Business news 17 January 2024

Insolvencies reach 30-year high, inflation up but fall in earnings raises hopes of interest rate cuts. Fujitsu, HMRC, critical imports council, apple, office etiquette & more business news that we thought would interest our members.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Insolvencies reach 30-year high

Business insolvencies in the UK reached a 30-year high in 2023, with over 25,000 companies becoming insolvent. The pandemic, cost of living crisis, and high interest rates were cited as contributing factors.

The president of R3, Nicky Fisher, stated that a “perfect storm” of economic issues and milestones led to the surge. The end of government support measures, increased creditor pressure, rising inflation, and the impact of the cost of living crisis on income levels and energy costs all played a role. With inflation above the Bank of England’s target and interest rates at their highest level since 2008, there is little indication of a decrease in insolvencies. The conflict in the Red Sea also poses additional challenges, such as delayed imports and higher energy and shipping costs.

Experts predict a tough trading environment for businesses in 2024, with a potential reduction in insolvencies towards the end of the year.

Are any of your customers at risk?

Inflation up

CPI rose 4.0% in December  against expectations of 3.8%, up from the 3.9% for November due to rises in tobacco and fuel, communication, food and drinks. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said while overall inflation had risen again, the government’s “plan is working and we should stick to it”.

Fall in earnings raises hopes of interest rate cuts

Pay growth slowed sharply in November, easing fears of an inflationary wage-price spiral and raising hopes that the Bank of England can cut interest rates sooner than expected. Average earnings in the three months to November were up by 6.6%, the slowest pace of growth since January 2023. A stark fall in bonuses meant that total year-on-year pay growth slowed to 6.5% in the three months to November. Given that the headline rate of inflation is also falling across Britain, these latest pay figures mean the average worker should feel better off than they did a year ago. The number of vacancies dropped to the lowest level since summer 2021, indicating that the labour market is loosening. Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, said: “The marked slowdown in pay growth will ease the Bank of England’s concerns of a potential wage-price spiral, which could lead to faster falls in inflation. Jake Finney, economist at PwC UK, added: “Signs that the labour market is gradually normalising will reinforce the view that rate cuts could come as early as May.” Unemployment held steady at 4.2%, with the number of people in work edging up a touch further above 33m.

Fujitsu & the Postmasters

The European boss of Fujitsu, Paul Patterson, apologized for its role in the Sub Postmaster miscarriage of justice and said they were morally obliged to pay compensation.

HMRC could be hit by Fujitsu IT support workers strike

About 300 Fujitsu staff, most of whom work in IT support for HMRC at sites in Telford and Stratford, are due to go on strike today. The strike, which comes at the busiest time of year for tax collection, is in protest at a pay offer that the Public and Commercial Services union said was 10 times less than what Fujitsu is offering staff in Japan. Further action is expected between 18 January and 15 February. HMRC is understood to be confident that industrial action would not affect its ability to process self-assessment tax returns in the run up to the 31 January deadline.

UK sets up critical imports council

The UK Government is establishing a critical imports council to address potential restrictions in supplies of items such as medicine, minerals, food, and semiconductors. The council, which will bring together academics and businesses, aims to predict potential issues and advise on securing supply, including exploring alternative sources and increasing UK production. The strategy, published by industry and economic security minister Nusrat Ghani, aims to counter disruptions to global supply chains caused by geopolitical fragmentation, extreme weather, and new technologies. Over 100 UK firms, including the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, have contributed to the initiative.

Tax returns cause stress levels akin to some of life’s worst events

Business owners find filling in their tax returns as stressful as the recall of some of life’s worst events, a study by Goldsmiths has found. The study revealed that the stress caused by dealing with the tax authority’s demands for information was comparable to recalling the loss of a loved one. Even those who used an accountant and modern accounting software experienced a 56% increase in stress levels. Meanwhile, a separate survey by Intuit QuickBooks found that 54% of sole traders and small business owners questioned their ability to run a business after filing their returns, and 22% said the process had taken a physical toll.


Apple has overtaken Samsung as the best selling smart phone maker with the iPhone now accounting for 20% of total global sales, according to research firm IDC.

Nearly two-thirds of companies are sending workers to etiquette classes

Over half of US companies are enlisting etiquette classes to remind employees of office norms after working remotely during the pandemic. The lack of professionalism in office culture has prompted businesses to teach employees how to dress appropriately and respect shared spaces. Gen Z employees, who have little experience with pre-pandemic office environments, are the main target. Dress code is a major focus, with companies suggesting conservative attire and discouraging casual wear like sweatpants and jeans with holes. Etiquette classes also cover topics like polite conversation, professional emails, eye contact, and lunch breaks

Financial services M&A expected to rebound this year

Mergers between financial services firms in the UK could see a rebound this year, despite a nine-year low in deals in 2023, according to EY. The number of deals involving UK-based financial services firms fell by 9% in 2023, with a total deal value of £12.1bn, the lowest figure since 2014. The cost of financing M&A and fears of a global banking crisis contributed to the decline in deals. However, EY predicts that interest rate cuts on both sides of the Atlantic will boost appetite for deals in 2024.

Insolvency Service commissions research into potential mis-selling of IVAs

The Insolvency Service has commissioned research into concerns around the potential mis-selling of IVAs (individual voluntary arrangements). The service wants to understand the experience of consumers when taking out an IVA, as charities have raised concerns about people being pushed towards debt solutions that may not be suitable for their needs. RSM UK Creditor Solutions LLP has been tasked with conducting the research, which will determine if there is poor quality take-on or “mis-selling” in the IVA market. The findings will be used to assess the need for changes to the regulatory framework. Matthew Upton, acting executive director of policy and advocacy at Citizens Advice, stated that people seeking debt help should be able to trust the advice they receive, as deceptive tactics and fee-paying debt solutions like IVAs can often be unaffordable.

Latest Insolvencies

Appointment of Liquidators – LIBERTY FOODS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CLAVIS 2007-1 NIM PLC
Appointment of Liquidators – THORNDEN DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CCVISION LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – TAUNT SOLUTIONS LTD
Appointment of Administrator – GWYNEDD TRANSPORT LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ORAIOS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ROSEDALE HOUSE LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – GWYNEDD SHIPPING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CLAVIS SECURITIES PLC
Appointment of Liquidators – SIMPATICO CONSULTING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – E.J.BOOBYER & SONS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – STORT SOLUTIONS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – GERALDINE WARD LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – MECLEC LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – THE BRIDGE CHESHIRE LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – CLAVIS 2006-1 NIM PLC
Appointment of Liquidators – CVW CONSULTING LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – BRIAN HIRE LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ESKIMO JOE’S (HARTLEPOOL) LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – EASAWAY LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – AAXYZ LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – THE BROADWAY MUSWELL HILL LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – SELFRIDGE ESTATE LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – HARROGATE BUILD NW LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – GLOCIN LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ASPIRE CIVIL ENGINEERING SUPPLIES LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – TNN LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – UMER BROS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – WILD PHEASANT LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – PROTELX LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – JUNAK LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – WESTFAIR LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ENERGY RECOVERY SYSTEMS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – A. & M.T. MCWALTER LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – BARSCUBE DELI LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – P. BAIRSTOW LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ANSARI TECH SERVICES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – THE FLYING PIG CAMBRIDGE 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.