Monthly Archives: November 2016

Tax Tips and Chancellors latest Budget details

Welcome to the Autumn Statement 2016 edition of Tax Tips & News.

In this analysis we have mainly concentrated on the tax measures that will directly affect individuals, employers and small businesses.

We are committed to ensuring all our clients don’t pay a penny more in tax than is necessary.

Please contact us for advice in your own specific circumstances.

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The Autumn Statement 2016
· Summary
· Individuals
· Businesses
· Indirect taxes
· Tax administration
Summary top
Chancellor Philip Hammond has delivered his Autumn Statement 2016, which is the first major review of government finances since the EU Referendum, and Mr Hammond’s first major statement since taking responsibility for the work of the Treasury in July 2016. As previously speculated, this will be Mr Hammond’s only Autumn Statement as it was confirmed that the government is to move to a single major fiscal event each year. This means that following the Spring 2017 Budget and Finance Bill, Budgets will be delivered in the Autumn, with the first one scheduled to take place in Autumn 2017. However, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is required by law to produce two forecasts a year – one of these will remain at the time of the Budget, the other will fall in the Spring and the government will therefore respond to it with a new ‘Spring Statement’. This change means that we can expect a Finance Bill in Spring/Summer 2017 following the 2017 Budget. The effect of this new approach is that Finance Bills will be introduced following the annual Budget in Autumn, with the desired aim of reaching Royal Assent in the following Spring, before the start of the new tax year. This change in timetable is designed to help Parliament to scrutinise tax changes before the start of the tax year where most will take effect.

In addition to the Budget timetable changes, it has also been confirmed that, from next year, HMRC will publish customer service performance data more regularly and in greater detail. This will include the monthly publication of digital, telephony and postal performance data, as well as new customer complaints data.

Regarding tax, highlights from this Autumn Statement include:
– confirmation of the government’s commitment to raising the personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold to £50,000 by the end of the Parliament. From that point the personal allowance will rise in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI);
– affirmed commitment to the ‘business tax road map’, which sets out plans for major business taxes to 2020 and beyond, including cutting the rate of corporation tax to 17% by 2020, the lowest in the G20, and reducing the burden of business rates by £6.7 billion over the next 5 years;
– fuel duty will be frozen from April 2017 for the seventh successive year. This will save the average driver around £130 a year, compared to pre-2010 fuel duty escalator plans;
– certain changes will be implemented to promote fairness in the tax system, including: – to tackle tax avoidance, the government will strengthen sanctions and deterrents and will take further action on disguised remuneration tax avoidance schemes;
– to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share, following consultation, the government will go ahead with reforms to restrict the amount of profit that can be offset by historical losses or high interest charges;
– Insurance Premium Tax will rise from 10% to 12% in June 2017; and
– to promote fairness and broaden the tax base, the government will phase out the tax advantages of salary sacrifice arrangements.

This newsletter provides a summary of the key tax points from the 2016 Autumn Statement based on the documents released on 23 November 2016. The overview of legislation in draft, providing further information on all tax changes and updates on all tax consultations, will be published on 5 December 2016. Draft Finance Bill clauses, explanatory notes, tax information and impact notes, and responses to consultations will also be published on this date. We will keep you informed of any significant developments.

Individuals top

Personal allowance and basic rate limit for 2017-18

The personal allowance for 2017-18 will be increased to £11,500 (£11,000 in 2016-17), and the basic rate limit will be increased to £33,500 (£32,000 in 2016-17). The additional rate threshold will remain at £150,000 in 2017-18. It was announced that the allowance will rise to £12,500 by the end of Parliament.

The marriage allowance will rise from £1,100 in 2016-17 to £1,150 in 2017-18.

Blind person’s allowance will rise from £2,290 in 2016-17 to £2,320 in 2017-18.

Starting rate for savings

The band of savings income that is subject to the 0% starting rate will remain at its current level of £5,000 for 2017-18.

Dates for ‘making good’ on benefits-in-kind

As announced at Budget 2016 and following a period of consultation, Finance Bill 2017 will include provisions to ensure an employee who wants to ‘make good’, on a non-payrolled benefit in kind will have to make the payment to their employer by 6 July in the following tax year. ‘Making good’ is where the employee makes a payment in return for the benefit-in-kind they receive. This reduces its taxable value. This will have effect from April 2017.

Assets made available without transfer of ownership

Existing legislation is to be clarified to ensure that employees will only be taxed on business assets for the period that the asset is made available for their private use. This will take effect from 6 April 2017.

Termination payments

As announced at Budget 2016, from April 2018 termination payments over £30,000, which are subject to income tax, will also be subject to employer NICs. Following a technical consultation, tax will only be applied to the equivalent of an employee’s basic pay if their notice is not worked, making it simpler to apply the new rules. The government will monitor this change and address any further manipulation. The first £30,000 of a termination payment will remain exempt from income tax and National Insurance.

Company car tax bands and rates for 2020-21

To provide stronger incentives for the purchase of ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs), new, lower bands will be introduced for the lowest emitting cars. The appropriate percentage for cars emitting greater than 90g CO2/km will rise by 1 percentage point.

Cars, vans and fuel benefit charges

The company car fuel benefit charge multiplier will be £22,600 for 2017-18 (rising from £22,200 in 2016-17).

The van fuel benefit charge will rise from £598 to £610 for 2017-18.

The van benefit charge will rise from £3,170 to £3,230 for 2017-18.

Life insurance policies

Finance Bill 2017 will contain provisions regarding the disproportionate tax charges that arise in certain circumstances from life insurance policy part-surrenders and part-assignments. This will allow applications to be made to HMRC to have the charge recalculated on a ‘just and reasonable’ basis. The changes will take effect from 6 April 2017 and are designed to lead to fairer outcomes for policyholders.

NS&I Investment Bond

From Spring 2017, National Savings and Investments (NS&I), the government-backed investment organisation, will offer a new three-year Investment Bond with an indicative rate of 2.2%. The bond will offer the flexibility for investors to save between £100 and £3,000 and will be available to those aged 16 or over.

Personal Portfolio Bonds

As announced at Budget 2016 and following a period of consultation, the government will legislate in Finance Bill 2017 to take a power to amend by regulations the list of assets that life insurance policyholders can invest in without triggering tax anti-avoidance rules. The changes will take effect on Royal Assent of Finance Bill 2017.

ISA, Junior ISA and Child Trust Fund investment limits

The annual subscription limit for Junior ISAs and Child Trust Funds are to rise in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) to £4,128 from 6 April 2017.

As previously announced, the ISA subscription limit will also rise from 6 April 2017, from £15,240 to £20,000.

National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage increases

From April 2017, the National Living Wage (NLW) for those aged 25 and over will increase from £7.20 per hour to £7.50 per hour. The National Minimum Wage (NMW) will also increase from April 2017 as follows:

– for 21 to 24 year olds – from £6.95 per hour to £7.05;
– for 18 to 20 year olds – from £5.55 per hour to £5.60;
– for 16 to 17 year olds – from £4.00 per hour to £4.05;
– for apprentices – from £3.40 per hour to £3.50.

The government announced that £4.3 million is to be spent on helping small businesses to understand the rules, and cracking down on employers who are breaking the law by not paying the minimum wage.

Consultation on reducing money purchase annual allowance

The pension flexibilities introduced in April 2015 gave savers the ability to access their pension savings flexibly, as best suits their needs. Once a person has accessed pension savings flexibly, if they wish to make any further contributions to a defined contribution pension, tax-relieved contributions are restricted to a special money purchase annual allowance (MPAA).

As announced in the Autumn Statement, a consultation has been launched relating to government proposals to reduce the MPAA to £4,000, with effect from April 2017. The consultation will run until 15 February 2017.

Foreign pensions

The tax treatment of foreign pensions is to be more closely aligned with the UK’s domestic pension tax regime by bringing foreign pensions and lump sums fully into tax for UK residents, to the same extent as domestic ones. The government will also close specialist pension schemes for those employed abroad (‘section 615′ schemes) to new saving, extend from five to ten years the taxing rights over recently emigrated non-UK residents’ foreign lump sum payments from funds that have had UK tax relief, align the tax treatment of funds transferred between registered pension schemes, and update the eligibility criteria for foreign schemes to qualify as overseas pensions schemes for tax purposes.

Cracking down on tax avoiders and those who help them

A new penalty is to be introduced for those helping someone else to use a tax avoidance scheme. Significant penalties may be imposed where HMRC successfully defeat avoidance schemes. The new penalty will ensure that those who help tax avoiders participate in avoidance schemes also face the consequences. In addition, tax avoiders will not be able to claim as a defence against penalties that relying on non-independent tax advice is taking reasonable care.

The taxation of different forms of remuneration

Employers can choose to remunerate their employees in a range of different ways in addition to a cash salary. The tax system currently treats these different forms of remuneration inconsistently and sometimes more generously. The government will therefore consider how the system could be made fairer between workers carrying out the same work under different arrangements and will look specifically at how the taxation of benefits in kind and expenses could be made fairer and more coherent. Proposed changes in this area are as follows:

– Salary sacrifice – following consultation, the tax and employer National Insurance advantages of salary sacrifice schemes will be removed from April 2017, except for arrangements relating to pensions (including advice), childcare, Cycle to Work and ultra-low emission cars. This will mean that employees swapping salary for benefits will pay the same tax as the vast majority of individuals who buy them out of their post-tax income. Arrangements in place before April 2017 will be protected until April 2018, and arrangements for cars, accommodation and school fees will be protected until April 2021;
– Valuation of benefits in kind – the government is currently reviewing how benefits in kind are valued for tax purposes – a consultation on employer-provided living accommodation, and a call for evidence on the valuation of all other benefits in kind, will be published at Budget 2017;
– Employee business expenses – at Budget 2017, the government will publish a call for evidence on the use of the income tax relief for employees’ business expenses, including those that are not reimbursed by their employer.

Legal support

From April 2017, all employees called to give evidence in court will no longer need to pay tax on legal support from their employer. This will help support all employees and ensure fairness in the tax system, as currently only those requiring legal support because of allegations against them can use the tax relief.

Non-domiciled individuals

As previously announced, from April 2017, non-domiciled individuals will be deemed UK-domiciled for tax purposes if they have been UK resident for 15 of the past 20 years, or if they were born in the UK with a UK domicile of origin. Non-domiciled individuals who have a non-UK resident trust set up before they become deemed-domiciled in the UK will not be taxed on income and gains arising outside the UK and retained in the trust.

From April 2017, inheritance tax will be charged on UK residential property when it is held indirectly by a non-domiciled individual through an offshore structure, such as a company or a trust. This closes a loophole that has been used by non-domiciled individuals to avoid paying inheritance tax on their UK residential property.

The government will change the rules for the Business Investment Relief (BIR) scheme from April 2017 to make it easier for non-domiciled individuals who are taxed on the remittance basis to bring offshore money into the UK for the purpose of investing in UK businesses. The government will continue to consider further improvements to the rules for the scheme to attract more capital investment in British businesses by non-domiciled individuals.

Inheritance tax reliefs

From Royal Assent of Finance Bill 2017, inheritance tax relief for donations to political parties will be extended to parties with representatives in the devolved legislatures, as well as parties that have acquired representatives through by-elections. This measure is designed to ensure consistent and fair treatment for all national political parties with elected representatives.

Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR)

From 6 April 2017, the amount of investment social enterprises aged up to 7 years old can raise through SITR will increase to £1.5 million. Other changes will be made to ensure that the scheme is well targeted. Certain activities, including asset leasing and on-lending, will be excluded. Investment in nursing homes and residential care homes will be excluded initially, however the government intends to introduce an accreditation system to allow such investment to qualify for SITR in the future. The limit on full-time equivalent employees will be reduced to 250. The government will undertake a review of SITR within two years of its enlargement.

Offshore funds

UK taxpayers invested in offshore reporting funds pay tax on their share of a fund’s reportable income, and capital gains tax (CGT) on any gain on disposal of their shares or units. The government will legislate to ensure that performance fees incurred by such funds, and which are calculated by reference to any increase in the fund’s value, are not deductible against reportable income from April 2017 and instead reduce any tax payable on disposal of gains. This equalises the tax treatment between onshore and offshore funds.

Reduction in Universal Credit taper

Under the Universal Credit system, as a person’s income increases, their benefit payments are gradually reduced. The taper rate calculates the reduction in benefits as a person’s salary increases. Currently, for every £1 earned after tax above an income threshold, a person receiving Universal Credit has their benefit award reduced by 65p and keeps 35p. From April 2017, the taper will be lowered to 63p in the pound, so the claimant will keep 37p for every £1 earned over the income threshold.

National Insurance Contributions

As recommended by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), the Class 1 secondary (employer) NIC threshold and the primary (employee) threshold will be aligned from April 2017, meaning that both employees and employers will start paying NICs on weekly earnings above £157.

