Is it coming home? business news 9 July 2021.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Is it coming home?  Football boosts the economy, GDP, Brexit, sales leap, German carmakers fined, staff shortages, pensions, and more.

Is it coming home? Football boosts the economy.

PM Boris Johnson is considering a national holiday in the event that England win against Italy at Sunday’s final. It has not been confirmed yet if Scotland will do the same if England lose. Whatever the outcome on Sunday, the English football team are already massive winners in the eyes of this blog, having secured their first major final in 55 years and should be viewed as heroes and have a very young team that could go on to even greater things.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday said he expects to see an rise in consumer confidence because of the national team’s success at Euro 2020. The general mood during the Three Lions’ progress to the final on Sunday has spurred the nation to splash their cash since the tournament started four weeks ago. And the spending is set to reach  fever pitch after Wednesday’s 2-1 semi-final win over Denmark at Wembley. Mr Sunak said: “I think the football just adds to it. Consumer confidence has already returned to pre-crisis levels and things that make us feel good are good for the economy.

People will spend £180million in hospitality venues for the final against Italy on Sunday, a 12.5 per cent increase from Wednesday’s semi-final, the Centre for Retail Research predicted. Around  45 million people are predicted to watch the game on TV, with almost £400million expected to be spent on snacks and drinks at home.

The British Beer and Pub Association predicted nearly 13 million pints could be sold on the day of the clash, with 7.1 million of those being sold during the match itself.

The British Independent Retailers Association hopes millions will flock to smaller stores to pick up flags, face paint and snacks for the game.

If a victory coalesces with a broader feelgood factor, it could boost consumer sentiment. UK households have a lot of pent-up savings due to the pandemic. Winning the final, along with lots of other things – like reopening, the easing of restrictions – could help unlock many ­billions of pounds worth of additional spending.

That said, if we do win, this blog expects productivity and economic activity to be well down on Monday morning.


UK economic growth slowed to 0.8% in May beneath forecasts for 1.7% and below April’s 2% growth rate.


EU accounts show that the UK’s departure from the bloc will cost circa €47.5bn in post Brexit liabilities exceeding earlier estimates.


Stock markets saw dramatic drops yesterday focusing on the pace of the global economic recovery. The FTSE100 slid back towards 7,000 points while leading indices on Wall Street eased back from record highs with the S&P down 1.6%.

Sales leap as restrictions ease
Loosening Covid restrictions last month prompted shoppers on to the high street, boosting sales by 52% in the year to June, according to the BDO high street sales tracker.

Dirty German cars

The European Union fined German car companies 8.75million Euros. Audi, BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen were fined for colluding to limit the development and roll-out of clean-emissions systems. The German car companies slowed the release of technology that would have allowed for less-polluting cars. Daimler escaped a fine after revealing the scheme to the European Commission.

Beer-ing up

Fuller, Smith & Turner swung to annual loss after the pandemic forced it to shutter operations for most of its fiscal year, but the pub and hotel group touted optimism ahead as restrictions are set to end. Pre-tax losses were £59.2 million compared with a profit of £166.2 million year-on-year as revenue fell 77% to £73.2 million.

UK to scrap trade show grants
Ministers have warned business groups that its Tradeshow Access Programme, which provides grants for business to exhibit at international trade shows, will be scrapped. Three maritime trade bodies — Maritime UK, British Marine and the Society of Maritime Industries — have written to Graham Stuart, minister for exports, expressing their disappointment over the move, calling it a “retrograde and short-sighted step for British exporters, especially SMEs”.

Over two-thirds of firms suffer staff shortages
New research from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) shows over two-thirds of UK companies trying to hire new workers are struggling to find recruits. The highest proportion of firms attempting to recruit were in production and manufacturing and construction. Jane Gratton, of the BCC, said: “As firms are released from lockdown restrictions, the skills and labour shortages they experienced before the pandemic are once again starting to bite. The encouraging increase in job creation across the manufacturing and services sectors is being held back by recruitment difficulties at all skill levels, jeopardising growth and productivity.” Of those attempting to recruit in recent months, those facing difficulties increased to 70% from just over half at the end of 2020, the BCC said.

Rishi Sunak hints at triple lock suspension
The Chancellor has suggested he may ditch the triple lock on pensions this year amid warnings that it could cost the Treasury an extra £3bn. The Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast that a post-lockdown surge in pay growth would result in the state pension going up by 8% next April. Rishi Sunak said he recognised concerns that pensioners would receive a windfall when public finances were stressed. “The triple lock is the Government’s policy but I very much recognise people’s concerns,” he told BBC Breakfast. “I think they are completely legitimate and fair concerns to raise. We want to make sure the decisions we make and the systems we have are fair, both for pensioners and for taxpayers.” Lord David Willetts, president of the Resolution Foundation, a think tank focusing on people on lower incomes, said: “The Chancellor should take the opportunity this autumn to replace the triple lock with a smoothed earnings link. This would mean the state pension would rise in line with the living standards of working age people – a change that would be fair to all generations.” However, former pensions minister Ros Altmann says that choosing to scrap the pensions triple lock just because of one year’s set of numbers is unwise, but a radical overhaul of state pension support is still needed.

HMRC yet to prosecute a case using an AFO
HMRC has issued 381 account freezing orders (AFO) since their inception in 2017 but has yet to prosecute any case in which one has been obtained. A freedom of information request by JMW Solicitors reveals over £56m in assets have been frozen using AFOs while HMRC has also returned over £18m in frozen assets, possibly  due to the AFO being discharged or a forfeiture application being unsuccessful, according to the law firm. Partner Sam Healey describes AFOs as “highly intrusive” and accused HMRC of being “quick to apply for account freezing orders […] often little or no evidence to suspect the funds are the product of criminal conduct.” A HMRC spokesperson rejected the criticism and said: “We take a blended approach, using the full range of powers, in targeting the proceeds of tax crimes, or when assisting partners [to] disrupt other serious criminality. These orders are highly impactful and HMRC has robust internal assurance processes to ensure they are used appropriately.”

Accountants must lead the way in ethics
In a piece for City A.M., Loree Gourley, Chair of the ICAS Ethics Board, says acting in the public interest is the foundation of the accountancy profession and is more important than ever as we navigate out of the pandemic within a global economic crisis. “During these uncertain times, and when much of the governmental financial support packages put in place are being funded by taxpayers, the importance for all business decisions to appropriately consider the public interest is paramount.” Gourley continues: “Whether a CA is making major business decisions, providing advice to businesses, making professional judgements whilst preparing financial statements, or providing assurance on a range of subject matter information, society now, as always, is relying upon the accountancy profession to prepare and provide reliable information by which appropriate decisions can be made.”

London has busiest half year for IPOs since 2014
Between January and June this year, companies making their London debut pulled in £9.4bn from investors, according to the latest IPO Eye report from EY – the most raised in any half-year period since the first of 2014. Technology, healthcare and life sciences businesses dominated the list of companies looking to float. “This is the third busy quarter in a row for UK markets and there appears to be no let-up in activity for the rest of 2021,” said Scott McCubbin, EY’s UK IPO leader.

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