WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

TOBACCO TRADE GROUP CHIEF QUITS
The head of the UK tobacco industry’s main trade body has resigned after failing to persuade the coalition government to rescind anti-tobacco measures introduced under Labour.

Christopher Ogden will step down in October following a review of the organisation’s structure initiated by its members, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Gallaher, a division of Japan Tobacco.


LONDON COUNCILS TO ISSUE BONDS
Wandsworth is known for having one of the lowest council taxes in the country but now it appears set to lead its peers in another respect: by being among the first in decades to sell bonds. The Local Government Association said it was to appoint advisers to examine how it might set up a collective agency to issue aggregate council bonds.

OFCOM PLANS SUPERFAST WIRELESS
Ofcom is to announce plans on today for the first superfast wireless communication in Europe employing unused parts of the airwaves that had been reserved for television. “White space” gaps in the spectrum will allow businesses and consumers to tap into the powerful signals normally used by broadcasters. The effect will be similar to a faster and more powerful version of WiFi.


PORTUGAL PROMISES BIGGEST CUTS IN DECADES
Portugal has announced new austerity measures designed to cut its budget deficit to almost zero in under five years, promising the biggest cuts in government spending for more than 50 years. Vítor Gaspar, finance minister, said yesterday the planned reduction in public expenditure by 2015 – by seven percentage points to 43.5 per cent of gross domestic product – was “without precedent” in recent Portuguese history.

THE TIMES

PLANNING REVOLT FUELS FEARS OVER ECONOMY
Ministers must defy opposition to plans that would ease restrictions on building in the countryside, one of the country’s foremost business leaders has warned. The government must “hold its course” as the row intensifies over proposed changes that would create a “presumption in favour of sustainable development”, David Frost, the departing chief of the British Chambers of Commerce, told The Times.


BERLUSCONI FACES FRESH STORM OVER CUTS TO BUDGET
With Italy still threatened by the eurozone crisis, Silvio Berlusconi is being accused of fiddling while Rome burns. The Italian Prime Minister, facing popular protest, has begun backtracking from key parts of an austerity programme.

The Daily Telegraph

MELROSE RAISES CHARTER BID TO £1.44BN
Melrose has sweetened its bid for Charter by around £40m, bringing it close to landing the £1.44bn takeover of the UK engineering group. The two sides have been locked in talks over the past week, with Melrose's decision to raise its 840p-a-share indicative offer by about 20p looking enough to convince the Charter board to agree the deal.


BARCLAYS FINANCE CHIEF BRUSHES OFF VINCE CABLE ATTACK
Chris Lucas, the Barclays finance director, has brushed off an attack by Vince Cable on banks and warned the Government against prescriptive reform of the sector. He said that if the Government wanted to put in place “workable” changes to avoid a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, it needed to include banks.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


IRENE SETS OFF A STORM OVER SPENDING
Hurricane Irene relief is becoming the focus of the first national spending debate since the debt and budget deal reached a month ago. Disaster relief, like war spending, is often less subject to partisanship than many other programs. But House majority leader Eric Cantor says new federal spending for hurricane recovery must be offset by spending cuts elsewhere, and Democrats are accusing him of playing politics with disaster.


SWITZERLAND CUTS AID PACKAGE FOR ECONOMY
The Swiss government surprised markets Wednesday by more than halving the size of its stimulus package for the country’s economy, worrying exporters and raising doubts about the economy’s capacity to weather the franc's strength.