“Giveaway” is the word of the day in the papers this morning as the media digests Chancellor Philip Hammond’s 2018 Budget.
“Hammond’s giveaway gamble” is the headline in The Times (£), while the FT writes “Hammond delivers largest giveaway Budget since 2010”, The Daily Mail hails “The Phil-Good Factor!” of Hammond’s £100bn giveaway and The Guardian says Hammond delivered a “budget of tax cuts and spending to shore up May”.
Amongst the key announcements for the grocery industry were plans to regenerate UK high streets. The Guardian writes that the government is to trial a register of empty shops in England as part of a £1.5bn high street regeneration plan that could also see strict planning laws relaxed so shuttered stores can be turned into homes. The Telegraph writes that thousands of small retailers across England are in line for a major tax cut over the next two years as part of the Government’s wider plan to regenerate the country’s battered high streets and support struggling shops.
Hammond’s £1.6billion rescue package for the High Street is the bonanza our towns needed so urgently, writes Ruth Sutherland in The Daily Mail.
The FT writes that small retailers will see limited benefits from business rates reform and that Treasury claims of reductions for half a million have been dismissed as ‘wildly misleading’. “But Treasury claims of reductions in business rate bills for half a million small retailers were branded “nonsense” and “wildly misleading” by experts.” (The Financial Times £) Experts say business rates help for small retailers is ‘tinkering around the edges’ (The Guardian).
The government’s attempt at a feel-good Budget has left out one important constituency: British wine drinkers. Duties on beer and sprits will be held at the same level as last year in a bid to help the country’s pubs, while those on wine will increase in line with the retail price index (The Financial Times £). Beer and cider drinkers may raise a glass to Philip Hammond tonight after he froze duty on both drinks in his budget. But wine-lovers will be less impressed with the Chancellor after he announced duties on bottles of red and white will increase with inflation (The Daily Mail).
Technology giants will be forced to pay tax on the sales they generate in the UK, under new plans announced in the Budget (The BBC). Online tech giants including Google and Facebook are to be hit with a digital services tax worth up to £400m per year, as Chancellor Philip Hammond used the Budget to take the lead in a global push to tax Silicon Valley (The Telegraph).
UK finally takes on arrogant tech giants with digital services tax, writes Nils Pratley in The Guardian. “£400m is probably a long way short of being a “fair” tax on the profits created in the UK. But at least Hammond has made a start.”
But the Mail writes that tech firms could slash investment in Britain if Philip Hammond imposes his new ‘digital tax’ on giants like Amazon and Facebook, industry leaders today warned (The Daily Mail).
Mondelez, the US confectionery company behind Oreo and Cadbury, is planning to make a range of biscuits, chewing gum and candies more expensive in its domestic market in the face of rising costs. (The Financial Times £)
Shares in Just Eat slid after one broker’s taste for the takeaway delivery company rapidly soured. Analysts at Peel Hunt switched their recommendation for investors on Just Eat from ‘Buy’ to ‘Sell’, saying the firm is under siege from Uber and Deliveroo. (The Daily Mail)
The Restaurant Group, owner of the Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito chains, is in advanced talks to buy Wagamama, the London-based noodle eatery, according to people briefed on the talks (The Financial Times £). The company behind the Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito restaurant brands has agreed to buy the Wagamama chain in a £559m deal (Sky News). The company behind the Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito restaurant brands is in advanced talks over an audacious £600 million swoop on the Wagamama chain (The Times £).