Business news 16 May 2024

Unemployed have “ample opportunity” to find a job. Small firms have below average management practices. Markets, US inflation, Gulf trade deal, Royal Mail, pensions, insolvencies & more business news that we thought would interest our members.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Unemployed have “ample opportunity” to find a job

Senior ministers Jeremy Hunt and Mel Stride argue that the UK economy is faring better than many believe, dismissing concerns over rising unemployment. In an article for the Times, the Chancellor and the Welfare Secretary insist that the unemployed have ample opportunities to find jobs and should not languish on benefits. “We’ve been clear that unemployment benefits should only be there as a safety net, not a lifestyle choice,” they write. “With around 900,000 vacancies in the economy there are ample opportunities for people to get on and get ahead in the world of work.” Hunt and Stride also promise radical welfare reforms to address long-term sickness and double down on plans to scrap national insurance.

Small firms have below average management practices

A survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on the decision-making quality of UK companies has found that, although management had made an improvement on the previous year, the worst-performing companies were still four times more likely to make guesses when faced with business challenges.

Family-owned businesses had lower scores compared to those run by career managers, while foreign ownership had a positive impact. Companies with below-average scores were more likely to lack analysis in their decision-making. The main barriers to improvement were being too busy, not seeing the need for improvement, and concerns about cost.

The survey also revealed that small firms and manufacturing companies had poorer management practices. The ONS highlighted the importance of continuous improvement and performance measurement.


Yesterday, the FTSE 100 closed up 0.21% yesterday at 8445.80 and the Euro Stoxx 50 closed up 0.41% at 5100.90.

Overnight in the US, stocks responded positively to the inflation data, as the S&P 500 rose 1.17% to 5308.15 & the Nasdaq rose 1.4% to 16742.39. Both were record highs!

The pound is currently worth $1.2675 and €1.1660. Brent is at $83, Gold is at $2387.  With the pound strengthening against the dollar (which weakened on the falling inflation numbers), the FTSE 100 is currently down 0.36% at 8415.30 and the Eurostoxx 50 is down 0.3% at 5085.

US Inflation

US Inflation eased slightly in April, providing at least a bit of relief for consumers while still holding above levels that would suggest a cut in interest rates is imminent. The consumer price index, a broad measure of how much goods and services cost at the cash register, increased 0.3% from March, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. That was slightly below the estimate for 0.4%.

Investors now expect two interest-rate cuts this year by the Federal Reserve, up from one priced earlier this month

Royal Mail

Royal Mail is considering accepting a £3.5 billion offer from Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, a month after his first bid was rejected. International Distributions Services, the parent company of Royal Mail, revealed it had received a cash offer from the West Ham owner’s EP Group to purchase the company at 370p per share. It represents a 16% premium to the 320p per share offer previously made by the ‘Czech Sphinx’.


BT Group reported profit of £1.19bn down 31% on revenues of £20.8bn. New boss Alison Kirby said BT is to shake up its global business in the US, Italy and Ireland and put the UK first. The dividend was increased 4% to 8p per share.


Easyjet reported interims losses of £347m v £415m on revenues of £3.27bn v £2.69bn but said it expected a record summer. CEO Johan Lundgren is to leave in 2025. Finance chief Kenton Jarvis is set to take over.


Sage Group said underlying revenue growth grew 10% to £1.15bn whilst EBITDA was up 14% at £299m at the half way stage. Sage Business Cloud revenues rose 18% to £915m. The board expect operating margins to trend upwards in 2024.


Advances continue to be made with both OpenAI and Google unveiling their latest chatbots this week, GPT-4o and Project Astra, respectively.  They both mark big improvements on the previous large language models (LLMs), with the ability to speak to users fluently and analyze pictures.

UK could seal Gulf trade deal this year

Oliver Dowden, the deputy prime minister, hopes to conclude a free trade agreement with Gulf countries this year. The UK Government has prioritised a deal with the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), which includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. The GCC is the UK’s fourth-largest trading partner. Talks have been complex due to competing countries and barriers on foreign investment. Despite disagreements and concerns about human rights, the UK sees business potential in the Gulf countries. Demand for imported goods and services in the Gulf countries is expected to grow by 35% to £800bn by 2045, according to Deloitte. The UK aims to finalise the agreement by the end of the year

HSBC and Deloitte withdraw job offers to foreign graduates

HSBC and Deloitte have reportedly withdrawn job offers to foreign graduates of UK universities as new immigration rules require a higher salary threshold for skilled workers. The changes have forced employers to reconsider job offers, particularly affecting those just joining the workforce. HSBC’s decisions affected those in the “digital innovation” division based in the Sheffield office, while Deloitte withdrew offers from around 35 foreign students. Karim Fatehi, CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stressed the economic gain brought by international students and called for the Government to alleviate the pressure on businesses.

