Business news 14 February 2024

Inflation, Unemployment, Wage Growth, FSB calls for government action,  The Body Shop, Post Office, Long term sickness, insolvencies & more business news that we thought would interest our members.

James Salmon, Operations Director.


UK Inflation held steady at 4% year-on-year in January on the back of easing prices for furniture and household goods, food and non-alcoholic beverages. Month-on-month, the headline consumer price index fell to -0.6%, returning to negative territory after December’s surprise increase by 0.4% on the month and 4% annually. Economists polled by Reuters had produced a consensus forecast of 4.2% year-on-year for January and -0.3% for the month.

IMF expects lower inflation rates to ease pressure on households

Receding price pressures will allow leading central banks to relieve pressure on households and businesses by loosening their monetary policies this year, says the International Monetary Fund. Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the IMF, believes that the world economy will emerge relatively unharmed from the inflation crisis and its accompanying rapid increases in interest rates. The IMF projects global growth to be 3.1% in 2024 and 3.2% in 2025, with the US leading the way. Georgieva expects interest rates to align with inflation by mid-year. Despite fears of a global recession, most major economies have avoided it, with the US outpacing its peers. Inflation in the US has been falling steadily, raising expectations of interest rate cuts by the US Federal Reserve. The European Central Bank and the Bank of England are also expected to ease policy. However, supply disruptions from the Israel-Gaza conflict and the Red Sea could aggravate inflationary pressures.

UK unemployment rate falls, wage growth slows

Unemployment fell slightly to 3.8% in the three months to December, while wages rose for the sixth consecutive month, according to official data. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported a decrease in unemployment and a 1.9% increase in real wages after accounting for inflation. The ONS also noted an increase in long-term sick leave, although the overall number of economically inactive individuals remained unchanged. Jeremy Hunt welcomed the news but stressed the need to continue efforts to boost the economy. The Chancellor said: “It’s good news that real wages are on the up for the sixth month in a row and unemployment remains low, but the job isn’t done. Our tax cuts are part of a plan to get people back to work so we can grow the economy – but we must stick with it.”

FSB calls for measures to boost economy

The Federation of Small Businesses has written to the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, ahead of the Budget, calling for measures to boost the economy. They have asked for an upgrade to the employment allowance and an increase in the VAT threshold. The group argues that personal tax cuts are meaningless without measures to sustain jobs and hours. They also suggest reintroducing tax-free shopping for overseas visitors, which they believe could bring in an additional £10bn in annual spending. The Federation of Small Businesses wants the budget to focus on raising living standards and securing a strong economic future.

Business leaders urge Hunt to address long-term sickness

The number of Britons off work due to long-term sickness has reached a record high of 2.8m, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This figure is part of the 9.3m economically inactive individuals in the job market, with the inactivity rate remaining at 21.9% in the final quarter of last year. Experts warn that the strain on health services and long waiting lists may cause this number to continue rising. The Resolution Foundation highlights that the UK is the only G7 economy yet to return to pre-pandemic employment levels due to the high number of economically inactive individuals. Business leaders are calling on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to address this issue, as it is impacting labour supply and hindering the wider economy.


Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey played down the importance of figures due later this week which some expect will show the UK dipped into recession late last year. UK gross domestic product figures are due to be released on Thursday, with analysts having warned these look likely to show that the three months to December brought a second consecutive quarter of negative growth.


Retailers are struggling against a rise in organized crime, and they’re calling on police to step up their response as violence against staff reaches levels last seen during the Covid pandemic. The total cost of crime to British retailers doubled last year to £3.3 billion with violence against shop staff increasing by 50% to 1300 reports a day! “Despite retailers investing huge sums in crime prevention, violence and abuse against retail workers is climbing,” British Retail Consortium  Chief Executive Officer Helen Dickinson said.

New incorporations

900,000 new companies were incorporated in the UK in 2023, making it a record year for new businesses, a 12% increase on the number of new businesses registered in 2022.

The Body Shop UK enters administration

The UK arm of The Body Shop has entered administration, putting over 2,000 jobs and stores at risk. FRP Advisory has been brought in to handle the restructuring process. Up to 100 stores may be closed to align with competitors. The business will continue to trade in administration, ensuring customers can still shop in-store and online. The brand’s global franchise partners are unaffected. The Body Shop was acquired by a private equity firm in November 2022. Founded in 1976, it championed environmental causes and opposed animal testing.

Former Post Office boss approved data move that destroyed audit trail

Whistleblowers have accused former Post Office boss Paula Vennells of agreeing to move an archive of branch data to Fujitsu, which risked destroying evidence that could have cleared operators. The archive was migrated to Fujitsu’s Eternus system, despite warnings that it would make it virtually impossible to investigate branch transactions. The move has raised questions about whether it was purely a cost-cutting exercise or an act of sabotage. Vennells is set to give evidence to the public inquiry into the Post Office scandal, which saw more than 900 people wrongfully convicted between 1999 and 2015 due to faults with the Horizon system.

Fitch warns that UK is at risk of debt downgrade if tax cuts continue

The UK could face a debt downgrade if it proceeds with more tax cuts, according to Fitch Ratings. The agency stated that the Government’s policy priorities will determine whether fiscal consolidation is enough to reduce risks from high debt and borrowing costs. Fitch will assess the government’s announcements in the Budget to evaluate the prospects of fiscal consolidation. The Conservatives are expected to announce further tax cuts in March, following those announced in the Autumn Statement. However, economists have expressed doubts about the feasibility of these plans. Fitch holds a negative credit outlook on the UK and estimates that the country’s deficit will rise to 6% of GDP in 2023.

Sale of companies to employee-owned trusts set to be restricted

The Treasury is expected to clamp down on the sale of companies to employee-owned trusts in next month’s Budget, including banning offshore trusts and requiring former owners to relinquish control. The unlimited tax break on the sale of businesses to their employees was granted in 2014 and the number of business owners selling to their staff has increased more than tenfold since then, with a further 37% leap in new registrations in the year to last April. The chief tax benefit is that business owners can avoid paying capital gains tax at the point of sale. Matthew Emms, a tax partner at BDO, said: “Tax advisers being tax advisers, some were setting up these trusts offshore. The reason they have done that is if there is a subsequent sale there is no capital gains tax liability, which is not what the government intended when they introduced the legislation.” Although he agrees a number of changes to the scheme should be made, Chris Blundell, a partner at accountancy firm MHA, warned that banning offshore trusts would lead to the double taxation rate of more than 71% on the proceeds from any sale of a business in future owned by the trust.

UK and Nigeria sign landmark investment deal

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch has signed a landmark investment deal with Nigeria. The Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership (ETIP) will be “the first the UK has signed with an African country”, in a bid to bolster trade with Nigeria, which totalled £7bn last year. It is set to create new trading opportunities across a range of sectors, including financial and legal services, and will include Nigeria committing to tearing down barriers stopping British lawyers from practising law in the country. “Nigeria has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. UK businesses have already seen huge success here and I look forward to seeing how we continue to grow this relationship,” Badenoch said.

Latest Insolvencies

Appointment of Administrator – NU SPACE HOMES (GREEN HAMMERTON) LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – VIDEO EUROPE LTD
Appointment of Administrator – BE OFFICES SW1 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – BE OFFICES LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – KIMBARDEL (EVERSFIELD) LTD
Appointment of Administrator – HEADSPACE PROPERTIES LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – BE OFFICES EUSTON LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – BE OFFICES BIRMINGHAM LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT CITY LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PAUL JENKINS ASSOCIATES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SHILATA LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – E.D.U.S. LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – D&B FINANCE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – FORI AUTOMATION UK LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CREW ASSOCIATES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – FGOWI LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – GREENWAY TECHNOLOGY LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – COUNTY LAND & DEVELOPMENT LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – PUSHPA INVESTMENTS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ALL-INC FITNESS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – AYLINS TAKEWAY LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – PURPLE PATCH GLASGOW LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – W.GEORGE AND SON LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – DOWNSHIRE HOMES LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – THUMP CREATIVE LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – KNECT TECH (UK) LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – UNIVERSAL DEMOLITION LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – BELLINI GROUP LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – LEASERISE LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – THE SYCAMORE STRATEGIC LAND FUND
Appointment of Liquidators – RUFFLY LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – CHALLENGER PRIVATE EQUITY LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – NJAIN IT SERVICES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – QUASAR GROUP LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – WINDSOR PRINT PRODUCTION LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – BREAKOUT ROOMS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – HOPIN LTD
Appointment of Administrator – PLY-TEK (UK) 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.

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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


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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!

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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.