NEWS – TUESDAY 31ST MARCH 2020
NEWS – TUESDAY 31ST MARCH 2020
CORANAVIRUS (Covid – 19)
Here are the links to the KSK information on Government Support
Government support for business
Support for self-employed
Sick pay for employees
Links to useful Gov.UK websites
Contact Paul Southward or your usual KSK contact.
TAX NEWS – TUESDAY 31ST MARCH 2020
Supermarkets boosted by rates exemption, despite surging sales
Research from think-tank Tax Watch UK suggests food retailers are in line for a £3bn tax break at a time when sales are strong due to the coronavirus outbreak and increased demand as shoppers stock up on supplies. It says food retailers will be some of the biggest beneficiaries of a one year exemption from business rates which aims to help companies to survive a nationwide shutdown. George Turner, director of Tax Watch UK, has suggested that with superstores and hypermarkets paying £2.7bn a year in business rates, this money could be used to support distressed businesses, food banks, self-employed workers ineligible for support or charities. Looking at the rate relief, he suggested: “It may be a better idea for the Government to take a more targeted approach, with support being directed towards businesses forced to close, while those that remain open and thrive continue to pay business rates in the normal way.” Dominic Curran, property policy adviser at the British Retail Consortium, commented: “To single these stores out for additional taxes at a time of national crisis would set a terrible precedent.”
The Times, Page: 37
Do you have any queries regarding your tax affairs?
In these unprecedented times there are many who may have queries of how their tax affairs may be impacted. We can answer all of your queries whether they concern the special Covid-19 support measures, or any other matter.
Don’t forget, the end of the tax year is approaching – time for some year-end planning
Check out our guide to some of the year-end planning tips here: –
Contact Paul Southward:
New rules for capital gains tax reporting on sales of residential properties
Can be found here:
CORPORATE NEWS – TUESDAY 31ST MARCH 2020
BrightHouse and Carluccio’s enter administration
Carluccio’s has fallen into administration, blaming “challenging trading conditions” exacerbated by the corona virus. Administrator FRP is “urgently looking at options” for the future of the Italian restaurant chain, including mothballing the business using government support, as well as trying to sell all or parts of it. It also confirmed that most of the company’s 2,000 employees will be paid through the Government’s job retention scheme while these options are explored. Meanwhile, rent-to-own retailer BrightHouse has also collapsed into administration, putting 2,400 jobs at risk. Grant Thornton says BrightHouse will not be making new rent-to-own or cash loan deals but added that existing clients should continue to make payments in the usual way. Considering the collapse of BrightHouse and Carluccio’s, Julie Palmer of Begbies Traynor said: “Coronavirus was the final nail in the coffin”.
The Times, Page: 38 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 7 The I, Page: 39 The Independent, Page: 19 The Guardian, Page: 10 Financial Times, Page: 12 Daily Express, Page: 9 The Scotsman, Page: 15
Monsoon mulls sell-off
Monsoon Accessorize, the retail group which runs the Monsoon and Accessorize chains, has hired advisers to assess options, including a potential sale, in a bid to protect the company’s long-term future. It has drafted in FRP Advisory to work on possible scenarios.
Daily Mail, Page: 70 The I, Page: 39 The Sun, Page: 41 Daily Express, Page: 50
Energy suppliers seek backing for bills holiday plan
Electricity and gas suppliers have urged ministers to back a £100m loan scheme to fund payment holidays for those struggling with bills, a move PwC’s Steve Jennings described as “perfectly sensible”.
Blackmore in cash warning
Savings firm Blackmore Bond has warned investors that a property market crunch on the back of the COVID-19 crisis will hit cash flow. Separately, KPMG is to produce a report on the business for bondholders.
The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1
Jefferies CFO dies of coronavirus complications
Investment bank Jefferies has announced that CFO Peg Broadbent has died from coronavirus complications, with chief executive Rich Handler and president Brian Friedman confirming the news in a joint statement.
