Brexit – glass half full or half empty, baby boomers to blow children’s inheritance, and more
Tax, pensions and investment
6m save automatically for pension – More than 6m workers have now been signed up automatically to a pension savings scheme but fears remain over how much is being set aside. The latest stage of the government’s auto-enrolment programme has also seen a 95% compliance rate among small businesses. All employers will eventually need to offer pensions to anyone who is over the age of 22 and who earns more than £10,000 a year. New figures from the Pensions Regulator however show that the average contribution from employers is 3% a year of an employee’s salary and Steve Webb, who was pensions minister when the system was created, said such contribution rates were “woefully inadequate to provide a decent retirement”.
Field calls on SFO to launch BHS inquiry – Frank Field MP, co-author of the parliamentary report into the demise of BHS, has called on the Serious Fraud Office to launch a formal inquiry into the actions of the retailer’s former owners. He has written to David Green, the head of the SFO, asking the organisation to initiate an inquiry into whether Sir Philip Green or Dominic Chappell had broken the law. Meanwhile, the Guardian’s Nils Pratley says the professional advisers involved in the sale of BHS must bear some responsibility for the retailer’s collapse.
Small business and enterprise
Firm’s collapse highlights crowdfunding risks – The Times profiles the failure of Solar Cloth Company, which collapsed into administration in May after raising more than £1m from crowdfunders. A report from the company’s administrator, Irwin Insolvency, which is yet to be filed at Companies House but has been seen by the paper, reveals that the company was struggling to sell its products from the off, despite claims by founder Perry Carroll that Solar Cloth would be “worth over £100m in three years.”
Number of start-ups set to hit new record – Entrepreneurs’ group StartUp Britain has revealed that 343,000 new businesses have been set up in the UK so far this year and estimate that the number of new businesses is on course to beat last year’s total of 608,000.
UK economy, finance and markets
UK economic growth sped up ahead of Brexit vote – The UK economy grew by 0.6% in the three months to the end of June, according to data from the ONS, as economic growth accelerated in the run-up to the vote to leave the EU. The pick-up in economic activity was boosted by the biggest upturn in industrial output since 1999, particularly from car factories and pharmaceutical firms, and on a yearly basis the economy grew by 2.2%.
Britons unconcerned by Brexit – A poll by Ipsos Mori has suggested that Britons are taking a “business as usual” approach to spending and saving after the EU referendum. The poll found that more than three quarters of consumers believe their personal financial situation will be unchanged or better over the next six months, despite warnings that the economy is slowing as a result of the EU vote. Some 18% of people said they believed that their finances would improve over the coming months, as opposed to around a quarter who felt their situation would worsen.
UK economy contracts at fastest pace since 2009 – The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index fell to 47.7 in July, down from 52.4 in June and an 87-month low, as the UK’s economy contracted at its steepest pace since early 2009. Output and new orders both fell for the first time since the end of 2012, the figures showed. “At this level, the survey is signalling a 0.4% contraction of the economy in the third quarter, though much of course depends on whether we see a further deterioration in August or if July represents a shock-induced nadir. Given the record slump in service sector business expectations, the suggestion is that there is further pain to come in the short-term at least,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.
Baby boomers planning to blow children’s inheritance – Research by law firm Stephensons suggests the majority of ‘baby boomers’ will choose to spend their money rather than pass it on to their children. Two out of three baby boomers said that they did not plan to bankroll the future security of their children.
Britons want big salary to work for someone else – The typical Briton would want to earn almost £67,000 a year before they give up on their dream to be their own boss, according to a study by Nectar Business Small Business Awards. The sum – almost 2 times the average salary of £27,531 – suggests the idea of running a business has become so appealing that only a good salary would convince Britons that they are better off working for someone else.
Arsenal tickets worst value for money – A study by KPMG shows that Arsenal tops the list of Premier League teams charging fans high ticket prices. The new analysis weighs the relationship between a club’s valuation and their cheapest season tickets. KPMG’s valuation of Europe’s biggest 32 football clubs shows all seven of the English teams are in the top 10 of the most expensive cheapest-available season tickets, but points out the average size of English stadia is smaller than German, Italian and Spanish ones.