As announced at Budget 2016, Class 2 NICs will be abolished from April 2018, simplifying National Insurance for the self-employed. The Autumn Statement confirmed that, following the abolition of Class 2 NICs, self-employed contributory benefit entitlement will be accessed through Class 3 and Class 4 NICs. All self-employed women will continue to be able to access the standard rate of Maternity Allowance. Self-employed people with profits below the Small Profits Limit will be able to access Contributory Employment and Support Allowance through Class 3 NICs. There will be provision to support self-employed individuals with low profits during the transition.

For 2017-18, Class 2 NICs will be payable at the weekly rate of £2.85 (rising from £2.80) above the small profits threshold of £6,025 per year (rising from £5,965 in 2016-17).

Class 3 voluntary contributions will rise from £14.10 to £14.25 per week for 2017-18.

For 2017-18, the lower profits limit for Class 4 NICs will be £8,164 and the upper profits limit will be £45,000. Contributions remain at 9% between the two thresholds and at 2% above the upper profits limit.

Businesses top

Simplifying PSAs

As announced at Budget 2016 and following a period of consultation, Finance Bill 2017 will include provisions to simplify the process for applying for and agreeing the Pay as You Earn Settlement Agreement (PSA) process. Broadly, a PSA allows an employer to make one annual payment to cover all the tax and National Insurance due on small or irregular taxable expenses or benefits for employees. Further details will be published in due course. The changes will have effect in relation to agreements for the 2018-2019 tax year and subsequent tax years.

Capital allowances: first-year allowance for electric charge-points

From 23 November 2016, businesses will be able to claim a 100% first-year allowance (FYA) in relation to qualifying expenditure incurred on the acquisition of new and unused electric charge-points. The allowance will be available until 31 March 2019 for corporation tax purposes and 5 April 2019 for income tax purposes.

The measure complements the 100% FYA for cars with low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and the 100% FYA for cars powered by natural gas, biogas and hydrogen.

Employee shareholder status

The income tax reliefs and capital gains tax exemption will no longer be available with effect from 1 December 2016 on any shares acquired in consideration of an employee shareholder agreement entered into on or after that date. Any individual who has received independent advice regarding entering into an employee shareholder agreement before the 23 November 2016 will have the opportunity to do so before 1 December (but not later) and still receive the income and CGT tax advantages that were known to be available at the time the individual received the advice. The effective date is to be the 2 December where independent legal advice is received on 23 November prior to 1.30pm. Corporation tax reliefs for the employer company are not affected by this change.

New tax allowance for property and trading income

As announced at Budget 2016, the government will create two new income tax allowances of £1,000 each, for trading and property income. Individuals with trading income or property income below the level of the allowance will no longer need to declare or pay tax on that income. The trading income allowance will now also apply to certain miscellaneous income from providing assets or services.

Expanding the museums and galleries tax relief

The new museums and galleries tax relief is to be expanded to include permanent exhibitions. The new relief, which starts in April 2017, was originally only intended to be available for temporary and touring exhibitions. The rates of relief will be set at 20% for non-touring exhibitions and 25% for touring exhibitions. The relief will be capped at £500,000 of qualifying expenditure per exhibition. The relief will expire in April 2022 if not renewed. In 2020, the government will review the tax relief and set out plans beyond 2022.

Tax deductibility of corporate interest expense

Following recent consultation, the government will introduce rules that limit the tax deductions that large groups can claim for their UK interest expenses from April 2017. These rules will limit deductions where a group has net interest expenses of more than £2 million, net interest expenses exceed 30% of UK taxable earnings and the group’s net interest to earnings ratio in the UK exceeds that of the worldwide group. The provisions proposed to protect investment in public benefit infrastructure are also to be widened. Banking and insurance groups will be subject to the rules in the same way as groups in other industry sectors.

Reform of loss relief

Following consultation, the government will legislate for reforms announced at Budget 2016 that will restrict the amount of profit that can be offset by carried-forward losses to 50% from April 2017, while allowing greater flexibility over the types of profit that can be relieved by losses incurred after that date. The restriction will be subject to a £5 million allowance for each standalone company or group.

In implementing the reforms the government will take steps to address unintended consequences and simplify the administration of the new rules. The amount of profit that banks can offset with losses incurred prior to April 2015 will continue to be restricted to 25% in recognition of the exceptional nature and scale of losses in the sector.

Bringing non-resident companies’ UK income into the corporation tax regime

The government is considering bringing all non-resident companies receiving taxable income from the UK into the corporation tax regime. At Budget 2017, the government will consult on the case and options for implementing this change. The government wants to deliver equal tax treatment to ensure that all companies are subject to the rules which apply generally for the purposes of corporation tax, including the limitation of corporate interest expense deductibility and loss relief rules.

Substantial Shareholding Exemption (SSE) reform

Following consultation, the government will make changes to simplify the rules, remove the investing requirement within the SSE and provide a more comprehensive exemption for companies owned by qualifying institutional investors. The changes will take effect from April 2017.

Authorised investment funds: dividend distributions to corporate investors

The rules on the taxation of dividend distributions to corporate investors are to be modernised in a way which allows exempt investors, such as pension funds, to obtain credit for tax paid by authorised investment funds. Proposals and draft legislation will be published in early 2017.

Northern Ireland corporation tax

The government will amend the Northern Ireland corporation tax regime in Finance Bill 2017 to give all small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) trading in Northern Ireland the potential to benefit. Other amendments will minimise the risk of abuse and ensure the regime is prepared for commencement if the Northern Ireland Executive demonstrates its finances are on a sustainable footing.

Corporation tax deduction for contributions to grassroots sport

As announced at Autumn Statement 2015 and following consultation, in Finance Bill 2017 the government will expand the circumstances in which companies can get corporation tax deductions for contributions to grassroots sports from 1 April 2017.

Patent Box rules

The government will legislate in Finance Bill 2017 to add specific provisions to the Patent Box rules, covering the case where Research and Development (R&D) is undertaken collaboratively by two or more companies under a ‘cost sharing arrangement’. The provisions ensure that such companies are neither penalised nor able to gain an advantage under these rules by organising their R&D in this way. This will have effect for accounting periods commencing on or after 1 April 2017.

Authorised contractual schemes: reducing tax complexity for investors in co-ownership authorised contractual schemes

As announced at Budget 2016 and following a period of consultation, Finance Bill 2017 will include legislation (to be supported by secondary legislation) to clarify the rules on capital allowances, chargeable gains and investments by co-ownership authorised contractual schemes (CoACS) in offshore funds, as well as information requirements on the operators of CoACS.

