NEWS – MONDAY 17TH AUGUST 2020

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX NEWS – MONDAY 17TH AUGUST 2020

Retailers call for business rates rethink

Retailers have urged the Government to accelerate a business rates review, with the Retail Sector Council saying “progress on business rates will be essential to give businesses the certainty to make effective investment decisions” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3

CORPORATE NEWS – MONDAY 17TH AUGUST 2020

Expert warns of customs chaos

Simon Sutcliffe, a partner at Blick Rothenberg, has warned that the customs regime put in place for the end of the Brexit transition period will mean thousands of UK businesses are blocked from exporting to Europe from 2021. He says the Border Operating Model put forward by ministers and HMRC will exclude “huge numbers” of businesses as they will be “faced with full customs formalities from day one”. Mr Sutcliffe says the model is “not what it seems and is contradictory, and thousands of companies who thought they could use it will not be able to,” adding that the “whole plan is a muddle.” A spokesman for HMRC defended the plans, insisting officials are “streamlining and simplifying the authorisation procedures to make the process quicker and easier for traders and intermediaries.”

The I

Former Wigan owner planned administration before takeover

Documents show that Au Yeung Wai Kay, the former owner of Wigan Athletic, sought to put the club into administration before he had completed his controversial takeover, having contacted Begbies Traynor about putting the club into administration the day before he informed the English Football League that he had become the sole shareholder.

The Guardian, Sport, Page: 38

Buyers set to break up Debenhams

With Debenhams’ owners seeking a buyer, the Times suggests the retailer could be broken up between potential buyers, saying suitors including Next and Frasers Group would be interested in taking over a package of stores rather than acquiring the whole business. With Debenhams’ owners having enlisted advisers at Hilco to draw up plans to liquidate the business if all other options fail, a spokesman said the move was a “last resort” contingency plan by administrators at FRP.

The Times, Page: 36

Victoria’s Secret saw £100m loss

The UK arm of lingerie chain Victoria’s Secret saw an operating loss of £109m before it fell into administration, documents at Companies House show. Deloitte says that claims with 208 unsecured creditors total £466m, adding that there should be sufficient cash to pay some of this back.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3

Frasers makes DW Sports bid

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has reportedly made a bid for collapsed sports retailer DW Sports, offering administrators at BDO more than £30m.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3 The Times, Page: 41 The I, Page: 3

PROPERTY NEWS – MONDAY 17TH AUGUST 2020

Sales climb to 10-year high

Figures from Rightmove show that the housing market has had its busiest month in more than 10 years in July. The property platform says the number of monthly sales agreed in Britain was up 38% on the same period last year and worth a total of more than £37bn, with more properties coming on to the market than in any month since 2008. The increase in market activity has been driven by pent-up demand following the market being shut down, as well as a cut in stamp duty and the possibility of working from home becoming more likely. Rightmove says the average asking price on a property in Britain is now £319,497. While asking prices have fallen by an average of 0.2%, this has been driven by a 2% drop in London. The capital has seen a 69% year-on-year increase in the number of homes coming onto the market.

The Times, Page: 35 The Guardian, Page: 26

EMPLOYMENT NEWS – MONDAY 17TH AUGUST 2020

Chancellor reopens self-employed support scheme

Self-employed workers can apply for a second emergency coronavirus grant worth up to £6,570 as of today. Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the Government will cover up to 70% of trading profits over three months, with this lower than the 80% offered under the first self-employed income support scheme (SEISS). The support is capped at £2,190 a month, meaning £6,750 is available over the three-month period, compared to £7,500 via the initial SEISS. To qualify for the scheme, applicants must earn at least half of their income through self-employment and their annual trading profits cannot exceed £50,000.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3 Financial Times The Sun Daily Mirror Daily Express

One in three workers expect to be at home until 2021

A YouGov survey of 4,000 workers has found that 30% do not think they will be back in their workplaces until at least next year, while 8% expect a shift to working from home to be permanent. Some 45% expect to be back in the office before year-end, with 55% of workers at small firms expecting to return to the workplace in 2020 compared to 42% of those at larger businesses.

The Times, Page: 9

SMEs NEWS – MONDAY 17TH AUGUST 2020

Small firms face £22k reopening bill

A report from Nucleus Commercial Finance suggests small business owners are spending an average of almost £22,000 to reopen following the coronavirus lockdown, with implementing new health and safety measures and reconfiguring office space the biggest costs. For medium-sized firms, investing in new technology and introducing contactless payment systems were the biggest issues. The study found that a fifth of SMEs have used savings to cover the costs of coming out of the economic shutdown. Chirag Shah, CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance, said: “Those businesses that are able to reopen in some capacity now face significant costs to ensure they can operate safely.”

Daily Express, Page: 46 The Sun, Page: 9

INTERNATIONAL NEWS – MONDAY 17TH AUGUST 2020

Wirecard casts shadow over Scholz’s bid to succeed Merkel

The FT looks at how the accounting scandal at Wirecard could hurt German finance minister Olaf Scholz’s hopes of becoming chancellor, noting that he has placed the blame largely with auditors.

Financial Times, Page: 7

ECONOMY NEWS – MONDAY 17TH AUGUST 2020

Economist in recovery warning

Holger Schmieding, chief London economist of Berenberg Bank, has warned that the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis could stretch to 2023, dampening hopes that a swift V-shaped recovery is on the cards. Mr Schmieding commented: “Our guess is that the UK will take until early 2023 to get back to where it was in terms of 2019 output.” He added that while Britain has one of the world’s best economies, it has made two big mistakes, Brexit and “getting the pandemic wrong”. He went on to say that the UK “has fallen into a deeper hole than Germany and America”. Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds commented: “The warning lights are flashing red on the UK economy.”

Daily Mirror

OTHER NEWS – MONDAY 17TH AUGUST 2020

Harry faces hefty tax bill in California

A financial expert has warned that the Duke of Sussex, who plans to be based in California, faces a significant financial hit from “zealous” US tax authorities. David McClure says that California is a high tax state and warns that Prince Harry is “likely to get a hit”. Under US tax rules, once Harry has spent 183 days in the US over a three-year period, he will be considered a resident for tax purposes and liable for tax.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 11

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Paul Southward