NEWS – MONDAY 10TH AUGUST 2020

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX NEWS – MONDAY 10TH AUGUST 2020

HMRC investigating 246 players in image rights probe

HMRC is investigating as many as 246 football players over the use of image rights to avoid paying tax – three times the number being probed last year. A report by UHY Hacker Young shows the number of players under investigation has risen with the taxman concerned that a slew of lesser-known players are avoiding tax by getting paid huge sums for image rights that are overpriced. Elliot Buss, partner at the firm, said: “The image rights of the likes of Paul Pogba and Mohamed Salah are undoubtedly worth millions. But if you are second choice left back in the Championship getting paid a great deal in image rights payments, that is likely to trigger an investigation.” Fifty-five football agents are also being probed over their financial arrangements as part of a wider clampdown.

Financial Times, Page: 11 Daily Star, Page: 11 Daily Mirror, Page: 50 The Sun, Page: 48 Daily Express, Page: 55 The Guardian, Page: 42 The Scotsman, Page: 15

If you are a professional sportsperson and you have concerns about your tax affairs, contact Paul Southward.

HMRC Investigations – We can help

It was reported over the weekend that the Taxman has launched a fishing exercise into UK taxpayers with overseas bank accounts.  HMRC has access to bank details from over 100 countries.  As usual the Taxman is spreading his nets wide, the fishing  expedition will target all offshore accounts holders, with no reference to the amount of funds held offshore.  Tax enquiries can be distressing for people even when they have nothing to hide.  The letters from the taxman are often of an accusatory nature, suggesting that the recipient is in the wrong.  Paul Southward says “these so called “nudge” letters should not be ignored and swift action can often send the Taxman packing in the search for “bigger fish”.  If you receive an enquiry from the Taxman we can help ease the pain”: contact Paul if you have any concerns about your tax affairs.

EMPLOYMENT NEWS – MONDAY 10TH AUGUST 2020

Post-coronavirus, 250,000 over 50s may never return to work

According to a study by the Centre for Ageing Better, a charity, and the Learning and Work Institute, a research centre, a quarter of a million over-50’s could fall permanently out of work after being made redundant during the coronavirus pandemic. The research asserts that, because job schemes and recruitment are skewed in favour of younger workers, older staff were far less likely to return to work after a redundancy. Anna Dixon, of the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “Without action, we could see many in their 50’s and 60’s falling out of the workforce years before their state pension age.” Meanwhile, analysis of ONS data by jobs site Rest Less suggests women will be hardest hit, with nearly 40,000 women aged between 50 and 64 dropping out of the workforce since the pandemic began, with their age group the only one not to witness an increase in economic activity. Stuart Lewis, of Rest Less, said: “In the last recession, women could retire at 60. Today, it is 66. Losing their job will force them into an early retirement many cannot afford.”

The Daily Telegraph

One in three employers expects to cut jobs

A survey of 2,000 employers by human resources body the CIPD and Adecco Group has found one in three employers plans to cut staff this quarter with almost 40% of private companies expecting to make layoffs. “Until now, redundancies have been low – no doubt due to the Job Retention Scheme – but we expect to see more redundancies come through this autumn, especially in the private sector once the scheme closes,” said Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market adviser at the CIPD. “This will likely be accompanied by a pay squeeze for workers, which is actually to be welcomed to help preserve jobs. This looks set to be a sombre autumn.” Separately, figures from the Insolvency Service show over 139,000 jobs were lost in June, with the number of firms cutting 20 or more roles during the month up fivefold compared to last year, rising to 1,778.

Bloomberg The Independent, Page: 44 Daily Mail, Page: 8

INDUSTRY NEWS – MONDAY 10TH AUGUST 2020

ACCA withdraws from legal services regulation

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has withdrawn from legal services regulation, in an unprecedented move. In its place, Glenn Collins, head of technical advisory at ACCA, said that the organisation was negotiating a partnership with the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), which would be another first. Mr Collins said this would allow the 52 ACCA firms accredited for probate work to be regulated by CILEx Regulation in a “seamless transfer”, which would have “no impact at all” on their ownership or structure. The move by the ACCA coincides with the deadline, at the end of last month, for legal regulators to comply with the stricter internal governance rules (IGRs) introduced by the Legal Services Board (LSB), ensuring their separation from professional bodies.

