RBS has settled a case with businessman Stuart Wall, who accused the bank of mis-selling an interest rate swap. He lodged a claim worth about £670m after his firm collapsed into administration in 2013. The case “has been settled without any admission of liability by the bank. The terms of the settlement are confidential,” a statement said.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 26   The Times, Page: 48

Posted 24/08/2017

Emergency services are set to face a £113.6m business rates tax increase over five years, new data reveals. Police stations will be hardest hit, with police chiefs across England and Wales needing to find an extra £60m. Jerry Schurder, head of business rates at Gerald Eve, suggested that a particular impact of the omission is that local authorities will no longer be given the powers to reduce business rates locally: “Firms will be furious that, despite their protestations earlier in the year and government promises of action, there will be no reform of a rating system desperately in need of modernisation,” he said.

BBC News

Posted 23/06/2017

 

 

 

New data protection rules coming into force next May will change how companies are required to process information, such as customer lists and employee records. But a survey of more than 1,000 small companies, commissioned by Irwin Mitchell, found that 78% had not heard of the new rules, while 86% were not aware of the threat of fines. Only 11% had started preparing for it. Matthew Pryke, partner at Hamlins, said: “Too many businesses are complacent. Those who leave it to chance and don’t prepare now could be left high and dry if the ICO finds that businesses breach regulations.” The FSB warns the new rules will add to costs for SMEs and has called on the government to launch an awareness campaign over the summer.

The Times, Page: 51 

Posted 20/06/2017

The Times reports on the threat to rural business from the revaluation of business rates, which Tory MP for Montgomeryshire, Glyn Davies, predicts could lead to an uprising from rural communities. According to the Valuation Office Agency’s own figures, stables, vineyards and livestock markets are among those facing the biggest increases. New business rates take effect on April 1 and will update figures from assessments done in 2008, to assessments done in 2015. About 920,000 businesses will have their rates cut and 420,000 will see no change. However, 510,000 will see rises. The paper calls for a rethink of the system to calculate rental value and to revisit the exemptions for these taxes. Separately, Christian Ulbrich, global chief executive of JLL, has said stamp duty is distorting the housing market and makes building more homes prohibitively expensive for developers.

The Times, Page: 1-2   The Times, Page: 13   The Times, Page: 27   The Daily Telegraph

Posted 23/01/2017

 

A proposed new business rates appeal system has been slammed by business groups representing SMEs, retailers and pubs. They say a provision in the appeal regime, known as Check, Challenge, Appeal, could cost businesses £700m in overpayments over a five-year ratings cycle. The “reasonable professional judgment” provision would mean ratepayers will not be able to argue against a rates bill if its margin of error was inside 15%.

The Sunday Telegraph, Business, Page: 2   The Mail on Sunday, Page: 95-96   Sunday Express, Page: 56

Posted 20/11/2016

The Government is to change the law so directors of companies that make nuisance calls to consumers can be fined up to £500,000. Until now only the companies have been liable for fines, allowing unscrupulous directors to escape penalties by closing their business, only to reopen it under a different name. Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner, said: “We are inundated with complaints from people who are left shaken and distressed by the intrusion on their daily lives. Making directors responsible will stop them ducking away from fines by putting their company into liquidation. It will stop them leaving by the back door as the regulator comes through the front door.” Matthew Hancock, the digital policy minister, said: “We will not stand for this continued harassment and this latest amendment to the law will strike another blow to those businesses and company bosses responsible.”

The Sunday Telegraph, Page: 1, 2   The Mail on Sunday, Page: 91   The Sunday Times, Page: 13

Posted 23/10/2016

 

Business groups have raised concerns that HMRC’s new voluntary pay-as-you-go digital tax system, designed as a budgeting tool to help businesses and the self-employed, could lead to incorrect tax payments. Experts have voiced doubts over the ability of HMRC’s administrative and IT systems to handle problems caused by people attempting to do their own taxes digitally. IPSE’s Andy Chamberlain said there “is generally no reason to pay tax in advance,” and that the system is more likely to benefit HMRC than self-employed workers.

Financial Times, Money, Page: 4   FabNewz

Posted 01/10/2016

 

NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland have warned businesses they may have to charge them to accept deposits due to low interest rates. The move, if enacted, would make them the first UK banks to introduce negative interest rates, in effect, charging to borrow money. Customers were informed in a letter: “Global interest rates remain at very low levels… this could result in us charging interest on credit balances”. Personal customers are not affected.

The Times, Page: 1, 2   The Guardian, Page: 1, 8    Daily Mirror, Page: 18   Daily Mail, Page: 28

Posted 26/07/2016

 

 

A risk assessment of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) carried out by the London School of Economics for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills in 2013 found that overall, “it is doubtful UK investors will find additional protections from an EU-US investment protection treaty beyond those currently provided, and enforced, under US law.” A EU-US investment treaty that contains the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system “is likely to have few or no benefits to the UK, while having meaningful economic and political costs,” the report said. Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, which obtained the advice after making a FoI request, said: “Introducing a system of secret corporate courts under TTIP would be a fundamental shift in trade and legal policies, so it’s staggering that the government is pushing us into it with almost no assessment of what the risks are for our policy makers or the tax payer.” The FT points out that the EU wants Washington to use TTIP to supersede procurement laws requiring the US government to give preference to US companies, a request US officials admit is impossible to grant.

The Independent, Page: 17   Financial Times, Page: 6

Posted 26/04/2016

 

A community interest company in Bristol is believed to be the first in the UK to introduce a ‘period policy’ for its female staff. Coexist, which has a largely female workforce, will allow women to work flexibly at different times of the month to tap into employees’ “natural cycle to create a happier working environment”. The policy has been created as part of the Pioneering Period Policy: Valuing Natural Cycles In The Workplace seminar which will take place later this month. Bex Baxter, one of the directors at Coexist, believes the new policy will increase productivity.

The Daily Telegraph   The Times, Page: 13

Posted 02/03/2016