Access to finance key to SME recovery – business news 23 July 2021

Access to finance key to SME recovery; Hiking jobs tax will hamper recovery, say small firms; UK factories enjoy post-lockdown output surge; Johnson backs emergency plan to avoid disruption to food supplies; Net zero transition a risk for SMEs and lots more business news.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Access to finance key to SME recovery – ACCA
Writing in City A.M., Claire Bennison, head of ACCA UK, reveals how a survey by the organisation found a varied picture of sentiment among SMEs with anxiety, uncertainty and stress plaguing business owners as they navigate the next stage of the pandemic.

Owners reported a sharp rise in stress in June, Bennison says, as the country started to reopen while in May, they reported feeling “paralysed by mixed messages” as they grappled with the constantly changing health crisis and the emergence of the Delta variant.

The ACCA’s latest tracker results show that businesses are now back trading at or above the level they expected, but they are struggling to obtain even the most traditional form of finance, such as an overdraft. Bennison appeals to the financial services sector to support small businesses as loan repayments kick in. “They need access to finance that doesn’t lead to personal debt that can really impact their mental health.”

If you are an SME owner looking to improve cashflow, talk to CPA!

No face-to-face meeting required – just call Peter Uwins, CPA’s National Sales Manager, on 020 8846 0000 (business hours) or email today.

Our credit management services have been helping prompt payment and boost cashflow for over 100 years. And if you need access to finance, our LPC service has been helping B2B businesses tap into an unexpected source of capital in the form of compensation on previous late payments in the past 6 years from former customers.

Hiking jobs tax will hamper recovery, say small firms
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned that an increase in employer national insurance contributions (NICs) to pay for long-term reform to social care will halt the recovery of small firms who are already struggling with access to finance, before it’s even started

National Chair of the FSB Mike Cherry said: “After the huge amount of damage wrought to businesses over the last 16 months, the Government cannot be serious about a strong economic recovery if it thinks hiking the jobs tax is a good idea. It is astonishing that just 24 hours after many businesses were able to re-open, ministers think now is a good time to land small firms with this bombshell.”

Meanwhile, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has questioned whether the Government should be raising NICs, telling Sky News that although huge amounts of money have been spent coping with the pandemic, a pledge not to raise income tax, national insurance or VAT during this parliament was a Conservative Party manifesto commitment.

UK factories enjoy post-lockdown output surge
British manufacturers’ expectations for output growth over the next three months are the strongest on record as the economy bounces back from its coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, the Confederation of British Industry said on Thursday. The CBI’s quarterly survey showed surging levels of employment and investment in factories but also acute inflation pressures. Average cost growth in the three months to July hit its fastest pace since 1980.

“UK industry is reawakening following the economic ravages of the pandemic,” CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said before going on to warn that: “Acute staff shortages evident across the economy are biting deeply within manufacturing, with skills in short supply and the number of people isolating climbing steeply.”

Together with the manufacturers’ body, Make UK, the CBI is calling for the Government to rethink self-isolation rules that have been preventing companies from working at full capacity. A survey conducted by Make UK showed 77% of companies were being impacted by test and trace, 13% said some production had been stopped, and a quarter said they had up to 10% of staff isolating, with almost one in 10 saying up to 25% were off work.

Johnson backs emergency plan to avoid disruption to food supplies
The UK Government has moved to address the “pingdemic” that has wrought chaos across Britain’s workforce as businesses grind to a halt after staff are told to self-isolate because of Covid.

Ministers will now roll out a testing regime to as many as 500 food-related workplaces “so that contacts who would otherwise be self-isolating can instead take daily tests”.

The Government has also named 16 sectors that can benefit from an exemption to the normal rules for people to quarantine for 10 days if they come into contact with someone who tests positive for Covid. The list includes energy, telecoms, food production and supply, waste, water, essential transport, emergency services, border control and medicines.

However, the guidance makes it clear that “not all, or in most cases even the majority of, workers in critical sectors” will be covered. This comes as over 600,000 people were alerted by the NHS Test and Trace app telling them to isolate.

Net zero transition a risk for SMEs
A report from Bankers for Net Zero has warned that the UK’s SMEs could be “forgotten or left behind” in the country’s net zero transition.  The initiative – supported by Barclays, Handelsbanken, Triodos, Ecology Building Society, ClearBank and Tide – argues that measures need to be implemented to avoid leaving SMEs unprepared to implement carbon reduction policies and regulations.

Bankers for Net Zero are calling on banks and policymakers to ensure SMEs are supported. They represent 99% of British businesses, employ a quarter of the population and account for 52% of turnover. The measures will help SMEs with access to finance,  including financial incentives that facilitate investments in decarbonising operations and offer lower interest rates and taxes.

Broadbent: Inflation spike temporary
Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent has said the rise in inflation is mainly due to temporary rises in goods prices and should not trigger a reduction in support for the economy. The Bank expects inflation to hit more than 3% but believes this is mostly down to oil price rises and is likely to “fall away” in the early part of 2022. His comments come as members of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee appear split over whether to begin a tightening of monetary policy or continue with economic stimulus.

Retail Sales

UK Retail Sales surged above pre-pandemic levels last month as consumers rushed back to high streets to buy products that were unavailable amid Covid-19 lock-downs, new figures released today reveal. The volume and value of retail sales in June were up 9.5 per cent and 10.6 per cent respectively compared to pre-pandemic levels. The Euro 2020 tournament no doubt contributed as well.

ECB decision

The European Central Bank has kept interest rates at a record low in a bid to stimulate higher price growth to help it reach its two per cent inflation target. The central bank of the 19 nations that share the euro intends to keep rates at lows for longer than first estimated


Vodafone Group has reported €9.4bn in service revenue for the first quarter of its financial year ending 20 June 2021, a 2.7% increase on the year. The figure represents a slight bump from the same period last year, which was up at €9.1bn in service revenue.


Britvic has reported a 22.8% rise in Q3 revenue to £384.8 million fueled by the easing of lockdown restrictions in the UK. Year to date revenue increased by 3.1% to £1.0 billion as performance was supported by trade restocking ahead of reopening, as well as continued strong consumer demand for Britvic brands.


Manufacturer Diploma has seen an 11% rise in underlying revenues, with very good trading trends in all three of its sectors.In a trading statement for the nine months ended 30 June 2021, the company said underlying revenues are now ahead of pre-pandemic levels, up 6% over the same period in FY2019.

Professional and financial services lead capital’s jobs boom
PwC, EY and Citi are leading the recruitment charge in the capital with hiring in London now topping pre-pandemic levels, according to data from jobs site Indeed. The firm said the most commonly advertised roles included internal auditor, risk manager, SAP consultant, transformation manager, senior VP and assistant VP. Indeed found jobs in banking and finance were up 161% year-on-year, insurance jobs rose 108%, and software and development roles are up by 102%. Legal roles were up 92%. The stats come as figures from the Office for National Statistics show pay was rising at 7.3% in the quarter to May, higher than economists expected.

Corbyn demands 55% income tax rate
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has endorsed a call to hike income tax to 45% for anyone earning over £80,000 a year. Those bringing in over £123,000 a year would pay 50% and those earning over £200,000 would pay 55%. Corbyn is backing a petition organised by the Labour Assembly Against Austerity which claims the “super-rich” have had a “good crisis” during the pandemic and should now be made to cough up more in tax. But Danielle Boxall, for the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Brits have already rejected this anti-aspirational nonsense. The last thing working taxpayers need is to be battered by huge tax hikes.”

Cleveland Bridge falls into administration
British structural engineer Cleveland Bridge UK, which employs about 220 people in Darlington, has fallen into administration. FRP Advisory, the administrator, said it was seeking a buyer for the business and will work with the company’s clients to discuss continued support on live projects. Partner Martyn Pullin commented: “Cleveland Bridge UK has been a flagbearer for cutting edge British engineering for more than a century […] It also has great potential and should attract interest from the steel fabricants sector and other firms looking to break into the specialist bridge building market. Unfortunately, without significant investment, the business will be wound up.” The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, has asked officials to look into the failure with Ben Houchen, the Tees Valley mayor, who hopes that a buyer will come forward.

Why should you become a CPA member!

The Credit Protection Association (CPA) has been assisting thousands of UK businesses to get paid since 1914. We have seen many financial crises, this one will be particularly deadly for suppliers for some time to come.

CPA eases cash from tardy debtors – Efficiently, Effectively, Economically and Ethically. And we provide credit information so you can monitor and assess your key customers.

Unlike other credit management companies, we charge our members a fixed annual subscription irrespective of how high the debt value is!

It takes less than 17 minutes to see how you would benefit, do you have the time now?

No face-to-face meeting required – just call Peter Uwins, CPA’s National Sales Manager, on 020 8846 0000 (business hours) or email today.

When you see your money come in, you will be so glad you used CPA.

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections

Get compensated for previous late payments

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The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections.