Business news 16 November 2023

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Late payments remain an issue. Firms call for rates support. Price growth eases to 4.6% in October.  And more business news that we thought would interest our members.

Late payments remain an issue

According to a survey by an insurance premium finance company, late payments remain a major issue for SME’s with 22% saying that late payments have worsened in the last year. And that was on top of the 24% who said it had worsened that year too. Only 4% said their late payment issues had improved.

The research also showed 50% of SME’s expected revenue to rise in the next 12 months. Inflation however remains an issue with 24% saying they will have to raise their prices, 15% will have to cut staff costs, 12% are putting expansion plans on hold, 11% will cut investment in the business and 9% are looking to cut back on the commercial space they utilise.

Adam Morghem Premium Credit’s Strategy, Marketing & Communications Director said, “SME confidence remains high despite continuing economic challenges and the impact of higher inflation and interest rates. Managing cashflow remains a major issue however with many firms looking at potential cutbacks and price rises.

Are you affected by late payments?

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.

Firms call for rates support

A coalition of business groups representing the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors have called for a freeze on business rates and an extension of existing tax reliefs.

Organisations including UKHospitality and the British Retail Consortium say the retail and hospitality sectors face a combined bill of £2bn if rates are not frozen and tax reliefs are not extended, warning that the impact would be “disastrous” for their sectors. In a letter to the Chancellor, they said an inflationary increase in the business rates multiplier and removal of relief would result in “business failures, job losses and boarded-up properties in our high streets, denying people their livelihoods and their social pleasures.”

A 75% business rates discount for retail, leisure and hospitality firms is currently set to end on March 31.

Price growth eases to 4.6% in October

UK inflation fell to the lowest rate in two years last month, falling to 4.6% in the year to October from 6.7% in September.

Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said price rises slowed in October as “last year’s steep rise in energy costs has been followed by a small reduction in the energy price cap this year.”

The slowdown in price increases mean Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has achieved a target set in January of halving inflation by the end of the year from the 10.7% average in Q4 2022.

Suren Thiru, economics director at the ICAEW, said that the dip in inflation “owes more to the downward pressure on prices from falling energy costs and rising interest rates than any Government action.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the Government could take some credit after it made “some very difficult decisions” to control borrowing and debt to limit spending in the economy and the pressure on prices. While inflation has fallen from its peak of 11.1% in October 2022, it remains above the Bank of England’s 2% target.

Reflecting on the slowdown in inflation, RSM UK economist Thomas Pugh said: “This is unambiguously positive news for the broader economy and justifies the Monetary Policy Committees decision to keep interest rates on hold at 5.25%.” “Indeed, inflation is now 0.3 percentage points below the forecast the MPC made in August,” he added.

Falling inflation could accelerate rate cuts

Investors say better-than-expected inflation data could prompt the Bank of England to cut interest rates next spring. With inflation falling to 4.6% in October, money markets are pricing a rate cut in March, having previously forecast that the Bank would not deliver its first rate reduction since the pandemic until September.

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “October’s consumer prices report has rightly entrenched expectations that the Monetary Policy Committee will be able to start to reduce bank rate in about six months’ time.” Martin Beck, adviser to the EY Item Club, said: “The latest inflation numbers should continue to assuage earlier concerns about the stubbornness of UK inflation. They also reinforce the view that the Bank of England will start cutting interest rates from late next spring.”

Breakfast index

Although inflation has eased to 4.6%, the Breakfast index showed the price of the ingredients of a full English is still 7% higher than a year ago, underlining the cost of the essentials to UK families.


Stocks paused their rally as the excitement over falling inflation and a possible switch by central banks to lower interest rates gave way to the latest corporate earnings. US markets were broadly flat with the S&P 500 up 0.16% and the NASDAQ up 0.07%.

San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly, in an interview with the Financial Times, acknowledged the “very, very encouraging” signs of falling inflation in this week’s data. However, she cautioned against hastily concluding the rate-raising cycle, emphasizing the importance of a cautious and informed approach.

Wind farms

The government has raised its price support for building offshore wind farms by 66%, in a bid to revive its renewables push by attracting developers after they shunned a previous auction.


Burberry warned it is unlikely to achieve its annual revenue guidance amid a slowdown in luxury demand. Reporting on its half-year period to September 30, Burberry said revenue grew 3.8% on-year to £1.40 billion from £1.35 billion. Retail comparable store sales grew 10% at constant currency or 6% on a reported basis. Wholesale revenue dropped by around 8% to £241 million, but licensing revenue rose 45% to £31 million. However, pretax profit fell 15% to £223 million from £263 million, as its operating profit margin dropped to 15.9% from 19.5%.

Royal Mail

Royal Mail owner, International Distributions Services called on the Government to act to support the business as it reported a widened loss in the first half. Chief Executive Martin Seidenberg said “we need the regulator and the Government to do their bit.” Group revenue in the first half ended September 24 of £5.86 billion, was up 0.4% year-on-year, with GLS revenue up 5.9% and Royal Mail revenue down 2.9%.

Hotel Chocolat

Hotel Chocolat has agreed to be taken over by confectionary group, Mars, in a deal worth £534 million on a fully diluted basis. The upmarket chocolatier said the cash offer values each share at 375 pence, a premium of 169.8% to Hotel Chocolat’s share price of 139p at the close of business on November 15.


