Sunday newspaper round-up: Restrictions, Brexit deal, Tax

Sir Keir Starmer has urged Boris Johnson to bring in new national Covid restrictions within the next 24 hours. The Labour leader said the virus was “clearly out of control”, as he insisted that it was “no good the Prime Minister hinting that further restrictions are coming into place in a week, or two or three. That delay has been the source of so many problems,” he said. “So, I say bring in those restrictions now, national restrictions, within the next 24 hours.” – Sunday Telegraph

Officials will this week launch urgent talks to thrash out a Brexit deal for the City by March, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. The Treasury’s top Ministers and civil servants will hold meetings with City lobby groups to form a plan for selling British financial services in EU countries. John Glen, the City Minister, and Katharine Braddick, director general of financial services at the Treasury, will play key roles in drawing up a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with the EU. – Mail on Sunday

Britain is being urged to overhaul its tax system after a report found that official data had missed almost £800bn owned by the country’s wealthiest households. The Resolution Foundation said that calculations by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) had failed to take account of about 5% of the assets and wealth in Britain. The think tank’s analysis used The Sunday Times Rich List as well as ONS statistics. – Sunday Times

In these strangest of times it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the biggest investment winners has nothing to do with real money. It is ‘cryptocurrency’ Bitcoin. But investment experts are divided over whether its recent surge in price can be sustained. While some, such as asset manager Ruffer, have embraced it within their investment portfolios, others fear it could be heading for a sharp fall – as happened in early 2018. – Mail on Sunday

The bosses of leisure giants including JD Wetherspoon, Marston’s and the owner of Alton Towers warned this weekend of a cliff-edge for businesses in the spring as emergency Covid-19 support measures are withdrawn while the economy is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic. Business leaders said that there was an urgent need to extend the measures — such as business rates relief and the cut in VAT from 20% to 5% for hospitality, tourism and accommodation — for at least a year. – Sunday Telegraph

Beyond the horizon off the coast of North Yorkshire, a quiet revolution is emerging from the waves of the North Sea. More than 80 miles from land, hundreds of the world’s most powerful wind turbines have begun reaching into the air as construction progresses on the biggest windfarm ever built. Almost 200 turbines, each almost as tall as the Eiffel tower, will soon rise above the submerged Doggerland to populate an expanse of sea as large as North Yorkshire itself. – Guardian

The pandemic has already wreaked havoc on the pub sector, with some of the UK’s largest pubcos including Greene King, Mitchells and Butlers, Fuller’s and Marston’s axing thousands of jobs between them last year. Meanwhile, some 2,500 pubs are estimated to have closed for good across the UK as coronavirus restrictions cause cash reserves to dry up and debts to mount. With activity in the pub sector having been typified by consolidation in recent years such as Stonegate’s £1.3bn purchase of Ei Group in 2019 and Greene King’s takeover by Hong Kong-based CKA in the same year, experts predict the downfall of some operators will provide an opportunity for their better-placed rivals. – Sunday Telegraph

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