Wednesday newspaper roundup: Covid loan fraud, Brexit costs, tax hikes, Tesla, TalkTV

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Suitcases filled with money from taxpayer-backed Covid loans were seized at the border as people tried to smuggle them out of the country, a Times investigation reveals today. Border Force officials have arrested people at airports across Britain ‘carrying large sums of money suspected of coronavirus repayment loans’, a Home Office source has said. – The temperature

According to a report, Brexit has driven up the price of food imported from the EU, deepening Britain’s cost of living crisis. The UK in a Changing Europe (UKICE) think tank said trade barriers introduced after leaving the EU led to a 6% rise in food prices in the UK between December 2019 and September 2021, adding growing financial pressure for households. – Guardian

Rishi Sunak has been urged to cut taxes at a Cabinet meeting on tackling the cost of living crisis, after official figures showed record tax receipts for the Treasury. While colleagues have suggested lowering the cost of childcare and scrapping MOTs to help ease the pain of rising bills and prices, Kit Malthouse, the police minister, argued that the reducing the tax burden would be the best way to help families in difficulty. – Telegraph

Tesla investors showed their disapproval of Elon Musk’s plans to take over Twitter yesterday, sending shares falling sharply. The electric carmaker’s market valuation has fallen below $1 trillion amid scrutiny of how its chief executive and largest shareholder intends to fund its $44 billion buyout. – The temperature

Britain’s economy will take an £8billion hit this year due to a reduction in the size of the workforce caused by a pandemic-induced rise in health problems, research has shown. a think tank. A report by the Institute for Public Policy Research said a combination of long Covid, NHS disruptions and a rise in mental illness meant 400,000 workers had gone missing since the start of the global health crisis. – Guardian

Liz Truss will call for increased defense spending on Wednesday, saying the West oversaw a “generation of underinvestment” that led to the invasion of Ukraine. In what is billed by his aides as a major foreign policy speech, the foreign secretary will say that NATO’s traditional target of spending 2% of GDP on defense should be a minimum. – Telegraph

At least £100m of taxpayer-backed Covid loans went to businesses formed after the pandemic began, raising questions about whether the money went to the businesses it was meant to help. The money was intended to support existing businesses hit by the fallout from the pandemic, but a loophole meant new businesses, at which the policy was not targeted, could also benefit. – The temperature

A P&O Ferries passenger ship that operates between Scotland and Northern Ireland was stranded in the Irish Sea for two hours on Tuesday after a mechanical breakdown. The European Causeway, which sails between Cairnryan and Larne, lost power before arriving at the port in Northern Ireland. – Guardian

Rupert Murdoch’s TalkTV beat the BBC, Sky News and GB News with its flagship show at launch, as hundreds of thousands tuned in to Piers Morgan’s interview with Donald Trump. Piers Morgan Uncensored edged out its rivals with an average viewership of 316,800, which peaked at 400,000, as the combative presenter made his 8pm debut. – Telegraph

Google fell short of Wall Street expectations last night as concerns over a global economic slowdown added pressure on advertising budgets. Shares of Alphabet, its parent company, fell after posting a steeper decline in earnings than analysts had expected after a bumper run in recent years. – The temperature

More than 200,000 private tenants in England have received eviction notices without doing anything wrong in the three years since the government first promised to ban the practice, housing campaigners have claimed. Every seven minutes a tenant has received a no-fault eviction notice since Theresa May’s Conservative government first pledged to scrap it in April 2019, research by Shelter, the charity for housing. – Guardian

The average battery-powered car can now travel nearly 260 miles on a single charge after an “electric decade” in which ranges have tripled and the number of vehicles available has increased nearly 15 times. UK has an average battery range of 257 miles compared to 74 miles in 2011, according to industry trade body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). – Telegraph

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