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Thursday Papers: Osborne sweetens bitter outlook

Measures to boost infrastructure investment in the Budget were greeted with disappointment by industry experts.

Thursday Papers: Osborne sweetens bitter outlook

Top stories

  • Financial Times: George Osborne offset the bitter taste of a Budget overshadowed by a worsening economic outlook with a flurry of promises, from a sugar tax and a clampdown on tax-avoiding multinationals to business rate relief for small companies.
  • Financial Times: Measures to boost infrastructure investment were greeted with disappointment by industry experts, who questioned where the money for new infrastructure projects would come from.
  • Daily Mail: Private equity fund managers have been treated like ‘bogeymen’ in the Budget, a leading tax accountant said.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Under-40s will be offered up to £1,000 per year from the Government to encourage them to save for a home or retirement under a new ‘Lifetime ISA’ unveiled in the Budget.
  • Daily Mail: High Street shops and pubs received a huge boost by plans to transform business rates – but the changes left the steel industry reeling.
  • Daily Mail: The under pressure oil industry has received a much needed set of tax breaks from Chancellor George Osborne, having been hit hard over the past six months by a severe dip in 'black gold' prices.
  • Daily Mail: Millions of households across the country will see their insurance bills rise as George Osborne confirmed in the budget a rise from 9.5% to 10% in insurance premium tax.
  • Daily Mail: Buy-to-let landlords have been dealt a new blow in the Budget after the Chancellor abandoned plans to exempt 'significant investors' from the extra 3% stamp duty charges and snubbed them in a capital gains tax cut.
  • Daily Mail: George Osborne has missed his GDP and debt forecasts for this financial year, sending sterling down to a fresh monthly low against the dollar and the euro.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): The Chancellor's cynical attempt to embrace populism will backfire.
  • The Guardian (Comment): What the 2016 budget means for you.

Business and economics

  • The Times: The London Stock Exchange has fired the starting gun on a potential international bidding war after agreeing a £21 billion “merger of equals” with Deutsche Börse, its German rival.
  • Financial Times: The Federal Reserve has scaled back its interest rate forecasts to two quarter-point rises this year, coming closer into line with market expectations as it flagged up risks to the US outlook from global financial and economic developments.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Deutsche Bank were sent sliding after co-chief executive John Cryan warned the bank “may make a small loss” this year.
  • The Times: Barclays is being sued by the former boss of Tullett Prebon over accusations that the bank failed to transfer hundreds of thousands pounds of the financier’s money into his investment fund so that he missed out on a more than doubling in its value.
  • The Guardian: Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private coal mining company, is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, driven to the brink of collapse by plummeting energy prices around the world, cheaper and less polluting rivals such as natural gas, and widespread economic uncertainty.
  • Daily Mail: Banks face an extra £2 billion bill because of restrictions on using losses made since the financial crisis to cut their future tax bills.
  • The Daily Telegraph: JP Morgan is to pay its biggest ever dividend, leading a wave of mega-payouts from the big US investment banks.
  • Financial Times: UK and US companies are weighed down by $520 billion in pension deficits and need to “get out of the insurance business”, according to a new report from Citigroup.
  • The Guardian: Retailers have warned that an overhaul of the controversial business rates system that will lead to a £7 billion tax cut for small businesses is not enough to help high streets across the country.
  • Financial Times: Carlsberg’s new chief executive disappointed investors as the Danish brewer laid out a fresh strategy with few concrete targets.
  • The Guardian: The wholesale privatisation and breakup of Network Rail has been ruled out by a critical review, which argued for more devolution in the running of the railways rather than full-scale reform.
  • The Independent: The HS3 high-speed line from Manchester to Leeds has been given the green light as part of a £300 million transport infrastructure package the Chancellor hopes will further his Northern Powerhouse plans.
  • The Independent: Tesco is asking its managers to be more polite when dealing with staff as part of efforts to show the multi-national supermarket giant “really cares”.
  • The Independent: UK unemployment remained at its lowest level since 2006, while wages rose more than expected, according to official figures released.
  • The Guardian: Asda has confirmed plans to cut up to 500 jobs in stores and 250 at its head office in Leeds as the retailer battles to protect profits while sales slide.
  • Daily Mail: Shares in Thomas Cook and Tui slumped over fears the two firms are heavily exposed to terrorism-hit destinations.
  • The Guardian: Indigenous opponents of Adani’s Carmichael mine have vowed to ramp up their legal fight against the project despite fresh progress by the miner and its endorsement by the Queensland parliament.
  • The Guardian: Measures targeted at an army of overseas sellers using Amazon and eBay to evade VAT were at the heart of a £12 billion tax clampdown announced by the chancellor.
  • The Times: The fizz was taken out of soft drinks companies after the chancellor introduced a sugar levy as part of the government’s war on obesity sent shares in the sector lower, before paring losses.
  • The Times: Shares in Roman Abramovich’s steel business took a beating as it reported another set of heavy losses.
  • Financial Times: Chevron’s massive Gorgon gas project off the coast of Western Australia is poised to finally ship its first cargo this week.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): AVOID Smiths Group for now; BUY Cape for income; AVOID Xaar for now.
  • The Independent: The global drug merger boom came to the quiet market town of Chippenham when local biotech firm Vectura agreed to buy big city UK rival Skyepharma in a £440 million deal.
  • The Guardian: Simon Nixon, the university dropout turned multimillionaire co-founder of, has sold the final tranche of his shareholding in the comparison website for £124 million.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Deutsche Börse and LSE: Brexit may not derail this deal; other factors could cause more problems.
  • Financial Times (Lex): UK car insurance: why do so many lossmaking businesses persevere?
  • Financial Times (Lex): Geberit: a bog-standard business with exceptional returns.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Japanese shares: Abenomics’ internal tensions are holding back the Nikkei.
  • Financial Times (Lex): China debt: equity swaps will help with debt, but not overcapacity.

1 comment so far. Why not have your say?


Mar 17, 2016 at 09:17

Asda has fell into a trap in its stores .by going far too much self service .and reducing the manned checkout points .customers dont like this method .asda as i see it are trying to cut labour this way .it is not working.

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