NEWS – WEEKEND ENDING 31ST JANUARY 2021

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX NEWS – WEEKEND ENDING 31ST JANUARY 2021

SATURDAY

Top taxpayers revealed

The Sunday Times Tax List, which lists the taxes paid by the wealthiest people in the country, shows that 17 of the 50 who featured in last year’s rankings appear to be paying more tax this year, 16 are paying less tax this year, and a further 17 are paying so much less that they have fallen out of the top 50 altogether. The report says an individual of family needed to have paid £20.4m of tax to make it onto the list last year but this has fallen to £13.1m, a decline of nearly 36%. The list’s top 50 wealthy individuals or families were liable for around £3.18bn of tax, up 27% from £2.5bn last year. The Tax List names Bet365 founder Denise Coates Britain’s biggest taxpayer for the second year running, with her and her family paying £573m. Institute for Public Policy Research executive director Carys Roberts says the report highlights issues with the tax system. She said: “Last year’s rich list identified the UK’s 10 richest people and families, yet only two of them are listed among the 10 who paid most taxes in the last financial year.” “These glaring gaps show that our current tax system is no longer fit for purpose, it’s just too easy for some of the UK’s richest people to avoid paying taxes in the way that most ordinary families have to”, she added.

The Times Daily Mail The Independent The Sun City AM

Low tax of directors ‘unjustified’ – IFS

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has criticised a system which sees self-employed business owners paying thousands of pounds less tax than employees who are higher earners, saying preferential tax rates for business owner-managers are “unjustified and problematic”. The think-tank says those who run a business can pay themselves in dividends or capital gains rather than salary, with directors also able to use their company to hold cash, allowing them to manage what tax they pay. The IFS said these issues “get into the knotty weeds of the tax system” and “will be a mystery to most people other than tax practitioners, administrators and taxpayers personally affected by them.”

The Times, Page: 63

Filing advice as deadline nears

The I carries advice for taxpayers ahead of tomorrow’s official self-assessment deadline, noting that HMRC has announced that it will not issue the standard £100 fine on late filers as long as they submit by February 28. Rachel McEleney, associate tax director at Deloitte, notes that “much of the work on self-assessment tax returns will need to be done before the end of January, if interest is to be avoided.” Mark Kearsley, tax director at DSG Chartered Accountants, offers advice on charitable donations.

The I, Page: 68

Code check call

Rupert Jones in the Guardian advises people to check their tax code, saying that while experts say people should check their tax code as it may be based on outdated or incorrect information, many people file notice letters away without looking at them closely – or at all.

The Guardian, Page: 53

SUNDAY

Chancellor considering CGT increase

The Sunday Telegraph’s Christopher Hope reports that Rishi Sunak is considering an increase in capital gains tax, with the Chancellor mulling a move that would bring the charge in line with the higher levels of income tax. The speculation comes after a November 2020 report by the Office of Tax Simplification recommended closer alignment of income tax and capital gains tax rates. Mr Sunak is also reportedly considering increasing corporation tax from 19% to as much as 24%, with it suggested that this increase may be held off until later in the year. Mr Hope says a Conservative manifesto pledge that VAT, inheritance tax and National Insurance would not be increased has “left the door open” for the Chancellor to target CGT and corporation tax. John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, has warned ministers against “hammering savers and entrepreneurs”, arguing that CGT is “a double tax that harms investment”, adding that this is “precisely what we should avoid if we want to kick-start growth and help create jobs”.

The Sunday Telegraph, Page: 2

Top taxpayers revealed

The Sunday Times carries its Tax List 2021, detailing the taxes paid by the wealthiest people in the country. It says the rankings reveal that the super-rich were already paying less tax before the coronavirus crisis, with the tax-take down “with the economy becalmed by uncertainty over Brexit during 2019”. The analysis of tax data that for many individuals is based on company results to the end of 2019 shows that just a third of those who featured in last year’s rankings appear to be paying more tax this year. It also shows a 36% decline in the amount of tax people needed to have paid to make the top 50, from £20.4m last year to £13.1m. The paper notes the contribution of musicians to public finances, with Ed Sheeran, Queen, Robbie Williams, The Beatles and Adele paying a combined £50m in tax last year, with Sheeran’s £28.2m tax bill the biggest contribution.

The Sunday Times, Tax List 2021 The Sunday Times, Page: 5

Tax compliance shows gender divide?

The Sunday Times’ Jessie Hewitson says that while HMRC does not hold data on the sex of tax avoiders or evaders, judging by announcements from the Revenue, big tax evaders are nearly always men. Nimesh Shah, CEO of Blick Rothenberg, says: “Getting things right with authorities tends to be higher up the agenda for our female clients. Our male clients place less of a priority on compliance and more on making profit.” George Bull at RSM also says it tends to be his male clients who get into trouble for tax-related issues, although he attributes this to the fact that you see more men in senior roles. Dr John D’Attoma, a lecturer in taxation at the University of Exeter Business School, comments: “Men respond more to the fact that they will get something, such as a public good, in return for their tax money … Women are compliant even when they do not expect anything in return.”

The Sunday Times, Magazine, Page: 32

Deadline day advice

While HMRC says it will waive its £100 penalty for late filing due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis, Harry Brennan in the Sunday Telegraph highlights that the annual tax return deadline is still midnight tonight, with taxpayers facing interest charges that will build up at a rate of 2.6% on any duties still left unpaid from February 1. With data showing that HMRC has cancelled more than 64% of the late payment penalties it has imposed since 2014, Graham Boar of UHY Hacker Young says taxpayers should appeal as the chances of success are high. Nimesh Shah of Blick Rothenberg says taxpayers should file by tonight to avoid paying over the odds, while ICAEW’s Caroline Miskin suggests those unsure of their liability could pay an estimated amount to save themselves from fines.

The Sunday Telegraph, Business, Page: 9

MP urges Sunak to make stamp duty holiday permanent

MP Bob Blackman says the stamp duty holiday rolled-out amid the coronavirus crisis “gave the economy a much needed shot in the arm” and argues that there is a “a strong case for giving the economy a booster shot” by making the temporary break on the levy a permanent fixture. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he says a permanent cut to stamp duty would address a “blockage in the system” by making it easier for older people to move into suitable retirement accommodation, freeing up family homes for movers and, in turn, properties for first-time buyers.

The Sunday Telegraph

Wealth tax on the way?

With speculation that the Chancellor will use his March 3 budget to outline how taxes will be raised in an effort to help foot the nation’s coronavirus bill, Connor Coombe-Whitlock in the Sunday Express considers the possibility of a wealth tax being rolled out. He suggests that a Wealth Tax Commission report exploring the merits of a one-off 5% wealth tax that would be applied to UK residents in possession of assets above £500,000 could be “foreshadowing an introduction”.

Sunday Express

REGULATION NEWS – WEEKEND ENDING 31ST JANUARY 2021

SATURDAY

Reform would see directors held to account

The Times reports that Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is backing proposed new legislation that would hold company directors to account for serious corporate failings, signing off a consultation on laws to strengthen the country’s corporate governance regime and reform audit regulation and competition. Revealing that measures proposed would see a version of America’s Sarbanes-Oxley regime enforced in the UK, the paper says this would give the Financial Reporting Council powers to hold directors to account as well as auditors. The consultation follows Government-backed reports on auditing and corporate governance framework by Sir John Kingman, Sir Donald Brydon and the Competition and Markets Authority. Proposed reforms include measures to reduce the dominance of the Big Four in the audit market, with the FRC planning an operational split that would result in the firms ring-fencing their audit departments to reduce potential conflicts.

The Times, Page: 55

Kwarteng: audit shake-up a priority

Ben Wright in the Telegraph interviews Kwasi Kwarteng, with the Business Secretary saying one of his main priorities is shaking up the audit industry. He says the debate around audit reform “goes to the heart of capitalism”, adding: “People have got to see that it’s fair, that there are rules, and people get punished for disobeying them.” Mr Wright says that in recent years, much of the work in reviewing and verifying the financial information that companies release “has become concentrated in only a handful of firms, whose relationships with their clients have at times appeared uncomfortably cosy.”

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 34

CORPORATE NEWS – WEEKEND ENDING 31ST JANUARY 2021

SATURDAY

Topshop suppliers may get 1%

A report from administrators at Deloitte suggests Sir Philip Green’s family is likely to receive £50m from the sale of Topshop – while more than 1,000 suppliers to the fashion chain will get less than 1% of the money owed them. The report into the collapse of Topshop and Topman reveals that the chains owed at least £51m to 1,155 unsecured creditors, which include clothing suppliers and landlords. This figure does not include money owed to HMRC, with final debts for Topshop likely to be “materially higher” once tax and money potentially owed to the group’s pension fund are included. Meanwhile, online fashion retailer Boohoo is in talks with Deloitte as it looks to acquire Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis, brands also in Sir Philip’s Arcadia group.

