Business News – 21st April 2017

Neglecting cyber security puts SMEs at risk

A report by Blick Rothenberg warns that SMEs risk going out of business if they do not pay attention to their cyber security. Due diligence carried out by the firm has uncovered “a high percentage” of cases where a phishing attack has led to five-figure sums being paid to a bogus supplier. “Beyond direct financial loss, this raises questions about the processes and controls in place and could become a negotiating point to reduce the sales price or even lead to a deal collapsing altogether,” warned Blick Rothenberg’s Jim Brown. The warning follows a survey by the BCC which revealed that 20% of respondents had been the victim of a cyber-attack in the last 12 months.

Yorkshire Post, Business, Page: 17

Taxes certain to rise

The Telegraph’s Jeremy Warner argues that tax rises are inevitable, regardless of which party emerges victorious from the general election. He notes that the tax burden is already scheduled to rise over the coming five years, from 36.7% of GDP last financial year to 37.2% in 2021/22. In practice, this burden will almost certainly end up bigger still, according to Mr Warner. He predicts the Conservative manifesto will contain no commitment not to raise any of the mainstream tax rates. And he suggests that removal of higher rate tax relief on pensions is “pretty certain” to come at some stage in the next parliament.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 17

HMRC collects £943m through APNs

Research by law firm Pinsent Masons reveals HMRC’s Large Business Directorate collected £943m from large businesses through Accelerated Payment Notices over the past year. Pinsent Masons’ Heather Self said the payments are likely to relate to the use by large businesses of a range of suspected avoidance schemes and arrangements to reduce their tax liability, including employee benefit trusts (EBTs). HMRC has viewed the use of EBTs in some cases as “disguised remuneration”, artificially reducing income tax and NICs, as well as generating corporation tax deductions for payments into the trust.


Britons ‘don’t believe’ politicians’ tax pledges

A survey in part compiled by ACCA has suggested most Britons do not trust political leaders with tax issues, with confidence levels particularly weak among low earners.

Financial Times

Fewer Scottish businesses failing

Data from KPMG reveals the number of Scottish companies going out of business fell significantly in the first three months of 2017. Company insolvencies dropped 19% to 170 from 211 in the same three months last year. Liquidations were down 20% and administrations were 14% lower. The report follows recent figures from the FSB, which indicated business confidence had improved in the first quarter of this year.

The Scotsman, Page: 34   The Press and Journal, Page: 35

Previous News pages

Business News – 20th April 2017

Business News – 19th April 2017

Business News – 18th April 2017.