Credit: Reuters/Ki Price LONDON | Mon Oct 7, 2013 1:37am BST LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s banks and other financial firms are at their most optimistic for almost 17 years, according to an industry survey. Some 59 percent of UK financial services firms said they felt more optimistic about their business situation, compared to 6 percent who were less optimistic, according to the latest quarterly CBI/PwC financial services survey, released on Monday. The positive balance of 53 is the highest since December 1996. The survey, covering the three months to early September, also showed a net 24 percent of financial firms increased staff in the period, the biggest rise for six years. A net 14 percent of firms expect to increase staffing again in the current quarter. The CBI/PwC survey is based on the balance of firms reporting an increase and those reporting a decrease. The survey findings indicate about 10,000 jobs were added in the third quarter and another 2,000 will be created this quarter, taking UK financial services jobs to 1.14 million, CBI/PwC estimated. Business volumes fell in the latest quarter, however, mainly in banking. The CBI said 22 percent of financial firms reported a rise in business volumes, but 32 percent said they were down. A big majority of firms expect volumes to increase this quarter, it said. “Banks’ optimism is increasingly buoyant despite seeing a slight seasonal blip in commercial and industrial volumes. Activity and profitability are expected to grow as the economy recovers, and investment in new products and infrastructure is increasing,” said Kevin Burrowes, PwC’s UK financial services leader. Profitability rose for the fourth consecutive quarter, as companies managed to offset the fall in business volumes by increasing their margins, the survey showed.
Not as much as their publishing this piece of dreck on the subject, true, but then that was a comment piece where the rules of reality and evidence are thought to be rather lower. But heres their report anyway : Google is back in the firing line over its tax affairs after the giant internet firm revealed it paid only 11.6m to the Treasury last year, despite generating $5.5bn (3.4bn) of business in the UK. Margaret Hodge, the chairwoman of the Commons public accounts committee who earlier this year accused Google of breaking its company motto of dont be evil said it had once again shown contempt for its customers and UK taxpayers. Googles complex tax arrangements, under which sales are booked in Ireland but revenues funnelled to a subsidiary in the tax haven of Bermuda, help the group pay minimal tax on the billions it earns outside the US. Google UK said in its latest accounts that it earned pre-tax profits of 37m on a turnover of 506m. The thing is, Google didnt pay 11.6 million in tax on that 37 million profit. Its paid 30.8 million in tax on that profit of 37 million for a tax rate of 83.8%. The actual accounts I have here. And as you can see the numbers The Guardian are using are simply wrong. The reason why theyre wrong is also simple enough to explain. Google was expensing certain of the stock awards that theyve made to staff. HMRC has, possibly correctly, insisted that these are not in fact tax-deductible expenses. They might well be correct under IFRS but theyre not under the tax rules: therefore previous tax deductions taken have to be reversed and the tax paid.