View more on these topics

Give us a break on tax and regulations

Today, the Confederation of British Industry calls on the government to halt the “relentless and damaging” rise in business taxes, which will cost firms an additional £47 billion between 1997 and 2005.

It also publishes its submission to Chancellor Gordon Brown ahead of his pre-Budget report, due out later this month. Protecting the UK&#39s competitive position in the world is the most strongly-worded statement the CBI has submitted to this Chancellor.

The CBI says the rising tax burden has contributed substantially to a squeeze on corporate finances, along with the build up of regulation and sluggish economic growth. Firms would have been £30 billion better off during the last year had profits risen since 1996-97 in line with GDP, a shortfall that is hitting investment and employment across the economy.

Manufacturing has been particularly badly hit with profitability falling 11% between the start of 1998 and end of last year, double the decline in the 1990s recession. The CBI believes we are now almost certain to see the first calendar year decline in business investment for nearly a decade. As Digby Jones, CBI director-general, points out, the rise in the business tax take is larger than the GDP of Wales.

“Ministers cannot keep siphoning off company funds without damaging investment and competitiveness,” he says. “The Chancellor is leading firms into battle on productivity but wrongly weighing them down with an increasing tax burden. Where taxes go from here could be the biggest test yet of the government&#39s pro-business credentials.”

The cost is out of control – it could reach £15bn a year – and the mortgage industry will not escape. If anything, the added cost of compliance to cope with regulation come Mortgage Day could force some firms to close.

Which is why it is so important that you become as involved as possible with regulatory developments as and when they come out of the FSA. Indeed, today, November 11, is the last day for you to respond to CP146. CP98 attracted a mere 19 responses. But already, as Mortgage Strategy went to press on Friday last week, the FSA had received more than that amount. And last week our website www.mortgagestrategy.co.uk registered nearly 4,000 section visits and almost 500 copies of our CP146 response template were downloaded.

It is crucial that you respond to CP146. Download your response and tell the FSA today.

Recommended

Government to publish monthly housing index

Shortcomings in the collection of housing market data has led the government to begin publishing its own monthly housing index, starting next summer. The National Statistics house index will seek to build a more sophisticated picture of the housing market than that provided by large banks and building societies such as the Halifax, and Nationwide&#39s […]

Platform Home Loans offers extended discounts

Platform Home Loans has now extended the end dates on its three discounted rates by four months. The lender has launched a 2 year discount of 1.5% until 1st December 2004 and an 18 Month discount at 1.75% until 1st June 2004. These products make the range of choice on the non conforming market as […]

Buy-to-let market is buoyant but cautious, says ARLA

The Association of Retail Letting Agents has found that the buy-to-let market is buoyant but cautious, based on its Survey of Trends among the ARLA panel of mortgage lenders. The average monthly total of actual loans for buy-to-let investment rose by 30% compared to the previous six months. However, the average loan at £82,141 was […]

Buy-to-let yields in central London drop sharply

Rental yields on buy-to-let investments in central London have dropped far more than in previous slowdowns due to an oversupply of rental properties and depressed demand from finance professionals, according to research by estate agents FPD Savills. Until 2000 changes in rents and employment in the capital&#39s financial district broadly tracked each other. However, FPD […]

Apple: a stellar technology story

By Ali Unwin, head of technology sector research

Apple recently announced the highest-ever recorded quarterly net profit ($18bn), with the sale of 74.4 million iPhones helping the company deliver $74.6bn of revenue for the quarter ending December 2014. These sales were largely driven by strong demand for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Highlights included Chinese iPhone sales doubling year-on-year and unit growth of 44% in the US — supposedly a well-penetrated market. Apple ended the quarter with $178bn in cash on its balance sheet, having generated a staggering $30bn in free cash flow during the quarter.

At Neptune, we have been long-term believers in the Apple story, and continue to hold the stock in a number of our portfolios based on the company’s long-term growth prospects. This is predicated on our belief that Apple has proved thus far that it can — unusually for a consumer electronics company — maintain high margins for a sustained period of time, even as adoption of new technology slows down and competitors produce similar-specification products.

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up