NEWS – TUESDAY 25TH AUGUST 2020

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX PENALTY NEWS – TUESDAY 25TH AUGUST 2020

Taxman issues harsher penalties

HMRC imposed some of its hardest penalties on taxpayers for committing ‘deliberate’ errors in their tax returns. These fines can range between 20%-100% of the amount of tax due, for those who have given inaccurate information on their tax returns. Paul Southward reports: Tax_Penalties

TAX NEWS – TUESDAY 25TH AUGUST 2020

Hospitality sector needs ongoing support

Marvin Rust, the managing director and head of tax at Alvarez & Marsal, says in a piece for the Telegraph that the end of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and plans by large firms to keep many staff working from home further threatens prospects for the restaurant and casual dining sector. “Further cuts to VAT, a reversal of the decision to resume business rates next year, or bringing about other forms of targeted relief would all be hugely welcomed. Regardless of the measure, the industry is crying out for some certainty about its future.” Looking ahead to the forthcoming Budget, Mr Rust suggests clarity that the tax burden will not be increased in the short term will encourage consumption, while confidence and business performance will be improved through a sustainable, long-term path out of debt, rather than any fiddling with capital gains tax or pension reliefs.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2

Facebook to pay France more than £90m in back taxes

Facebook’s French subsidiary has agreed to pay more than €100m in back taxes, including a penalty, after a 10-year audit of its accounts by French tax authorities.

The Times, Page: 37 Reuters

EMPLOYMENT NEWS – TUESDAY 25TH AUGUST 2020

KPMG survey reveals accelerated digital push by CEOs and plans to downsize offices

A global survey of CEOs by KPMG has found that 80% of business leaders accelerated their digital expansion plans during the lockdown. Amidst the pandemic, companies moved more of their operations online as they adjusted to staff working remotely and dealing with customers virtually. In the short term, 69% of businesses said they planned to cut their office space and 73% said the shift to working from home had increased the pool of job candidates. Talent is now the top risk for executives over the next three years, up from 11th place, followed by supply chains and environmental and climate change risks. CEOs in Britain were more bullish about their country’s economy than in all other countries apart from China and Japan. Overall, 32% they are less confident about the prospects for the global economy than they were at the start of the 2020 while 32% said they are more confident.

Reuters

Price of extending furlough scheme is worth it

Writing in the Times, Karen Ward, chief market strategist for EMEA at JP Morgan Asset Management, warns that unless the Government changes its mind on its plan to close the furlough scheme at the end of October a vast number of businesses will be forced to cut jobs. Ms Ward argues that extending the scheme would serve as an investment in those workers who, if made redundant, would find it difficult to find new employment anyway, while a jump in unemployment “would surely deepen and prolong the recession by making the broader working population more fearful and cautious in their spending.”

The Times, Page: 35

INDUSTRY NEWS – TUESDAY 25TH AUGUST 2020

FCA steps up focus on advice firms facing collapse

The Financial Conduct Authority is prioritising its focus on regulated firms which are “less resilient” to the financial pressures of recent months. Minutes from the regulator’s July board meeting reveal it has established a recovery and resolution strategy and delivery unit, intended to probe the financial resilience of its regulated firms and identify those at risk of failure.

FT Adviser

Quarter of advisers will not return to office in 2020

A poll conducted by Intelliflo reveals a quarter of advisers have no plans to return to the office this year. More than half of respondents agreed that some form of remote working now had a place in their long-term future.

FT Adviser

CORPORATE NEWS – TUESDAY 25TH AUGUST 2020

Ashley buys rival’s gym chain

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has acquired some of the assets of DW Whelan Sports from administration for £37m. The retailer said the deal was for parts of DW’s gym and fitness business, including some stock, but did not include the DW business name and its intellectual property. BDO, administrators for DW, yesterday said that 46 fitness clubs and 31 retail outlets had been sold to Frasers subsidiary SDI Fitness, saving a total of 922 jobs across the business.

Financial Times, Page: 10 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3 The Times, Page: 32 The Guardian, Page: 27 The Sun, Page: 43 Daily Mirror, Page: 44 Daily Mail, Page: 69

SMEs NEWS – TUESDAY 25TH AUGUST 2020

Businesses commit to prioritising mental health

Unilever, Barclays, Lloyds, Morgan Stanley and Santander, along with National Grid and Eon are among 33 companies to have pledged to prioritise mental health as employees return to work. An open letter detailing the commitment was signed following research by Mind, the mental health charity, which showed that more than a third of workers were struggling. The letter is also backed by the CBI and the Federation of Small Businesses.

The Times, Page: 34

Treasury under fire over disclosure silence on virus loans

The UK Treasury and the British Business Bank are refusing to name businesses that have secured state-backed coronavirus loans with a combined value of £52.7bn, citing commercial sensitivities and data protection laws. Separately, the BBB’s Start Up Loans programme has issued its 75,000th loan. The programme has invested £623m in small businesses since 2012.

Financial Times, Page: 2 The Sun, Page: 43

ECONOMY NEWS – TUESDAY 25TH AUGUST 2020

UK set for record-breaking economic growth in third quarter

Data showing higher consumer spending in the first two weeks of August than a year ago indicates the UK may be on course to enjoy a record-breaking economic recovery in Q3.

Financial Times

Shares rise after Trump allows use of convalescent plasma

Share prices on Wall Street hit a fresh record high yesterday and stocks in Europe climbed higher after gains in Asia overnight off the back of US approval for the use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients.

Financial Times The Guardian

INTERNATIONAL NEWS – TUESDAY 25TH AUGUST 2020

Danish companies urged to reinstate guidance for investors

Denmark’s financial regulator has told companies to reinstate full-year guidance in their second-quarter results even if uncertainty remained over how COVID-19 could affect their industries.

Financial Times

Wirecard board expected to quit as administrator appointed

Wirecard’s chairman is expected to resign with the rest of its supervisory board this week as a Munich court prepares to formally appoint an administrator to the payments company.

Financial Times

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward