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NEWS – TUESDAY 26TH JANUARY 2021

NEWS – TUESDAY 26TH JANUARY 2021

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX NEWS – TUESDAY 26TH JANUARY 2021

HMRC scraps late filing penalty for those who file online by 28 February

Taxpayers will not receive a penalty for their late online tax return if they file by 28 February, HMRC’s Chief Executive Jim Harra has announced. More than 8.9m customers have already filed their tax return. HMRC is encouraging anyone who has not yet filed their tax return to do so by 31 January, if possible. Anyone who cannot file their return by the 31 January deadline will not receive a late filing penalty if they file online by 28 February. The move comes after accountancy and tax professional bodies argued that advisers and taxpayers would struggle to meet the deadline this year because of the impact of COVID-19. Dawn Register of BDO comments: “This additional time will provide taxpayers and advisers with crucial latitude, which is needed in these unprecedented times. Previously, taxpayers would have needed to rely on adhering to HMRC’s definition of a ‘reasonable excuse’, which is open to interpretation.” George Bull of RSM welcomed the extension but warned that “people may be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking no penalty means no tax demand”. Nimesh Shah of Blick Rothenberg added: “The sting in the tail is that the 31 January deadline is important for all other purposes, including making your tax payment. Taxpayers will be left with a surprise in relation to interest and surcharges for late payment of tax if they wrongly believe the extension also applies to paying their tax.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3 Financial Times, Page: 1 The Times, Page: 2 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 7 The I, Page: 15 Daily Mail, Page; 25

Paul Southward comments “there has been speculation for some time that HMRC would or should suspend late filing penalties for self-assessment tax returns, and it comes as no surprise that an official statement would be delayed until the last week before the filing deadline.  The taxman would prefer if people filed on time.  There are good reasons why you should file on time if you can, any tax liabilities that are due by 31st January 2021, still need to be calculated and payment made on time if you want to avoid interest and the possibility of surcharges.  If you need help with your tax affairs, contact KSK.”

IFS calls for tax hikes on self-employed

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has called for higher taxes on self-employed workers and business owners. A report from the think tank points out that an employee in a £40,000 job generates £3,300 more than a self-employed worker doing the same role – and £4,300 more than someone working through their own company. IFS researchers said a “particularly attractive” option for reform was combining higher rates of self-employed national insurance contributions and capital gains with more generous allowances to encourage investment. Helen Miller, the IFS’s deputy director, said: “The Government has struggled to get support to some of the self-employed during this crisis. But that doesn’t mean we should permanently keep across-the-board preferential tax rates for business owner-managers.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 4

MEPs want EU to tighten tax haven rules

MEPs have voted in favour of a resolution calling on Brussels to change its tax haven blacklist system, arguing that the list, which was set up in 2017, failed to “live up to its full potential, [with] jurisdictions currently on the list covering less than 2% of worldwide tax revenue losses”. The EU Parliament said that the criterion for judging if a country’s tax system as fair or not needs to be widened to include more practices and not only preferential tax rates, citing as an example the fact that the Cayman Islands has just been removed from the blacklist, while running a 0% tax rate policy. Following the vote, the Chair of the Subcommittee on Tax Matters, Paul Tang said: “In refusing to properly address tax avoidance, national governments are failing their citizens to the tune of over €140bn. Especially in the current context, this is unacceptable.” However, he added that the bloc needed to practice some self-reflection, pointing out that EU countries are responsible for 36% of tax havens.

Daily Express

CORPORATE NEWS – TUESDAY 26TH JANUARY 2021

Boohoo agrees Debenhams deal

Boohoo has confirmed that it will acquire the online operations of Debenhams, in a deal worth £55m. However, it will not take on any of the firm’s remaining 118 High Street stores or its workforce, meaning 12,000 jobs at the department store chain are now at risk. John Lyttle, the Boohoo chief executive, said the company was still “working through the numbers” on how many jobs might be saved but that there were “no definitive numbers at this point”. The administrators of Debenhams UK, FRP Advisory, said they had undertaken a “thorough and robust process” to achieve “the best outcome for Debenhams’ stakeholders”.

