Amazon and eBay warned over VAT fraudsters by MP

 

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 18 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Amazon and eBay are profiting from sellers who defraud UK taxpayers by failing to charge VAT, according to a report by MPs.

The report estimates up to £1.5bn has been lost from third-party sellers on online marketplaces not charging the tax on sales they make in the UK.

MPs in the Public Accounts Committee criticised HMRC for being “too cautious” in pursuing the “fraudsters”.

Amazon and eBay said they were working with HMRC on the issue.

Labour MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the committee, called online VAT fraud “hugely damaging” for British businesses and taxpayers.

She added that “the response of HMRC and the marketplaces where fraudsters operate has been dismal”.

‘Bewildering’

The fraud has increased because foreign firms selling goods to UK shoppers – usually via online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay – are keeping some of their stock in UK warehouses to provide next day delivery.

If items are dispatched from UK soil, the sellers have to charge VAT at 20%.

But many have not been, so undercutting genuine UK suppliers and reducing tax revenue, the committee’s report found.

Brexit will make the issue more complicated because of uncertainty over trading and customs, it added.

Both Amazon and eBay told the committee they took action to remove “bad actors” from their sites.

But the report said it was “bewildering that these big companies have taken such little action to date”.

It added that Amazon and eBay, amongst other online marketplaces, “continue to profit from fraudulent activities taking place on their sites” by charging the sellers a commission.

In the hearings a pack of lightbulb socket converters and a hose for a Dyson vacuum cleaner were held up as examples of products sold without VAT.

‘Above and beyond’

The report’s conclusions include:

  • The UK’s tax agency, HMRC, should set up an agreement with online marketplaces by March next year to tackle the issue
  • The websites should require non-EU sellers – which dispatch goods already in the UK – to provide a valid VAT number
  • HMRC should “inject more urgency” by making more extensive use of its existing powers

HMRC said it had introduced new rules last year to hold online marketplaces liable for unpaid VAT by overseas sellers, leading to a ten-fold rise in the number of sellers registering for VAT.

“The new reforms will secure an extra £875m in tax to help pay for vital public services,” an HMRC spokesman said.

In a statement Amazon said it was reviewing the report and supported efforts to ensure sellers across all marketplaces were VAT compliant.

An eBay spokesperson said it was going “above and beyond” HMRC’s requirements to provide a “fair marketplace for all our buyers and sellers”.

Meet the company where luxury and philanthropy go hand in hand

(qlmbusinessnews.com via livingit.euronews.com – – Sat, 14 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Want to spice up your next trip by making a contribution to the local population? You will return home with the best souvenir: the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference. An ever-growing group of socially engaged travelers has already changed thousands of people’s lives.

There is no better place to watch whales than the island where locals have strong cultural affinities with these beautiful marine creatures. In New Zeland, the indigenous Māori people have a long history with whales: local legend says that their ancestors arrived on the island on the back of a whale. The locals believe in a spiritual bond with the animals.

Today, this tribe happens to possess one of the most successful companies organizing whale watch tours, among other activities, in the local town of Kaikoura. In fact, the local community trust, founded in 1987 by four Maori families, has played a huge role in reviving the town’s declining economy. They have transformed Kaikoura into a leading eco-tourism destination and the Whale Watch Kaikoura became the largest employer of the season. The enterprise invests a huge part of their annual profit in supporting the community, education, employment, and protecting the environment.

The company offers up-close encounters with giant sperm whales and strives to minimise their impact on the environment. It also runs educational programmes on how to save the environment as well as eco-friendly activities for visitors, such as planting your own tree.

By Doloresz Katanich

 

Banks losing out on £130bn business opportunity by failing to connect with women


(qlmbusinessnews.com via independent.co.uk – – Wed, 11 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Banks are failing to connect with women who view financial advisers as arrogant, self-interested and untrustworthy, according to new research.

The report from insight and consultancy business Kantar, showed that financial institutions are losing out on a £130bn business opportunity by not appealing to women.

“In failing to develop client experiences rooted in men and women’s fundamentally different perspectives on finance, financial services institutions are missing a very significant business opportunity,” said Bart Michels, UK country leader for Kantar.

“Financial institutions are focusing their efforts on the confident, rather than the competent.”

The research, based on interviews, social media analysis and data from target group index (TGI), which is part of Kantar Media, showed that banks’ advertising fails to consistently communicate qualities including ‘trustworthiness’, ‘understanding’, ‘dependability’ and ‘accessibility’ to women when tested using facial recognition technology.

According to the report, women tend to focus more on relationships and family life when dealing with finances than men, who are interested in products and price. Women also have less time than men to plan for their future.

But women are an attractive prospect for banks. By 2020, they will hold over half of investable assets.

The report shows that satisfied female clients are twice as likely to recommend their bank, they typically hold more savings, mortgage and general insuranceproducts than men and are more loyal.

Women were also shown to be more responsible borrowers with a more conservative approach to the financial barriers to homeownership – two thirds of men under-estimated the cost of buying their home compared to half of women.

However, Kantar’s research shows that women are less financially confident. Among female customers, 65 per cent were found to have low financial confidence compared to 55 per cent of men.

Amy Cashman, UK managing director of financial services and technology at Kantar TNS and the study’s lead author, said: “Women’s lower engagement is also a major factor behind their concerns and shortfalls in retirement income.”

Men’s average retirement savings of £73,600 were three times more than women’s at £24,900, she said.

“This makes improved engagement of women in the financial sector a social imperative as well as commercial opportunity.”

To find out the differences between men’s and women’s relationship to finance, the report’s authors interviewed over 2,000 men and women, analysed over 1.5 million social media posts, used facial recognition technology to analyse reactions to adverts and analysed TGI data, which offers a complete view of consumer behaviour and motivations.

Most research was conducted between May and September 2017 while the social media data was gathered over the past year.

By Emma Featherstone

Airbnb paid less than £200,000 in UK corporation tax last year

 

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 9 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Airbnb, the accommodation website, paid less than £200,000 in UK corporation tax last year despite collecting £657m of rental payments for property owners.

The commissions the company earns in the UK are booked by its Irish subsidiary, but it also has two UK subsidiaries.

One unit made a pre-tax profit, but the other did not incur UK corporation tax because deductions resulted in a loss.

Airbnb said in a statement: “We follow the rules and pay all the tax we owe.”

One of the British subsidiaries, Airbnb Payments UK, handles payments between landlords and travellers for countries other than the United States, China and India.

That unit made a pre-tax profit of £960,000 and paid £188,000 in UK corporation tax – £8,000 less than in 2015.

The other British subsidiary, Airbnb UK, markets the website and app to British consumers. It reported a £463,000 pre-tax profit last year but because it gave shares to staff, which are tax-deductable, there was no corporation tax bill.

Airbnb said: “Our UK office provides marketing services and pays all applicable taxes, including VAT. The Airbnb model is unique and boosted the UK economy by £3.46bn last year alone.”

The tax arrangements of other technology giants have come under under closer scrutiny in recent years.

One of the most vocal critics has been EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. She has taken aim at the likes of Apple, Amazon and others for where they book the revenues and profits of their European activities.

Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, has also asked why Airbnb paid tens of thousand of euros in French corporation tax despite a turnover in the millions.

The company, founded in San Francisco in 2008, has disrupted the hotel industry by linking travellers with landlords who generally want to rent out a spare room or an entire property for short-term stays.

It has become one of the most successful examples of the digital economy, with an estimated value of about $24bn.

However, Airbnb has faced a growing backlash in cities including Barcelona, Berlin and Paris, where politicians have taken steps to stop landlords renting properties to tourists rather than local residents.

While Airbnb has long been linked with a stock market listing, it remains privately owned.

It takes a 3% commission from landlords for each booking, and also charges fees to travellers.

In the UK last year Airbnb catered for 5.9m travellers and had 168,000 listings.

 

Bruce Lee’s Top 10 Rules For Success

 

He was a martial artist, actor, teacher, and philosopher. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential martial artists of all time. He is often credited with helping change the way Asians were presented in American films. He’s Bruce Lee and here are his Top 10 Rules for success.

Physicist Robert Lang incredible origami journey

 

Twenty five years ago, physicist Robert Lang worked at NASA, where he researched lasers. He has also garnered 46 patents on optoelectronics and even wrote a Ph.D. thesis called “Semiconductor Lasers: New Geometries and Spectral Properties.” But in 2001, Lang left his job in order to pursue a passion he’s had since childhood: origami. In the origami world, Lang is now a legend, and it’s not just his eye-catching, intricate designs that have taken the craft by storm. Some of his work has helped pioneer new ways of applying origami principles to complex real-world engineering problems.

25 Things You Didn’t Know About Money

 

We love money! We work hard to get it, spend it fast, always on the chase for more. As the famous lyrics say: money makes the world go round! But for something we use so frequently we know very little about. Let’s see how many of these you already knew!

1. 90% of the US dollar bills contain traces of cocaine!

2. The first Credit Card was created because of the embarrassment of a man who had to pay for dinner but forgot his wallet.

3. US Debt is 10 times larger than the US dollars in circulation.

4. All US$ coins and bills in circulation today are worth US$1.2 trillion.

5. Two thirds of that money is held overseas.

6. Paper money originated in China 1400 years ago.

7. Changing the $1 bill into a $1 coin would save the US 4.4 Billion in the next 30 years.

The hologram invented to fill the romantic void in Japanese lives

 

Meet Hikari, an anime virtual wife, and Eisuke, a virtual boyfriend who plays to a masochist fantasy, these are products of a multi-million dollar industry that’s sprung up in response to Japan’s relationship crisis. In episode three of the Bloomberg video series Love Disrupted, we look at the characters invented to fill the romantic void in Japanese lives.

Reading University introduces the self-serve beer pump technology

In a move that could speed the decline of the humble bar tender, Reading University has introduced a self-serve 16-tap “beer wall” at its onsite student union, allowing students to pull their own pints and buy beverages with a single tap of their debit or credit card.

Screens above each tap will allow customers to choose which brand of draft beer they want, show how much it will cost, and display information about the beer, including the percentage of alcohol by volume.

With students able to pour themselves a beer and pay with their contactless plastic or mobile wallet, the bars will have increased capacity, speedier service and a reduced threat of theft, claims Drink Command, the company behind the self-serve beer technology, which is also being rolled out in other bars across the UK and Ireland, including in Hilton Hotels.

The self-serve beer pump technology, which is integrated with Verifone’s electronic payments system, is not the first to be launched in Britain. In 2012, The Thirsty Bear pub in Southwark, London, introduced pumps for customers to pull their own pint after placing their order from an iPad installed on each table.

Customers of the pub were also able to order food or change the songs on the jukebox via the iPad.

While the technology allows customers to easily and conveniently refill their glasses, potentially leading to a higher consumption of alcohol, Drink Command insists the system “makes it easier for bar staff to monitor users’ beer consumption to ensure compliance with local responsible drinking guidelines”.

The soaring popularity of contactless payment methods is prompting more retailers to look at ways they can introduce technology that enhances the customer experience with quicker service and less interaction with staff.

A new study from Worldpay revealed that two thirds of 21 to 34-year olds would happily make a payment without any human interaction.

Robbie Ward of Drink Command, said: “There is a change of mind-set happening in the beer dispense industry, similar to how self-serve technology has improved the way we buy petrol for our cars, or how supermarkets have improved queuing times with self-scan checkouts.”

Matt Tebbit, head of residential catering and bars at The University of Reading, said: “Our 16-tap self-serve beer wall has allowed us to increase our capacity to serve more customers and hold our existing staff levels by giving patrons the option to order from the bar, or serve themselves at their leisure.”

 

Boxing titan Mayweather’s networth explained

(qlmbusinessnews.com via independent.co.uk – – Sat, 30 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

Mayweather has generated around 19.5m in PPV buys and $1.3bn in revenue throughout his career, with the McGregor fight likely to boost his career earnings over the $1bn mark

Floyd Mayweather is one of the biggest pay-per-view attractions of all time and one of a very elite group of athletes to see their career earnings nose above the $1bn mark.

A shrewd businessman and the greatest boxer of his generation — if not all time — Mayweather has been listed as the highest paid athlete in the world four times by the American business magazine Forbes.

Mayweather is so rich that he even changed his boxing identity to reflect his staggering wealth.

The American was known as “Pretty Boy” throughout his entire career, as a result of how little he got hit due to his superior defensive skills. But in 2007 before the biggest fight of his life against Oscar De La Hoya, Mayweather unleashed a new name: “Money.”

