News Roundup Tuesday 2nd April 2019



MTD will give one million businesses more financial control

The Government’s Making Tax Digital programme becomes law today, meaning most businesses above the VAT threshold will need to keep their records digitally and submit their VAT return using MTD-compatible software for VAT periods starting on or after 1 April. HMRC says MTD will make it easier for businesses to get their tax right first time. During the first year of the programme, HMRC will take a light touch approach to penalties by not issuing filing or record keeping penalties where businesses are doing their best to comply with MTD. Emma Jones, founder of small business support network Enterprise Nation, commented: “Encouraging small firms to adopt more digital functionality offers real benefits. For example, having accurate and timely financial information to hand helps companies make better, more informed decisions and using digital tools more broadly, including time management, helps businesses increase productivity. In the longer t erm we feel Making Tax Digital and the digitisation of tax records will present significant advantages to business.” However, critics say the process of registering for MTD was “excruciating” for small companies while the software alone is setting small firms back by hundreds of pounds.

Press Release Financial Times, Page: 2 The Times, Page: 45

Boris Johnson: Get on with Brexit or hand power to Corbyn

Writing in the Telegraph, Boris Johnson calls on the Conservatives to unite and get Brexit done in order that attention can be turned to taking the country forward. Failure to show confidence and give the UK the chance to “recover our courage and self-belief” will mean handing the keys to Downing Street to Jeremy Corbyn. Corporation tax cuts and slashing stamp duty and inheritance tax are among the policies Johnson thinks will help the Tories get elected.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 16

Truss pledges £25bn tax cut

Liz Truss has vowed to deliver a £25bn tax cut for business and young people as the Chief secretary to the Treasury sets out her leadership stall. She said Britain should use the bulk of a £27bn Brexit war chest saved by the Chancellor for the plan.

The Sun, Page: 8 The I, Page: 8

HMRC reports itself to the police over taxpayer’s suicide

HMRC has reported the suicide of an individual facing a new “loan charge” to the Independent Office for Police Conduct as the Treasury faces increasing anger of over the policy.

Financial Times


RBS under fire for chasing payment from victims of mis-sold loans

The all-party parliamentary group on fair business banking has said it will write to the Treasury expressing concern that RBS is pursuing the owners of SMEs for debts linked with the Enterprise Finance Guarantee, a government-backed lending scheme. Kevin Hollinrake, co-chairman of the parliamentary group, said: “It is extremely concerning to learn that the bank is pursuing people for debts the government may have covered, on loans borrowers say they were misled over.” He called on RBS to pause recovery action against borrowers should they wish to make a complaint. RBS declined to comment on whether it would consider such a pause. Mr Hollinrake has also criticised Derek Sach, the former boss of RBS’s GRG unit, after it emerged that he advises the standards organisation for restructuring practices. Hollinrake said he is “alarmed and perplexed” that Mr Sach advises Insol, which RBS chief Ross McEwan last year flagged to the Treasury se lect committee as a “leading association” that sets out principles for bankers.

The Times The Daily Telegraph

Directors face working into 70s

Research by BDO shows over 100,000 company directors over the age of 66 are still running their business, with many having failed to sell their company before their planned retirement. A report by the firm says selling a business takes an average of nine months. Mark Lamb of BDO said: “Many directors face working well into their 70s, not always out of choice but because they have failed to sell their business.”

Daily Mirror, Page: 14 Yorkshire Post, Business, Page: 17


Small businesses share £500m rates cut

Thousands of small businesses will benefit from a one-third discount on their rates bills from today as part of a policy announced by the Chancellor in the budget last year. The tax relief will support all retail properties with a rateable value of up to £51,000 for the next two years. Philip Hammond said that would help “up to 90% of all independent shops, pubs, restaurants and cafés”. Councils have set aside £502m this financial year to cover the cost. Meanwhile, the FT reports that online retailers will face higher business rates bills from April 2021 onwards, when the current high rents on warehouses will be used as the basis for setting rates. Finally, the BRC has warned that a “multiplier”, which will come into force from today will costs English retailers an additional £187m.

The Times, Page: 45 Daily Mirror, Page: 2 Financial Times, Page: 2 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3 Daily Star, Page: 2 Daily Express, Page: 48


Prosecco’s bubble finally bursts

A study of HMRC data by UHY Hacker Young reveals sales of prosecco are down for the first time in five years with Britons buying 214m bottles in the year to January 31, down from 217m the year before. The firm said the drop could be down to higher import costs but also the consumer shift to craft gin.

Daily Mail, Page: 5 The Sun, Page: 23 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 9 Yorkshire Post, Page: 2 The Scotsman, Page: 17 City AM, Page: 8


Roger Bootle: Brexit could save the whole of Europe

Roger Bootle explains in the Telegraph that the “UK cannot remain in the same EU that we currently belong to” because the crisis facing the bloc means it either embraces full fiscal union or collapses. Remainers seem to confuse European identity with the EU’s political institutions and fail to understand the dire consequences facing the UK if it became subsumed into the Union’s future plans. Moreover, Bootle says rather than being adrift and alone the UK – as a successful independent nation – will inspire others to “escape from the bureaucratic and undemocratic nightmare that is the EU.” He concludes that: “If only the UK Government can muster the gumption to deliver what the British people have voted for, Brexit can save, not just the UK, but the whole of Europe.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2

Contact Paul Southward.