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In the papers today - 2nd June 2008

Business leaders are urging Gordon Brown to face down a threatened Labour rebellion over moved to streamline the planning system that MPs will debate today...

...Rebel Labour backbenchers are fighting proposals to remove the ministerial veto from new power stations and other big infrastructure projects, allowing applications to be decided by a new independent commission – Financial Times

Opposition to the Government's eco-towns project has surged, with protesters signing up at a rate of 2,000 a day to call on the Prime Minister to halt proposals for 10 new towns across England Campaigners across the country are working together to fight the plans, which have been criticised by environmental groups, planning authorities and residents - The Daily Telegraph

Severn Trent could be forced to pay up to £70m today following a criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over allegations that the water company provided false data on leaks to Ofwat, the industry regulator. In April, Ofwat fined Severn Trent a record £36M for knowingly misreporting customer service data to cover up its true performance and for poor customer service standards - The Daily Telegraph

Water companies will post profits of more than £1 billion this week but consumers still face a six per cent rise in bills this year. Campaigners warned that suppliers faced a backlash from customers angry at above-inflation price increases at a time when home owners were struggling to cope with rising costs - The Daily Telegraph

Cash-strapped airports operator BAA is heading for a brawl with the holders of its £2bn junior debts over the terms on which they participate in its much delayed £10bn refinancing. Junior debt holders bought into BAA when it was acquired for £10.1bn in 2006 by Airport Development and Investment (ADI), a consortium 61pc controlled by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial - The Daily Telegraph

Allegations that dredging shingle from the North Sea to replenish Britain's coastal defences is a waste of government money and counter-productive, are being studied by the National Audit Office. The body, which normally focuses on effective use of national finances, has been asked to look at the effect of extracting gravel and sand from the seabed and to see whether it is causing widespread coastal erosion in East Anglia and Yorkshire - The Guardian

The energy regulator Ofgem is preparing to rewrite the rules governing access to Britain's electricity network in a bid to cut the queue of renewable generators seeking access. But proposals to make the rules more flexible to allow wind farms quicker access to the network could face opposition from existing power generators. Transmission companies can offer connections if capacity exists but not all the capacity is being used all the time, and the regulator is looking at the possibility of allowing more capacity to be connected to take advantage if some has been bought but is not actually being used. Under such a "connect and manage" system, if too many suppliers wanted to use the system at the same time, some would be "constrained" - blocked off - and paid compensation - The Guardian

Widespread public hostility to immigration threatens to undermine efforts to attract the skilled foreign workers crucial to Britain's future prosperity, the Government is warned today. An influential think-tank says skills shortages, an ageing population and increasing demand for highly qualified workers will leave UK companies more dependent than ever on hiring abroad - The Independent

Pakistan put its clocks forward an hour yesterday, while shops have been ordered to close early as the country struggles with an acute electricity shortage. Setting clocks forward by an hour, to six hours ahead of GMT, should enable the country to take advantage of an extra hour of daylight in the evenings and save power. No new power-generating plants have been installed in the past decade - The Independent

Gazprom plans to grow its UK market share by a factor of 10 within five years but has no long-term plans to buy Centrica, the chief of the UK business said - The Independent

China has been advised by the Government on how to establish a thriving private equity industry, with the Treasury passing papers on tax and regulation to Beijing as London seeks a strategic advantage over the US. The advice, coupled with discussions between senior UK buy-out executives and Beijing officials, might give London a head start in the tussle with New York for influence in China, widely seen as private equity's next Eldorado – Financial Times

More engineering companies are raising prices to lessen the impact of higher energy, raw materials and transport costs, the EEF manufacturers organisation reports today in a survey providing further evidence of the pressure stoking inflation – Financial Times

Senators will begin a debate in Washington today on proposals for climate-change legislation seen as a blueprint for a future US carbon-trading programme – Financial Times

The solar power business is bracing itself for a collapse in prices that could lead to a shake-out in one of the most promising areas of the renewable energy sector. Expectations of falling prices have been partly sparked by a surge in the level of manufacturing, capacity for solar panels. This is likely to lead to supply outstripping demand for the first time in years – Financial Times

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