Investments  

Morning papers: HMRC chiefs face grilling by MPs

The credibility of HM Revenue and Customs’ £35bn estimate of Britain’s “tax gap” – the amount lost from the public purse to evasion, avoidance and payment failure – is expected to face fierce challenge when three top officials appear before a parliamentary committee on Monday, reports The Guardian.

MPs on the public accounts committee, chaired by Margaret Hodge, are expected to ask why the complex tax policies of Google, Amazon and Starbucks do not register in official avoidance figures. When HMRC this month published its tax gap figures for 2012, it said the amount lost to what it narrowly defines as tax avoidance was just £4bn, the same amount as the previous year.

George Osborne prepares to relaunch Royal Bank of Scotland

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George Osborne is preparing to relaunch Royal Bank of Scotland this week with reforms that include splitting off billions of pounds of risky loans, as he tries to reposition the part-nationalised lender, reports The Financial Times.

The overhaul of RBS, which follows a four-month review by Rothschild, the investment bank, and BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, is set to be announced before, or alongside, the bank’s third-quarter results on Friday. Analysts expect these results – the first for new chief executive Ross McEwan, to show a return to profit.

Chinese investors rush into Africa after Arab Spring

European and British investors are “standing by the sidelines” in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, as China starts pouring money into Africa, according to the continent’s biggest private-equity group, reports The Independent.

Citadel Capital managing director Hisham El-Khazindar admitted Arab Spring nations like Egypt had to prove they were introducing economic reforms, tightening security and had implemented a political roadmap before Western nations would reinvest.

Barack Obama mounts big push to bolster FDI in US

President Barack Obama and his senior cabinet officials are mounting a big push to bolster foreign investment in the US – amid evidence that America is falling behind other countries in the race for global capital, reports The Financial Times.

The move by Mr Obama to pitch America as open for business is more aggressive than usual from the White House, reflecting a growing realisation in Washington that the case for investing in the world’s biggest economy is no longer self-evident.

Shale gas could supply UK for four years and save jobs

Opponents of fracking are putting British jobs at risk and failing to take advantage of a fuel source that could power the country’s gas needs for four years from one company’s licences alone, the chief executive of the shale gas explorer Dart Energy warned, reports The Telegraph.

John McGoldrick, who last week secured the backing of French energy giant GDF Suez in a £24m deal, said he hoped to begin drilling for shale in early 2015.