The Times, Page: 33 The Daily Telegraph The Guardian

Asos in talks to acquire Arcadia brands

Asos has confirmed it is in exclusive talks to buy the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands from Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia empire. Asos is discussing a deal with administrators Deloitte but stressed there can be no certainty of a transaction and shareholders will be updated as appropriate.

The Times The Daily Telegraph The Guardian The I, Page: 43

REGULATION NEWS – TUESDAY 26TH JANUARY 2021

Senior figures call for crackdown on scams

MPs and adviser bosses have claimed that fraudsters who trick people out of their hand-earned savings should be met with a tough enforcement regime. Calling for a more robust approach to tackling pensions fraud, Stephen Timms, chairman of the work and pensions select committee, said: “It is becoming clear that the enforcement response, if you do report a scam, is not very convincing. We really have to gear up effectively to deal with [investment scams]. We are no way ready for it and there is a lot the Government needs to do.” His comments were echoed by those of Paul Feeney, chief executive of Quilter and chairman of the Financial Conduct Authority’s practitioner panel, who said: “If the industry and the regulators see websites, for example, where the company is clearly operating outside of its authorisation, and there is potential harm – [the regulators] should bring the darn things down. Shoot first and ask questions la ter.”

FT Adviser

INDUSTRY NEWS – TUESDAY 26TH JANUARY 2021

Accountants see IT investment pay off in pandemic

The FT concludes its three-part series which looks at digital transformation in various sectors, noting that the crisis has vindicated heavy spending on digital products at UK professional service firms.

Financial Times

SMEs NEWS – TUESDAY 26TH JANUARY 2021

Crunch time for small firms

Research by Santander reveals that small businesses do not expect business to recover to pre-pandemic levels until next summer. The bank also found that one in twelve firms do not expect to survive the pandemic at all. Susan Davies, head of business banking at Santander, said that 2021 would be a “crunch year for many”.

The Times, Page: 42

MPs demand UK Covid support for 3m excluded self-employed

A cross-party group of over 260 MPs is urging the Treasury to implement a plan to help those ineligible for pandemic-related support, many of whom are suffering extreme hardship.

Financial Times, Page: 2

PENSIONS NEWS – TUESDAY 26TH JANUARY 2021

Call for ‘living pension’ to boost contribution levels

A report from the Resolution Foundation has called for a living pension standard to encourage employers to raise contribution rates and help workers enjoy a decent standard of living in retirement. Calculations from the think tank showed that on average savers would need to save £3,000 a year to meet the living pension target. For a full-time living wage earner, that is £1,500 a year more than current minimum auto-enrolment requirements and equivalent to an additional 8% contribution rate.

FT Adviser

ECONOMY NEWS – TUESDAY 26TH JANUARY 2021

UK worst hit in G7 by pandemic

The UK economy shrank more than that of any other G7 country last year in what the Bank of England says will be Britain’s biggest slump in more than 300 years. The UK’s dependence on consumer spending, which was so hard hit by the pandemic, is one of the main reasons. Leading into the pandemic, the UK was suffering from weak business investment, poor productivity and low wage growth going due to years of uncertainty over Brexit.

Wall Street Journal

SPORT NEWS – TUESDAY 26TH JANUARY 2021

Barcelona remain world’s richest football club

Deloitte ‘s latest Football Money League once again lists Barcelona as the world’s richest football club despite their revenue falling by €125m to €715.1m in 2019-20. Real Madrid were just behind while Bayern Munich climbed to third ahead of Manchester United, the highest placed English team in the annual rich list. Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are also in the top 10. Arsenal remain 11th and Everton are 17th. The collective revenue of the world’s richest football clubs dropped by €1.1bn year on year to €8.2bn and Deloitte beliefs they are on course to miss out on €2bn in revenue by the end of this season. Tim Bridge of Deloitte’s Sports Business Group told the PA news agency: “We usually release our money league and talk about the growth in revenue but of course football is not immune to the COVID-19 pandemic. The revenue that’s been missed out on is driven by the lack of fans in the stadium, the lack of interaction on a matchday – fans spending in the club shop and buying food and drink – and there is an element that relates to revenue that broadcasters have either clawed back (or deferred) to next year.”

