Business news 7 September 2023

James Salmon, Operations Director.

A ‘Wave of bankruptcies’ threatens Europe. UK could avoid further interest rate rises. ONS to review ‘best practice’ for data revisions. Construction, mortgages, Wilko, vets, & more business news that we thought would interest our members.

OECD: ‘Wave of bankruptcies’ threatens Europe

The OECD has warned that higher interest rates risk pushing huge numbers of European companies into bankruptcy.

“In some countries, both households and firms are highly indebted and thus vulnerable to increases in financing costs. High levels of […] debt threaten a wave of bankruptcies,” said the OECD in its latest economic survey of the eurozone.

The comments come after poor readings for the eurozone’s construction, manufacturing and services industries. Andrzej Szczepaniak at Nomura said “Europe is heading over the recession precipice”.

Bailey: UK could avoid further interest rate rises

The Governor of the Bank of England on Wednesday signaled that the UK could avoid further interest rate rises if inflation continues to fall. “Many of the indicators are now moving as we would expect them to move and are signalling that the fall in inflation will continue,” Andrew Bailey said.

Inflation has fallen from a peak of 11.1% last October to 6.8% in July and Bailey expects further “quite marked” falls by the end of this year. Bailey’s comments sent sterling down to a three-month low against the dollar as currency traders pulled back their bets on higher UK borrowing costs. Although the probability of a rate increase has fallen, markets still expect two more raises ahead of a peak of 5.75% before falling gradually in 2024.

The BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee will vote on September 21 whether to increase rates from their current 5.25% after 14 consecutive hikes since December 2021, when rates were at 0.1%.

ONS to review ‘best practice’ for data revisions

The Office for National Statistics has asked the Office for Statistics Regulation to review “best practice” for its data revisions a week after it published major revisions to its GDP data showing that the economy was larger than previously thought in 2020 and 2021. Ed Humpherson, director general for regulation at the statistics watchdog, said the review will consider “what lessons can be learnt for future economic measurement”.


UK Construction saw a mild expansion in activity in August, according to survey data, but the slump in the house-building sector continued.The UK construction purchasing managers’ index fell to 50.8 points in August, from 51.7 in July, but remained above the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction.

Eurozone Construction declined in August at the fastest pace since the start of the pandemic as rising interest rates hit building activity. The HCOB eurozone construction purchasing managers’ index, which tracks total activity in the sector, edged down to 43.4 in August from 43.5 in July, its lowest level so far this year, and taking it further below the 50 level that separates growth from contraction.

Mortgage holders face £3,000 increase in repayments
Mortgage holders are expected to face an increase of £3,000 in repayments next year due to rising interest rates, according to the Resolution Foundation. As fixed-rate deals expire, the think estimates that up to 90% of mortgage holders will have had to re-fix their deals at much worse rates by the time of the general election. The Bank of England’s base rate has jumped from 0.1% in November 2021 to 5.25% and is expected to peak at 5.5% by the end of this month. This will mean that the average household with a mortgage will be spending 16% of their total income on their housing loan in 2025, the highest proportion since 2008. Adam Corlett, principal economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “The worst of the cost of living crisis may be behind us, but except for those with significant savings, it is stagnant living standards rather than boomtime Britain that the future has in store.”

Wilko store closures revealed
Administrators for Wilko have revealed the 52 stores that will close after efforts to secure a rescue deal for the whole group failed. The closures will result in more than 1,000 people being made redundant. PwC said it remains in talks with parties interested in buying the remaining parts of the business.


Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gave the go-ahead for the UK to rejoin the European Union’s €95.5 billion Horizon science program, allowing closer ties between Europe’s top research hubs following a two-year gap because of post-Brexit political wrangling.  UK researchers can apply for grants and bid to take part in projects under the Horizon program, with certainty that the UK will be participating as a fully associated member.


A review of veterinary services in the UK has been launched over concerns that pet owners could be paying too much. Shares in UK veterinary services company CVS Group tumbled as much as 35% this morning, the most in more than four years, while retailer Pets at Home plunges as much as 13% after the country’s Competition and Markets Authority launches a review of the £2 billion vet sector. Pet owners can face “eye-watering” bills, said consumer group Which?, which shared its findings with the CMA.


Apple fell on the news that China – its biggest market outside the US – is banning iphone use by government officials and at state companies.  In the latest blow in the trade war between the US and China, several Chinese agencies have begun instructing staff not to bring their iPhones to work and the government is looking to expand the ban across the state.


US solar power installations will hit a record this year, increasing by 52% compared to 2022, the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie said. The anticipated 32 gigawatts of new capacity would be equal to about 30 new nuclear reactors.

Cambridge v Oxford

Cambridge has opened a large lead over rival Oxford in job creation, as Britain’s top two university towns deliver in stimulating the economy. Data from Reed Recruitment shows Cambridge has the edge against Oxford in terms of the number of job openings available per worker. Both are well above the average across England. Oxford is 140% higher than the national average but Cambridge is 270% higher. With both cities also paying several thousand pounds more per year than the national average.

“Both Oxford and Cambridge have a rich history of academic excellence and innovation, and this has naturally spilled over into their local economies,” said James Reed, chairman of Reed. “The success of these cities demonstrates the potential for universities to play a significant role in local economic development.”

Jonathan Hart-Smith, CEO of the technical recruitment company CK Group, said both cities are “very good at encouraging people who’ve created some intellectual property in their PhD.”

“Whether it’s a spin-out from Cambridge or a spin-out from Oxford, the first place they go to are the professors or the departments they already know” to find new staff, he said.


