The Sunday Telegraph
The UK economy will grow 1.5pc this year, beating an earlier estimate of 1pc growth. The economy will continue to expand again in 2014, said Lloyds Banking Group CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio. However, growth of at least 3pc was needed in order to drive an increase in jobs, he said.
The book value of the Lloyds-owned TSB branch network was £1.5bn, compared with the £750m Co-Operative Bank was willing to pay, he added. Co-Operative Bank pulled out of an agreement to buy the 632 branches in April. Mr Horta-Osorio said he was confident a sale can be achieved in 2014.
The French government is considering cutting its corporate tax rate to 30pc from 33pc. A final decision on a new business tax rate has not been made, but a more than 10pc reduction is being considered, according to business group sources.
The government is also looking at changing the rules setting out how the tax is calculated. It could mean taxing companies based on their gross operating earnings rather than turnover. The Socialist government is reacting to the backlash it has suffered since it hiked its total tax take by €30bn this year as part of the process to rein in overspending.
Germany's finance minister has said that Ireland and Portugal probably won't need further European aid, but said financial markets are "not always rational". In an interview ahead of his country's general election, Wolfgang Schaeuble said granting Greece another debt cut would cause renewed uncertainty, however. Greece was doing better than expected in some areas, he added.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected an opposition call for the introduction of so-called euro bonds. Mrs Merkel said it would be wrong to "change the course" in fighting the euro region's debt crisis, which consists of international aid in return for economic policy changes.
A senior Bank of England policymaker says the UK may not need to continue its loose money policies if the new plan of offering forward guidance to the markets works. Paul Fisher is seen among the figures at the Bank of England most comfortable with the bank's quantitative easing (QE) programme.
Under the scheme the UK's central bank has spent £375bn buying up UK government bonds and kept interest rates at just 0.5pc in an effort to prop up the economy. However, he now says the bank may be in a position to hold off on pumping further cash into the economy if its new forward-guidance plan works. "I don't think the need to rebuild balance sheets has gone away. If forward guidance gives more confidence, it may be we can hold off QE until it falters or something else happens."