Telecoms giant Vodafone has attacked the Indian government over a decision forcing it to rebid for spectrum licences in the country’s three largest cities, rather than having them automatically renewed. The company accused India of “contradictory and inconsistent” actions, says The Telegraph.
The chancellor will launch a counter-offensive in the increasingly bitter war over welfare, accusing his critics of a cowardly defence of vested interests, and claiming the increase in the personal tax allowance introduced this month will make work pay. With a week-long chorus of protest from Labour, charities and church groups constantly intensifying, George Osborne, in a relatively rare set-piece speech, will insist the changes are not simply a necessary evil to tackle the deficit, but a positive reform of a bloated welfare system. But his claim that most families will benefit this week from the increase in the tax allowance will be immediately challenged by a leading think-tank warning that the move will be undermined by the introduction of the new universal credit. The majority of the benefit from raising the personal tax allowance will be eaten up by welfare reductions under the universal credit, the Resolution Foundation claims, arguing the government is “giving with one hand, while taking away with another”. The Guardian.
Despite the on-going problems in the Eurozone, markets in London can extend their recent strength with an upturn in the housing sector likely to boost UK consumer spending over the coming months, Robert Churchlow, head of UK Equities at Legal & General Investment Management, told The Independent.
The British Chambers of Commerce has said that the UK will not fall into a third recession but will still likely experience a slow and protracted recovery, according to The Guardian. The business survey has called on George Osborne to quickly implement the measures he outlined in the Budget to kick-start the economy.
The Times says that the UK’s second toll motorway is to be given a green light with ministers set to revive a decade-long plan to ease congestion on the M4 in South Wales. The government is to underwrite the £1.0bn project which will be revealed in the Chancellor’s spending review this summer, the paper writes.
According to the Financial Times, in the latest sign that the gas market is beginning to tighten, Chesapeake Energy has locked in prices for more of its planned sales in 2013 at “well above” today’s prices.
A survey by the CBI and PwC showed that financial services activity rebounded strongly in the first quarter with “robust growth” in business volumes, a gain in profits and upbeat investment intentions, reports The Scotsman.
Financial Times reports that Nasdaq OMX has offered as much as $1.2bn in cash and deferred stock for a unit of eSpeed, interdealer broker BGC Partners’ electronic trading platform.
Around 15,000 account holders at Laiki bank in the UK are to escape any levy imposed on savings by the Cypriot authorities. After a week of talks since George Osborne told MPs that the government was trying to find ways to stop Laiki being “sucked” into the Cyprus bailout, the UK arm of Bank of Cyprus has taken over £270m of Laiki balances in the UK. As Laiki operates as a “branch” in the UK, its depositors were covered by the Cyprus government for the €100,000 (£85,000) European-wide guarantee in savings but could have been subject to levies above that level. However, as Bank of Cyprus UK Limited is a separately capitalised, UK-incorporated bank, it is subject to UK regulation and protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which guarantees up to £85,000. Its customers will not be hit by any levy on accounts – possibly 60% on accounts above £85,000 – or restrictions on limiting withdrawals to €300 a day. The Guardian.