Thursday newspaper round-up: North Sea drilling, Ikea, Studio Retail

by | Feb 24, 2022

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The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, will say he wants to cut taxes “sustainably” and downgrade the role played by the state as an engine of growth, in a landmark speech that aims to quell concern among Tory backbenchers about the tax burden rising to its highest level in 70 years. Spelling out a personal philosophy on Thursday in his first major speech since Downing Street scandals opened the door for a change of leadership at the top of the Conservative party, Sunak will say only a market economy, driven by private sector spending, will create the dynamism needed to maintain sustainable growth. – Guardian
The prospects for an expansion of oil and gas drilling in the North Sea have cleared a major hurdle, as the Committee on Climate Change said “stringent tests” must be applied to any new exploration licences but stopped short of saying they could not be issued. New drilling would not reduce energy bills for UK consumers, the committee found, and its chair, former Conservative environment secretary Lord Deben, said he would “favour” a moratorium on North Sea exploration. – Guardian

Ikea will invest £1bn in London over the next three years as it opens its first city-centre shopping centre. The Swedish retail giant, known for flat-pack furniture and meatballs, has changed tack in recent years to focus on smaller, urban locations rather than just vast, out-of-town sites as consumers alter their shopping patterns. The £170m Livat shopping centre, previously the Kings Mall in Hammersmith, opens on Thursday and features Ikea’s first small store in the UK as it seeks to become more “accessible” to customers. – Telegraph

The Serious Fraud Office has begun a criminal investigation into Arena Television, the collapsed outside broadcaster accused of borrowing £280 million against thousands of non-existent assets. In action taken in conjunction with the National Crime Agency, two arrests were made and three properties were searched yesterday as agencies seek to build evidence of what is alleged to be one of the biggest scams to hit Britain’s asset-based lending industry. – The Times

About 1,400 jobs have been put at risk after Studio Retail, the online retailer, formally appointed the administrators Teneo last night to handle its collapse. The company formerly known as Findel stunned the City last week after suspending its shares, saying its request for a short-term £25 million working capital loan had been turned down by its bank, HSBC. – The Times

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