The Guardian, Page: 44 The Times, Page: 52 Financial Times, Page: 16

Confidence in London business rises

The latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank shows that business confidence in London rose five points to 3% during January, marking the first positive reading on the barometer since the coronavirus outbreak. Nationally, overall business confidence dipped in January as the third lockdown came into force, falling by three points to -7%, with economic optimism falling 34 points month-on-month to -10%. Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said that while confidence remains below average, “it is encouraging that business sentiment is still the second highest since the low of May 2020.” He added that the vaccine rollout programme has lifted confidence, “and that will hopefully buoy business optimism in the coming months.”

City AM

Lookers shares surge

Shares in car dealership Lookers rose 90% as the firm’s stock was finally readmitted to trading after the Financial Conduct Authority suspended shares in July 2020 after it failed to publish its full year results for 2019. While 2019’s results were published in November, the City watchdog waited until Lookers issued its H1 2020 results before readmitting the stock. Lookers has been under pressure following the discovery of a £19m hole in its figures. This led to the resignation of auditor Deloitte, which has now been replaced by BDO.

City AM

SUNDAY

Taxpayer liable for £50m Arcadia payoffs

The collapse of Sir Philip Green’s retail empire could see the taxpayer foot a £50m bill for redundancy payments, according to the Sunday Telegraph. A report from administrators Deloitte shows that statutory notice and redundancy payments owed to almost 13,000 Arcadia Group staff total £47.6m. However, Paul Zalkin of Quantuma notes that there is a legal “grey area” when businesses are bought out of administration, saying the new owners may be liable for the redundancy costs rather than the state. Deloitte is currently finalising terms for the sell-off of Arcadia’s brands, with Asos looking to buy Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT, while Boohoo is bidding for Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton. The Sunday Times highlights that online entities Asos and Boohoo paid just £48.1m tax on £4.5bn sales last year – far below the £160m in business rates paid by Arcadia Group and Debenhams. It notes that Next boss Lord Wolfson is calling for online retailers to be taxed at either 2% of turnover or 20% of profits, whichever is higher.

The Sunday Telegraph, Business, Page: 1 The Sunday Times, Business, Page: 1 The Mail on Sunday, Page: 121

Virgin Active lenders to enter restructuring talks

Lenders to Virgin Active are reportedly looking to negotiate a restructuring of the company as its owners draw up a plan to help it survive the pandemic. Brait, which owns just under 80% of the gyms operator, is expected to present a formal restructuring plan to Virgin Active’s lenders in the coming weeks. Virgin Active’s landlords are set to be involved in the restructuring talks and are likely to be asked for reductions on future rent payments. Sources say Deloitte, which has been advising Virgin Active on talks with landlords since last year, has had its remit extended to include the restructuring talks. Virgin Active’s 2019 accounts, filed this month, included a warning from KPMG about its ability to continue as a going concern.

Sky News The Sunday Times, Business, Page: 3

UK firms eye EU moves

The Observer warns of a potential “exodus of investment and jobs” caused by Brexit, revealing that a number of UK firms could switch their operations to EU countries. Figures from the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency show that by January 1, around 500 businesses – many of which are UK-owned, or UK-based with overseas owners – had made inquiries about setting up branches, depots or warehouses in the Netherlands, with the figure since increasing. While Austria’s economic affairs minister, Margarete Schramböck, has said inquiries from UK companies mulling moves to the country have increased threefold since the turn of the year, the British Chamber of Commerce’s branch in Brussels has also seen a number of inquiries from UK firms considering setting up in Belgium.

The Observer

Liquidator appointed to airline’s UK arm

KPMG has been appointed as liquidator to Norwegian Air Resources UK (NAR UK), Norwegian Air’s UK business. NAR UK is the airline’s UK crewing business and employs 1,100 staff based out of Gatwick Airport. Appointing a liquidator enables the staff to claim for state-funded redundancy payoffs. Norwegian recently called a halt to long-haul operations amid the impact of the coronavirus crisis, with KPMG saying the move means NAR UK “no longer had the necessary funds to meet its financial obligations”.

The Sunday Telegraph

Paperchase to trim supplier base

The Sunday Times looks at the deal which saw private equity firm Permira’s debt management business buy stationery chain Paperchase out of administration in a pre-pack deal. it notes that the company, which was advised by PwC, plans to trim its supplier base.

