Category Archives: Pensions

NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020


NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

NEWS ROUNDUP

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS UPDATE

Following the range of updates over the last several weeks, we have now rounded up the latest information from the government on specific schemes where additional detail was released. This update covers measures discussed on 4 May.  Download here: –

C-19 Business Support Update

BUSINESS UPDATE NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

KSK Latest Business Update publication now available

Download:

Business Update

EMPLOYMENT NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

Hiring activity plummets to 22-year low

Data from KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found hiring activity fell at the sharpest rate in 22 years last month with the survey also finding a record drop in overall vacancies and a steep rise in the availability of candidates. The REC is calling for the lifting of government support to be tapered to prevent more redundancies. James Stewart, vice-chair at KPMG, said: “The pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the UK jobs market with a record drop in vacancies and recruitment plans frozen. We estimate as many as 13m jobs are highly affected by the lockdown, just over a third of all jobs. It’s an unprecedented situation for UK business, and resilience, then recovery, is key to navigating through the crisis. All eyes will be on the forthcoming announcement on easing restrictions so confidence can start to rebuild.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3 Daily Mail, Page: 70 The Times, Page: 46 Yorkshire Post, Page: 6

CORPORATE NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

Clarks brings in Big Four firms for potential restructuring

Shoe retailer Clarks has brought in Deloitte to advise the company on a potential restructuring, raising concerns of more store closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Fellow Big Four firms KPMG and PwC will be advising the family shareholders and the syndicate of Clarks’ lenders, respectively. Last year, the retailer warned that it was under “significant stress” following a sharp decline in sales, and that it would make a “meaningful” number of store closures. These problems have been further compacted by the lockdown measures. A spokeswoman for Clarks said: “Our leadership team is currently reviewing all options to protect our business, our people and the Clarks brand for future long-term growth. It is our policy not to comment on specific commercial appointments.”

The Times, Page: 45

Debenhams to close five stores after lockdown ends

Debenhams has confirmed that another five stores will not be re-opening after lockdown restrictions are lifted. In a statement the retailer said: “We can confirm that despite our best efforts, we have been unable to agree terms with Hammerson on our five stores in its shopping centres, and so they will not be reopening.” Debenhams fell into administration for the second time in a year last month, with FRP Advisory brought in to help get the business in the best possible position for when restrictions are lifted.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2 The Guardian, Page: 29

Uber to axe 3,700 staff

Uber has announced plans to cut 3,700 full-time staff with the company saying the reductions will come from its customer support and recruiting teams. The firm saw demand for its taxi services fall by more than 60% in coronavirus hotspots during March.

The Times, Page: 49

Nuffield Southampton Theatres enters administration

Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST) has entered administration as a result of the financial impact caused by coronavirus. Buyers are being sought by joint administrators Greg Palfrey and Steve Adshead, from the south coast office of Smith & Williamson.

The Guardian

Top investor calls for dismissal of Wirecard chief Markus Braun

Shareholders are calling for the dismissal of Wirecard CEO Markus Braun following KPMG’s special audit into its accounting and business practices. The probe found no evidence of fraud but raised questions about accounting methods and the existence of certain sales and clients.

Financial Times Financial Times

Companies are dangerously drunk on debt

The FT features a column urging changes in debt taxation, bonus rules and pensions to address “the iniquities of the current system,” which remains vulnerable to future crises.

Financial Times

SMEs NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

Small firms secure £2bn in bounce-back loans in first 24 hours

Small businesses have secured more than 69,000 government-backed loans worth in excess of £2bn in the first 24 hours of the scheme’s launch. The number represents 53% of the 130,000 applications lodged by businesses trying to access cheap funding through the Bounce-Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), which launched on Monday morning as part of the government’s response to the COVID-19 lockdown. The government-backed loans are worth up to £50,000, capped at 25% of a firm’s turnover, at an interest rate of 2.5%. Mike Cherry, the national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said despite a “promising start” for the bounce-back scheme, some firms were still reporting difficulties. He said: “Many of the most vulnerable business owners – particularly sole traders – only have personal banks accounts and, as a result, are being told they cannot access a bounce-back loan. It’s vital that they are helped to secure the finance on which many will depend to make it through this incredibly challenging time”. It is also reported that if a business does not have an account with one of the accredited lenders they face a long wait. Mr Cherry added that alternative lenders should be signed up rapidly to improve the reach of the scheme.

The Guardian, Page: 27 Daily Mail, Page: 70 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3 Financial Times, Page: 2

We need less than a week to restart, small businesses say

A survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) reveals that Britain’s smallest businesses would need less than a week’s notice to restart operations. Only 3% of businesses said they would need more than three weeks’ notice to get back up and running once lockdown restrictions are eased, the BCC’s coronavirus business impact tracker found. Elsewhere, a poll of members by the Institute of Directors found just 49% of firms believed that they could “operate viably at pre-lockdown levels” while maintaining social distancing rules. “Social distancing presents an unprecedented challenge for firms and some may be simply unable to make it work,” said the IoD’s Jonathan Geldart.

The Independent, Page: 55 The Times, Page: 47 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3

PROPERTY NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

Business rates revaluation postponed in light of pandemic

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed that a business rates revaluation has been postponed, as the government seeks to provide more clarity to businesses affected by coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, remarked: “Delaying is a pragmatic move at such a demanding time for businesses. It is vital that the revaluation occurs afresh after the crisis to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on commercial property costs,” while Gerry Biddle, business rates lead at Deloitte, added: “Property values as at 1st April 2019 will no longer be used and businesses will likely benefit from a recalculation at a later date.”

