Helen Nugent

Tax bills, Tesco, cash machines and retirement

The taxman’s failure to properly pursue the UK’s richest people risks undermining confidence in the entire system, according to parliament’s spending watchdog. The Guardian reports that the Public Accounts Committee has concluded that Britain’s super-rich appear to receive preferential treatment from HM Revenue & Customs. The MPs’ report, released this morning, scrutinised HMRC’s specialist unit, which collects tax from high net-worth individuals with more than £20 million. It found that ‘the amount of tax paid by this very wealthy group of individuals has actually fallen by £1 billion since the unit was set up’ in 2009 – even as tax receipts rose to £23 billion. Tesco Tesco’s decision to buy Booker Group, the UK’s largest food wholesaler, dominates the business news today. The BBC reports that the £3.7 billion deal will create the ‘UK’s leading food business’. While the Booker Group name may not be familiar to many people, it is the country’s biggest cash and carry operator, and supplies a wide range of products to 700,000 convenience stores, grocers, pubs and restaurants. Booker also owns the Premier, Budgens and Londis convenience-store brands. Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb, said: ‘Our instant reaction is that the Competition and Markets Authority will have a field day with this.’ Link ATMs The debate over free-to-use cash machines continues, with The Guardian reporting that more than one in seven of them could begin charging or be shut down. Following a key meeting of the more than 30 members of the Link cash machine network during which they failed to reach an agreement over a new charging system, the ATM Industry Association said 8,000 ATMs were at risk of being removed or starting to charge for withdrawals. Retirement ThisisMoney reports that men and women retiring in 2017 expect to receive the highest average annual income in eight years. Their predicted income of £18,100 is almost as high as the 2008 pre-crash peak of £18,700, according to a survey by Prudential.

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