Business News – 24th April 2017

Lloyds unveils steps to aid business growth

Lloyds Banking Group has unveiled various pledges to boost SMEs across the UK as part of its 2017 Business Charter. The commitments include helping 5,000 first-time exporters, 100,000 start-ups to launch, and a further 1,000 firms scale up and hit £1m turnover in three years. Meanwhile, Paul Pester, chief executive of TSB, has criticised plans to spare RBS from selling off its Williams & Glyn network. Mr Pester added that competition concerns will not be addressed by a £750m state fund for challenger banks.

Daily Express, Page: 44   Yorkshire Post, Page: 4   The Scotsman, Page: 4

Blogger questions crowdfunding success

The Times highlights the growing influence of Robert Murray Brown’s blog, The Truth About Equity Crowdfunding, which has called into question the success crowdfunded companies. An analysis by Mr Murray Brown of 200 businesses funded on Crowdcube shows that 187 of these companies, or 93.5%, have fallen short of their profitability targets.

The Times, Page: 46-47

BMW accelerator fuels start-ups

Three British tech start-ups have won the backing of BMW’s financing division, as the carmaker seeks to adapt to the changing face of car ownership. BMW Financial Services UK has agreed commercial deals with Cazana, Wrisk and Divido after a ten-week start-up “accelerator” programme at its Farnborough head office.

The Times, Page: 47

 Consumer confidence falls

A survey by Deloitte shows rising inflation and lacklustre wage growth has weakened consumer confidence in the first three months of the year. Four of the firm’s six measures of consumer optimism dropped in its latest quarterly survey, with its overall confidence barometer slipping by one percentage point compared to the previous quarter. The latest reading came in at minus 7%, down from minus 6% seen in the fourth quarter.

The Independent, Page: 59   Independent i, Page: 46   The Guardian, Page: 17

 Pound’s fall pays dividends for investors

The latest dividend monitor from Capita shows the pound’s fall after the EU referendum has boosted shareholder payouts. Excluding special dividends, payouts in the first quarter rose by 16.2% to £15.3bn, the strongest start to a year on record.

The Times   The Scotsman, Page: 34

Tories split over tax plans

The Telegraph claims Theresa May is facing a Cabinet split over suggestions the Conservatives will abandon a pledge not to raise major taxes after the election. Sir Patrick McLoughlin, the Conservative Party chairman, said that he disagreed with suggestions by Philip Hammond that a 2015 pledge not to raise income tax, VAT or NI should be abandoned. Sir Patrick told the BBC that the “Conservative Party will want to see taxes reduced”. Damian Green, the Work and Pensions Secretary, also distanced himself from the chancellor’s comments by denying that the Tories were planning a tax raid on people on lower incomes. However, the Times reports that senior Conservatives have given Mrs May the all clear to abandon the pledge not to raise income tax, VAT or NI. Michael Gove, the former education secretary, said that Mrs May should be given a free hand when it came to framing the Conservatives’ tax policy.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 4   The Times, Page: 12-13   The Sun, Page: 7   Daily Mirror, Page: 6-7   Independent i, Page: 5, 8   Daly Mail, Page: 13

Taxing the ‘rich’ proves tricky

After shadow chancellor John McDonnell suggested that anyone with an annual salary of more than £70,000 could face higher taxes under Labour, the Independent’s Ben Chu considers why most people earning that amount do not appear to regard themselves as “rich”. He suggests it is because most people do not have a mental snapshot of the national distribution of income or assets in their heads when they consider whether or not they are “rich” or “well off”. Instead, says Mr Chu, they consider where they feel themselves to be relative to their peer group and relative to their own expectations. He says any attempt by politicians to tax the “rich” is therefore inevitably viewed as unfair by those affected.

The Independent, Page: 28

French Election

Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen are set to face each other in the May 7th runoff for the French presidency after coming first and second in Sunday’s first round of voting, early projections indicated. In a race that was too close to call for much of the day, Macron, a former economy minister who founded his own party only a year ago, was projected to get around 24% of the vote. Le Pen, leader of the anti-immigration and anti-EU National Front, was projected to receive 22%.

New Chief Executive announced for UK Finance

A new financial trade body, set to launch this summer, will merge six associations together under the new name UK Finance. UK Finance will integrate the remits, skills and capabilities of: The Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA), the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), Payments UK and the UK Cards Association (UKCA).  Stephen Jones has just been appointed as Chief Executive of this new trade body.

Union directors banned for breaking “all rules in the book”

Directors of a credit union, which went into administration owing more than £7m to creditors, have been banned for a collective 21 years. Richard Charles Nichols, Phillip Raymond Neale and Gillian Birkett were directors of Bournemouth-based Enterprise The Business Credit Union (EBCU) which went into administration in May 2015 and then liquidation in August of that year. Nichols has been disqualified for nine years, whilst Birkett and Neale have been disqualified for six years each.

credit Strategy

Previous News pages

Business News – 21st April 2017

Business News – 20th April 2017

Business News – 19th April 2017

Business News – 18th April 2017.