UK banks approve fewest mortgages since January 2015 in August - BBA
LONDON, The number of mortgages approved by British banks in August fell to its lowest level since January 2015, the British Bankers' Association said on Monday.
ALPBACH, Austria Multinationals like coffee chain Starbucks (SBUX.O) and online retailer Amazon (AMZN.O) pay less tax in Austria than one of the country's tiny sausage stands, the republic's centre-left chancellor lamented in an interview published on Friday.
Chancellor Christian Kern, head of the Social Democrats and of the centrist coalition government, also criticised internet giants Google (GOOGL.O) and Facebook (FB.O), saying that if they paid more tax subsidies for print media could increase.
"Every Viennese cafe, every sausage stand pays more tax in Austria than a multinational corporation," Kern was quoted as saying in an interview with newspaper Der Standard, invoking two potent symbols of the Austrian capital's food culture.
"That goes for Starbucks, Amazon and other companies," he said, praising the European Commission's ruling this week that Apple (AAPL.O) should pay up to 13 billion euros (10.91 billion pounds) in taxes plus interest to Ireland because a special scheme to route profits through that country was illegal state aid.
Apple has said it will appeal the ruling, which Chief Executive Tim Cook described as "total political crap". Google, Facebook and other multinational companies say they follow all tax rules.
Kern criticised EU states with low-tax regimes that have lured multinationals - and come under scrutiny from Brussels. "What Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg or Malta are doing here lacks solidarity towards the rest of the European economy," he said.
He stopped short of saying that Facebook and Google would have to pay more tax but underlined their significant sales in Austria, which he estimated at more than 100 million euros each, and their relatively small numbers of employees - a "good dozen" for Google and "allegedly even fewer" for Facebook.
"They massively suck up the advertising volume that comes out of the economy but pay neither corporation tax nor advertising duty in Austria," said Kern, who became chancellor in May.
(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Dominic Evans)
LONDON Governments worldwide should pass new laws to facilitate the sharing of information between themselves and the private sector in order to better combat financial crime, HSBC's top lawyer told a banking conference in Geneva on Monday.
MUNICH The shock over Britain's decision to quit the European Union has been overcome for now, Ifo economist Klaus Wohlrabe told Reuters on Monday after the institute's monthly survey showed business morale in Germany surging in September.