Expats Face Tax Threat
Britons working abroad who return to the UK for meetings risk being drawn into the tax net if they work there for more than 10 days a year, according to new guidelines, the Financial Times reported on 1 April. It is the first time HM Revenue & Customs has explicitly put a figure on the number of days non-residents can work in Britain. It has long been said that non-residents cannot spend more than an average of 90 days a year in the country, but that includes leisure and family visits. The guidance came under fire from some tax experts, but others welcomed its transparency and consistency.
High-Speed Broadband Offered
Fujitsu has offered super-fast optical-fiber broadband for 5mn rural UK homes at a cost of £500mn to the taxpayer, the Metro reported on 13 April. The firm has vowed speeds of up to 1Gbps, possibly rising to 10Gbps, compared to the maximum 100Mbps promised by BT for 25% of homes by 2015. Fujitsu would have to rely on BT infrastructure such as poles and underground ducts. The bid won support from Virgin Media and TalkTalk, which signalled a potential breakaway from BT after clashing over prices. However, Fujitsu insisted the deal would only be viable if it received state funding, while BT made it clear they would expect a similar cash backing for their super-fast broadband proposals.
Super Computer for Wales
Fujitsu will develop and maintain a super-computer system for the Welsh Assembly Government, the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun reported on 28 March. The £15mn deal is part of the government’s “High Performance Computing (HPC) Wales” five-year scheme to stimulate the economy by providing local universities and firms with access to advanced computing technology and facilities.
Scottish Firm Sends Generators
Glasgow-based Aggreko plc is sending Japan electricity generators to help restore power following the devastating earthquake and tsunami, the Herald Scotland reported on 5 April.
The contract—estimated to be worth £40 million—would provide 100 megawatts of gas-fired and 100 megawatts of diesel-fired generation for at least one year.
The equipment would be installed in the Tokyo Bay area and help provide electricity to the capital from June.
Factories “May Face Shortages”
UK production lines were set to be hit by supply shortages from late April due to power cuts and earthquake damage in Japan, AE Harris Chairman Russell Luckock said on Sky News on 17 March. The pressings firm boss said scheduled batches of components and units take about a month to reach Britain.
“Now these difficulties will have a knock-on effect on British companies and few will be able to resource very quickly”.
Parts Firm Profit Increase
A Wearside car-parts manufacturer has seen a sharp rise in profits after picking up work from the nearby Nissan car plant and opening new facilities in Birmingham, The Journal reported on 1 April.
Japanese-owned Unipres UK saw its year-on year turnover increase from £119m to £146m for the year to 31 December, 2010, while its pre-tax profits rose from £11.8m to £14.2m.
New Law for Foreign Firms
Japanese consumers and employees will find it easier to file lawsuits against foreign firms in Japanese courts after legislation was approved on 28 April, the Mainichi Shimbun reported. The revised laws will allow courts to deal with cases if the complainant is resident in Japan, if defendant foreign firms have their main offices here, or if their representatives live in Japan. The move comes amid increasing problems involving internet transactions and employment contracts between people in Japan and foreign firms.
Briton Held for Election Protest
Police in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture arrested British teacher Edward Jones, aged 34, for allegedly violating the Public Offices Election Law, the Sankei Shimbun reported on 24 April. According to police, Jones had snatched a microphone from an election candidate in front of JR Higashi-tokorozawa Station and shouted “Japanese elections are too noisy”. Police said Jones had been drinking with his friends before the alleged incident.