Business news 6 December 2023

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Consumer card spending. UK services sector returns to growth. Grocery inflation. EU electric car tariffs. The LSE, oil, AI, Thames Water, Insolvencies & more business news that we thought would interest our members.

Consumer card spending improves in November, but remains weak

Consumer card spending in the UK improved in November, with a 2.9% year-on-year increase, according to Barclays’ latest UK Consumer Spending Report. However, the figure remains weak compared to the CPIH inflation rate of 4.7%. The report also found that 56% of consumers spent money on non-essential items, the highest level since April. The rise in spending was attributed to Black Friday sales and the arrival of cold weather. Buy now pay later (BNPL) services also saw a surge in popularity, with £475m spent through BNPL services during Black Friday and Cyber Weekend. Despite the increase in card spending, retail sales growth remained sluggish in November, according to the British Retail Consortium.

UK services sector returns to growth in November

Britain’s services sector grew in November after three months of declines, according to the S&P Global/CIPS UK Services PMI. The index rose to 50.9 from 49.5 in October, coming in above the flash estimate of 50.5 and marking the highest reading since July. However, firms did report the fastest increase in prices charged since July, although the rate of inflation remained much softer than seen in the first half of the year. Tim Moore, economics director at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said: “UK service providers moved back into expansion mode during November as stabilising demand conditions helped to lift business activity from its recent malaise.”

Elsewhere, the US Services Sector picked up in November amid an increase in business activity, although new orders remained flat and a gauge of input inflation dipped as the lagged effects of higher interest rates start to have a greater impact. The Institute for Supply Management said that its non-manufacturing PMI rose to 52.7 in November from 51.8, which was a 5-month low.

Grocery inflation

UK Grocery Price Inflation eased in the final quarter of the year, numbers showed on Tuesday, while take-home grocery sales are expected to beat previous records this December. Like-for-like grocery inflation eased to 9.1% in the four weeks to November 26, according to Kantar. For the full 12-week period of the survey, inflation ebbed to 9.6%, from 13.0% in the 12 weeks to September 3.

UK the only G7 country with 10% food price inflation

Sepereately to the above story, figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show the UK is the only country in the G7 rich club of nations where food prices are still rising by more than 10%. Of the 38 nations it monitors, only Turkey, Iceland and Colombia have higher inflation rates. By contrast, food prices are rising by 2% in the US, 5.4% in Canada and 8% in France. The average across the OECD group of developed nations slowed to 7.4% in October, down from 8.1% in September. The headline rate across the group slowed to 5.6%, down from 6.2% in September marking the lowest level since October 2021.

Brussels delays electric car tariffs by three years

Brussels has proposed a three-year delay to tariffs that were due to hit electric vehicle sales between the UK and EU from the beginning of 2024. The move provides a boost for vehicle manufacturers on both sides of the Channel which now have more time to ramp up local battery production. The post-Brexit trade tariffs would have imposed a 10% levy if less than 45% of a car’s value was made locally. The decision by the European Commission comes after sales of new electric cars in Britain fell by 17% last month after Rishi Sunak pushed back a ban on new petrol car sales from 2030 to 2035. The sale of battery electric cars had, prior to last month, been growing at 34% year on year. Industry leaders are calling for tax cuts to incentivise private take up of EVs. “More clarity on residual values and better second hand car market for EVs will also help boost demand for new cars,” Jamie Hamilton, automotive partner and head of electric vehicles at Deloitte, said.


The London Stock Exchange suffered at least two interruptions to trading yesterday in the indexes third outage since October. The halt affected some 2,000 smaller stocks and further dented the index’s and the City’s reputation.

City bankers face deal drought as British takeovers plummet

City bankers are facing a deal drought after a $100bn (£79bn) collapse in British takeovers. The value of British takeovers and mergers has crashed to its lowest level for 10 years, according to LSEG Deals Intelligence. Just $108bn of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) have been struck so far in 2023, down from $208bn last year.


Tui reported increased customer numbers and higher prices in the fourth quarter helped the company to more than double full-year earnings. The tour operator said in the quarter ended September 30, revenue rose to €8.48 billion from €7.61 billion the year before, with underlying Ebit climbing to €1.20 billion from €1.04 billion. Looking ahead, TUI forecast revenue to increase by at least 10% year-on-year and underlying EBIT to increase by at least 25% year-on-year implying a positive outlook for international travel from Europe.

Tui, one of world’s largest travel firms, also said it is considering quitting the London Stock Exchange in favour of a listing in Frankfurt. The holiday giant said some shareholders had asked whether its UK listing was “optimal and advantageous” and is planning a vote next year. A move away from London would be a further blow to the City.


Traders are betting on European stocks on the assumption rate cuts  are coming as inflation slows.

UK unprepared for Climate Change

The National Audit office has released a report saying the UK is not prepared for climate change. The report found the UK government lacks “an effective strategy” to make the country resilient to extreme weather events that can cause significant disruption to life and business. “The absence of an effective strategy and targets makes it difficult for government to make informed decisions on investment,”.  “The NAO found limited evidence of risk assessments feeding into how funding was allocated,” the watchdog added.


The Oil price fell below $78 a barrel yesterday, not far off its July low, despite Saudi Arabia saying OPEC+ supply cuts can go beyond March if necessary.


British American Tobacco (BAT) unveiled an ambition to become a predominantly “smokeless” business, with 50% of our revenue from non-combustibles by 2035. The maker of Lucky Strike, Rothmans and Pall Mall cigarettes made the claim as it confirmed full-year 2023 EPS guidance. But the firm is taking a non-cash adjusting impairment charge of around £25 billion in 2023 relating to some of its acquired US combustibles brands.

EY’s use of AI in detecting audit frauds sparks debate

Accountancy Age reports on news that EY has been using artificial intelligence (AI) in its audit processes, leading to the detection of fraudulent activities. EY began experimenting with AI in audit in 2018 driven by modelling conducted by Naoto Ichihara in the firm’s Tokyo office. Naoto coded an AI solution that could sense anomalous entries in large databases. This technology became the first-of-its-kind in the auditing field and was subsequently patented. The integration of AI within audit fraud detection processes has brought poses numerous benefits, the piece explains, but also poses challenges such as integrating AI technology into existing auditing systems and processes.

Thames Water to be investigated over financial stability and dividends

Ofwat said on Tuesday that it was investigating a £37.5m dividend paid out by Thames Water in October to determine whether the payment to its parent company meets its licence requirements. Thames Water said the money was simply being moved to a parent company in order to help pay its debts, and that no dividends were handed to external shareholders. New rules were introduced in May this year to ensure that water companies do not pay dividends unless they have delivered for customers and the environment. Separately, MPs said they would call Thames Water’s bosses to a hearing next week to “seek clarification” over the nature of £500m injected by the utility’s shareholders. The company on Tuesday reported profits for the first half of its financial year had more than halved to £246m, while debts rose 7% to £14.7bn. The update came just days after auditors PwC warned its parent company could run out of money by April

Latest Insolvencies

Appointment of Liquidators – TWYFORD ESTATES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CENTRUM WORKS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – FINSTAK LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – H & F PROPERTIES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ASSISTMO LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – INVESCARE LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – LEVENSGARTH LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PROJECT NEW LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – FILIGREE TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SRS NUTRA LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – VICROB LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – VOLWA ENGINEERING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – IQ4U CONSULTANTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – RUBY BOX LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – S & M TRADERS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – INFORMATION AGILITY LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – A & G WARCUP LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ROLLERBALL LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – MADENTA INTERNATIONAL LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – MOTOR OIL FINANCE PLC
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – OEP LIVE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – BOWLES GARAGE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – LYNTON GROUP LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – OAKHOUSE FINANCIAL HOLDINGS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – CAS PAR CAS SCOTLAND LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – METHLEY HOMES LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – JEGO PROPERTIES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – HUGHES CG LTD
Winding up Order (Companies) – TECK-TRON LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ARJCONSTRUCTION22 LTD
Appointment of Administrator – REAL GOOD FOOD PLC
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – SPEYLIFE LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – A C MARINE & COMPOSITES LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – HYDRASYST INVESTMENTS UK LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – IT FIRST LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – CONNEXION GB LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – DIR LONDON LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – TNV RENEWABLES LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – LEEFE DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – RESOURCE UTILITY SOLUTIONS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – LOCUM QP LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – EASTSIDECO LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – EXCEL CHEER CENTRE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PROFICIENT ACCESS LIMITED

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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

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

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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.