Here are the top business stories making the headlines in the morning newspapers.

SNP ‘crashed’ economic case for independence

The SNP has “crashed” the economic case for independence after the police launched an investigation into the party's finances, Douglas Ross will argue at the Scottish Tory conference today.

The Scottish Tory leader is expected to tell the Glasgow event that the scandal meant “nobody will ever believe a nationalist on currency, pensions and balancing the books ever again”.

The Telegraph says he is expected to argue that the SNP has destroyed the financial case for separation “through their own blunders", and concluded that the Nationalists “lack any credibility”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will address the conference this morning, followed by Mr Ross in the afternoon.

New powers on slow-walking protests

Police in England and Wales are to be given new powers to tackle "disruptive" slow walking used by protesters to block roads.

The BBC says the new legislation would give officers more leeway to intervene when protesters attempt to block roads by slow marching.

It will need to be approved by Parliament before it comes into force.

Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion are among the groups to have used the tactic.

The government says the new law is required because the police lack clarity on when their existing powers can be used.

Unilever and Sainsbury’s reject claims on rising prices

Marmite-maker Unilever and supermarket Sainsbury's have rejected suggestions that they are not protecting customers from rising prices.

It comes after the Office for National Statistics told the BBC that falls in global food prices were not yet being reflected in supermarkets.

Unilever said it was not "profiteering in any form" from rising prices.

Sainsbury's said it had spent millions on lowering prices and was "determined to battle inflation".

The cost of living has surged recently, with food prices almost a fifth higher in March than a year earlier - the biggest such rise since 1977.

However, wholesale food prices have started to fall with the World Bank saying it expected them to drop 8% by the end of this year.

Supermarkets say such falls take time to reach supermarket shelves. But in March the Unite union accused some supermarkets of "fuelling inflation by excessive profiteering".

Investment in low-carbon energy in focus

MPs claim oil companies have “failed to be transparent” about the extent of their investment in low-carbon energy, amid warnings the UK will miss its 2035 deadline to slash power sector emissions.

In a report published today, the cross-party Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee hit out at a “lack of strategic oversight” from ministers which it said would jeopardise plans to generate enough electricity from net-zero sources by 2035.

Energy Voice says MPs also voiced “dissatisfaction” with major oil and gas companies, whom they say “failed to be transparent with the committee about levels of investment in non-fossil fuel based generation technologies.”

Yet sector representatives pointed to more than £100billion in potential investment plans and lengthy evidence submissions issued to the committee.

White paper on gambling

Young gamblers could face a stake limit of £2 on online slot machines, according to new UK Government proposals.

The white paper on gambling, which was published on Thursday, marks the biggest shake-up of regulation in the sector for nearly 20 years.

The government said online slot machines were a particularly high-risk product associated with large losses.

The BBC says the white paper proposes a consultation on stake limits of between £2 and £15 per spin for online slots machines.

However, the government also suggested lower limits and greater protections for 18 to 24-year-olds, who "may be a particularly vulnerable cohort".

The consultation on limits for younger gamblers will include options of a £2 stake limit per spin, a £4 stake limit per spin, or an approach based on individual risk.

There is no new action being taken on advertising, to the dismay of campaigners. The government said measures that already exist go a long way to protect the most vulnerable.

UK criticised by Microsoft boss

Microsoft's president has attacked the UK after it was blocked from buying US gaming firm Activision, saying the EU was a better place to start a business.

The move was "bad for Britain" and marked Microsoft's "darkest day" in its four decades of working in the country, Brad Smith told the BBC.

The regulator hit back saying it had to do what's best for people, "not merging firms with commercial interests".

The UK's move means the multi-billion dollar deal cannot go ahead globally.

Although US and EU regulators have yet to decide on whether to approve the deal, the UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said: "Activision is intertwined through different markets - it can't be separated for the UK. So this decision blocks the deal from happening globally."

If it had been approved, the £55billion deal would have been the gaming industry's biggest takeover, and would have seen Microsoft get hold of massively popular games titles such as Call of Duty, Candy Crush and World of Warcraft.

Both Microsoft and Activision have said they will appeal against the CMA's decision.

Catamaran ferry trials

CalMac is due to begin trials of a catamaran ferry to help provide relief cover on its West Coast network.

The Scottish Government has provided £9million for the nine-month charter of MV Alfred, owned by Pentland Ferries.

There was a short delay to the arrival of the boat due to an issue with another of Pentland Ferries' vessels.

CalMac said MV Alfred would not be added to its fleet until berthing trials were completed.

The BBC says the charter includes a crew provided by the privately-owned Orkney ferry operator.

In coming days the catamaran is to be put through tests, berthing at harbours at Ullapool, Lochmaddy, Port Askaig, Campbeltown, Brodick, Ardrossan and Troon.

MV Alfred has been brought in after CalMac's ageing fleet was hit by breakdowns and shortage of capacity.

BBC chairman report due soon

A report examining the appointment of the BBC's chairman Richard Sharp is expected imminently.

It looks at whether Mr Sharp properly disclosed details of any involvement in the facilitation of a £800,000 loan guarantee to the then PM Boris Johnson.

Mr Sharp has denied any involvement in the arrangement of a loan.

The BBC states that sources say the independent report by Adam Heppinstall KC could be published today.

It examines the public-appointment process that led to Mr Sharp being appointed chairman in February 2021.

More like this…

View all