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Tuesday newspaper round-up: Coronavirus, IR35, Prudential, Revolut, AB Foods, flood defences

By Josh White

Date: Tuesday 25 Feb 2020

Tuesday newspaper round-up: Coronavirus, IR35, Prudential, Revolut, AB Foods, flood defences

(Sharecast News) - The FTSE 100 yesterday suffered its largest single-day points drop since August 2015 and its biggest percentage decline since January 2016 as the spread of coronavirus outside China triggered an investor flight to safety. London's leading index closed down 247.09 points, or 3.3 per cent, at 7,156.83, while the pan-European Stoxx 600 dropped 3.8 per cent, its biggest intraday percentage slump since Britain voted to leave the European Union. - The Times
Rishi Sunak has told the taxman not to take a "heavy-handed" approach in the first year of a much-criticised shake-up for self-employed workers, as pressure from campaigners mounts. The Chancellor promised to make "tweaks and improvements" to changes to the IR35 regime which come into force in April, following fury from businesses and contractors fearful they will be landed with massive bills. - Telegraph

South Korea has stepped up its "maximum measures" to contain the coronavirus with plans to test around 200,000 members of a secretive church believed to be at the centre of the country's outbreak. Along with an emergency budget and a crackdown on the hoarding of face masks, the government in Seoul will test members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus after its founder agreed to provide authorities with the names of all its members in the country. - Guardian

Panicked investors have pushed gold to an all-time high in sterling terms as they scrambled to protect their savings from the coronavirus contagion. European stock markets were in turmoil yesterday as a flare-up of the deadly Covid-19 virus in Italy claimed six more lives. - Daily Mail

An American hedge fund has built a 5% stake in Prudential and is calling on the British insurer to split its Asian and US businesses. Third Point, run by Daniel Loeb, the activist investor, wrote to Prudential's board yesterday criticising its strategy and saying that value would be released by separating the fast-growing Asian business from Jackson National Life, the American retirement division. - The Times

Boris Johnson's plan to 'level up' the UK and its regions faces serious challenges, with the richer economies of London and the south east set to grow significantly faster than northern areas. Towns in the north east, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the West Midlands are expected to be the slowest-growing areas over the next three years, according to economists at EY. - Telegraph

The digital bank Revolut has become the UK's most valuable financial technology startup after a funding round that more than tripled its value to ?4.2bn. The valuation puts it ahead of rival digital bank Monzo, which was valued at ?2bn last year, and that of small business lender OakNorth, which previously held the top spot at ?2.2bn. - Guardian

One of the world's biggest private equity firms is ready to pump billions of pounds into British infrastructure projects in a resounding vote of confidence in the UK economy. Blackstone, which manages assets worth more than ?440billion globally, said it was 'bullish' about Britain's prospects following Boris Johnson's election victory in December. - Daily Mail

Doctors need to stop moaning and take responsibility for improving the NHS, the leader of Britain's medics has said. Ministers have given the NHS a "substantial sum" of money and doctors must now stop blaming the government for all its problems, Carrie MacEwen, chairwoman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, told The Times.

British holidaymakers returning from coronavirus-hit parts of Italy will be told to "self-isolate," in an escalation of measures to combat the spread of the deadly virus. On Monday night health officials were locked in talks about how far to ratchet up restrictions which could affect thousands of people. - Telegraph

Primark's owner, Associated British Foods, has warned there is a risk of shortages of some clothing lines later this year if delays in factory production in China are prolonged because of the coronavirus. The virus has killed more than 2,400 and infected more than 77,000 people in China, and slowed growth in the world's second largest economy. - Guardian

British tourists last night attacked the Government's 'pitiful' response to Italy's coronavirus crisis. Furious passengers set to travel to Italian cities hit by the outbreak said they had been left in the lurch with no official safety advice. As other countries ramped up advice not to travel to the Italy crisis zone, Downing Street insisted Britain is 'well prepared' for an outbreak. - Daily Mail

Harvey Weinstein is facing up to 29 years in prison after he was found guilty yesterday of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another. The verdict in New York was hailed as a watershed for abuse victims and sealed Weinstein's descent from imperious mogul to convicted criminal more than two years after the first claims against him emerged. - The Times

Flood-prone communities may have to be abandoned and residents relocated elsewhere, the head of the Environment Agency will say on Tuesday. He will also say building on floodplains should only happen if there is "no real alternative", after the Environment Secretary said on Monday it was necessary to ensure the expansion of towns and cities. - Telegraph

Life expectancy has stalled for the first time in more than 100 years and even reversed for the most deprived women in society, according to a landmark review which shows the gap in health inequalities is yawning even wider than it did a decade ago, in large part due to the impact of cuts linked to the government's austerity policies. - Guardian

A flight attendant who served passengers for 25 years was reportedly fired for being just one pound over an airlines required weight guidelines. Ina Meliesa Hassim tipped the scales when she weighed in at 133lbs, one pound heavier than the Malaysia Airlines cut off weight of 132lbs. - Daily Mail

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