He is also known as the ‘PPV King’ due to his phenomenal success at the box office. His fight against Canelo Alvarez attracted over 2m buys and $150m (£116m) in revenue — but these numbers were dwarfed by his fight against Manny Pacquiao, with 4.6m buys and $400m (£308m) in revenue.

In total, he has attracted 19.5 buys and around $1.3bn in revenue.

But what is his estimated net worth? Who are his sponsors? And exactly how much money does he stand to make by fighting McGregor?

Here everything you need to know about Mayweather’s extraordinary financial muscle.

What is Mayweather’s estimated net worth?

Floyd Mayweather is one of the very richest athletes in the world, topping the Forbes and Sports Illustrated lists of the 50 highest-paid athletes of 2012 and 2013 respectively, and the Forbes list again in both 2014 and 2015.

Mayweather has generated just under 20m PPV buys and over $1bn in revenue throughout his career, surpassing the likes of former top boxers such as Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Oscar De La Hoya, and Manny Pacquiao. His PPV buys and revenue dwarf that of McGregor.

In 2016, the American business magazine Forbes reported that Mayweather banked $32 million (£25m) from his ‘retirement’ fight against Andre Berto fight to bring his career earnings to around $700 million (£540m).

Given that Mayweather made roughly $250 million (£193m) for the Pacquiao fight, it can be safely assumed that his career earnings will surpass $1bn this summer.

According to Forbes: “Another massive purse awits the five-division world champion in August for his boxing match versus UFC star Conor McGregor. If Mayweather can secure a similar payday to his 2015 Manny Pacquiao bout, it will push his career earnings to $1 billion.”

How many other athletes have made over $1bn during their careers?

Not many. The only other athletes to earn such a large amount of money during their sporting careers are basketball player Michael Jordan ($1.5bn) and Tiger Woods ($1.4bn), who both enjoyed a number of lucrative sponsorships, principally with Nike.

There are three others if you adjust for inflation: golfers Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, and seven-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher.

Who sponsors Mayweather?

Perhaps surprisingly, Mayweather doesn’t have that many active sponsorships. In 2015, he told Fortune magazine that this was not because brands were not interested in working with him, but because his baseline for entry is too high for most. How much does he demand? $1m.

This may only partially be the reason. Mayweather also has a chequered past, and has previously been charged with domestic violence and misdemeanor battery, which means that some brands may have been reluctant to work with him.

For the Pacquiao fight, three brands did decide to sponsor him however. Burger King, daily fantasy sports site FanDuel, and Swiss watchmaker Hublot all dished out over $1m.

Why did he split with Top Rank?

In 2007 Mayweather founded his own boxing promotional firm, Mayweather Promotions, after defecting from Bob Arum’s Top Rank.

He broke ties with Top Rank after activating a $750k (£578k) break clause, believing that he could make more money promoting his own fights.

It proved to be a shrewd choice: he earned pay checks ranging between $25m-$40m (£19.3m-£31m) over the next six years, before he broke new records for his fight against Canelo Alvarez, which netted him over $70m (£54m).

What has his richest fight been?

Until now, it has been the contest with Pacquiao. Mayweather is believed to have made $220m (£175m) from the contest, with the fight generating an incredible $600m (£470m) in revenues.

For his last fight, a unanimous points decision win against Andre Berto, he secured far less: $32m (£25m).

And how much does Mayweather stand to earn from this fight?

If the PPV stays roughly in line with the Mayweather v Pacquiao fight, the Mayweather v McGregor fight purse is likely to be worth around $390m (£300m). Total revenues are meanwhile expected to exceed $500m (£390m).

Somewhat unfortunately, the two men signed a confidentiality agreement when they signed their contracts, meaning the exact split will not be revealed.

We know that Mayweather is getting more however, with estimates ranging in the 70-75% region

By Luke Brown

Ikea buys gig economy odd-jobs company TaskRabbit

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Fri, 29 Sept, 2017) London, Uk – –

Ikea has bought the gig economy odd-jobs company TaskRabbit, becoming the latest retailer to move into offering services alongside products.

Jesper Brodin, the president and chief executive of Ikea Group, said the Swedish homeware chain was responding to increasing urbanisation and a shift to digital shopping that challenged traditional retail.

