27thOct
News article

2021 Autumn Budget ? what to expect

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver the 2021 Autumn Budget speech today at 12:30pm. We will keep you up to date on the key Budget announcements and supply a full summary, which will appear on our website tomorrow morning.

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver the 2021 Autumn Budget speech today at 12:30pm. We will keep you up to date on the key Budget announcements and supply a full summary, which will appear on our website tomorrow morning.

Speculation is rife that the Chancellor will increase capital gains tax (CGT) rates despite ongoing uncertainty following the recommendation from the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) to align CGT rates with income tax rates.

The Chancellor could also announce an extension to the coronavirus (COVID-19) Recovery Loan Scheme for a further six months until June 30 2022 in order to help businesses continue to recover following the pandemic.

Additionally, £312 billion could be given to the British Business Bank's start-up loans programme to provide loans to more entrepreneurs across the UK.

Meanwhile, VAT on household energy bills will reportedly not be cut in the Budget, according to Treasury sources. The sources stated that lower income households can be 'better helped through other schemes'.

An announcement of plans to reduce the UK's greenhouse emissions to zero by 2050 is expected, alongside confirmation of increases in the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates.

26thOct
News article

CBI urges government not to introduce business tax rises

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned the government against introducing new business tax rises in this week's Autumn Budget.

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The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned the government against introducing new business tax rises in this week's Autumn Budget.

The business group has urged the government to 'end the repeated increase of business taxes that are stunting investment'; reform the business rates system; commit to maintaining 'more generous capital allowances beyond 2023'; and require all regulators to prioritise investment, net zero and innovation as part of their core remits.

Tony Danker, Director General of the CBI, said: 'There is a fundamental inconsistency where the government wants to unlock business investment, but its tax policies do the opposite. You cannot will the ends and ignore the means to turbocharge the economy. Every economist and business leader knows it.

'This is the government's first Spending Review since the pandemic hit and Brexit kicked in. It must choose: are we going for growth? Or going back to tax and spend?'

The Chancellor will deliver the 2021 Autumn Budget tomorrow.

25thOct
News article

'Bank of mum and dad' financing half of first-time purchases, research finds

Research carried out by property group Savills has found that half of first-time buyer home purchases are financed by the so-called 'bank of mum and dad'.

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Research carried out by property group Savills has found that half of first-time buyer home purchases are financed by the so-called 'bank of mum and dad'.

Parents' contributions towards buying a first home are likely to top £9.8 billion this year, Savills found. It said that rising house prices have only put pressure on first-time homebuyers.

The bank of mum and dad has provided first-time buyers with £53.9 billion over the past ten years, the research showed.

Commenting on the research, Frances Clacy, Residential Research Analyst at Savills, said: 'Despite strong levels of activity and price growth across the housing markets, lenders have tended to favour less risky, lower loan to value lending, making it harder for new buyers to access the market for the first time without assistance.

'While we expect lending at a higher loan-to-value ratio to continue to be available, slowly rising interest rates will act as a brake on affordability.'

22ndOct
News article

Manufacturing activity remains firm, but supply pressures mount, says CBI

UK manufacturing output volumes in the quarter to October grew at a similarly firm pace to September, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

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UK manufacturing output volumes in the quarter to October grew at a similarly firm pace to September, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The latest quarterly CBI Industrial Trends Survey shows manufacturers reported output increasing in 11 out of 17 sub-sectors. Growth was driven by the chemicals, aerospace, food and drink and tobacco sub-sectors, and firms expect output growth to pick up substantially in the next quarter.

However, concerns about supply shortages in the next three months escalated further in October. Almost two-thirds of firms cited availability of materials and components as a factor likely to limit output next quarter.

Manufacturers also expressed heightened concerns about labour shortages affecting future output, with two in five firms worried about a lack of skilled labour and nearly a third concerned about availability of other labour.

Anna Leach, Deputy Chief Economist at the CBI, said: 'From higher material costs to labour shortages, manufacturers continue to face a number of serious global supply challenges, hampering their ability to meet strong demand.

'Manufacturers are using key levers such as hiring new workers and planning further investment in plant and machinery and training to expand production. But with both orders and costs growth expected to climb over the next quarter, we're not out of the woods yet.'

21stOct
News article

FSB study shows small firms losing £25 billion per year to tax admin

A study carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has showed that small firms are losing £25 billion per year as compliance costs and time lost to dealing with tax admin soar.

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A study carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has showed that small firms are losing £25 billion per year as compliance costs and time lost to dealing with tax admin soar.

The FSB study found that the government's Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative has 'significantly increased costs and admin burdens for small firms'. The business group is seeking to ensure MTD delivers on its potential to improve productivity and profitability amongst small businesses.

It found that the average cost of compliance for a small firm participating in the MTD programme totalled £4,562, which is considerably higher than the figure of £2,960 for those yet to migrate to the new system.

'Small businesses are fully behind the government's vision for a high skill, high productivity, low tax economy,' said Mike Cherry, National Chair of the FSB.

'With costs soaring and the Budget approaching, it's now time to see the policies that will get us there. 

'Reducing the huge amount of time and money lost to tax bureaucracy would free up billions for investment, upskilling and digitalisation. We've always said that – rolled out in the right way – MTD could mean productivity gains over the long-term.'

20thOct
News article

Heat pump grants worth £5,000 to help replace gas boilers

Homeowners in England and Wales will be offered subsidies of £5,000 from next April to help them to replace old gas boilers with low carbon heat pumps.

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Homeowners in England and Wales will be offered subsidies of £5,000 from next April to help them to replace old gas boilers with low carbon heat pumps.

The grants are part of the government's £3.9 billion plan to reduce carbon emissions caused by heating homes and other buildings.

It is hoped no new gas boilers will be sold after 2035. The funding also aims to make social housing and public buildings more energy efficient.

However, experts have stated that the budget is too low and the strategy not ambitious enough. Ministers say the subsidises will make heat pumps a comparable price to a new gas boiler, but the £450 million being allocated for the subsidies over three years will cover a maximum of just 90,000 pumps.

Matthew Fell, Chief Policy Director at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: '£5,000 heat pump grants will help get the ball rolling when it comes to decarbonising homes across the UK. The government's Heat and Buildings Strategy provides a golden opportunity for both the public and private sector to pick up the pace of progress to net zero.

'There's no doubt that the scale of the challenge is considerable. These welcome measures – including the 2035 phase out of new gas boilers – will help consumers and business better prepare to change the way they heat their homes and buildings.'

19thOct
News article

Pensions experts say a minimum of £10,900 a year needed to retire

A single person will need post-tax annual income of £10,900 for a minimum standard of living in retirement, according to the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA).

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A single person will need post-tax annual income of £10,900 for a minimum standard of living in retirement, according to the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA).

The minimum retirement living standard covers a typical retiree's basic needs plus enough for some social activities, such as a week of holiday in the UK, eating out once a month, but not including running a car.

That spending budget increases to £16,700 for a couple and also includes subscriptions and services such as getting a haircut. The moderate retirement living standard includes a two-week holiday in Europe and more frequent eating out.

This was assessed to require a budget of £20,800 for a single person, £600 higher than two years ago, and £30,600 for a couple, up £1,500.

The annual budget needed for a comfortable retirement living standard has increased since 2019 by £600 to £33,600 for one person and £2,200 to £49,700 for a couple.

This covered items such as regular beauty treatments, theatre trips and annual maintenance and servicing of a burglar alarm.

Nigel Peaple, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the PLSA, said: 'The pandemic has emphasised the importance of economic security as well as social and cultural participation in retirement.

'We hope the updated standards will encourage people to think about whether they are saving enough for the retirement lifestyle they want and, in particular, whether they are making the most of the employer contributions on offer in their workplace pension.'

18thOct
News article

Applications now open for freeports

Businesses that are planning to operate in the UK's new freeports can now apply to HMRC.

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Businesses that are planning to operate in the UK's new freeports can now apply to HMRC.

The tax authority has published the application forms to operate special customs procedures within the sites, along with further guidance on procedures for declaring goods moving into and out of sites.

Freeports are areas that benefit from a range of tax and other incentives, including a suspension from customs duties for imported goods and less burdensome customs procedures.

HMRC is now accepting applications to use freeport customs special procedures. The application form, which can be downloaded from gov.uk, must be emailed or posted to HMRC once completed.

An application can be made by businesses that have a provisional agreement in place with a freeport customs site operator to store or process goods at a freeport customs site. An application may not be necessary if the business uses existing customs special procedures.

To complete the form, businesses will need, among other things, their Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, company registration number (if a company), tax reference numbers and contact details.

15thOct
News article

Over 40 trade associations back statement on business rate reform

A joint statement issued by 41 of the UK's trade associations has called on the government to reform business rates in order to help unlock green investment.

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A joint statement issued by 41 of the UK's trade associations has called on the government to reform business rates in order to help unlock green investment.

The statement comes in the lead up to COP26 from groups including the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Build UK and UKHospitality. Together they represent around 261,000 businesses and nine million employees.

The statement outlines how action by the Chancellor at the upcoming Budget to reform the current business rates system could 'unleash a wave of business investment across key government priorities, including net zero and levelling up'.

It says that with up to 50% of business investment potentially subject to business rates, the current system actively disincentivises business investment in decarbonisation and wider investments that can improve productivity, which is the only sustainable route to higher wages.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the BRC, said: 'Sky high business rates are closing stores up and down the country and preventing new ones from opening. A recent BRC survey found that four in five retailers will be forced to close shops unless the rates burden falls following the government's upcoming Fundamental Review.

'Without change, the areas most in need of levelling will be hit hardest, and the government's levelling up agenda will fail. The choice is clear – cut rates and boost investment and jobs, or leave them unchanged and see more shops closed and jobs lost.'

14thOct
News article

Deadline for 2020/21 self assessment tax returns approaching

HMRC has reminded self assessment taxpayers that the deadlines for filing 2020/21 tax returns are now approaching.

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HMRC has reminded self assessment taxpayers that the deadlines for filing 2020/21 tax returns are now approaching.

The deadline for 2020/21 tax returns is 31 October 2021 for those completed on paper forms and 31 January 2022 for online returns.

HMRC has already seen thousands of people filing their returns – more than 63,500 customers filed their tax return on 6 April, the first day of the tax year.

Individuals who are new to self assessment must register via GOV.UK to receive their Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). Self-employed individuals must also register for Class 2 national insurance.

HMRC is encouraging customers to register early so that they can access guidance and be aware of what they need to do. This includes record keeping, knowing when the filing and payment deadlines are, and the potential for a first tax payment to include a payment on account.

This year, customers will also have to declare if they received any grants or payments from coronavirus (COVID-19) support schemes up to 5 April 2021, as these are taxable.

Myrtle Lloyd, Director General for Customer Services at HMRC, said: 'We want to help people get their tax returns right by making sure they are prepared and have everything they need before they start their self assessment. If anyone is worried about paying their tax bill, support is available – search 'time to pay' on GOV.UK.'