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Tuesday newspaper round-up: Brexit trade deal, credit worries, Tesco, Santander

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Tuesday newspaper round-up: Brexit trade deal, credit worries, Tesco, Santander

Tue, 28 March 2017
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Tuesday newspaper round-up: Brexit trade deal, credit worries, Tesco, Santander

(ShareCast News) - European diplomats based in the UK say the British government is stepping back from its threat to leave the EU without a trade deal if negotiations break down. In private, say diplomats, UK officials recognise the "havoc" that this would cause, and have come to regret the threat to turn the UK into a deregulated offshore tax haven, implicit in Theresa May's Lancaster House speech in January, when she warned that "no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal". - Guardian
Theresa May's ambitions to create a "global Britain" after Brexit have been boosted by Qatar's announcement that it expects to invest £5bn in the UK over the next five years. On Monday, two days before the planned triggering of article 50, Qatari investors at a London conference suggested they were unperturbed by the prospect of Britain's departure from the EU and were looking for further opportunities to build on already significant investments in the UK that include the Olympic Village in east London, the Shard building, Harrods department store and a stake in Sainsbury's. - Guardian

An increase in personal loans and rising levels of debt on credit cards have led the Bank of England to announce a review into whether the UK's biggest banks have let their lending criteria become too loose. Britons are taking out unsecured loans at the fastest rate in more than 11 years and the Bank's financial policy committee, which oversees financial stability, is concerned that a surge in the indebtedness of households could fuel another debt bubble, noting that consumer credit was "growing particularly rapidly". - The Times

The financial sector will carry on growing despite Brexit but at a slower pace for the next couple of years, according to a survey. The rate of growth for personal and business lending is expected to slow in the next two years as real incomes weaken but a pronounced pick-up is predicted for 2019 and 2020, EY's Item Club said. -The Times

Two of Tesco's largest shareholders have chastised the supermarket for its "foolhardy" £3.7bn merger with wholesaler Booker, arguing the deal would destroy billions of pounds worth of value. Schroders, the grocer's third biggest investor, and Artisan Partners, the fourth largest, have written to Tesco's board to urge the company to abandon its tie-up with Booker, throwing the deal into doubt. - Telegraph

The Serious Fraud Office and Tesco are within days of announcing a settlement that could mean Britain's biggest supermarket chain will pay a multimillion-pound fine over an accounting scandal. Under the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), Tesco would pay a penalty that could be well over £100m and agree to other conditions in return for avoiding formal prosecution for overstating its profits. - Guardian

A high street bank employs hundreds of its staff on one-hour-a-month contracts, fuelling the debate about employees' rights and flexible working. Santander's contracts are different from the controversial zero-hour arrangements, which do not guarantee any work at all and in some cases prohibit individuals from accepting work elsewhere. - The Times

Britain's biggest companies have been urged to increase the number of black and minority ethnic people they employ - with hints that legislation could come to ensure this happens if improvements do not come voluntarily. Business Minister Margot James has written to all FTSE 350 businesses asking them to take up the recommendations in a government review published last month which found that black and minority ethnic (BME) groups are being held back in the workplace because of their skin colour. - Telegraph

Virgin Atlantic is predicting it will make its first loss in four years this year thanks in part to the weakness of sterling. Craig Kreeger, the chief executive of the Sir Richard Branson-backed airline, said that he is forecasting a loss for the 2017 calendar year, as the airline struggles to cope with the fall in the value of the pound since last June's EU referendum. - Telegraph

Only a third of the value of new UK offshore wind farm projects is being spent with British companies, according to analysis. As a result the cost of subsidies to projects will outweigh their benefits, a report by the government-backed innovations company Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (Orec) suggests. - The Times

The NHS is to stop giving patients travel vaccinations, gluten-free foods and some drugs that can be bought over the counter in an effort to rescue its ailing finances. Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, announced the changes in an interview with the Daily Mail in which he detailed new efforts to get better value for money so that money saved could instead be spent on promising therapies that have recently been developed. - Guardian

The government's plan to digitise tax records could cost small businesses up to £3,000 extra a year, the chairman of the Treasury select committee said. Andrew Tyrie has called for a comprehensive pilot scheme to ensure that businesses are not burdened by a proposed overhaul of the tax system, which includes updating the taxman four times a year instead of once. - The Times

A boycott of Google by some of the world's largest companies will cost it more than $750 million a year, analysts have predicted. Advertising revenues from YouTube, Google's video platform, will fall this year after hundreds of brands withdrew their business in protest at the company's failure to clamp down on extremist content, according to analysts at Nomura, an investment bank. - The Times

British TV producers targeting the demand for new programming from Netflix and Amazon are being offered specialist loans to help them bridge longer delays before they receive payment compared with traditional broadcasters. Barclays said it was launching a £100m fund to provide finance to programme makers who can face cash flow challenges if they work for on demand services. - Telegraph