Economists tell Sunak to learn from history

An open letter to Rishi Sunak organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) urges the Chancellor to look to the tax policies of the 1990’s for inspiration when returning the economy to growth in the aftermath of the pandemic. The signatories, who include over 30 economists, academics, business people and politicians, say cuts top corporation tax, a top rate of income tax of 40%, stamp duty of no more than 4%, VAT at 17.5% and a “light regulatory burden on all productive sectors” helped to generate productivity growth and strong GDP during that decade. Neil Record, chairman of the IEA and author of the briefing paper, said: “I have looked back at periods of UK economic success and growth within the past 40 years. I have identified the best decades within that period, and analysed the taxation, fiscal and regulatory policies that helped create those successful periods. If decisions made now can recreate that success, then despite the terrible damage wrought on the economy by COVID-19, the future can be bright.” The IEA’s director-general Mark Littlewood further explains the think-tank’s reasoning in a piece for the Times.

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HMRC should delay tax return date

Blick Rothenberg ’s Mark Levitt is urging HMRC to give people more time to file their 2019-20 tax returns following COVID-19 disruption this year. He said: “It is essential to taxpayers and government that tax returns are accurate so the right amount of tax is levied, and the chancellor can start to refill his coffers. But taxpayers may not be able to get all their information ready for the 31 January deadline. Thousands of employees, including at HMRC, have been working from home and may not have all the information that they need. HMRC should extend the deadline to 31 March 2021.”

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Rishi Sunak to launch new scheme for medium-term unemployed

The Chancellor has pledged that anyone left without work as a result of the pandemic will be offered “fresh opportunities” as he prepares to address the Conservative Party Conference. Rishi Sunak is expected to announce Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS), a £238m scheme to help the medium-term unemployed left jobless due to COVID-19. Mr Sunak is also expected to use his speech to promote the Government’s “Building Back Greener” policy, which will create more green jobs and provide “a vote of confidence in the UK economy as it recovers.”

The Daily Telegraph Daily Mail, Page: 13

Letter: Britain’s self-employed need help to ride second Covid-19 wave

IPSE CEO Derek Cribb urges the Government to support the self-employed through the next stage of the pandemic or face further drastic falls in their numbers.

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Hospitality firms need rent cut to survive

A survey has found that 82% of hospitality businesses say they need a reduction in rent to survive the coming months after the Government imposed a 10 pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants and encouraged people to stay at home. A survey of companies operating more than 2,000 venues across the UK found that four in five do not believe their current terms of lease will allow them to continue trading. The number rises to 86% in London, where central areas remain thinly-populated compared to pre-coronavirus times. “I don’t think people fully appreciate the magnitude of the fallout that’s still to come,” said Tom Kidd, director and co-founder of Adventure Bar, which has nine bars around central London. “Up to 80% of the hospitality sector is locked in a Mexican stand-off when it comes to rent renegotiations.” The figures, compiled by commercial property advisers Cedar Dean, also reveal that more than 69% of hospitality and leisure companies are considering restructuring or insolvency, with the figure rising to 73% in London.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 5


Viable firms will drown under weight of debt

Punch Taverns founder Hugh Osmond warns that the billions in support loans designed to help companies through the pandemic could turn “once-viable businesses into zombie basket cases”. In a piece for the Times he says that the Chancellor’s loan schemes were “the morphine masking the pain of a life-threatening wound”, adding: “What the economy needs now is more equity investment. Equity, not debt, is the engine of recovery and growth.” He goes on to say that it remains unclear how much of the debt would be paid back. “Thanks to all the well-intentioned state interventions there are too many businesses carrying too much debt – all of which will need to be paid off, written off or restructured. The contractual obligations of debt are a millstone around the neck of businesses.”

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Turn to defence in fight for the UK’s future

Charles Woodburn, chief executive of BAE Systems, explains in the Telegraph how the defence and security sector can help revive Britain’s economy. The return on investment makes a compelling case in its own right, but the opportunities for training and supporting advanced SME manufacturers will “help the UK emerge stronger, fitter and better placed to counter whatever challenges we face in the future.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2


Businesses fear second wave more than no-deal

Research conducted by BDO indicates that over two-thirds of businesses see a second-wave of COVID-19 as a bigger threat to their existence than a no-deal Brexit. The accounting firm’s survey found that the pandemic had pushed preparations for Brexit down the list of priorities for British businesses, with just a third of bosses considering adapting their business for Brexit as a top priority. Despite the current challenges, 41% of medium-sized businesses intend to invest, particularly in technology, over the next six months, and 40% plan to hire graduates or apprentices.

The Daily Telegraph The Times, Page: 36 The I, Page: 42 Daily Express, Page: 45


Insurance rates double for lawyers as claims rise

The cost of professional indemnity insurance for lawyers is rocketing, the FT reports, with Hazlewoods partner Andy Harris reporting “top-up cover increases often of more than 100%”.

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Man accused of shooting Matt Ratana ‘had a job with HMRC’

Louis De Zoysa, the man accused of shooting Metropolitan Police Sergeant Matt Ratana while in custody in a Croydon police station was an employee of HMRC, according to reports. An HMRC spokesperson declined to comment on Sunday night.

Daily Mail

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward