Business and Other Briefings

DWP: The Government has tabled amendments to the Pensions Bill that would introduce measures to protect the benefits of pension scheme members. The Government's intention is to adapt the Pensions Regulator's powers to an evolving pensions market, as its main concern is the emergence of new alternatives to pensions’ buyouts, which can reduce the security provided by the employer responsible for backing the scheme.
 
These developments may put scheme members' benefits ‘at risk’ and could have serious cost implications for the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), and those responsible for paying its levy.  The Government intends that the principal amendments will have retrospective effect from 14 April 2008, the date the Minister announced the intention to legislate.
 
Draft content for a statutory Code, which will support a new test for ‘material detriment’, has also been issued by the Pensions Regulator.  It is expected that the Regulator will consult formally on this Code later in the year, subject to passage of the legislation.
Press release ~ Draft content for the Code of Practice ~ Pensions Bill ~ Pension Protection Fund (PPF) ~ Regulator's 25 April 2008 statement
 
HM Treasury:  The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has warned of the higher risks of money laundering and terrorist financing posed by deficiencies in the anti-money laundering and countering-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) systems in Iran and Uzbekistan. The FATF has also drawn attention to AML/CTF deficiencies in respect of Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Sao Tome and the northern part of Cyprus.

All UK businesses regulated under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 whether financial institutions or other regulated persons should treat transactions associated with Iran and Uzbekistan as situations that by their nature can present a higher risk of money laundering or terrorist financing, and which therefore require increased scrutiny and enhanced due diligence.
Press release ~ Financial Action Task Force (FATF) ~ Money Laundering Regulations 2007 ~ HM Treasury - Financial crime and terrorist financing
 
OFT: The Office of Fair Trading has issued three publications following a wide-ranging analysis of competition in newspaper and magazine distribution in the United Kingdom.  It has:
* published an Opinion, providing guidance on the legality of newspaper and magazine distribution agreements
* recommended that wholesalers are released from the undertakings underpinning the National Newspapers Code of Practice, and
* published for consultation its proposal not to refer the newspaper & magazine supply sector to the Competition Commission.
 
The OFT has also published a paper that provides an introductory overview of key elements of the operation of the newspaper and magazine supply chains for those outside the industry.
Press release ~ Newspaper and magazine distribution - Opinion of the Office of Fair Trading - guidance to facilitate self-assessment under the Competition Act 1998 (pdf 489 kb) ~ National newspapers - A review of undertakings relating to the supply of national newspapers in England and Wales (the Code of Practice) ~ Newspaper and magazine distribution in the United Kingdom - Public consultation on the OFT's proposed decision on a request for a market investigation reference ~ Newspaper and magazine distribution in the United Kingdom - Introductory overview paper on the newspaper and magazine supply chains
 
HMRC: New rates of interest on direct & indirect taxes and national insurance contributions paid late and overpaid have been announced.  These new rates of interest, which take effect from 6 November 2008, are as a result of the recent movement in market rates.
Press release
 
HMRCRevenue & Customs Brief 53/08
VAT - new requirement from 1 January 2010 that businesses provide EC Sales Lists for taxable supplies of services to which the reverse charge applies.
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