SMEs NEWS – TUESDAY 31ST MARCH 2020
A fifth of SMEs may fold
A report from Be the Business and research firm Opinium suggests one in five SMEs may have to close down permanently because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A poll of 500 businesses shows that 7% of small businesses have stopped trading, while a further 12% of respondents are likely to close within a month. Almost a quarter of respondents had made or were planning to make redundancies, while almost 40% expect to close temporarily because of coronavirus. Tony Danker, chief executive of Be the Business, said: “Coronavirus has impacted almost every business in the country and many are finding it difficult to know what to do next.” He added: “Businesses owners we’ve spoken to aren’t just concerned about the financial implications. They are also focusing on the wellbeing of their employees who have been furloughed or are having to work in completely new ways.” James Endersby, chief executive of Opinium, said the coronavirus crisis has forced many businesses into “uncharted territory”, adding: “It’s an unbelievably challenging time for so many, and the Government measures to support businesses are clearly much needed.”
REGULATION NEWS – TUESDAY 31ST MARCH 2020
Concern over concessions
The Times’ Patrick Hosking says the decision to suspend the “wrongful trading” rules for directors of companies being rescued or undergoing restructurings is “one of the most eye-catching” of a “slew of concessions proffered to businesses” made in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. He says that the aim of the suspension “looks pragmatic and commendable” – to stop struggling businesses “throwing in the towel prematurely” – but warns that “no one should be in any doubt that these concessions may have serious unintended consequences”, saying the suspension “might backfire if it sows additional doubts about the creditworthiness of business customers generally”. Duncan Swift, president of insolvency industry trade association R3, has “serious concerns” about the suspension of the wrongful trading rules due to the risk of damage to creditor confidence and the danger of abuse by companies which could rack up debts they have no hope of paying.
PROPERTY NEWS – TUESDAY 31ST MARCH 2020
Landlords need a reality check over rent
Surveyors have warned that commercial landlords expecting retailers to start paying full rent once a moratorium comes to an end are in need of a “severe reality check”. Knight Frank, which advises retailers and landlords on lettings, said landlords would be “naive in the extreme” to think rental payments will have returned to normal by the next quarter, saying those expecting a double payment in Q2 need “a severe reality check” and adding that “some are in denial as to the depth of the issue.” In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the Government has granted tenants a three-month guarantee that they will not be evicted if they delay paying rents.
The Times, Page: 44
INDUSTRY NEWS – TUESDAY 31ST MARCH 2020
Firms may withhold partner payouts
In an attempt to mitigate the financial impact of coronavirus, the Big Four of KPMG, Deloitte, PwC and EY are reportedly considering withholding partner payouts, as are BDO and Mazars. Such a move is among strategies said to be being considered among accountancy and law firms as they look to preserve cash amidst uncertainty triggered by the coronavirus crisis and forecasts of an economic crash. City AM says it is understood that no decision on partner payments has been taken by Deloitte, with a spokesperson saying: “We’ve been closely monitoring and managing the COVID-19 situation and continue to stay focused on supporting our people and clients and maintaining our economic resilience.”
Daily Mail, Page: 69 Financial Times, Page: 9 City AM, Page: 5
ECONOMY NEWS – TUESDAY 31ST MARCH 2020
52% of Britons expect recession within 12 months
A poll from YouGov shows that 52% of Britons expect the economy to fall into recession within a year due to the coronavirus outbreak. A fifth expect a depression, while just 1% expect the economy to be booming within 12 months. Oliver Rowe, director of reputation research at YouGov, comments: “With unprecedented Government measures to crackdown on the spread of COVID-19 shutting small and large businesses across the country and confining Britons to their homes, it’s unsurprising that consumer confidence has been knocked.” Meanwhile, YouGov’s tracker of consumer confidence has fallen 4.2 points to 103.3, the biggest monthly decline since that seen following the Brexit referendum in 2016. It said the gauge of how households feel about their finances over the coming year fell by more than any previous month on record, slipping 9.9 points to 93. Elsewhere, the Centre for Economics and Business Research has predicted that the coron avirus pandemic will cause UK output to slip 15% in Q2.
City AM The Scotsman
Contact Paul Southward