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Thursday's Business and Politics round-up

10 Oct 2019

Person sat at a table reading a newspaper

Good morning,

OECD has proposed new plans aimed at making global companies pay more tax. The move would mean big firms paying more tax where they sell products and make profits, and see governments gaining more power to tax big technology firms. This could also mean multinational companies paying tax in places where they have no physical presence. 

“We're making real progress to address the tax challenges arising from digitalisation of the economy, and to continue advancing toward a consensus-based solution to overhaul the rules-based international tax system,” commented OECD’s Secretary General. 

A public consultation on OECD’s proposals has been launched. 

The morning's top stories, rounded up for your convenience. 

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Going for growth

The IoD has this morning published new figures from the start-up founders community, showing that UK entrepreneurs are finding growth but concerns about a no-deal Brexit remain. The poll of almost a thousand members found that the majority had managed to grow over the past year, with 13% at least doubling their turnover, as reported in The Times.

Nevertheless, concerns about a potential no deal Brexit remain among entrepreneurs, with half of those surveyed saying no deal would be negative for their organisation, against only 10% who thought it would be positive. Company founders were also twice as likely to find the prospect of no deal more worrying than a further extension. Brexit was generally considered more of a threat than an opportunity, though many felt it was both, while survey respondents were in favour of maintaining a close economic relationship with the EU in the future.

Commenting on the figures, IoD’s Director of Policy Edwin Morgan urged politicians in the UK and the EU to “redouble their efforts” to reach a Brexit deal. He added, “It’s often said that entrepreneurs thrive on change, and in many respects they are great disrupters of existing companies and markets. Start-ups, however, want to spend more time on creating great new products and services, and less on dealing with political uncertainty.”

Talking the talk 

Boris Johnson will meet with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar later today for a “detailed discussion” on securing a Brexit deal. Johnson has said he remains “cautiously optimistic” about a deal, but EU leaders warned yesterday that the ideas put forward by the UK are untested and progress towards a new deal had been limited. 

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is set to deliver a speech later today in which he will reiterate that Labour will support a general election as soon as no deal is completely “off the table” as the Prime Minister “can’t be trusted not to break the law”. 

Meanwhile, former Foreign Secretary and Conservative party leadership contender, Jeremy Hunt, has written an open letter to EU foreign ministers urging them to reach a compromise with Johnson and warning that a Brexit extension would only increase the chances of no deal. “If they think this is bad - just wait until what happens after Boris wins an election,” he said in an interview with the BBC. 

Come fly with me

Hays Travel is set to buy all 555 Thomas Cook shops, which could save up to 2,500 jobs, it was announced yesterday. The company said the move will give it presence in areas where it had little or none, including Scotland and Wales, with shops expected to reopen within days.

Guarantees to keep all shops open have not been provided yet, as Hays Travel will now begin talks with individual landlords. “It is certainly our intention to take on all the staff; to welcome them back,” said founder John Hays.

Hays Travel is the UK’s largest independent travel agency and formerly rival to Thomas Cook. It has 190 shops, 1,900 staff and last year made a profit of £10m. Thomas Cook collapsed last month, leading to around 9,000 staff losing jobs in the UK alone.   

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Euan Holmes, Press Officer

020 7451 3280

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