Wednesday newspaper round-up: Free movement, divorce bill, insurance, Royal Mail

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Wednesday newspaper round-up: Free movement, divorce bill, insurance, Royal Mail

Wed, 06 September 2017
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Wednesday newspaper round-up: Free movement, divorce bill, insurance, Royal Mail

(ShareCast News) - Britain will end the free movement of labour immediately after Brexit and introduce restrictions to deter all but highly-skilled EU workers under detailed proposals set out in a Home Office document. The 82-page paper, marked as extremely sensitive and dated August 2017, sets out for the first time how Britain intends to approach the politically charged issue of immigration, dramatically refocusing policy to put British workers first. - Guardian
Britain may hold out on agreeing to the size of its Brexit divorce bill until the end of talks in March 2019, David Davis has suggested. The Brexit Secretary said the issue of how much money the UK should have to handover to Brussels is likely to rumble on for the duration of negotiations. The Government has already committed to giving MPs a vote on the final Brexit deal agreed with Brussels. - Telegraph

Senior government figures have said that the UK does not have the capacity to renegotiate dozens of trade deals that already exist between the EU and third countries. Instead, they are planning to draw up copycat deals to those that already exist, in an attempt to replicate an agreement struck by Theresa May in Japan last week. May and the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, signed a joint statement that committed their countries to working towards an economic partnership agreement (EPA) as an "immediate priority". - Guardian

Up to 1m businesses are stuck without a bank manager at HSBC - forcing them to deal with anonymous call centre staff who can block their accounts. The bank was attacked this week for freezing the accounts of hundreds of entrepreneurs in a botched crackdown on crime. Innocent business owners were quizzed by staff in call centres who they had never spoken to before and who are expected to handle more than 1,800 appointments a year each. - Mail

The $30 billion marine insurance market, a cornerstone of London's place as a global business centre, is set to undergo the world's first large-scale test of whether the technology underpinning cryptocurrency could be used to revolutionise the biggest financial markets. Marine underwriting costs could halve if the introduction of a blockchain system to the Lloyd's of London market is successful. Backers of the project include AP Moller-Maersk, the world's largest shipping company, and MS Amlin and XL Catlin, two of the industry's biggest insurers. - The Times

A threat of postal strikes in the approach to Christmas grew last night as Royal Mail workers began preparations to ballot for industrial action over pensions and contracts. The Communication Workers Union, which represents more than 100,000 workers at Royal Mail, said it has served notice that it was to begin balloting members. - The Times

Takeovers and mergers involving British companies came close to doubling in the last quarter as deals worth £30 billion were announced, with the acquisition spree largely driven by UK businesses hunting abroad. Hours after it emerged that Aveva, the London-listed engineering software company, would be bought by Schneider Electric, of France, official figures were published that showed outward M&A by British companies hit a six-year high in the three months to the end of June. - The Times

Britain's economic model is "broken" and the nation is at a "watershed moment", the Archbishop of Canterbury said as he called for sweeping reforms to counter the longest period of wage stagnation for 150 years. The Most Rev Justin Welby joined fellow members of the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice in proposing a programme of change on a par with the Thatcher revolution of the 1980s. - The Times

The UK government has ruled out any move towards joint authority over Northern Ireland involving both the London and Dublin administrations if talks in Belfast fail to restore power-sharing in the region. In response to concerns from the Irish foreign minister, Simon Coveney, about direct rule from London being reimposed on the province, the government emphasised there would be no joint authority as an alternative to devolution. - Guardian

Nicola Sturgeon has raised the prospect of tax rises for the better off in Scotland to fund a programme of higher spending, including lifting the public sector pay cap. In an effort to reinvigorate her government after June's poor general election result, the first minister also pledged to attempt to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel-powered vehicles in Scotland by 2032. - Guardian

A radical shake-up of how warships will be built for the Royal Navy that aims to spread the work around the country has been unveiled by the Ministry of Defence. Proposals floated by industrialist Sir John Parker in his review of the sector last year have been backed by Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon in a move intended to deliver budget vessels to the British military that are also aimed at being attractive to foreign buyers. - Telegraph

The price of Bitcoin has plummeted in the last three days after the virtual currency hit record levels. Values of other cryptocurrencies such as Ethererum and Ripple have also plunged, wiping billions off their combined values. - Telegraph

Asda has been forced to pay back hundreds of thousands of pounds to dozens of suppliers after breaching an industry code governing fair dealing. The company, named as the worst supermarket in its treatment of suppliers earlier this year, was found to have demanded up front payments worth up to a quarter of the value of annual sales of particular products in order for suppliers to retain their place on the shelf. - Guardian

The government of Azerbaijan has responded angrily to revelations that it ran a secret $2.9bn (£2.2bn) fund which was used to pay prominent Europeans, run lobbying operations, and launder money via a group of opaque British companies. Azerbaijan's presidential aide, Ali Hasanov, said the stories by the Guardian and other media partners were a smear. In the first official reaction from Baku, Hasanov said the regime was the victim of a "scandalous" campaign organised by British intelligence, the Armenian diaspora and the US. - Guardian

More efficient use of energy in the UK would save as much power as could be generated by six new nuclear reactors and shave £7.5bn from energy costs, experts have calculated. But to achieve such savings would require substantial changes to government policy because there are few incentives for households to carry out the necessary measures, such as insulation, which can take 20 years to pay for themselves via bill savings. - Guardian

Older homeowners concerned about approaching the end of their interest-only mortgage may soon be given a boost by the City watchdog. The Financial Conduct Authority said that it is considering scrapping regulations relating to the mortgages for retired borrowers after big lenders raised concerns. - The Times

The engine throbbed, the combine harvester bounced briefly on the spot, the reel began to turn and, with no driver on board, the most expensive crop in Britain went under its blades. Yesterday in Shropshire, after a drone buzzed overhead to check that the barley wasn't too wet, a small robot-controlled vehicle harvested the first crop in the world to have been grown entirely by machines with no human having set foot in the field. - The Times

A Scottish plastic bottle deposit return scheme in which consumers would be refunded if they recycled containers has prompted fears that people would cross the border to claim the money illegally. Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, pledged yesterday to introduce deposits on "drinks containers", meaning that it could also apply to cans and glass bottles. - The Times