Legal Futures

PROPERTY NEWS – MONDAY 10TH AUGUST 2020

Trade bodies call for Government support in retail rents

Trade bodies have called on the Government to fund up to 50% of commercial rents and services charges to help businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors survive the COVID-19 pandemic. The groups have been in discussions with ministers regarding “property Bounce Back” grants, that would be focused toward firms worst affected by lockdown. In a joint statement, the trade bodies said: “Without urgent action on rents, many otherwise viable businesses are, through no fault of their own, at imminent risk of failure.” The statement comes as only 50.5% of retail rents due for the third quarter was collected 35 days after the due date, while concerns have also been raised that the Government’s suspension of evictions and winding-up petitions has encouraged some tenants who are able to pay rents to withhold payment. Analysis by Ignite Economics, for the trade bodies, claims that the Property Bounce Back grants would save 375,000 jobs.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1

FINANCE NEWS – MONDAY 10TH AUGUST 2020

Consumer lending set for steepest ever fall

Banks are expected to lend 15.9% less to consumers via personal loans and credit cards this year, according to EY Item Club, the steepest slowdown in lending since records began in 1993. Business lending is forecast to grow 14.4% this year compared with 2019 – the biggest rise in 13 years, while mortgage lending is predicted to rise 2.6%, the slowest increase in five years. Omar Ali, UK financial services managing partner at EY, said: “With a weakened economy, banks face increasing write-offs on all types of lending and, with slow growth for consumer credit forecast, this will add pressure to their profitability and ultimately their ability to lend more to businesses to help kick start growth.”

The Daily Telegraph The Times The Guardian, Page: 28

SMEs NEWS – MONDAY 10TH AUGUST 2020

Allica Bank wants to provide alternative for SMEs

Allica Bank has applied for a £25m grant from a fund designed to drive banking competition, which will contribute to a £50m investment in current accounts for small and medium-sized businesses. The challenger bank, which is controlled by Warwick Capital Partners, said the funding will “allow us to accelerate our plans to offer a genuine competitive alternative for small and medium-sized businesses at a time when there has never been a greater need.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 8

Brokers – The unsung heroes of SME finance

Research from Aldermore bank shows SMEs are expected to borrow £48.3bn to help their businesses recover following COVID-19. The study also found that businesses accessing finance through a broker are more likely to use a diverse range of funding options. Tim Boag, group managing director, business finance, Aldermore, said: “Brokers are often the unsung heroes when it comes to SME finance. In the months ahead, they will be needed more than ever to help businesses secure the funding they need.”

The Press and Journal, Page: 29

ECONOMY NEWS – MONDAY 10TH AUGUST 2020

Recovery slows as economy heads for recession

Business output rose for the third consecutive month in July, spurred by the lifting of lockdown restrictions, However, BDO‘s index rose by 6.7 points to 73.2 in July – less than the 11.16 points added in June – indicating that the pace of recovery is slowing as the economy prepares to enter recession. Kaley Crossthwaite, a partner at BDO, said: “The latest data suggests we might be approaching a plateau in our economic recovery. While the reopening of the hospitality sector has provided a much-needed uplift, the capacity restraints caused by social distancing, as well as pressures on UK manufacturers imposed by weakened overseas demand mean this growth is likely to continue to slow.”

The Times, Page: 33 The Independent, Page: 44

CORPORATE NEWS – MONDAY 10TH AUGUST 2020

Megadeals lead M&A revival as big companies bulk up

The FT reports on a resurgence in M&A activity since the start of July, led by eight deals of more than $10bn, with experts predicting such transactions will continue as companies embark on strategic takeovers in order to help them weather the economic downturn.

Financial Times Business Insider

FTSE bosses took pay cuts before COVID-19 struck

An annual executive remuneration report by Deloitte shows median pay for CEOs of the 30 largest FTSE companies dropped by over 7% to £5.9m in 2019.

Financial Times, Page: 11

INTERNATIONAL NEWS – MONDAY 10TH AUGUST 2020

Singapore charges Wirecard agent with falsification of accounts

A Singaporean businessman accused of playing the role of trustee for fake bank accounts linked to Wirecard has been arrested and charged with fraud.

Financial Times, Page: 8

OTHER NEWS – MONDAY 10TH AUGUST 2020

National budget rules to remain suspended next year, Brussels says

Restrictions on national budgets imposed by the EU will remain suspended until 2022 at the earliest due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Financial Times

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward