Business news 11 January 2024

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Broken Britain’s Late payment culture hurting small businesses.  And more business news that we thought would interest our members.

Broken Britain’s Late payment culture hurting small businesses

Research from Shawbrook shows that nearly half of Britain’s 5.5 small businesses are resorting to cash flow from personal credit cards to tackle cash flow problems caused by late payments.

And we aren’t just talking about the one man bands. Even among the SME’s with a £25-£50 million turnover, 45 percent surveyed said they had resorted to personal credit cards to aid cash flow.

Staggeringly among the SME’s with a turnover over £100 million, 47 percent were still using personal credit cards.

40% of Small business owners were using personal loans and 46% were having to put their personal savings back into the business to tackle the cash flow crisis.

Cost concerns sees SMEs encourage WFH

A survey by Nucleus Commercial Finance shows that confidence among SMEs is slipping, with concerns about inflation, rising operational costs, and cashflow. To save on business costs, 79% of the surveyed SMEs are encouraging remote work. Chirag Shah, founder and CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance, suggests that businesses can save £8,000 per year for every employee working from home. However, he acknowledges the challenges of remote work, including company culture, communication, and cybersecurity risks.

Brits opt to sit in the cold

research by Swedish energy tech company Aira found that the majority of Brits were planning to  turn don heating over worries about high energy bills. About 65% said they will lower their heating, with 7% planning to turn it off completely. Although wholesale prices have fallen seen last years peaks, the end of Government support still leaves households facing high bills with temperatures plunging.

On average, the survey found Brits are willing to let their home get as cold as 11.3 C before they turn the heating on.

Household finances withstanding the pressure of higher rates

Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, says the economy is doing better than expected when it comes to withstanding the pressure from higher interest rates. He told the Treasury Committee that households and businesses are “nowhere near as stressed as during the financial crisis period.” Noting that households have seen an increase in real incomes of around 2% and that there has not been a “pronounced increase” in unemployment, he said: “Both of those things support overall conditions and financial stability.” This he added, means that both household borrowing and the mortgage market were experiencing “less stress”.

Sub postmasters justice

The Prime Minister announced yesterday in the House of Commons that a new law will be introduced to exonerate hundreds of Post Office subpostmaster’s who were caught up in the Horizon IT scandal, describing them as victims in “one the greatest miscarriages of Justice”. He also said there will be a new upfront payment of £75,000 for the “vital” group who took action against the Post Office.

Voters want better services over tax cuts

64% of those polled said the Government should prioritie spending on schools and hospitals over 26% who favoured a cut in tax. 64% said the cost of living was the biggest issue facing the country with only 38% expecting to be better off this time next year. 58% thought house-building should be a priority.

Inflation target may be hit by April

Inflation could fall below the Bank of England’s 2% target as soon as April, a senior economist has predicted. Deutsche Bank economist Sanjay Raja said that a “hefty cut to energy bills” could pull inflation below the Bank’s 2% target from its present level of 3.9% and from a peak of 11.1% recorded in October 2022. However, he also cautioned that upside inflation risks remain, “especially with regards to services inflation.” Mr Raja added: “With wage growth remaining highly uncertain, especially with the historically large minimum wage rise kicking in from April, services inflation could end up being a little higher than we expect.”

Bailey in inflation warning

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey has warned that attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea could drive up inflation, with costs rising as firms seek alternative routes to Europe. With Iran-backed rebels in Yemen targeting vessels heading for the Suez Canal, Mr Bailey told the Treasury Committee that shipping traffic “is being affected and is being rerouted,” adding that this “will increase shipping prices and shipping costs.” “I think initially that will be an issue in the monetary policy world,” he suggested. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt recently acknowledged that military action in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes could push up prices and hurt the economy, saying: “It may have an impact and we’ll watch it very, very carefully.”

Nearly £400bn in accounts earning 1% or less

Research by Yorkshire Building Society shows that over half of UK savers have not compared the interest rates on their accounts in the past year. The analysis also shows that approximately £400bn is currently sitting in UK current and savings accounts, earning 1% interest or less. The research also shows that nearly 13m current accounts in the UK have balances above £5,001. The study found that 49% of respondents had dipped into their savings in the past 12 months, with the average amount that people felt they needed to be able to access right away coming in at £4,000. More than half (53%) of respondents said they were happy with their provider. Chris Irwin, director of savings at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “Despite savings interest rates getting a lot of attention over the last year … it’s surprising that there are still large pockets of people who are significantly missing out on savings interest.”

Minimum levy will boost government revenues

The global 15% minimum tax rate on corporate profits proposed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is expected to significantly increase government revenues and reshape the landscape for multinational companies, the Paris-based organisation has said. The new rules aim to reduce profit shifting and could lead to a decrease in the amount of profits companies park in low-tax jurisdictions. The OECD estimates that the rules could result in a boost of $155bn to $192bn in tax revenues annually. The OECD estimates that participating countries categorised as “investment hubs” – such as Ireland and Netherlands – will have the largest expected gains from the reforms, while high-income jurisdictions, such as Australia, Germany, Japan and the UK would receive the second-highest amount in additional revenue. It is noted that the implementation of the global tax deal has faced hurdles, with only around 45 signatory countries taking steps to enact the 15% rule.

Elections may delay stock market rebound, EY warns

Elections in both the UK and US will cast a shadow over the stock market this year and risk delaying a rebound in listings, EY has warned. Scott McCubbin, who leads EY’s UK and Ireland IPO team, said: “The stability of equity markets hinges on consistent conditions, so while falling inflation and interest rate reductions may ease in the first half of 2024, the UK and US elections in the latter half might delay significant IPO activities until 2025.” The forecast suggests another lean year for London, which suffered a slump in new listings in 2023. Only 23 companies floated in London last year, with this down 49% from the year before. With it hoped that Financial Conduct Authority proposals to simplify London’s listing regime will help boost activity, Mr McCubbin said: “It’s imperative that a careful balance is struck between reducing red tape and safeguarding investor protections.”


Botswana and global diamond giant De Beers have approved a $1 billion investment to dig under the world’s richest diamond mine by volume, their joint venture said on Wednesday. The Debswana Diamond Company’s board said it has given the go ahead to works that are to extend the life of the Jwaneng mine, turning it from an open-pit site to an underground operation. The mine accounts for about 70% of profits for Debswana – a 50-50 joint venture between the government and De Beers, which auctions most of the gemstones.


HS2’s executive chairman Sir Jon Thompson told the Transport Select Committee that  the estimated cost of building the rail line between London and Birmingham could now cost as much as £66.6 billion. At 2019 prices the estimated cost for phase 1 is between £49 billion and £56.6 billion, however adjusting the current prices involves “adding somewhere between eight and 10 billion pounds.”


Apple is to launch VisionPro, a 3D camera headset on 2nd February 2024 priced at $3,499 however VisionPro is not expected to make a material revenue contribution. Concerns over iPhone 15 sales have led to a 4% drop in Apple year to date. At $186 per share it is only just retaining its most valuable company tag. Rival Microsoft closed last night at $2.837trn against Apple’s $2.866trn is up 3% year to date.


Tesco reported strong Xmas trading and now expected adjusted operating profit of £2.75bn for the year to end February 2024 ahead of the previously guided range of £2.6bn-£2.7bn. The grocer said like for like sales rose 6.6% in the three months to 25th November 2023.

Marks & Spencer reported food sales up 9.9% in the 13 weeks to 30th December 2023. The board noted higher cost increases in the form of business rates and wage inflation.


After the hack of their X account lead to a false post that a Bitcoin ETF had been approved, the US’s securities Exchange Commission officially approved  bitcoin ETF’s for Blackrock, Invesco, Fidelity and small competitors. Bitcoin at the time of writing is approaching $47,000.


Markets are up globally as traders bet on markets ahead of the US inflation figures due out later today.

Venture capital investment set to rebound

HSBC predicts that UK venture capital investment is set to recover in 2024, saying that with more than $25bn raised in the last three years, firms have more dry powder than ever. A report from HSBC Innovation Banking has identified climate tech as 2023’s “standout sector,” with 40% year-on-year growth seeing it raise a record $6.2bn. AI was next in line, raising $4.5bn. This marked a 29% increase from the previous year. Climate tech attracted 29% of all UK venture capital investment last year.

HMRC tax penalties hit record high

The value of HMRC tax penalties surged by 25% between 2022 and 2023, with the £851m in penalties imposed between November 2022 and October 2023 marking a record high. The total was up from £681m in 2021/22, according to data obtained by UHY Hacker Young. The firm said the increase in penalties has put additional pressure on struggling taxpayers and businesses, who are already dealing with high interest rates and the threat of recession. Sean Glancy, a partner at UHY Hacker Young, said: “HMRC continues to widen the net for tax penalties, so people who weren’t captured before are getting caught now.” He added: “HMRC is often not reasonable in removing penalties for genuine errors – they sometimes seem to operate with a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ approach. Once a penalty is issued, the process is quite draconian, however about half of penalties are withdrawn on appeal.”

Higher income tax may drive skilled workers to England, MSPs told

First Minister Humza Yousaf’s pledge not to match any income tax cuts from Westminster will make it even harder to attract and retain skilled workers in Scotland, MSPs have been warned. David Bell, professor of economics at the University of Stirling, suggested that any further growth in the gaps between income tax in Scotland and England could see people working fewer hours or refusing a promoted post in order to limit how much tax they pay. Mr Bell believes there is a need to reform the “disjointed” tax landscape so that policies set at Holyrood and Westminster interact better with each other

Latest Insolvencies

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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.