PRESS DIGEST- British Business - March 3

Reuters

March 3 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

The Telegraph

FREE BANKING COULD END, SAYS RBS BOSS

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The end of free banking for customers is probably only a matter of time, with direct charges for current accounts almost inevitable, according to Ross McEwan, the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland. McEwan, however, said that he had no plans to begin phasing out free accounts at the moment.

OSBORNE ACCUSED OF DOUBLE TAXATION ON ENERGY BILLS

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The British Chancellor has been accused of making tens of millions of pounds in double taxation on energy bills - by charging VAT on top of "green" taxes.

The Guardian

AIR PASSENGERS WILL GO TO SCOTLAND TO AVOID PAYING DUTY - BA BOSS

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The boss of British Airways has said he expects hundreds of thousands of people to drive from England to Scotland to avoid air passenger duty if Scotland becomes independent.

UK-SPAIN POLICE SWOOP ON SHARES FRAUD LEADS TO 110 ARRESTS

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Criminal gangs blamed for fake-share scams that robbed British victims of millions of pounds in savings have been rounded up in an international crackdown involving UK police.

The Independent

HALF A MILLION UK HOMES IN NEGATIVE EQUITY

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Nearly half a million households in the UK are worth less than the mortgages on them, the newspaper reported citing a BBC report. The figures, released by the mortgage group HML, are based on data from more than one million home loans.

'UKRAINIAN ASSETS OWNED OR USED BY OUSTED PRESIDENT VIKTOR YANUKOVYCH HIDDEN BEHIND TRAIL OF FIRMS WITH LINKS TO UK'

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Hundreds of millions of pounds of state assets believed to have been owned or used by the ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his circle, including his now-notorious country mansion, are alleged to have been funnelled through London front companies.

Sky News

VIRGIN MONEY BACKS DOUBLING OF BANK BONUSES

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Sir Richard Branson's banking arm Virgin Money will this week become the latest of Britain's high street lenders to say that it is supporting the payment of higher bonuses under new European rules.

DEBT COLLECTION GIANT SLASHES BORROWING COSTS

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Lowell Group, which is owned by private equity firm TDR Capital, is to unveil a deal that will slash the cost of its own borrowings.

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