News Roundup Friday 3rd May 2019



Hancock: Taxes will go up to pay for care

Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday admitted taxes would have to rise to pay for social care but people should not have to sell their home to pay for it. Under questioning from peers, he also suggested an insurance scheme modelled on the “auto-enrolment” system for workplace pensions should be set up to help people cope with the cost of a care home in later life.

The Sun, Page: 2 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 2 Daily Express, Page: 8

Quarterly stamp duty receipts fall by 8%

Figures from HMRC yesterday show that its quarterly take from stamp duty land tax fell by £152m, or 8.1%, on the same quarter last year, reflecting a 4.9% fall in transactions to 225,500. The number of transactions above £1m was down by 14% on the same quarter last year, with the most significant impact on transactions for homes priced between £1m and £2m.

The Times, Page: 38

Online sales tax would cut rates bills, says Tesco

Tesco has urged the Chancellor to introduce a 2% online sales tax – which would generate a £1.5bn windfall for the high street. The retailer said the proposal would raise enough cash to cut the business rates bill of every shop by 20%.

The Sun, Page: 6


Alliance to launch platform to promote UK fintechs overseas

A UK government-backed fintech platform is to launch aimed at stimulating growth among UK fintechs. The FinTech Alliance will also focus on promoting international opportunities for networking and accessing funding, enabling the nation’s fintechs to grow globally. Principal partners of the new project include Dun & Bradstreet; software development business Endava; financial services company First Data; PwC; Vocalink; and White & Case. Alastair Lukies, who sits on the Prime Minister’s Business Council, is chair of the alliance. He said: “This new community-driven platform is an excellent tool for fintechs which will help stimulate much needed growth in the regions as well as in the other nations of the UK and internationally. I believe that it’s vital that all fintechs, whether they are based in Shoreditch, Leeds or Glasgow, have the same opportunities to fulfil their potential.”

The Scotsman, Page: 34

Rural areas and small businesses suffer as ATMs vanish

Campaigners are warning that one in ten cash machines are under threat as thousands are converted to charge for withdrawals or are being removed completely. In the first three months of the year, 1,700 ATMs have begun charging up to £1.99 per withdrawal. Federation of Small Businesses chairman Mike Cherry said: “Many small firms still have customers that want to pay in cash. Every pound lost to ATM charges is a pound not spent with small businesses.” Mr Cherry also called for a new regulator to be given responsibility for protecting free access to cash, warning: “Otherwise, we risk hurtling towards a cashless society that millions are not ready for yet.”

Daily Express, Page: 1, 4-5 Daily Mail, Page: 21 The Times, Page: 20


Four Seasons falls into administration

Four Seasons Health Care, one of the UK’s largest care home companies, has fallen into administration following months of uncertainty over its debts. The company, nominally owned by private equity firm Terra Firma but under the effective control of H/2 Capital, houses 17,000 elderly patients and employs 20,000 staff. Debbie Westhead, chief inspector at the Government’s Care Quality Commission, said it would advise local councils if there was a risk of care services being halted, but stressed: “We do not believe this to be the case at this time.” Alvarez & Marsal will now attempt to sell Four Seasons out of administration, allowing any potential buyer to avoid picking up its debts. More than 400 UK care home operators have collapsed in the past five years, according to BDO, including 101 last year.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1 Daily Mail, Page: 14


Record numbers using pension freedoms

A record 539,000 people accessed their pensions in the 2018/19 tax year – a 28% year-on-year rise – withdrawing a record £8.18bn. However, the average amount being withdrawn has fallen year-on-year from £8,430 in the first year to £3,713 in 2017/18 and £3,358 this year.

Financial Reporter Daily Mirror, Page: 39


Clients prefer advice from robots

Digital wealth management apps could “eclipse” traditional channels as clients move towards new technology faster than anticipated, new research by EY showed. More than 40% of clients said they would prefer to use a mobile app.

City AM, Page: 8


Tech activity rises despite falling optimism

Activity in the UK tech sector rose to 54.4 in the first three months of 2019, up from 52.3 at the end of last year, according to data from KPMG. A reading above 50 shows an increase in overall business activity. Tech outperformed the overall UK economy in the first quarter, which grew at its weakest pace for six years to hit 50.6. However, despite the improved growth, sentiment dropped from 69.8 at the end of 2018 to 65.6 with firms citing Brexit uncertainty, a possible skills shortage and the subdued global economy as causes for reduced optimism. Bernard Brown, vice chair at KPMG UK commented: “While business may be concerned about global economic headwinds threatening customer spending, confidence is being buoyed by long term trends where we have a track-record for innovation.”

City AM, Page: 2

EU bosses lose confidence in UK economy

European business chiefs have said the interminable bickering over Brexit has led to a fall in confidence in the UK economy, a new report by investment bank Credit Suisse has revealed. Over 65% of European business leaders said the political wrangling had made them less likely to invest in Britain. Roughly 50% of the bosses polled said Brexit was their main concern, ahead of the outlook for the Chinese economy and Donald Trump’s protectionism.

City AM, Page: 4
Contact Paul Southward.

Paul Southward