NEWS – TUESDAY 24TH NOVEMBER 2020

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX NEWS – TUESDAY 24TH NOVEMBER 2020

Brexiteer lobby group calls for end to corporation tax

The Brexit-backing Independent Business Network is urging the Chancellor to scrap corporation tax and reform foreign takeover rules as part of efforts to boost British industry through Brexit and the pandemic. The lobby group called corporation tax a “disproportionate administrative burden” for companies, and added: “Without corporation tax, businesses will have more cash on their balance sheets, which can be deployed more effectively through greater investment in improving productivity, higher wages, lower consumer prices and higher dividends. Elsewhere, the Telegraph’s Matthew Lynn suggests Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review seem pointless without a review of tax – ruling out short-term rises and moving towards a simpler system. Finally, Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, outlines some of Mr Sunak’s options in a piece for the Mail, along with other experts including Andrew Sentance an d EY’s Chris Sanger, who calls for a “clear strategic path, shared with the public”.

The Times, Page: 40 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2 Daily Mail, Page: 72

Temporary halt put on loan charge work

Mel Stride, the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, has written to Philip Dunne MP informing him that the committee has decided to not do any work on the loan charge in the near term despite concerns that loan scheme promoters are targeting NHS workers. Mr Stride said the committee had decided to focus on other areas, such as the economic impact of coronavirus.

Yorkshire Post, Business, Page: 1

PERSONAL FINANCE NEWS – TUESDAY 24TH NOVEMBER 2020

Some 18m people forced into debt since start of pandemic

Research by debt charity Turn2Us shows that 18m people in the UK have had to use credit cards, go into their overdraft or borrow from friends and family since the start of the pandemic. The findings also show that people on furlough were considerably more likely to be borrowing money, with half of those who have been furloughed since March falling into debt, compared to 23% of people who have seen no change to the employment. Thomas Lawson, chief executive at Turn2us, commented: “Even if a vaccine for COVID-19 became available tomorrow, the damage has been done to people’s finances. People have spent their savings and used up their rainy day funds, there is nothing left.”

The Independent

PENSIONS NEWS – TUESDAY 24TH NOVEMBER 2020

Inflation shake-up would hit incomes for 10m private pensions

Industry experts have warned that more than 10m pension incomes linked to the retail prices index (RPI) will lose out if the chancellor announces a move to a lower inflation measure in Wednesday’s spending review. Rishi Sunak is expected to announce that RPI will be replaced by the consumer prices index including housing costs (CPIH) – a measure of inflation that is typically far lower. The reform will save the taxpayer money, benefit commuters and help students but also reduce annual increases in incomes from defined benefit pension schemes linked to RPI. LCP partner Sir Steve Webb commented: “This is potentially a real loss for millions of present and future company pensioners, there is no getting away from that.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1

CORPORATE NEWS – TUESDAY 24TH NOVEMBER 2020

Leon cooking up new rent plan

Leon, the restaurant chain launched in 2004 by Henry Dimbleby, an adviser to Boris Johnson, is considering a company voluntary arrangement to cut its rent bill. The firm appointed Quantuma in June to advise it on seeking new terms from landlords in the light of the pandemic but us now shifting attention to a possible CVA.

The Times, Page: 37

JD Sports in talks to buy Debenhams

JD Sports has entered into exclusive talks with Debenhams’ adviser Lazard and administrators at FRP Advisory about a rescue takeover of the department store chain.

The Times, Page: 37

EMPLOYMENT NEWS – TUESDAY 24TH NOVEMBER 2020

Covid crisis threatens UK boom in self-employed work

The FT considers how self-employed workers have been hit hardest the pandemic and without support the upward trend in this model of working may be severely curtailed.

Financial Times, Page: 2

City group seeks to loosen public school grip on top jobs

A new task force created to increase diversity in the Square Mile will be backed by PwC and Deloitte, among others, and chaired by Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation.

Financial Times, Page: 3

ECONOMY NEWS – TUESDAY 24TH NOVEMBER 2020

Haldane: Vaccine success boosts UK economic outlook

In evidence to the House of Commons Treasury select committee on Monday, the Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane said news of three successful coronavirus vaccine trials meant the UK’s economic outlook was brighter than the Bank’s forecast earlier this month. However, he warned against the public dropping its guard triggering a third wave of COVID-19. Also speaking with MPs on the Committee, the Bank’s governor Andrew Bailey said the economic cost of a no-deal Brexit would have a greater long-term impact than the damage caused by the pandemic. Models suggested the longer-term consequences were due to the time required to adjust to a new trading relationship, he added.

Financial Times The Daily Telegraph The Guardian

IHS Markit PMI shows November slowdown

IHS Markit’s purchasing managers’ index fell to 45.8 in November from 51.4 the previous month, the lowest level since May. Chris Williamson, IHS Markit’s chief business economist, commented: “A double dip is indicated by the November survey data, with lockdown measures once again causing business activity to collapse across large swathes of the economy.”

The Daily Telegraph Financial Times, Page: 3 City AM

OTHER NEWS – TUESDAY 24TH NOVEMBER 2020

Council inadequately positioned ahead of Covid

A draft audit report into Leeds City Council’s accounts by Grant Thornton warned that it did not have sufficient general reserves and was not “sufficiently robust” ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with other large UK local authorities.

Yorkshire Post, Page: 4

Four million illicit cigarettes uncovered in Glasgow warehouse

Three men have been charged and 4.2m suspected illicit cigarettes seized by HMRC. Officers made the discovery when they attended a Glasgow warehouse. The goods found are believed to be worth an estimated £1.6m in lost duty and taxes.

The Scotsman, Page: 13

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward