Opening Bell: Defending NAMA developments, EU ministers fail to agree on tax, Premier League profits boom

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The Irish Government has told the European Commission that plans for NAMA to build 20,000 starter homes are not illegal and that this would not constitute state aid.

A number of Irish builders have complained that the government agency's actions would distort Ireland's housing market and allow NAMA to undercut rivals.

They say that NAMA's borrowings are supported by a State guarantee which allows it to access money at rates up to six times cheaper than commercial builders can.

The Department of Finance argues that NAMA actions like this were cleared of state aid status when the agency was established in 2009 and that this intervention does not go beyond the powers originally given to the agency.


EU finance ministers have failed to reach an agreement on a new strategy to fight tax avoidance.

The decision on the policy change has now been postponed until June.

Ireland is one of a number of states that has raised concerns about the proposals that were announced in January to fight tax avoidance.

Michael Noonan said that "several hundred pages of OECD consideration of hybrids have been reduced to a couple of lines in this directive" referring to new rules regarding companies' corporate tax payments.

It is estimated that profit shifting and other avoidance measures cost the EU €70bn per year.


Clubs in England's Premier League generated record income of £3.4bn last year with 14 of the 20 clubs making a profit, according to The Guardian's analysis of individual club's financial filings for the 2014/15 season. These figures make it the most lucrative year on record.

Before financial fair play was introduced in 2013 only 8 top-flight clubs returned profits.

Manchester United had the highest turnover in the league at £395m - while Arsenal had the highest income from ticket sales and matchday activities, making £100m.

On the other end of the scale, Burnley FC had the lowest turnover, at £79m, with matchday income of only £6m - it finished second last in the league and was relegated.


One in ten women want to start their own business but think they lack the confidence or skills to do so.

A study for Facebook found more than 70% of women couldn't identify a female role model running a similar business to the one they would like to set up.

The social network is now launching a campaign to provide advice, information, and support for female entrepreneurs.