Business news 18 September 2023

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Insolvency Service reports 19% rise in companies going bust. FSB calls for extension of rate relief for small businesses. Inflation, Wages, Interest rates, technology, manufacturing, Strikes, CBI & more business news that we thought would interest our members.

Insolvency Service reports 19% rise in companies going bust

The number of companies going bust in England and Wales increased by 19% in August 2022 compared to the previous year, higher than pre-pandemic levels.

According to the Insolvency Service, construction companies, retailers, and manufacturing firms were the most affected sectors. The rise in company insolvencies was driven by winding up orders for unpaid tax, the Insolvency Service said.

David Hudson, a restructuring advisory partner at FRP, said: “The coming year will bring more and more insolvencies as the damage from months of rising borrowing rates, falling demand and high inflation gradually feed through.”

Nicky Fisher, the president of R3, added: “The sad fact is that businesses are being hit from a variety of angles – and all these blows have an effect on their bottom line. Cost inflation has been a problem for some time and while this is expected to ease it is still sitting higher than many had predicted.”

FSB calls for extension of rate relief for small businesses

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging the Government to extend the 75% rate relief discount for retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses. The FSB argues that the relief is a “lifeline” for struggling small firms. The relief is set to end in April, which could have devastating consequences for small businesses already dealing with high costs.

The FSB is also calling for an increase in the small business rates relief (SBRR) threshold and for the relief to be made more generous.

Additionally, the FSB wants the Non-Domestic Rating Bill to be more ambitious and to make it easier for businesses to invest in their properties.

A recent FSB survey found that two in five small firms saw a decline in revenues in Q2, with a third expecting a drop in sales in the coming months. “Ensuring the relief is maintained for those businesses that need it most will be key to their survival,” said FSB national chair Martin McTague.

Rising wages not driving up prices for goods, says ONS

Fast-rising wages have been a major concern for the Bank of England, but the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found “limited” evidence that rising wages are responsible for the higher cost of goods.. The ONS analysis showed that wages are not driving prices up for goods, but they may be for some services.. For many services, where labour is the main expense, the ONS said that labour costs have likely been passed through to customers completely. Sectors such as accountancy, law, management consultancy, advertising, architecture, engineering, technical testing, security, and office administration have seen output prices increase in line with the impact of labour costs. However, these sectors still have relatively low price increases. On the other hand, sectors such as hotels, warehousing, and air transport, where price rises have been steepest, saw less of an impact from wage.

Rate hikes expected to peak at 5.5%
Experts predict that a quarter point rate rise by the Bank of England this week will take rates to a peak high of 5.5%, despite figures ahead of the vote expected to reveal a further rise in inflation. “The MPC’s focus on rapid pay growth, and a potential desire to not buck market expectations will probably be enough to swing a majority on it in favour of tightening policy again,” said Martin Beck, chief economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club think tank. “If the MPC does go for another rise, we think a further cooling in the labour market, downward pressure on services inflation as less expensive energy feeds through and likely policy pauses by other major central banks mean a September rate increase will prove to be the last in the current cycle.”

SMEs investing in new tech to drive efficiencies
According to research by Novuna Business Finance, two-thirds of SMEs are investing in new technology to boost productivity. Some 82% of firms in sales and advertising, marketing and the media were spending on upgrades, with manufacturing at 74% and construction at 62%. Novuna said the pandemic has had a “lasting impact” on how new tech is used to drive efficiencies and lower costs.

Manufacturers in UK prepare for potential recession, orders slowing
Britain’s manufacturers are preparing for a potential recession as they see a sharp slowdown in activity, according to the Make UK/BDO manufacturing outlook survey. Recruitment plans have ceased and orders are slowing both domestically and internationally. Make UK has revised its manufacturing growth forecast for this year, expecting output to fall, and forecasts no growth at all for next year. The survey also found that many companies believe that policy incentives in other countries are making UK investments harder to justify, and a lack of policy consistency in the UK is damaging the business environment. Make UK is calling for a review of the apprenticeship levy and other measures to support manufacturers. Verity Davidge, policy director at Make UK, said that manufacturers are preparing for an anaemic year ahead.

Train Strikes

The Aslef union has announced new train strikes on 30 September and 4 October. Suspiciously close to the time of the Tory party conference.

Birmingham City Council’s IT system cannot show accounts
Problems with Birmingham City Council’s IT system have left the bankrupt council unable to produce financial accounts. External auditor Mark Stocks stated that the council is unable to provide financial statements for 2022/23 due to the IT issues. The system’s failures include difficulties in financial reporting and the inability to record and allocate cash payments correctly. The council is working to fix the issues, but there is no clear timescale for completion.

UK finance and tech firms fight working from home
Financial services and technology companies are encouraging staff back to the office as face-to-face collaboration returns to favour, the Observer reports. “There is an underlying trend towards a greater number of your working days being in the office rather than remotely…across insurance, asset management, banking, the US and the UK,” said Bruce Carnegie-Brown, the chair of Lloyd’s of London. Perks such as free parking, food and drink, have helped attract staff back to the office as corporates emphasise the business need of working together. Hybrid working is widely seen as here to stay, however, with only certain roles required to be in the office five days a week, Carnegie-Brown added.

CBI races to raise £3m after exodus of members
The Confederation of British Industry has made a plea to members to commit new cash to the lobby group which is scrambling for funds ahead of its annual meeting on Wednesday. The CBI suffered an exodus of members following a scandal over workplace conduct, which included accusations of rape. Now it is pleading for £3m and negotiating a merger with manufacturers body Make UK to help shore up its future.

Lack of investment hinders Britain’s renewables sector
Wind power generated a quarter of UK electricity in 2022 but the sector needs more investment to enhance the UK’s energy security. That’s according to energy expert Michael Meakin-Blackwell, business services director at MHA, who explained how the UK has increased its renewable energy generation by 500% since 2010. But, he said: “The lack of development and investment within the transmission infrastructure network is hindering the sector’s potentially exponential growth.”

UK ranks fifth in electric vehicle transition, behind China
The UK has been ranked fifth in the world for its preparation in the electric vehicle transition, according to an index by Ernst & Young. China topped the list, followed by Norway, the US and Sweden. Despite its fifth place ranking, the UK’s supply of electric cars and regulation around them both fell year-on-year. Concerns continue to mount about Britain’s ability to meet its planned 2030 ban on petrol cars and keep up with Chinese counterparts. UK EV sales are expected to grow by 36% year-on-year in 2023, which lags behind the average projected growth rate of 64% across the top 20 markets.

Keir Starmer’s efforts to woo business have paid off
A survey by Bloomberg reveals a third of money managers and traders have determined that either a Labour-led government or a Labour-led coalition would be the “most market-friendly outcome” at the next general election. Four-fifths of those surveyed said confidence in British assets had not yet recovered from the fallout of Liz Truss’s mini-Budget. The sentiment of investors will be a blow to former banker Rishi Sunak who has attempted to repair the Conservative Party’s reputation for sound money. Former Bank of England governor Mark Carney also weighed in on Liz Truss. Speaking at the Global Progress Action Summit in Canada, he said: “When Brexiteers tried to create Singapore on the Thames, the Truss government instead delivered Argentina on the Channel.” But Douglas McWilliams, deputy chairman of the Centre for Economics and Business Research, said Mr Carney was trying to “exculpate” the Bank even though it had been too slow to raise interest rates and had “let the pension fund liability problem blow up, which they hadn’t disclosed to anyone”.

Oil price rises towards $100 a barrel
Oil prices have surged nearly 30% since June after Russian and Saudi Arabian production cuts and rising demand from China. They are now on course to hit $100 a barrel for the first time this year. The price rises are impacting fuel costs in the UK, with figures from the RAC showing the average price of unleaded fuel was £1.52 a litre on Friday, up from £1.43 in June


Pendragon rose over 30%  after the car dealer announced the sale of its UK motor and leasing business to Lithia Motors Inc. and form a strategic partnership with the US company in a deal that promises a cash dividend of about £240 million to its shareholders.

Tax worker jailed for £240k fraud

A tax worker from Sunderland has been jailed for fraud after fabricating child credit claims and netting almost £240,000. Tracy Ashbridge, who worked for HMRC, made up children, lied about disabilities, and changed other claimants’ applications to benefit herself. If successful, her attempts would have resulted in over £430,000. Ashbridge amended her own family’s claim to falsely state her children had disabilities, and also made up having two extra children. She changed bank details on three other families’ claims, receiving a total of £238,799.98. Ashbridge was sentenced to two years and four months in jail, while her husband, Robert Ashbridge, received an 18-month suspended sentence. The court heard that Tracy Ashbridge took advantage of her position and became “a little bit too greedy.”

