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Monday newspaper round-up: House prices, Saudi Aramco, property developers

The average price tag on a home in Great Britain has topped £350,000 for the first time, according to Rightmove. Typical asking prices hit £354,564 in March, up 1.7% or £5,760 compared with February, the property website said. It was the biggest monthly rise for this time of year in 18 years, and pushed the annual rate of growth in asking prices to 10.4%. – Guardian
Saudi Arabia’s state oil company said it would increase spending on oil production to meet rising global demand, as it reported a doubling of profits in 2021. Saudi Aramco – the world’s largest oil exporter and one of the world’s most profitable companies – said its net profit increased by 124% to $110bn (£83bn) in 2021, compared with $49bn a year earlier. – Guardian

Demand for iodine tablets has rocketed in the UK and EU as the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine stokes fears of nuclear war. UK manufacturer Oxford Health Company had a 15,000pc surge in page views for its tablets in March, compared to January, after a “considerable increase in demand for iodine” in the UK and Europe. – Telegraph

Michael Gove has opened up a new front in his war with Britain’s biggest housebuilders after describing them as a “cartel” in comments to Conservative activists. The Housing Secretary told the Conservative Environment Network last week that he had become unpopular with developers because of his stance on building safety. – Telegraph

The head of marine and aviation at the trade body which represents Lloyd’s of London insurers has urged the government to rethink the ethics and benefits of foreign ownership of national assets after what it called the pitiless treatment of P&O Ferries staff. Neil Roberts, of Lloyd’s Market Association, whose members write about £36 billion of premiums every year, said that “UK plc must look at safeguarding itself” after 800 staff were sacked last week without notice or consultation, to be replaced with cheaper agency workers believed to be from overseas. – The Times

Small brewers have expressed alarm at the government’s proposed reform of alcohol duty, and want to know why the mooted tax on cider will be only half the rate on beer. The government, which announced a review of alcohol duty in March 2020, launched a consultation in last year’s budget aimed at simplifying the “complex, burdensome and inconsistent” tax system. – The Times

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