US equities were lower following strong ISM data and after a Federal Reserve official said further tightening was possible. Overnight, the DOW dropped -0.57%, the  S&P 500 dropped -0.70% and the NASDAQ dropped -1.06%. Boston Federal Reserve President Susan Collins said that further US rate hikes may be necessary given that demand continues to outpace supply. The decision would be data dependent however US interest rates would have to be held at current levels for inflation objectives to be met. For the week, Dollar stands tall as the dominant currency as the pound fell below $1.25 on Baileys BoE comments.

Hybrid working is the new normal
The Conservative candidate for London mayor claims the work from home revolution is now too entrenched to be reversed. Susan Hall says “we’ve very much moved into a three-day week and I don’t think that that can necessarily be taken back” adding that it wouldn’t be for the Mayor to dictate what workers do. Hall points out that large companies with office in London have already cut back on space so they couldn’t take all there staff back five days a week anyway.


British American Tobacco expects to close the sale of its Russia and Belarus businesses within the next month – though financial details have not been disclosed. BAT’s operations in Russia include a Moscow head office and 75 regional offices that account for 2.7% of group revenue and 2.5% of profit from operations.

House prices.

Halifax said UK house prices fell 1.9% in August and 4.6% in the 12 month period marking the largest year on year decrease since 2009.

Direct Line

Direct Line reported interim losses of £76.3m on revenues up 10% to £1.61bn, however the board have sold their brokered commercial insurance business, NIG to RSA for £520m with a further £30m earnout. The board have said the sale of NIG will strengthen capital levels but the group will not pay a dividend until the motor division is cash generative. The shares jumped 18% on the news as the sale solved a potential capital problem.

Insurers urge ‘extreme caution’ over potential pension changes
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has warned the Government to exercise “extreme caution” when exploring options for changes to the defined benefits (DB) pension market. The ABI stressed that the central purpose of DB pension schemes should not be undermined. The association also cautioned against allowing employers to use the surplus of a DB pension scheme without securing member benefits first, as it could create commercial benefits for employers while generating further risks for scheme members. The ABI also expressed concerns about proposals to expand the role of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and introduce a public consolidator for private DB pension schemes, as it could introduce “moral hazard” and lead to employers contributing less to their schemes.

TUC leader calls for wealth tax to tackle inequality

A wealth tax is needed to address “rampant” inequality, according to Paul Nowak, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress. Nowak called for a “national conversation on taxing wealth and windfalls” in response to soaring executive pay and stagnant wages. He cited research showing strong public support for higher taxes on capital gains and “excess” corporate profits. However, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has ruled out wealth taxes if Labour wins the next election. Nowak backed Sir Keir Starmer’s vow to protect working people from tax hikes but said the wealthy “have got to pay their fair share”. He highlighted the precedent set by Conservative chancellor Nigel Lawson in 1988, who equalised capital gains tax with income tax.

Britons face soaring property taxes on second homes in France
The French Government is increasing property taxes for owners of second homes in popular tourist areas, impacting many Britons who own holiday properties in France. This tax hike, which can go as high as 60%, is part of President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to address housing shortages by discouraging second-home ownership. While taxe foncière (ownership tax) and taxe d’habitation (residence tax) have been abolished for primary residences in 2023, they still apply to second homes, including those owned by Britons. The surcharge was initially limited to specific cities and tourist resorts but has now been extended to 2,263 rural areas. In regions like Brittany, where a significant portion of properties are second homes, the tax increase could affect around 8,900 Britons.

Latest Insolvencies

Appointment of Administrator – PITTARDS PLC.
Appointment of Administrator – CIP HOLDINGS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – HMJJ CONSULTANCY LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – HUNLOKE RESTAURANTS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – FIXBY PARK CONSULTANTS LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – CLEARANCE SERVICES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – JOHN FITZGERALD & CO. LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – JUNTTAN UK HIRE LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – MITTON AFTERCARE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – READYBASE LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – GASPER CONSULTING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – KLP CONSULTANCY LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – LUMSDEN IT SERVICES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – MIKE POTTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – GHOST CASSETTE LTD
Appointment of Administrator – HAMILTON MAYDAY LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – J. G. BUILDERS LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – GRANTLEY HOMES LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – MITTON ELECTRICAL SERVICES LTD
Appointment of Administrator – H. MITTON LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – STAKRAK LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – 6 TOWNS CREDIT UNION LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – LINDNER REAL ESTATE UK LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – PRINSEGATE DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – HAWKSMOOR MORTGAGE FUNDING 2019-1 PLC
Appointment of Liquidators – LDPM LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – COOPERHILL LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – VEXTREL LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – THE HAMPSHIRE RESTAURANTS & BAR LTD
Appointment of Administrator – BABYLON GROUP HOLDINGS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – DAVID EVANS CONSTRUCTION LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – COHORT FINANCIAL LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – GHALI’S LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – MODEPLUS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – SEA CASK LTD
Appointment of Administrator – ICON OFFICE DESIGN LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CHART CHAMPIONS LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – VISION DESIGN PROJECTS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – BOND STREET LIVERPOOL LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – AXIOMA RISK CONSULTANCY LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – MB HOUNSLOW LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – GB SPORTSBALLS UK LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – CROWN DOORS AND SHUTTERS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – HPS CIVILS LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – SCM CONTRACTORS (SOUTHERN) LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – BABYLON PARTNERS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – XINGLI CAPITAL LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – URBAN CATALYST LIMITED

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.