Business news 22 May 2024

Inflation falls to 2.3%. UK economy is heading for a “soft landing”. Food price rises returning to “more normal” rates. Insolvencies, Markets, card fees & more business news that we thought would interest our members.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Inflation falls to 2.3%

UK Inflation fell to 2.3% in April, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday, coming closer to the Bank of England’s target rate even while missing expectations.

The headline reading declined from 3.2% in March, but economists polled by Reuters had expected a steeper drop to 2.1%. Core inflation, excluding energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, dipped to 3.9% in April from 4.2% in March.

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey had said the figures released today should show a solid drop in inflation with economists expecting the fall from 3.2% in March to 2.1% in April.

So 2.3% is above those expectations and the sticky inflation has cast some doubt over BoE policy with investors now seeing a 14% chance of a rate cut in June, down from about 50% yesterday.

The BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee next meets in June and some economists expect a rate cut from the current level of 5.25%. Bailey said the BoE had reduced its view on how persistent inflation would be – an important consideration when planning a rate cut, adding: “I think the next move will be a cut.” His comments come as the IMF warns the Bank not to wait too long to cut interest rates, warning that “delayed easing” could “stall or even reverse the recovery”.

IMF: UK economy is heading for a “soft landing”

The International Monetary Fund has said a faster-than-expected drop in inflation has put the UK economy on track for a “soft landing” and given the Bank of England room for three interest rate cuts this year. The Washington-based fund upgraded Britain’s growth forecast, saying economic growth would accelerate by 0.7% this year, up from last month’s projection of 0.5%. The IMF said the drop in inflation could lead to three interest rate cuts this year, up from the two it recommended last month. However, the IMF warned the Chancellor against another pre-election cut to national insurance, arguing that the next government will have to raise substantial tax revenues or find spending savings worth an average of 1% of GDP, or about £22bn.

Food price rises returning to “more normal” rates

Grocery price inflation has fallen to 2.4%, according to Kantar. This marks the lowest level since October 2021and comes ahead of figures out today which are expected to show a sharp drop in overall inflation. The research company said that the rate of food inflation was now close to its historical annual average of 1.6%, signalling that food price pressures are returning to “normal levels”.

Labour sets out ‘securonomics’ vision to avoid inflationary shocks

Labour will today pledge to pair its domestic and foreign policy to focus on securing UK supply chains and making the economy more resilient to shocks.

Fear of numbers holding Brits back financially

One in five UK adults feel that their fear of numbers is hindering their financial progress, with 19% stating that the cost of living crisis has highlighted their weakness. A study of 3,000 people by KPMG found that 20% of Brits struggle with everyday maths problems, such as calculating discounts and negotiating prices. The findings come ahead of National Numeracy Day, which aims to inspire individuals to improve their number confidence and skills.

Payments watchdog cracks down on card fees

The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) said on Tuesday that it would propose several remedies to limit the power wielded by Mastercard and Visa, which account for 95% of UK card transactions. The pair charge acquirers and merchants a range of fees, but these have risen by 30% in real terms in the past five years with “little or no link to changes in service quality”, the regulator said. The proposed changes include requirements for Mastercard and Visa to provide more detailed information on the profits they earn from their UK operations, and obligations to justify price increases or new fees. The PSR stopped short of proposing a price cap but did not rule one out in future. Tina McKenzie, policy chair at the Federation of Small Businesses, welcomed the regulator’s move and said card fees were a burden for small retailers, “taking a bite out of almost every sale, and adding to the financial pressures they face”.

AI expert calls for universal basic wage to combat job losses

Former Google vice president Geoffrey Hinton, a top AI expert, has called for humans to be paid a universal basic wage to combat the job losses caused by robots. Hinton believes that while a universal basic income can solve the problem of starvation and inability to pay rent, it does not address the issue of self-respect derived from jobs. He warns that the rise of robots will be detrimental to society and that blue-collar and mid-level intellectual jobs will be lost to AI. However, he suggests that trades like plumbing may be safe for now. Hinton’s concerns align with predictions from the International Monetary Fund and the Institute for Public Policy Research, which estimate that a significant percentage of jobs worldwide, including eight million in the UK, will be affected by AI.


Yesterday, London markets were muted as investors looked cautiously ahead to the release of the UK inflation data due this morning. The FTSE 100 closed down 0.08% yesterday at 8417.52 and the Euro Stoxx 50 closed down 0.56% at 5045.79.

Overnight in the US the S&P 500 rose 0.25% to 5321.41, the Nasdaq rose 0.22% to 16832.63. The pound is currently worth $1.2736 and €1.1734. Brent is down over a dollar at $81.91, Gold is at $2414.

