Cyber security top of the agenda at Newcastle Business School Event


COMBATING the increasing threat of cyber criminals and protecting businesses from the potentially devastating dangers they pose is the focus of an event in Newcastle next week.

North East firms are invited to Audit Insights: Cyber Security – Closing the Cyber Gap, at which the threats posed by tech-savvy criminals will be outlined as well as practical advice on how best to protect against them.

Businesses and individuals are invited to be part of a panel discussion at Newcastle Business School, hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), taking place on December 4th from 12:00 – 14:00.

MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central and Shadow Minister for Digital Industries, Chi Onwurah will introduce the event and respond to comments made by the panellists.

Chi Onwurah said: “The North East boasts vibrant software, tech and creative industries and, as such, we should be leaders in cyber security, but so much more must be done to protect ourselves.

“This event will not only highlight dangers, but also offer solutions and I urge any business from any sector and of any size to attend.”

David Arthur, panel host and Deputy president of NorSCA (Northern Society of Chartered Accountants) said: “The vast majority of businesses are completely dependent on the use of digital technology, which has transformed the way companies operate and manage customer engagement.

“As the cyber threat towards businesses keeps growing there has been no let up in attacks. Recent surveys show evidence of high-profile breaches with continuing government concerns.

“The ICAEW wants to ensure that more firms transform their approach to cyber security and leave this event with an idea of how they can not only minimise the risk of cyber crime, but also know exactly what to do should they fall victim to it.”

With data an increasingly valuable commodity, companies must educate themselves on how best to protect their information. The event will look at how best to achieve this, improving secure communication in businesses and the need to consider the threat posed by cyber security throughout their operational processes.

The event will also look at how pressures to transform approaches to cyber security are also being felt by supply chains where risk management is important. Many high profile security breaches have occurred as a result of vulnerabilities in suppliers.

A 2015 audit update highlights specific examples of improvement such as emphasis on training to improve basic security behaviour, growing acceptance of the assumed state of compromise, and greater board engagement on identifying critical data.


Audit Insights: Cyber Security – Closing the Cyber Gap panel members:

  • Mark Brown (EY): Will summarise the new Audit findings and give advice for attendees that flow from it.
  • Phil Butler (Newcastle University): Will provide thoughts on how to spot and avoid fraud, particularly from the viewpoint of victims.
  • David Arthur (Tait Walker): Will discuss steps that businesses can take to protect themselves from cyber attacks.
  • Martin Wilson (Northumbria Police): Will discuss how police deal with cyber-crime and how attendees can best interact with police if they become a victim


For more information or to register for the event, please click here.

Or contact:

Joanne Lucking

ICAEW Regional Executive, Northern

T +44 (0)191 300 0532

M +44 (0)7876 035 951



Autumn Statement 2015 – Stamp Duty Land Tax

Higher rates of SDLT will be charged on purchases of additional residential properties (above £40,000), such as buy to let properties and second homes, from 1 April 2016.

The higher rates will be 3 percentage points above the current SDLT rates. The higher rates will not apply to purchases of caravans, mobile homes or houseboats, or to corporates or funds making significant investments in residential property given the role of this investment in supporting the government’s housing agenda.

The government will consult on the policy detail, including on whether an exemption for corporates and funds owning more than 15 residential properties is appropriate.

The government will use some of the additional tax collected to provide £60 million for communities in England where the impact of second homes is particularly acute.

SDLT: changes to the filing and payment process

The government will consult in 2016 on changes to the SDLT filing and payment process, including a reduction in the filing and payment window from 30 days to 14 days. These changes will come into effect in 2017 to 2018.




Autumn Statement 2015 – Capital Gains Tax Payment Window

From 6 April 2019, it is proposed that the capital gains tax payable on the sale of a residential property will be payable 30 days after the sale of the property. At the moment, the tax is payable between 10 months and 22 months after the sale.

This new deadline will require solicitors and accountants to work together to calculate the gains in this new payment window and allow clients to meet their obligations.

At the moment the rate of capital gains tax is dependent on your income in the same period and there is also an annual exemption which might be set against the gain. Detail is awaited on how this new payment window will dovetail with the above matters and with the wider capital gains tax legislation. It may be that there will be a flat rate deduction of 28%, with the taxpayer having to reclaim any overpayment.

It should also be remembered that the sale of your home is exempt from Capital Gains Tax if it is your Principal Private Residence.

Autumn Statement 2015 – Tax Free Childcare

The government will lower the upper income limit per parent from £150,000 to £100,000 and increase the minimum income level per parent from the equivalent of 8 hours to 16 hours at the national living wage.

Autumn Statement 2015 – Tax Credits

A big surprise from the Chancellor in his announcement that Tax Credits are not to be reduced as originally planned.

