Tuesday newspaper round-up: NI rise, ultra wealthy, Russian gas, Klarna

by | Mar 1, 2022

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Rishi Sunak is facing renewed pressure from business leaders to delay a planned £12bn rise in national insurance, amid warnings over soaring costs for companies and households as the Russian invasion of Ukraine drives up inflation. The manufacturing trade body Make UK, which represents 20,000 firms of all sizes across the country, said the tax hike planned for April should be pushed back until the UK economy is in a stronger position. It warned the government that pressing ahead would risk firms slamming the brakes on recruitment and putting the economic recovery from Covid at risk. – Guardian

More than 51,000 people joined the ranks of the “ultra-wealthy” last year as the fortunes of the already very rich benefited from rising global stock markets and increased property prices during the pandemic. The number of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) – those with assets of more than $30m (£22.4m) – rose by a record 9.3% last year to 610,569, according to a report by the property consultants Knight Frank. – Guardian

Britain is joining forces with European allies to help wean Germany off Russian gas, in moves that would pave the way for sanctions against the Kremlin’s powerful energy industry. Officials in Whitehall are laying the groundwork for discussions with Berlin and other European importers about a significant increase in deliveries of liquified natural gas at ports across the Continent, with the aim of meeting demand next winter if supplies from Russia are cut off. – Telegraph

Commuters will be hit with the biggest increase in rail fares for nearly a decade despite a steep fall in the number of train services being run. National rail fares will rise by 3.8pc, the steepest increase since January 2013, in a fresh blow to families facing spiralling energy bills, soaring inflation and steepling mortgage costs. – Telegraph

Net losses at Klarna ballooned fivefold last year as the instalment credit business shouldered heavy expansion costs and a rise in customer defaults. However, despite the losses of SwKr7.09 billion (£558 million), the Swedish group, which has expanded aggressively with its “buy now, pay later” offering, said that it had won 46 million new customers in 45 countries, boosting its total customer numbers to 147million. – The Times

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