Friday newspaper round-up: May gets tough, consumer spending, Lloyds, Google

Oliver Haill Sharecast | 17 Mar, 2017 07:29 | | |


Theresa May stepped up the pressure on Nicola Sturgeon, accusing the SNP leader of forcing a “fundamentally unfair” independence referendum that would damage Brexit negotiations. In an article for The Times, the prime minister toughens her stance against starting talks over a second independence vote before spring 2019 — the timetable set out by Ms Sturgeon in a surprise announcement this week.

Nicola Sturgeon accused Theresa May of sealing the fate of the United Kingdom after the prime minister rejected her demand for a second Scottish independence referendum before the Brexit talks conclude. The first minister said May’s stance was “completely outrageous and unacceptable”, hours after the prime minister had insisted that “now is not the time” for the referendum that the SNP had hoped to stage between autumn 2019 and spring 2019. - Guardian

Moderate Conservative backbenchers have rallied behind Philip Hammond and said Theresa May should have done more to defend his plan to increase national insurance contributions for the self-employed. The chancellor ditched his plan put forward in the budget on 8 March after a public backlash from some Tories and private concerns among cabinet ministers. But other backbenchers criticised the prime minister’s treatment of Hammond. - Guardian

Shoppers are expected to spend less money this year as rising inflation begins to hit people's purse strings, a report by PwC claims. Consumer spending growth is expected to hover at around 2 per cent this year and fall to 1.7 per cent next year, compared to the 3 per cent growth seen in 2016, according to the accountancy giant. - Mail

People who voted to remain in the European Union have defied conventional wisdom and gone on more of a spending spree since the referendum than those who elected to leave. The counterintuitive behaviour was revealed in a survey which found that overall British consumers were still spending robustly and showed little sign of stopping in the short term. - The Times

Bob Diamond, the former Barclays chief executive, has joined forces with a Qatari investment bank to swoop on Panmure Gordon, one of Britain’s oldest stockbrokers. A deal could be announced as soon as today involving Mr Diamond’s private equity vehicle, Atlas Merchant Capital, and QInvest, the Qatari investment bank, which already owns a 43pc stake in Panmure. - Telegraph

The housing minister, Gavin Barwell, has told the world’s housebuilders that if they cannot find enough land on which to build new homes they can “come and see me” and he will try to help. Barwell told developers at the world’s biggest property conference in Cannes on Thursday that he wanted to be “clear and unequivocal” that he was there to help them build hundreds of thousands of new homes to help fix the UK’s housing crisis. - Guardian

The smallest companies and many self-employed people should be exempt from proposals to digitise tax records, a House of Lords committee has warned, as it accused the government of rushing through a poorly conceived overhaul of the tax system. Implementation of the “making tax digital” plans, which will force millions of businesses to update the taxman four times a year instead of once, should also be delayed until 2020 for all businesses, according to a report by peers on the economic affairs committee. - The Times

Google is to be summoned before the government to explain why taxpayers are unwittingly funding extremists through advertising. The Cabinet Office joined some of the world’s largest brands last night in pulling millions of pounds in marketing from YouTube after an investigation showed that rape apologists, anti-Semites and banned hate preachers were receiving payouts from publicly subsidised adverts on the internet company’s video platform. - The Times

Regulators are to investigate Lloyds Banking Group’s £1.9bn acquisition of credit card provider MBNA from Bank of America amid concerns the deal could hurt competition in the industry. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has started a probe into the takeover, an acquisition that would boost Lloyds’s share of the credit card market from around 15pc to 26pc, transforming the lender into a fierce competitor to dominant Barclaycard, which has 27pc. - Telegraph

BP is in talks with chemicals giant Ineos to sell the North Sea’s largest and oldest oil pipeline, which is used to transport the crude that prices the global Brent benchmark. The 100 miles long pipeline transports oil from the unmanned offshore Unity platform in the North Sea to the onshore terminal at Cruden Bay near Aberdeen and then for 130 miles onshore to the Kinneil terminal near Ineos’s Grangemouth oil refinery. - Telegraph

Companies operating in the gig economy are “having their cake and eating it” by treating workers like staff while avoiding the tax and regulations on employing people on full-time contracts, according to a study. A survey of workers in the gig economy found that most believed their employers were exploiting a lack of regulation to grow quickly. Almost two-thirds said the government should step in to guarantee basic employment rights. - Guardian

Japanese car giant Toyota has called for the UK to be able to continue to trade tariff-free with the European Union after Brexit as it announced a £240m investment in its only British factory. Johan van Zyl, who runs the company's European arm, added his voice to earlier industry calls to protect British cars from tariffs within Europe following the end of the upcoming two year 'Article 50' extrication process which is set to be triggered by the end of this month. - Telegraph

Cheaper alternatives for the renovation of the Houses of Parliament are to be sought by MPs to keep costs below the estimated £3.5bn bill. The premises used by parliament are in urgent need of extensive restoration and repairs to avoid the risk of being burned down or encountering other catastrophic failure. - Guardian

An African church minister who supplements his meagre stipend by scrabbling for minerals in the artisanal mines of eastern Sierra Leone has discovered one of the largest diamonds ever found. The 709-carat stone was extracted this week by Emmanuel Momoh, a pastor in one of the myriad churches that ministers to the mining communities of Kono district, the diamond centre that became the crucible of Sierra Leone’s blood-soaked civil war. - Telegraph

More news

09:19 UK consumer confidence worsens again in April - GfK

UK consumer confidence worsened slightly in April due to worries about rising inflation and flat wages.

08:58 Ultra Electronics remains confident despite US funding delays

Ultra Electronics said the expected improvement in trading from the new US government continued to be delayed as Federal budgets were negotiated.

08:41 RBS swings into first quarterly profit since 2015

Royal Bank of Scotland broke into the black in the first quarter of 2017, the first quarterly profit since 2015 as income, costs and margins all improved.

09:01 UK house prices fall again in April, says Nationwide

UK house prices have fallen for the second month in a row, with annual growth slowing to a near four-year low.

00:11 US close: Wall Street closes in the green as earnings season peaks

Wall Street bounced back quickly but modestly on Thursday as the peak day of the earnings season was rather mixed, with investors still getting over their disappointment over White House tax cut plans the previous day.

27 Apr Lloyds Banking Group profit increases, on track to meet 2017 targets

Lloyds Banking Group’s first quarter profit increased with the part state-owned bank still on track to meet its 2017 targets.

27 Apr ECB policy decision - Analysts react

"In June we expect a change to a less dovish and more symmetric forward guidance that would open the door for depo rate hikes in 2018. In particular, we would expect modifications possibly to both the forward guidance on rates and on QE by removing the explicit reference in the statement to a scenario with lower rates and/or higher QE." - Philippe Gudin, Antonio Garcia Pascual, Barclays Research

27 Apr FX round-up: Sterling sails higher on UK retail data, ECB rate call

Sterling sailed higher on most key crosses Thursday as investors liked the currency after pleasing UK retail data, European Central Bank holding interest rates and last night's US tax-reform disappointment.

27 Apr Europe close: ECB pours cold water on expectations of policy shift

European stocks declined for the first time in seven days despite the European Central Bank sounding a more confident note on the single currency bloc's economy.

27 Apr Friday preview: UK economic growth seen slowing, RBS results under scrutiny

On Friday the Office for National Statistics will reveal its preliminary estimate for UK gross domestic product growth for the first quarter.