Business news 1 January 2024

James Salmon, Operations Director.

What forecasters expect for the UK in 2024. Small businesses due £7.4 billion in late payments.  And more business news that we thought would interest our members.

What forecasters expect for the UK in 2024

Chris Dorrell in City AM scans the predictions for UK growth next year from official organisations, independent forecasters and banks. The Bank of England is the most pessimistic of the official groups, predicting just 0.1% growth versus 0.6% from the IMF and 0.7% from both the OBR and the OECD. Of the independents, Capital Economics also expects just 0.1% growth while the NIESR thinks 0.5% is more likely. KPMG agrees while 0.6% is EY’s bet and Pantheon Macroeconomics is the most optimistic with 0.8%. Of the banks, JP Morgan is looking at 0.2% growth, Deutsche Bank 0.3%, Morgan Stanley 0.5% and finally Goldman Sachs 0.6%. Dorrell sums it all up thus: “While a recession now looks relatively unlikely, the overriding picture is one of sluggishness.”

Small businesses due £7.4 billion in late payments

A new survey by Capital on Tap found only 1% of small businesses in the UK have never had to deal with an overdue invoice.

Small businesses in the UK are currently due about £7.4 billion in unpaid invoices. The average small business has to chase overdue invoices twice a week. The worst bad payers were Finance providers (52%) and those in the building and development sector (51%).

Retailers were found to be the most affected. The electrical services sector were the second most affected and the industrial equipment sector came in third with all having over £1500 on average overdue.

Late payments can have a big effect on cash flow and resources.

Although dealing with late payments can be stressful and asking for money from a customer can be uncomfortable. it is something that will not resolve itself.

It’s not rude to chase your invoices. In fact, it;s the other way – it’s rude to pay late.

You can avoid many late payments by making your payment terms clear from the outset. Send an email when the invoice is about to fall due to prompt payment. if payment falls late, ask if there’s  a problem, remind them it’s overdue, and ask when you can expect to be paid.

If an email is ignored, then give them a call. It’s harder for your customer to ignore you on the phone.

However, if the problem persists however, you’ll need to escalate the issue. You could warn them that you might stop supply if they don’t pay. You can add late payment compensation and interest to the claim.

Our members find that involving a third party, such as CPA,  passing the account to our overdue account recovery is a great way to resolve late payments. We resolve on average over 80% of the accounts referred to us.  We maintain your goodwill and direct payments to be made direct to you.

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.

4 in 10 feel less financially secure than a year ago

A poll by KPMG shows that 41% of people are heading into 2024 feeling less financially secure than at the start of 2023. The survey, which quizzed 3,000 consumers, found that 22% felt more secure than a year ago, while 35% were no more or no less secure. On their spending intentions for the coming year, 19% of people with savings said they would use the spare cash to pay essential monthly bills, while 24% said they would not spend their savings at all in 2024. Linda Ellett, UK head of consumer markets, leisure and retail at KPMG, said: “As was the case in 2023, large numbers of consumers tell us that they are going to combine stopping, reducing and switching the things they buy to save money in 2024.” She added: “As more households are exposed to higher mortgage rates or rent, the number of people needing to cut non-essential costs increases.”

BoE could cut rates as early as March

A poll of leading economists suggests that the Bank of England could start cutting interest rates as soon as March. Of the 21 experts surveyed by City AM, 29% believe that the Bank will cut rates in March, while 24% believe they will come down in May. Around a fifth (19%) said the next cut would come in June. Some of the economists believe it will be August before rates are cut, with the most hawkish saying cuts were unlikely before 2025. Nearly 86% of the economists polled said policymakers were too hawkish in their rhetoric on interest rates as they look to lower inflation without the economy going into recession. The survey also saw 57% of the experts identify wage growth as the Bank’s biggest concern going into 2024.

