The Edge

Richard Northedge takes on corporate finance

Don’t bank on a Post Office revolution

If the Post Office thinks offering current accounts will be easy, it should ask why Tesco is finding it so hard. If there’s one thing the public likes less than the old banks it is new banks. Read the rest of this post »

Osborne swipes the good firms’ rewards

In an ideal world, regulation would be paid for by only the bad firms. Using fines to offset fees effectively did that, but now the reward for being good has gone. Read the rest of this post »

Thatcher was not the City’s friend

It is stretching the timescale to blame Margaret Thatcher for the current financial crisis, but it is stretching the truth too. The prime minister was an enemy of the Square Mile, not its friend.
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The 50p tax experiment leaves us no wiser

Was the 50p income tax rate self-defeating? We may never know. It came and went so quickly that top earners have pushed income into the lower-rate tax years. That falsely allows opponents to claim the Treasury raises more at 45p than at 50p.

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Banks take cheap funds but play safe

Did no-one tell the markets that the Bank of England is trying to manipulate them? It is foisting cheap money onto lenders but they’re still giving only to the borrowers they like.
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Small firms lose their tax advantage

Smaller companies have for years lobbied for a level playing field. However, losing their low rate of corporation tax is not what the SMEs had in mind. In fact, the pitch has tilted the other way: large corporations will now pay less than the tiddlers.

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After 40 years, VAT is distorting the economy

VAT was launched 40 years ago as a nice little earner. Now it is a monster.  Governments daren’t widen the base so they increase the rate – and that heightens the anomalies.
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Pru’s breaking news should have targeted the shareholders

The news of Prudential’s planned takeover of the AIA insurance group must be the most expensive scoop ever. The UK investment group has been fined £30m for allowing customers to hear of the deal before regulators knew about it. Read the rest of this post »

Regulators deliver another £25bn blow to banks

British banks would be in a healthy state if it wasn’t for the regulators. Or at least they think they would. Suddenly the lenders have to find another £25bn of capital by Christmas just to stay in business. Read the rest of this post »

Russian pots call Cypriot kettles black

Russians crying foul at the confiscation of their Cypriot bank balances should remember 1998. That year it was Moscow that defaulted on its debts. Read the rest of this post »