Off-payroll working rules

Following consultation, the government will reform the off-payroll working rules in the public sector from April 2017 by moving responsibility for operating them, and paying the correct tax, to the body paying the worker’s company. This reform aims to tackle high levels of non-compliance with the current rules and means that those working in a similar way to employees in the public sector will pay the same taxes as employees. In response to feedback during the consultation, the 5% tax-free allowance will be removed for those working in the public sector, reflecting the fact that workers no longer bear the administrative burden of deciding whether the rules apply.

Bank levy reform

As announced at Summer Budget 2015, the bank levy charge will be restricted to UK balance sheet liabilities from 1 January 2021. Following consultation, the government confirms that there will be an exemption for certain UK liabilities relating to the funding of non-UK companies and an exemption for UK liabilities relating to the funding of non-UK branches. Details will be set out in the government’s response to the consultation, with the intention of legislating in Finance Bill 2017-18. The government will continue to consider the balance between revenue and competitiveness with regard to bank taxation, taking into account the implications of the UK leaving the EU.

Hybrids and other mismatches

The government will legislate in Finance Bill 2017 to make minor changes to ensure that the hybrid and other mismatches legislation works as intended. The changes will have effect from 1 January 2017.

Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings

The annual charges for the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED) will rise in line with inflation for the 2017-2018 chargeable period.

Clarification of tax treatment for partnerships

Following consultation, the government will legislate to clarify and improve certain aspects of partnership taxation to ensure profit allocations to partners are fairly calculated for tax purposes. Draft legislation will be published shortly for technical consultation.

Tax-advantaged venture capital schemes

The rules for the tax-advantaged venture capital schemes (Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs)) are being amended to:

– clarify the EIS and SEIS rules for share conversion rights, for shares issued on or after 5 December 2016;
– provide additional flexibility for follow-on investments made by VCTs in companies with certain group structures to align with EIS provisions, for investments made on or after 6 April 2017; and
– introduce a power to enable VCT regulations to be made in relation to certain shares for share exchanges to provide greater certainty to VCTs.

In addition, a consultation will be carried out into options to streamline and prioritise the advance assurance service.

The government will not be introducing flexibility for replacement capital within the tax-advantaged venture capital schemes at this time, and will review this over the longer term.

Gift Aid digital

As announced at Budget 2016, intermediaries are to be given a greater role in administering Gift Aid, with the aim of simplifying the Gift Aid process for donors making digital donations.

VAT top

Tackling aggressive abuse of the VAT Flat Rate Scheme

A new 16.5% VAT flat rate for businesses with limited costs will take effect from 1 April 2017.

The VAT Flat Rate Scheme (FRS) is a simplified accounting scheme for small businesses. Currently businesses determine which flat rate percentage to use by reference to their trade sector. From 1 April 2017, FRS businesses must also determine whether they meet the definition of a limited cost trader, which will be included in new legislation.

Businesses using the scheme, or thinking of joining the scheme, will need to decide whether they are a limited cost trader. For some businesses – for example, those who purchase no goods, or who make significant purchases of goods – this will be obvious. Other businesses will need to complete a simple test, using information they already hold, to work out whether they should use the new 16.5% rate.

Businesses using the FRS will be expected to ensure that, for each accounting period, they use the appropriate flat rate percentage.

A limited cost trader will be defined as one whose VAT inclusive expenditure on goods is either:

– less than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover in a prescribed accounting period;
– greater than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover but less than £1000 per annum if the prescribed accounting period is one year (if it is not one year, the figure is the relevant proportion of £1000).

Goods, for the purposes of this measure, must be used exclusively for the purpose of the business but exclude the following items:

– capital expenditure;
– food or drink for consumption by the flat rate business or its employees;
– vehicles, vehicle parts and fuel (except where the business is one that carries out transport services – for example a taxi business – and uses its own or a leased vehicle to carry out those services).

These exclusions are part of the test to prevent traders buying either low value everyday items or one off purchases in order to inflate their costs beyond 2%.

Updating the VAT Avoidance Disclosure Regime

As announced at Budget 2016 and following consultation, legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2017 to strengthen the regime for disclosure of avoidance of indirect tax. Provision will be made to make scheme promoters primarily responsible for disclosing schemes to HMRC and the scope of the regime will be extended to include all indirect taxes. This will have effect from 1 September 2017.

Penalty for participating in VAT fraud

As announced at Budget 2016, Finance Bill 2017 will introduce a new and more effective penalty for participating in VAT fraud. It will be applied to businesses and company officers when they knew or should have known that their transactions were connected with VAT fraud. The penalty will improve the application of penalties to those facilitating orchestrated VAT fraud. The new penalty will be a fixed rate penalty of 30% for participants in VAT fraud. This will be implemented following Royal Assent of the Finance Bill 2017.

Power to examine and take account of goods at any place

The government will introduce legislation in Finance Bill 2017 to extend the current customs and excise powers of inspection. This will amend the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 and enable officers to examine goods away from approved premises such as airports and ports, to search goods liable for forfeiture and open or unpack any container. This will take effect from Royal Assent of the Finance Bill 2017.

Retail Export Scheme

The government is to consult on VAT grouping and provide funding with a view to digitising fully the Retail Export Scheme to reduce the administrative burden to travellers.

Tackling exploitation of the VAT relief on adapted cars for wheelchair users

The government is to clarify the application of the VAT zero-rating for adapted motor vehicles to stop the abuse of this legislation, while continuing to provide help for disabled wheelchair users.

Indirect taxes top

Landfill tax

As announced at Budget 2016, the definition of a taxable disposal for landfill tax purposes is to be amended in order to bring greater clarity and certainty. This will come into effect after Royal Assent of Finance Bill 2017, on a day to be appointed by Treasury Order


Insurance Premium Tax increase

Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) will increase from 10% to 12% from 1 June 2017. IPT is a tax on insurers and it is up to them whether and how to pass on costs to customers.

Air Passenger Duty (APD): regional review

A summary of responses is to be published shortly relating to a recent consultation on how the government can support regional airports in England from the potential effects of APD devolution. Given the strong interaction with EU law, the government does not intend to take specific measures now, but intends to review this area again after the UK has exited from the EU.

Freeplays in Remote Gaming Duty

Following the consultation announced at Budget 2016, the government will legislate in Finance Bill 2017 to bring the tax treatment of freeplays for remote gaming more in line with the treatment for free bets under General Betting Duty. The changes will take effect for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 August 2017.

Tobacco Illicit Trade Protocol: licensing of tobacco machinery and the supply chain

Following consultation the government will legislate in Finance Bill 2017 to introduce a licensing scheme for tobacco machinery to allow officials to quickly determine whether machines are being held legally. Applications for licences will be accepted from January 2018 and the scheme will come into force on 1 April 2018.