The Sunday Times, Business, Page: 10

Question marks over battery plan

The Sunday Telegraph considers start-up company Britishvolt’s plans to build a £2.6bn factory to create 300,000 lithium ion electric vehicle batteries each year. KPMG‘s Ben Foulser says there are “question marks” such as “the relative scale of automotive manufacturing and assembly in the future, and cost competitiveness”.

The Sunday Telegraph, Business, Page: 7

Interview: Moray MacLennan

The Sunday Telegraph carries an interview with M&C Saatchi CEO Moray MacLennan. It notes that the advertising group was last year hit by an accounting scandal when forensic accountants at PwC discovered accounting errors dating back to 2014 which stretch to £14m.

The Sunday Telegraph, Business, Page: 4

Automation expectations

Jill Treanor in the Sunday Times looks at the move toward automation and AI, citing Deloitte partner Justin Watson who notes that while 90% of organisations are using technology, only 10% are using it at scale.

The Sunday Times, Business, Page: 8

Taxpayer liable for £50m Arcadia payoffs

The collapse of Sir Philip Green’s retail empire could see the taxpayer foot a £50m bill for redundancy payments, according to the Sunday Telegraph. A report from administrators Deloitte shows that statutory notice and redundancy payments owed to almost 13,000 Arcadia Group staff total £47.6m. However, Paul Zalkin of Quantuma notes that there is a legal “grey area” when businesses are bought out of administration, saying the new owners may be liable for the redundancy costs rather than the state. Deloitte is currently finalising terms for the sell-off of Arcadia’s brands, with Asos looking to buy Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT, while Boohoo is bidding for Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton. The Sunday Times highlights that online entities Asos and Boohoo paid just £48.1m tax on £4.5bn sales last year – far below the £160m in business rates paid by Arcadia Group and Debenhams. It notes that Next boss Lord Wolfson is calling for online retailers to be taxed at either 2% of turnover or 20% of profits, whichever is higher.

The Sunday Telegraph, Business, Page: 1 The Sunday Times, Business, Page: 1 The Mail on Sunday, Page: 121

Virgin Active lenders to enter restructuring talks

Lenders to Virgin Active are reportedly looking to negotiate a restructuring of the company as its owners draw up a plan to help it survive the pandemic. Brait, which owns just under 80% of the gyms operator, is expected to present a formal restructuring plan to Virgin Active’s lenders in the coming weeks. Virgin Active’s landlords are set to be involved in the restructuring talks and are likely to be asked for reductions on future rent payments. Sources say Deloitte, which has been advising Virgin Active on talks with landlords since last year, has had its remit extended to include the restructuring talks. Virgin Active’s 2019 accounts, filed this month, included a warning from KPMG about its ability to continue as a going concern.

Sky News The Sunday Times, Business, Page: 3

UK firms eye EU moves

The Observer warns of a potential “exodus of investment and jobs” caused by Brexit, revealing that a number of UK firms could switch their operations to EU countries. Figures from the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency show that by January 1, around 500 businesses – many of which are UK-owned, or UK-based with overseas owners – had made inquiries about setting up branches, depots or warehouses in the Netherlands, with the figure since increasing. While Austria’s economic affairs minister, Margarete Schramböck, has said inquiries from UK companies mulling moves to the country have increased threefold since the turn of the year, the British Chamber of Commerce’s branch in Brussels has also seen a number of inquiries from UK firms considering setting up in Belgium.

The Observer

Liquidator appointed to airline’s UK arm

KPMG has been appointed as liquidator to Norwegian Air Resources UK (NAR UK), Norwegian Air’s UK business. NAR UK is the airline’s UK crewing business and employs 1,100 staff based out of Gatwick Airport. Appointing a liquidator enables the staff to claim for state-funded redundancy payoffs. Norwegian recently called a halt to long-haul operations amid the impact of the coronavirus crisis, with KPMG saying the move means NAR UK “no longer had the necessary funds to meet its financial obligations”.

The Sunday Telegraph

Paperchase to trim supplier base

The Sunday Times looks at the deal which saw private equity firm Permira’s debt management business buy stationery chain Paperchase out of administration in a pre-pack deal. it notes that the company, which was advised by PwC, plans to trim its supplier base.

The Sunday Times, Business, Page: 10

Question marks over battery plan

The Sunday Telegraph considers start-up company Britishvolt’s plans to build a £2.6bn factory to create 300,000 lithium ion electric vehicle batteries each year. KPMG‘s Ben Foulser says there are “question marks” such as “the relative scale of automotive manufacturing and assembly in the future, and cost competitiveness”.

The Sunday Telegraph, Business, Page: 7

Interview: Moray MacLennan

The Sunday Telegraph carries an interview with M&C Saatchi CEO Moray MacLennan. It notes that the advertising group was last year hit by an accounting scandal when forensic accountants at PwC discovered accounting errors dating back to 2014 which stretch to £14m.

The Sunday Telegraph, Business, Page: 4

Automation expectations

Jill Treanor in the Sunday Times looks at the move toward automation and AI, citing Deloitte partner Justin Watson who notes that while 90% of organisations are using technology, only 10% are using it at scale.

The Sunday Times, Business, Page: 8

SMEs NEWS – WEEKEND ENDING 31ST JANUARY 2021

SUNDAY

Bank calls for revamp of lending scheme

Goldman Sachs analysis suggests that take-up of cheap loans provided to lenders under the Bank of England’s (BoE) Term Funding Scheme has been “well below” available levels, hitting just 4%, with it also failing to boost lending to small firms. Warning that higher usage of the Bank’s cheap funding did not lead to increased lending to small firms, Goldman has suggested the BoE could revamp the scheme by increasing its duration or boosting incentives to lend. Goldman also noted signs of “tighter credit availability” for SMEs at the end of 2020.

The Sunday Telegraph, Business, Page: 3

London SMEs most optimistic on growth

A poll from Hitachi Capital Business Finance shows that almost a third of SMEs that rely on the European market fear they will either shrink or have to close, while 28% that rely on the domestic market predict either contraction or collapse over the next three months. This compares to 22% who believe they will grow. SMEs in London were the most optimistic about their growth prospects, with 34% predicting expansion, just ahead of the 33% recorded in the North-East. Scottish SMEs were the least optimistic, with just 17% expecting growth. Small firms in Wales were almost as pessimistic, with 18% foreseeing growth.

Sunday Express, Page: 51

INSOLVENCY NEWS – WEEKEND ENDING 31ST JANUARY 2021

SATURDAY

2020 sees insolvencies drop

Figures from the Insolvency Service show that the number of personal insolvencies recorded in England and Wales fell to a three-year low in 2020. There were 111,424 individual insolvencies in 2020, with this down 9% on 2019 and the lowest annual figure since 98,897 were recorded in 2017. The Insolvency Service said corporate insolvencies fell by 27.1% in 2020 but rose by 16.9% between the third and fourth quarters. While Government support measures have helped keep firms afloat amid the coronavirus crisis, Colin Haig, president of insolvency trade body R3, said they had “deferred rather than deterred” the pandemic’s impact.

The I, Page: 67 The Times, Page: 58

SUNDAY

Profit warnings point to insolvency influx

A report from EY shows that the number of companies at risk of insolvency has doubled in the last 12 months. With 583 profit warnings last year, EY says 10% of FTSE 350 firms issued three or more profit warnings, noting that typically up to one in five firms that issue at least three warnings enter administration within 12 months. The report says th at while Government support amid the pandemic has helped prevent closures, an “influx” of insolvencies is likely to be on the horizon. EY’s Alan Hudson comments: “Insolvencies in the UK haven’t been dodged …They’ve been deferred.”

The Sunday Telegraph The Sunday Times, Business, Page: 2 Sunday Express, Page; 51

PERSONAL FINANCE NEWS – WEEKEND ENDING 31ST JANUARY 2021

SUNDAY

Borrowing to boom, post-lockdown

A poll from AA Financial Services suggests 21m people are considering taking out a loan this year. The survey saw 44% of respondents say they are planning to borrow money once the coronavirus lockdown ends, with new cars, family holidays and home improvements the most common reasons cited for borrowing cash. James Fairclough, director of AA Financial Services, says the survey results point to optimism among many people, adding: “It certainly seems that lockdown has prompted many people to reassess their financial affairs.” Data from the Office for National Statistics shows the pandemic has seen an increase in people borrowing, with 18% of adults doing so compared to 11% at the end of June last year.

The Mail on Sunday

PROPERTY NEWS – WEEKEND ENDING 31ST JANUARY 2021

SATURDAY

Chancellor mulling stamp duty holiday extension?

