Bank of England raises interest rates to a 15-year high of 5.25%
In an effort to counteract stubbornly high inflation, the Bank of England (BoE) has once again raised interest rates from 5% to 5.25%, marking a 15-year high. The rate increase comes amidst concerns of a wider economic slowdown, with analysts urging greater caution over rate-setting policies.
Comprehensive Reform of Alcohol Tax in the UK
On August 1st, the UK government announced a permanent tax reduction on pints of beer sold in over 38,000 UK pubs, making them 11 pence cheaper than similar products in supermarkets.
The change came about as the result of a comprehensive overhaul of alcohol tax regulations, with alcoholic beverages now being taxed based on alcoholic concentration. The move also reduces tariffs on many low-concentration products on supermarket shelves, including bottled light beers and mixed gins.
Uber appeals £386 million in taxes, in legal dispute over VAT
Uber has paid £386 million to HMRC, over a controversy surrounding how VAT should be calculated on Uber rides.
Uber has argued that the ‘Tour Operators’ Margin Scheme’ should apply to its operations. The scheme is designed to simplify the taxation process by allowing operators of minicab and rideshare firms to pay VAT on their profits, rather than service prices.
Regulations mean that Uber is required to pay first, before they are able to lodge an appeal against the decision. Uber has already indicated that an appeal has been launched.
Tax-free VAT shopping for tourists remains exclusive
Until 2021, non-EU foreign visitors to the UK were eligible for VAT refunds when shopping in the UK. Visitors were able to present a VAT receipt at their departure airport to claim a refund on any VAT paid for purchases. This policy still applies in the EU’s 27 Member States.
After 2021, regulatory changes as a result of Brexit meant that the policy was scrapped. It was briefly introduced during the premiership of Liz Truss, and reversed again during the current government led by Rishi Sunak.
UK retail chain Wilko on the brink of collapse
High-street retailer Wilko has submitted an intention to appoint administrators, putting around 12,000 jobs at risk.
The discount home and hardware chain stated that despite receiving indicative offers to aid its capital restructuring, no offer could provide sufficient liquidity within the required timeframe, leading the company to seek administration.