HMRC say that Nadhim Zahawi’s tax error wasn’t innocent mistake

HMRC say that Nadhim Zahawi’s tax error wasn’t innocent mistake

Nadhim Zahawi did not make an “innocent error” in his tax affairs, the head of HM Revenue & Customs has suggested.

The Conservative Party chairman says HMRC told him he had made a “careless but not deliberate error” that led to a settlement of about £5 million, including a significant fine, when he was chancellor.

Jim Harra, chief executive of HMRC, made clear that being “careless” did not mean someone had made a simple mistake.

“Carelessness is a concept in tax law,” he told MPs on the public accounts committee. “It can be relevant to how many back years we assess. It can be relevant to whether someone is liable to a penalty. There are no penalties for innocent errors in your tax affairs.

“If you take reasonable care but nevertheless make a mistake, you would be liable for the tax and interest if it’s paid late. You would not be liable for a penalty, but if your error was as a result of carelessness then legislation says a penalty applies in those circumstances.”

Rishi Sunak will gather ministers today at Chequers, his grace-and-favour home in Buckinghamshire, for a cabinet awayday to discuss progress on his five pledges, which include … Read More

Strikes cost Royal Mail £200m as it posts large loss

Strikes cost Royal Mail £200m as it posts large loss

Strike action at Royal Mail has cost the besieged postal company about £200 million, sending it to a large operating loss.

International Distributions Services (IDS), the recently renamed parent company, posted operating losses at Royal Mail, its UK business, of £295 million for the first nine months of its financial year as it was laid low by 18 days of industrial action by workers at the Communication Workers Union (CWU), including over the peak Christmas period.

Royal Mail remains locked in a bitter nine-month dispute with the union over below-inflation pay rises and an overhaul of working practices that has become increasingly political.

This week the Commons business, energy and industrial strategy select committee summoned Simon Thompson, Royal Mail’s chief executive, back to parliament amid doubts over his earlier evidence to MPs last week.

The group said today that despite having endured six more days of industrial action than initially forecast, it expected an annual adjusted operating loss towards the mid-point of its £350 million to £450 million guidance range, thanks to “tight control of costs and strike contingency measures”.

It claimed that up to 12,500 union members had worked on strike days, which along with other measures such as … Read More

Getting To Know You: Jonny Duggan, Chief Executive Officer, AnnexusPartners

Getting To Know You: Jonny Duggan, Chief Executive Officer, AnnexusPartners

Jonny Duggan, Chief Executive Officer, AnnexusPartners talks to Business Matters about the inspiration behind their business, which has seen them become a finalist in the 2023 Business Champion Awards

What do you currently do at ‘AnnexusPartners’?

I am Co-Founder of AnnexusPartners, incorporating AnnexusEV. I also hold the role of Chief Executive Officer, responsible for overseeing the day-to-day running and the growth of the business. Ultimately as CEO of a start-up, my role is to make sure the business doesn’t run out of money. It’s as simple as that.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

During one of the numerous lockdowns the UK faced in the pandemic, I watched a Sir David Attenborough documentary which inspired me. Both businesses were founded out of a passion for making a difference. AnnexusEV came first. I had spent some time working in the energy sector, both on a city trading floor and in a commercial brokerage.

Between the automotive sector and the energy sector, both our Co-Founder Gerard and I felt that electric vehicle drivers were not getting the support they needed when it came to charging their vehicle.

We felt that drivers needed advice, guidance and ultimately a simplified approach to the … Read More

BGF plans to invest £300 million in the Central and East of England over the next five years

BGF plans to invest £300 million in the Central and East of England over the next five years

BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active investor, is planning to invest £300 million in early-stage and fast growth businesses across the Central and Eastern areas of England over the next five years.

The BGF Growth Central and East team includes three experienced investors Mark Nunny, Nathan Heath and Elena Kovalikhina, and will be targeting investments in ambitious scaleups throughout Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and across East Anglia.

The trio are based in Cambridge alongside BGF’s early-stage team which focuses on deep technology investments in fields such as life sciences and clean technology, with a remit spanning the UK and Ireland.

BGF is a long-term patient investor, making initial investments between £1 million to £20 million for a minority equity stake, partnering with founders and management teams to help them realise their growth strategies. It covers a diverse range of sectors and companies at different growth stages from early-stage through to maturity.

Mark Nunny, who leads the BGF Central and East growth team said: “The central and eastern regions of England have a broad array of established and growing entrepreneurial businesses. We’re delighted to be joining our early-stage colleagues in BGF’s Cambridge office, bringing us even closer to companies across … Read More

£1m paid to Octopus Energy customers as part of National Grid power saving scheme

£1m paid to Octopus Energy customers as part of National Grid power saving scheme

More than £1m was paid to energy customers with Octopus Energy on Tuesday as part of a power saving scheme.

The energy supplier said more than 400,000 customers took part by reducing their electricity use between 4.30pm and 6pm.

National Grid’s Demand Flexibility Scheme kicked in for the first time on Monday amid cold temperatures, meaning more energy was being used while less energy was being generated by wind power.

There was also uncertainty over how much power Britain could import through undersea cables from Europe.

Coal-fired power stations in North Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire were put on standby in case supplies ran low, but were later stood down.

It had been feared that the mixture of weather conditions, demand and generation issues could lead to blackouts.

Octopus, British Gas, EDF and E.ON are all taking part in the scheme. It is only available to households with smart meters.

The average customer was paid £2.50 in points for reducing their usage by an average of 60%. The top 5% were paid £15 in points. The Octopus deal can see the points turned into cash, “prizes” or donated to a fund for customers in need.

More energy was saved on Tuesday, when … Read More