The Business: Thursday July 10 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
David Beckham is among the big names who will soon receive letters demanding payment of disputed tax bills, says the BBC. Around 33,000 people who invested in tax avoidance schemes will be affected when the new finance bill, which will become law in the next few weeks, hands HMRC new powers to make them pay upfront. Among them are Beckham and business figures such as Centrica chief Sam Laidlaw and former London Stock Exchange boss Clara Furse.
Shale gas produced in the UK could provide more than a third of the nation's gas supplies within 20 years, says a National Grid report cited in the Daily Telegraph. Drilling for the natural gas is still in a phase of exploration and testing, but shale gas could meet 41% of the UK's total gas needs by 2035. Another scenario outlined in the report is that a failure to invest in UK gas production could see our dependency on imports rise to 91% in the same time frame.
Former Sainsbury's boss Justin King says the company is against moves to relax Sunday trading rules in England and Wales. Larger stores are currently limited to a maximum of six hours of trading on a Sunday, but parliament is due to consider relaxing those laws in the autumn. Speaking to the BBC business editor on his last day as chief executive about the proposed reform, King said "we are not supportive of it".
Primark has bought a shopping centre in Birmingham, opening the way for a four-floor store that is set to match its largest outlet in Manchester. The discount retailer wants to fashion a 1,393 sq m (150,000 sq ft) store in the Pavilions shopping centre alongside other retailers, who will rent their outlets from Primark. The chain’s move comes amid something of a retail renaissance in the city, with a new shopping centre anchored by John Lewis expected to be completed next year.
“My fear is that publishers will go out of business . . . Believe me, every other publisher is looking on in horror.” Literary agent Ed Victor on the battle between Amazon and parts of the publishing industry.
A mistake by tax inspectors will cost the public millions of pounds, says The Times. Investors in the aggressive tax avoidance scheme Liberty, including Sir Michael Caine and some members of the band Arctic Monkeys, have been exposed by the newspaper this week. But HMRC inspectors failed to challenge the tax returns of at least 26 Liberty investors within the time limit required by law, leaving the investors free to hold on to millions of pounds of disputed tax relief come what may.
FTSE-100: down -0.30 to 6781.04
Dow Jones: up +0.47 to 16985.61
Dax: down up +0.36 to 9808.20
Cac-40: up +0.40 to 4359.84
Nikkei: down -0.16 to 15277.98
Hang Seng: up +0.38 to 23264.45
US dollar: buys €0.73290 and £0.58290
Sterling: buys $1.71560 and €1.25740
Oil: $108.23 down -0.7