NEWS – THURSDAY 27TH AUGUST 2020
NEWS – THURSDAY 27TH AUGUST 2020
TAX NEWS – THURSDAY 27TH AUGUST 2020
More landlords caught out for not declaring income from holiday homes abroad
Tax on income from rental properties overseas has jumped by 17% amid a series of crackdowns by HMRC, according to data collected by Moore, with an extra 3,000 holiday home owners a year caught out for not declaring rental income. The firm’s Matthew Grief said: “We expect the value of income declared will be even higher this year as HMRC has been really turning up the heat on overseas landlords and there is no sign activity in this area will slow down soon.”
The EU is weaponising money laundering and tax rules
Caribbean economist Marla Dukharan says the EU has engaged in “unacceptable economic warfare” by weaponising “anti-money laundering and tax rules and disproportionately imposing them on non-white former colonies.”
CORPORATE NEWS – THURSDAY 27TH AUGUST 2020
Landlords displeased with New Look’s CVA plans
New Look revealed yesterday that it was hoping to slash costs by switching its store leases to turnover-based rents in an effort to weather the crisis and protect over 11,200 jobs as part of a proposed CVA. The British Property Federation said: “New Look is using this CVA to permanently rewrite its leases. This proposal is not about a time-limited rescue plan. Property owners are increasingly supporting turnover-based rent models underpinned by collaboration and transparency, but CVAs should not become a mechanism to enforce this.”
A third of Wahaca restaurants to close
Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca is to shut more than a third of its 28 sites as it looks to shore up its cash reserves. Rental costs in city centre locations made running the sites untenable, the company said.
SMEs NEWS – THURSDAY 27TH AUGUST 2020
Hospitality chains extend discount deal themselves
A string of restaurant and pub chains have extended the Eat Out To Help Out scheme into September, funding the 50% discount themselves as eateries continue to face an existential threat from the coronavirus pandemic. The latest figures from the Treasury show more than 64m meals have now been claimed by diners since Chancellor Rishi Sunak launched the scheme at the start of the month. Mike Cherry, chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “This scheme is one that genuinely works in helping to get people out into small businesses. A nationwide one-month extension would go some way to helping many firms which are still only just about managing in this time of crisis.” Meanwhile, the Grosvenor Estate, one of London’s biggest commercial landlords, said it will subsidise the Chancellor’s discount scheme until the end of September for its restaurant tenants in an effort to boost patronage.
Making masks mandatory would deliver a crushing blow to small firms
The Federation of Small Businesses has warned that any new rule imposing face masks at all times and on all small firms would risk stifling efforts to get more people back into work. Mike Cherry, chairman of the FSB, said: “Any further changes need to be carefully thought through and accompanied by direct financial assistance.” The concern comes after France ordered all office workers to wear masks from Tuesday.
The Daily Telegraph, Page: 6
INDUSTRY NEWS – THURSDAY 27TH AUGUST 2020
Advisers’ use of platforms surges
Financial advisers’ use of platforms continues to increase, according to figures from CoreData Research. All of the advisers polled by CoreData now use platforms, with 68% using them daily. Some 79% of high-net worth focused advisers used platforms daily, up from 73% in 2019, while the proportion of mass market advisers working on platforms every day has risen from 48% to 63%. Advisers also report higher levels of satisfaction with platforms.
Letter: Don’t underplay auditors’ role in fraud prevention
Accounting Professor Jan Bouwens says that by “pointing out the very few mistakes auditors make while delivering adequate audits in tens of thousands of cases worldwide the contribution of the auditor is unduly marginalised.”
Icas announces top 100 young chartered accountants
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (Icas) has announced its top 100 young chartered accountants as part of a global competition. Icas chief executive Bruce Cartwright said: “I would like to congratulate all of the exceptional CAs who made it onto this year’s Top 100 Young CAs list.
