The top 1% of earners in the UK now account for more than a third of income tax paid to the government, following changes over the past decade that have left almost half the population exempt from making payments. In research underlining the dual nature of Britain’s income tax structure, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said above-inflation increases in the personal allowance to £12,500 a year meant 42% of adults paid no income tax. – Guardian.
One in every two FTSE 100 executive appointments over the next year will have to go to a woman if the UK is to meet targets to tackle the gender imbalance across British business by 2020, a report has warned. A “step change” at the UK’s biggest listed companies is needed if they are to hit a key metric where women make up at least a third of executive-level leadership teams by the end of next year. - Guardian.
Boeing said on Monday it could have its fleet of 737 Max jets flying again by January as safety checks on the aircraft’s troubled flight software reach completion. The planes were grounded in March in the wake of two fatal crashes in the space of five months that killed 346 people. The world’s biggest planemaker said it hoped the Federal Aviation Administration would approve certification of the plane’s flight control software before the end of the year. A fault with the plane’s anti-stall mechanism is believed to have caused the Lionair crash in Indonesia last October and then the Ethiopian Airlines disaster in March.
More than 210,000 workers in Britain are to receive a pay rise after the charity behind the living wage increased the national minimum hourly rate by 30p to £9. 30. The Living Wage Foundation, which sets the voluntary measure, said London workers’ basic hourly rate will also rise, by 20p to £10. 75, compared with the government’s “national living wage” of £8. 21 for workers aged 25 years or older. - Guardian.
Mothercare is launching a closing down sale with nearly all products “dramatically reduced” as it prepares to close all its 79 stores and its website in the UK. The baby and maternity retailer is to begin clearing stock with the sale on Friday after appointing administrators from the advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers on Tuesday, who are to close down its UK retail arm with the loss of more than 2,800 jobs within the next few months. Jobs at Mothercare’s warehouse and call centres – which are outsourced to other companies – are also at risk.
The London Stock Exchange is to consider lopping 90 minutes of the trading day in a bid to improve mental health and attract more women and working parents to a high-pressure environment known for gruelling hours. The LSE made the announcement after City lobby groups sent a letter to nine exchanges, including Germany’s Deutsche Boerse and the Amsterdam-headquartered Euronext, urging them to adopt the proposal. – Guardian.
More than 9,000 of the richest people in the UK collected more than £1m each in capital gains last year, exploiting a loophole that could result in them paying tax at a rate as low as 10%. Economists at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) thinktank said wealthy professionals often chose to form companies and partnerships to be eligible for lower capital gains tax (CGT) rates rather than collect salaries that would be subject to the top rate of income tax. – Guardian.
MPs have criticised the government for failing to follow through on plans to rein in corporate excess, in a report examining the failure of 178-year-old tour operator Thomas Cook. Following an inquiry cut short by plans for a general election, the business, energy and industrial strategy select committee called on ministers to move faster to reform the audit profession, strengthen corporate governance and curb executive pay. – Guardian.
Online casinos should be subject to maximum stake limits similar to the £2 limits imposed on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), according to a report released by a group of MPs who are demanding a “root and branch” overhaul of gambling law. In a wide-ranging report, members of the cross-party group on gambling-related harm – who include high-profile Conservatives such as Iain Duncan Smith – called for a raft of measures to protect vulnerable people. – Guardian.
Financial companies should be required by law to refund victims of bank transfer scams, and should consider reimbursing the many thousands defrauded since 2016, according to a report from MPs. They also said retailers and other companies that suffer data breaches that lead to fraud should be forced to pick up the bill for the costs of reimbursing customers and issuing new bank cards. – Guardian.
Apple has shrugged off a record run of declining iPhone sales and the brewing Chinese trade war to post an increase in revenues as its fast-growing wearable technology division plugged the gap. Shares rose as much as 3pc following the news, with Apple appearing to break clear of Microsoft as the world’s most valuable listed company. - Telegraph.
Marks & Spencer will start offering a “buy now, pay later” service on its website next month as it tries to attract younger customers and boost trade going into the key Christmas period. The retailer has teamed up with Clearpay to offer customers the option of paying for orders of more than £30 in interest-free instalments. – Guardian.
The government is on course to overshoot its deficit target this year by £16bn after a series of spending pledges, a slowdown in the economy and the spiralling cost of student loans stripped the Treasury of £43bn. The Resolution Foundation, an independent thinktank, warned that the £27bn of spending “headroom” set aside by former chancellor Philip Hammond in March to cope with the costs of Brexit had evaporated over the last six months, leaving the government with a hefty deficit.
An influential committee of MPs has condemned as unacceptable the number of IT failures in the financial services sector, which it said have left customers “cashless and cut off”. With bank branches and cash machines disappearing, customers are increasingly reliant on online banking services, but these have been severely disrupted by IT failures at firms including TSB, Visa, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland, the Treasury committee said. – Guardian.
Brexit uncertainty has begun driving up job losses across Britain as political turmoil holds back the economy, according to a Guardian analysis of economic news over the past month. In a sign of the mounting stress on the UK, the number of people in work dropped by the largest margin in four years in August as companies put their hiring plans on hold, with firms losing contracts and facing delays because of the uncertainty over Britain’s future. , some bright patches remain, including official figures suggesting that a summer recession has been avoided.
Retailers have axed 85,000 jobs in the past year as weak consumer demand, rising costs and the switch to online shopping, exacerbated by Brexit uncertainty, have put businesses under increasing pressure. The job losses in the UK’s biggest private employment sector – with particular importance for women – are the latest sign of a crisis on the high street that has seen the closure of thousands of shops and the collapse of some well-known retail names. – Guardian.
The government’s plan to establish fracking across the UK is years behind schedule and has cost the taxpayer at least £32m so far, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has found. An investigation by the National Audit Office (NAO) said the shale gas industry has launched only three wells in three years, even though the plan was to establish 20 by the middle of next year. – Guardian.
The UK government needs to make companies employing more than 30 people report their gender pay gaps if inroads are to be made into the persistent bias in wages and salaries, a senior Bank of England official has said. Andy Haldane, Threadneedle Street’s chief economist, said only 40% of the private-sector workforce was covered by legislation that obliges companies with more than 250 staff members to publish details of differences in pay between men and women doing identical jobs.
The world is sleepwalking towards a fresh economic and financial crisis that will have devastating consequences for the democratic market system, according to the former Bank of England governor Mervyn King. Lord King, who was in charge at Threadneedle Street during the near-death of the global banking system and deep economic slump a decade ago, said the resistance to new thinking meant a repeat of the chaos of the 2008-09 period was looming. - Guardian.
The head of the International Monetary Fund jumped for joy on hearing that Britain had struck a draft Brexit deal with the European Union as the global community swung behind efforts to get the agreement over the line. Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF managing director, and David Malpass, president of the World Bank, welcomed the end to the uncertainty that the agreement promises if it clears parliament this weekend. - The Times.