Business News – 27th April 2017.

State Pensions

UK should scrap state pension for the rich, says OECD. Taking benefits from top 5-10% would free cash for poor, senior director argues Theresa May should drop the state pension ‘triple lock’. Theresa May has refused to commit to keeping the ‘triple lock’ guaranteeing a minimum increase in the state pension. The prime minister was challenged over the issue by SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson during Prime Minister’s Questions. Downing Street is said to be weighing up whether to opt for a more affordable ‘double lock’, which would remove the 2.5% minimum annual rise factored into the triple lock. The Pensions review recommends later retirement age. Millennials look like they will have to wait until 70 to receive their state pension.

Financial Times


Trump decides not to withdraw from Nafta but instead renegotiate. While campaigning he called the deal single worst trade deal ever but now he appears willing to consider keeping it, albeit in a renegotiated form. The reversal surprised markets, sending the Mexican peso and Canadian dollar higher. US will instead start talks to bring trade deal with Mexico and Canada ‘up to date’

Uber proposes Flying car service.

Uber has unveiled plans to partner with plane manufacturers to develop and test a network of flying cars by 2020. The ride-sharing company said it will run trials in the US city of Dallas and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The flying electric taxis are being developed with aviation companies including Embraer and Bell Helicopter.

Amazon adds eyes to AI ears with smart home camera

Amazon has unveiled the Echo look which has added camera facilities to Alexa, its home assistant.  although the new capabilities for Alexa voice assistant may raise privacy concerns, it has been pitched as a device for the bedroom that can help you pick what to wear, using algorithims and advice from fashion specialists to assess your outfit as you get ready in the morning.

Pound Strengthens

The pound continues to rise as cable approaches $1.29 and 1.18 euros.

A return to physical books.

According to the Publishers Association, ebook sales dropped 3% last year while overall book sales rose 6%. Readers went for fitness and self-help books, sending non-fiction sales up 9%, while fiction revenue fell 7%. All of this aided exports which rose 6% to £2.6bn. The industry benefited from a decline in the value of sterling, but also rose in line with domestic growth. The gain reversed three previous years of export decline.

Merkel warns against Brexit Illusions

The german Chancellr has warned that if Britian has exagerated hopes regarding Brexit negotiations, it will just waste time. Addressing the German parliament before the remaining 27 European Union leaders discuss the U.K.’s exit at a summit on Saturday, Merkel emphasized that the bloc will put its interests first and that talks on departure terms must precede the crafting of a new trade relationship.“You might think that these things are self-evident, but unfortunately I have to put it in such clear terms because I have the feeling that some in Britain still have illusions about this,” Merkel said in Berlin on Thursday, drawing applause from lower-house lawmakers. “But that would be a waste of time.”

UK to Australia – non stop in 16 hours.

On Sunday 25 March 2018 Qantas will start flying direct from heathrow to Perth. The total fare of £1345 return for that flight is almost twice the current price flying via Hong Kong. But return fares are expected to drop to £900 during deal periods. The two cities are 9009 miles apart making it the the longest by far non stop flight from the UK. The longest current route is the 7275 to Jakarta.

CASS publishes latest switch figures

The latest figures for the Current Account Switch Service have been published, showing that over 3.7 million successful switches have taken place since the service launched in 2013

Trump (again)

Donald Trump wants to simplify the personal tax code by cutting rates and eliminating deductions used by more affluent Americans. White House economic adviser Gary Cohn says the plan would cut the top income tax rate from 39.6% to 35%. It also would reduce the number of personal income tax brackets to three from seven. The new tax rates would be 10%t, 25% and 35%. The plan would double the standard deduction for married couples to $24,000, while keeping deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest payments.


Lloyds Banking Group has reported a rise in profits in the three months to the end of March. It said pre-tax profits doubled year on year to £1.3bn in the first quarter, although last year’s figure was pushed down by a one-off cost from buying back high income bonds. Underlying profit was 1% higher at £2.1bn, beating analysts’ expectations.

Labour plans higher corporation tax to fund NHS

Labour has pledged to increase corporation tax to fund pay rises for nurses, doctors and hospital staff if the party wins the election. The pledge was criticised by the Conservatives, who pointed out that the same tax increase has been earmarked by Labour for at least 11 other spending priorities since Jeremy Corbyn became leader. The Centre for Policy Studies has calculated that Labour would have to put corporation tax back up to 28% if it is to meet all its policies. Labour has also called on the Conservatives to rule out further cuts to corporation tax after Donald Trump’s administration revealed plans to reduce the US top corporate rate to 15%. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the Tories should “rule out further corporation tax giveaways to big business, as well as further tax hikes on low and middle earners”. Elsewhere, the FT reports that UK corporation tax receipts totalled £56bn during the 2016-17 financial year, a record high and a 21% increase from the previous year.
Financial Times, Page: 2 The Independent, Page: 17 Independent i, Page: 8-9 The Sun, Page: 9 Daily Mail, Page: 10 The Times, Page: 11 Belfast Telegraph

Football clubs raided in tax probe

Tax officials investigating suspected fraud have raided Newcastle United and West Ham United’s grounds and made a number of arrests. Officials from HMRC also visited Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground, although nothing was seized. It is understood the HMRC investigations concern transfers between English and French clubs, image-rights payments and payments to football agents. HMRC said the suspected income tax and NI fraud amounts to £5m, and that the French authorities are assisting the UK investigation.
The Times, Page: 5 Financial Times, Page: 1 The Daily Telegraph, Sport, Page: 2-3 The Guardian, Sport, Page: 1, 6-7 Evening Standard, Page: 1-2 BBC News Daily Mail, Page: 98-100 The Sun, Page: 1-2, 50 Daily Mirror, Page: 4-5 Daily Express, Page: 55-56 Independent i, Page: 4

Sports Direct agency faces administration

Transline, which provides zero-hour contract workers to Sports Direct, is poised to enter administration due to a fall in margins. Deloitte is thought to have been lined up to handle the administration.
The Guardian, Page: 22 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1

London set for major chunk of rates relief

The government has announced London will receive more than £124m of the total £300m allocated as business rates relief for councils, with Westminster and Camden given the most relief at £19.9m and £9.7m respectively over the four-year period until the next rate revaluation. “London has had the roughest ride of any region from the 2017 revaluation, with rates bills increasing way above the average. It is only appropriate that the greatest share of this fund should be allocated to London councils,” said Jerry Schurder, head of business rates at property consultancy Gerald Eve.
City AM

Pension freedom withdrawals continue

Figures from HMRC show the amount of money paid out under the pension freedoms has hit £1.6bn for the second quarter in a row. From Q2 2016 to Q1 2017 a total of £6.5bn was taken in flexible payments, compared to £4.4bn in the previous 12 months. However, the average withdrawal per person since 2015 continues to fall and now stands at £9,034 – less than half the average withdrawal in the first quarter of 2015.
Citywire Daily Express

CEOs urge May to “have a little swagger”

Global CEOs and investors have advised Theresa May to make Brexit a success by looking beyond the EU and adopting a little swagger about the UK’s economy – the world’s fifth largest. Jeff Sprecher, the chief executive of InterContinental Exchange, commented: “Sometimes if you build a really good store, with really good pricing, people will actually come and all you have to do is advertise it. So I think the UK should have a little bit of swagger”. Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General, added that there were “immense” business opportunities beyond Europe.
The Times

Previous News pages

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.