In today’s papers…
Senior executives from Amazon, Starbucks and Google were accused of diverting hundreds of millions of pounds in UK profits to tax havens during a fraught exchange with a committee of MPs yesterday. It emerged last month that Starbucks paid no corporation or income tax in the UK in the past three years, and Amazon has been accused of avoiding UK taxes by reporting European sales through a Luxembourg based unit.
The Guardian, p.10 & everywhere
The Financial Services Authority is investigating claims by a whistleblower that Britain’s £300bn wholesale gas market has been ‘regularly’ manipulated by some of the big power companies, exploiting weaknesses that echo the recent Libor scandal. Separately, Ofgem has been warned by a company responsible for setting so-called benchmark prices that it had seen evidence of suspect trading on 28 September – a key date as it marks the end of the gas financial year and can have an important influence on future prices.
The Guardian, p.1
Hopes grew last night that Chancellor George Osborne will scrap January’s planned 3p per litre petrol duty rise. Experts have said rises in VAT and pump prices have already handed the Treasury a £1.5 billion tax windfall.
Daily Express, p.2
Aggressive payday lenders are planning to cash in on the vulnerable this Christmas by encouraging them to take out expensive short-term credit. But encouraging people to spend money they can’t afford is against the rules – under the terms of their consumer-credit license, lenders must check whether customers can afford to borrow and outline the fees and charges if they don’t pay the loan back on time.
The housing market deep-freeze could be thawing – with demand from buyers at a near three-year high. Research by trade body RICS also found that prices are stabilising and more people are putting their homes on the market. The news comes as the Council of Mortgage Lenders revealed 146,400 home loans were handing in the third quarter, up 13% on the previous three months.
Lawyers and accountants have seen pay slip behind that of the rest of the workforce through the financial crisis, according to data out yesterday from Randstad Financial and Professional. Pay in law rose by 8.1 per cent while accountancy earnings increased 7.5 per cent – well below the 11.4 per cent UK average.
City A.M. p.4