The Daily Telegraph, Sport, Page: 8 Financial Times, Page: 9 The Mirror The Sun, Page: 49

OTHER NEWS – TUESDAY 26TH JANUARY 2021

PwC digital marketing manager killed while jogging

A senior digital marketing manager at PwC was struck by a car and killed while out jogging earlier this month. Jack Ryan was hit at Battersea Bridge by an individual driving a Range Rover on 13 January. Medics tried to save Jack, but the 29-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

City A.M.

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward

NEWS – WEDNESDAY 13TH JANUARY 2021

NEWS – WEDNESDAY 13TH JANUARY 2021

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX NEWS – WEDNESDAY 13TH JANUARY 2021

One in five calls to HMRC for tax help abandoned

Figures show that almost 400,000 taxpayers, one in five, who call HMRC for help hang up after being left on hold for an average nine minutes. This compares to a rate of just 3% of calls four years ago. The figures come as the helpline is braced for unprecedented volumes of calls with the annual self-assessment deadline barely two weeks away.

The Sun, Page: 2

Paul Southward comments “this is an outrageous state of affairs especially at this time when the public need support more than ever”.

CORPORATE NEWS – WEDNESDAY 13TH JANUARY 2021

EWM and Ponden Home sold

It has been confirmed that the businesses of Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM), Ponden Home and Bonmarché have been acquired in a deal which saves more than 1,450 jobs. Joint administrators Tony Wright and Alastair Massey of FRP Advisory have marketed the pair in recent weeks and a deal has now completed.

The Times, Page: 32 Financial Times, Page: 10 City AM Daily Mail, Page: 75 The I, Page: 41 The Guardian, Page: 31

SMEs NEWS – WEDNESDAY 13TH JANUARY 2021

Small shops at risk from rule change

The British Retail Consortium and the Federation of Small Businesses have cautioned that a three metre social distancing rule under consideration by government would make many smaller shops unviable. Tom Ironside at the BRC remarked: “Moving to a rule requiring greater distancing would inevitably limit the numbers of customers allowed into stores and could even undermine the viability of some shops,” while the FSB’s Mike Cherry noted that “Many will have spent hundreds if not more, ensuring they are COVID secure and this would be yet another hammer blow to small firms who are vital to getting the national economy back on track once again.”

The Daily Telegraph

FRAUD NEWS – WEDNESDAY 13TH JANUARY 2021

Ex-ministers urge UK not to extradite billionaire

With US prosecutors seeking to extradite billionaire Mike Lynch after he was accused of presiding over a multi-billion dollar fraud relating to the sale of his firm Autonomy in 2011 for £6.6bn, David Davis, Andrew Mitchell, Lord Maude of Horsham, Lord Deben and Sir Vince Cable, all former cabinet ministers in Britain have urged the government there not to allow the extradition to take place. In a letter they warn that “Any British businessman or woman who finds themselves at odds with a powerful US company could face the same fate. That means facing a system where prosecutors cut deals offering their own witnesses immunity, while those who want to testify for the defendant risk being dubbed ‘co-conspirators’ and prosecuted.”

The Daily Telegraph

BBB hires PwC to probe pandemic loan fraud

The British Business Bank (BBB) yesterday announced it had recruited PwC to examine cases of possible fraud in its COVID-19 business loans programme. PwC has so far received almost £13.4m for its consultancy work on BBB, which has helped distribute loans to smaller businesses impacted by the pandemic.

City A.M.

Paul Southward says “let’s hope that some prosecutions come out of this exercise and that it is not just a bit of journalistic hyperbole from the BBC”.

PROPERTY NEWS – WEDNESDAY 13TH JANUARY 2021

Extend stamp duty holiday to prevent meltdown, Sunak told

Campaigners are calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the stamp duty holiday amid warnings that over 320,000 current buyers will miss out on savings of up to £15,000 if it ends as planned on March 31st. more than 100,000 of them could subsequently pull out of deals – potentially hammering sales volumes, harming the economy and hitting prices. Chris Etherington, a partner at tax service provider RSM, said: “There is little logic in doing these measures and then pulling the rug out from under the feet of estate agents by having the cliff edge of the stamp duty holiday.”

