Business Roundup for Spain and the UK

Business Roundup for Spain and the UK

JEREMY HUNT: Chancellor’s Autumn Statement was welcomed by pensioners Photo credit: X-Jeremy Hunt

State pension boost CHANCELLOR Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement brought good news for pensioners, with state pensions increasing by 8.5 per cent.

This remains in line with the normal level of earnings, ignoring the impact of bonuses on wage figures which would have meant a lower increment of 7.8 per cent.

The full new pension will rise from £203.85 (€233.95) a week to £221.20 (€253.80) or an annual £11,502 (€13,197).

Hunt’s decision meant that the “triple lock” continues and pensions will increase each April in line with whichever is higher between the previous September’s Consumer Prices Index inflation figure, the average increase in UK wages or 2.5 per cent.

Despite earlier speculation that Hunt was planning to slash Inheritance Tax by half from 40 per cent to 20 per cent, this failed to materialise.

Out of orbit THE Lara Garcia family plan to sell their 33 per cent, €900 million holding in the Grupo Planeta publishing, education and audiovisual group.

The multinational reported revenues of €1.8 billion in 2022, with earnings of €350 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.

Planeta is owned by three branches of the Lara family and the Lara Garcias announced recently that they had engaged Morgan Stanley to carry out the operation.

Company sources declined to comment on the future Lara Garcia sale, but insiders pointed out that potential buyers would own only a minority holding while the remaining two-thirds of Grupo Planeta belonged to the Lara family who were committed to the group’s current strategy.

Making a move BIG FOUR accountancy firm EY is considering a move from its More London headquarters near London Bridge.

The company’s 25-year lease is due to expire in 2026 although UK media sources said that no firm decision has yet been taken. The review was still at an early stage and would take into account the 10-storey building’s office occupancy levels, the same sources added.

The company had already adopted a hybrid work policy in 2021 and EY was currently “examining its options” now that working from home has revolutionised professional activities.

Crypto control FORTY-EIGHT countries signed up to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) crypto-asset reporting framework (CARF) by 2027.

These countries, which include the UK, the EU, Gibraltar and the US, will integrate CARF into domestic law and activate exchange agreements by 2027.

The agreement recognised that “timely and consistent implementation of CARF” was necessary to ensure that global tax transparency achievements were not eroded by the growing global crypto-asset markets.

“This is a major step forward,” Mathias Cormann, the OECD’s secretary-general, said. “It marks another important milestone towards a widespread and co-ordinated approach to combatting tax evasion through greater transparency and exchange of information.”

Dividend promise INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES GROUP (IAG) pledged to resume paying dividends once its books and investment plans were “secure.”

The company, which owns British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus, distributed €4.1 billion in dividends and buybacks between 2016 and 2019 but has not paid shareholders since 2019, having withdrawn its final dividend owing to Covid.

The company’s losses reached €2.97 billion in 2021 but recovered in 2022 with a positive result of €1.225 billon.

IAG is now targeting a medium-term operating margin of between 12 and 15 per cent, compared with 13.5 per cent over the first three quarters of 2023.

Good as gold GOLD is once again providing a refuge in difficult times.

It reached its maximum price of $2,063 (€1,896) per ounce during the Covid pandemic in August 2020, and gold’s price has climbed by 9 per cent following the Hamas attack on Israel on October.

It now fetches $1,991(€1,830) per ounce, prompting experts to predict that it will at least maintain this level owing to the Middle East conflict.

Unsurprisingly, central banks are the best customers for gold, with the People’s Bank of China alone buying making purchases for 10 consecutive months, acquiring 217 tons between November 2022 and August 2023.

Off the boil LE CREUSET luxury cookware’s UK sales dipped by almost 20 per cent to £47.9 million (€54.9 million) in 2022.

Pre-tax profits fell to approximately £2 million (€2.3 million) compared with £3.5 million (€4.01 million) in 2021 when the company enjoyed significant growth as people turned to cooking from scratch during lockdown.

Le Creuset UK’s managing director Nick Ryder attributed the decline to “changing spending patterns” and increased costs in the post-Covid world.

“The market we operate in has seen a decrease in spend,” Ryder said.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at