The rate at which a claimant’s award is reduced as each pound of their income exceeds the income threshold (known as the taper rate) will remain at 41% of gross income from April 2016.

The income threshold will remain at £6,420 per year from April 2016. Claimants earning below this amount will retain their maximum award. Consequently the income threshold for child tax credit-only claimants will remain at £16,105 in 2016 to 2017.


Autumn Statement 2015

In what was expected to be an Autumn Statement filled with cuts and bad news, the measures set out today were much less than expected and there were some surprising and very positive announcements from the Chancellor. Higher tax receipts have given George Osborne room for manoeuvre in relation to spending, while also reducing the deficit ahead of target. In particular, he was able to perform a U-turn on the proposed changes to tax credits.

As expected, a country which lives within its means, supports its hard working people and improves living standards for all were certainly at the top of the agenda.


The North East

The Northern Powerhouse got a lot of air time, with clarity on the £400m fund which is set to aid regional development and help smaller businesses to grow. When taken together with separate funds across the North East, £500m will be available across the Northern Powerhouse.

Other measures designed to boost the North include:

  • £50m for transport in the North and £150m to make oyster style ticketing a reality across the whole of the North
  • £22m for Northern Powerhouse trade missions and new investment taskforce
  • £7m of funding through the regional air connectivity fund to support new air routes, promoting domestic and international connectivity. This will include new routes from Newcastle to Norwich.
  • New enterprise zones to attract private sector investment, 7 new zones will be created within the Northern Powerhouse region
  • Power over uniform business rates control to be devolved to local councils, “to help tackle geographical imbalances and give power to elected mayors to benefit local economies”

Autumn Statement 2015 – what our Tax Partner would like to see for the North East economy

Our Tax Partner, Alastair Wilson shares what he’d like to see for the North East economy in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement…

The North East has seen some significant positives in the last year, such as rapid increases in new businesses being created and new jobs as a consequence. There have been sectors of our economy which have been visibly buoyant over the last twelve months, such as property & construction, the hospitality and leisure sector and the digital economy.

However, we have also seen some significant setbacks, such as businesses such as SSI closing, Air Products stalling and the significant downturn in the offshore industry which is starting to have a widespread impact within the North East engineering sector.

From a North East perspective, I’d love to see the following in the Autumn Statement:

  • New sources of larger grant funding which are easy to access and which are aimed at the manufacturing and digital sectors
  • Tax relief for investment in “commercial infrastructure” where that leads to trades in manufacturing, the digital or hospitality sectors (akin to a more focused version of Industrial Buildings Allowances)
  • Employers NIC reliefs for all “new” employees, not just those under the age of 21 (or apprentices under 25) as we have now. With our ageing workforce, why shouldn’t a business be given a tax break to hire a 55 year old?
  • An extension to the Retail Relief for business rates beyond March 2016. This relief really helps a wide range of businesses and should be extended
  • A corporate version of EIS – akin to the old Corporate Venturing Scheme, which nowadays could be used to encourage companies to unlock some of the cash which has been hoarded and encourage them to “crowdfund” businesses in our region

However, clearly that is all relatively unlikely and what we will be most likely to get is:

  • Further work on anti avoidance measures and making cross border taxation of large companies more effective
  • Outcomes of recent consultations on employment taxes, pensions and corporate tax matters affecting large businesses
  • A possible increase in the rate of capital gains on “non trading” assets which can’t benefit from Entrepreneurs Relief

And one thing which is likely to happen, but I wish wouldn’t happen, is George Osborne’s plan to devolve setting of business rates to local councils.    

As a tax adviser, we see how difficult it is for companies to deal with the impact of different tax regimes between countries. It’s complex enough for “UK taxation” that companies in the North East now have to deal with what are effectively different Stamp Duty Land Tax and Income Tax regimes in Scotland and England.

Devolving business rates will make each council set their own business rates policies which will then be applied within that council’s boundaries. Handling those new policies will therefore fall to teams within each council.

Whilst this sounds great from a perspective of creating competitive arrangements between councils for new investment, it will mean that businesses will have to become business rates experts to understand the impact of different regimes and policies between councils.

We regularly help our clients understand whether councils have correctly applied business rates to their properties. Our experience of dealing with local councils on business rates is that the local teams understand the calculation methodology for the rate, but not the legislation or policies which apply. Our experience of dealing with council business rates teams is that they regularly implement business rates legislation incorrectly.

Devolving business rates will make this position more uncertain and so will add to complexity for many businesses and I’d be happier if this measure wasn’t taken forward for the sake of clarity.

I await the Autumn Statement with interest!

To discuss any of these points in more detail, please contact Alastair Wilson on 0191 285 0321 or email

Autumn Statement 2015 – Tax predictions

With the Autumn Statement being delivered on 25th November 2015, our Tax Associate Chris Hodgson shares his predictions…

The Autumn Statement looks like it could be a busy one for advisors in the area of private client taxation. The Chancellor has a £4.4 billion hole in his plans because of the rebuff of the proposed tax credit changes by the House of Lords and his response may be to increase savings in other spending departments. However, some of those missing funds may have to come from tax increases.