Card spending rises by 4%

Data from Barclays shows that spending on debit and credit cards rose by 4.1% in 2023. With increased spending in the travel and entertainment sectors, Barclays said people had “prioritised moments of joy and shared experiences.” Esme Harwood, a director at Barclays, said consumers were “keen to make up for lost opportunities during the pandemic by booking holidays, treating themselves to concert tickets and enjoying nights out with friends.”


The US’s S&P 500 index rose 24% in 2023 as traders positioned for falling interest rates in 2024. The gains were driven largely by 7 big technology stocks, and helped boost the overall global performance with the MSCI World Index was up by 22% for the year. The UK’s  FTSE 100 meanwhile struggled, up by less than 4% over the year.

Selfridges co-owner files for insolvency

Questions have been raised over the future of billionaire René Benko’s retail and property empire, with two of its key divisions filing for insolvency. Signa Prime Selection, which co-owns properties such as the Selfridges department store in London, has filed for self-administered restructuring in Vienna, while Signa Development Selection, a smaller property unit that focuses on residential and urban development projects, is expected to make a similar announcement. They form part of Signa Holding, an umbrella organisation that filed for insolvency last month after last-ditch attempts to secure capital failed.

Campaigners call for a shorter working week

A campaign calling for a four-day working week is being stepped up amid concern over the toll long hours take on workers. A shorter working week has been introduced in a number of private companies, with more than 150 firms accredited to the 4 Day Week Campaign. Those backing the initiative are hopeful that it can be extended to the public sector, including councils. Civil servants at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have submitted a petition calling for a four-day week trial, with the Public and Commercial Services union saying the proposal would involve a 20% reduction in working hours with no loss of wages. Noting that employees in the UK work some of the longest hours in Europe, Joe Ryle, director of the 4 Day Week Campaign, commented: “Our very British culture of long working hours and low pay is pushing people to the brink.”

Firms look to technology to boost productivity

A Productivity Institute survey shows that businesses are looking to increase investment in new technologies in a bid to boost the rate of productivity growth. The poll saw 60% of business leaders say they will make investments to improve productivity in the next 12 months. Bart van Ark, the institute’s managing director, said: “It’s promising to see that business decision-makers recognise the importance of investing time and resources in boosting productivity to ultimately drive economic growth.” Meanwhile, a separate survey from Lloyds found that improving productivity is at the top of the list for a third of London’s businesses. Paul Evans, the bank’s regional director for London, noted that staff training and new technology “look to be the areas where the capital’s firms are spying opportunities to boost productivity.”

Fresh push to help firms switch banks

Business banking is set for a shake-up in a new attempt to encourage account-switching and break the stranglehold of the “big four” lenders. The Current Account Switching Service (CASS) is embarking on fresh initiatives to make it easier for firms to move accounts. CASS is now looking at ways to dismantle some of the remaining hurdles for firms using the service. Euan Ballantyne, head of product at Pay.UK, said that they are increasing their focus in this area to improve the overall experience for customers. Analysis by Allica Bank found that CASS has been used four times less by small firms than retail customers.

FTSE chiefs to earn average UK salary by Thursday

Bosses at Britain’s biggest companies will earn more by Thursday morning than the average worker is paid in a year, the Mail on Sunday reports. A typical chief executive of a FTSE 100 company is now paid £4m – well over 100 times a full-time UK employee’s average salary of just under £35,000.

Luxury brands struggle as consumers reject exorbitant prices

The Sunday Times looked at why consumers are avoiding luxury brands, with the chief reason being a 32% hike in average prices since 2019 – that’s according to the Paris-based luxury data platform Luxurynsight. The consumer backlash has led to a fall in market value of leading fashion brands and luxury e-commerce platforms, which have seen their value plummet by $270bn, collectively, with slowing growth and high interest rates adding to the challenges. A recent report from the BRC and KPMG noted how consumers are “avoiding expensive categories”, including high fashion, jewellery and watches while Bank of America data show credit card spending on luxury fashion has been on the wane for six quarters in a row. Experts now believe brands will attempt to gin up interest by introducing new products at a lower price, like Porsche did with the Boxster, the Cayman or the Macan. That’s because: “If they reduce the price, they dilute their brand value and risk killing their business,” according Jonathan Siboni, chief executive of Luxurynsight.

Tax return warning

Rachel Mortimer in the Times says that while workers, investors, savers and pensioners are handing over a record amount to the tax office, “they will be hard pressed to get help in filing their return,” adding that HMRC will only take “priority calls” on its self-assessment helpline ahead of the January 31 deadline. Ms Mortimer notes that thousands of people are having to file a self-assessment return for the first time as frozen income tax thresholds have dragged more people into higher tax brackets that involve more complicated rules and less generous allowances. Many, she warns, will fall foul of the changing tax rules, “particularly if they cannot get help from HMRC.” Nimesh Shah from Blick Rothenberg advises taxpayers: “Expect very long delays if you are trying to call HMRC this year, and you can almost write off your chances of getting through on the phone in the last few days before the filing deadline.”

House prices fell 1.8% in 2023

UK house prices fell 1.8% over the course of 2023, according to Nationwide’s House Price Index. Month-on-month, prices were flat compared to November at an average of £257,443. Nationwide said consumer confidence “remains weak”, despite some mortgage rates starting to fall, while also noting that the number of housing transactions has been running at around 10% below pre-pandemic levels. The lender’s report suggests there are “encouraging signs” emerging for potential buyers, with expectations pointing to moderate inflation and interest rates. However, Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said a “rapid rebound in activity or house prices in 2024 appears unlikely.” “If the economy remains sluggish and mortgage rates moderate only gradually, as we expect, house prices are likely to record another small decline or remain broadly flat (perhaps 0 to -2%) over the course of 2024,” he added.

Families face £1,400 ‘debt timebomb’ in 2024

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has warned that households face a “debt timebomb,” with analysis showing that borrowing is set to increase by £1,400 on average in 2024. The TUC analysis shows that unsecured debt – which includes personal loans, credit cards, and overdrafts – is set to rise from £13,361 to £14,792 per household in real terms – marking an increase of 11%. By 2026, it is forecast to increase to a record level of £17,200. The union said that families have been left “brutally exposed” to rising costs, adding that the average worker would now be £14,800 better off if pay had kept up with real wage growth trends since 2008

Latest Insolvencies

Petitions to wind up (Companies) – MID ULSTER ENTERPRISES (CREGGAN) LIMITED
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Winding up Order (Companies) – OLDCOOR LTD
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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 offer our members a fixed annual subscription regardless of how high the debt value maybe!

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


Do you have a commercial late payer that is causing you grief? Use CPA’s no-win, no-fee, commercial debt recovery service!

If you have a particular business customer who is late paying and causing you sleepless nights, why not offer it to CPA for purchase on recourse?

CPA’s collection department will then pursue the debt. We will be liable for any costs incurred and then when we have recovered the debt, we will pay you the net principle debt recovered less our percentage.

Once you have enjoyed that success then you can consider the more cost effective membership which includes our Overdue Account Recovery service and Status/Credit reports as well as a range of other complimentary services.

Just call  020 8846 0000 and ask for Godfrey Nelson or Cris Shirley (business hours) or email today.

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


Get compensated for previous late payments

Have you been paid late by business customers in the last six years?

Maybe you no longer work with them. Under legislation, you are entitled to  compensation you for those late payments you have suffered.

You put up with the PAIN – now claim the GAIN!

Claim late payment compensation (LPC) from former business customers who paid you late in the last six years!

CPA (LPC) Recoveries is using our bespoke software and decades of experience to do just that for our clients

Check our compensation calculator to see how much your business could be owed!

Discover NOW the potential value of late payment compensation hidden in your sales ledger!

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