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British Consumer Confidence Plummets to Lowest Level Since EU Referendum

Consumer confidence in the United Kingdom dropped this month to its lowest level since the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, weighed down by worries over rising inflation pressures, a survey released over the weekend showed.

Polling firm YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) said consumer morale in the country declined by a whole point to 108.1 this month, the lowest level since July this year.

Pollsters found that British consumers were less optimistic about their household finances over the next 12 months due to worries over inflation, which is expected to rise sharply after the UK formally exits the European Union.

Scoot Corfe, Cebr director, says that looming inflation is slowly being felt in the economy at large and by British consumers.

The YouGov/Cebr survey echoed the findings of a separate survey published by GfK the day before which showed a deterioration in consumers’ sentiment for the coming year.

Sterling has shed more than 10 percent of its value against the greenback since June’s Brexit vote, and while a number of businesses have raised prices to compensate for the weakening currency, many are still holding out price increases until after the highly competitive holiday shopping season.

Contrary to predictions of doom, the British economy has done relatively well. Many economists were expecting worse.

However, a rise in inflation in the next 12 months is particularly worrying as it is likely to weaken the spending power of households, a key economic driver. Household spending power helped the UK recover economically during the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009.

Meanwhile, wages are not expected to keep pace with inflation, says XpertHR, a payroll data company.

The Bank of England (BoE) projects inflation to rise within the next 12 months to 2.7 percent from 1.2 percent.

If you are looking for guidance through these uncertain times, contact Assured FD Services today on 07817 676371. Assured FD Services provide specialist part time FD services to UK businesses, strengthening operating stability and strategising for growth.

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Potential Loss of Mutual Enforcement Rules Puts UK’s Legal Sector at Risk

UK’s legal sector, a £25.7 billion industry, could be at risk if the Government is unable to secure guarantees for it after the country leaves the European Union (EU), lobby group TheCityUK warned on Tuesday.

Britain’s legal services sector is preferred by international companies for dispute resolution due to the use of English law in commercial contracts.

EU rules require member states to recognise and enforce UK’s law and vice versa.

This makes Britain a very attractive place to draw up contracts and resolve disputes for many businesses, both local and international. It has become one of the largest legal sectors in the world with four times more turnover than France and two and half times more than Germany. It is second only to the United States.

The potential loss of mutual enforcement rules, which is a likely consequence of the Brexit, could force many companies to look elsewhere for legal services.

The sector, which employs roughly 370,000 people, is now urging the Government to find a solution that will allow mutual enforcement of laws and judgments to continue. It is likewise calling on lawmakers to adopt measures to ensure free movement for legal professionals in the European market, noting the high number of foreign law firms operating in the country.

The group pointed out the adverse effects to other key sectors including financial services, energy, real estate and technology if legal support services are disrupted.

Miles Celic, chief executive of TheCityUK, said it is vital that the key challenges and opportunities for the legal sector are addressed during the Brexit negotiations, and that its competitiveness is not only maintained but enhanced.

The legal services sector added £25.7 billion to the country’s economy last year, comprising 1.6% of UK’s gross domestic product (GDP).

If you are unsure about your business’s financial future then please get in touch. At Assured FD Services we have over 20 years expertise working as a full and part time FD for companies across the UK.

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VAT and Your New Business

All new companies should be made aware that, you can claim VAT on costs incurred before the business started trading This includes VAT incurred on assets used prior to VAT registration.

Subject to the normal rules on VAT deduction:

  • VAT on services received within six months of the effective date of registration (EDR) and used in the business at EDR is recoverable in full
  • VAT on stock is deductible to the extent that the goods are still on hand at EDR (for example, apportionment may be required)
  • VAT on fixed assets purchased within four years of EDR is recoverable in full, providing the assets are still in use by the business at EDR

Full recovery only applies if a business is fully taxable. If a business is partly exempt, has non-business activities or needs to restrict VAT deduction for any other reason, it will need to take that into account when calculating the amount of deductible VAT.

For further advice on Tax Compliance and VAT, contact Assured FD Services today. With over 20 years experience managing the finances of UK market leading companies, you can rely on receiving the best advice and guidance possible.

 

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UK Economy Set To Lose Momentum

The UK economy is set for a sluggish growth next year as uncertainty over Brexit and rising inflation adversely impact both consumers and businesses, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said in its updated forecast.

The business group projects the UK’s economy to expand by a mere 1.1% in the coming year, and by 1.4% in 2018. Previous forecasts pegged 2018 growth to be at from 1.8%.

The BCC says the country will not fall into recession, but predicts that growth will slow down as import costs rise due to a weak pound. The resulting rise in inflation will then diminish consumers’ spending power, eroding overall economic figures.

Recent data from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard indicate that consumers may already be feeling the pinch. Shopper traffic to the high street and shopping centres plunged in November despite lower prices and Black Friday promotions. Footfall in November was 1% lower compared to the same period last year.

