News Thursday 12th December 2019



Sir David Lewis: Guernsey is no different to other UK tax havens

Responding to claims from the chief minister of Guernsey that the island “has a proven model that should be followed by the United Kingdom to regulate trust and company service providers (TCSPs) and to monitor the owners of Guernsey-registered companies,” Sir David Lewis, a former board member of the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority, says in fact all of the UK’s offshore tax haven dependencies have very similar regulatory regimes. But: “None of them prevent undesirable beneficial owners from hiding their identities by the use of blind trusts, discretionary trusts and other devices created by lawyers and accountants, who often also use companies and trusts set up in Pacific and Caribbean tax havens to hide the identities of their ultimate clients who wish to remain anonymous. It is misleading to suggest otherwise.”

The Times, Page: 38


Supercuts strikes rescue deal

Regis UK, the owner of the Supercuts and Regis hairdressing chains, has secured a rescue deal, in a move that will save more than 1,000 jobs. Entrepreneur Lee Bushell has agreed to buy 140 outlets, although 60 sites are expected to close as part of the deal, with 200 jobs still at risk. The business has been struggling with a fall in customer numbers in shopping centres where many of its salons are located. It also said higher wage costs had worsened its “cash flow issues”. Matt Cowlishaw, of administrators Deloitte, said: “We are pleased to have concluded the sale and for being able to preserve a significant number of jobs at two well-known brands.”

BBC News City AM The Times, Page: 58 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 7 Daily Mirror, Page: 18

M&C Saatchi shares drop after boardroom bloodbath

Shares in M&C Saatchi fell sharply yesterday following the departure of founder Maurice Saatchi and a clutch of senior executives. A row over the direction of the company reportedly followed the news that the advertising agency had an £11.6m accounting black hole. A review by PwC uncovered the full extent of the problems that were first unearthed in the summer.

Financial Times, Page: 13 Daily Mail, Page: 90 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1, 8 City AM, Page: 10 The Times, Page: 49

Care home probe over missing £50m

Insolvency practitioners from Duff & Phelps and Quantuma are hunting for £50m of investors’ cash which is allegedly missing from Yeovil-based care home firm Carlauren Group. Investors ploughed £75m into the company with the promise of 125% returns over ten years. A court hearing last month heard allegations that founder Sean Murray had syphoned off large sums to a personal account.

The Times, Page: 48


You’ll be working for longer under Corbyn

Compass chairman Paul Walsh has warned that a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government would seriously impact the pensions of 19m workers, most of whom are on a modest income. The former Diageo boss cited recent estimates that Labour could wipe an average of £11,200 from savers’ pension pots and delay their retirement by three and a half years. His concerns echo those of former pensions minister Baroness Altmann, who last night said: “It is really important that anyone with money building up in pensions – including almost all British workers – should think very carefully about the damage a hard-Left Labour government would do to their pensions.”

Daily Mail, Page: 8, 9


Rics: Political uncertainty stalls housing market

The housing market has been put “on hold” by the General Election, according to a new report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, which reported house prices fell at their fastest rate since April last month. New enquiries from prospective buyers slipped in November for the third month in a row, as 9% more respondents saw a decline in enquiries than a rise. Rics members also reported a fall both in sales and new instructions to sell, with the average number of properties on estate agents’ books remaining close to record lows at around 41 per branch. Survey respondents cited “persistent economic and political uncertainty” as deterring both buyers and vendors. However, the market expected to pick up over the next 12 months, with a third more respondents anticipating house prices will rise rather than fall.

Daily Mail Daily Mail


Hope for pub decline turnaround

The number of pubs has increased for the first time in almost a decade, according to ONS data analysed by tech firm Stampede. There were 39,145 pubs and bars in the UK as of March this year, a net rise of 320 since 2018. Nik Antona, of real ale group CAMRA, said: “To ensure pubs survive and thrive, they need a fair tax system and stability.”

Daily Mirror, Page: 35

Long-term investors should consider IR

Amanda Ollason, tax senior manager at Anderson Anderson & Brown, explains in the Scotsman how Investors’ Relief (IR) may be a suitable alternative to SEIS or EIS for investors looking to make medium to long-term investments in more established businesses.

The Scotsman, Page: 13


Goldman Sachs predicts £367bn cost of Corbyn victory

Victory for Jeremy Corbyn in the election would lead to a sharp fall in the pound and the loss of £367bn in the value of UK companies, according to Goldman Sachs. The Labour party’s policy of seizing 10% of shares form large firms would also cost the typical automatically enrolled pension saver as much as £12,000 by 2030,a specialist insurer told the Telegraph. The figures come after the CEBR predicted UK output would be 3% over the next 20 years if Labour win, costing £67bn a year. A Labour Party spokesman said: “It’s no surprise that big banks are coming out with fantasy numbers for fat-cat shareholders. Labour is on the side of pensioners and will provide free personal care for over 65s and compensation for 1950s women.” The Telegraph’s Tim Wallace looks at various predictions for the market with different election outcomes with ING predicting 10-year bonds could almost double to 1.5% by late 2020 under a high-spending Labour government. However, investors favour Labour’s Brexit plans as they are much closer to simply remaining in the EU than the Tories’ proposals.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 4 Daily Mail, Page: 8, 9, 87

Contact Paul Southward.

Paul Southward