“Business rates: one John Lewis store will pay four times the tax of Amazon”

“John Lewis, the embattled retailer whose profits collapsed by 99% in the six months to July, will be charged £10.5m in business rates for its flagship Oxford Street shop from April, according to new figures — a 60% rise in three years.

A short walk away, Selfridges’ flagship shop also faces a 60% hike: its business rates bill will climb to £17.5m. That figure is almost four times the total UK corporation tax paid last year by the online retail giant Amazon: just £4.5m.

The looming threat to the high street will put pressure on the chancellor, Philip Hammond, to throw businesses a lifeline when he delivers his budget on October 29.

This weekend, Helen Dickinson, the chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “These figures lay bare the shocking burden the business rates regime places on British retailers, who make up 5% of the economy and pay 25% of business rates — £7bn a year. The rates bill is leading to store closures, preventing the reinvention of our high streets, and is damaging communities the length and breadth of the UK.”
The BRC is lobbying for a two-year freeze in business rates until a revaluation in 2021, while the New West End Company, which represents businesses in London’s West End, is lobbying for a rates reduction of £5bn. This would be financed by a 1% tax on online businesses but would not apply to traditional retailers’ internet sales.

High street trading has been squeezed by online shopping, which now accounts for 18.2% of the market, with fewer stores surviving to shoulder the rates burden.

A phased four-year settlement in 2017 will bite hardest from April, with some stores facing huge increases. Burberry, which this month unveiled a new collection, faces a hike for its London headquarters of 186% compared with its rates in 2016-17.

In Manchester, Zara must pay £1.26m and Manchester City football club £2.4m, up from £1.7m in 2016-17.

Altus Group, the property adviser that researched the figures, found NHS hospitals will have to pay £386m and council-controlled state schools £957m.

Nickie Aiken, the Conservative leader of Westminster council, said: “Our taxes should reflect our way of life. I would ask the Treasury: do we want to continue the decline so that the only things left on the high street are charity shops and betting shops?”

Source: Sunday Times (pay wall)

Swire believes teachers are brainwashing our children but supports fruitcake who has even weirder views on education!

Has Swire gone the way of Trump? It seems the only credible explanation for this:

A few of Young’s beliefs:

“Toby Young was fired by Tories, who appointed him a few days earlier, from his post as head of the “Office for Students” over homophobic remarks and for proposing that when the technology for genetically engineered intelligence is practical it should be allowable for a decision to be made by poor parents with low IQs [note – not rich parents with poor IQs] over which embryos should be allowed to develop using intelligence as a marker. “It could help to address the problem of flat-lining inter-generational social mobility”, he wrote.

In 2012 Young wrote an article in The Spectator criticising the emphasis on “inclusion” in state schools, saying that the word “inclusive” was “one of those ghastly, politically correct words that have survived the demise of New Labour. Schools have got to be ‘inclusive’ these days. That means wheelchair ramps, the complete works of Alice Walker in the school library…”

Young has come under criticism for comments he made on Twitter, most of which were deleted upon his appointment to the Board of the Office for Students. Young claimed to have posted more than 56,000 tweets, of which 8,439 remain.

These included what a London Evening Standard editorial called “an obsession with commenting on the anatomy of women in the public eye”. He referred on Twitter to the cleavage of unnamed female MPs sitting behind Ed Miliband in the Commons in 2011 and 2012. When later challenged by Stella Creasy on Newsnight he said of the second such incident: “It wasn’t my proudest moment”. Other remarks included homophobic slurs, including a claim that George Clooney is “as queer as a coot”.

One tweet by Young was in response to a BBC Comic Relief appeal in 2009 for starving Kenyan children.[75] During the broadcast, a Twitter user commented that she had “gone through about 5 boxes of kleenex” whilst watching. Toby Young replied: “Me too, I havn’t [sic] wanked so much in ages”.[6] He has expressed remorse for his “politically incorrect” tweets.[76]

Young is believed to have edited his own Wikipedia page 282 times in the last ten years.

Prior to getting married, Young employed a Russian ‘daily’ whom he later described as ‘a kind of surrogate mother’. Young has since complained about the difficulty of finding reliable domestic staff.

Young has admitted using illegal drugs – specifically taking cocaine at the Groucho Club in central London,[84] and also supplying drugs to others. He was subsequently expelled from membership of the Club in late 2001 for writing about the cocaine use of his friends whom he had supplied with the drug during a photo shoot for Vanity Fair.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toby_Young

May puts sticking plaster on homes crisis

“The government believes there is evidence that allowing foreign buyers to snap up homes while paying the same duty as British residents “is inflating house prices”. …”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/conservative-conference-stamp-duty-foreign-uk-home-buyers-theresa-may-housing-crisis-a8561136.html

Well, who would have guessed!

