Business news 7 August 2023

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Business confidence falls as UK economy slows . Gloomy outlook results in hiring slowdown. Record number of pubs are forced to close. Hybrid working surge sees footfall increase at transport hubs.  And more business news that we thought would interest our members.

Business confidence falls as UK economy slows

The latest Business Trends report from the accounting firm BDO reveals a fall in business confidence last month. Higher interest rates, weak global demand and a slowing UK economy all contributed to the first fall in hiring intentions in six months. Continuing supply difficulties are taking a toll on manufacturers, whose output fell to its lowest point since May 2020. Kaley Crossthwaite, a partner at BDO, said: “A more pessimistic outlook from businesses and consequent loosening of the labour market are the first indicators of the slowing economic growth expected towards the end of the year. “With yet another hike in interest rates from the Bank of England last week, this downturn is only set to worsen in what should be a golden quarter for many, if more isn’t done to support businesses.”

Tax debt up  6% as small businesses face cash flow difficulties

HMRC announced that the amount of tax owed to the Exchequer but remaining unpaid reached £44.5bn as of 30 June 2023, a 6% rise year on year.

According to HMRC, most of this tax debt is due from small and medium-sized businesses, many of which are struggling with cashflow challenges as inflationary and interest rate pressures take effect.

The HMRC’s figures also show there has been an increase in the numbers of small businesses paying late with  892,673 in Time to Pay (TTP) arrangements at the end of June 2023, a 5% rise von June 2022.

Gloomy outlook results in hiring slowdown

The latest UK jobs report by KPMG and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation reveals a decline in permanent staff appointments due to concerns over the economic outlook. Growth in billings for temporary workers also slowed down. The survey data shows a steep rise in staff availability and total labour supply. Businesses are freezing hiring and some redundancies are being made, leading to an imbalance in supply and demand. Hiring intentions and business confidence fell in both the services and manufacturing sectors. Claire Warnes, a partner at KPMG UK, said: “Recruiters told us that their clients aren’t yet confident enough in the economic outlook to commit to permanent hires, leading to the steepest pace of decline in placements since June 2020.”

Record number of pubs are forced to close

More pubs in Britain went bust between April and June than in any quarter for over a decade. Rising costs and the cost of living crisis have exacerbated the situation. Research by Price Bailey found that 223 pub businesses entered insolvency in Q2 2023, a significant increase from the previous quarter. Since last summer, 729 pubs have closed down, marking an 80% rise compared to the previous year. “We are seeing a perfect storm of high inflation and interest rates at a time when many pubs are on life support,” Matt Howard, who heads the firm’s insolvency practice, said. “Aggressive interest rate hikes this year have really turned the screw just when it looked like the economy was stabilising. Many pub businesses have piled up barely manageable levels of debt and rate hikes are tipping an increasing number into the red.”

Hybrid working surge sees footfall increase at transport hubs

The number of people working from airports and railway stations has surged sending footfall at offices in transport hubs up 83% in the last year. The data is revealed in a study by workspace provider IWG, which says the increase has been driven by the rise in hybrid working. Mark Dixon, founder and chief executive of IWG, said: “It’s clear that people are looking to seize the opportunity to work in places that are most convenient to them and their lifestyles. In their daily lives, employees are choosing locations to work from locations that minimise their daily commutes and more and more people are embracing the idea of combining work with travel, whether it’s for a few days tacked on to the end of a holiday or a few months as a digital nomad.”

Brexit cut profits for ‘nearly all’ independent EU-facing retailers
The British Independent Retailers Association has said almost all independent retailers who trade with Europe have seen profit losses due to Brexit. The CEO of the industry group, Andrew Goodacre, said the additional costs due to red tape meant EU-facing retailers had to “sacrifice” profit to stay in business. “If you’re facing a 15 per cent tariffs on goods, you either have to put your products up 15 per cent to consumers or you accept a lower margin,” he explained. Meanwhile, research from the Federation of Small Businesses found that 13% of its members had stopped trading temporarily or permanently with the EU since the UK’s exit.

UK businesses urge Rishi Sunak to reverse rise in visa fee for skilled workers
The lobby group BusinessLDN is calling on the Prime Minister to rethink plans to increase visa fees for migrant workers, arguing that the move would hamper economic growth.

