This week’s news has seen the Bank of England’s new Governor, Mark Carney, announce his interest rate plans, the number of accountancy firms on the decline and supermarket giant, Tesco, diversifying its store offering. Steven Perryman reads the headlines so you don’t have to
1. Mark Carney in interest rate pledge
All eyes – and ears – were on the Bank of England this week as it finally unleashed its very own Mounty, Governor Mark Carney, on the UK economy on Wednesday.
Headline-hunters on the look-out for Carney’s plans for interest rates – which have been slumped at an all-time low of 0.5% for four years – were not disappointed.
The Canadian unveiled a mantra that will see the bank not consider raising rates until unemployment declines to 7% (from 7.8%). The move seems sensible, but has its risks: the bank’s own forecast puts unemployment above 7% in 2016, so any rate rise looks years away.
Will Carney get his man? Only time will tell.
2. Accountancy firms on the decline
Whilst Mark Carney’s interest rate plans spell good news for homeowners, the accountancy sector continues to waver.
Research released this week by Syscap, an independent finance provider to the professional services sector, found that the total number of accountancy firms has fallen by 136 in the last year, a loss of nearly 2%.
The drop was attributed to the relaxation of audit thresholds in 2012, which have damaged business because more companies can now choose whether to be audited or not, reducing the number of contracts for audit firms.
3. Tax fugitives (still) on the run
Where’s Tommy Lee Jones when you need him, eh?
How HMRC could do with Hollywood’s premier fugitive slayer, with the news this week it has arrested just one of its 20 most wanted tax dodgers in the last year, with another 10 added to the list. Unsurprisingly poor figures given its record with tax avoiders, to be fair.
The new people have cost the taxpayer between £120,000 and £10m alone, HMRC has conceded. Perhaps it’s time the Government department scrapped its Crimewatch-style rogues gallery on image-sharing site Flickr, which looks more like a bad dating site than a crime-busting technological landmark?
4. Tesco store revamp: every little (carvery) helps
Over in retail, Tesco is still trying to scrub off the mud from the horse meat scandal.
Its latest brainwave is to scale back the size of its largest out-of-town stores, instead filling the freed space with gyms, nail bars, chains of Sports Direct and a carvery restaurant serving £5.50 roast dinners. Classy stuff, this.
Although you order the ‘roast beef’ at your own peril, okay?
Steven Perryman is AAT‘s Editorial Manager
Steven Perryman is AAT Comment's former Content Editor.