With the inflation figures disappointment raising doubts on rate cuts, the FTSE 100 is down 0.37% at 8384 and the Eurostoxx 50 is down 0.25% at 5034.


SSE reported earnings at the higher-end of guidance, aided by increased profits from its renewables and transmission businesses. Higher power prices and new capacity led to a 48% increase in adjusted renewables profits to £833.1 million, the energy firm reported. Adjusted profit in SSE’s transmission business climbed by 13% to £419.3 million, aided by increased revenues allowed under regulatory framework on the back of high inflation. Overall, profit slipped by 0.4% to £2.17 billion, with normalised gas prices driving lower profit in SSE’s thermal division and its distribution business seeing lower earnings.

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer reported annual earnings growth, hailing “market-leading” progress at both its Food and Clothing & Home offerings. The retailer said statutory revenue in the year to March 30 rose 9.3% to £13.04 billion from £11.93 billion a year prior. Pretax profit jumped 41% to £672.5 million from £475.7 million.

Severn Trent

Severn Trent said annual earnings improved, as it looks ahead to “record levels of investment in the coming years”. Revenue in the year ended March 31 rose 8.0% on-year to £2.34 billion from £2.17 billion. Pretax profit was 20% higher at £201.3 million from £167.9 million. S

Labour to outline clampdown on UK ‘dirty money’

A Labour government would launch a crackdown on dirty money in the UK and spearhead an international initiative to tackle financial crime, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy has said.

Cazoo enters administration

Online used car retailer Cazoo has fallen into administration following a restructuring that saw hundreds of jobs lost and a change of business model. Cazoo became popular during the pandemic, but a too-rapid expansion into Europe and large losses proved too much. Administrators at Teneo have been appointed to find a buyer for the business. Some 200 jobs are at risk.

Labour demand guaranteed job support for steelworkers

Tata Steel plans to scrap two blast furnaces at their South Wales plant at the end of the month, leading to thousands of job losses. Labour has demanded urgent job support and training for the affected steelworkers, criticising the Government for not acting quickly enough. Labour called for dedicated employment advisors and a separate fund for retraining support. The party has pledged to invest up to £2.5bn in the UK steel industry if elected.

Labour’s skills plan could reduce apprenticeships by half

Labour’s new skills plan threatens to slash apprenticeships in half, warns a report by the think tank Onward. The proposal to reform the apprenticeship levy to fund other types of training could result in a loss of 170,000 apprentice opportunities. The think tank argues firms would likely use this flexibility to fund other types of training for existing staff. The report suggests that encouraging more businesses to participate and expanding the flexibility of apprentices to work across multiple businesses would be more beneficial.

Heston Blumenthal calls for change in attitudes to neurodiversity in the workplace

Heston Blumenthal, the renowned chef and restaurateur, has revealed his bipolar diagnosis and is calling for a change in attitudes towards neurodiversity in the workplace. Blumenthal believes that neurodivergent individuals, who may have exceptional skills and abilities, are underrepresented in UK business. He commissioned research which found that 11% of people surveyed have been officially diagnosed as neurodivergent, with 21% of them unemployed. Another study found that 37% of FTSE 350 board directors and HR professionals describe their company’s understanding of neurodivergent employees as average or poor.

Latest Insolvencies

 Appointment of Administrator – C X WEALTH LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – IFP (SOUTH WEST) LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – DUNNING KRUGER LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – CEDAR ROCK CAPITAL LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – STYLEFREEZE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CHEDD INVESTMENTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – QUEST UK LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CARIANI LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – SIXTH ROOT LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – FREEDOM FASHIONS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – HUXLEY PRINT LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – BEEN THINKING LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – ALPHANALYTICS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – G4I LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – GOWERS ASSOCIATES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CHEDD TOPCO LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – LASS ESTATES LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – FS888 LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – ROBCONSULT LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – STRATPARK LEASING LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – STRATTON FOX LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – NEW LANARK HOTELS LTD.
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – TAYBLE LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – EAST NEUK FOODS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – RIAM FOODS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – SHUSMITHS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – WINNGOO LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – L S S ELITE VEHICLE SOLUTIONS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – QUEST RECRUITMENT LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – DG HEATING SOLUTIONS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – SAFE CONSTRUCTION (MIDLANDS) LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – ECONOPHYSICA LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SURGICAL SPECIALIST LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – JG FINANCIAL CONSULTING LTD
Appointment of Administrator – CLEAN COLD POWER UK LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – APPLE INVEST LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – AXE EDGE BARS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – P & D W HOLDINGS LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – BUXTON BREWERY COMPANY 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.