Additional News Roundup Friday 31st May 2019



Tory rivals back radical tax and spend policies

Philip Hammond’s warning about the risks of cutting taxes have been ignored by a raft of Tory leadership candidates who have backed a new report by Onward, a centre-Right think-tank, which recommended the Government should “turn on all the taps” to increase growth and help low earners. Onward said the reduction in the national debt should be slowed freeing up about £190bn over four years to be spent on tax cuts and higher spending on public services. The report also advocates a gradual reduction in corporation tax from 19% to 12.5%, in line with Ireland; proposes raising the National Insurance threshold to £13,000 for people with children and called for changes to the benefit system to increase incomes for low-wage working households by up to £4,300 a year.

Financial Times, Page: 2 The Times, Page: 6 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 1 Daily Mail, Page: 12 Daily Express, Page: 4 The Sun, Page: 8

New Tory leader must end stealth taxation

Ryan Bourne argues in the Telegraph that Tory leadership contenders should cut taxes for high earners, complaining that millions of people have been dragged over higher rate thresholds while governments cynically fail to peg them to inflation. “A new Tory leader must end this stealth taxation and, at a minimum, renormalise protecting tax thresholds’ real values. Ideally that requires a retrospective jump in the higher rate threshold and new law to link thresholds to wages or prices.” Elsewhere, a slew of top entrepreneurs and investors state in a letter to the FT that the next PM should spur investment through the tax system; regulate for innovation and encourage better links between corporates and start-ups.

The Daily Telegraph Financial Times, Page: 10

G20 plans digital tax for large firms

G20 countries are planning a digital tax that would charge large companies based on the business they do in a country, rather than where their headquarters are. The policy would target firms such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. A final agreement is expected in 2020, although finance ministers will draw up a basic plan when they meet in Fukuoka next month.

The I, Page: 47

HMRC bungles sums on marriage tax break

Last year the Treasury claimed 3m couples were already using the marriage allowance but HMRC has now revised the figure down to below 1.8m for the 2018-19 tax year having counted some claimants more than once.

Financial Times The Daily Telegraph

Tax-efficient EIS companies take in £2bn despite clampdown

Investors put nearly £2bn into tax-efficient Enterprise Investment Scheme companies in 2017-18 despite a new “risk-to-capital” test. Experts say the popularity of EIS is partly driven by cuts to pension tax relief.

Financial Times

Tax rises warning over £1bn hole in budget

The Scottish Fiscal Commission (SFC) has warned that workers can expect more tax rises to plug a £1bn gap in the Scottish budget. The SFC predicts a decrease in Scottish income tax receipts over the next three years.

The Press and Journal, Page: 12 The Scotsman, Page: 1, 5


UK could be an “exporting superpower”, says Liam Fox

Liam Fox will today set out his ambition to increase exports as a proportion of UK GDP from 30% to 35% as the international trade secretary outlines his plan to make the UK a “21st century exporting superpower”. Dr Fox will say around 400,000 UK businesses have the potential to export but currently are not and will announce a new digital platform to help businesses better access financial incentives and loans. The new Exports Strategy will also include an online tool enabling businesses to submit the non-tariff barriers they face. Those UK exporters most likely to benefit from up to £50bn worth of export finance and insurance support from UK Export Finance will be targeted in an awareness campaign. Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses national chairman, said the strategy is “strong on aspiration”, but warned “it’s concerning to see a lack of definitive, detailed interventions”.


FSB calls for late-payment reforms

The Federation of Small Businesses has called on the Prime Minister to use her final days in office to push through reforms to tackle the problem of late payments. In the Spring Statement the Government promised to make the audit committee of every large business responsible for its payment practices and strengthen the small business commissioner and PPC. These latest reforms need to be delivered, the FSB said.

The I, Page: 47

Fintech explodes in Scotland

Scotland is now home to more than 100 fintech firms. At the start of the year it was announced that the number of firms had trebled to 75 over the 12 months since the formation of industry organisation FinTech Scotland, whose strategic partners are IBM, Deloitte, Equifax, Pinsent Masons, Sopra Steria, Dentsu Aegis Network and the Prudential.

The Scotsman, Page: 35


US buyers flock to London property

Buying agent Black Brick says that the number of Americans looking to buy expensive property in central London has soared, accounting for nearly a third of the firm’s clients in the year to June. US buyers are taking advantage of a 40% discount on top-of-the-market prices, with prime London property prices down 15-20% and the value of the pound dropping.

The Daily Telegraph


CBI warns of no-deal Brexit damage to business

CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn has sent an open letter to all Tory leadership candidates warning that a no-deal Brexit would do “severe” damage to businesses. She said her 190,000 members desperately wanted an end to Brexit turmoil, adding: “Leaving the EU with a deal is the best way forward. Short-term disruption and long-term damage to British competitiveness will be severe if we leave without one. The majority of firms can never be prepared for no deal, particularly our small and medium-sized members who cannot afford complex and costly contingency plans.”

Daily Mail Financial Times The Independent, Page: 9

Ramsden: Drawn out Brexit delays investment rebound

Bank of England deputy governor Sir Dave Ramsden has said he is not as optimistic about the UK economy as his colleagues, believing that persistent uncertainty over the final outcome of Brexit negotiations will mean investment will not bounce back as strongly as hoped and productivity growth was likely to remain low.

The Times Financial Times, Page: 2
Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward