Business news 19 December 2023

James Salmon, Operations Director.

UK economy needs to ‘get its mojo back’. BP halts red sea shipments. Clearer decline in wages needed before interest rate cuts. UK carbon tax, UK firms going to Nasdaq, Scottish taxes, Apple & more business news that we thought would interest our members.

UK economy needs to ‘get its mojo back’

The UK economy needs to “get its mojo back” or face sluggish growth over the next couple of years, according to KPMG.

The firm’s latest Global Economic Outlook predicts that growth will remain slow next year, with the UK economy expected to grow 0.5% before picking up to 1.0% in 2025. The report highlights the impact of higher interest rates, which are yet to be fully felt and will have knock-on effects for consumption. KPMG also warns that the UK will continue to face stubborn inflation, averaging 2.8% next year before falling to 2.1% in 2025. The tight labour market is identified as a key driver of inflationary persistence.

Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, said: “While the UK economy is resilient, it needs to get its mojo back.” She added: “We expect monetary and fiscal policies to act as a headwind to growth over the next two years, and a sudden revival in productivity is not likely to come to the rescue. This means that even the expected continuation of positive growth should not be celebrated prematurely, as the outlook is dominated by downside risks.”

BP halts red sea shipments as rebel attacks escalate

Oil prices rose after BP paused shipments through the Red Sea as an Iran-backed rebel group ramped up attacks on vessels in the region. Global freight firms have rerouted their ships due to Yemen’s Houthi militants, who have intensified their campaign against ships passing through the Suez Canal following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war. BP’s temporary halt of oil shipments pushed prices up almost 3% towards $80 a barrel.

Clearer decline in wages needed before interest rate cuts

The Bank of England’s deputy governor for Monetary Policy, Ben Broadbent, stated on Monday that a “clearer decline” in wages is necessary before the central bank can consider cutting interest rates. Broadbent highlighted the importance of wage growth and services inflation in the Monetary Policy Committee’s decision-making process. He also mentioned the challenges posed by unreliable employment statistics and the need for more accurate data on the labour market. Broadbent emphasised that the Bank would require further evidence of a downward trend in wages before making any rate cuts. The current headline wage growth figures are based on a three-month average, but they may not accurately reflect the current economic situation due to potential revisions and volatility.

UK to introduce new carbon tax to support domestic producers

Imported raw materials such as steel and cement will face a new carbon tax from 2027 in an effort to support domestic producers and reduce emissions. The UK Government aims to address “carbon leakage” by imposing levies on businesses that emit high levels of carbon, ensuring a level playing field for UK manufacturers. The proposed carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) will determine charges based on emissions and the difference in carbon prices between the producing country and the UK. While industry groups welcome the plan, concerns have been raised about the delayed start date, as the EU plans to implement a similar mechanism in 2026. UK Steel warns that this could result in high-carbon steel being dumped on the UK market.

More UK firms in talks with Nasdaq about US listings

The global head of listings at Nasdaq has said a growing number of UK companies are in discussions over potential listings in New York, raising fresh concerns over the strength of the London market. Karen Snow told Radio 4’s Today programme British are being lured by the appeal of potentially higher valuations and deeper liquidity. Figures from EY in October showed that over the first three quarters of this year, 23 companies listed in the UK, raising £953m, compared with 34 IPOs raising £1.2bn over the same period in 2022.

Sunak disappointed over Scotland’s tax plans

The Prime Minister has expressed disappointment over planned tax increases in Scotland with the Scottish National Party expected to introduce a new higher tax band today. Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, Shona Robison, is set to announce the government’s tax and spending plans for the next year, aiming to address a potential £1.5bn deficit. First Minister Humza Yousaf previously said he would consider a new tax bracket when he was running for SNP leadership earlier this year. Scottish trade unions had proposed a 44% income tax band on earnings between £75,000 and the upper rate threshold of £125,140. However, both business groups and Rishi Sunak have cautioned against increasing the tax burden on Scots and further diverging from the rest of the UK. Mr Sunak said Scotland is “already the highest taxed part of the UK and obviously it would be very disappointing to see that tax burden continue to rise.” The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland also said there was evidence that “behaviours will change” following the introduction of another tax hike, leading to people refusing better paid jobs.

Future Fund

The  government has lost close to £289 million  on the £1.14 billion portfolio of start-up investments it made during the pandemic. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy accounts to March 2023 show the Future Fund, a lifeboat for start-ups that the Treasury described in 2020 as “the brainchild of Rishi Sunak”.


Apple is going to stop selling two models of its smartwatch in US ahead of a court ordered ban due to start on December 26th. In October the International Trade Commission ruled that the watches’ blood-oxygen sensors violated patents owned by Masimo, a medical-device maker. Apple has requested the Biden administration review the decision. The president has until December 25th to veto the ban. Engineers at the company are also racing to make changes to algorithms on the devices to differentiate themselves from the patent.

US steel

Nippon Steel, a Japanese steel-maker, reached an all-cash deal to buy US Steel for more than $14bn.

Japan sticks with negative rates

The Bank of Japan expectedly left its ultra-loose monetary policy unchanged at its final policy meeting this year in light of “extremely high uncertainties” affecting the world’s third-largest economy, pushing any likely unwinding to the new year. The Bank of Japan decided unanimously to keep interest rates at -0.1%

White men from higher socio-economic backgrounds dominate financial services

White men from higher socio-economic backgrounds are 30 times more likely to succeed in financial services than working class ethnic minority women, according to a study by the Bridge Group. The study, conducted for Progress Together, examined the career progression of nearly 150,000 people in the sector. Progress Together CEO Sophie Hulm said: “Socioeconomic background has the greatest impact on career progression. But if you lay on top ethnicity and gender, there is even more disadvantage.” The study also found that women from working class backgrounds progress 21% more slowly than their peers from more advantaged families. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is consulting on plans to make diversity and inclusion data reporting mandatory.

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


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


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