News Roundup Wednesday 13th November 2019

MIDWEEK NEWS ROUNDUP

Here is the News Roundup Wednesday 13th November 2019, giving you a summary of the tax, business and finance news stories from this week.

TAX NEWS ROUNDUP

The midweek tax news roundup in the week to Wednesday 13th November.

MONDAY

Johnson announcement a boost for veterans

Included in the announcement that Northern Ireland veterans are to be given new legal protection to prevent them being prosecuted over killings during The Troubles, Boris Johnson has also revealed plans for guaranteed job interviews for veterans applying for public sector work and a tax cut for businesses employing former soldiers.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 1, 2 The Times, Page: 6 The Sun, Page: 2 The Independent, Page: 7 Daily Mail, Page: 1, 2 The I, Page: 5

IFS says local tax could fill social care funding gap

A new report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) suggests councils should be allowed to raise additional funding through a local income tax of 1p on the £1, in addition to national income tax. The move would plug a funding gap for social care which is only set to grow, the think tank said.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 2

TUESDAY

What the Labour Party’s tax policy plan means for you

The Telegraph’s Harry Brennan analyses what Labour’s tax policies, put forward over the past two years, will mean for readers. The party’s proposals would force higher earners to pay effective income tax rates of more than 67%, landlords would be forced to pay their tenants’ council tax bills, and families would lose out on up to £875,000 in inheritance tax breaks, says Brennan, while 80,000 non-doms would lose their beneficial tax status. Labour has also pledged to raise capital gains tax and scrap IHT replacing it with a “lifetime gifts tax”. The “family home allowance” would also be scrapped costing married couples tax breaks worth £875,000.

The Daily Telegraph

Tories claim Labour’s plans would land taxpayers with an extra £2,400 bill

The Conservatives claim Labour’s socialist agenda would cost taxpayers an extra £200 a month as the party would need to plug a £374bn funding “black hole.” Chancellor Sajid Javid said: “In order to pay for his policies, [Jeremy Corbyn] will not only have to massively increase borrowing and debt, he will also need to hike up taxes by £2,400 per person – this is equivalent to an entire month’s pay for the average earner. We simply cannot afford the cost of Corbyn.” However, the claims were dismissed as a “work of fiction” by Labour, which said it would produce a fully costed manifesto next week.

Daily Mail, Page: 2 Daily Express, Page: 4 The Times, Page: 14 The Sun, Page: 6 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 5

IPPR says free care should be paid for by tax

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has called for a comprehensive care service for elderly people across England who need long-term support, funded by £10bn a year from taxation.

Daily Express, Page: 5

WEDNESDAY

Sorrell calls for regulation-light, tax-light UK economy

Sir Martin Sorrell has urged the government to pursue a “Singapore on steroids” strategy for the UK economy after Brexit arguing for a “regulation-light, tax-light economy open for business in a way we haven’t seen before”. The CEO of digital ad firm S4 Capital, who was a vocal supporter of the Remain campaign, said that such an approach would make the UK “much more attractive” investment destination in the long term. “It has to be the home of Google, Amazon and Facebook, not the regulatory nightmare,” he said.

City AM, Page: 1 The Independent, Page: 53

Higher taxes to fund Labour’s education and healthcare pledges

Labour has pledged to scrap university tuition fees, renewing an £11bn-a-year promise from its 2017 manifesto. The party would also provide a £3bn-a-year “cradle-to-grave” National Education Service. Labour also vowed to spend £26bn on an NHS rescue plan paid for by higher taxes on companies and the wealthiest in society. Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge would be £6bn more than the Conservatives promised last year.

Financial Times, Page: 3 The Times, Page: 14 Daily Mirror, Page: 4 Daily Star, Page: 2 The Guardian, Page: 1, 7 Daily Mail, Page: 11

SMEs NEWS ROUNDUP

The midweek SMEs news roundup in the week to Wednesday 13th November.

MONDAY

FSB calls for halt to IR35 changes

The Federation of Small Businesses has called on politicians to put the self-employed “front and centre when drawing-up business policies for their election manifestos” warning that confidence among sole traders is in negative territory for a fifth consecutive quarter. The federation said that the self-employed were finding it particularly hard to raise finance and called for a delay to the expansion of IR35 rules into the private sector until confidence has improved. Mike Cherry, national chairman of the FSB, said: “Against such an uncertain backdrop, the self-employed certainly don’t need an IR35 rule change that makes hiring contractors less attractive. We’ve already heard noises from big corporates to indicate that, if this change does take effect in April as planned, they’ll pull the plug on sole traders. Common sense dictates that a delay to the April roll-out of these rules is now needed.”

The Times, Page: 47 Yorkshire Post, Page: 15

We need to create our own tech-funding ecosystem

Alastair Kilgour, CIO at Parkwalk Advisors, says the UK needs to develop an investment system with different funds for different levels of risk to make it easier to scale businesses.

Financial Times, Page: 22

TUESDAY

Marketinvoice rebrands to reflect greater product range

Marketinvoice has rebranded to Marketfinance after the fintech business lender expanded the range of products it offers. Marketfinance said it is “evolving based on the needs of its customers and now servicing larger businesses with both invoice finance and loans”. The company said all businesses can get up to £1m invoice financing, access up to £250,000 in business loans – rising to £500,000 in the coming months – and larger businesses can access up to £5m in structured facilities combining invoice financing and a loan.

City AM, Page: 19

WEDNESDAY

BCC test: If it adds costs to business, throw it out

Writing in the Telegraph, Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, lays out a simple manifesto pointer for the political parties ahead of the general election. He says “they should subject all their pledges to a simple SME test. Anything that adds to the cost burden at this incredibly sensitive moment for the country and the economy should be chucked out. Otherwise, all the warm words in the world about supporting British business won’t be worth the paper they are written on.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2

CORPORATE NEWS ROUNDUP

The midweek corporate news roundup in the week to Wednesday 13th November.

MONDAY

More pubs and bars closing

Rising costs, changing drinking habits and a weak pound have led to a 13% rise in insolvencies of pubs and bars in the year to the end of September, according to UHY Hacker Young. Partner Peter Kubik said a crucial problem for smaller bars and pubs is lack of access to the capital needed to adapt. “Hopefully, once the Brexit question is cleared up, high street lenders will be less nervous about lending to smaller pub companies,” he said.

The I, Page: 41 City AM, Page: 4

Jingye poised to buy British Steel for £70m

Chinese industrial giant Jingye Group could be announced as the buyer of British Steel within days. An email to staff from Sam Woodward, a special manager from EY who is assisting the Official Receiver, said talks were progressing well.

The Guardian, Page: 37 The I, Page: 41

Accounts overdue at Clintons

The annual accounts of Clintons have been delayed as the greetings card chain seeks approval from landlords for a restructuring and closure of stores. KPMG is supporting the company through the CVA process

The Times, Page: 42 Daily Mail, Page: 29

Golden Tours put up for sale

Philanthropist Nick Palan has put his London sightseeing business Golden Tours on the market, appointing KPMG to run the £100m sale.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3 City AM, Page: 4

TUESDAY

Chinese firm rescues British Steel

Chinese industrial conglomerate Jingye has bought British Steel in a deal that will save up to 4,000 jobs and see £1.2bn of new investment in the company. The Official Receiver has been running British Steel since May when it fell into liquidation. The Chinese firm emerged as a buyer of the business after talks with Turkish group Ataer collapsed. Jingye is expected to pay about £50m for British Steel and will also be able to tap into a £300m taxpayer-funded package of loans and other support. However, while trade unions and locals MPs supported the deal, industry insiders privately are questioning the wisdom of selling a strategic national industrial asset to a Chinese company.

Financial Times, Page: 1 BBC News The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1 The Times, Page: 37 The Guardian, Page: 12 Daily Express, Page: 2 Daily Mail, Page: 24

Clintons closures could hit retail landlords

Heavyweight retail landlords could be hit hard if greeting cards retailer Clintons secures rent reductions and even closes shops. Property companies that stand to be affected include Intu and British Land, which respectively let 16 and 15 shops to Clintons, though others include NewRiver, Hammerson and Landsec, which have seven, six and five Clintons stores. As part of CVA restructuring, Clintons, which is owned by US retail investors the Weiss family, wants to secure rent cuts and shut 66 of its 332 sites.

Evening Standard

Perriss to leave Rightmove

Rightmove finance director Robyn Perriss is to step down after 12 years with the online property portal. Ms Perriss is expected to leave during the second quarter next year.

The Times, Page: 46

EMPLOYMENT NEWS ROUNDUP

The midweek tax news roundup in the week to Wednesday 13th November.

TUESDAY

Paying a real living wage is “a matter of decency”

The Living Wage Foundation said yesterday that its hourly rate would rise to £9.30 in most of the UK and by 20p to £10.75 in London. More than 200,000 workers in the 6,000 businesses that have signed up to the voluntary scheme will benefit from the change. Aviva, Ikea, KPMG and Nationwide are among those companies paying what the foundation calls a “real” living wage, which is higher than the government-set national living wage. Writing in the Guardian, John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, cites recent research by KPMG which found there are 5m jobs that pay less than the genuine living wage. He says people “would need a distorted notion of morality to disagree with [the living wage movement] .. It’s simply a matter of decency: a decent day’s wage for a decent day’s work.”

The Times, Page: 44 The Guardian, Page: 4

WEDNESDAY

Employment falls as pay growth slows

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) yesterday showed that employment had fallen by 58,000 during the third quarter of 2019 – the biggest fall since May 2015. Britons also faced slowing pay growth in the third quarter, the ONS said. Average weekly earnings grew by 3.6% in the third quarter, down from 3.8% in the three months to August. “The latest data are somewhat mixed,” said Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at the EY Item Club. “Overall they fuel the view that the hitherto resilient UK labour market is now buckling in the face of a struggling UK economy and heightened Brexit and domestic political uncertainties.”