HSBC Executive Slams ‘Weak’ UK

HSBC  head of public affairs criticized the US for strong-arming the UK into cutting back business dealings with China and accused the British government of being “weak” for going along with it.

Sherard Cowper-Coles who is also chair of the China-Britain Business Council and has served as the UK Ambassador in Saudi Arabia, Isreal and Afghanistan, told attendants at an event in London in June that the UK would often bow to the demands of Washington and shouldn’t blindly follow the US but look after its own interests.


US Scientists succeeded in producing net energy from a fusion reaction for a second time using lasers on hydrogen isotopes.

US jobs

The US Economy added fewer new jobs than expected last month, with official data on Friday showing non-farm payroll rose by 187,000 in July, below forecasts of an increase of 200,000. The figure for June was also revised lower to 185,000 from 209,000, while May’s number was reduced by 25,000 to 281,000, meaning fewer jobs were created in the spring than first thought, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

House Prices

House Prices fell for the fourth consecutive month in July, according to Halifax data, but the mortgage lender noted the sector is showing some grit despite tough market conditions. The Halifax house price index fell 0.3% on-month in July, having fallen 0.1% in June. In June, the typical UK property cost £285,044, down from around £285,932 the month before. On an annual basis, prices fell 2.4% in July, easing from a 2.6% fall in June.

NatWest’s limits on cash fuel cashless society fears

The Telegraph reports on plans by NatWest to limit cash deposits and withdrawals with the move stoking fears that increasing curbs on the use of physical money across the system could have negative consequences for consumers. A survey by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found that 88% of adults in Red Wall constituencies believe everyone should have the legal right to pay for goods and services in cash. News that NatWest is limiting the use of cash comes in the wake of the Nigel Farage de-banking scandal and has prompted a backlash against the push for a cashless society. NatWest says the move is part of efforts to limit fraud, but Tory MP Anne-Marie Morris says: “The fraud and money-laundering rules seem to be wagging the tail of the cash dog.”

Banks have closed a million accounts in four years

Figures obtained by the Mail on Sunday reveal over a million bank accounts have been shut since 2019 and the rate of closure is accelerating. Banks are on track to break the previous record of 343,500 accounts closed last year with almost 200,000 accounts axed so far this year because of concerns over financial crime activity such as fraud and money laundering. This is up from under 50,000 in 2016 when the Financial Conduct Authority introduced new reporting rules. The closure of Nigel Farage’s Coutts account due to his political views has turned a spotlight on the issue with the Government now planning to introduce new rules requiring banks to explain closures and giving customers more time to challenge those decisions. But James Daley, founder of campaign group Fairer Finance, says “the legislation should go further and limit banks to closing accounts only when there is clear evidence of criminal activity.” Meanwhile, the Independent reports that 92-year-old Windrush pensioner Philip Cato is among hundreds of NatWest bank customers living overseas to have their accounts axed.

Wilko buyers will need to pump £70m into rescue

Buyers circling Wilko face having to inject up to £70m into the troubled discount chain as part of any rescue deal as the family-owned retailer scrambles to avert collapse. Wilko had to file a notice of intent to appoint administrators last week to keep creditors at bay, setting up a race to find a buyer within two weeks. Wilko’s advisers at PwC are in talks with a rival discount chain and two private equity firms over a potential rescue deal that would involve slashing rents at Wilko’s 400 shops through a company voluntary arrangement. However, the capital injection required casts doubt over the likelihood of a solvent sale that could preserve 12,000 jobs.

Clintons Cards prepares to close a fifth of its stores
Clintons Cards is looking to shut 38 of its 179 remaining stores in a restructuring plan that will swap its debt for equity as the card retailer fights to avoid insolvency. The business has struggled to restore its finances since December 2019, when it was sold back to its owner through a fast-track insolvency process, despite cutting costs and exploring a merger with Paperchase in December 2022. It is understood the company has appointed restructuring experts from FRP Advisory.

Car sales jump on strong EV demand
A new battery electric car was sold every 60 seconds in the UK, driving the country’s automotive market in July, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The SMMT cut its growth forecast for next year due to cost-of-living concerns, but expects battery electric vehicles to capture 22.6% market share in 2024. Despite a 28% increase in registrations last month, the overall market still lags behind pre-pandemic levels. “With an increasing range of EV models coming to the UK market, consumers with petrol and diesel cars may be encouraged to switch over,” said Jamie Hamilton, automotive partner and head of electric vehicles at Deloitte. Also commenting was Richard Peberdy, at KPMG, who said: “New car demand remains healthy, particularly considering the higher cost of living and increased cost to car finance. That higher cost is causing some consumers to reassess brands and models and trade down, but overall consumer car sales levels so far this year are up on last year – with both electric and hybrids growing.”

Business of measuring company emissions booms despite data flaws
Venture capital investment in carbon accounting companies jumped from $60m in 2020 to $767m in 2022 as regulators, investors and consumers demand more information about corporate greenhouse gas emissions.

Bold reforms needed to persuade firms to list in London

Writing in the Times, Ross Mitchinson, the co-chief executive of Numis, says further bold reforms will be needed to encourage companies to choose Britain when looking to take the leap into public markets. Recent efforts by the Government and the Financial Conduct Authority to boost the competitiveness of the City are encouraging, but “only by addressing long-term, structural issues more directly and completely will London retain, solidify and build upon its position in international markets.” Mitchinson says FTSE bosses support the idea of mandating pension schemes to invest in UK equities and changing accounting rules requiring companies to hold defined-benefit deficits on their balance sheets. “Less rigid corporate governance and reporting regimes, which sometimes can deter small companies from going public, would be another step forward,” Mitchinson continues, “alongside maintaining the high-quality governance standards that the UK is recognised for.”

Latest Insolvencies

Appointment of Liquidators – FAOCHAG LTD.
Appointment of Liquidators – RISKY CRAYON LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – PROVINCIAL EQUITY FINANCE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – P GEE & SON LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – OSS ONE STOP SOLUTIONS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – DAIR (SCOTLAND) LTD.
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – THE HERITAGE WINDOW AND DOOR COMPANY LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – APPLE OFFICE SOLUTIONS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – K&R FARMING LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – SIMS & MACDONALD LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – DLM BATHROOMS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – HATHAWAYS UTILITIES LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – D.U GROUNDCARE LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – FARMTRAC LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – LEDGEREDGE LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – ASPIRE & PERFORM (HR/OD CONSULTING) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – MARYLEBONE ESTATES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PHARMACOLOGY EDUCATION LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – DIMOTOPROTO LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – BIWATER HOLDINGS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – BIWATER INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ANDRAS INVESTMENTS LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – LE CHARDON D’OR LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PANDEL BATHROOMS LTD.
Appointment of Liquidators – ROBERT ARMSTRONG & SONS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – QOREX LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – GUS 2000 UNLIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ELECTRA POWER LIMITED
Winding up Order (Companies) – SP SPA & WELLNESS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – METIS INNOVATIONS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – HAMILTON INCORPORATED LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – CTEK SERVICES LTD
Appointment of Administrator – HALLETTS GROUP LTD
Appointment of Administrator – ORE SIZER (UK) LTD.
Appointment of Liquidators – R-TEC AUTO DESIGN LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – WEALDGROVE PROPERTIES LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – CLSL 2023 LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – 0 0 0 EXPRESS LABS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – SANDHAR & KANG (BIRMINGHAM) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – REBECCA & SARAH HAWORTH LTD
Appointment of Administrator – ZONE TWO (UK) LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – VALLEY ESTATES SOUTH WEST LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SANDHAR & KANG LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – OSMIUM SOLUTIONS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – TRIXIX LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PORTER & STRAND LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – A E LOWES LTD
Appointment of Administrator – NUC REALISATIONS 2023 LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – RAFFEL & CO ADVISERS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – QUANTEQ LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – WEST BRIDGE CONSULTING LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – GREEN LANE FOOD LTD
Appointment of Administrator – TRENCH NETWORKS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – FOCUS ESTATES LLP
Appointment of Liquidators – M & C RESTAURANTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CAPAY CONSULTANCY 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!

No face-to-face meeting required – 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.