Financial Times, Page: 3 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 7 The I, Page: 43 Yorkshire Post, Business, Page: 3

PENSIONS NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

House moves behind £19.4bn in lost pensions

Research by the Association of British insurers (ABI) suggests there are about 1.6m pension pots worth £19.4bn which are going unclaimed due to savers failing to contact their pension provider when they move house.

FT Adviser

ECONOMY NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

Eurozone contraction threatens single market

The European Commission has predicted a 7.7% slump in GDP across the eurozone this year with recovery not expected until the end of 2021. Economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni warned that the divergence in the depth of the recession across different countries would pose “a threat to the single market and the euro area.” The forecasts came as a purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey of businesses revealed that activity in the eurozone collapsed to the lowest level on record in April. The composite PMI fell to an unprecedented 13.6, down from March’s previous record low of 29.7. Britain, which remains in the single market and customs union until the end of the year, is forecast to contract by 8.3%. France will be hit almost as hard, with a forecast contraction of 8.2%, while Germany is set to suffer a predicted fall of 6.5%. Southern states are expected to see contractions closer to 10%.

The Daily Telegraph The Times, Page: 47 The Guardian, Page: 27

Business demands clarity on easing lockdown

Business leaders are calling for comprehensive forward guidance from the government on what restrictions could be lifted and when as bosses grow increasingly impatient for a clear route out of the lockdown. Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said businesses “know government may have to pause or change the process based on new scientific advice, but need some guidance in order to plan effectively for restart.” Meanwhile, MakeUK, the manufacturers’ trade body, has published a plan for the sector’s recovery which includes extending support while demand is gradually lifted back to pre-crisis levels. Elsewhere, Jonathan Athow, Office for National Statistics deputy national statistician for economic statistics, has said the UK economy will face a “significant decline” in the first half of the year.

The Daily Telegraph The Daily Telegraph Financial Times

REGULATION NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

Brussels plans new anti-money laundering authority

The EU is to consult on plans to create a new anti-money laundering enforcement body as Brussels seeks to ramp up Europe’s response to a wave of money-laundering scandals.

Financial Times

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward


Tax Alert 16th April 2019 – Tax-Free Childcare + State Pension and Child Benefit


Tax Alert 16th April 2019 –

Tax-Free Childcare + State Pension and Child Benefit

TAX ALERT

A REMINDER TO RE-CONFIRM YOUR CLAIM TO TAX-FREE CHILDCARE

Tax-Free Childcare – quarterly reconfirmation process

Tax-Free Childcare is a government scheme that helps working parents, including the self-employed and company employees, with their childcare costs.

If eligible, claimants could get up to £2,000 per child, per year to spend on qualifying childcare.

RECONFIRM YOUR CLAIM

To continue to get Tax-Free Childcare, parents must check and reconfirm their details with HMRC every three months. Whilst HMRC say they will send a reminder when they need to do this; it is the parent’s responsibility to reconfirm on time.

Reconfirmation is simple and quick to do, but some parents are still failing to complete this process correctly or on time.

REMINDER

This is a reminder to parents to reconfirm their eligibility to ensure that they keep getting Tax-Free Childcare.

  • To reconfirm successfully, claimants need to:
  • click on ‘Reconfirmation’ in your childcare account(s)
  • click on the ‘continue’ button to see ‘Your reconfirmation summary’ (this shows the details you gave when you applied or last reconfirmed)
  • check their details are correct and are expected to remain the same for the next three months
  • read the ‘Declaration’ then click the ‘Accept and send’ button.

Your reconfirmation will be successfully filed when you see the ‘Thank you’ screen.

You will also receive a secure message in your childcare account about their eligibility.

CHECK

You can check your reconfirmation date at any time in your childcare account(s).

DON’T MISS OUT

Make sure that you are not missing out on Tax-Free Childcare.

CLAIM CHILD BENEFIT AND PROTECT YOUR STATE PENSION ENTITLEMENT

Making a claim to Child Benefit can help protect entitlement to the State Pension.

Child Benefit is a universal benefit payable to families as a contribution towards the cost of raising a child or children.

It is paid to a person who is responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 and in approved education or training).

The weekly rate is £20.70 for the first child and £13.70 for each additional child. In addition to the payments, until the child is 12 years old a Child Benefit award also provides National Insurance Credits to the person who made the claim.

These National Insurance Credits can help protect entitlement to the State Pension.

Only one person can claim Child Benefit for a child.

For couples with one partner not working or paying National Insurance contributions, making the claim in their name will help protect their State Pension.

Even where the working partner claims Child Benefit, there is scope to transfer the National Insurance Credits and change who gets Child Benefit to protect the non-working parents State Pension.

If you receive Child Benefit payments, and you or your partner’s income is over £50,000, you may have to pay the High Income Child Benefit Charge.

The charge increases gradually by 1% for every £100 of income over £50,000.

At £60,000 the charge is equal to 100% of the Child Benefit entitlement.

However, you may claim Child Benefit and choose not to receive the payments, which means you will not have to pay the charge but still receive the associated National Insurance Credits and protect your State Pension.

If you have any queries regarding your tax affairs, contact Paul Southward.

Paul Southward