NEWS – THURSDAY 8TH APRIL 2021

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX NEWS – THURSDAY 8TH APRIL 2021

CIOT and ICAS call for increased tax awareness

Accounting bodies in Scotland have called on the country’s political parties to improve public understanding of the devolved tax system. The plea comes as a new poll reveals that a third of Scots don’t know the Parliament has changed their taxes. The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) have also called for increased scrutiny of tax by MSPs with the introduction of an equivalent to the Westminster Finance Bill, which would make changes to the tax system easier and more visible. The organisations make the call in a new paper, Building a Better Tax System, after a recent poll found that 33% of Scots said they were unaware that the Scottish Parliament had made changes to the tax system since 2015 and 26% said they were “not aware” the Scottish Parliament even had the power to make changes to income tax rates.

The Scotsman

IMF proposes ‘solidarity’ tax on pandemic winners and wealthy

Companies that prospered during the coronavirus crisis and wealthy people should pay a temporary additional tax to show solidarity with those who were hit hardest by the pandemic, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The idea of a wealth tax has been revived by growing intergenerational inequality and the blow dealt to public finances by the pandemic, with the IMF warning that average government debt will hit 99% of GDP in 2021. But Helen Miller, deputy director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, warned that although there was a case for a one-off wealth tax but cautioned it would not help tackle a higher structural deficit caused by Covid.

Financial Times, Page: 8 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2 The Times, Page: 31 Daily Mail

Global minimum tax rate gains traction

A global minimum tax on corporate profits is being considered by G20 finance ministers after the Biden administration made the case for an international base rate this week. According to Reuters, France and Germany have signalled support for the US approach, which could pave the way for a landmark agreement on global tax changes this summer. Sky News points out that may countries will not be keen on the idea, with the Republic of Ireland likely one of them. Ireland currently has a corporate tax rate of 12.5% and has attracted more than 700 companies from the US alone as a result of the policy.

Financial Times The Guardian, Page: 26 Sky News Daily Mail

PENSIONS NEWS – THURSDAY 8TH APRIL 2021

Women could be owed ‘lottery-winning’ pension sums

The BBC has learned that women on £1-a-week state pensions could be owed tens of thousands of pounds. A case study highlights the case of Carole Davies. Ms Davies is among 5,000 women entitled to potentially huge refunds, many of whom will not be captured by the DWP’s search, due to a rule change in 2008. Steve Webb, a former pensions minister said under a little-known rule, the women who qualify for this concession are those who are getting a tiny amount of what is known as “graduated retirement benefit” (GRB) under the old state pension system, which ran until 1975. The average amount they are receiving is around £1.24 per week, but this is enough to qualify for a married woman’s pension. They can backdate their claims to their husband’s 65th birthday and could be in line for tens of thousands of pounds. “It is incredible that there are thousands of women getting such tiny pensions, but even more incredible that many could potentially be entitled to tens of thousands in back payments,” said Mr Webb.

BBC News

EMPLOYMENT NEWS – THURSDAY 8TH APRIL 2021

Solid rebound will attract foreign workers back to Britain

International workers could flood back to Britain if the vaccine rollout encourages a more rapid reopening of the economy, Steffan Ball, an economist at Goldman Sachs said. “If jobs open up sooner in the UK than in the home countries of migrants who have recently left, then this would act as a strong force for them to return.”

The Daily Telegraph

CORPORATE NEWS – THURSDAY 8TH APRIL 2021

Serco practice of moving profits within group ‘legitimate’, lawyer says

A court hearing a case brought against Serco alleging fraud heard the company’s lawyer argues that transferring profits between its business units was “not very admirable” but “lawful … legitimate accounting”.

Financial Times, Page: 12

SMEs NEWS – THURSDAY 8TH APRIL 2021

BDO releases new survey results

BDO ’s latest Rethinking the Economy survey reveals that some 40% of North West businesses are planning major investment and hiring activities this year. Ed Dwan, partner and head of BDO in the North West, remarked: “It’s clear that as government restrictions start to loosen and the UK’s COVID vaccine programme continues to help suppress the virus, North West businesses are gaining the confidence needed to make key strategic decisions in the months ahead. Mid-sized businesses will play an integral role in the UK’s overall economic recovery.”

Insider Media

ECONOMY NEWS – THURSDAY 8TH APRIL 2021

Hiring picks up as lockdown lifts

Employers stepped up their recruitment plans last month as companies prepared for the national lockdown to ease. A survey on employers by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG found hiring activity picked up at its fastest pace in almost six years in March. Permanent starting salaries increased while temporary salaries also rose at the fastest rates since December 2019. Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said: “This is the first month that we have really seen things getting better for most firms. We are at the bottom of the mountain and starting to climb up again.” The survey showed that the strongest growth in vacancies was for nursing and care jobs, and in the IT sector while hospitality businesses were starting to hire again. There was, however, weaker demand in the retail sector.

The Times, Page: 34 Financial Times, Page: 2 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2 The I, Page: 9 Daily Mail The Independent

Confidence hits 15-year high

Business optimism is at its strongest since late 2006 according to the latest IHS Market PMI survey, with just 8% of companies predicting a fall in activity over the next twelve months. Britain’s overall PMI rose to 56.4 in March, reflecting a resurgence in services sector activity after several months of slowdown. Separately, high street footfall was up 134% over Easter weekend compared to this time last year despite non-essential shops not being open yet. Meanwhile, figures from PwC show that consumer confidence is now at its highest level since the tracking of the data began in 2008. PwC says the figures show there are consumers with more disposable income and “a pent-up demand to spend after a year of lockdown restrictions”.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2 BBC News Daily Express

OTHER NEWS – THURSDAY 8TH APRIL 2021

Malaysia ex-PM served with bankruptcy notice

Najib Razak, the former prime minister of Malaysia, has been served with a bankruptcy notice for failing to pay more than $400m in unpaid taxes, a move that the ex-premier described as an attempt to destroy his political career.

Daily Mail

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward