Scotland to cut corporation tax if it leaves UK – SNP
AN independent Scotland would cut corporation tax to lure investment and boost exports, helping to create new jobs and build a prosperous new nation, the Scottish government has said in a report.
The report on economic policy if Scotland opts to break away from the United Kingdom next year was released a day after a think-tank had warned that an independent Scotland may have to cut public spending and raise taxes.
First Minister Alex Salmond acknowledged that it would take time to improve the economy but said measures to attract skilled workers to Scotland could bring population growth, while tax incentives, like cutting corporation tax, could help create up to 27,000 jobs.
"Independence will give us the chance to build an economy that takes advantage of Scotland's unique strengths and size to deliver a more outward-focused, fairer and resilient economy," the Scottish National Party leader said in a statement with the 200-page report.
Scots will vote next September 18 on whether to become independent. Mr Salmond will unveil a blueprint spelling out the case next week but a fierce political debate is already under way, with the matters of finance, economics and defence at the forefront.
IN BRITAIN LEFT UNCHANGED
BRITAIN'S economy is in a sustained recovery but there are no major inflation risks and the Bank of England will be in no rush to raise interest rates, minutes of the central bank's November policy meeting showed.
As expected, the minutes showed the nine members of the BoE's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously to leave rates at 0.5pc – where they have been since March 2009 – and not to add to the £375bn (€448bn) of bond purchases conducted between then and October 2012.
The BoE last week lowered its forecasts for inflation and said unemployment could fall much more quickly than it had previously thought to the 7pc level at which it would start to think about raising interest rates. The MPC said there were uncertainties about the durability of Britain's recovery after the end of this year.
CHINA SIGNALS SPEEDING UP OF REFORMS
WITH a shift in tone and language, China's central bank governor has dangled the prospect of speeding up currency reform and giving markets more room to set the yuan's exchange rate as he underlines broader plans for sweeping economic change.
The central bank under Zhou Xiaochuan has consistently flagged its intention to liberalise financial markets and allow the yuan to trade more freely, even before the Communist Party's top brass unveiled late last week the boldest set of economic and social reforms seen in the country in nearly three decades.
But since the 60-point reform plan was released, Mr Zhou has suggested urgency in pushing for change, although he has not provided any specific timetable.
He promised on Saturday to "pull out all stops to deepen financial-sector reforms".
BUNDESBANK BOSS SAYS ECB MUST NOT EASE POLICY FURTHER
THE European Central Bank should not signal any further easing of its monetary policy for now as it has only just cut interest rates, Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann has said in a newspaper interview.
The ECB cut interest rates to a record low earlier this month and said it could take them lower still to prevent the eurozone's recovery from stalling after inflation tumbled to 0.7PC – well below its target of just under 2pc.
"The council has only just eased monetary policy further, so I do not think it is sensible to immediately herald the start of the next round," Weidmann told the German weekly 'Die Zeit'.
Last week, ECB Executive Board member Peter Praet raised the prospect of the ECB starting to buy assets to bring inflation closer to the target.
CINEWORLD BOSS RIDES OFF INTO SUNSET
BRITISH cinema operator Cineworld Group has said its chief executive and founder is to step down in March after 18 years with the business to "enjoy the fruits of his success".
Steve Wiener, who has been in the cinema industry for 44 years, left his job as managing director of Warner Bros Europe to set up the business in 1995, growing it to a chain of 34 before it was bought by private equity group Blackstone in 2004.
After a big acquisition of a rival operator, Cineworld floated on the stock exchange in 2007 and now runs 80 sites, including four out of the 10 highest-grossing cinemas in the UK and Ireland.
"In 1995 my wife Jenny and I wrote a business plan to start a cinema company. We expected over a five-year period to open five to seven multiplex cinemas and sell it on to one of the big operators," Mr Wiener said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Today Cineworld is the number one cinema chain in the UK and has been for more than three years."
CHINESE NET TYCOON SEES FORTUNE SOAR
ROBIN Li, founder of China's top internet search engine Baidu, has become the country's second-richest man after his shares rose 63pc this year.
Mr Li's fortune advanced to $11.9bn (€8.75bn), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He overtook Hangzhou Wahaha Group Chairman Zong Qinghou, who is worth $11.8bn and was China's wealthiest individual just three months ago. Li trails Dalian Wanda Group founder and developer Wang Jianlin.
Mr Baidu's shares have climbed more than 50pc on the Nasdaq since July 16, when the company said it would acquire Chinese mobile app developer 91 Wireless Websoft Ltd.
The $1.9bn purchase, together with four acquisitions Mr Li has made over the past year, helped Baidu sap its primary challenger, Qihoo 360 Technology Co, as more internet users tap smartphones. Fawne Jiang and Long Lin, analysts of Brean Capital, have a "buy" rating on the stock.
'SELL ROYAL MAIL STOCK' &NDASH; UBS
UBS, one of the banks which advised the British government on the sale of Royal Mail, placed a 'sell' recommendation on the shares yesterday, saying investors had been too optimistic about future margins.
Royal Mail's share price has rocketed by as much as 80pc since October 11, when Britain sold a majority stake in the near 500-year-old firm, sparking criticism from unions and opposition lawmakers that it had been sold off too cheaply.
Bankers from UBS and Goldman Sachs, which managed the initial public offering, appeared before the House of Commons Business Innovation and Skills committee yesterday to explain their valuations of Royal Mail to MPs.