Implementation of the Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme

As announced at Budget 2016 and following a consultation on the scope and design of the scheme, the government will legislate in Finance Bill 2017 to introduce a new Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme in 2018. This will ensure that fulfilment houses play their part in tackling VAT abuse by some overseas businesses selling goods via online marketplaces. The scheme will open for registration in April 2018.

Soft Drinks Industry Levy

Draft legislation for the Soft Drinks Industry Levy will be published on 5 December 2016.

Tax administration top

Tax evasion and compliance

Emerging insolvency risk

HMRC intend to develop their ability to identify emerging insolvency risk, using external analytical expertise. HMRC will use this information to tailor their debt collection activity, improve customer service and provide support to struggling businesses.

Offshore tax evasion

A new legal requirement is to be introduced to correct a past failure to pay UK tax on offshore interests within a defined period of time, with new sanctions for those who fail to do so.

Requirement to register offshore structures

The government intends to consult on a new legal requirement for intermediaries arranging complex structures for clients holding money offshore to notify HMRC of the structures and the related client lists.

Hidden economy and money service businesses

The government will legislate to extend HMRC’s data-gathering powers to money service businesses in order to identify those operating in the hidden economy.

Tackling the hidden economy

Following consultation, the government will consider the case for making access to licences or services for businesses conditional on them being registered for tax. It will also develop proposals to strengthen sanctions for those who repeatedly and deliberately participate in the hidden economy. Further details will be announced in Budget 2017.

Tax administration

Making Tax Digital

In January 2017, the government will publish its response to the Making Tax Digital consultations and provisions to implement the previously announced changes.

Tax Enquiries: Closure Rules

The government will legislate to provide HMRC and customers earlier certainty on individual matters in large, high risk and complex tax enquiries.

Tax Avoidance

Disguised remuneration schemes

Budget 2016 announced changes to tackle use of disguised remuneration schemes by employers and employees. The government will now extend the scope of these changes to tackle the use of disguised remuneration avoidance schemes by the self-employed. Further, the government will take steps to make it less attractive for employers to use disguised remuneration avoidance schemes, by denying tax relief for an employer’s contributions to disguised remuneration schemes unless tax and National Insurance are paid within a specified period.

HMRC counter avoidance

The government is investing further in HMRC to increase its activity on countering avoidance and taking cases forward for litigation, which is expected to bring forward over £450 million in scored revenue by 2021-22.

The information contained in this newsletter is of a general nature and no guarantee of accuracy can be given. It is not a substitute for specific professional advice in your own circumstances. No action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.

Howard and Company is the trading name of GM Howard & Company Limited, a company registered in England and Wales. Reg No 5307665. Registered office, Unit 17, Park Farm Business Centre, Fornham St Genevieve, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP28 6TS.

JG&Partners, Mid November Licensing updates

JG & Partners

JG&Partners, Mid November Licensing updates

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Liverpool City Council have revisited the adoption of the Late Night Levy, which had been rejected in March of this year. On this occasion the vote was in favour of adoption for premises operating beyond 12 midnight. The Levy is to commence in April. The adopted Levy contained significant revisions to that previously tabled, in particular an exemption for those premises in the Business Improve…

Local Alcohol Action Areas – phase 2

Further to our previous news on this subject (”Local Alcohol Action Areas’ announced’) the Home Office is canvassing for expressions of interest in participating in a second phase of this scheme. The first phase ran to March 2015 and case studies from that phase can be found in the document below. Some 40 places are available in this new roll out. Local Authorities interested shou…

House of Lords Select Committee – evidence given!

Last Tuesday, partner John Gaunt appeared before the HoL Select Committee on Licensing. Also giving evidence at the 45 minute session was Professor Roy Light and Andy Grimsey of PA. The anticipation proved rather more daunting that the session itself! Topics covers included an overview of the effectiveness of the 2003 Act; consideration of the performance of licensing sub-committees; th…

Licensed Industry News, November 2016

Licensed Industry News, November 2016

If you would like to read the latest Industry News and Corporate Activity, please click on the following link, before 9.00 am for yesterdays News, click on the link after 9.00 am for latest Weekday’s News



• Following the release of its FY numbers to end-September, Enterprise Inns hosted a meeting for analysts and our comments are set out below:

• Trading:

• See earlier email. All models, all regions and all quarters saw like-for-like growth in FY16

• The market, overall, is ‘more stable’. In addition, the regulatory uncertainty surrounding the MRO has now been cleared up

• Absolute EBITDA was down only marginally despite a 4% drop in the number of pubs owned

• All options – disposal, move to commercial leases, move to managed or move to short-term tenancies – have proved to be accretive to earnings

• That said, the MRO has been and is being disruptive

• New lettings were delayed for the same reasons as those outlined by Punch Taverns last week. This should only have a temporary impact

• Admin costs rose from £37m to £40m and will rise to c£42m this year – this is due to the enlarged infrastructure demanded by the new business model(s)

• Unplanned business failure numbers are down once again to only 1.6% of the estate. Only 59 pubs are currently closed

• There will be some cost pressures coming through. Prices may have to rise at some point

• Strategy:

• Group is now 18mths into its new strategy

• Group reiterates this strategy (return to growth in tenanted), expansion of managed model, debt reduction, remains firmly on track.

• ETI no longer offers longer term tied leases.

• It may take pubs over to manage them at lease-end

• Around 94 (of a possible 285) pubs that have had a ‘trigger event’ have enquired about free-of-tie alternatives. None of these have yet concluded.

• Balance sheet, cash flow & other:

• The capital markets are ‘open to Enterprise’ & the group has pushed bullet payments out to the right

• In addition, it has paid down the absolute amount of debt outstanding by some £122m

• Debt to EBITDA has fallen from 7.8x to 7.5x. Punch Taverns stands at 6.6x.

• The share buyback (£25m is on the cards) is testament to the fact that cash is not the problem that it was in the wake of the smoking ban, the credit crunch & the recession

• Langton Comment: Enterprise has reassured on trading & says that it has the breadth of offer, tenanted, longer-leased, commercially-leased or managed, to suit all its pubs. It still sees itself owning around 800 managed pubs, c1,000 commercially tenanted pubs and 2,400 traditionally tied units.

• The group is on track & its shares are cheap. However, in the absence of a catalyst (a ‘tipping event’), investors may need to be patient.

• Overall, a PER (and Langton acknowledges but does not completely agree with the suggestion that one should look at EV/EBITDA measures) of little more than 5x earnings does seem somewhat grudging for a company that is doing pretty much everything right.

