Autumn Fiscal Budget Latest Forecast
On November 22, 2023, the UK government is set to announce the Autumn Fiscal Budget for 2023. The Chancellor of the Exchequer will unveil policies and new measures for 2024, and with the date approaching, various media outlets have gathered the latest information from government insiders.
Here is a summary of the potential changes in the tax system:
- In the Autumn Budget, Business Property Tax (Business Rates) is expected to decrease. Ministers suggest adjusting this tax to encourage business investment and stimulate the UK economy.
- Official data from the National Statistics Office last Friday revealed a stagnation in the UK economy in the three months leading to September. The Autumn Statement will focus on promoting economic growth, with discussions on reducing Business Property Tax, including extending the full expensing capital allowance system.
- Insiders suggest the Chancellor may extend the full expensing system beyond 2026.
Property Prices Rapidly Declining
According to data from the Rightmove property website, UK property prices have experienced the fastest decline in five years. As of this month, the overall asking prices dropped by 1.7% (an average of over £6,000). The average listed price on the website is currently £362,143.
While price adjustments are common around Christmas, this year’s real estate market is subdued due to rising interest rates, resulting in more pronounced declines.
However, experts note that the situation is somewhat more positive than predicted. The average property asking price is 3% lower than the peak in May, and the number of concluded sales agreements increased last month (October).
IKEA Purchases Large Shopping Square at a Discount
Reports from The Guardian and Sky News state that The Ingka Group, the parent company of IKEA, has purchased the Brighton Churchill Square for £145 million. They plan to transform one of the vacant stores into an IKEA Home City, expected to open within two years.
Ingka Group has been acquiring struggling shopping centres to establish urban shopping destinations. This initiative follows their purchase of the King’s Mall in Hammersmith in January 2020. Ingka Group aims to renovate Churchill Square, where approximately one-third of the retail space remains vacant.
Apart from Hammersmith and Brighton, IKEA plans to open a third store in London, currently renovating a former Topshop branch in Oxford Circus, anticipated to open in 2024.
UK to Crack Down on Cryptocurrencies
The UK tax authority reveals that nearly 48 countries, including the UK, Australia, the US, France, Germany, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and the Cayman Islands, have signed a plan to compel cryptocurrency platforms to share customer information with tax authorities.
Under the new Crypto Assets Reporting Framework (CARF) by the OECD, cryptocurrency platforms within these countries must start sharing taxpayer information with tax authorities from 2027. This initiative aims to combat tax evasion by individuals holding cryptocurrencies, with non-compliance tax rates reported to be as high as 55% to 95%. The UK tax authority estimates the recovery of hundreds of millions of pounds in taxes.
Royal Mail Fined £5.6 Million
Royal Mail was recently fined £5.6 million for failing to meet first and second-class delivery targets.
The UK postal and courier company is obligated to publish its delivery performance annually and undergo scrutiny by regulatory bodies. According to Ofcom regulations, Royal Mail must deliver 93% of first-class mail within one working day and 98.5% of second-class mail within three working days. However, in the 2022-23 fiscal year, only 73.7% of first-class mail and 90.7% of second-class mail were delivered on time.
Ofcom stated that Royal Mail’s failure to meet its obligations had a significant impact on customers, and the company did not take sufficient measures to prevent this situation.