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Travel and holiday companies could be hit by the Chancellor’s new higher fuel and passenger duties, announced this afternoon in his Pre-Budget Report.
“The travel industry has narrow margins and so holidays will cost more than just the rise in air passenger duty. This will increase consolidation of the industry,” says Gary Shiels, a tax partner at PWC:
Business was clearly not Gordon Brown’s target audience. The talk was all of education and the environment, and any hopes of a reduction in corporation tax were dashed.
Brown did announce a permanent extension of the Isa regime beyond 2010, as expected, but he resisted changing the limits, which will disappoint many.
The Treasury’s detailed documents also include a clampdown on tax and national insurance avoidance by disguising employment through managed service companies, which the Treasury expects to save it £1.05bn over three years. These schemes disguise employment income as dividend.
The government plans to bring forward legislation to simplify the taxation of life assurance companies. There are also anomalies in the taxation of corporate members of Lloyd’s which the government says it will address through legislation.
Becoming a Reit is made a little easier for young property companies, with a relaxation of the criteria relating to how long companies must have been generating a certain level of rental income.
In an effort to encourage development of old North Sea oil fields, old decommissioned fields which are brought back into service will be exempt from Petroleum Revenue Tax as if they were new. However, the value of this seems to be quite small.
He also announced new programmes to encourage more partnership between government and industry on skills but this was very much as trailed. Tell us what you think about the PBR in our poll.
British Sky Broadcasting and Google have struck an alliance allowing the satellite broadcaster to use Google’s video, search and email tools for its rapidly expanding broadband services. In the increasingly competitive market Sky operates in, every little way of differentiating yourself from the competition helps.
Marie Melnyk, the managing director once regarded as Sir Ken Morrison’s favourite to take over as chief executive, is leaving Wm Morrison on “medical advice” after more than 30 years with the company.
And the game is almost up for Chariot, operator of the Monday Lottery. The company has ceased all takeover talks. If discussions about asset sales also fail, and it receives no additional funding, it says it will consider “an orderly wind down” of its operations. Which would bring a pathetic episode to a welcome end.
Royal Bank of Scotland says it is on course to post full-year profits ahead of market expectations. Charter One continues to be an embarrassment, says James Eden at Dresdner Kleinwort, but the tone is much more upbeat than HSBC’s and the performance of RBS’s wholesale bank (the investment bank that dare not speak its name) looks particularly strong.
Stagecoach chief executive Brian Souter and his sister Ann Gloag are in line for a £104m pay-out on Wednesday after the Perth-based bus and train operator announced plans to return at least £400m to shareholders. The siblings own 26 per cent of the company. This will be their second big capital gain in two years: in 2004, they shared a £65m pay-out following a £250m share buy-back. We might do quite a lot on this tonight, if only to provide some light relief from some of the more dense PBR stuff.
No surprise: NTL has abandoned its £4.7bn takeover bid for ITV. It says it will concentrate on integrating Telewest and Virgin Mobile. Quite right too: those are big enough challenges on their own. However, by highlighting the weakness in its own model and failing to address it, NTL has made itself look vulnerable.
Aim’s failure to bounce back from the wider market sell-off earlier this year weighed on Numis, whose final results today were slightly disappointing.
Interim results from Northumbrian Water, which has been the subject of rumours of a takeover bid by major shareholder Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and water company Kelda, seem directly to reflect the price increases allowed by the industry regulator.
Rumour of the Day: Anglo American shares are up, says Neil Hume on our markets desk, on rumours that China’s Larry Yung is buying more stock.