City AM, Page: 2 Financial Times, Page: 2 The Independent, Page: 50 The Guardian

Shadow chancellor claims McDonald’s is mistreating its workers

The shadow chancellor has told McDonald’s to pay more tax and raise its employees’ pay to £15 per hour. Speaking at a protest arranged by striking McDonald’s workers in Downing Street, John McDonnell also demanded union recognition at McDonald’s restaurants. A spokesperson for McDonald’s said it complied with UK tax rules and is committed to investing in its workforce.

The Guardian, Page: 41

PROPERTY NEWS ROUNDUP

The midweek tax news roundup in the week to Wednesday 13th November.

TUESDAY

Business rates reform must be top priority

The retailers’ trade association has warned that reform of the business rates system must be at the top of a new government’s list of priorities if the UK’s high streets are to be saved. The “unfair” tax means shops pay a quarter of all business rates, even though they make up just 5% of the economy, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said. The annual £7bn bill has risen ahead of the rate of inflation since the tax was introduced 30 years ago. It is one of the highest property taxes in the developed world. “As political parties draw up their manifestos in the coming weeks, they should spare a thought for their local retailers, the three million voters they employ, and the billions in tax they contribute,” commented a BRC spokesperson. Research by PwC and the Local Data Company found as many as 16 shops per day closed in the first half of this year.

Daily Mail, Page: 68 The Times, Page: 38

ECONOMY NEWS ROUNDUP

The midweek tax news roundup in the week to Wednesday 13th November.

MONDAY

Confidence declines to a seven-year low

An optimism index by BDO fell by 0.67 points last month to 95.59, its weakest since March 2012 and close to the 95 level that signals zero growth. The report, compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, said the decline was because of a drop in manufacturing optimism, which fell by 3.38 points in October, and to a lesser degree by the key services sector, which fell by 0.34 points. Peter Hemington, a partner at BDO, said that the last time business confidence was so low “was when the country was staggering out of the doldrums caused by the global financial crisis … With an unpredictable general election looming, continued political volatility in the UK remains a key driver of falling optimism.”

The Times, Page: 44 City AM, Page: 2

GDP jump brings pre-election boost for Johnson

Figures out today are expected to show 0.4% growth in GDP in the UK between July and September following a 0.2% slump in the previous quarter. The services sector is set to be the main driver of growth but experts predict a slowdown in the final quarter of the year to 0.2% growth – meaning 1.3% for the year overall – the weakest since 2009.

Daily Express, Page: 1. 6-7 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1

TUESDAY

UK growth slows to decade-low

Annual UK economic growth slowed to its lowest growth rate in nine years in the third quarter of the year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Though the economy avoided falling into recession, UK GDP grew by just 0.3% between July and September, compared to the previous quarter, and just 1% year on year – its slowest rate since 2010. Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, said: “This is a pretty respectable performance given the headwinds from the global slowdown, protectionism and Brexit uncertainties. But with businesses focused on cutting costs, wages and jobs are likely to come under pressure. The outlook for 2020 is for more sub-par growth.”

Financial Times, Page: 2 The Times, Page: 38 The Times The Guardian, Page: 33 City AM, Page: 3

OTHER NEWS ROUNDUP

The midweek other news roundup in the week to Wednesday 13th November.

MONDAY

UK CEOs have a duty to speak out about Corbyn

The Mail’s Ruth Sunderland claims businesses are staying quiet over their fears of a Jeremy Corbyn-led government because they are afraid of a backlash from consumers. But Ms Sunderland says it is counterproductive if companies do not speak out: “chief executives cannot pretend they are politically neutral or above the fray. They are responsible for the livelihoods of millions of people in the wealth-creating private sector of the economy. This is not good enough when the entire foundation of our prosperity is under attack. Failing to speak out, choosing not to defend their employees and customers, looks a lot like dereliction of duty.”

Daily Mail, Page: 65

TUESDAY

Bradford named most improved city

Bradford has been named the UK’s most improved city to live and work in according to an index compiled by PwC and the think tank Demos. The index ranks urban areas with populations of more than 250,000 on ten measures including high-quality jobs, distribution of income, affordable housing, transport networks and the local environment. The highest ranked big city this year was Leeds, which came in at No 11. London was 16th, Manchester 21st and Birmingham 25th. Inverness and Aberdeen are ranked top in Scotland and are in the top ten UK-wide. John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, said: “Our long-term analysis shows that good growth improvements across the UK since 2005 have been largely driven by skills and new business creation […] there are also less positive long-term trends, particularly relating to deteriorating housing affordability and ever longer commuting times.”

The Times, Page: 3 Daily Mail, Page: 16 The Sun, Page: 45 City AM, Page: 5 The Press and Journal, Page: 29 The Scotsman, Page: 4

HMRC bills UK Athletics £500,000 over Nike kit

UK Athletics has been left with a £500,000 VAT bill after failing to pay tax on the value in kind on the kit it receives as part of its sponsorship arrangement with Nike.

The Times, Page: 68

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