The Mail’s Jason Groves says the stamp duty holiday could be extended to avert a slump in the housing market that could hurt the UK’s post-lockdown recovery. He says Chancellor Rishi Sunak is “under mounting pressure” to extend the deadline beyond the current March 31 cut-off, saying it is among measures being considered for the March 3 budget. MPs will debate calls for a six-month extension of the tax cut on Monday, with Conservative Elliot Colburn, who will lead the debate, saying some lenders have warned that 70% of current deals may fail to meet the current cut-off, after which many would collapse.

Daily Mail

FINANCIAL SERVICES NEWS – WEEKEND ENDING 31ST JANUARY 2021

SATURDAY

Finance firms see jump in whistleblowing

Figures show that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) received 347 reports from whistleblowers from finance firms warning that their employer was acting unfairly towards customers in 2019. This is almost five times more than the 73 the City watchdog received in 2017. The number of workers flagging concern over fraud, poor data security and detriment caused to consumers also rose, with between 110 and 160 reports made about each of these issues in 2019. The data, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, also show that the FCA took action in just under half of cases in 2019, while in 6% of cases it took no action and the other 45% remained under investigation. Whistleblower charity Protect said around three quarters of financial whistleblowers work at either a bank or insurance firm, adding that finance was one of the industries it received the most complaints about.

The Daily Telegraph

INTERNATIONAL NEWS – WEEKEND ENDING 31ST JANUARY 2021

SATURDAY

Argentina imposes one-off tax

Argentina is imposing a one-off tax on its richest people as it looks to cover the cost of relief for businesses struggling due to the pandemic. Those with assets of more than £1.67m will have to pay about 3% on assets declared within the country and over 5% on assets held abroad. Officials hope the move will raise around $3bn. Money raised will also pay for medical supplies and help fund scholarships and social aid.

BBC News

ECONOMY NEWS – WEEKEND ENDING 31ST JANUARY 2021

SATURDAY

Economy seeing most damage since the first wave

Guardian analysis suggests Britain’s economy is suffering the most damage since the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with renewed lockdown measures among factors delaying the economic recovery. The paper says that the UK is “among countries leading the pack” on vaccinations, with economists suggesting this could increase the likelihood of the British economy outperforming others in the coming months, but also notes that the Chancellor is facing calls to provide further financial support before his March 3 budget, with the latest lockdown intensifying the pandemic’s hit to the economy. The Guardian analysis focuses on eight economic indicators – as well as the level of the FTSE 100 – to track the impact of coronavirus on jobs and growth. Flagging positives in the most recent analysis, the dashboard shows that the economy shrank by less than expected during the November lockdown, with GDP down 2.6% on the month, raising hopes that a double-dip recession can be avoided. Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said: “The prospects for recovery are looking brighter. Once the economy has negotiated what is likely to be a challenging first quarter of this year, it will undoubtedly benefit from the vaccine rollout helping to boost consumer and business confidence.”

The Guardian

Kwarteng: We can’t spend our way to prosperity

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has warned that Britain cannot spend its way to prosperity. The Telegraph says that while Chancellor Rishi Sunak is “keen to rein in public spending and start setting out future tax rises” in the March 3 budget, he is facing calls for further public spending increases to boost the economy in the wake of the pandemic. In an interview with the paper, Mr Kwarteng says a “thriving private sector” is key, commenting: “Great public services rely on a thriving, dynamic open economy. The Chancellor is of the same opinion. We as a Government are not going to be able to spend our way to prosperity.”

The Daily Telegraph

SUNDAY

UK to apply to join trans-Pacific trade group

The UK is to formally apply to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a free-trade partnership that includes countries such as Australia, Canada and Japan and accounts for 13% of global commerce. International Trade Secretary Liz Truss is set to discuss the move with ministers in Japan and New Zealand this week as the UK looks to forge new post-Brexit alliances. Joining the CPTPP will cut tariffs on trading with its 11 members. Department for International Trade figures show that UK trade with the CPTPP was worth £111bn last year. The Federation of Small Businesses welcomed the plan, saying it would help firms “thrive and succeed more than ever”, while Confederation of British Industry president Lord Bilimoria said membership “has the potential to deliver new opportunities for UK business across different sectors.”

The Mail on Sunday Financial Times The I

OTHER NEWS – WEEKEND ENDING 31ST JANUARY 2021

SATURDAY

Football Transfers hit by ‘double whammy’ of Covid and Brexit

With Premier League teams spending just £65.1m on players so far this month, Deloitte analysis shows the last time total outlay in the January transfer window was below £100m was 2012.

Financial Times, Page: 2

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward