NEWS – MONDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER 2020

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX NEWS – MONDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER 2020

When the time comes, the pandemic will have to be paid for

The Independent’s James Moore considers the mounting pressure for tax reform as countries look ahead to paying for the pandemic, noting EU moves to root out corporate tax avoidance and Ireland’s fight not to take €14.3bn in back taxes from Apple. Moore suggests companies like Apple that have benefitted from the pandemic and their profits should be taxed appropriately to help pay for the rebuild. Companies that have had massive taxpayer support should also see a higher proportion of their future profits taxed, says Moore. But the corporate sector cannot shoulder the burden on its own, he continues, arguing for wealth taxes and green levies and zero cuts to public spending.

The Independent, Page: 45

Trump used losses to reduce tax bill, NYT reveals

The New York Times claims to have obtained tax-return data pertaining to US President Donald Trump and his companies covering over two decades, with the paper saying it shows the US president paid just $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency and another $750 for the following year. In 10 of the previous 15 years he paid no income taxes at all due to chronic losses, the paper claims. The Inland Revenue Service is reportedly contesting a $72.9m tax refund Trump claimed after declaring huge losses. Trump’s lawyer Alan Garten, said that “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate.” Trump himself declared the story “fake news”.

New York Times The Times, Page: 32 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 14 Financial Times Daily Mail, Page: 22 The Guardian, Page: 17

CORPORATE NEWS – MONDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER 2020

Flawed policies will speed London market’s decline

Rival insurance markets will profit from London’s insistence on using standardised insurance policies which are often ambiguous and leave policy holders unsure of their cover, according to a new report from insurance adviser Mactavish. Lloyd’s of London has been pushing the standardisation of contract wordings so that insurers can more accurately measure their exposure to possible payouts. But Mactavish CEO Bruce Hepburn says the vague contract wordings seen in Covid-related business interruption policies is being replicated across other types of business cover, including in the growing cyber insurance market.

The Daily Telegraph

Buyer sought for Edinburgh Woollen Mill

The Sunday Times reports that Philip Day has enlisted advisory firm FRP to run an emergency sale process for Edinburgh Woollen Mill and budget fashion retailer Peacocks. Separately, buyers are also being sought for the more upmarket EWM brands Jaeger, Austin Reed and Jacques Vert. Due to the impact of COVID-19, Day has reopened fewer than half his 1,100 stores and has skipped rent payments. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association says its members are owed £26.8m, and thousands of EWM’s 24,000 employees remain on furlough.

The Times

REGULATION NEWS – MONDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER 2020

Future of Pre-Pack Pool in doubt

The body set up to provide independent oversight of contentious pre-pack administrations has warned that continued delays to the publication of a report from the Insolvency Service into prepacks could speed its demise. The Pre-Pack Pool said last week that referrals of connected-party pre-pack administrations remain low, “perhaps as a direct result of the Government’s relaxation of insolvency rules because of the economic impact of COVID-19”. Concerns over the Pool’s future come amid the prospect of an increase in pre-packs as companies struggle amid the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Times, Page: 43

SMEs NEWS – MONDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER 2020

Insurers ordered to end ‘shameful’ cuts

Insurers have been ordered not to use emergency COVID-19 support provided by the Government to offset insurance payouts to businesses. John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury, said the Government would take action to “protect financial support being issued to businesses” if insurers continued to deduct grants intended to help companies survive the crisis from insurance claims.

The Times, Page: 37

PERSONAL FINANCE NEWS – MONDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER 2020

As rates plummet, should savers turn to an active manager?

The Telegraph’s Harry Brennan asks, with savings rates slashed and inflation heading for 2%, should savers entrust their cash with online savings account supermarkets such as Hargreaves Lansdown or rival Raisin, which partner with banks to provide free switching services. Hargreaves said the average rate on an easy-access savings account on its site was 0.4% – double the 0.2% market average. Brennan points to fee-charging services offered by Flagstone, Tilney and St James’s Place as alternatives for the wealthy.

The Daily Telegraph

EMPLOYMENT NEWS – MONDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER 2020

Chancellor leaving a million workers vulnerable, Labour claims

The Labour party is warning that over a million jobs are under threat in sectors most vulnerable to lockdowns, such as the nightlife industry, sports, events and conferences, and creative, arts and entertainment. The Treasury’s new support scheme for jobs will see only staff able to work at least one-third of their normal hours receive wage top-ups – something that will prove “impossible” for entertainment and hospitality industries, Labour said. “Labour has called for the Government to come forward with an effective plan to recover jobs, retrain workers and rebuild businesses. This isn’t it,” said Lucy Powell, Labour’s business spokesperson. “Even for those who can access it, the job support scheme is badly designed and could lead to a wave of job losses, because the chancellor’s sums do not add up for businesses. He must think again.”

The Independent, Page: 8 Daily Mirror, Page: 2

PROPERTY NEWS – MONDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER 2020

Is the UK’s booming housing market heading for a bust?

The FT reports on predictions of a sharp downturn in the housing market next Spring as the stamp duty holiday comes to an end and the Help to Buy scheme gets overhauled.

Financial Times, Page: 3

ECONOMY NEWS – MONDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER 2020

CBI concerned about Brexit-Covid combo

A survey by the Confederation of British Industry reveals 77% of British businesses want a deal between the UK and the EU to be agreed with only 4% of businesses saying they preferred a no-deal outcome. Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI’s director-general, pleaded: “Now must be the time for political leadership and the spirit of compromise to shine through on both sides. A deal can and must be made.”

The Guardian

Contact Paul Southward