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Queen opens new National Cyber Security Centre

The Queen has officially opened the UK’s new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is designed to protect businesses and individuals against destabilising cyber-attacks and breaches.

Small businesses ‘not ready’ for Making Tax Digital, survey finds

A survey carried out by the UK200Group has suggested that many small businesses do not feel prepared for the introduction of the government’s new Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative, which is due to be implemented between 2018 and 2020.

IoD calls for Budget to include a major review of the tax system

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has claimed that the tax system is not keeping up with the growth of self-employment and the digital economy, and has called for Chancellor Philip Hammond to create a new Tax Commission when he presents his Budget on 8 March.

Insurance premium tax could lead to price rises for motorists, warns AA

Vehicle breakdown service the AA has warned that it may need to raise its prices due to a significant increase in the rate of insurance premium tax (IPT).

CBI publishes Brexit guide for businesses

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has published a Brexit guide for businesses, which provides advice and support in regards to trade between the UK and the rest of the world.

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Queen opens new National Cyber Security Centre


The Queen has officially opened the UK’s new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is designed to protect businesses and individuals against destabilising cyber-attacks and breaches.

Initially soft-launched in October 2016, the NCSC, which is part of a £1.9 billion government cyber security initiative, will assist taxpayers in safeguarding themselves against cyber-attacks and hacks.

The official opening of the Centre comes alongside a warning that businesses are not fully prepared to combat cybercrime. 65% of firms reported a cyber-attack or breach in the last 12 months, according to government data.

Additionally, the government also suggested that nine out of ten businesses do not have an incident management plan in place in the event that a cyber-attack should occur.

Commenting on the issue, Chancellor Philip Hammond said: ‘The cyber-attacks we are seeing are increasing in their frequency, their severity and their sophistication. In the first three months of its existence, the NCSC has already mobilised to respond to attacks on 188 occasions.

‘The NCSC will play a unique and crucial role bringing together the public and the business community on the one hand, and our intelligence and security agencies on the other.’

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Small businesses ‘not ready’ for Making Tax Digital, survey finds


A survey carried out by the UK200Group has suggested that many small businesses do not feel prepared for the introduction of the government’s new Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative, which is due to be implemented between 2018 and 2020.

The measure is intended to create a ‘transparent and accessible tax system fit for the digital age’.

The UK200Group found that 65% of firms currently do not make use of accounting software.

It also discovered that 22% of small businesses still keep their records manually, while 27% use basic computer programmes such as spreadsheets for their bookkeeping.

The Group notes that these firms will be required to ‘adopt a full accounting package to make them compatible with the Revenue’s plans’.

Richard McNeilly, Chair of the Digitalisation Taskforce at the UK200Group, commented: ‘MTD represents the single most significant change to the UK’s system of taxation in recent times, and many of our smaller business clients are simply not ready for it.

‘If the Revenue stays committed to having businesses report and pay tax digitally by 2018, small firms have only a short time to update their systems.’

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IoD calls for Budget to include a major review of the tax system


The Institute of Directors (IoD) has claimed that the tax system is not keeping up with the growth of self-employment and the digital economy, and has called for Chancellor Philip Hammond to create a new Tax Commission when he presents his Budget on 8 March.

In its Budget submission, the IoD argues that a new Commission should investigate how the tax applied to the self-employed could be brought in line with employees, and how online stores could be taxed fairly in relation to high street shops.

Stephen Martin, Director General of the IoD, said: ‘In the short-term, the government must take action to relieve some of the pressure on the small businesses facing hikes in business rates, and encourage companies to bring forward productivity-boosting investment.

‘But we should also look to the future, launching a new Tax Commission to look at what the growth of self-employment and online business means for the tax system. The goal must be a much more level playing field, which treats both high street and online businesses fairly, and adapts to the growth of the ‘platform economy’, which is leading to an increase in flexible work.’

The IoD has also called on the Chancellor to:

  • grant further reliefs from business rates for small businesses occupying properties worth up to £100,000
  • increase the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) cap to £1 million
  • reiterate the manifesto pledge for the UK to have the lowest corporation tax rate in the G7
  • consult on creating a simpler tax system for small businesses, with a fixed rate for company owners to pay themselves, rather than the different rates of income tax, national insurance, corporation tax and dividend tax
  • consult on ‘liberalising’ investment schemes for start-ups.

The Chancellor will present the 2017 Spring Budget on Wednesday 8 March.

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Insurance premium tax could lead to price rises for motorists, warns AA


Vehicle breakdown service the AA has warned that it may need to raise its prices due to a significant increase in the rate of insurance premium tax (IPT).

The government has doubled IPT from 6% to 12% over the last two years as part of its attempt to balance the public finances, but the Treasury has claimed that the tax is on insurance companies, not motorists and insurance customers.

However the AA, which reported a rise in personal memberships of 0.4% to 3,335,000 in the six months to the end of January, now says that it will need to review its fees if the tax is increased again.

A spokesperson for the AA said: ‘We have managed to protect our members. But this is an industry-wide challenge and we will need to review our pricing policy in the context of any future increase in IPT.’

Meanwhile, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has said that rather than bear the extra cost of IPT themselves, many insurers have passed on the burden to customers in the form of higher premiums.

The ABI claims that, for a family with two cars and combined contents and building cover, as well as pet and health insurance, the tax rises have added more than £100 to annual costs.

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CBI publishes Brexit guide for businesses


The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has published a Brexit guide for businesses, which provides advice and support in regards to trade between the UK and the rest of the world.

The guide, entitled ‘The Future of Trade for the UK: A Guide for Business’, includes advice to help firms manage any changes Brexit may bring. It assesses different trade scenarios for Brexit, such as UK/EU long-term agreement negotiations and third country free trade agreement negotiations, and analyses the potential impact on UK businesses.

Within the document, the CBI also called for ‘more engagement with the government’ before any Brexit negotiations begin.

In order to begin the Brexit process, the government has set an end of March deadline for triggering Article 50 – the legal process that will mark the beginning of two years of EU exit talks.

Josh Hardie, Deputy Director General of the CBI, commented: ‘As it negotiates the UK’s exit from the EU, the CBI and the business community will support the government to make Brexit a success for the whole economy.

‘A new relationship with the EU is potentially only two years down the track, so it is critical that businesses – of every size, sector and region – know, understand and feel comfortable navigating information and data about trading globally in order to make informed decisions for their futures.’

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