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Hornby sales take off during lockdown as families turn to hobbies

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hornby sales take off during lockdown as families turn to hobbies

Hornby enjoyed a lockdown boost, as housebound families turned to hobbies to entertain themselves.

The firm, famous for its model trains, said sales between April and August had been higher than the previous year and exceeded its expectations.

As the company held its annual shareholder meeting yesterday, Hornby, which also owns brands including Airfix and Scalextric, confirmed its operations are ‘nearly back to normal’ following lockdown.

The few: Demand for models during lockdown was so high that Hornby ran out of Airfix Spitfires (pictured) ¿ though they are now back in stock

The few: Demand for models during lockdown was so high that Hornby ran out of Airfix Spitfires (pictured) ¿ though they are now back in stock

The few: Demand for models during lockdown was so high that Hornby ran out of Airfix Spitfires (pictured) – though they are now back in stock

Chief executive Lyndon Davies said: ‘We’ve seen sales increase across all brands and in all markets. In lockdown we could see more things like Airfix selling. Everyone stuck at home was twiddling their thumbs.’

Hornby even ran out of Airfix Spitfires – though they are now back in stock. 

Davies said adults had sought comfort in toys of their childhood. He said: ‘Parents and grandparents know names like Airfix and Hornby, so that’s what they’ve turned to.’ 

His eldest daughter is a nurse, inspiring him to sell ‘Captain Tom’ locomotives and give the proceeds to the NHS. It raised £140,000.

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Bitcoin price: Why has it reached its highest price for nearly three years?

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A surging appetite for bitcoin since the end of September has seen the price of the cryptocurrency soar to levels last seen in January 2018, with one of America’s largest banks even suggesting it could prove an alternative to gold. 

At one point on Wednesday, it almost touched the $14,000 barrier – but despite a slight dip since, it has risen from $10,500 a coin at the end of last month to around $13,000 today, or £10,000 

The steep climb in the price since mid-October means the cryptocurrency has risen 87 per cent in value earlier this week compared to last year, with the total value of the 18.5million coins in circulation now $243billion.

The price of Bitcoin has hit more than $13,000, the highest it has been since January 2018

The price of Bitcoin has hit more than $13,000, the highest it has been since January 2018

The price of Bitcoin has hit more than $13,000, the highest it has been since January 2018 

Even though Britain’s financial regulator announced at the start of October it would ban the sale of cryptocurrency-related derivatives to casual investors from next January over the potential harm they posed, the cryptocurrency has received a string of positive headlines which have helped spur investor confidence.

Last Wednesday PayPal said from next year US customers would be able to buy, hold and sell bitcoin within its app and use it to make payments for a fee, rather than simply using PayPal as a way of funding purchases from the likes of Coinbase.

Even though those who were paid this way would see it converted back into regular money, the news saw bitcoin shoot up in value by around $800 in a day, according to figures from Coindesk.

Glen Goodman, an expert and author of the book The Crypto Trader, called the news ‘a really significant vindication of Bitcoin from mainstream finance.’

Meanwhile Twitter founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey’s payments company Square announced it had bought $50million worth of coins earlier in October.

While many investors continue to see bitcoin simply as a speculative asset to try and make money on, crypto enthusiasts were likely buoyed to see more possible instances where it could actually be used as a payment method in the future.

Bitcoin's price is always volatile but it has been on an upward trajectory since a mass sell-off in global stock markets in mid-March

Bitcoin's price is always volatile but it has been on an upward trajectory since a mass sell-off in global stock markets in mid-March

Bitcoin’s price is always volatile but it has been on an upward trajectory since a mass sell-off in global stock markets in mid-March

Analysts at JP Morgan suggested a fortnight ago on the back of the news from PayPal and Square that the ‘potential long-term upside for bitcoin is considerable’, and that it could even compete ‘more intensely with gold as an alternative currency’ due to its greater popularity among younger users.

The analysts added that: ‘Cryptocurrencies derive value not only because they serve as stores of wealth but also due to their utility as means of payment. 

‘The more economic agents accept cryptocurrencies as a means of payment in the future, the higher their utility and value.’

The comparison with gold, even though the FCA described cryptocurrencies as having ‘extreme volatility’, is also likely another reason for the rise in bitcoin’s price since global stock markets fell dramatically in mid-March.

PayPal's announcement that customers from next year would be able to make payments in bitcoin - even if they were converted back into real money - led to the price shooting up

PayPal's announcement that customers from next year would be able to make payments in bitcoin - even if they were converted back into real money - led to the price shooting up

PayPal’s announcement that customers from next year would be able to make payments in bitcoin – even if they were converted back into real money – led to the price shooting up

Gold is seen as a store of value due to its finite nature, while the 21million coin cap on bitcoin may ‘appeal to some investors as they see Government deficits balloon’, Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell said.

Central banks across the world have been pumping money into their economies as they seek to support governments and businesses through the coronavirus pandemic by keeping borrowing costs low, which some fear will lead to rampant inflation and a decline in currencies like the dollar.

Goodman added he felt the prices has ‘been largely driven by the money-printing narrative, with central banks – particularly the US Federal Reserve – expanding the money supply to counteract the effect of coronavirus on the economy.

‘The dollar has been depreciating as a consequence, and a lot of investors – and even companies – are starting to hedge their dollar holdings by diversifying into “hard currencies” like gold and Bitcoin.’

There were more UK searches for bitcoin ahead of its halving in May, even though it had less of an impact on the price

There were more UK searches for bitcoin ahead of its halving in May, even though it had less of an impact on the price

There were more UK searches for bitcoin ahead of its halving in May, even though it had less of an impact on the price

This cocktail of good news stories and action by central banks has meant that bitcoin has massively outperformed the slight price rise seen ahead of its ‘halving’ in May, which cut the reward for digitally mining bitcoin and constricting its supply.

Although data from Google Trends suggests this led to far more searches for bitcoin in the UK than has been seen over the last month, the price did not touch $10,000 until late July, two months after the event.

However, even if enthusiasts are increasingly excitable about bitcoin’s future as a payment method, it is possible that a lot of the interest is still being driven by gamblers, speculators and those hoping the price will simply keep going up.

Some 47 per cent of people surveyed by the Financial Conduct Authority in a report published in July said they had never used cryptocurrency for anything, with £260 bought on average largely ‘as a gamble that could make or lose money’.

And even JP Morgan’s analysts cautioned that in ‘the near term, bitcoin looks rather overbought and vulnerable to profit taking’.

If you do buy into bitcoin 

Find out how bitcoin and the blockchain works, so that you have some understanding of the system, the ledger, the major players and the public and private key elements.

Remember bitcoin yields nothing and its main source of value is scarcity. Most bitcoin activity is trading not investing. 

Research coin wallets, the digital vaults where cryptocurrency is held, and consider security carefully. Bitcoins have been stolen before, understand how this happened.

Be prepared for extreme volatility. The price can move by 20 per cent in one day and you could easily lose half of your cash in a far quicker time that investing in the stock market.

Consider how you would cash in any gains. There are reports that this has proved hard for some people. A time of market stress could lead to people being locked in and unable to trade.

Read our guide to How to be a successful investor, which looks at the far less high octane world of long-term investing and how to make it a success. 

What is bitcoin?

The digital currency that most will be familiar with is free from government interference and can be shared instantly online. It doesn’t rely on trusting one central monetary authority.

The underlying technology is blockchain, a financial ledger maintained by a network of computers that can track the movement of any asset without the need for a central regulator. 

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Just days to go to submit paper tax returns: what do you need to know?

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just days to go to submit paper tax returns what do you need to know
Dawn Register is head of tax dispute resolution and accountancy and business advisory firm BDO

Dawn Register is head of tax dispute resolution and accountancy and business advisory firm BDO

Dawn Register is head of tax dispute resolution and accountancy and business advisory firm BDO

Dawn Register is head of tax dispute resolution and accountancy and business advisory firm BDO.

The deadline for submitting your paper tax return is now just days away – falling on Saturday 31 October 2020. 

We always advise clients to not wait until the last minute to get their ducks in a row, and no doubt most taxpayers would rather not spend their Friday evening and half of the weekend sorting their financial affairs!

This year more than ever taxpayers will want to calculate their tax bill and plan for cash flow in advance of payment deadlines. The tax payment deadline for 2018-19 liabilities remains 31 January 2021. 

However HMRC is extending its ‘time to pay’ support where cash flow difficulties arise, including an online facility to apply to spread payments of up to £30,000. At a time when many people are concerned about tax debt, cash flow planning is essential.

If you miss the paper filing deadline you have two choices. If you are a technophobe, you could file a late return on paper and face a fine of £100 (more if you don’t file it by 31 January – HMRC can begin to charge £10 per day). 

If you switch to an online return and file that before 31 January there will be no filing penalty. 

If either paper or online returns are still outstanding six months after their submission deadlines then HMRC will charge an additional penalty of £300 or five per cent of the tax liability shown on the return, whichever is greater.

The deadline for submitting your paper tax return is falling on Saturday 31 October 2020

The deadline for submitting your paper tax return is falling on Saturday 31 October 2020

The deadline for submitting your paper tax return is falling on Saturday 31 October 2020

Here are some tips if you are putting your paper return together last minute:

  • Make sure you have all the relevant papers ready to hand before you start filling in the form – a basic point but crucial to avoid errors or omissions down the line. This will include downloading or requesting bank statements, expense receipts, employment income and self-employed records
  • Check whether your figures are gross (including tax) or net (excluding tax) on items like dividends and bank interest. This consideration is critical to ensuring you are paying the correct amount of tax
  • For those who are employed, check you have all your PAYE coding notices for the tax year. In particular, check if there is any overpaid or underpaid tax included in your code. This will need to go into your return to make sure the final number is correct
  • Check all your numbers thoroughly before you sign and post your return. Many errors are made by simple transposition – an extra zero can make a big difference! Don’t forget to keep a copy of what you send.
  • Last but not least, if later on you spot that you made a mistake on your return, you have 12 months to submit an amended one. However, if you haven’t paid all the tax due by 31 January you will have to pay interest on any tax paid late with your amended return.

Leaving your tax return to the last minute inevitably means that things are done in a rush and, with the best will in the world, mistakes can be made which give HMRC further opportunities to charge tax geared penalties for errors.

Furthermore, following HMRC’s announcement in July that phase two of its ‘Making Tax Digital’ programme will apply to all self-employed and landlord businesses with turnover in excess of £10,000, perhaps now is the time to be brave and move to online reporting.

Dawn Register manages voluntary disclosures and resolves complex tax investigations. She also uses mediation to resolve disputes with HMRC. Dawn specialises in UK personal tax and cross border issues. Her recent work has focused on changes in HMRC powers, information exchange and disclosure opportunities.

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VW promotes its new £30.000 ID.3 electric car with billboards that EAT pollution

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Volkswagen has big expectations for its new ID.3 electric car. The zero-emission family hatchback is hitting the UK with a price tag starting from less than £30,000 and is already in huge demand.

And to keep orders flooding in, the German manufacturer has unveiled a new advertising campaign to celebrate the car’s carbon neutral production.

Though the billboards used to promote the vehicle in six major cities are not like any other ad poster, with Volkswagen claiming they ‘eat’ pollution.

Pollution-eat adverts: Volkswagen has unveiled a new advertising campaign for its ID.3 electric car with painted murals using a material that is claimed to eliminate emissions. Pictured: One of the six ads in Birmingham

Pollution-eat adverts: Volkswagen has unveiled a new advertising campaign for its ID.3 electric car with painted murals using a material that is claimed to eliminate emissions. Pictured: One of the six ads in Birmingham

Pollution-eat adverts: Volkswagen has unveiled a new advertising campaign for its ID.3 electric car with painted murals using a material that is claimed to eliminate emissions. Pictured: One of the six ads in Birmingham 

The giant images of the new emission-free ID.3 are painted with a product called Airlite.

This is a 100 per cent natural material designed to eliminate bacteria and reduce pollutants, such as nitrogen oxide (NOx).

It was decided to use Airlite, rather than LED screens or a traditional boarded poster, because 100 square metres of the paint can reduce air pollution in the same way as planting 100 square metres of forest.

VW says 100 square metres of the paint can reduce air pollution in the same way as planting 100 square metres of forest

VW says 100 square metres of the paint can reduce air pollution in the same way as planting 100 square metres of forest

VW says 100 square metres of the paint can reduce air pollution in the same way as planting 100 square metres of forest

One of the billboards is on the busy Euston Road in central London close to Great Portland Street tube station

One of the billboards is on the busy Euston Road in central London close to Great Portland Street tube station

One of the billboards is on the busy Euston Road in central London close to Great Portland Street tube station 

VW's electric family car comes under £30,000: The ID.3 Life will become the most affordable version of the new Golf-sized hatchback, priced at £29,990 including the Government's plug-in vehicle grant

VW's electric family car comes under £30,000: The ID.3 Life will become the most affordable version of the new Golf-sized hatchback, priced at £29,990 including the Government's plug-in vehicle grant

VW’s electric family car comes under £30,000: The ID.3 Life will become the most affordable version of the new Golf-sized hatchback, priced at £29,990 including the Government’s plug-in vehicle grant

The car manufacturer has created a series of six murals located in cities across the UK.

Where you can find the pollution-eating billboards

London: 337 Euston Road, NW1 3AD

Bristol: Cabot Circus, Glass House, Penn Street Bristol, BS1 3BX

Cardiff: 5 Quay Street, Cardiff, CF10 1DZ

Glasgow: 60 Washington St, Glasgow G3 8AZ

Manchester: 46 Shudehill, Manchester, M4 4AA

Birmingham: 164 High Street, Deritend, Birmingham, B12 0LD

Each took between three and five days to paint and is designed to showcase the green credentials of the new pure-electric ID.3.

The unconventional adverts are in London, Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, Bristol, and Glasgow.

Volkswagen chose the environmentally-friendly campaign to highlight the car’s claim to being ‘net carbon neutral’.

