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Minimum wage increase is “unwelcome” news for small business owners

Forum of Private Business fears small companies could struggle with 12p wage increase the government’s plan to increase the minimum wage has met with criticism from some leading business bodies. Set to come into practice in October, the new legislation will increase pay for adults by 12p per hour to £6.31, while 18 to 20 year olds will be paid a 5p per hour increase, taking their pay to £5.03. The pay increases, which are set below current inflation levels, were recommended to government by the Low Pay Commission. However, despite the commission advising government to freeze pay for apprentices, business secretary Vince Cable announced that the government would raise apprentice wages by 3p to £2.68 an hour. Head of policy at the Forum of Private Business fears that small business owners may struggle to pay the increased wages. He...

HMRC announces record £220m haul from wealthy taxpayers

The unit, scrutinising the affairs of 5,800 people with assets of £20m or more, increased its yield from tax enquiries by 10%, having collected £200m in 2011/12. Established in 2009, the unit has generated a total of £665m in additional tax over the last four years, in addition to the tax HMRC normally collects from the group. The unit employs 380 staff across sites in Birmingham, Bradford, Cardiff, East Kilbride, Edinburgh, Portsmouth, Washington and Wrexham. Exchequer secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said: "HMRC's high net worth unit provides the specialist attention they require in ensuring the wealthy pay the tax they owe. This government has reinvested almost £1bn in HMRC and expects them to deliver almost £22bn in 2014/15. Head of the unit Martin Randall said: "The tax affairs of the richest people in the country can be...