are pushing the most vulnerable tenants out of the private rental market, estate agents and chartered surveyors have warned. About a third of members at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) believe that access to privately rented homes has fallen among people on housing benefits. - The Times

Young Britons shun low paid jobs because they have lofty aspirations, but have little experience of real work so often make bad employees, businesses and recruiters have warned. Companies instead often rely on migrants for low-paid or physically demanding work because they are more reliable and are prepared to start at the bottom, but this source of workers could be cut off, depending on post-Brexit immigration rules. - Telegraph

The government faces a €2 billion bill from Europe for failing to prevent British ports being used as bases for fraud by Chinese gangs. The EU's anti-fraud office has accused the government of ignoring repeated warnings that consignments of Chinese goods were being drastically undervalued, leading to the EU losing out on at least €2 billion (£1.7 billion) in customs duties in the past four years. - Times

Junk food giants have been accused of trying to confuse families with a new labelling scheme which could make their products appear healthy. Mars, Coca Cola, Pepsico, which makes Walkers crisps, Mondelez, which owns Cadbury, and Unilever are joining forces to support new pack labels. - Mail

There is no shortage of metaphors for what airlines expect from Brexit: analysts talk of crosswinds, executives fear turbulence and for some, it is simply flying into thick fog with no idea where they are going to land. The worst-case scenario of planes unable to fly between Britain and Europe is one that few foresee. But the legal framework underpinning international flights, wrapped up in EU membership, is set to disappear. - Guardian

Troubled lender the Co-operative Bank said it was "engaging" with potential bidders after putting itself up for sale last month as the group revealed it remained deep in the red last year. Chief executive Liam Coleman said he was "pleased" with the response so far from suitors following the group's move to launch a sale process amid concerns over its balance sheet strength. - Telegraph

Ministers have been urged to set up an investigation into Google, Facebook and the digital advertising supply chain to try to combat fake news. The News Media Association (NMA), which represents newspapers and magazines, says that fake news, spread largely through social media, is threatening genuine news publishers and accurate investigative journalism. - The Times

Football fans who watch live matches for free via popular Kodi set-top boxes face a crackdown after the High Court approved a Premier League effort to shut down unlicensed streams online. Mr Justice Arnold approved an order for Britain's top four broadband providers BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media to block connections to the servers that host pirated streams of matches. - Telegrpah

Premier League football clubs and players are preparing to negotiate multimillion-pound settlements with HM Revenue & Customs to avoid punishment over the use of controversial tax-avoidance schemes. Some five or six clubs have already reached private settlements with HMRC, The Times has learnt, and others, both in the Premier League and the Sky Bet Championship, are preparing to seek deals after "coming clean" over their tax arrangements. Clubs could be left facing bills of tens of millions of pounds, and players who benefited from such schemes will also be hit hard. - The Times

Parcel delivery firms DPD and Parcelforce Worldwide could be called before a parliamentary committee to answer questions about the working conditions faced by their self-employed couriers. Frank Field, the Labour MP who chairs the work and pensions select committee, has written to the bosses of both companies asking them to contribute to an ongoing inquiry into the gig economy, after the Guardian revealed drivers were charged up to £250 if they could not provide cover when they were ill. - Guardian

The Serious Fraud Office has opened a criminal investigation into an alleged fraudulent scheme that promoted investments in Costa Rican tree plantations in Central America. The SFO said it was investigating the activities of Ethical Forestry Ltd and associated companies between 2007 and 2015. The agency, in conjunction with Dorset police, also executed search warrants at three addresses in Poole, Ferndown and Boscombe yesterday. - The Times

The Republicans' replacement for Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act faced skepticism from both the left and the right on Wednesday, as Democrats deployed delaying tactics to try to slow the bill and another GOP senator expressed pessimism about its chances of passing without changes. Ted Cruz, the Texas senator who clashed with Donald Trump last year when both were running for the Republican nomination but eventually endorsed him, told reporters: "As drafted, I do not believe this bill would pass the United States Senate." - Guardian

The Australian Energy Market Operator has warned that Australia is facing energy shortages if governments do not carry out national planning as exports continue to dominate the country's gas supply. The Aemo report predicts New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia will be impacted from the summer of 2018-19 and warns that the tightening of the domestic gas market will have flow-on effects to the electricity sector unless there is an increase in gas supplies and development. - Guardian