Furlough numbers down – business news 30 April 2021.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Furlough numbers down with 8 in 10 businesses trading, UK’s net worth climbs in 2020 and other business stories that we thought would interest our members and visitors.

Furlough numbers down with 8 in 10 businesses trading – ONS

The number of workers on furlough has fallen as lockdown restrictions are eased and more businesses increase activity, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show. The proportion of the workforce on furlough dropped from 17% to 13% during April, with the report also showing that 83% of businesses were now trading, a rise of six percentage points since late March. The ONS data shows that the volume of online job adverts was at 103% of its average February 2020 level on April 23. This marks an increase of four percentage points from the previous week and the first time it had exceeded its February 2020 average since March 6 last year. The data also shows an increase in business collapses, with 5,676 voluntary dissolution applications in the week to 23 April, a 7% increase on the previous week’s 5,325 and a 14% rise on the 4,977 recorded in the equivalent week of 2019.

UK’s net worth climbs in 2020

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the UK’s net worth grew by 4.4% in 2020, despite the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The UK’s net worth was estimated at £10.5trn in 2020, an average of £158,000 per person, with the total lifted by an increase in savings and growth in pensions. Household net worth grew by £900bn, with the 9.1% increase taking the total to nearly £1trn. The rise in household wealth came despite a 9.8% slide for the economy in 2020, the steepest slump since 1709. ONS deputy chief economist Richard Heys said: “Despite the pandemic and recession, the net worth of the UK rose strongly in 2020, led by households. The total value of our households benefited from rising house prices, with stamp duty changes probably a key factor.”

Big Tech

Amazon beat estimates in its quarterly returns yesterday. Sales were $108.5 billion compared with $104.5 billion estimates, with operating income coming it at $8.9 billion compared with $6.1 billion estimates. Twitter also came in just above estimates with $1.04billion in revenue and EBITDA of $294.1million up 39% year on year but slow user growth caused pause. Meanwhile US Markets closed at record levels on Thursday after the amazing results from  Apple & Facebook reported on yesterday.

US Economy

The USA economy soared in the first quarter of 2021 , growing by 6.4% on an annualized basis.  Consumer spending,  the huge fiscal stimulus and the loosening of covid-19 restrictions all helped.


Copper topped $10,000 a metric ton for the first time since 2011 yesterday, nearing an all-time high as miners of the base metal that’s used in everything from electric cars to door handles can’t mine it fast enough to keep up with growing demand driven by the global economic recovery.


Barclays bank reported a big rise in Q1 profit as ‘materially’ lower credit impairment charges offset a fall in income. For the three months of 2021, pre-tax profit jumped to a record £2.4 billion from £0.9 billion, while income slipped 6% to £5.9 billion year-on-year


AstraZeneca reported a 15% rise in first quarter  revenue to $7.32 billion as product sales increased 15% to $7.26 billion.Oncology revenue grew 20% and new cardiovascular, renal and metabolism revenue grew 19%.

House Prices

UK House Prices grew at the fastest pace in more than 15 years this month, according to the latest research. The average house price was up 2.1 per cent month-on-month, the biggest monthly rise since February 2014.

HMRC: Property transactions hit new high

UK property transactions were at their highest level since records began in 2005 in March, according to HMRC. The report says more than 180,000 property sales were recorded in the UK last month, more than double the number seen in March 2020, with average house prices up more than 8% over the year.

UK warned over following Biden on taxes

Campaigners have warned the Chancellor against mirroring Joe Biden’s tax plans, with the President looking to nearly double capital gains tax for wealthy Americans. Mr Biden has proposed hiking tax on capital gains and dividends from 20% to 39.6% for those earning $1m or more. Adam Jefferies of RSM calculates that Mr Biden’s proposals would cost Americans in Britain around £31m, while Daniel Hyde of Blick Rothenberg says the proposals would lead to an additional 23.4% tax for the most well-off American citizens. George Bull of RSM believes the Treasury could be tempted to follow Mr Biden’s lead, noting that if capital gains tax rates were aligned with income tax rates, the top rate of capital gains tax would increase to 45%. Danielle Boxall of the Tax Payers’ Alliance says Britain should avoid implementing punishing new taxes in the wake of the economic blow dealt by the pandemic, saying: “A wealth tax would lead to capital flight, declining investment and dwindling revenue for the Government.” She added that policymakers should be doing “exactly the opposite: cutting taxes for everyone so we can get the economy back on track”.

OECD secretary general calls for tax overhaul

Ángel Gurría, secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), says President Joe Biden’s announcement of an ambitious tax plan for the US has “added momentum to a decade-long effort” to restore tax sovereignty, saying it presents a “once in a lifetime opportunity to achieve a complete overhaul of the international tax system”. He says the OECD has put forward a plan that will see rules updated “to allow countries to better share taxing rights on the winners of globalisation”, arguing that moves to limit tax competition between countries will “rebuild trust in the global tax system”.

HMRC denies crypto crackdown

HMRC has denied reports that it is set to crack down on people’s cryptocurrency assets. While UHY Hacker Young said officials would begin to demand data on the holdings of cryptocurrencies from taxpayers it suspects of tax evasion and avoidance, the tax office has described the claims as “scaremongering”. UHY Hacker Young’s David Jones said the tax office’s “statement of assets” would now include demands for information on cryptocurrency holdings but an HMRC spokesman told City AM that a statement of assets form requires complete accounting of all of a taxpayer’s assets and it has always included cryptocurrency. New forms, they added, simply list crypto assets as an example of an asset that should be declared. The spokesman added that any crackdown on crypto assets would come with advanced notice and information

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