Tory’s challenge Labour’s workplace rights plan

Labour’s plan to change workplace rights should cause concern among businesses, warns Tory Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch. Badenoch argues that Labour’s proposed New Deal for Working People, which includes banning zero-hour contracts and ensuring regular hours for workers, would burden small businesses and lead to more strikes. The warning comes after the Labour leadership met with unions in an effort to calm their fears that a charm offensive with business in recent months would lead to a weakening of proposed protections for workers. Meanwhile, Paul Ormerod, an economist at Volterra Partners, warns in City AM that even in watered-down form, Keir Starmer’s plans to expand workers’ rights will push up the cost of hiring people and push some people out of their jobs. But the upside of this is that employers might have to make more productive use of their workforce. “Something needs to be done to improve our abysmal productivity record, so it might be a gamble worth taking.”

More than three-quarters of people dip into pension pots early

More than three-quarters of people with defined contribution (DC) pension pots have already dipped into them before retirement, according to Scottish Widows. The analysis was based on the behaviour of workplace pension scheme customers. Scottish Widows estimated that if the money stayed invested from age 55 for an additional five years, pension holders could potentially have around £13,900 more on average by the time they reach 60. This figure could potentially increase to around £24,600 if it were to stay invested for 10 years until age 65, and to more than £38,000 if someone stayed invested until the age of 70. Graeme Bold, head of workplace pensions at Scottish Widows, said: “Our data shows that the vast majority of people withdraw money from their workplace pension before reaching retirement age.” More needs to be done to encourage people to keep their pensions invested for as long as possible.

Afolami: Pension funds need to start investing in UK

UK pension funds are being urged to invest in London’s stock market to boost the appeal of its public markets. The economic secretary to the Treasury, Bim Afolami, has warned that the lack of investment from pension funds into UK-listed companies is a challenge that needs to be addressed quickly. The Government is looking to consolidate the pension market and unlock investment from retirement funds. Efforts to push pension funds to invest more in London have unsettled some in the industry who argue that funds should invest in the interest of their members rather than the health of the stock market. Afolami also told an event at UK Finance that the Government will do more to ensure regulators take the financial sector’s needs into account if they fail to apply their new competitiveness remit.

Properties searched in accountancy tax investigation

Properties in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire have been searched as part of a fraud investigation into Stowmarket-based firm Apostle Accounting. The firm is currently under investigation over a tax rebate scheme that left hundreds of people out of pocket. Documents and digital devices have been seized for further examination. “These searches form part of our investigation into reports of potential fraud,” said Al Al-Bassam, from ERSOU’s Regional Organised Crime Unit. Apostle Accounting has denied any errors and said claims against it were “unfounded”.

Taylor Swift’s UK tour ‘could generate £1bn’ for economy

Taylor Swift’s highly anticipated UK leg of her Eras tour is predicted to generate a £1bn boost for the economy. Analysts have dubbed it the first billion-dollar tour, with Swift selling approximately 4.3m tickets and earning an average price of £190 per ticket. The shows are expected to provide a £997m uplift for the UK, with spending by Swift ticket-holders estimated to be more than 12 times higher than the average cost of a UK night out. Barclays predicts that fans will each spend nearly £850 attending one of the musician’s summer concerts.


Latest Insolvencies

Appointment of Administrator – KITCHEN LIVING LTD
Appointment of Administrator – WEARSIDE CONTRACTORS LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – HIGH WYCOMBE DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – OJA ENTERPRISES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SPEED 8599 LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – DATAREADY LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – FISHER & CO (FINANCIAL SERVICES) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ORTHOWORLD LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – M & R PROPERTY HOLDINGS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SONKINH LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – ALIT (NO. 2) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – DBG ACQUISITIONS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ROBUS SOLUTIONS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – HEART OF THE SOUTH-WEST LEP C.I.C.
Appointment of Liquidators – OLYMPUS WINDOWS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – A-Z DENTAL (SUBSIDIARY NUMBER1) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ENDLEVEL LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SPOTLIGHT LEARNING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CHAUCER DEDICATED LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PRESTBURY SIR 3 LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – RHAP SERVICES LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – JUNCTION3WORKSHOPS LTD
Winding up Order (Companies) – CLARENCE COOPER & CO. LIMITED
Winding up Order (Companies) – LWL CIVIL ENGINEERING & AGGREGATE LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – SERVET CATERING LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – PRIMARY CARE HOLDINGS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – CRAFTOVATOR LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – CROWN DM & ASSOCIATES LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – PLATT SOLUTIONS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – DOULTON DEVELOPMENT LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – POWERDECK LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – COCOMO LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – MS RETAILING 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 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.