“We need to develop the business faster and in a more flexible way. An acquisition of TaskRabbit would be an exciting leap in this transformation,” he said.

TaskRabbit, based in San Francisco and set up in 2008, operates in 40 cities in the US and the UK, connecting customers through its app with home maintenance tradespeople who can handle furniture assembly, decorating, cleaning and deliveries.

Users flag jobs they want doing, and taskers, as the company refers to them, can select work nearby, apparently choosing the rate at which they will be paid.

TaskRabbit will continue to operate as an independent company within the Ikea Group and link up with other retailers. The value of the deal was undisclosed.

Ikea joins the likes of John Lewis and Debenhams in seeing services as a route to growth.

John Lewis launched its Home Solutions service this month after signing up 150 independent tradespeople, all of whom were vetted by the department store. After being tested in Milton Keynes, the service is being extended to Bristol, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Taunton.

Brodin said: “We will be able to learn from TaskRabbit’s digital expertise, while also providing Ikea customers additional ways to access flexible and affordable service solutions.”

The acquisition takes Ikea into the gig economy, with TaskRabbit workers classed as independent contractors who work when they want, where they want and at rates they set, but are not necessarily entitled to a minimum wage or holiday pay.

Other gig economy employers, including Uber and Deliveroo, have faced court action over the treatment of their workers, some of whom say they are not independent contractors and should receive holiday pay.

The buyout comes after Ikea tested recommending TaskRabbit workers to assemble furniture for customers late last year at some of its London stores.

TaskRabbit was founded by the former IBM software engineer Leah Busque. The company has struggled to expand and partnered up to offer its services via Amazon last year.

By Sarah Butler

Possible fine for homeowners who sell draughty homes, a report has suggested

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 27 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

Homeowners who sell draughty homes could be fined, a report has suggested.

Economic consultancy Frontier Economics says the money raised could underpin government funding for insulating the homes of the least wealthy homeowners.

It is the most radical idea in the report, which also urges interest-free loans and tax and stamp duty rebates for people to insulate their homes.

Frontier warns the government will miss its targets on cutting carbon emissions unless it stops energy waste in homes.

  • Households ‘need help to get warmer home’
  • ‘Abysmal’ take-up for Green Deal loans

The government said it is considering many options as part of its long-delayed Clean Growth Plan, which is expected soon.

Frontier’s report notes that government advisers say ageing housing stock is the biggest obstacle to meeting the UK’s climate change targets.

Improving homes also gives a boost to health and comfort and keeps bills down. But renovating homes is often an expensive hassle.

The report says that, following the collapse of the ill-fated Green Deal home loan scheme, ministers must find new ways of incentivising people to take on improvement work.

The Green Deal was criticised for offering loans at 7% interest.

The report suggests instead offering equity loans at lower than the standard mortgage rate, to be paid back when owners die or move house.

Another idea is to charge differential stamp duty depending on the level of insulation in the property.

Traditionally the Treasury has been unwilling to fund improvements that will increase the value of people’s homes, but it’s under pressure to be creative to solve the problem.

Infrastructure priority

The report also suggests that people should be tempted to invest in home improvements through a “salary sacrifice” scheme – where part of a person’s salary goes towards energy efficient renovation, and they then save on the associated income tax.

Frontier Economics’ report was funded by a coalition of groups concerned about housing stock – including the architects’ body Riba; the green thinktank e3g; the Institution of Civil Engineers and the electricity group Energy UK.

They all want housing treated as an infrastructure priority.

“It’s the package of measures that matters,” a spokesman, Ed Matthew, told BBC News.

“We want to stop the government’s incremental, short-termist, approach – and treat this like the major infrastructure programme it is… after all every home must be zero carbon within 30 years.”

By Roger Harrabin

The CEO offering a monthly clothing subscription box for men

 

Andres Izquieta is the CEO of Five-Four Club, a monthly clothing subscription box for men. Andres says entrepreneurs have ideas and find out how to go out and execute that idea. Andres talks about how he always knew he wanted to become an entrepreneur and start his own business. He talks about their first round of funding, and how they use Instagram as a tool for their business.

Entrepreneurs looking to exit at a rate not seen in years

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 20 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

Entrepreneurs are looking to downsize, sell or close their firms at a rate not seen in years, a survey has suggested.

The Federation of Small Business (FSB) found that 13% of respondents were looking for ways out of their business, the highest percentage since it began measuring in 2012.

The survey also indicated that optimism among small firms had tumbled.

The FSB blamed the fall in optimism on rising costs and a weaker UK economy.

“A record proportion of business owners currently expect to downsize, sell or shut up shop, while rent and taxation are frequently mentioned as causes of increased costs. We need to see more support in this space – that includes ending enforcement of the ridiculous ‘staircase tax’,” said Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman.

The term “staircase tax” emerged when some firms found they were paying extra business rates because they had an office divided by a staircase.

The FSB’s Small Business Index is based on a survey of 1,230 of its members and was last conducted in July – the responses were used to create a weighted index.

In July, the confidence index fell to 1 from 15 in the previous quarter. The lowest levels of confidence were seen in retail and entertainment firms, according to the FSB.

Exporting happiness

However, the FSB noted that confidence has been rising among exporters, with 40% reporting an increase in overseas sales.

Exporters have been boosted by the weakened pound, which helps make their products more competitively priced overseas.

The report also indicated that, overall, small firms are looking to increase their workforce.

“Employment intentions are up, but so too are labour costs. This is causing significant problems in a number of sectors, not least hospitality and retail,” Mr Cherry said.

“With conference season and the Autumn Budget approaching, policymakers have an opportunity to restore optimism.”

The number of people on zero hours contracts in the UK falls

Tim Tabor/flickr

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Tue, 19 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

The number of people on zero hours contracts in the UK has fallen slightly, according to the latest official figures.

Between April and June 2017, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that 883,000 people were on contracts that do not guarantee work.

This is 2.2% lower than the figure from the same period in 2016.

However, the proportion of British workers on zero-hours contracts remained broadly flat at 2.8%.

In July, a government review of employment practices said too many employers and businesses were relying on zero-hours, short-hours or agency contracts, when they could be more forward-thinking in their scheduling.

It did not call for a ban, but did suggest reforms such as reclassifying workers for platform-based firms such as Uber as “dependent contractors” and improving in-work training.

The prime minister said the government would take the report’s recommendations seriously.

IoD encourage new start-ups to use pension pot

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Sat, 9 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

Older entrepreneurs should be allowed to dip into their pension pot without a tax penalty to fund a new business, a lobby group has suggested.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) said the government should let older people withdraw up to 10% of their pension pot tax-free to get a start-up going.

Younger workers should also receive tax relief to pay for training, it said.

The government brought in major reforms allowing people to access their pension from the age of 55, subject to tax.

The IoD suggested that these reforms should now be extended to support a more flexible, ageing population.

“People in their 60s now are on the front line of the shifting boundaries between work and retirement,” said Lady Barbara Judge, who chairs the IoD.

“The government should consider introducing tax incentives to encourage people to pursue their ideas and invest in training, so that they can continue to have fulfilling working lives beyond the age expected by previous generations.”

Since 2015, the government has allowed anyone aged 55 and over to take 25% of their pension pot as a tax-free lump sum.

They can also cash in the rest of their pension pot, but this is subject to the normal rates of income tax.

A recent report by the City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, suggested that withdrawing money from pension pots had become the “new norm”.

However, the pensions industry disputed that claim. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said 100,000 people took money out of their pension pots every quarter, which was small compared to the 4.7 million people over the age of 55 who left their pots untouched.

Training plan

The IoD said that older entrepreneurs – which it does not define by a specific age – should be allowed to withdraw a further 10% of their pension pot to fund starting up a new business, within the same tax year. This would be in addition to the existing 25% tax-free allowance.

This would be policed by pension providers, the IoD suggested.

It also proposed that the government allow people to pay for training during their working lives from their gross pay, in a similar scheme to childcare vouchers or cycle to work salary sacrifice schemes.

The Treasury said it would outline any tax measures during a Budget, so it would not comment directly on the IoD’s proposals.

“We have already made major reforms to pensions that give hardworking people real freedom and choice over how they access their retirement. Many people can now access their pensions from age 55 and can also withdraw up to 25% of their money without paying tax,” a Treasury spokeswoman said.