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Monday newspaper round-up: Petrol stations, house prices, Octopus Energy

Hundreds of soldiers could be scrambled to deliver fuel to petrol stations running dry across the country due to panic buying and a shortage of drivers under an emergency plan expected to be considered by Boris Johnson on Monday. The prime minister will gather senior members of the cabinet to scrutinise “Operation Escalin” after BP admitted that a third of its petrol stations had run out of the main two grades of fuel, while the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), which represents almost 5,500 independent outlets, said 50% to 90% of its members had reported running out. It predicted that the rest would soon follow. – Guardian
A second wave of demand for more space will keep driving house prices across Great Britain higher, with values set to rise by up to 3.5% a year between 2022 and 2024, a forecast claims. The estate agent Hamptons also predicted that more homes will be sold in 2021 than in any year since 2007, after a record surge in activity this year as families sought larger homes after the pandemic. – Guardian

Octopus Energy is taking on the 580,000 customers of collapsed supplier Avro, as the wave of failures in the sector boosts the position of stronger businesses. Industry regulator Ofgem chose the new supplier after running a competition between other energy businesses. – Telegraph

David Cameron is facing new questions about his business links after the British division of a technology group he advises restated its accounts over multimillion-pound errors linked to its use of a financial mechanism that aids tax avoidance. The restatement of the 2019 accounts of the UK division of Afiniti, a Bermuda-based software company, threatens to open a new front in the scandal over the former prime minister’s choice of business partners. His reputation was tarnished by the collapse of Greensill Capital, the finance company he advised that is subject to a fraud inquiry and scrutiny over access to government. – The Times

The American private equity firm that has launched a £7 billion takeover for Morrisons has set up vehicle in the Cayman Islands to be the ultimate owner of the supermarket chain, which has led to concerns about the tax implications of buyout deals. Details of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice’s offshore bid vehicle, Market21GP Holdings, have emerged just before the Takeover Panel is expected to formalise a timetable for an auction that should decide whether CD&R or a consortium led by Fortress Investment Group will own Morrisons.It is understood that an auction could come this weekend and end within a couple of weeks. – The Times

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