Business News – 18th May 2017

Business Judgements Leap

There was a sharp increase in the number of county court judgments (CCJs) against companies in England and Wales during the first quarter of the year, according to figures released today by Registry Trust.In Q1 2017, 29,811 CCJs were registered against all businesses in England and Wales. The increase of 36 percent compared with the first quarter of 2016 bucks the downward trend which has lasted seven years. The total value of business CCJs rose slightly by four percent to £81m, but the average value of a business judgment fell 24 percent to £2,712 – the lowest average for a single quarter on record.

FCA fines quadruple

Regulatory fines issued by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) this year are already quadruple the level of last year’s total, according to data collected and analysed by integrated compliance and regulatory reporting technology firm Wolters Kluwer. As of May 1 2017, fines issued by the FCA and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) totalled £190 million, up from £40 million in fines issued in all of 2016. Notably, however, the figure is still far away from totals of approximately £1.5 billion in 2014 and £906 million in 2015. And the trend looks likely to see The FCA more focused on smaller firms and individuals in efforts to improve the conduct of the financial services industry in general.According to the  analysis, 39% of all recorded penalties against authorised firms since 2013 have been due to “management and control” failures , with the next highest areas being due to “customer interest” failures at 11% and “communication with customers”, also at 11%.

Businesses are being ignored in the election

Three weeks from the election, British businesses are being left out as none of the major parties need or want their blessing. Even the Conservative party are trying to cast themselves as the party of the worker.  Instead business is trying to cast itself as a helper with the crushing weight of Brexit negotiations.

BBC News

Finance chiefs remain optimistic

Optimism among business finance chiefs remains high despite some believing that another country could leave the EU. Deloitte‘s first-quarter survey of CFOs at Europe’s biggest companies showed 38% were more optimistic about the prospects for their companies, up from 26% last year.

The Independent

Real wages fall as employment hits record high

Unemployment in the UK fell to 4.6% in the first quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics, the lowest level since 1975. Wages however have dropped in real terms for the first time in almost three years: “Coming so soon after the big post-crisis pay squeeze, this new phase of falling pay means that this decade is set to be the worst in over 200 years for pay packets,” said Stephen Clarke of the Resolution Foundation think-tank.

Financial Times    The Times, Page: 18   The Independent, Page: 10   Daily Mail, Page: 10

 Brexit ‘divorce bill’ could cost just £5bn, says ICAEW

Analysis by the ICAEW suggests Britain could pay as little as £5bn to leave the EU in two years’ time. Brussels is demanding that Britain settles a ‘divorce’ bill to cover the cost of outstanding commitments when it leaves the EU, with some estimates suggesting the final bill could be as high as €100bn. But the ICAEW’s calculations – taking into account rebates owed to the UK, EU spending commitments and other costs – suggest three possible “next exit charges”. These include a “low scenario” of £5bn, a “central scenario” of £15bn and a “high scenario” of £30bn.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 2

 Businesses tell Bank of England they plan to boost investment

Bank of England agents, after interviewing 700 UK companies, have revealed business’ investment intentions continued to edge higher during the three months to the start of May.

Financial Times

May to ditch triple-lock tax pledge

Theresa May is expected to scrap the Conservatives’ pledge not to raise income tax, VAT or NI when she launches the party’s manifesto today. However, she will repeat David Cameron’s promise to increase the personal allowance and raise the higher rate threshold, generating tax cuts for millions of people. There has been widespread speculation that the “triple lock” tax commitment would be ditched, after Chancellor Philip Hammond said it constrained his ability to cope with the consequences of Brexit. Mrs May will also pledge to eliminate the UK deficit by 2025, allowing for greater borrowing levels to support the economy in the run-up to Brexit. The Guardian’s Rafael Behr says that despite Mrs May’s claim that the Conservatives are a “low-tax” party, taxes are still bound to rise after the election, whoever wins.

The Times, Page: 1-2   The Times, Page: 9   The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1   The Sun, Page: 8   The Guardian, Page: 7, 33   The Independent, Page: 4   The Sun, Page: 8   Daily Mail, Page: 6-7

Lib Dems would reverse corporation and CGT cuts

The Liberal Democrats have unveiled their election manifesto, including proposals to reverse cuts to corporation tax and CGT. The Conservatives plan to reduce corporation tax to 17% by 2020, and the party has already cut the basic rate of CGT from 18% to 10% and the higher rate from 28% to 20%. The Lib Dems would also add 1p to income tax, scrap the married couples’ tax allowance and lower the level at which IHT kicks in.

Sky News    The Guardian, Page: 8   The Times, Page: 10-11, 44   The Sun, Page: 9   The Independent, Page; 6   City AM

Public opposed to new death dues

A YouGov poll for The Times suggests the public is hostile to the idea that people should have to pay more out of their estates to fund long-term care for the elderly, with 49% opposed the idea of an extra tax on assets left after death.

The Times, Page: 13

 Court rules Lehman claimants should receive £5bn

The Supreme Court has ruled that at least £5bn should be paid out to claimants of the European arm of Lehman in relation to the US investment bank’s collapse in 2008. A number of hedge funds have bought up creditor claims against Lehman, whose European business is still being wound up by PwC. PwC has already distributed over £35bn to senior unsecured creditors and now has between £7bn and £8bn in surplus to hand out.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3   Financial Times, Page: 17    The Times, Page: 39

 Buy-to-let slump after stamp duty change

Mortgage activity in the UK buy-to-let sector has halved since the introduction of a stamp duty surcharge, figures show. Some 71,100 loans were advanced for house purchases by landlords in the year since the tax change, the Council of Mortgage Lenders figures show. This compares with 142,100 loans in the previous 12 months.

BBC News   Daily Mail, Page: 10

US Equities spooked

Global equity markets sold off yesterday with the US markets taking the biggest hit as the turmoil surrounded Donald Trump’s presidency. The S&P sold off 1.8%, The Nasdaq 2.6% and the Dow also 1.8%. While Trump is in political turmoil, investors fled risky assets amid uncertainty about U.S. President Donald Trump’s ability to deliver on his tax and banking reforms and infrastructure spending as the “Trump Trade” becomes the “Trump Fade”.

Oil prices dipped, weighed down by plentiful supply despite ongoing efforts led by OPEC to tighten the market by cutting production.


Gold held steady after touching an over two week high, buoyed by political turmoil in the United States and tempered expectations for an aggressive string of U.S. interest rate hikes.


Previous News pages

Business News – 17th May 2017

Business News – 16th May 2017

Business News – 16th May 2017

Business News – 12th May 2017

Business News – 11th May 2017

Business News – 10th May 2017

Business News – 9th May 2017

Business News – 8th May 2017

Business News – 5th May 2017

Business News – 4th May 2017

Business News – 3rd May 2017

Business News – 2nd May 2017

Business News – 28th April 2017

Business News – 27th April 2017

Business News – 26th April 2017

Business News – 25th April 2017

Business News – 24th April 2017

Business News – 21st April 2017

Business News – 20th April 2017

Business News – 19th April 2017

Business News – 18th April 2017