He has also limited his options by introducing a tax lock, which prevents him from increasing the rate of Income Tax or VAT. This leaves George Osborne with other possible areas of taxation to consider, if he chooses to increase taxes, including Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax and Stamp Duty Land Tax.

Some of my predictions are as follows:

  • Capital Gains Tax – there is speculation that the rate of tax on capital gains could rise from the current level of 28% to 40%.

    When the 28% rate was introduced it was said to be at a level that would produce the maximum revenue, as a higher rate would discourage the sale of assets and Capital Gains Tax is only payable if an asset is sold. However, the potential taxes that might be generated by a rate increase could be attractive.

    The Chancellor may also choose to limit capital gains tax relief. Possible options in that area could include Entrepreneur’s Relief as well as Incorporation Relief, particularly where a landlord is transferring properties into a limited company.

  • Inheritance Tax – an increase in the rate of tax would be difficult for a Conservative Chancellor, but a restriction is reliefs might again be in view. For example, the value of farm land has doubled in recent years and created a market in farm land as an investment asset.

    However, farm land can qualify for 100% relief for Inheritance Tax, so a further limitation on the relief available to landlords of agricultural land may be included in the Statement.

  • Stamp Duty Land Tax – we now have different regimes for residential property and commercial property and there is also now a separate regime in Scotland. It is not unreasonable to imagine a change to SDLT that is dressed up as a simplification, which happens to increase the revenue generated by SDLT.

    This could be alongside possible limitations of some reliefs, such as multiple dwellings relief.

To discuss any of these points in more detail, please contact Chris Hodgson on 0191 285 0321 or email

Stop Press: Four new grants announced…

Four new grants have been announced…

Two new grants for Teesside companies and two new grants for national companies – impacted by SSI’s recent closure anouncements in the steel indusry – have been announced.

The details are yet to be confirmed, but there will be more on the Tees Valley Unlimited website in due course.

  1. SSI Supply Chain Working Capital:

    a. Working capital grant of up to 200,000 Euros

    b. Applicants must demonstrate an impact due to the SSI announcement e.g. bad debts or working capital stress

    c. Nationwide

  2. Capital investment:

    a. 50% grant against capital investment of up to 200,000 Euros

    b. For SSI supply chain companies (manufacturing/service)

    c. Nationwide

  3. Teesside capital investment:

    a. 30% grant of up to £50,000 against capital investment

    b. Capital investment for growth purposes

    c. Tees Valley applicants only

    d. No due diligence or administration fees will be charged

  4. Teesside professional services:

    a. Grants for professionals services to help with growing companies or overcoming growth barriers

    b. 50% grant of between £2,500 and £25,000 against professional fees

    c. Tees Valley applicants only

Application is via two routes:
Or you can call Lee Jefferson or Steve Plaskitt at Tait Walker on 01642 676 888, who can assist with your grant applications and also with your business plans and growth strategy.

Help to Buy ISA rules confirmed – what you need to know…

The new Help to Buy ISA scheme officially launches on 1st December 2015 and George Osborne has revealed the steps that first time buyers need to take in order to claim their government bonus:

  • First time buyers will receive a closing letter from their ISA manager when they close their account, which needs to be given to their solicitor.
  • The solicitor will then apply online for the bonus and complete the purchase of the home using the full bonus amount.
  • The bonus has to be applied for within 12 months of account closure. However, the account can be re-opened with the full amount if a home purchase does not go through after a solicitor or conveyancer has received the government bonus.

Summary of how the scheme works:

First time buyers saving for a deposit will be able to save up to £200 a month in their ISA account. The government will top this up by 25% – a maximum of £3,000.

Savers will also be able to open their account with a maximum £1,000 lump sum, in addition to the £200 monthly maximum. Additionally, couples buying together will be able to combine their bonuses and therefore boost their savings by up to £6,000.

The Help to Buy ISA can be used with any mortgage – it does not have to be used with a Help to Buy mortgage. However, it must be a residential mortgage, not buy-to-let.

The bonus will only be available on homes worth up to £250,000, or £450,000 in London, and you aren’t restricted to buying a new build.

Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, NatWest, Santander and Virgin Money will be offering Help to Buy ISAs from 1st December 2015.

For further advice regarding the Help to Buy ISA scheme, please contact a member of our Wealth Management team on 0191 285 0321.


Tait Walker Wealth Management is a trading style of Tait Walker Financial Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

All statements concerning the tax treatment of products and their benefits depend on eligibility and are based on our understanding of current tax law and HMRC practices, both of which are subject to change in the future


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