Business news  2 January 2024

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Insolvency experts warn of more large failures. Economists predict another year of sluggish growth. UK economy faces grim outlook as austerity continues.  And more business news that we thought would interest our members.

Insolvency experts warn of more large failures to come in 2024

More big firms are likely to go bust in the year ahead amid the “double whammy” of high borrowing costs and pressure on consumer budgets, according to insolvency experts. The construction sector and business services industries will be among the hardest hit, according to PwC’s head of insolvency David Kelly.

Rob Hornby, partner and managing director of AlixPartners, said he expects company insolvencies to continue apace in 2024 with high-growth tech firms particularly vulnerable to a funding slowdown.

Richard Fleming, managing director and head of restructuring for Europe, at Alvarez & Marsal, expects more firms to use restructuring plans to avoid full administrations, but warns of potential large failures due to high interest rates and debt burdens.

Economists predict another year of sluggish growth

Britain is predicted to experience another year of sluggish growth, according to a Times survey of economists. The Bank of England is expected to cut interest rates this year, but households and businesses are still adjusting to higher rates compared to the previous decade, which could result in subdued growth.

Suren Thiru, economics director at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, said: “Another year of grim stagnation is likely as the boost from lower inflation is effectively wiped out by the squeeze on customer demand and business investment from the lagged impact of previous interest rate rises.” The survey respondents projected that the Bank would lower rates at least two times this year.

But Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, said that the Bank “may be reluctant to cut too early if the labour market remains tight and wages continue rising above levels consistent with their target.” A survey by the FT also gives a gloomy outlook with a majority of respondents of the annual poll saying that despite falling inflation voters would feel little improvement in their living standards before the general election expected this year.

UK economy faces grim outlook as austerity continues

Another year has passed but the difficulties facing the UK economy continue to make for grim viewing, writes Ian McConnell in the Herald. “We have a UK Government that has failed so spectacularly over more than 13 years to deliver widespread economic prosperity,” he says. “And policies which might fuel growth remain conspicuous by their absence.”

Thomas Pugh, economist at RSM UK, said following the December 22 revisions to GDP data: “The big picture is still one of a stagnating economy. We doubt growth will materially pick up until towards the end of next year, meaning that the spectre of recession will hang over the UK economy for a long time yet.”

Martin Beck, chief economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club think-tank, said in the wake of the October GDP data: “October’s decline in GDP, the growing drag from past rises in interest rates, and industrial action holding back activity in some sectors mean the economy in Q4 is likely to flatline at best, with a technical recession a serious possibility.”

Shop price Inflation

UK Shop Price Inflation was unchanged at 4.3% in December as a price rise on non-food items offset easing costs on food. The British Retail Consortium also warned that cost pressures threaten to put an end to cooling inflation in 2024. The BRC-NielsenIQ shop price index was up 4.3% in December from a year before, the annual rise slower than the three-month average rate of 4.6% and the lowest since June 2022.

In-demand jobs for 2024

Hays predicts that the most in-demand jobs for 2024 will include social workers, quantity surveyors, and cyber security managers. These roles are expected to command above average pay. Hays also found that half of workers intend to look for a new job in 2024. The increased and complex care needs across the UK contribute to the high demand for qualified social workers. Other popular roles include cyber security managers, energy/carbon managers, accountants, and special educational needs teaching assistants. Cyber security managers are projected to earn the most, with an average salary of almost £84,000. Simon Winfield, chief executive of Hays, stated that there are nearly one million unfilled jobs in the UK, providing ample opportunity for those seeking a career move. Employers are increasingly willing to hire based on skills and aptitude rather than just experience and qualifications, he added.


Bitcoin rose above $45,000 for the first time since April 2022 in anticipation of the approval of a bitcoin etf.

UK launches crackdown on side hustles

The beginning of 2024 sees the start of new rules requiring websites such as eBay , Vinted, Airbnb, Fiverr, Upwork, Uber, Deliveroo and Etsy to record how much money people are making through them and report it to the tax office. The new rules for these platforms are part of a wider crackdown on tax avoidance from people boosting their income through working side hustles, freelancing and self-employment. In the UK, you can earn £1,000 in additional income each tax year alongside your regular job – known as your Trading Allowance. If you make more than this, then you will need to register yourself as self-employed and pay tax on these earnings.

Film and TV makers offered extra tax breaks

The UK Government is offering extra tax breaks to film and TV companies in order to maintain the country’s position as a world leader in the creative industries. Producers of children’s television and animated TV or films that spend over £1m in Britain can now claim an additional £42,500, while companies creating films, high-end television, or video games will be entitled to an extra £5,000. Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Nigel Huddleston, stated that the tax credit system aims to support British production talent and ensure the UK’s continued success in creativity. The UK is increasingly seen as an attractive country for film and TV production, with its talent supply, tax incentives, and studio infrastructure. However, concerns have been raised about escalating business rates and their impact on the industry. The UK’s creative industry is valued at approximately £126bn and has the largest number of video game employees in Europe.

UK should avoid falling back into EU’s regulatory orbit

The Centre for Economics and Business Research has reported that the UK economy is set to close the gap on Germany and France, retaining its sixth-placed global ranking, writes Shanker Singham in the Telegraph. However, GDP per capita figures show that the UK is trending in the wrong direction due to high taxes and low growth. Singham says the report highlights the need for the UK to leave behind stagnancy-inducing regulation and avoid automatically following European regulations and enforcement activities. “Brexit allows the UK to adopt different policies to those adopted by the EU… The gains from regulatory reform outstrip the losses from increasing trade barriers, but only if we seize them fully. The UK’s future is in its hands – it should not meekly collapse back into the European regulatory orbit if it is to put itself on a different growth trajectory.”

Global tax reforms go live – a threat to national sovereignty?

Reforms driven by the OECD mean some major economies will from this month start to apply an effective tax rate of at least 15% on corporate profits, increasing annual tax revenue by an estimated $220bn worldwide. The new rules are designed to stop multinationals shifting revenues and profits from one country to another to take advantage of lower tax rates. The new 15% minimum rate will be imposed on companies with global revenues of more than €750m (£653m) and if they reduce that by shifting revenues to a different jurisdiction, it will be charged elsewhere. But Matthew Lynn in the Telegraph says not only will the administrative costs be huge but the rules will restrict national competition on tax rates. He goes on to posit that this is the thin edge of the wedge and we could soon have global green levies, international wealth and inheritance taxes, and perhaps a global income tax as well. “The UK should never have signed up [to the regime] in the first place – and now that it is finally coming into force we should get out while there is still time.”

Latest Insolvencies

Appointment of Liquidator


Appointment of Administrator


Winding Up Petitions



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