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Monday newspaper round-up: Portugal, HBOS, Consumer spending…

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Problems for eurozone as Portugal blocks cuts; MPs call for HBOS chief’s pension to be cut; consumer spending rises in March.

The eurozone crisis threatens to flare up again this week after Portugal’s constitutional court blocked the country’s planned austerity programme, says The Telegraph. The country’s Prime Minister said yesterday that the rejection poses “serious obstacles and risk” to Portugal meeting the targets linked to its bailout.

MPs of the Treasury Select Committee have called for the £700,000-a-year pension to be cut of the former chief executive of HBOS, Sir James Crosby, “the man accused of sowing the ‘seeds of destruction’ that led to the taxpayer rescue of one of Britain’s biggest banks”, writes The Times.

Markit has revealed a 1.3% rise in British consumer spending in March, the strongest since September and an acceleration from the 0.9% growth in February, according to The Scotsman. Shoppers who were unable to reach the high street amid heavy snow turned to the internet to satisfy their renewed appetite for spending, the paper says.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic airline is rolling out new domestic “Little Red” services this week and while seat sales are said to be low, they are in line with expectations, says The Guardian.

Manchester United has signed a deal with US insurance broker Aon worth $240m to sponsor its training ground at Carrington and kit, according to the Financial Times.

The Financial Times says that a study has found that most European life insurers “will not be forced to alter their investment strategies by the new Solvency II risk-based capital requirements”. The latest study contradicts some industry predictions.

European Central Bank (ECB) policymaker Jens Weidmann said this weekend that Cyprus’ bailout shows that banks can be wound down despite difficulties, The Scotsman writes. It is important to draw the lesson from Cyprus – that banks can be wound up, despite all the difficulties along the way in working out the programme. This is a positive signal, and should help limit uncertainty, he said.