Business news 3 April 2024

UK manufacturing returns to growth. Consumers cut back on borrowing. Services inflation expected to cool. Gen Z workers fail to impress employers.  Fraud, HMRC, insolvencies & more business news that we thought would interest our members.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

UK manufacturing returns to growth for first time since July 2022

The UK’s manufacturing sector returned to growth in March for the first time in 20 months. The S&P Global/CIPS UK manufacturing PMI survey hit 50.3 in March, rising from 47.5 in February. This is the first time since July 2022 that the PMI rose above 50, indicating growth. Production and new orders increased, mainly driven by stronger domestic demand. However, there was still a weak trend in new export orders. The consumer goods sector helped offset downturns in other areas, with production increasing for the first time since February 2023. Positive sentiment among manufacturers reached an 11-month high, with 58% of companies expecting their output to rise in the coming year.

Consumers cut back on borrowing

Consumers in the UK have reduced their borrowing in February due to the uncertain economy, with credit card borrowing falling from £800m to £500m. Other forms of consumer lending, such as personal loans and car finance, also decreased. The Bank of England reported a drop in the annual growth rate for credit cards and other forms of consumer credit from 11.9% to 7.3%. Karim Haji, global and UK head of financial services at KPMG, pointed out that although inflation is falling and starting to have an impact on prices, the cost of living remained high and people were still struggling with their bills. However, household deposits increased by £6bn in February, with interest-bearing accounts seeing inflows of £3.5bn.

Services inflation expected to cool, lead to rate cuts

Analysts at Goldman Sachs expect services inflation to “cool significantly” in the months ahead as energy prices fall, paving the way for the Bank of England to start cutting interest rates in June. “We find that the pass-through effects from higher energy and food prices will unwind rapidly in coming months,” economists at the US investment bank said. “Services inflation will slow markedly over the next 6-9 months as past effects from high energy prices drop out,” they continued.

Scammers are stealing an average of nearly £13m per week

Britons have lost more than £2.6bn to investment fraud since the start of 2020, with scammers stealing an average of nearly £13m per week from 98,525 victims. The average victim lost £26,773 over the four-year period, according to figures obtained from the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau by the Pensions Management Institute (PMI). Investment fraud losses spiked during the pandemic, reaching £756m in 2021 and £855m in 2022. Robert Wakefield, president of the PMI, said: “Our research shows that a shocking number of people are falling victim to investment fraud. It is concerning that every year thousands of people are losing millions of pounds to financial scams in the UK. The number and sophistication of investment scams is ever-growing.”

Gen Z workers fail to impress employers

Young workers of Generation Z are facing challenges in interviews and job reliability, according to employers. Many young workers are unable to get through an interview, show up late, or even ghost their new companies on the first day of their jobs. In a report Gen Z, Deloitte says: “As more Boomers enter retirement, Gen Z will be replacing them, bringing with them an entirely different worldview and perspective on their careers and how to succeed in the workplace.” But business owner James McNeil says some members of Gen Z can barely get through an interview – never mind being able to deploy sophisticated skills. Employers report an aversion to phone calls and preference for email or text communication, a lack of discipline and structure among as well as a focus on personal needs rather than the bigger picture.

Record number of over 50s in work

A study suggests that employment levels for people over 50 are growing faster than any other age group. Rest Less reports that there are now 10.9m people aged 50 or over in work, making up a third of the UK workforce. The number of workers aged 50-64 has increased by 16% in the last 30 years. Stuart Lewis, CEO of Rest Less, highlights the importance of this age group in the workforce and the benefits of age diversity. Dr Emily Andrews of the Centre for Ageing Better acknowledges the positive impact of older workers on the economy but warns against complacency, noting that there are still over 200,000 older workers out of the labour market since before the pandemic.

Royal Mail

Royal Mail has called for Ofcom to introduce reforms to the universal postal service by April 2025, in response to the regulator’s call for input.  Royal Mail has proposed the following changes:

  • All non-first class letter deliveries to be delivered every other weekday
  • Delivery of standard bulk business mail to be second class
  • “new, additional reliability targets” for first and second class services
  • Wants to keep deliveries at six days a week, and parcels at seven days a week

HMRC launches ‘extreme’ crackdown on minor errors

Companies making minor errors in applications for tax relief have been left feeling fearful after an HMRC crackdown, business leaders in Suffolk have said. A report commissioned by the Suffolk Chamber found poorly qualified advisors were frequently failing to provide the best level of service to their business customers, leading to an increase in errors in applications for a tax relief. This is blamed on a lack of “meaningful regulation” in the industry, the Task & Finish Group report said. Suffolk Chamber has warned that companies are facing an “overly strict” compliance regime, causing delays and refusals of legitimate claims. The Task & Finish Group recommends appointing an industry regulator and having all claims signed off by a senior qualified accountant. The report also revealed that 46% of respondents are now deterred from making future claims.

Half of HMRC Whitehall staff still working from home

Analysis of official data by the Telegraph reveals that only 53% of civil servants working in HMRC’s headquarters were at their desks in an average week between January and March. This is despite record high waiting times to get through to an adviser on the phone and reports of errors from the National Audit Office. Although HMRC’s headquarters at 100 Parliament Street is not used for handling customer calls, MPs raised concerns about the numbers working from home. Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a former Tory leader, said: “It really is high time that the Civil Service, along with many other companies, now recognises the deep importance of working together from offices and redoubling their efforts to serve customers and taxpayers. This cannot be done if over half of your workforce do not work from the office.”

Demand for tax lawyers hits record levels

According to a report by professional recruiter Search and market data analysts Vacancysoft, record levels of tax lawyer vacancies were posted in law firms in February in London and nationally. The report predicts vacancies for tax lawyers will surge to 32.5% by the end of 2024. Lawyers with a focus on the private client sector dominate these vacancies, accounting for 81.3% of the role. Recruitment for trusts lawyers has also increased. The South represents 39.5% of total vacancies in 2023, expected to jump to 44.9% by the end of this year. London-centric firms are recruiting less compared to firms outside London. David Holden, director of private practice at Search, stated that the increased demand for specialists in private client and trust law is creating new career opportunities and a competitive hiring environment.

UK mortgage approvals hit 17-month high, says Bank of England

Figures from the Bank of England show UK mortgage approvals hit their highest level in 17 months in February, rising to 60,400 from 56,100 in January. The figure exceeded the 56,500 forecast by economists. The rise in approvals reflects the fall in mortgage rates at the beginning of the year. Ashley Webb, assistant economist at Capital Economics, said the figures also indicate “that households are no longer searching for higher interest rates by tying up money in fixed-term accounts.”

Home values dipped slightly in March

House prices slipped by 0.2% last month after having risen in both January and February, according to Nationwide. The high street lender’s calculations suggest that the average price of a house in the UK is now £261,142. That is 2.2% higher than in August 2023, but is still 3.2% below the peak of a year earlier. Andrew Wishart, at Capital Economics, said Nationwide’s figures suggest the rise in mortgage rates since the turn of the year has caused house prices to stall. However, Rob Wood at Pantheon Macroeconomics said the drop was just a blip and the trend for the year was looking to be a rise of 4%.

Call for London to keep more of its tax revenues

The business group BusinessLDN is demanding greater fiscal autonomy for the capital, allowing the city to have more control over its tax revenues. This would enable London’s government to secure a longer-term financial settlement, particularly for transport. However, it is unlikely that the Treasury will willingly give up its tax harvest from London. However, the Standard’s Jonathan Prynn says with the possibility of Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves holding the purse-strings, there is a window of opportunity for London’s government to achieve its financial goals.


The FTSE is down 0.5% in early London trading after a weak performance in Asia and North America overnight and after the worst quake in 25 years hit Taiwan (7.4 magnitude) and caused concern  that any impact to the chip making industry could affect the global economy as TSMC, Taiwan’s chip-making titan, evacuated several of its factories and halted production.

Thames Water

Thames Water Bonds issued by Kemble Finance a Thames Water subsidiary fell to 14.4p in the pound after the UK government signalled it was ready to step in if necessary. Thames Water has hired Teneo to help avoid nationalisation.

Bank of England prepares for ‘once in a generation’ overhaul in forecasting

The Bank of England is set to undertake a series of reforms to its forecasting that will help the central bank better handle monetary policy and convey communicate its projections.

Latest Insolvencies

Appointment of Liquidators – MAHI IT SERVICES LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – ARGO FLARE HOLDINGS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – WACKLAND CONSULTANCY LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – MW ELECTRONICS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – MJASICS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – KIER OVERSEAS (FOUR) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – JMN REALISATIONS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – FOPHEDGE LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – TDA INTERIORS SOUTH LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CTC HR CONSULTING LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – PIXEL PINATA SOFTWARE LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – BEATTIE PASSIVE GROUP LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SEABREEZE LEASING LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – MARSHALL K PAVING SUPPLIES LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – LUNAZ GROUP LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – DY SHUTTERS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – BADERMAN LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CORNGABBIE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – M M BUILDING CONSULTANCY LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HABITUAL HEALTH LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – KIRNAN ENTERPRISES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ECO CONCEPTS (UK) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – LUZARCH FINANCIALS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – W.W. SCAFFOLDING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – LADYBUG CONSULTING LTD
Appointment of Administrator – COULTON’S BREAD LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – OHCO LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – OLD COUNTY DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – GREENYARD FRESH UK LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – GORSEWOOD SECURITIES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – DEVPRO LTD
Appointment of Administrator – EDIS PROPERTY INVESTMENTS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – EAST MIDLANDS EQUIPMENT CO. LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – NORTH TYNE PROPERTIES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – OJM HOLDINGS LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – POCKET MEDIA (UK) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – 301 BROADCASTING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – FUEL CARD INSIGHTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ONE BOX TELEVISION LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – EVREN LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – LUCY BLACK DESIGNS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – 4 KNIGHTS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – MATEA TECH LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – RADBOURNE CONSTRUCTION LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – K&H BEWICK LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – MICHAEL SNODDEN DESIGN LTD.
Appointment of Liquidators – D & S HOLMES SERVICES LTD
Appointment of Administrator – BEATTIE PASSIVE TECHNICAL LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ALPE ASSOCIATES LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – CENTRAL GARAGE DOORS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – KRIT LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – VALLEY SHIPPING LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – DOCKING & COMPANY LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ELEKTRIX LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – NT FOX LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – BASNETT ASSOCIATES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SOUTH POINT MOTORS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – EVOLUTION CONNECTION LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – AFENDI SURVEYING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CJR ENTERPRISES LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – S & J EUROPEAN HAULAGE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – MAAAX LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – S BOWN CONSULTING LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – BEST QUALITY CARS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – RODDY CAMPBELL PAINTERS & DECORATORS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – NC SWITCHGEAR LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – AMBELLOT LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – NCE SWITCHGEAR SERVICES LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – BESPOKE PINE ‘N’ OAK LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – AXES OILUM LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – HOPE VALLEY RESIDENTIAL LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – RJ A&IS LTD.
Appointment of Liquidators – HIGHSET SOLUTIONS LTD.
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ABBEY FLOORING (SCOTLAND) LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – GAINSKILL LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – WENGER LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – PI CATERING LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – LONDON & HAMPTON ESTATES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CORTAZAR LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – TRANSOMNIA LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – WITHYA LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – GLASS COMPANY DIRECT LIMITED
Winding up Order (Companies) – OPTIMA CARS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – HOUSE CAFES BERMONDSEY LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – DELTA 5 LTD

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.