The Scotsman, Page: 44 The Press and Journal, Page: 30
REPORTING NEWS – THURSDAY 27TH AUGUST 2020
Pension funds to warn of climate change risks
Pension funds are to be legally required to report the risks that climate change could have on members’ investments. Climate change is expected to have a significant impact on pension assets and returns both through the risks of a warmer planet and moves towards a lower carbon economy. Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey has now announced plans for the 100 largest schemes with assets of more than £5bn each to be required to publish climate risk disclosures by the end of 2022.
Daily Mail, Page: 19
FINANCIAL SERVICES NEWS – THURSDAY 27TH AUGUST 2020
UK banks told to be flexible when payment holidays end
Lenders have been ordered by the Financial Conduct Authority to offer various repayment options to mortgage borrowers affected by coronavirus and not take a “one size fits all” approach as homeowners lose the option of taking a payment holiday after the end of October. The furlough scheme also ends on Oct 31st. About 2m borrowers have taken a mortgage holiday, and as many as 9.4m workers were put on furlough.
PENSIONS NEWS – THURSDAY 27TH AUGUST 2020
Pension savers turn to higher risk assets
Research by My Pension Expert suggests the coronavirus crisis has pushed pension savers towards riskier assets. The advice firm found one in eight savers had moved their pension funds into a higher-risk investment to make up for lost value during the market turmoil caused by the pandemic. Meanwhile, 12% of savers have withdrawn from their pension during the crisis without seeking financial advice. A separate survey by workplace savings provider Cushion shows concerns about saving for retirement reduced by 20% in May compared with last year, while 73% of those polled agreed the coronavirus had made them realise that having accessible savings was “equally important” to pensions.
More than 800,000 UK employees short-changed on pensions
New research by the Resolution Foundation estimates that one in 20 employees are not receiving the pension they are due, with the low paid at much greater risk of being excluded from workplace schemes.
ECONOMY NEWS – THURSDAY 27TH AUGUST 2020
Crunch time in November when furlough and mortgage holidays end
Borrowers will not be able to use Covid as a reason to request a mortgage holiday from their lender from October 31st, the Financial Conduct Authority has said. The rule change comes at the same time as the taxpayer-funded furlough scheme is axed, meaning November could reveal the true extent of the economic havoc wreaked by COVID-19. The announcement by the regulator coincides with a survey from the CBI predicting swathes of job losses in the services sector.
WTTC in tourism sector warning
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has announced that the UK economy could see losses of £22bn this year as a result of the coronavirus crisis, following a warning from the Association of British Travel Agents that the hospitality and travel sector “desperately” needs further government aid. Gloria Guevara, president and chief executive of WTTC, commented: “International coordination to re-establish transatlantic travel – for business and leisure trips – would provide a vital shot in the arm for the travel and tourism sector.”
The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 5 The Independent, Page: 44 City AM The Press and Journal, Page: 30
PROPERTY NEWS – THURSDAY 27TH AUGUST 2020
House sales at 13-year high
House sales reached a 13-year high in July as buyers rushed to take advantage of cuts to stamp duty. The National Association of Estate Agents said average sales per branch hit 13 during the month – the highest figure since June 2007 and 44% higher on the same month last year.
Daily Mail, Page: 77
Paul Southward comments, “this is not a surprising outcome given the temporary reduction in SDLT and the fact that many people are reassessing their life choices and priorities after the pandemic crisis has altered working practices across the country”.
OTHER NEWS – THURSDAY 27TH AUGUST 2020
Sturgeon’s case for independence takes a blow
The SNP’s Government’s General Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (Gers) figures for 2019/20 reveal that each Scot received £1,633 (12.4%) more than the UK average in public spending thanks to the Barnett Formula. Tax revenue north of the Border was £308 less per head than the UK average. With Scotland’s notional deficit now the equivalent of 8.6% of GDP, more than treble the UK figure and nearly three times the 3% required for EU membership, the figures represent “a hammer blow” to the SNP’s drive for independence, according to Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Tories’ shadow finance secretary.
Contact Paul Southward