For those people who do not like Neil (and this demographic extends much wider than you might think than the tawdry office of a certain BPP centre in London) we think we finally have him. Neil Taylor (87) was spotted leaving a supermarket in Ealing, London this morning (Thursday 4 March) without paying for his bag of shopping. A Scotland Yard spokesperson said their switchboard had been overwhelmed with calls, mainly from a person who left just his initials 'CU', seeking to shop the apparently forgetful head of NTI. When questioned about this, and informed of the initials of the apparent observer, Neil simply said:
"Are those initials, or merely the first part of his general description?"
Neil was one of the first customers to emerge from Amazon Fresh, the brand's first “contactless” food store outside the States, with customers able to head inside, pick products off the shelf and walk out without queuing at a till. It is like magic. You simply download an app, walk in, scooch around, take stuff off shelves and walk out without as much as a glance at your wallet. Surrey housewives are said to be beside themselves with glee at the prospect of taking their No. 1 hobby into supermarkets, although some of them still admit to attention seeking and 'strange urges' that 'just are not like them'. Shopping for food at the retail giant's store is said to be "a frictionless experience", one that another group of Surrey housewives will sadly empathise with.
Talking of smooth experiences, the UK woke up today to the afterglow of 00 Sunak's budget. Not that construction firms and some manufacturers had managed any sleep, as they had been surrounded since three o'clock yesterday afternoon by plant and machinery catalogues. Rishi's super deduction investment initiative, announced in his spring budget, will effectively pay companies to invest in plant and machinery for two years. Companies can cut their tax bills by 130 per cent of the value of investments made between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2023. There is no cap on the amount they can claim and Amazon have, apparently, ordered two billion sensors to place in their contactless supermarkets around the world and us Brits now owe them £14 billion in tax returns.
HMRC's website says that the first-year allowances permit enhanced rates of relief for certain plant and machinery investments, providing claims are made in the period the expenditure is incurred. The super-deduction is an enhanced first-year allowance providing an allowance exceeding the cost of the asset. This is a little cushioning of the blow for companies who will be subject to the new 25 per cent Corporation Tax charge from 2023.
On the 'super deduction', which is a very cool name for allowances on buying metal stuff, bank commentators said the change could boost spending on warehouses, potentially giving a tax break to online delivery companies, which have been among the biggest winners during the pandemic.
Neil has just nipped out to see if he can pick up three or four heavy-duty trenchers and some exo-skeletons for the business with the money he saved on stealing his shopping this morning.