England stars facing tax demands from HMRC

Senior England players may be probed by HMRC about taxes paid on their image rights, with the FA and players’ lawyers reportedly meeting with the Revenue last month. Image rights payments are usually paid into a company set up for the player and these firms will pay corporation tax at a rate of 19%. The Mail reports that HMRC is keen to crack down on the payments to companies.

Daily Mail The Sun


Small businesses halt exports to EU

A study from the Federation of Small Businesses has found that more than a quarter of small exporters have stopped selling to EU customers three months on from the Brexit transition. The survey of nearly 1,500 small firms found that 23% had temporarily stopped selling to the EU and 4% had halted sales permanently. The FSB added that about 11% had set up, or were considering, a presence in an EU country to make the process easier. The survey also found that majority – 70% – of importers and exporters said that they had suffered shipment delays when moving goods around the EU in recent weeks. More than 30% have lost goods in transit and a slightly higher proportion have had goods held indefinitely at EU border crossings. Mike Cherry, chairman of the FSB, said: “Those that do business internationally are being hit with some incredibly demanding, unfamiliar paperwork. Three months on from the end of the transition period, what we hoped would prove to be teething problems are in danger of becoming permanent, systemic ones. While larger firms have the resources and bandwidth to overcome them regardless, smaller traders are struggling, and are considering whether exports are worth the effort anymore.”

The Times, Page: 39 The Guardian, Page: 28 Daily Mail, Page: 74 The I, Page: 4

Tories are no longer the party for small businesses

Taha Lokhandwala writes in the Telegraph on Treasury plans to make freelancers pay tax more frequently, doing away with annual self-assessments. Government documents suggest moving to quarterly payments but this, says the freelancer trade body IPSE, would leave businesses with less cash to build up savings and manage volatile income; less money to invest; less incentive to be self-employed. Lokhandwala concludes: “The trajectory is clear: this Government no longer sees the benefit in entrepreneurship; it is no longer the party of small business.”

The Daily Telegraph


Women left disadvantaged by pensions system

According to analysis from professional services firm Barnett Waddingham, the UK pensions system disadvantages women compared to men, with females having 25% to 45% less in their pension pots at retirement. The analysis found that the gender pension gap begins to diverge most after the age of 32, with men contributing up to £1,500 per annum more into their pension than women. This is despite contributing the same percentage of their salary. The research found that a woman taking two 12-month career breaks in her early 30s, with no increase to pension saving or salary during this time, can have 10% less in her pension pot at retirement compared to a woman taking no breaks. Barnett Waddingham said that employers can consider five things to close the gender pensions gap; taking advantage of inertia – setting higher default contribution levels for when employees enter the pension scheme; addressing the shortfall after career breaks; introducing more targeted financial education; addressing the gender pay gap; and encouraging staff to pay in more when affordable to do so.

Yahoo! Finance


Gambling sector highlights its value ahead of shake-up

According to a study by EY, the gambling sector has been hit by the permanent closure of 374 betting shops, half a dozen casinos and the loss of about 5,000 jobs. The industry also supports 119,000 jobs and gives £4.5bn in taxes to the exchequer. The report, commissioned by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), comes as a call for evidence on gambling law reform closes on Wednesday. The BGC’s CEO Michael Dugher supports the review and the need for higher safety standards but warned not to put future jobs and tax revenue at risk with rule changes.

The Times, Page: 39 City AM

Government rejects £170m bailout for Gupta

Ministers are considering how jobs at Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance can be protected after the Government rejected a plea from the metals businesses for a £170m loan. Financing for the company has dried up since its main source of funding, Greensill Capital, went bust. The FT reports that ministers were anxious about GFG’s opaque structure and wanted to ensure any funding didn’t leave the UK. “Our priority is the UK sites and jobs, not this corporate entity,” said one government figure.

Financial Times The Times

Arcadia sells off furniture to raise more cash for creditors

Clearance company Hilco has been auctioning off furniture and fittings from the Arcadia estate in an effort to raise more cash for creditors. Sir Philip Green’s failed retail empire collapsed in November owing creditors £800m. When administrators at Deloitte were hired it also had a £510m pension deficit.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3


Scotland’s recovery forecast to outpace UK’s

A best-case analysis from KPMG shows Scotland’s economy could grow by up to 5.5% this year providing there is a successful vaccine rollout and subsequent consumer boost. This compares with an expected 4.6% GDP growth for the whole UK. Next year, Scotland could see 5.8% growth against 5.6% UK-wide. Catherine Burnet, KPMG’s regional chairwoman in Scotland, said: “Our latest economic forecasting undoubtedly offers some optimism, but with a big slice of caution.”

The Times

UK economic data confound forecasters and beat expectations

The FT reports that policymakers and analysts are revising up their Q1 GDP forecasts as economic data continues to surprise them. Analysts now believe contraction for the quarter will be 1- 2.5% less deep than feared.

Financial Times, Page: 3


Auditor faces scrutiny over Liverpool council rating

Grant Thornton is facing scrutiny for signing off Liverpool City Council’s accounts with “value for money” assurances. The auditor has withdrawn its latest report into the local authority after the results of a Government inspection last week highlighted a number of failings. Grant Thornton was accused by councillors of ignoring concerns raised by opposition members and of failing to raise the alarm about issues uncovered. Grant Thornton said: “Value for money assessments were undertaken within the full scope of the National Audit Office’s code of practice at those times and based on the information available at those times.”

The Times, Page: 33

EY drops appeal in Dubai whistleblower case

EY has dropped its appeal against a case which saw former partner Amjad Rihan awarded $10.8m after he raised the alarm about a Dubai client suspected of laundering money and smuggling gold.

Financial Times, Page: 13

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward