Business news 6 September 2023

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Birmingham City Council insolvent. Pound hits 12-week low as UK business activity contracts.  Mentally ill to be told to work from home in benefits shake-up. Services, Oil, Wilko, Autumn statement  & more business news that we thought would interest our members.

Birmingham City Council insolvent

The Labour run Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in Europe is effectively insolvent or bankrupt and has had to halt all but essential services as it faces a £87 million hole in its budget following a £760 million bill to settle equal pay claims.  Council leader John Cotton said “tough decisions” would need to be made but statutory services like social care, waste collections and protecting the vulnerable would continue.

More than 10,000 council employees were asked last month if they wanted to leave as the authority launched a voluntary severance scheme to help tackle the equal pay claim, which is rising by between £5m to £14m a month.

Every service that is not statutory in terms of the law will be cut back or removed entirely. The effects on the city will be terrible.

Pound hits 12-week low as UK business activity contracts
A survey showing a contraction in UK business activity last month has led to the pound hitting a 12-week low against the dollar. The UK S&P Global/CIPS composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped to 48.6 in August, the lowest since January. The services sector PMI printed at 49.5, below the growth threshold of 50. “The forward-looking indicators in today’s services survey remained downbeat as companies reported a slight decline in new business,” said Martin Beck, chief economic advisor to the EY Item Club. The Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates by 25 basis points later this month, with markets pricing in another hike to 5.75% by early next year. “When there’s a pivot to start pricing in the first rate cuts, that will be a very negative sterling event,” said Adam Cole, chief currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets.


UK Services fell last month for the first time since January as higher interest rates reduced consumer and corporate demand, a survey showed on Tuesday, although the drop was less than initially estimated. The Purchasing Managers’ Index for Britain’s services sector dropped to 49.5 in August from 51.5 in July – a seven-month low but above an initial estimate which showed it matching January’s two-year low of 48.7.

Manchester United

Various news sources have claimed the Glazer family have cancelled the sale of Manchester United with a view to revisiting buyer interest in 2025 when they think they can achieve a valuation of 10 billion.

Oil hits $90 for first time in 2023 as Saudi Arabia and Russia extend cuts

An extension of production and export cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia until the end of the year has driven up the price of oil to $90 a barrel for the first time this year. The price hike has reignited fears that higher energy costs could increase fuel prices at the pump for motorists and push up rates of inflation across major economies.

Mentally ill to be told to work from home in benefits shake-up

Ministers are to consult on a change to the rules for benefit claimants meaning those with mobility and mental health problems will be told to look for work they can do from home. The move comes as the Government looks for ways to fill job vacancies and cut the benefits bill. The reforms, proposed by Mel Stride, the Work and Pensions Secretary, come as the proportion of those assessed for incapacity benefits and classed as unable to work has tripled to 65% since 2011, costing the taxpayer £26bn a year. Mr Stride said this was “holding back the labour market and the economy but perhaps most important of all, it is holding back human potential”. But disability campaigners said the changes would cause “huge anxiety” and amounted to a “cynical” attempt to reduce benefit payments. The changes would not come into force until 2025, however, due to “the need to make changes to regulations and ensure appropriate training for health assessors,” Mr Stride said.


Arm, The British chip designer and tech giant owned by SoftBank Group, is seeking a valuation of approximately $52 billion in its upcoming IPO,making it the biggest listing so far of 2023, although less than 10% of the shares will be listed with 95.5 million shares being offered at above $47. Although they had previously been targeting $64 billion. The filing also revealed that Apple has agreed to develop processors using Arm’s designs “beyond 2040”.

EU’s Digital Markets Act

Google Search, Apple’s App Store and Amazon’s marketplace are among 22 services that fall under the EU’s Digital Markets Act, a list published today showed. The firms have six months to fall in line with the rules or challenge them in court.


The  government has recovered just 2% of £1.1 billion lost to fraudsters who took advantage of the Covid business support program. By May 2023, more than three years on from the start of pandemic restrictions, only £20.9 million had been recouped from the money estimated to have been taken fraudulently according Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.

B&M and Wilko

B&M European Value Retail said it has entered an agreement with the joint administrators of the failed Wilko chain to buy 51 of their 400 properties for up to £13 million.

Separately, Doug Putman, the owner of HMV, has put in a bid to acquire at least 200 of Wilko’s stores. However he has reportedly run into issues with companies that supplied products to Wilko before it collapsed in August.

PwC are also in talks with other potential suitors including Poundland, Home Bargains and The Range about saving some of Wilko’s stores.

