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Friday newspaper round-up: Liberty Steel, London house prices, Covid support schemes

The metals tycoon Sanjeev Gupta should be investigated for potential breaches of his duties as a company director, according to a scathing report by MPs that said his leadership threatened the future viability of Liberty Steel. Liberty Steel has lurched through eight months of crisis after the March collapse of its key financial backer, Greensill Capital, triggered an ongoing attempt to find new lenders. – Guardian

The return of the international super-rich to London amid the easing of coronavirus pandemic restrictions has fuelled the highest annual growth in property prices in the capital’s most expensive district since 2015. Average home prices in “prime central London” – which stretches from Chelsea to Camden and Notting Hill to Westminster – have risen by almost 7% since the start of the year, according to research by the estate agent Knight Frank. – Guardian

One of Virgin Media O2’s owners has stoked City expectations of a blockbuster float of the £31bn mobile and broadband giant as soon as next year. Mike Fries, chief executive of Liberty Global, said he was mulling listings for some of its European telecoms operators, fuelling speculation that a listing of the cable and mobile company could be brought forward to 2022. – Telegraph

Fraudulent claims on three emergency government schemes may have cost the taxpayer almost £5 billion, according to an analysis of figures published by HM Revenue & Customs. The tax authority has estimated in its annual report that up to 6.4 per cent of the billions of pounds provided to companies supposed to be supporting furloughed employees may have been lost to fraudsters – meaning as much as £4.42 billion may have been paid to criminals abusing the scheme.- The Times

A shortage of candidates is hitting firms’ recruitment plans and starting salaries for full-time and temporary staff have hit record levels, according to a report. Hiring has continued in recent weeks, although the availability of candidates fell sharply, a survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG suggested. – The Times

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