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25 Jan 2021 | 07:23

Monday newspaper round-up: Kickstart scheme, Eurostar, BoE, HSBC

(Sharecast News) - The economic impact of Covid will leave Boris Johnson's government with a costly "double challenge" to level-up the north and Midlands while protecting the affluent towns and cities in southern England suffering most job losses, according to a report. Warning that the prime minister's election promise to rebalance Britain's lopsided economy had been made four times harder by the pandemic, the Centre for Cities said a dual approach to the post-Covid recovery was required. - Guardian British businesses that export to the continent are being encouraged by government trade advisers to set up separate companies inside the EU in order to get around extra charges, paperwork and taxes resulting from Brexit, the Observer can reveal. In an extraordinary twist to the Brexit saga, UK small businesses are being told by advisers working for the Department for International Trade (DIT) that the best way to circumvent border issues and VAT problems that have been piling up since 1 January is to register new firms within the EU single market, from where they can distribute their goods far more freely. - Guardian

Ministers are under mounting pressure to further extend the Government's £2bn scheme to tackle youth unemployment despite throwing it open to more employers today. The Kickstart scheme, which offers paid six-month placements to 16 to 24-year-olds claiming universal credit, was launched in November after being unveiled by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, last July. - Telegraph

The potential collapse of Eurostar risks costing taxpayers £80m under a complex legal agreement that leaves Britain exposed to the operator's financial plight. Costs to run on a 67-mile stretch of railway between London St Pancras and the Channel Tunnel can be transferred from Eurostar to a domestic operator whose costs are funded by the Government, The Daily Telegraph has learnt. The current legal arrangement allows for a shortfall of up to £10m to be transferred to operator Southeastern every six months between now and 2025. This means the Exchequer could be on the hook for £80m of costs if a rescue deal cannot be agreed. - Telegraph

The Bank of England is under pressure to rethink its financial backing of oil and gas companies after being warned by an influential group of MPs that it risks creating a "moral hazard". The Commons' environmental audit committee has written to Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank, warning that the institution threatens to undermine Britain's efforts to tackle climate change by buying bonds issued by oil and gas companies. - The Times

A parliamentary inquiry into HSBC's relationship with Beijing will look at allegations that a Chinese executive was protected from accusations of sexual assault by his role as a senior Communist Party official. The allegations are part of a dossier compiled for the foreign affairs select committee before a hearing this week at which Noel Quinn, HSBC's chief executive, and Colin Bell, its head of compliance, will be questioned about the bank's freezing of the account of a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist. - The Times
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