“Audit sector faces inquiry as minister points to deficiencies”

Interesting to note that a large number of people in East Devon have been pointing out deficiencies in internal and external audit foy YEARS!

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2014/09/17/please-dont-take-our-external-auditor-away-why-we-like-him-and-our-ceo-wants-the-same-auditor-at-both-councils-where-he-works/

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2015/01/15/a-question-for-the-swap-internal-auditor/

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2016/11/19/external-auditors-not-best-placed-to-review-local-plan-duh/

“The government has called for a comprehensive review of Britain’s auditing industry in what could herald huge changes to a sector dominated by the firms known as the big four.

Calls for reform have grown after the collapse of the construction giant Carillion and the former high street stalwart BHS revealed serious inadequacies in the auditing process.

The business secretary, Greg Clark, said it was “right to learn the lessons and apply them without delay” as he ordered the inquiry into competition within the industry where Deloitte, PwC, Ernst & Young and KPMG audit 98% of the UK’s largest listed companies.

“The collapse of Carillion exposed deficiencies in an audit process, where the market is dominated by just four large firms,” Clark said, in an interview with the Financial Times.

He added: “We know competition is one of the key drivers for maintaining and improving standards, so I have asked the Competition and Markets Authority to consider looking again at what can be done to improve the audit sector.”

Thousands of jobs were lost following Carillion’s collapse in January, with a subsequent parliamentary report finding that Deloitte – which received £10m to be the outsourcing company’s internal auditor – had been either “unable or unwilling” to identify failings in financial controls, or “too readily ignored them”.

Ernst & Young was paid £10.8m for “six months of failed turnaround advice”. Elsewhere, PwC was fined £10m by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) for signing off on the accounts of BHS, before its sale for £1. The retailer collapsed in 2016, prompting the loss of 11,000 jobs.

Frank Field, the chairman of the work and pensions committee, said poor business practices were “waved through by a cosy club of auditors, conflicted at every turn”.

The FRC has previously called for an inquiry into whether the big four should be broken up, with their audit divisions spun off. This year, Deloitte warned that such a measure could affect the UK’s standing as a global financial centre.

Labour welcomed the announcement, but claimed the Conservatives were “playing catch-up”. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/sep/29/uk-mulls-audit-sector-reform-after-minister-admits-deficiencies

“The Tories Have Accidentally Revealed The Personal Mobile Numbers Of Hundreds Of MPs And Journalists On Their Conference App”

These are the people charged with our Brexit it negotiations and keeping the UK safe!!!

“The Conservative party has accidentally allowed the personal mobile phone numbers of hundreds of MPs, journalists, and party members to be revealed to the public on its conference app.

A security flaw allowed anyone who downloaded the app to log in as any attendee to the party conference, which begins in Birmingham tomorrow, using only their email address. No password was required to view any attendee’s personal details, including their mobile phone number.

BuzzFeed News was able to access the personal mobile phone numbers of cabinet ministers, MPs, journalists, and Tory party members within seconds.

Users of the app are also able to change the privacy settings of other attendees using only their email address, allowing anyone else using the app to search their name and then view their mobile number.

An MP who had their personal phone number tweeted out told BuzzFeed News: “CCHQ genuinely can’t be trusted to do anything. This is a serious security breach and no laughing matter. Whoever is responsible needs to go.”

Labour MP Jon Trickett said: “How can we trust this Tory Government with our country’s security when they can’t even build a conference app that keeps the data of their members, MPs and others attending safe and secure?”

Journalist Dawn Foster reported being able to log in as Boris Johnson and then view his personal mobile number.”

https://www.buzzfeed.com/alexwickham/the-tories-have-accidentally-revealed-the-personal-mobile

Hugo meets Exmouth’s Tristram – and praises the company he works for – incorporated in the Cayman Islands

Nice story about Swire meeting Tristram Harris from Exmouth:

“Tristram, from the Merchant Exmouth, was invited to the House of Commons to celebrate the 200th general manager appointment from Stonegate’s Pub Company’s pool of home-grown talent, having successfully completed the company’s award winning ‘Accelerator’ programme.”

http://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/bar-to-boardroom-for-tristram-1-5713102

At least it would be nice if Stonegate Pub Company wasn’t incorporated in the Cayman Islands. And its directors were not all non-Devon based and with fingers in many, many pies and pints.