News Roundup Wednesday 17th July 2019

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX NEWS

Johnson: Companies should be helped to help their employees

As part of plans to boost the nation’s mental health, Boris Johnson says in a piece for the Telegraph that companies which provide mental health and occupational health services should be offered preferential tax treatment. Any loss in revenue, he says, “would be more than made up by the gains in productivity and the savings in NHS spending.”

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 16

INDUSTRY NEWS

Auditors should have “unrestricted access” to business workings

Companies could avert another Carillion-style disaster if they provide internal auditors with “unrestricted access” to the workings of their business, according to the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). Auditors should also be allowed to attend all executive committee meetings, a new draft code from the IIA proposes. The Internal Audit Code of Practice seeks to “strengthen corporate governance” and reduce the risk of collapse and will be the first comprehensive set of audit benchmarks for non-financial services firms. A consultation opens today. Brendan Nelson, the audit committee chair at BP comments: “One of the best ways to help organisations better protect their assets and manage risk is to boost the status, standards, scope and skills of internal audit. The draft code offers invaluable guidance about raising internal audit performance to help businesses and other organisations protect their assets, repu tation and sustainability.”

City AM

REPORTING NEWS

Engineer probes profits overstatement

AIM-listed manufacturer Renold has postponed its AGM after uncovering a £1.8m accounting black hole. The company said it started an internal audit investigation supported by PwC, adding that the problems had “arisen from the intentional mis-statement of the financial reports at a local level”.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 31

CORPORATE NEWS

GSK to appoint Jonathan Symonds as chairman

Former Astra Zeneca and Novartis finance director Jonathan Symonds is to become chairman at GlaxoSmithKline. Mr Symonds, who is currently deputy group chairman of HSBC, will oversee a break-up of the UK pharmaceuticals group. Mr Symonds also had stints at Goldman Sachs and KPMG.

Financial Times, Page: 11 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 31

Jack Wills sale attracts interest

Jack Wills has attracted interest from a string of potential buyers after KPMG was hired to explore opportunities for the fashion chain last week, with Crew Clothing and several private equity houses among its suitors.

The I, Page: 638

SMEs NEWS

Scottish SMEs resilient ahead of Brexit

The latest confidence report from business centre operator Citibase shows 47% of Scottish SMEs are now “substantially prepared” for Brexit. However, most said they would prefer it if the referendum never took place. Additionally, 57% of Scottish SMEs have seen revenues rise or stay the same since the referendum, slightly up from 52% last quarter and while 31% said they have found it harder to attract investment or raise funding since the vote, the figure was down 4% from last quarter.

The Scotsman

Santander brews up first UK work café

Santander is introducing its global “work cafe” chain to Britain with a site in Leeds. The initiative – offering small businesses and entrepreneurs free co-working spaces and banking facilities – will bring to life a former bank branch that was closed at the end of June last year.

Daily Express, Page: 47 The Scotsman, Page: 5 The Press and Journal, Page: 33

PENSIONS NEWS

UK pension schemes may be understating liabilities by £260bn

A new survey by XPS Pensions Group suggests UK pension schemes may be understating their liabilities by as much as £260bn. XPS found different approaches to setting discount rates and changes in average life expectancy had impacted on the difference between schemes’ accounting balance sheets and future long-term targets. XPS is urging companies to ensure their disclosures “clearly communicate pension risk and funding.”

Professional Paraplanner

ECONOMY NEWS

UK falls down global growth league table

The UK has slipped to 13th from 12th in KPMG’s annual Growth Promise Indicators report due to poor trade performance, unreliable transport infrastructure and sub-standard education. However, the report did find the UK is well-positioned to capitalise on new technology and ranked among the global leaders in its recognition of business rights.

Daily Mail, Page: 67

Wet weather and Brexit bring slump to high street

Poor weather and continuing Brexit uncertainty brought a “summer slump” to the UK’s high streets with footfall down 2.9% – the lowest June figure recorded since 2012. Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), called on the Government to reform business rates so retailers could spend more cash on measures to improve footfall.

The Guardian, Page: 28

OTHER NEWS

Aberdeenshire Council warned of fraud risk

Public spending watchdog Audit Scotland has warned Aberdeenshire Council it is at “risk of fraud” after £331m of invoices were found which did not match purchasing paperwork at the authority.

The Press and Journal, Page: 5

Contact Paul Southward.

Paul Southward