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Tuesday newspaper round-up: Rail strikes, housebuilding, Vodafone

(Sharecast News) - Hopes of a deal to avert severe Christmas rail disruption were dashed on Monday night when the RMT union announced additional strike dates and rebuffed a pay offer from Network Rail just before the industry's deadline. The union said it would put the offer to members in an electronic referendum this week but recommend that they reject it. It affirmed that two 48-hour strikes that will stop much of the railway next week would go ahead either way. - Guardian Rishi Sunak is to drop compulsory housebuilding targets to see off an embarrassing backbench rebellion, prompting criticism he is putting party unity over the national interest. The capitulation, which comes in the middle of a national housing crisis, will spark fresh concerns that the prime minister is too weak to take on unruly Conservative backbenchers. It followed up to 100 Tory MPs threatening to back an amendment that would in effect force the government to abolish the target of building 300,000 homes a year in England. - Guardian

Vodafone is under pressure from a billionaire French shareholder to accelerate cost-cutting and asset sales after the ousting of its chief executive. The FTSE 100 telecoms giant announced Nick Read's exit following a nearly 50pc slump in its share price since he took charge four years ago. - Telegraph

The value of London office blocks is forecast to fall sharply over the next few years, with rents predicted to almost halve as rising unemployment and working from home depress demand, according to Citi, the investment bank. Aaron Guy, a real estate analyst at Citi, expects the values of office blocks in the capital to fall by 38 per cent in the next two to three years "driven primarily by likely recessionary impacts on higher unemployment and continued work-from-home office shrinkage". - The Times

A bank criticised by a former minister for its allegedly poor due diligence work on a pandemic finance scheme has admitted to MPs that more than one in three of the state-backed loans it issued was "not performing". Anne Boden, chief executive of Starling, the digital bank, told the public accounts committee that 34.3 per cent of the bounceback loans it provided were in "distressed" status - significantly higher than the average rate. - The Times

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Thursday newspaper round-up: Border controls, McKinsey, KPMG
(Sharecast News) - New post-Brexit UK border controls coming into force later this month will cost British businesses £2bn and fuel higher inflation, according to a report warning that UK-EU trade will be damaged as a result. With less than a month before the introduction of new checks on animal and plant products from 30 April, the insurer Allianz Trade said the controls agreed under Boris Johnson's Brexit deal could add 10% to import costs over the first year. - Guardian
Wednesday newspaper round-up: Shoplifting, EnQuest, Klarna
(Sharecast News) - The government is investing more than £55m in expanding facial recognition systems - including vans that will scan crowded high streets - as part of a renewed crackdown on shoplifting. The scheme was announced alongside plans for tougher punishments for serial or abusive shoplifters in England and Wales, including being forced to wear a tag to ensure they do not revisit the scene of their crime, under a new standalone criminal offence of assaulting a retail worker. - Guardian
Tuesday newspaper round-up: Pharma companies, Puig, Thames Water
(Sharecast News) - Rachel Reeves has said an incoming Labour government would launch a £5bn crackdown on tax avoiders to close a gap in its spending plans exposed by Jeremy Hunt scrapping the non-dom regime to finance tax cuts. Warning households and businesses that Labour was prepared to adopt tough measures to tackle tax fraud and non-compliance, Reeves said the funding would be used to pay for free school breakfast clubs and additional NHS appointments. - Guardian
Monday newspaper round-up: Boeing, rent rises, e-scooters, Santander UK
(Sharecast News) - US airline regulators have launched an investigation after an engine cowling on a Boeing plane fell off during takeoff and struck the wing flap. The Southwest Airlines flight 3695 rose to about 10,300ft (3,140 metres) before returning safely 25 minutes after takeoff to Denver international airport at about 8.15am local time on Sunday. It was towed to the gate after landing. The Boeing aircraft with 135 passengers and six crew members aboard had been headed to Houston. No one was injured. - Guardian

Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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