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Wednesday newspaper round-up: AstraZeneca, tax avoidance, car industry

AstraZeneca is facing mounting opposition over its plans to award its chief executive, Pascal Soriot, a big increase in bonuses, with three investor advisory groups calling on shareholders to vote against the policy. Pirc, Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) have all flagged concerns over moves to raise the maximum share bonus Soriot can receive under a long-term plan from 550% of his £1.3m base salary to 650%. AZ also plans to hoist Soriot’s maximum annual bonus to 250% of salary from 200%, depending on performance targets being hit. – Guardian

Boris Johnson’s government lacks public trust to tackle global tax avoidance despite mounting pressure for reform, at a time when US technology companies such as Amazon and Google have been reporting bumper profits during the Covid-19 pandemic. A poll of more than 2,000 adults in the UK found less than a third trust the prime minister and the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to take on big business interests as part of a crackdown on tax avoidance. – Guardian

Rishi Sunak has suggested wealthy families will be spared from a US-style tax raid as he hailed the strength of Britain’s surging economic recovery. The Chancellor on Tuesday said that he is “cautiously optimistic” about an upswing in economic growth as a string of data pointed to a sharp bounceback. – Telegraph

Britain’s car industry will suffer a devastating blow if the country fails to build battery factories ahead of a 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles, experts have said. Factories could be forced to shut and new car prices will rise unless the UK urgently develops so-called gigafactories to power the electric models of the future, MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee heard as they opened an inquiry into the shift away from fossil fuels. – Telegraph

The British and Indian governments have committed to negotiate a free trade agreement as they seek to double the value of trade between the nations by 2030. The announcement came yesterday as the government unveiled a package of investment and trade deals with India that it said would create 6,500 jobs in the UK. – The Times

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