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05 Mar 2021 | 07:27

Friday newspaper round-up: Greensill Capital, Marks & Spencer, freeports

(Sharecast News) - Business leaders have criticised Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, for shutting down the Industrial Strategy Council, the government's in-house thinktank plotting the regeneration of Britain's hard-pressed regions. The decision to disband the council, which was led by the Bank of England's chief economist, Andy Haldane, was called a "sad and bad" decision by Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. - Guardian Global financier Greensill Capital has moved closer to a collapse that could cost tens of thousands of jobs in businesses in Europe, the US and Australia, after a court released papers that cast doubt on its insurance of A$10bn (£5.55bn) of loans issued to its customers. The loans were underwritten by an insurance company, Tokio Marine, which was in a legal battle with Greensill, where former UK prime minister David Cameron is an adviser. - Guardian

Marks & Spencer has become the latest retailer to scale back its banking ambitions after deciding to close all branches and current accounts. M&S Bank, a partnership with HSBC, has told customers their accounts will shut from this summer, and is axing its 29 in-store branches at the same time. The chain's financial ambitions date back to 1985, when it joined a scramble by stores to shake up the banking industry and get customers to add financial products to their shopping lists. - Telegraph

Companies will leave Britain to avoid Rishi Sunak's corporation tax rise, experts have warned. Documents from the Treasury and the Office for Budget Responsibility reveal that officials are concerned the higher rate will encourage tax avoidance as companies shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions. However, experts claimed that a bigger risk was companies moving their headquarters overseas or chosing not to come to the UK. - The Times

The chancellor's freeports policy will redistribute economic activity rather than generating additional investment, a leading think tank has claimed. The Institute for Fiscal Studies questioned the government's pledge to "turbocharge" the recovery by creating eight special economic zones. It said that much of the activity unlocked in freeports would happen elsewhere in the country were it not for the policy. - The Times

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