• The ALMR has written to Chancellor Phillip Hammond calling on him to actively support the pub industry in his Autumn Statement on 23 November. The upcoming business rates revaluation has proven to be a particular bone of contention as it will disproportionately hit the hospitality industry due to turnover-based valuations. The ALMR is consequently calling for an ‘urgent review’ of trading provisions questioning the subjective element of ‘fair maintainable trade’ pub assessments.

• A study of more than 80,000 Chinese adults by Pennsylvania State University suggests that moderate amounts of alcohol can cut the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Quarterly blood samples allowed researchers to measure participants’ high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – aka ‘good cholesterol’ – as well as liver function and inflammatory markers. Moderate drinking appeared to slow the natural decline of HDL levels.

• Fuller’s flagship pub, The George IV, on Chiswick High Road is once again hosting the switch on of the Chiswick High Road Christmas lights on 24 November at 5.30pm. The switching on of the lights will be led by Fred Turner, Fuller, Smith & Turner’s Head of Tenanted Operations, and is in partnership with the London Borough of Hounslow.

• Lancashire pub group Thwaites has posted a 5% rise in turnover to £44m on continuing operations although profit before tax was down due to interest rate swaps and pub investment.

• Kantar Worldpanel data show Tesco has continued to grow its grocery market share, accelerating at its fastest rate in three years of 2.2% in the 12 weeks to 6 November. This handily beats overall grocery market growth of 0.8%, bumping the UK’s number one up to 28.3% of the market, with much of the growth driven by own-label brands at the cheaper and more premium ends of the price spectrum.

• UK’s major supermarkets reported to have cut petrol prices by 3p per litre in attempt to attract pre-Xmas shoppers

• The BBPA has urged Cheltenham Borough Council to abolish its Late Night Levy and continues to support the existing local Business Improvement District (BID). The British Beer & Pub Association proposes that the Late Night Levy unfairly disadvantages pubs, many of which are small, independent, and contributing positively to the night-time economy. For such businesses, the Late Night Levy can represent a significant imposition.

• Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive, British Beer & Pub Association, comments: ‘Cheltenham implemented a Late Night Levy in 2014, but have found it has failed to reach expected revenue targets, raising less than 39 per cent of the £199,000 figure that had been predicted in the first year. It is right, therefore, that they look again at the Levy…

• ‘…We will continue to oppose Late Night Levies, campaigning against them wherever they are proposed. We’ve already seen several big city councils, such as Leeds and Bristol, abandon their Late Night Levy plans, and it’s encouraging to see that Cheltenham is looking to do the same.’

• Recruitment agencies are warning restaurants that they will not be able to provide enough chefs to meet demand this Christmas due to an ongoing skills shortage. Restaurants are facing a ‘real headache’, according to the findings of a survey by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), which shows 61% of respondents say they do not have enough chefs over the festive period and just 18% believe they have sufficiently skilled chefs.

• REC chief executive Kevin Green said the statistics were a real worry, not just for Christmas but beyond and warned that if not addressed it would have implications for the future of the industry. ‘Training and progression needs to be improved so that more people are encouraged to become chefs. That’s a longer term fix, but there’s an immediate skills crisis which needs to be addressed. Any restrictions on access to chefs from the EU, such as a salary threshold for work visas, will only exacerbate the problem.

• ‘Without a supply of chefs to meet growing demand, restaurants, bars and hotels will have to pay more for their staff and it’s likely that these costs will be passed on to the customer. We may even see restaurants close their doors if they can’t remain competitive and profitable.’

• Council of Mortgage Lenders says mortgages are now more affordable than they have ever been. Says first time buyers spend c17.7% of monthly income on mortgage repayments. Not sure the same would be true if rates rose to 6, 7 or 8%.

• CML points out 2yr fixed mortgages can be had for as little as 0.99%. Fine if you can pay the loan back in 24mths.

• Morrison’s has launched a service at Amazon. Orders will delivered same day by Amazon. Costs will be £6.99 for a 1hr slot or in a two hour slot for free. Morrison’s reports ‘as food maker and shopkeeper, we have unique skills to help build a broader new Morrisons through capital light growth. ‘Morrisons at Amazon’ is another exciting joint opportunity and makes Morrisons good quality, great value-for-money products available to even more customers.’

• Questions may be raised as to the ongoing nature of Ocada’s relationship with Morrison’s

• Trade bosses have warned that pubs could be in for two tough years of trade after Article 50 is triggered and the UK leaves the European Union. Potential issues include more difficulty in recruiting staff and lower disposable income, according to industry figures invited to accountancy firm Weller’s roundtable in London. Other issues discussed included the national living wage and business rates.

• The Campaign for Real Ale has called on the UK government to freeze beer duty ahead of the Autumn Statement to slow the rate of pub closures across the country. ‘UK pubs and breweries are facing a great deal of uncertainty in these times of economic uncertainty,” said Colin Valentine, CAMRA national chairman. Pubs in particular are facing significant cost burdens, including business rates, pension auto enrolment and increases to the national living wage. Coupled with UK beer drinkers paying significantly higher duty on their pint than other leading beer drinking nations, at 52.2p on the pint, we are seeing a significant shift from people drinking in pubs to people drinking at home.’

• The secretary of state for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has backed Paul Newby as the pubs code adjudicator. Greg Clark said he disagreed with a letter from the chair of the BEIS committee that the appointment process for the PCA should be reopened, adding: ‘The appointment process was run in accordance with the code of practice for ministerial appointments to public bodies. As part of the appointment process, the panel considered whether Paul Newby has conflicts of interest that might call into question his ability to do the job and concluded he did not.’

• Heineken has set up a new ‘Brew House’ brand that will be listed as a separate retail outlet on Deliveroo, which will sell Heineken, Birra Moretti, Kronenberg, Amstel, Old Mout, and Bulmers.

• Research from The NPD Group shows that the market share for branded food to go has taken market share from independents. NPD’s research shows that the market share for brands versus independents in terms of number of visits was 43% to 57% eight years ago, but has now nearly reversed as of the year ending (YE) September 2016 with the brands leading at 56% to 44%.

• Camelot has announced a 5.8% fall in first half National Lottery sales to £3.39bn, generating a direct returns to Good Causes of £783m.

• Moody’s reports AB InBev Debt Swap Offer is Credit Positive as regards SABMiller Debtholders. It says the bonds will be converted into new ABI notes and benefit from ABI’s guarantees.