The BCC says the sector that will be most impacted by the economic slowdown would be public finances, particularly tax receipts. It echoes the same projections made the Office of Budget Responsibility, a fiscal watchdog.

The business body expects UK’s inflation to top the Bank of England’s 2% target next year, with a forecast of 2.1% in 2017 and rising to 2.4% in 2018. November inflation figures are due on Tuesday, and are expected to climb to 1.1%.

Business investment is projected to decline by 0.8% in 2016, 2.1% in 2017 and 0.3% in 2018 – slightly better than previously expected, but significantly worse than the 1.9% growth previously forecasted for 2018.

The British Chambers of Commerce also said that export growth was likely to slow down in the coming years before picking up momentum again in 2018. The group said that previous projections on the impact of the weaker pound on UK exports were a bit overstated.

So far, the pound has shed about 15% of its value against the US dollar and roughly 10% against the euro since the Brexit referendum.

If you are looking for expert FD Services in the Leeds & Yorkshire area contact Assured FD Services today.

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Financial Services Sector Is UK’s Top Tax Payer

The United Kingdom’s (UK) financial services sector paid £71.4 billion in tax last year, accounting for 11.5% of the UK’s total tax collection. This year’s contribution was the highest since 2007, accounting firm PwC noted in its annual report.

Banking institutions and insurance companies were the top contributing sub-sectors, paying an additional £8.4 billion and £3.4 billion respectively, thanks to reforms in corporate tax and the bank levy.

The report, which was commissioned by the City of London, underscores the potential adverse impact to public finances if Brexit limits UK’s access to the European Union’s (EU) single market.

Financial services firms in the UK have expressed concerns about the Brexit’s negative effect on their businesses. Main concerns include losing access to a skilled EU workforce and potential restriction on their ability to trade with the single market, among others.

About 1.1 million people are employed by the financial services sector in the UK, comprising 3.4% of the country’s total workforce.

Many are waiting to see whether the UK can retain “passporting” rights, which enable lenders to continue transact without restrictions across the EU.

Addressing reporters in Brussels on Tuesday, Chancellor Philip Hammond said the government would study the “costs and benefits” of continuing to pay for access to the EU single market after UK formally exits the union, echoing previous pronouncements made by Brexit Secretary David Davis.

Last week, Brexit Secretary David Davis said paying for continued access was a possibility.

Speaking at a tax event on Tuesday, Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison acknowledged the concerns of the financial sector, and assured that the government would be negotiating for an deal that will help UK’s financial services sector to be “every bit as successful after our withdrawal as before.”

She adds that Brexit could also mean “new opportunities” for this economically-vital sector.

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Why Businesses Are Still Considering Exporting

 

Following on from our previous article “Thinking Of Expanding Your Business?“, as more and more businesses are focussing on strengthening their future growth strategies, one very apparent but often overlooked scheme is exporting goods and services overseas. Most are put off by their perception of the complexity and scale of such a project, however with the right direction and determination, huge opportunities exist.

In the following article, Ben Lobel details the emergence of business expansion overseas back in 2015.

By 2025, 880,000 (17 per cent) British small businesses plan to expand overseas – an increase from the 10.8 per cent of small businesses currently taking advantage of additional export revenues.

In 2015 Annual Business Survey figures show that a third of medium-sized businesses and 41 per cent of large businesses currently take advantage of export growth. Small businesses should work with industry bodies like the UKTI to see what opportunities exist and get advice on how to grow their business overseas. Click here to read more.

So how do we feel now as we approach 2017? As we discussed in our previous article “Business Confidence and Strategy Following The Brexit Vote” even with an uncertain European relationship, it seems exporting goods and services still remains an option considered for business growth. Praseeda Nair offers her thoughts on why this might be and the benefits of looking overseas.

A little international expansion goes a long way for a growing business. For starters, it provides a great deal of flexibility about how you present your organisation. Fourth Day, for example, has five offices across four different countries, which makes us sound quite large. Every office, however, contains fewer than ten people, which makes us seem quite small. It’s the best of both worlds – an international team that is nonetheless sufficiently close knit that everyone knows everyone else.

Secondly, as a service-based company, we’ve found that more than one office is a big help in terms of balancing our income and workload. This is particularly true of our Manchester and London offices, where spare capacity in one place can easily be used by the other. Internationally, we have had the opportunity to secure business across borders and to make referrals between offices. In our case, we have found that our European offering can be attractive for US companies venturing into Europe.We’ve expanded slowly but steadily over the past 14 years and have learned a few things that might be helpful if you’re considering taking the plunge into a new territory. Click here to read more…

The growing popularity and success stories show that exporting can be a hugely lucrative opportunity, if implemented correctly.

If you are a UK business contemplating overseas expansion, a Part Time FD can provide the direction and financial guidance you need to ensure maximum success. Contact Assured FD Services today to see how we can help.

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