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 17

Paul Southward asks “does this country put too much emphasis on property prices?  The reduction in SDLT was bound to cause a spike in house prices and the well-publicised date of withdrawal of the reduction should come as no surprise to anyone.  It is likely that prices will stabilise or even drop after the reduction ends, but an extension is only likely to exacerbate the problem when the inevitable correction is made”.

SPORT NEWS – WEDNESDAY 13TH JANUARY 2021

PFA wants collective response to tax probe

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) has written to all professional footballers to notify them that the Government has launched a wide-ranging tax investigation into players and the fees paid to agents and that they should negotiate collectively with HMRC. Gordon Taylor, the PFA chief executive, said: “It has come to our attention that many elements of these enquiries are very similar in nature and that there are some common themes which may be best addressed centrally and on behalf of the players as a collective.” The PFA says it is seeking a “centralised” approach to dealing with HMRC to resolve “existing/historic matters”.

The Daily Telegraph, Sport, Page: 4

ECONOMY NEWS – WEDNESDAY 13TH JANUARY 2021

Economy faces ‘darkest hour’ warns Bailey

Andrew Bailey, the Governor of the Bank of England, has warned that the economic recovery will be delayed by the third lockdown and surging Covid cases. Although the economy was facing its “darkest hour”, Mr Bailey told the Scottish Chambers of Commerce that a recovery is in sight at last after almost 3m people were vaccinated against COVID-19. The Governor also suggested the jobless rate is probably closer to 6.5% than the current 4.9% shown by official figures. The MPC meets early next month to discuss how the central bank can help to protect the economy during the lockdown, including whether interest rates should be cut to below zero – a move that could ease borrowing costs on households and businesses.

The Daily Telegraph The Times, Page: 34 The Guardian, Page: 31 Daily Mail, Page: 2 City A.M.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS – WEDNESDAY 13TH JANUARY 2021

Singapore bourse tightens auditing rules after string of scandals

Listed company auditors face tighter rules in Singapore in the wake of a series of accounting scandals as regulators move to improve the quality of the market and investor protection.

Financial Times

Germany seeks global corporate tax deal with Biden administration

Olaf Scholz, the German finance minister, has said he will seek a deal with the incoming Biden administration on global rules for corporate taxation.

Financial Times, Page: 5

INDUSTRY NEWS – WEDNESDAY 13TH JANUARY 2021

New UK business secretary pledges to target Big Four audit reform

The UK’s new business secretary has said reforming the British audit market is “one of his initial priorities” following repeated delays. Kwasi Kwarteng made clear to officials on Monday that he was determined to push ahead with reforms. “It is back on track,” one industry figure told the FT. The news comes after the ICAEW on Monday said that the Government needed to make audit reform “an urgent priority”. Several government-backed reports have made recommendations on audit reform but ministers have so far failed to act on them. Sir Donald Brydon, John Kingman and the Competition and Markets Authority have all submitted proposals. Mr Kingman’s chief recommendation was to replace the Financial Reporting Council with a more powerful regulator called the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority, and he has previously complained about the slow progress in implementing the change. The Telegraph points out that the FRC has gone ahead with some of its own reforms, including a requirement for the Big Four to ringfence their audit divisions from their advisory arms to reduce conflicts of interest and improve audit quality.

Financial Times The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 5 Daily Mail, Page: 75

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward

NEWS – TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2020

NEWS – TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2020

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX NEWS – TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2020

Businesses profiting from Covid could be taxed more in Scotland

The Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has suggested that industries making “extra profits” as a result of COVID 19 – such as the digital economy and pharmaceuticals – should be considered for tax hikes as a means of maximising revenues and addressing social inequalities which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The Scotsman, Page: 9

Will the UK axe private equity tax break worth millions?

The FT considers whether the UK will tax payouts for private equity dealmakers as income rather than capital gains and how this could change the way the financial sector is taxed post-pandemic.

Financial Times, Page: 23

FINANCIAL SERVICES NEWS – TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2020

Sunak announces post-Brexit financial services regime

The Chancellor yesterday made a statement in the Commons on financial services in post-Brexit Britain, telling MPs that the UK would unilaterally grant equivalence to EU and EEA states on financial services, despite the failure of the EU to provide “clarity about their intentions.” Rishi Sunak outlined a vision for how the UK could renew the country’s position as the “world’s pre-eminent financial centre” following Brexit, with a focus on green finance and digital currencies. The UK would launch its first green government bonds next year to raise money for low-carbon infrastructure projects and would require large listed and private companies disclose the threats to their business from climate change by 2025, including banks, insurance companies and pension schemes. A consultation would also be held on how digital currencies could be regulated. Listing requirements would also be reviewed with the aim of attracting fast-growing tech firms to London.

Daily Mail Financial Times Sky News City AM

CORPORATE NEWS – TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2020

Covid rescue funds propping up unviable businesses

Figures from the Government’s Insolvency Service show the number of companies going bust in the third quarter of 2020 was 39% down on the same period in 2019, leading Sir Desmond Swayne, a former Tory minister, to suggest the natural failures of businesses were being prevented by the government “at huge expense.” He said: “If they are not viable, and many businesses will not have been viable, that is an enormous bill that we are all going to have to repay over a long period of time. Best we get on with it.”

Daily Mail

Johnson launches UK investment office

Boris Johnson has announced the creation of a new office for investment to encourage foreign direct investment in the UK post-Brexit. Mr Johnson said the unit will be established in Downing Street as part of the Department for International Trade and will be led by innovation minister Gerry Grimstone. He said the office was being launched “to make sure everyone knows global Britain is not just open for business but the best place in the world to conduct it”.

Financial News Financial Times, Page: 3

EMPLOYMENT NEWS – TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2020

Self-employed seek more secure employment

A survey by the London School of Economics has found that one in five self-employed workers plans to switch to other forms of employment because of the pandemic, which saw a significant proportion taking a hit to income. Almost 60% of those aged under 25 saying that they no longer wished to be self-employed.

The Times, Page: 42

TAX NEWS – TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2020

Businesses profiting from Covid could be taxed more in Scotland

The Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has suggested that industries making “extra profits” as a result of COVID 19 – such as the digital economy and pharmaceuticals – should be considered for tax hikes as a means of maximising revenues and addressing social inequalities which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The Scotsman, Page: 9

Will the UK axe private equity tax break worth millions?

The FT considers whether the UK will tax payouts for private equity dealmakers as income rather than capital gains and how this could change the way the financial sector is taxed post-pandemic.

Financial Times, Page: 23

PERSONAL FINANCE NEWS – TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2020

New Experian service could boost credit scores

The Open Banking regime will enable Experian to launch a service in the UK through which personal borrowers can opt into a system that will allow it to take into account factors not used at present when assessing creditworthiness. Experian says people signing up could lift their credit scores by up to 66 points.

The Times

Consumers’ credit complaints jump over summer

There was a surge in complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service about credit services in the three months to September, with claims management companies said to have driven a big rise in complaints upheld.

Financial Times

PENSIONS NEWS – TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2020

Spike in personal pension cases at ombudsman

The Financial Ombudsman Service logged 825 new personal pension cases between July and September this year, an increase of 136% on the 349 cases between April and June. The FOS said the number of complaints relating to suitability and administration of personal pensions had both more than doubled to around 130 and 380 respectively over the period. Other areas of complaint which increased related to charges, fund management and delays.

FT Adviser

SPORT NEWS – TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2020

EFL clubs given green light for non-payment of PAYE

English Football League (EFL) clubs are preparing a mass deferral of tax payments after the EFL board ruled that non-payment of PAYE will not be punished with a transfer embargo until February at the earliest. The introduction of a new “Covid PAYE liability rule” will enable clubs to default on their tax arrangements if they are unable to pay due to the impact of the virus or have agreed a new repayment schedule with HMRC. The Government are yet to respond to an official request sent by the EFL last month for a tax holiday for their 72 clubs.

