Business news 24 July 2023

James Salmon, Operations Director.

UK manufacturing sector in recession for a year. Report reveals post-Brexit structural shift in trade. Interest rate rises will hit growth next year. Energy, brokers, Youth unemployment, company formations & more business news that we thought would interest our members.

UK manufacturing sector in recession for a year

The UK’s manufacturing sector has been in recession for a year, with services also deteriorating, according to a closely watched economic indicator. Early readings from the S&P/CIPS purchasing managers index are expected to show a decline in the manufacturing sector, with a PMI score below 50 indicating contraction. The manufacturing sector has not seen a score above 50 since last July.

Services have been declining since May. Economic uncertainty and higher interest rates are believed to be the cause of the deterioration in both manufacturing and services. Capital Economics deputy chief UK economist Ruth Gregory predicts that the outlook for activity will continue to deteriorate, with real GDP growth stagnating in the third quarter.

Report reveals post-Brexit structural shift in trade

A survey by the manufacturing lobby group Make UK and BDO, the advisory group, reveals that factories in England and Wales are seeing a downward trend in the share of their trade going to the EU. Although the UK’s share of manufacturing exports to the EU had increased slightly in 2022, to 52% from 50% in 2019, this was put down to an increase in tariff-free trade across the land border in Ireland owing to the Northern Ireland protocol and a jump in the value of Scottish oil and gas exports.

Factories in the north-west and West Midlands saw their share of trade fall slightly while London and the south-east and east of England saw small increases – the only English regions to do so. “These figures are reflective of the combined impact of Brexit, the pandemic and the Ukraine war,” said Richard Austin, head of manufacturing at BDO. “UK regions are the powerhouses of UK manufacturing but the body blows of the last few years are taking their toll. Manufacturers have warned that the shackles of red tape, supply chain pressures and rising costs are at risk of permanently undermining the competitiveness of UK goods.”

Interest rate rises will hit growth next year
The UK is facing a prolonged economic slump caused by higher interest rates, economists have warned. EY Item Club has cut its growth forecast for 2024 and 2025. The group said the economy is set to grow by 0.8% next year, less than half its previous prediction of 1.9%. GDP growth will rise to 1.7% in 2025, the economists said, down from their previous forecast of 2.3%. Martin Beck, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said: “You have got this much bigger rise in interest rates than we were expecting, and that takes time to hit the economy, because of fixed-rate mortgages. It will hit harder next year than this.” He added: “The Bank of England’s hawkishness is going to condemn the economy to sluggish growth.”

Ofgem urged to tackle energy brokers ‘ripping off’ small firms

A coalition representing 1m small businesses is urging the energy regulator to crack down on rogue brokers who inflate energy bills with hidden commission fees. The bosses of trade associations from the retail, hospitality and care sectors have written to Ofgem demanding action, claiming these secret commissions have compounded the cost crisis facing the small business sector. Lawyers believe that small businesses may have the right to claim back up to £2bn in hidden commissions. Ofgem has promised to take action against brokers, but only for microbusinesses. The business groups are calling for this protection to be extended to larger small and medium businesses.

UK mulls youth mobility schemes to plug workforce gaps

The Home Office could allow thousands of young Europeans to come to Britain for up to two years under plans to plug gaps in the workforce. The youth mobility schemes would be aimed at boosting the economy without adding to net migration, which hit a record 606,000 last year. Any agreements would be reciprocal with length of stay, age criteria and type of jobs likely to be tailored depending on the nation. Home Office officials are in talks with their counterparts in Switzerland over a deal and hope to sign similar agreements with European Union nations.

A million young Britons remain unemployed

An investigation by the Sunday Express reveals almost a million people aged 16 to 24 are not in work, full-time education or training despite companies being desperate for workers. The figures, from the Learning and Work Institute, come amid anger over government moves to relax immigration restrictions to let in foreign bricklayers, roofers, plasterers and carpenters to fill the skills gap. MPs have warned that importing skills on the cheap would undercut British youngsters and pile pressure on the NHS, schools and housing and that young British people should be trained up to do the jobs instead.

Boom in company formations brightens UK economy
Emma Jones, the founder and CEO of Enterprise Nation, says the boom in company formations in the first half of the year is a bright spot for the economy.

Almost half a million new start-ups were registered with Companies House in the first six months of this year, reflecting an ongoing trend in entrepreneurship. A third of all UK adults were thinking about starting a business this year, with Gen Z showing a higher interest. The demand for co-working spaces has increased by 22%, and 63% of nearby stores and restaurants are now independent.

StartUp UK, a programme developed by Enterprise Nation and Monzo Business, is helping start-ups develop key business skills. The free programme has reached 165,000 small business owners so far this year. The number of women starting a business in the UK is at an historic high.

Government to spend a further £15bn on Covid
Ministers are set to spend a further £15bn on projects related to the pandemic despite the emergency being declared over. The money has been earmarked for “active” measures such as recovery funding and costs associated with the Covid Inquiry

UK default costs soar
The price of UK credit default swaps jumped by 106% in the year to the end of May as fears grow over Britain’s parlous public finances. Only Pakistan and Ecuador have seen such an increase in the cost of insuring against a sovereign default. Major global economic players are increasingly facing the prospect of prolonged economic difficulty. Although the likelihood of countries such as the UK or US actually defaulting is low, that’s not to say that there is no risk for creditors.

Fine June weather boosts sales
Retail sales rose more than expected in June as fine weather brought shoppers out on to the high street. The Office for National Statistics estimated the value of retail sales in June was up by 0.7% on May – better than the 0.2% expected. Jacqui Baker, head of retail at consulting firm RSM UK, said: “The hottest June on record prompted consumers to hit the high street to make the most of the good weather and spend. This saw an increase in household goods as consumers stocked up on garden furniture and barbecues, boosting food sales. With retailers sitting on high levels of stock after a tough few months, many have started their summer sale early this season.”

UK hospitality venues forced to adapt to a new normal
The cost of living crisis and labour shortages have forced hospitality venues to adopt cost saving measures such as hiring younger staff, simplifying menus, reducing meat options, and closing for lunch. The impact of high energy costs, food inflation, high interest rates, a recruitment crisis and consumer uncertainty, is evident in the high rate of restaurant closures in the first quarter of this year. Owners and managers of hospitality businesses are considering permanent closures due to last-minute cancellations and no-shows.

Bumper tax receipts boost Treasury coffers
The Government’s finances were boosted by bumper tax receipts last month as high wage inflation pushed workers into paying more income tax and national insurance. VAT and corporate tax also raise more than expected. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasted government borrowing at £22bn, but it came in at £18.5bn due to higher tax revenues. Public sector borrowing was £54.4bn – £7.5bn less than forecast by the OBR. The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates that 14% of adults will pay the 40% higher rate of income tax by 2027. Despite the strong tax revenues, the Chancellor said he still does not have enough room to spend big on pre-election giveaways. The debt ratio rose to 101% of GDP in June, the highest since 1961. The Government paid £12.5bn on debt interest last month, less than the record £20bn recorded in June last year.

Mortgage-free boomers shrug off cost of living crisis
A survey from PwC shows mortgage-free baby boomers are shrugging off the cost of living crisis as almost half of those over 65-years-old are left with money to spare each month. More than 40% of over-65s say they won’t need to make cutbacks over the next three months, while older people are weathering the cost of living squeeze better than other groups thanks to inflation-linked pensions.


Elon Musk has changed the Twitter logo from the blue bird to a white X on a black background.


The US Government says 7 US Tech companies, including OpenAI have agreed to voluntary safeguards to develop  “safe, secure and transparent” artificial intelligence, The safeguards include eight new rules, such as external testing of AI systems and the strengthening of privacy protections.

HMRC recovers a ‘remarkable’ £34bn from investigations
HMRC’s annual report reveals that investigations into tax evasion and avoidance have yielded £34bn in extra tax revenue over the past year. Although the total this year was higher than the £30.8bn gained last year, it was still lower than the £36bn targeted by HMRC. Analysis by Pinsent Masons revealed that £2.7bn of the extra £34bn came from wealthy people underpaying on income tax. HMRC’s fraud investigations service recovered £4bn and led to 218 convictions.

HMRC complaints surge 40%
The number of complaints to HMRC has risen by almost 40% in three years while response times from the tax office have lengthened. Chris Etherington from RSM UK said: “For many other organisations business has returned to normality after the challenges posed by the pandemic but, in HMRC’s case, the number of complaints has increased significantly. The worrying reality is that taxpayers have faced declining customer service support in the last year. It’s clear that HMRC is feeling the strain of demands placed on it by the government’s tax policies and is having to deal with an increased number of queries from those dragged into the tax system through fiscal drag.”

Electric car battery manufacturer faces collapse
The AIM-listed electric car battery manufacturer, AMTE Power, is facing collapse as the Government refuses to provide financial support. Efforts by AMTE Power to secure emergency funding have stalled, leaving the company’s CEO, Alan Hollis, frustrated by a lack of engagement from government officials. AMTE Power’s valuation has plummeted due to financing challenges, and on Thursday the company warned that its position has become critical

Wilko explores sale of controlling stake
A major UK bargain shop, Wilko, with 400 stores, is exploring the sale of a controlling stake to cut costs and turn around the struggling business. The retailer aims to raise tens of millions of pounds in new funding. The Wilkinson family, which holds the largest stake in the business, may give it up to secure the company’s future. Wilko is considering restructuring options and working with financial advisors PwC.

The specialist retail investor Hilco has agreed to lend about £5m to Wilko as the general merchandise chain races to secure a long-term solution to its financing challenges. The new debt comes in addition to a £40m loan Wilko secured from Hilco at the beginning of the year.

Latest Insolvencies

Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ESI (CAVITY) LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – WESTCOMBE HOUSE DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – WSPI PADLESWORTH LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ARTHUR READ LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – STAR UK PAS PROPCO LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – NK&J PROPERTY LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – DYNAMIX FABRICATION LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – RAMAK INVESTMENT CO. LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ZR CIVILS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – MARPAUL SOUTHERN LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – IN SITU CLIMBING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SIMPSON DONALD & CO LTD
Winding up Order (Companies) – BARCLAY TELECOM LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – WE CARE RECRUITMENT SOLUTIONS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – INSIGHT DIAGNOSTICS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ANDREW TOPPING PRIVATE CLIENTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PCFD PRACTICE LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – PANEL PLAN LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – VIRIDIS CHANGE CONSULTING LTD

Appointment of Liquidators – SUSAN OLDMAN CONSULTANCY LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – HORNTON LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – BLOOM STAR TRADERS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CABLEMARK LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – ALEXANDRA HOUSE (LEEDS) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – FLIGHT SQUARE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – RFELD LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – LEESTREAM LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – ART PROJECTS FOR SCHOOLS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – REP DESIGN LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – T R DOWNS HOLDINGS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – BARLEY CONSULTING LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – RAM A.I. LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ARC CONSULTANTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PITMAN SOLUTIONS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – BOS MISTRAL LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ECCE ADVISORS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – SILVERWOOD (DITCHEAT) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – GAWDY HALL ESTATES 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.

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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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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!

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Check our compensation calculator to see how much your business could be owed!

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