The Festive Season – A Glimmer of Respite From the Economic Gloom

The festive season is in full swing with retailers both on the high street and via the internet aggressively advertising in order to attract potential Christmas shoppers. The bombardment of clichéd televised campaigns is symbolic of the level of competitiveness amongst retailers and the desperation to encourage consumer spending at the end of what has been a fairly stagnant year.

One can look at this wave of advertisements with cynical eyes highlighting the lack of appetite for genuine innovation. Yet, these times are a formidable period for businesses during which a major proportion of annual turnover is made.

John Lewis is already proclaiming its Christmas advertisement a success. It seems that the nostalgic snowman scene accompanied by a haunting cover of the “Power of Love” by Gabrielle Aplin has generated immense interest and in turn, a spike in sales. High ticket items, such as tablets are proving to be a front runner on the Christmas wish list.

However, consumer spending is indeed critical as the UK remains stuck in a long period of at best sluggish growth. This has recently prompted the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Autumn Statement to revise his targets to solve the problem of national debt and extend his forecast for the time that he deems necessary to clear it. The Chancellor is also looking to reduce what he views as “tax avoidance” by allocating more tax inspectors to review the “fair” contribution of the wealthiest to the State’s coffers.

In light of the country’s debt woes, now is not the time to allow the Christmas spirit to conjure spiralling personal debt. The best advice is to prepare a budget and stick to it! Try not to get carried away, leading to mounting debt worries in the New Year.

This is the time for you to ensure that your finances are well in order.

Elizabeth Zeisel – Audit Team

Westbury Accountants and Business Advisors is an accountancy practice based in London. Westbury have been providing Accounting and Tax solutions to small and medium sized businesses since 1936. Talk to the team at Westbury on 0207 253 7272 or visit http://www.westbury.co.uk.