The factory where the ID.3 is assembled in Zwickau, Germany, is entirely powered by renewable energy, with many third-parties in the supply chain also using green energy.

Where carbon emissions are unavoidable, for example during shipping, these are compensated by supporting internationally recognised climate protection projects such as the restoration of forests in Borneo, Indonesia.

When on the road in the UK, customers can keep their ID.3 carbon-neutral by charging their car for free at more than 250 Tesco stores across the UK as part of Volkswagen’s partnership with the supermarket and PodPoint.

The adverts - this one in Cardiff - are aimed at promoting the ID.3's carbon-neutral production in Germany and general green credentials of the electric car

The adverts - this one in Cardiff - are aimed at promoting the ID.3's carbon-neutral production in Germany and general green credentials of the electric car

The adverts – this one in Cardiff – are aimed at promoting the ID.3’s carbon-neutral production in Germany and general green credentials of the electric car 

Each mural took between three and five days to paint. The advertising boards will remain up for one month, Volkswagen UK said

Each mural took between three and five days to paint. The advertising boards will remain up for one month, Volkswagen UK said

Each mural took between three and five days to paint. The advertising boards will remain up for one month, Volkswagen UK said

The mural in Glasgow on Washington Street can be seen from quite a distance

The mural in Glasgow on Washington Street can be seen from quite a distance

The mural in Glasgow on Washington Street can be seen from quite a distance

Just last month, the first examples of the ID.3 arrived on UK soil.

These cars were the ‘1st Edition’ models that had been available to pre-order months earlier, with just 1,500 up for grabs.

Early adopters snapped up the limited run of cars, which sold out in a matter of days.

These 1st Edition vehicles were high spec and priced from £36,000 – around £6,000 more than the current cheapest ID.3 – to take advantage of the huge demand for Volkswagen’s first dedicated electric car in its new spin-off ID range. 

One of the six locations chosen for the VW adverts is Bristol, right in the bustling city centre

One of the six locations chosen for the VW adverts is Bristol, right in the bustling city centre

One of the six locations chosen for the VW adverts is Bristol, right in the bustling city centre

The earliest version of the all-new VE ID.3 on sale - called the 1st Edition - have been available to order since July and arrived in the UK early last month

The earliest version of the all-new VE ID.3 on sale - called the 1st Edition - have been available to order since July and arrived in the UK early last month

The earliest version of the all-new VE ID.3 on sale – called the 1st Edition – have been available to order since July and arrived in the UK early last month

The performance figures of the new cars puts the ID.3 into direction rivalry with Tesla's Model 3, which has become the UK's best-selling zero emissions cars of 2020

The performance figures of the new cars puts the ID.3 into direction rivalry with Tesla's Model 3, which has become the UK's best-selling zero emissions cars of 2020

The performance figures of the new cars puts the ID.3 into direction rivalry with Tesla’s Model 3, which has become the UK’s best-selling zero emissions cars of 2020

Sarah Cox, head of marketing at Volkswagen UK, said: ‘The ID.3 is not only Volkswagen’s first dedicated, ground-up electric car, but it is also a sign of our intent to become a carbon-neutral company by 2050.

‘It is delivered to customers net carbon-neutral, and so this innovative outdoor advertising campaign fits in well with our environmentally-aware approach.’ 

The advertising boards will remain up for one month. 

You can find out more about the range and pricing of VW ID.3s available to UK customers in our dedicated story

Inside, the ID.3 has a 10-inch touch screen, keyless start and the ID.Light interior system that alerts the driver and passenger if there are any immediate risks

Inside, the ID.3 has a 10-inch touch screen, keyless start and the ID.Light interior system that alerts the driver and passenger if there are any immediate risks

Inside, the ID.3 has a 10-inch touch screen, keyless start and the ID.Light interior system that alerts the driver and passenger if there are any immediate risks

NEW VOLKSWAGEN ID.3 SPECIFICATIONS WITH PRICE AND PERFORMANCE 
ID.3 Pro Performance specifications (58 kWh and 204 PS) 
Model  Price* 0-62 mph  Range Energy consumption
Life £29,990 7.3 sec 263 miles 4.2 miles/kWh
Business £33,720 7.3 sec 262 miles 4.2 miles/kWh
Family £34,650 7.3 sec 260 miles 4.2 miles/kWh
Style £34,180 7.3 sec 261 miles 4.2 miles/kWh
Tech £36,190 7.3 sec 260 miles 4.2 miles/kWh
Max £38,220 7.3 sec 258 miles 4.2 miles/kWh
ID.3 Pro S specifications (77 kWh and 204 PS) 
Tour £39,290 7.9 sec 336 miles 4.1 miles/kWh
*price inclusive of PiCG 
SAVE MONEY ON MOTORING

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