Morning papers: Co-op seeks to raise further £400m

The Co-operative Bank is hoping to raise a further £400m in capital three months after finishing a £1.5bn recapitalisation, the Financial Times reports.

According to the paper, the bank today revealed it would make a £400m provision for issues including mis-sold consumer products and a breach of the Consumer Credit Act, which could push it into an underlying pre-tax loss of £1.2-£1.3bn for 2013.

Niall Booker, chief executive of the bank, said: “The increased losses mean we have started from a lower capital ratio than we’d like - we only have a thin sliver of surplus capital.”

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The bank launched a rights issue to raise the £400m from existing shareholders.

Banks could be in line for ‘secret tax cut’

The biggest banks in Britain could enjoy tax cuts worth hundreds of millions of pounds under proposed changes to the bank levy announced in last week’s Budget, the Telegraph reports.

The paper claims Barclays and HSBC could have their combined levy charges fall by more than £300m if the Treasury pushes ahead with proposals for a band-based levy system under which the tax of an individual bank is capped at an upper limit.

Under the draft proposals a maximum charge of £375m could mean the biggest UK lenders would pay less while foreign banks would have to pay more.

Confidence in UK economy ‘highest in three years’

Consumer confidence in the UK economy has hit its highest point in at least three years, the Daily Mail reports.

According to a survey by Lloyds Bank which examines British consumers’ spending power, only 27 per cent of respondents said the country’s financial situation is poor, the lowest level since the survey began.

The boost in sentiment coincides with falling inflation.

The paper said consumer confidence could be further boosted by the extension of the government’s Help to Buy scheme.

Oil slump hits Scottish finances

University of Glasgow researchers have warned that a fall in oil production in the North Sea could leave Scotland £1,000 worse off per person than the UK, the Guardian reports.

The paper reports that economists have used the latest oil tax forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility to estimate that the public spending deficit in an independent Scotland would be about £1,000 worse per person until 2018.