Daily Mail, Page: 82

WEALTH MANAGEMENT NEWS – TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2020

Chris Jelf and Paul Jackson lead new wealth management firm

Beavis Morgan Chairman, Paul Jackson, has co-founded Integrity365 Ltd, a new wealth management firm which has over £320m funds under management. Chris Jelf, founder of Jelf Group, who takes on the role of Client Relationship Director, comments: “Building client trust and fostering long-term relationships with my clients has always been a priority for me. I am passionate about this and consider my partnership approach to working with clients a key differentiator.”

Press Release

ECONOMY NEWS – TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2020

Vaccine roll-out will spur double digit growth

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has said GDP growth could reach double digits next year after Pfizer announced its COVID-19 vaccine was 90% effective. Douglas McWilliams, an economist at CEBR, said: “We’re now at the top end of the range of possibilities.” He said the “game changer” could allow GDP to recover to 2019 levels by next summer and reduce the peak in unemployment, adding: “We’ll have to see exactly how fast the vaccine gets rolled out but I think GDP will recover pretty quick. “We could have double digit growth next year. It depends how much gets shoved into the tail end of this year.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3

Second lockdown will trash retail progress

A report by KPMG and the British Retail Consortium suggests the second lockdown will reverse progress by the retail sector, which saw sales up 4.9% last month. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the consortium, said: “During an incredibly challenging year for the industry, many retailers had finally thought that they were finding their footing. The new lockdown in England will throw away this progress as we enter the crucial Christmas trading period and we estimate that £2bn of sales a week will be lost this month.”

The Times, Page: 42 Financial Times, Page: 3 Yorkshire Post, Page: 4

REPORTING NEWS – TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2020

FRC calls for global climate disclosures rules

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has called for global rules to improve how companies inform investors about how their activities relate to climate change and cutting carbon emissions. The regulator published a review of how companies and their auditors consider climate-change in their activities. It found that although minimum legal reporting requirements are often met, investors are calling for additional disclosure to inform their decision making. The FRC said it was the company board’s responsibility to consider climate-related issues, but there is “little evidence” that business models and company strategy are influenced by integrating climate considerations into governance. “Auditors need to test and, where necessary, challenge the board and management’s assessment of the financial statement implications of climate change,” it said.

Yahoo! Finance MSN Investing Nasdaq Reuters

007 NEWS – TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2020

Connery’s widow faces jail over an alleged tax fraud in Spain

Sean Connery’s widow, Micheline Roquebrune, 91, faces jail and a £21m fine over an alleged tax fraud in Spain. The case relates to the sale of the couple’s Marbella home which was demolished to make way for 70 flats despite rules saying only five could be built.

The Sun, Page: 16

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward

NEWS – FRIDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2020

NEWS – FRIDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2020

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX NEWS – FRIDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2020

Burden of crisis must not fall only on working people

Writing in the Express, Gary Stevenson, an “inequality economist” and former trader, talks about a report from Tax Justice UK based on the responses of ordinary people across the UK when asked about tax. He says Brits are increasingly irked by loopholes allowing the wealthy to skirt tax laws and many feel inequality is only growing. With huge rises in government debt as a result of rescuing the economy from the coronavirus crisis, Stevenson says the weight of this burden must not fall just on hard-working people but on the millionaires and billionaires too.

Daily Express, Page: 12

SMEs NEWS – FRIDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2020

Scots workplaces must be “allowed to open quickly”

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce has warned that businesses will struggle to survive a return to stricter coronavirus measures after Nicola Sturgeon halted any return to offices for at least another three weeks. Its CEO, Dr Liz Cameron, said: “We need to move forward to ensure our economy can recover and stem the loss of jobs where possible. That’s why we need our offices to be allowed to open quickly, particularly those where businesses have worked closely with employees and invested heavily in safety procedures.” Andrew McRae, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Scotland’s policy chair, added that the decision will have “consequences for firms reliant on workers’ footfall in our town and city centres.” He went on to suggest that “innovative new help might be required for those firms currently facing a footfall.”