• Shrinkflation. It’s a new thing. Suppliers can say that they’re not putting prices up. Consumer price warriors, beware

• Majestic H1 sales +13%, dividend reinstated. Back in profit, just. LfL at Majestic +5.7% with Naked +26.7%. Group says ‘the transformation plan to deliver future sustained growth in shareholder value is on track. The investments we have made are working, our lead indicators are improving and sales are growing.’

• Majestic. Says ‘we reiterate our goal of £500m annual sales by FY19.’ CEO Rowan Gormley says ‘our plan is working. We said that we would deliver sustainable growth, not by opening more stores, but by investing in better customer service and better customer retention. Both of these are working – sales are up over 10% and the projects driving that sales growth, like nationwide next day delivery, are on time and on budget. Now that we have built a solid platform for future growth, future cost growth will be much lower.’ Mr Gormley concludes ‘we are reiterating our commitment to hitting our goal of delivering £500m sales by 2019, and we believe that will translate into healthy profit growth now that the step change in investment is complete. We are reinstating the dividend as a signal of our continued confidence in the plan.’

• Majestic Wines is ready to raise prices in 2017 if necessary to combat the weak sterling and a potential duty rise.

• The VAT Campaign, BBPA and ALMR all agree that Brexit could free the UK up to reduce the unfair levels of VAT faced by the hospitality industry.

• Last weekend’s televised sport boosted beer sales in UK pubs, per Vianet, whose iDraught system provides detailed breakdown of pint per hour consumption. England’s victory over Scotland at Wembley on 11 November saw sports pubs enjoy a 5.8% increase in sales versus the same day last year, while the match at Twickenham on Saturday 12 November saw a 4.1% increase in beer sales on the same day last year for sports pubs, with non-sport focused pubs registering a 1.98% increase.

• Innis & Gunn is extending its crowdfunding investment opportunity after reaching £1m target in just 72 hours.

• Asda must be wishing for sales to return to the heady heights of its August 2015 ‘nadir’ after posting another big slide in Q3 earnings (-5.8% in the three months to September). New chief executive Sean Clarke, who took over on 11 July, said: ‘We have lowered thousands of prices, improved hundreds of own-brand products and invested in more hours for colleagues on the shop floor – so it’s encouraging to see more customers shopping with us in stores and online.’

• McDonald’s is to roll out in-store mobile ordering as well as extending its table-service offer to boost growth. CEO Steve Easterbrook reports ‘ordering should be the most enjoyable experience but at McDonald’s it can be one of the most stressful points in time.’ He continues ‘bringing out service staff on to the dining floor does change the atmosphere.’

• Tesco boss Dave Lewis has warned suppliers not to try to push through ‘illegitimate price increases’. Definitions unclear. The FT reports Lewis as saying ‘we buy virtually everything for our own label so there isn’t an ingredient or a commodity out there that we don’t have very good insight into.’ He adds ‘we’re naive to the fact that there’s inflationary pressure. You see it already in some categories. Pork has been affected much sooner.’

• Sodexo yesterday reported FY numbers to end-Aug 2016 saying revenues rose by 2.2% & organic growth was +2.5%. The group said its on-site organic growth was +2.4% ‘despite a tough economic environment in Remote Sites and a difficult situation in France.’ CEO Michel Landel reports ‘Sodexo continues to grow as a result of solid growth in North America, the UK (On-site Services) and Benefits and Rewards Services. We achieved this growth despite a tough environment in the commodities markets affecting the Remote Sites business and the impact of a difficult situation in France.’ He concludes ‘we are confident in the future, and for Fiscal 2017 aim for around 3% organic revenue growth and between 8% and 9% growth in operating profit, excluding the currency effect and exceptional expenses of the Adaptation and Simplification program.’

• UK retail sales growth jumped to a 14-year high in October as colder weather boosted clothing sales and pushed the seasonally adjusted volume of sales up 1.9% month-on-month. Total volumes were 7.4% higher than the same month a year ago — the fastest annual growth since April 2002, and far higher than had been expected. Sales were boosted by strong growth in clothing and footwear as the end of unusually mild autumn weather — two degrees Celsius above normal — encouraged people to invest in winter clothing.

• USA same-store restaurant sales fell 0.6% in October in what proved to be the worst month for the restaurant industry in more than three years, per the latest MillerPulse survey. Same-store sales were weak for both the quick-service and casual-dining segments, which registered a flat performance and a 1.4% fall respectively, with an emerging trend of weak traffic appearing to drive the numbers.

• Frozen food suppliers claim Brexit is ‘bad for business’, with 68% of BFFF members voting that it will have a negative impact.

• Poor harvests of olive oil looks set to raise prices for shoppers after Christmas.

60 Seconds on Rising Interest Rates, Inflation, etc.

Inflation is coming – who stands to lose out?

·       Interest rates have been kept at 0.5% since January 2009 (even falling as low as 0.25%), distorting the markets

·       Crowdfunding has also played its part wrt excess funding; AltFi research shows that of the 751 companies that have crowdfunded on the UK’s largest platforms, some 88 have gone bust with another 79 suspected to have suffered a similar fate.

·       Meanwhile, a further 34 have undergone a painful downround, suggesting that the probability of a negative outcome for the average retail crowd-funding investor is a considerable 26.7%.

·       This has driven several important trends in Leisure

·       Cheap money has been one of the primary drivers of estate growth

·       This may soon change as inflation works its way through the economic system and interest rates rise

A rising tide lifts all boats…

·       Fast-expanding diners and bar chains might consider whether the thermals of low interest rates have allowed them to fly too close to the sun

·       Similarly, hotel markets such as London that have seen persistent excess capacity trends might question whether the party’s over

·       A whole generation of operators who have not known anything other than today’s macro environment might be in for a rude awakening.

·       Supply pull, not demand push, appears to be driving sales growth.

·       Incumbents who have seen it all before, meanwhile, might now be looking at the timing of their roll-outs and whether a period of retrenchment is on the cards.



ALMR News Press Notice


Cheshire East’s common sense a welcome approach, says ALMR

The ALMR has welcomed the decision not to introduce either a Late Night Levy or Early Morning Restriction Order in Cheshire.

Cheshire East Council’s Licensing Committee met this week and decided against introducing either measure following a recommendation from the Council’s Licensing Working Group last week.

ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is a very welcome decision from a local authority that has seen the benefits of focusing on partnership schemes and giving its local businesses a chance to thrive.

“The ALMR has been the only national trade body to consistently campaign against the blanket introduction of punitive measures such as the Late Night Levy and EMRO that would undermine growth and investment in communities across the country.