A further 1,332 redundancies at collapsed retailer Wilko have been confirmed by PwC. The administrators said 52 stores would shut down with the loss of 1,016 jobs. A further 299 staff at two distribution centres and 17 workers at Wilko’s digital operations department will be made redundant.

Foreign buyers abandon UK firms as interest rates rise

The number of foreign buyers swooping on UK firms has significantly decreased in the second quarter due to rising interest rates and volatile markets, according to official figures from the ONS. Inward mergers and acquisitions involving UK firms dropped to £7.4bn, down £4.4bn from the previous quarter and £4.7bn lower than the same period last year. The overall value of deals including UK firms buying their compatriots also slumped to around £12.1bn from £17.4bn the previous quarter. The challenging conditions faced by dealmakers include high interest rates, which increase the cost of financing takeovers, and volatile markets that affect pricing. A stronger pound has also pushed prices higher for foreign buyers. Despite fears of a wave of take-private raids on UK companies, the frenzy has yet to materialise. “The UK has experienced a tough M&A market during the first half of the year and the [second quarter] data reflects how challenging the current conditions are to get deals done,” said Lucy Stapleton, head of deals at PwC UK. However, dealmakers remain optimistic, Stapleton added, with many poised to deploy capital when market conditions stabilise and valuation gaps narrow.

Hunt announces date for Autumn Statement
The Government has confirmed that the Autumn Statement 2023 will be presented to Parliament on November 22. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will update MPs on the country’s finances and announce changes to taxes and spending. The Office for Budget Responsibility will present an economic and fiscal forecast alongside the Autumn Statement. Tom Selby, head of retirement policy at AJ Bell said: “Rishi Sunak has placed tackling the cost-of-living crisis front-and-centre of his premiership after pledging to halve inflation by the end of 2023. By the time the Autumn Statement arrives in late November, we should have a pretty clear idea of whether that target – a target the government has very limited control over – will be hit.” He added: “It would clearly be a huge blow to the Prime Minister and former Chancellor, not to mention the Conservative Party at the next election if he fails to deliver on one of his key economic pledges.”

UK living standards predicted to stay squeezed up to election

Analysis published by the Resolution Foundation indicates there will be no improvement in living standards for working-age UK households before the next general election. Higher mortgage rates, steep tax rises and a stagnant economy meant UK workers were on track before to suffer the worst fall in incomes over a five-year period since the 1950s, the think tank said. It expected real disposable income for a typical working-age household to flatline in 2024-25, having fallen by 4% over the past two years.

Council edited study to make four-day week trial appear more positive

A four-day week trial undertaken by South Cambridgeshire district council was supposed to be independently assessed by Cambridge University’s Bennett Institute for Public Policy. But emails obtained by the TaxPayers’ Alliance reveal academics “tweaked” the findings to suit the council before the report was published. The Bennett Institute said through “rigorous analysis” it found the changes to working hours improved both productivity and the council’s overall performance. But Elliot Keck, head of campaigns at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “There were already serious suspicions about the cherry-picked nature of the data in this report. Now it seems the council and Bennett Institute were working hand in glove to manufacture its contents.” The Bennett Institute said discussions around minor changes was normal while the council said its data was analysed without any risk of bias.

Latest Insolvencies

Appointment of Liquidators – KVW ASSOCIATES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SOFTSOLVE LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – FORTRESS CAPITAL PARTNERS LTD.
Appointment of Liquidators – HUMANE INTERACTIONS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – OSTINATI LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SUMMIT DAY LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – BALMAIN HAIR UK LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – SOURCE MANAGED SERVICES LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – THE STUDIO PARTNER LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – NETWORK (GB) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ONE SKY TECH LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – ERP DATA SOLUTIONS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – RWA (UK) CO LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – TRIPLE POINT INCOME VCT PLC
Appointment of Liquidators – P & R ANTIQUES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – KILHAM DEVELOPMENTS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – INFINITT UK LTD
Appointment of Administrator – BRADLEY DYER MEDIA LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SOUND WAVE MUSIC 10 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – THE SOURCE (HASTINGS) HOLDINGS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – OAKGATE DEVELOPMENTS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – SEQUOIA INFORMATION SERVICES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – JUST MUMBLE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – HYPERTECH SOLUTIONS LTD.
Appointment of Liquidators – K L J PROPERTY DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CSSEC LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – HATAL LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – 4TREES ADVISORY LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CUSTOMER BUYOLOGY LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – A.V.TURNER & SONS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – AYTON LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SOUND WAVE MUSIC 9 LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – RTY HOLDINGS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – AVANTI GROUP LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – NEXTHASH GROUP LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – OTR LABOUR SOLUTIONS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – DISC TO PRINT (LONDON) LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – FORTHELANDLORDS.COM 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.

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


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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?

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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!

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