Your commercial news round-up: Mini budget, JD Sports, ‘Spoons’, Worcester Warriors

updated on 29 September 2022

Reading time: four minutes

The 'mini budget', released by the new Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, has rightly been dominating our newsfeeds this week. But what else should you be keeping an eye on? JD Sports were fined more than two million for selling fixed price replica kits. Pub chain JD Wetherspoons announced the immediate sale of 32 pubs across England, and rugby club Worcester Warriors was placed into administration. Find out more about the commercial stories on our radar in this week’s round-up below.

  • On 23 September, the chancellor released what he claims are the largest tax cuts in a generation in the ‘mini-budget’. At a glance, the 45% higher rate of income tax abolished for England, Wales and Northern Ireland taxpayers has been cut, the basic rate of income tax will be cut from 20% to 19% from April 2023 and rules that limit bankers bonus’ will be scrapped.

    The budget introduced a single higher rate of income tax of 40% from April next year. An immediate change to stamp duty payments was implemented earlier in the week – stamp duty is paid when people buy property in England and Northern Ireland. These changes will see no stamp duty on the first £250,000 and for first-time buyers there will be no stamp duty on the first £425,000. The government has estimated that around 31 million people will be getting £170 more a year with these measurements in place.
  • Sports retailer JD Sports has been fined a more than £1.4 million by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). A bigshot of the sports retail world has been found guilty of fixing the price of official merchandise from September 2018 to July 2019. The CMA has fined JD Sports a total of £1,485,000.

    The penalty includes a settlement discount, this reflects the resource savings made by the CMA as a result of JD admitting to acting illegally. Elite Sports and Rangers were also found guilty of price fixing and are facing fines of £459,000 and £225,000, respectively. In agreement with the CMA’s standard terms of settlement, JD won’t appeal against the penalty.
  • In further financial news, pub chain JD Wetherspoon has been forced to take measures to protect itself from a potential £30 million loss. The chain will sell 32 of its pubs, primarily located in London and the South East. The group operates around 800 pubs across the UK and Ireland. The sites set for closure are a mix of 10 freehold and 22 leasehold units, considered for sale individually and in small packages.

    Eddie Gershon, a spokesperson for Weatherspoon, said: "On occasion Wetherspoon does put some of its pubs up for sale. This is a commercial decision. We understand that customers and staff will be disappointed with it. The pubs will continue to operate as Wetherspoon outlets until they are sold."
  • In the sporting industry, Rugby club Worcester Warriors have gone into administration, following an immediate suspension from all competitions. According to the Rugby Football Union (RFU), owners of the club missed the deadline to provide "evidence insurance cover, availability of funds to meet the monthly payroll, and a credible plan to take the club forward”.

    Following the RFU’s decision to suspend the club from all competitions, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport announced its decision to place the club into administration. Bill Sweeney, CEO for the RFU, said the union met with both players and staff last week to explain the necessity of the suspension.

    In a statement, he said: "We appreciate this is incredibly difficult news for fans, staff and players. We would like to thank the staff and players who have worked tirelessly over recent weeks to enable matches to continue.”

Check the News every Thursday for this weekly commercial news round-up.

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