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The Business Matrix: Monday 6 January 2014

Hammond in fresh reform bid

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has privately started his latest attempt to reform the agency that buys the armed forces’ food, vehicles and weapons. Some of the biggest suppliers have been asked to talk to officials about how they would manage Defence Equipment & Support’s IT systems, human resources and other specific projects.

Litigants flock to London

High Court disputes over trademarks leapt more than 30 per cent to 114 cases in 2013, according to an analysis by the law firm RPC. The British courts have become a favoured battleground for international businesses to fight for protection of their global intellectual property rights. Court cases over major copyrights also jumped by 9 per cent.

What the Sunday papers said

Google to pay £24m in back tax

Google expected to pay at least £24m in backdated tax, the first internet behemoth to be hit by an HMRC crackdown. The charge comes after widespread outcry that Google,  Facebook, Amazon and Apple paid just £14m in UK corporation tax in 2012 despite an  estimated combined turnover  of £16.6bn.

Sunday Times

Co-op Bank funds use tax havens

Nearly all of the 20 hedge funds that own 30 per cent of Co-Op Bank hold their investments through tax havens. Companies House documents reveal  that 18 of the hedge funds own the “ethical” bank through vehicles based in the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, the British Virgin Islands and Jersey.

Mail on Sunday

Nuclear operators face lawsuit risk

British nuclear operators face being sued for billions of pounds by the Irish Government and Irish victims of any radioactive damage they cause under international legal changes this year. Anyone affected in Ireland by a nuclear accident that originates in the UK will be able to sue in the High Court for up to £1bn.

Independent on Sunday

Scottish Power trims bills

Scottish Power is set to cut household bills by 3.3 per cent, becoming the fourth major energy supplier to pass on savings from cuts to green levies. This will typically save the electricity and gas group’s 2.2 million customers on variable tariffs more than £40 a year on their dual fuel bill. 

Sunday Telegraph

Week ahead

Too much red at Dunelm?

A swathe of red blocks signalling 20 per cent off homewares currently dominates the front page of the Dunelm website. Investors will be hoping for very little red in tomorrow’s trading statement, though, particularly after Dunelm failed to pay thousands of staff last week due to “administrative error”.

Persimmon to reveal sales rise

Numis analyst Chris Millington expects residential developer Persimmon to confirm strong trading for the end of 2013 on Wednesday, with some house price inflation also helping the figures. However, he still thinks that the stock is “expensive relative to peers”, with shares valued at well over £12 a pop.

Cracks widen at retail giants

All eyes will be on Marks & Spencer and Tesco on Thursday, as the empires of the high street and supermarkets are expected to confirm yet more cracks in what investors had long believed were indestructible foundations. M&S is forecast flat or worse sales in clothing, footware, and homewares.

Tesco meat supplier reports

A day after Tesco reports what is likely to prove to be a miserable festive season, its meat packer, Hilton Food Group, issues a trading report. Last month, Hilton announced a new agreement as a supplier to Tesco that runs to February 2019 and has improved analyst forecasts for the coming years.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?