The Scotsman, Page: 1

NatWest tops support lending league

Bank of England data show NatWest has been the biggest user of the Term Funding Scheme for smaller firms so far, which has extended £14.3bn to lenders. NatWest tapped the central bank fund for £5bn while Nationwide drew down £3.2bn, followed by Santander UK at £2.5bn.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 7

INVESTMENT NEWS – FRIDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2020

Comment: How to rebound from COVID without imposing tax rises

In an opinion piece for the Telegraph, John Mills argues that to recharge the economy coming out of the coronavirus crisis, the government should avoid introducing tax rises and spending cuts, and instead look to increase investment in categories with the highest total returns to the economy, which cluster around mechanisation, technology and power; and that to make these industries competitive, the pound should be brought down to a point where it is more profitable to invest in new production facilities in the UK rather than in China or Germany.

The Daily Telegraph

PROPERTY NEWS – FRIDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2020

Reprieve for tenants facing eviction

A “truce” on enforcement action for tenants facing eviction in England and Wales this Christmas has been announced. The Government also said that evictions will not be enforced in areas subject to local lockdowns as the pandemic continues. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick added that it has increased notice periods to six months in an “unprecedented measure”.

BBC News

SPORT NEWS – FRIDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2020

Failure to return spectators to stadiums will cost clubs £150m a month

The Premier League and English Football League estimate more than £150m could be lost every month across football clubs if Boris Johnson delays the Oct 1 return of crowds. Two of the 12 remaining trial games have now been scrapped after organisers confirmed they were no longer safe to continue. Meanwhile, restricting capacity to 1,000 fans means is not deemed financially viable. Half of financial directors working in the English professional game have concerns over the health of their clubs, according to a survey by BDO. Around 45% of those surveyed said their club’s finances were “in need of attention”, compared to 21% in 2019.

The Daily Telegraph, Sport, Page: 1-3

CORPORATE NEWS – FRIDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2020

Saga CEO critical of former PE owners

Euan Sutherland, CEO of Saga, has criticised the over-50’s group’s former private equity owners for being “too focused on the short-term” and dramatically increasing its debts. Mr Sutherland said that the insurance and travel specialist had a “relentless focus” in its first 55 years that was then followed by 15 years of poor decisions.

The Daily Telegraph Financial Times, Page: 10 The Times, Page: 36

PERSONAL FINANCE NEWS – FRIDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2020

Warning on using life expectancy data for planning

Joseph Lu, director of longevity science at Legal & General Retail Retirement Income, has warned that national life expectancy data is not a suitable tool for retirement planning. He said: “National life expectancy data is not suitable for planning as it implies there is a one in two chance of outliving the figure. It doesn’t account for health, wealth and other important factors. If we would like a 90% chance of achieving life-long financial security, for age 65, plan for living to 100. This means planning for 35 years.”

FT Adviser

ECONOMY NEWS – FRIDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2020

MPs urge Sunak to consider furlough extension for viable firms

MPs on the Treasury Committee are urging the Chancellor to consider a targeted extension of the furlough scheme so businesses with a chance of surviving the pandemic have an opportunity to do so. In a wide-ranging report on the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, the MPs said Rishi Sunak should consider extending the more generous terms for universal credit and have a plan for helping debt-troubled SMEs, or risk a longer recession. The report added that tax rises were likely to stifle economic recovery, but indicated that the Committee would support the Chancellor if he scrapped the Conservative party’s manifesto pledge to maintain the pensions triple lock.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1 The Times, Page: 19 Financial Times, Page: 2 The Guardian, Page: 31

OTHER NEWS – FRIDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2020

Opinion: Corruption is the basis of UK’s wealth

The Guardian’s George Monbiot writes on corruption in the UK describing how research has revealed that three offshore centres are responsible for $1.1trn of illegal money flows annually. Monbiot rails against the City’s secrecy (it is exempt from FoI laws) and the freedom to hide ownership details when creating a company. He goes on to say the involvement of Britain’s bankers in global money laundering is a “perpetuation of colonial looting” and claims that processing “everyone else’s corruption is the basis of much of the wealth of this country.” Monbiot adds: “When you start to understand this, the contention by the author of Gomorrah, Roberto Saviano, that the UK is the most corrupt nation on Earth begins to make sense.”

The Guardian, Journal, Page: 1, 2

Contact Paul Southward