Aviva said it would deliver cost savings a year ahead of schedule and beat medium-term financial targets. In a third quarter trading update, the insurer said general Insurance gross written premiums (GWP) rose 13% at constant currency to £8.0 billion, with UK&I GWP up 15% and Canadian GWP up 11%.

Foreign direct investment projects decline since Brexit vote

The UK has seen a decline in foreign direct investment projects, with Department for Business and Trade figures showing a drop of nearly 30% since the peak in 2016/17

PM: Taming inflation is the ‘most effective tax cut’

Rishi Sunak has said he will stick to his plan on reducing inflation, insisting it is the “most effective tax cut.” The Prime Minister told the Commons he shares the ambitions of many fellow Tory MPs to reduce taxes and that it can be delivered “as we stabilise the economy.”

Energy Secretary warns Fuel retailers

Claire Coutinho has asked fuel retailers to pass on savings to customers at the pumps.

Coutinho said: “At a time when many were struggling with increased living costs, we saw shocking behaviour from some fuel retailers who failed to pass on savings at the pump. Now we are cracking down on any petrol station bosses found to be unfairly hiking up their prices. That’s why we’re giving the CMA new powers to bring fairness back to the forecourts and make sure UK drivers get a competitive fuel price.”

The CMA will be asked to monitor pump prices and report “any sign of malpractice to the Government”

Black Friday spend set to drop by £1.5bn

Consumer spending on Black Friday is predicted to fall by £1.5bn compared to last year, according to a survey by PwC. The report cites a number of factors for the anticipated decline, such as the cost of living crisis affecting purchasing decisions. Only 16% of respondents said they would “definitely” buy goods on Black Friday, down from 24% a year ago, while interest in the event dropped from 61% to 44%. Despite the decline, the average estimated spend for those participating in Black Friday is £242, up from £228.

House prices slip in September

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that UK house prices fell 0.1% in the year to September, marking the first annual decline in 11 years. The average sale value, including cash buyers, fell to £291,385, with this down from £292,882 in August. The annual drop was steepest in Wales, where house prices in September were down 2.7%, while England saw prices dip 0.5%. Scotland, however, saw prices climb 2,5% year-on-year, while prices in Northern Ireland rose 2.1%. Sarah Coles, head of personal finance at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the fall in house prices had been expected, commenting: “The market has proved incredibly resilient in the face of overwhelming headwinds, but mortgage rate hikes over the summer dealt the final blow, pushing prices into negative territory.” On the climate for buyers, PwC economist Jack Finney estimates that monthly mortgage repayments for a typical household are now about £250 higher than two years ago.

HP and auditors at odds over Autonomy fraud claim

Hewlett-Packard and its auditors disputed whether $5bn of a writedown in the value of software firm Autonomy could be blamed on fraud, according to documents filed to a US court. Tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch was extradited to the US in May to face criminal fraud charges over allegations that he duped HP into overpaying when it struck an $11bn deal for Autonomy in 2011. HP took an $8.8bn writedown in the firm’s value after discovering “serious accounting improprieties” at Autonomy, with Mr Lynch accused of perpetrating a $5bn fraud. However, legal documents filed by Mr Lynch’s lawyers appear to show that EY did not back HP’s claim that the “majority” of the writedown was because of fraud.

Insurance firms call for tax cut

Insurance firms are urging Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to reduce the rate of insurance premium tax (IPT) in order to lower costs for consumers. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) claims that the tax, which is passed on to customers, is adding up to £100 to the annual cost of policies. For motor and home insurance alone, IPT typically adds an extra £98 per year, with £60 for motor insurance and just over £37 for a combined home buildings and contents policy. The ABI also highlighted that IPT adds around £46.50 to a pet insurance policy and £13.50 to an annual travel insurance policy. A tax cut would benefit millions of households and businesses, according to the ABI.

Fund managers buy bonds

Fund managers have built the highest level of exposure to bonds since the financial crisis, according to Bank of America analysis. The latest Global Fund Manager Survey shows that funds had their third-highest bond overweight position in two decades, with investors betting that global interest rates will move lower next year. More than three-quarter of respondents believe the US Federal Reserve’s cycle of raising rates has ended, up from 60% the previous month. Just under three quarters of investors predict either a ‘soft’ or ‘no’ landing for the global economy in the next 12 months, while just 21% expect a ‘hard’ landing, down from 30%.

Latest Insolvencies

Petitions to wind up (Companies) – UK TRANSLOGISTICS LTD
Appointment of Administrator – TRICON SERVICES LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – C J SERVICES UK LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ENDORPHIN HOLDINGS LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – LANGFORD SERVICES GROUP LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CHENIES LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – FIBRE REAL ESTATE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – RICHMOUNT MANAGEMENT LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SALAO DE CAFE LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – SEEGER DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – TEVA PHARMA UK LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ORLANDOS PVT LTD
Winding up Order (Companies) – STON LONDON LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – STEADFAST IT SOLUTIONS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – BGC BES PARTNERS LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – SPRING CHICKEN DIRECT LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – HIGH STREET WEST SUNDERLAND LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – KRYSTALS EXPRESS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – LEE MCGRATH CONSULTANCY LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ISAB CONSULTING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – MWE SIGNALLING SERVICES LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – P.R.K REAL ESTATES LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – SUNDON DRY LINING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – RICHARD G. MEADON & CO. (WELLINGTON) 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.