Kung Hei Fat Choy! With its meaning of good things, the year of the goat/sheep, is upon us.
Apparently, the tax system is costing businesses up to £10Bn in hidden costs each year, with SME’s bearing the brunt. Research from the Association of Accounting Technicians of 500 businesses found SMEs spending around £9.9Bn compared to £100m the larger firms pay, on average each SME pays £4,300 compared to £9,000 that the larger firms pay, however, on average the SME has four employees compared to the larger firms 250.
A judge has ruled against a group of 350 landlords in favour of West Bromwich Building Society’s decision to increase Tracker mortgage rates for some BTL customers. The landlord’s counsel told, given that there was no change to the Bank of England’s Bank Rate, the building society had no right to increase the rate on its tracker loans. Arguing, the individual mortgage offers, which stated the rate would vary in line with Bank Rate, protected them, West Broms’s assertion was that a Clause in its standard Terms and Conditions allowed it to increase the rate to reflect market conditions even when there was no change to Bank Rate, or to demand early repayment of the loans. The judge described a screenshot from West Brom’s website which described a Tracker mortgage as a product that ‘gives you a certainty of knowing that the rate you pay will move in line with Bank base rates’ was inadmissible.
The GCA (Greetings Card Association) Report 2014 showed that the value of the market (occasions cards) had increased by 5.4% between 2012 and 2013 with everyday cards at £1.02 Billion. The average retail price (ARP) of a card showed as £1.44, Valentine’s Day value is £40.2m with and ARP of £1.86, the highest of all the card categories; a healthy industry.
Farm business incomes have fallen according to new figures from DEFRA. Average milk price in December 2014 was 18% lower than a year earlier, with offsets, average milk price is expected to fall 6% compared to 2014. Cropping, dairy, pigs, poultry and mixed farms are all affected.
As the Valentine’s experience is upon us, it’s also the month of very busy for some market sector businesses even though, according to one local paper Lincoln ranks among the lowest spenders for Valentine’s Day flowers, with Worcester as the lowest. Analysing over one million orders, an online florist found Worthing to be the biggest spenders. Further afield a florist in Bermuda is engaging her customers by inviting them to recreate a version of the famous walls of Verona, where Shakespeare’s Juliet is said to have lived and its collection of letters, in matters of the heart, wall.
31st January is the full year results for larger companies and lenders, with announcements made in February (half year results are July).