March 14, 2017 / 1:14 AM / 9 months ago

PRESS DIGEST- British Business - March 14

March 14 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

The Times

* Nicola Sturgeon shocked her political opponents and Westminster in equal measure when the Scottish First Minister said on Monday that she intends to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence. Sturgeon added she would hold a fresh poll within the next two years to prevent Scotland from being taken out of the European Union "against its will".

* Thousands of employees are facing an uncertain future as a result of oil services company Wood Group's all-share takeover of rival Amec Foster Wheeler. The deal values Amec Foster Wheeler at about 2.3 billion pounds ($2.7 billion).

The Guardian

* The Southern franchise has been hit by a series of strikes in recent months, but Monday's industrial action also involved the Merseyrail and Northern networks. The RMT union is protesting against plans to introduce new trains with doors that can be operated by the driver, and change the role of guard to on-board supervisors.

The Telegraph

* British Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out Nicola Sturgeon's plans for a new Scottish independence referendum before Brexit, but postponed triggering Article 50 after the First Minister's demands caught her by surprise.

* Hutchison China MediTech's chief executive said 2017 would be a "very important year" for the pharmaceuticals company, paving the way for it to launch the first China-made oncology drug onto the market.

Sky News

* Two-thirds of Britons oppose a second Scottish independence referendum, a Sky Data poll reveals. The UK public would strongly oppose such a move, with 65 percent saying there should not be a second independence referendum, while 30 percent say there should.

* British energy supplier SSE has followed a majority of its rivals in announcing inflation-busting hikes to its standard tariffs. The company said it was raising its standard electricity tariff by 14.9 percent from April 28 but would not hike gas prices.

The Independent

* The British Chambers of Commerce has upgraded its GDP growth forecast for this year from 1.1 percent to 1.4 percent, though this rate of growth would still be considerably lower than what is expected by the Bank of England and the Office for Budget Responsibility.

* The EU has said an independent Scotland would have to join a queue of nations seeking membership of the bloc, after Nicola Sturgeon announced plans for a second independence referendum.

($1 = 0.8188 pounds)

Compiled by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney

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