“The Government’s own guidance on introducing these measures states that they should only be considered as a last resort, when all other measures have been exhausted. The decision not to introduce these measures on a whim, and to investigate partnership and voluntary schemes in the first instance, shows a degree of common sense that other councils would do well to match.”

ALMR welcomes Night Czar appointment


The ALMR has welcomed the appointment of the new Night Czar and has reiterated its eagerness to work closely with City Hall to promote the capital’s late-night hospitality businesses.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has appointed Amy Lamé, former Mayor of Camden, as the inaugural Night Czar for the capital.

ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The Mayor has spoken very positively about his vision for a 24-hour city and we are pleased to see him acknowledging the importance of the capital’s night-time economy.

“London is renowned as a world destination and it is important that its night-time economy is at the cutting edge, not just in terms of infrastructure, but also through a hospitality offering that promises the best for customers and a legislative environment that lets businesses thrive.

“Amy has previous experience working as the Mayor of Camden,  an area of London renowned for its thriving hospitality sector and the success of its partnership schemes including the Camden BID. We are looking forward to working closely with the Mayor and our new Night Czar to promote London’s first class late-night hospitality offering and to push for a fair and flexible deal for the businesses that make it such an important part of the capital’s economy.

Latest Licensed Industry News

Latest Licensed Industry News

If you would like to read the latest Industry News and Corporate Activity, please click on the following link, before 9.00 am for yesterdays News, click on the link after 9.00 am for latest Weekday’s News


• Visa’s UK Consumer Spending Index shows spending +2.4% in October versus the same month a year ago.

• Visa says UK hotels, restaurants & bars see strongest y-o-y spending growth vs all other sectors at +9%. Spending on clothing & footwear was +4.7%.

• Visa says eCommerce spending in Oct was +4.3% y-o-y but face to face spend was only +1.8%. Transport spending was down 1.4%.

• Visa reports ‘consumer spending growth rose to a 6mth high in October. Talk of potential price rises does not appear to have dented consumers’ confidence, with spending up 2.5% on the year, on a par with pre-referendum levels.’ It continues ‘the experience economy continued to fuel this growth. Hospitality and leisure were the best performing sectors once again, boosted perhaps by the half term break and Halloween, with a noticeable increase in spend on food and drink. We’ve also seen two strong comebacks this month. Clothing and footwear bounced back strongly from a disappointing dip in the previous month, up 4.7% in October, and the highest level of growth since September 2015. New season stock, combined with a chilly start to winter created the perfect conditions for the high street to rebound from last month’s flat line.’ Visa concludes ‘as we get closer to the all-important Christmas trading season, it will be interesting to see whether the strong momentum in October continues into Black Friday and beyond.’

• Sunday Times has beer prices rising by up to 30p per pint on the back of NLW, input and business rates cost increases

• Retailers & leisure said to be facing a ‘perfect storm’ re cost increases & margin pressures.

• Anecdotal & small sample size but a visit to Tesco suggests the store is looking smart (including its re-engineered ex-Giraffe cafes) but prices are not cheap

• Young’s CEO Patrick Dardis has warned that an ‘exceptional’ rise in business rates will hit pubs in April 2017 and is likely to add £1.8m to Young’s annual cost base. Dardis also highlighted Brexit uncertainty and cost pressures including the national living wage and the apprenticeship levy as additional challenges facing the pub company in its interim reports for the 26 weeks to 26 September 2016. London pubs are set to absorb a 25.6% rise in business rates over the next five years, while the rest of the country will be subject to an estimated 9.2% rise.

• Liverpool council plans to introduce a Late Night Levy despite strong opposition from trade bodies including the BBPA and a previous recommendation not to introduce the measure. BBPA CEO Brigid Simmonds commented: ‘This is very disappointing. Liverpool’s Licensing Committee had rejected a Levy in March, after extensive consultation. Other major cities, such as Bristol and Leeds, have also rejected a levy, which will damage the city’s economy. We are looking at whether the Council can reintroduce the measure in this way, without further consultation.

• ‘Pubs are already struggling with high business rates, high beer duty and red tape. This will also undermine partnership schemes between local business, the Council and police, which can produce very positive results.’

• Amazon delivery drivers have reportedly been made to work ‘illegal’ hours and are receiving less than the minimum wage.

• Phillip Clark is one of several senior executives named in the lawsuit filed against Tesco by 111 institutional investors for losses in the wake of its £263m accounting scandal.

• Marks and Spencer, American Apparel, and Sky are set to close a combined 100 stores, while the 1,250 stores affected by failed retailers so far this year is double the rate of 2015. The FT writes that ‘BHS, Austin Reed, Netto, and My Local have fallen into administration and brands including Banana Republic have withdrawn from the UK’ in 2016.

• Dominic Chappell, the controversial ex-owner of BHS, has been arrested in relation to an unpaid tax bill of about £500,000 arising from profits he made as the department store chain failed. Speaking about Swiss Rock’s tax bill in September, Mr Chappell told The Guardian: ‘There was a return that was made in error; they [HMRC] have acted upon it and we are rectifying that as we speak.’ HMRC began legal action against Mr Chappell to recover the sums, but he has put Swiss Rock into liquidation, making it more difficult for the tax man to obtain the funds.

• The BBPA, SIBA, and CAMRA have published ‘The Story of Beer Duty: 2008-2016’, chronicling how the government’s decision to halt the Beer Duty Escalator sparked a major turnaround. A 42% increase in beer duty caused beer sales to fall by 18.5%, 3,700 pubs closed and 75,000 jobs were lost. The relaxation of the escalator, coupled with a ‘penny off a pint’ initiative, has been credited with making 2014 the first year of beer sales growth in a decade.

• A new publication called ‘Managing Safety in Pubs’ aims to provide licensees with tips on helping customers and staff feel secure in the run-up to Christmas.

• Markets have been relatively sanguine in the wake of Trump’s election victory although Constellation Brands, the largest US importer of Mexican beer, has seen its shares fall. The group paid $4.75 billion to Anheuser-Busch InBev for Grupo Modelo’s US beer business in 2013, giving it an exclusive permanent license in the US to import, market, and sell Corona and Modelo.

• Qatari officials have confirmed a ban on alcohol in public spaces during the 2022 Qatar World Cup and are seeking to ban alcohol in stadiums. The secretary-general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy Al-Thawadi said in an interview with Arabic language newspaper Al-Sharq that booze will only be permitted in ‘far-away places’.

• Liverpool’s council approved the city’s proposed Late Night Levy in a meeting last night.

• A Swansea licensee has been fined £65,000 for illegally broadcasting Premier League football via a ‘domestic’ decoder box.