UK injects £500m into Port Talbot decarbonisation
The UK Government is to contribute £500m to the rescue of the Port Talbot steelworks with Tata Steel injecting about £750m. The funds will enable the company to invest in a new electric arc furnace to replace two blast furnaces. The move will reportedly reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by 1.5%. Port Talbot is currently the UK’s largest single carbon emitter. An estimated 3,000 jobs will still be lost, 2,000 of them at Port Talbot. However, without the package a total of 8,000 jobs were expected to go. Labour, which has pledged £3bn for investment to decarbonise steel, was scathing about the deal. The party’s shadow business and trade secretary, Jonathan Reynolds MP, said: “Only the Tories could spend £500mn of taxpayers’ money to make thousands of British workers redundant. Britain needs an industrial strategy that invests alongside industry delivering a return on taxpayers’ investment whilst protecting our national capabilities and workforce.”

New tech fund can help revive London
The departure of chip designer Arm to New York has sparked concerns about London’s future as a tech hub, writes Peel Hunt’s chief Steven Fine. However, the UK’s fintech sector is thriving, he says, citing a report from Deloitte that the UK is home to 3000 fintech firms and the number is accelerating at 20% a year. The UK provided $11.1bn in financing in 2022. Despite this, many UK startups struggle to secure funding from domestic institutions, leading to a reliance on foreign investors. The Kalifa Review identified a £2bn gap in growth capital, which a new Fintech Growth Fund, on which Peel Hunt is acting as sole financial adviser, aims to address. The fund will provide £20-40m investments to British companies with proven models. With the right support, London can leverage its strengths and ensure that high-profile departures like Arm’s become the exception rather than the rule. “If we can plug this important gap in the market, in time London can make the most of its considerable strengths,” says Fine.

Latest Insolvencies

Appointment of Liquidators – SFX BLACK LTD
Appointment of Administrator – PHARMASERVE (NORTH WEST) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – NGCL LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – LULU LONDON HOLDINGS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – S-NET CONSULTING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – HOUSE 51 LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – ULTRAHUMAN TEN LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ULTRAHUMAN TWELVE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – 03922800 LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ULTRAHUMAN NINE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ALAREEN LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ALDWORTH JAMES AND BOND LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – DK IT CONSULTING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ULTRAHUMAN THIRTEEN LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – AURASMI LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PISTIS (UK) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ORMONDE PARTNERS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – EVOLUTION IT SERVICES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – JCP&I CONSULTANTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – IQUETECH369 LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – LANGSTONE LEISURE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – DIGITAL CONTEXT LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ORMONDE EUROPE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ULTRAHUMAN ONE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – EDGEFIELD CONSULTING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – E2E PROJECT MANAGEMENT LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – AKZO NOBEL FINANCE (2) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – LIVESTAR LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – B J BUILDING SERVICES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – BADGER HILL CONSULTING LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – IML INTERACTIVE UK LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – RESICARE LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – UNIT STUDIOS LONDON LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – WESTWOOD GARDENS LTD
Appointment of Administrator – YPG CARPATHIA LTD
Appointment of Administrator – HAPPY HADDOCK, SHANKLIN LTD
Appointment of Administrator – CARING RETIREMENT HOMES LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – HOLYWOOD NO. 1 LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – REGENCY DOORS & STAIRS (SCOTLAND) LTD.
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – MACLEOD EVENTS MANAGEMENT LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CORIC DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – LGV FIXING LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – LS FOOD AND DRINKS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – SIDLEY PIPER HOMES LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ALS (MCR) LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – STACECHASE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – LEAMAC LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – WEST END SECURITIES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – W.J.R.PROPERTIES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – INSURANCE THINKERS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ROWVALE HOTELS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – JHALL IT SYSTEMS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – KAM LEISUREWEAR LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – MILDWISH LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – I G HOMES LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – APEX AERO LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – Q CLAIMS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – FLETCHER’S BISTRO 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 one will be particularly deadly for suppliers for some time to come.

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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.

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Claim late payment compensation (LPC) from former business customers who paid you late in the last six years!

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The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections.