Business news 13 May 2024

Q1 growth sees UK exit recession. Pay rises, job stability. 4 day week, office rents,  business insurance, accidental bosses, markets, cybersecurity, insolvencies & more business news that we thought would interest our members.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Q1 growth sees UK exit recession

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that the economy grew by 0.6% between January and March, with this marking the fastest rate of growth for two years. The growth seen in Q1 means the UK has emerged from recession, with the economy having posted two consecutive quarters of decline at the end of 2023. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the figures “are proof that the economy is returning to full health for the first time since the pandemic.” He told the BBC’s Today programme that the “very difficult decisions” that the Government has taken in order to get the economy “back on its feet … are beginning to pay off and we need to see them through.” Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, said: “The worst is behind the UK economy,” adding: “We expect to see continued growth for the rest of this year, supported by a more favourable economic backdrop.” Suren Thiru, economics director at the ICAEW, said: “The strong exit from recession may inadvertently keep UK interest rates higher for longer by giving those policymakers still worried about underlying inflationary pressures enough comfort on economic conditions to continue putting off cutting rates.”

Pay rises could drive inflation

Real terms wages rose by 2.1% in the year to February, according to the Resolution Foundation. This marks the same degree of increase as that recorded between 2008 and 2023. Real pay has been hit by the surge in inflation over the past two years, with the rate soaring to 11.1% in October 2022. Inflation has since receded to 3.2%, while nominal wages have been rising at about 6% for the past year. Greg Thwaites, research director at the foundation, said: “Britain’s recent real wage recovery is largely down to the unwinding of trends that caused pay packets to shrink during the cost-of-living crisis.” He went on to warn: “Unless productivity picks up, wage growth will peter out or pay rises will simply be passed on through higher prices and will prolong our inflation problems.”

Workers opt for job stability

A new study suggests that workers are increasingly likely to stay in their current roles as they prioritise job stability amid an uncertain economic outlook. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) labour force survey reveals lower staff attrition and fewer job moves this year. The quarterly survey, which quizzed more than 2,000 businesses, shows that just 30% expected to increase their staff numbers over the summer, the smallest proportion since early 2021. The report also shows that public sector employers are twice as likely as private companies to cut jobs over the next three months. It was found that 55% want to maintain their headcount at existing levels, the highest proportion since the winter of 2016. Recruiters believe that the lucrative pay offers seen during the pandemic’s highly-competitive jobs market have decreased, with 5% pay rises now considered more realistic. Noting that the hiring market is returning to pre-pandemic levels, James Cockett, labour market economist at the CIPD, said: “The so-called Great Resignation is well and truly over and has been replaced by the Big Stay, with more people opting for job stability.”

Private sector recruitment falls again

Recruitment in the private sector has fallen for the tenth month in a row, according to BDO’s employment index. While the index, which tracks the UK job market, slumped to the lowest level in more than a decade in April, hiring intentions are forecast to start recovering as the Bank of England cuts interest rates later in the year.

Half of workers ‘tempted’ to move jobs for a shorter week

Half of workers say they would be “tempted” to change jobs if it meant moving to a four-day working week. A poll of almost 11,900 companies and workers by recruitment firm Hays shows that 51% of employees would consider changing jobs to secure a shorter working week, with just 12% saying they would not be interested. The survey found that 11% of employers are trialling or have brought in a four-day week policy, compared to 7% last year. It was also shown that 78% offering the policy said it helps attract candidates, while 28% of firms said they would be more likely to offer a shorter week it if staff were in the office every day. A recent trial of the four-day week found that 51% of the UK firms that took part have made the policy permanent, while 89% are still operating it

City office rents surge

Analysis by BNP Paribas Real Estate shows that office rents in Britain’s biggest cities have risen at their highest annual rate since 2001. Prime rents in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield were up by an average of 7.6% between Q1 2023 and the opening quarter of 2024. Sheffield recorded the biggest rise in prime rents, with a 15.4% increase. By the end of March, 38% of the office space under construction or renovation had been pre-let to occupiers, while the take-up of space rose by 9.2% on a year-on-year basis in Q1. The research found that 26.7% of the firms that secured office space in Q1 had been from the professional services sector, with the public sector taking 15.5% and companies in the banking and finance industry accounting for 12.6%. Simon Williams, head of national markets at BNP Paribas Real Estate, said leasing activity had been driven primarily by “occupiers seeking relocations to upgrade office space.”

Business parks see higher vacancy rates

A study from property analytics firm CoStar suggests business parks are experiencing higher vacancy rates as companies opt for office blocks in towns and cities. On average 9.1% of all office space throughout the UK is vacant but the eleven business parks analysed by CoStar all have higher vacancy rates. Grant Lonsdale, director of market analytics at CoStar, said: “One line of thought in the early days of the pandemic was that business parks would become more popular as office workers sought to avoid public transport,” adding: “The opposite became true as the threat of the virus receded and businesses and their workers sought vibrancy and social contact provided by city centres.”

More small firms rely on loans for insurance

Growing numbers of small businesses are having to rely on loans to pay for their insurance, according to specialist lender Premium Credit. The proportion of SMEs using debt to pay for all or part of their insurance cover has risen from 51% to 55% over the past 12 months. Although the average amount SMEs borrow has fallen from £1,130 to £1,080, around 15% have borrowed more than £3,000. Half of those surveyed said the cost of their business insurance had gone up, leading 27% to cut back on their level of cover and 32% to cancel at least one policy. As a result, 18% of SMEs say their level of underinsurance has increased, leaving them at risk of being without adequate cover when they need it. Premium Credit director Adam Morghem said: “Underinsurance is a growing issue for SMEs, with firms increasingly cutting back on cover and in some cases cancelling policies entirely.”

More borrowers take ultra-long home loans

Bank of England data suggests that more than a million people in the past three years may have taken out mortgages that will continue past the state pension age. The analysis by former Pensions Minister Steve Webb shows that 294,243 post-retirement age mortgages were taken out in the fourth quarters of 2021, 2022 and 2023 combined. Extrapolating this figure for three full years suggests that more than 1.1m borrowers could have taken out these mortgages since 2021. It was also found that the percentage of new mortgages that will run past state pension age has risen from 31% of new loans taken out in Q4 2021 to 42% in the same period of last year. Mr Webb, a partner at pensions consultancy Lane, Clark & Peacock, said: “The challenge of getting on the housing ladder is forcing large numbers of young homebuyers to gamble with their retirement prospects by taking on ultra-long mortgages.” A 2023 report from Quilter found that the number of people taking out mortgages with terms of 35 years or more reached 88,059 in 2022, compared with 40,471 in 2018.

Increase in home repossessions due to older cases

The number of homeowner-mortgaged properties being repossessed in the first quarter of 2024 increased by 36% compared to the previous quarter, according to UK Finance. Buy-to-let mortgaged properties saw a 20% increase in repossessions. The rise in repossessions is largely attributed to older cases working through the court system.  In the first quarter of 2024, 1.11% of all homeowner mortgages and 0.69% of all buy-to-let mortgages were in arrears. There were 96,580 homeowner mortgages in arrears of 2.5% or more of the outstanding balance, with 32,470 in the most severe arrears bracket. Charles Roe, director of mortgages at UK Finance, said the number of mortgages in arrears is rising due to the cost of living and higher interest rates. However, UK Finance has reassured homeowners that lenders offer support options for struggling borrowers.

Firms need to boost cybersecurity

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) says organisations must do more to boost their cybersecurity and protect the personal information they hold, having found that more firms than ever are experiencing cybersecurity breaches. Stephen Bonner, deputy commissioner for regulatory supervision at the ICO, said: “While cyber-attacks are growing more sophisticated, we find that many organisations are not responding accordingly and are still neglecting the very foundations of cybersecurity.” He added that while there is no single solution to prevent such attacks, “there is absolutely no excuse for not having the foundational controls in place.” There were more than 3,000 cyber breaches reported to the ICO in 2023.

Firms awash with ‘accidental’ bosses

A survey of 2,000 workers by recruitment firm Robert Walters shows that two-thirds of managers at British businesses were given no formal training before they took on leadership responsibilities. This, the report warns, is “setting them up to fail.” Around half of so-called ‘accidental managers’ quizzed said they felt overwhelmed or under-equipped to handle their new role. It was also shown that managers are keen to learn, with more than a third having repeatedly asked for formal training. Gerrit Bouckaert, chief executive of recruitment at Robert Walters, said that while a manager’s primary role was once to keep employees motivated and productive, “in today’s world they are required to drive the culture and inclusion in the team, lead on digital adoption, possess an innate ability to know if a member of their team is struggling mentally and also be the bearer of bad news.” A 2023 study by the Chartered Management Institute estimated that the proportion of accidental managers could be as high as 82%.
The Mail on Sunday


The London market was helped  by strong UK GDP data that confirmed the UK had exited a technical recession over Q3 and Q4 2023. Gains were held during the day with both UK hitting record levels with the FTSE 100 closing up 0.63% at 8433.76. The Euro Stoxx 50 closed up 0.61% at 5085.08  and in the US the S&P 500 rose 0.16% to 5222.68, the Nasdaq was flat at 16340.87, despite data from the University of Michigan showed a decline in US consumer sentiment to 67.4 from 77.4 in April. .

Today, the pound is currently worth $1.2534 and €1.1622. Brent is at $83.05, Gold is at $2344. The FTSE 100 is flat at 8436 as is the Eurostoxx 50 at 5076.

British Steel moves toward rescue deal

British Steel is closing in on a rescue deal with the Government. The Chinese-owned firm has hired PwC to assist with finalising a fully costed business plan and negotiations over a rescue deal which could unlock hundreds of millions of pounds in UK taxpayer aid. British Steel was bought out of insolvency by Jingye in 2020.

Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover reported £29bn in revenues for its full year (end March 24) up 25% helped by sales of Range Rover. The group pre-tax profit hit £2.2bn its highest level since 2015. JLR reported high interest in its new Range Rover model with 28,700 on its waiting list.

Why electric cars are the hot company perk

A number of firms are allowing staff to lease electric vehicles through salary sacrifice schemes, delivering tax and National Insurance savings. Deloitte analysis shows that green initiatives are increasingly important to employees.

Diversity and equality boost businesses

Gillian Bowditch in the Times says that despite “the lip service paid to women’s enterprise,” many female-led firms struggle to access finance. Data shows that less than 20% of start-ups in the UK are majority female-founded, while analysis from Women’s Enterprise Scotland suggests that if women started businesses at the rate that men do, the annual boost to the economy would be about £7.6bn. Research by Boost & Co shows that male-owned businesses receive seven times more funding than those owned by women. The discrepancy when it comes to accessing finance comes despite analysis showing that when the playing field is level, male and female-owned businesses perform equally. Ms Bowditch concludes: “Everyone benefits when there is diversity and equality in business.”

Latest Insolvencies

Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE SPV 11 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE CAPITAL TECH LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE SPV 15 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE SPV 5 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE CAPITAL (SECURITIES) LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – CAMBCOL LTD
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE SPV 14 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE SPV 19 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE SPV 17 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE SPV 10 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – C.G. CLEANING LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE SPV 16 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE SPV 18 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE SPV 8 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE SPV 9 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE SPV 13 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE SPV 20 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE CAPITAL GROUP LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – ABRA WHOLESALES LTD
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE SPV 12 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – SPORTSTRIBAL LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HUDDLE SPV 1 LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – TRAVELSMART HOLDINGS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – FERRAND MCLAUGHLIN LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – TRAVELSMART EBT LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – KALVIN TYRE COMPANY LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – S J BROOKES LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – PMCF LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ATLANTIC DOGSTAR LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – AMBIVET LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – CONCERTO EVENTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CREATIVEVENTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ROMFIN LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – L & S PROPERTY INVESTMENTS (LINCS) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – RCRJ LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – AS TAX CONSULTANCY LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – DRACO CONSULTANTS LLP
Appointment of Liquidators – LEAN C LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – BROOK FUNDING (NO.1) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – MONICA HELEN LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – ARABELLA MACPHERSON LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PHARMSURE UK LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – STRATEGIC VALUES LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – ALPHA FLIGHT UK LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – MGP MEDICO-LEGAL LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – GREENWICH VILLAGE GALLERY LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – 2GR LLP
Appointment of Liquidators – MERSEYMART LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – FSGR LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – DBF INFRASTRUCTURE LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – A H T ROOFING AND CONSTRUCTION LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – THE BERKSHIRE BUILDING GROUP LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – BILAL FOODSTORE LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – MARKIT ECONOMICS LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – WILLAND BIOGAS LLP
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – NIZAM PURA FOOD LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – PAB ENTERPRISE LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – KEOWN O’NEILL LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CROMLYNVETS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – STONE SOURCE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SPINE IRELAND LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – FERGUSON CONTRACTS LIMITED
Winding up Order (Companies) – WHEELLOADERS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – UNIQUE FRONTLINE PROTECTION LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – WAHAB CONSULTANCY LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – GO PLANT FLEET SERVICES LTD
Appointment of Administrator – GO PLANT LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – RYKAR LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – HALLIGAN BROS ELECTRICAL LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – OFFICE HUB EAST LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – AIRPORT PERISHABLE HANDLING LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ALTAI DIGITAL LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – WISEVA LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – RIDE TRADING LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – JAMBR HOLDINGS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – CAMDEN VINTAGE LONDON LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – JRSS MANAGEMENT LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – JOHN EVANS (WIRRAL) 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 last one was particularly deadly for suppliers fand we are still seeing elevated insolvencies as businesses struggle.

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.