News Roundup Friday 27th September 2019

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX NEWS

Government urged to suspend loan charge now

The Yorkshire Post’s business section leads on the review into the loan charge announced by the Chancellor. The move is welcomed, but the Government should recognise the damage the policy is doing and cease the pursuit of affected taxpayers now, says the paper’s Greg Wright. MPs have called on Sajid Javid to widen the scope and time frame of the review and suspend all enforcement activity related to the loan charge immediately while the review is carried out.

Yorkshire Post, Business, Page: 1-2

CORPORATE NEWS

Thomas Cook executives could be stripped of their bonuses

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said Thomas Cook executives could be stripped of their bonuses as the backlash over the company’s collapse worsens. Speaking in the Commons, Mr Shapps also noted that Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom had written to the Financial Reporting Council “to ensure they prioritise as a matter of urgency an investigation into both the causes of [Thomas Cook’s] failure and the conduct of its directors and of its auditors.” The firm’s accountants EY and PwC are set to be investigated by the industry watchdog.

The Daily Telegraph The Times, Page: 21 Daily Express, Page: 15 Daily Mail, Page: 23 The Scotsman, Page: 29

Wrightbus goes into administration

Northern Ireland’s Wrightbus, famous for building the so-called Boris bus Routemaster model, has entered administration – leaving nearly 5,000 jobs at risk. The company had been looking for a new owner and Deloitte, the administrator, said the failure of a buyer materialising was the reason that job cuts were to be made. Unions are demanding that Prime Minister Boris Johnson steps in to “do something decent” by helping rescue the company, rather than leave staff to face “devastating consequences”.

Financial Times, Page: 2 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1 The Times, Page: 49 City AM The Guardian, Page: 33

Aberdeen paper mill saved

The future of a paper mill has been secured and hundreds of jobs saved after a management buyout of Arjowiggins’s Stoneywood plant in Aberdeen. Administrators at FRP Advisory had been called in early in 2019 but have now confirmed a management buyout for an “undisclosed sum” meant the jobs had been saved.

The Independent, Page: 54 The Scotsman, Page: 23

REPORTING NEWS

Tim Martin: “Corporate governance system is f***ed”

The Times’ Dominic Walsh says he talked with JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin about Thomas Cook’s failure. Mr Martin reportedly slammed the company’s accounting practices and hit out at “the world of corporate governance”: “Audit committees have substantially loosened financial control, remuneration committees have overseen a boom in pay when their purpose was restraint, and management is underrepresented on boards packed with non-execs.” Mr Martin went on to complain that instead of running their businesses he and others like him were forced to spend thousands of hours explaining why they “don’t adhere to arbitrary rules”. He concluded: “The whole system is f***ed.”

The Times, Page: 48

Rosenblatt wades into litigation funding debate

Law firm Rosenblatt has said it will change the way it accounts for legal cases it funds following criticism of Burford Capital for writing up the value of cases on its books before they had ended.

Financial Times, Page: 20

PENSIONS NEWS

FCA finds pension pots accessed without advice

The Financial Conduct Authority has found that 48% of pension pots that have had funds withdrawn were accessed by people who had not taken any advice. According to the FCA, more than 645,000 pensions were accessed during the 2018-19 period. More than 350,000 pots were fully withdrawn at the first time of access, of which 90% had a value of less than £30,000. Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, called the findings “deeply concerning” adding that the Government and the FCA should “do more to make sure providers are signposting guidance services and advice and explaining the potential ramifications if you don’t seek assistance”.

The Times

Pension schemes urged to boost exposure to venture capital

The British Business Bank has recommended that workplace pension schemes should be able to invest in venture capital funds and that management fees should be adjusted to better facilitate this.

Financial Times

SMEs NEWS

HSBC launches £14bn fund to help SMEs navigate Brexit

HSBC has launched a £14bn package for SMEs across the UK to help them navigate Brexit. The fund includes ring-fenced pots for international businesses and the agriculture sector. Meanwhile, Barclays is to hold dozens of so-called 100 Brexit clinics to give support to its customers north of the border. It also launched its own £14bn lending fund earlier this year.

The Sun, Page: 47 The Scotsman, Page: 39 The Press and Journal, Page: 34

PROPERTY NEWS

Labour backs plan to seize ’empty private homes’

The Mail reports that Labour could seize private family homes and introduce price controls into the market if the party wins the next general election. Delegates at the party conference in Brighton also committed the party to a 20-year council house-building blitz creating 2m council homes in a bid to tackle the UK’s housing crisis.

Daily Mail

WEALTH MANAGEMENT NEWS

Chasing wealth managers is a risky business

The FT notes the profitability of the private banking business compared with traditional retail banking but warns the assets of the emerging ultra-wealthy have yet to be tested in a global recession.

Financial Times, Page: 13

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Macron set to unveil new household tax cuts

French taxpayers are to be offered more than €10bn (£8.9bn) of new tax cuts in Emmanuel Macron’s 2020 budget on Friday. Budget minister Gerald Darmanin said tax cuts had been stepped up in response to the gilet jaunes protests.

City AM, Page: 21

ECONOMY NEWS

Deutsche boss warns of ‘darkened skies’

Christian Sewing, chief executive of Deutsche Bank, struck a gloomy tone over the future of the world economy with banking delegates in London on Wednesday, warning that central banks have already “turned on the money tap to the limit.” He also cautioned that, despite the low interest rates, Europe’s financial sector faces troubling structural issues: “What is really worrying is that the central banks have used their tools to a large extent already, so there are no conventional measures left to effectively cushion a real economic crisis,” he said, adding: “Very few economists believe that cheaper money at this level will have any effect, something our clients absolutely reinforce”.

Financial Times City AM

Car-making up for first time in a year

Car production increased by 3.3% last month, the first rise in more than a year. Some 92,158 vehicles were built in August, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. However, Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “Today’s figures mask the underlying downward trend.”

The Times, Page: 49 The I, Page: 43 Yorkshire Post, Page: 5

Retail sales continue to slide

Retail sales fell for the fifth consecutive month in September, down 16% according to the latest CBI Distributive Trades Survey, which also indicates that even internet sales growth eased in the year to September.

The Times, Page: 51 City AM Daily Express, Page: 51

Surging demand boosts boat building industry

Britain’s superyacht industry enjoyed its seventh year of growth with revenues rising to £660m in 2018/19, up 7.1% on the previous financial year, British Marine said.

Daily Mail, Page: 83

OTHER NEWS

Accountant scammed £4k with cancer tale

Chartered accountant Badal Arun Hindocha, 34, lied to his internet girlfriend that he was dying from cancer to swindle her out of £4,300. He has lost his job and has also been stripped of his professional accreditation.

Evening Standard

Contact Paul Southward [Tax Consultant].

Paul Southward