Business news 26 March 2024

Late payments worsen. Interest rates could fall to 3% in 2025. Energy could see a ‘dynamic’ price cap. Retail sales start to stabilise.  And more business news that we thought would interest our members.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Late payments worsen

Small businesses are still being held back by late payments, warns the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

An FSB report shows that a third of small businesses said their late payments worsened in the fourth Quarter of 2023, up from a quarter. As a result the FSB said that small businesses have ‘dampened’ growth expectations for 2024.

Martin McTague, National Chair of the FSB, commented “Late payment is a scourge, and one that shouldn’t exist – there’s no excuse, with modern business banking methods, for large companies to hold onto money due to small suppliers. Overdue invoices cause uncountable amounts of stress and harm to small business owners, leading to sleepless nights and lost productivity. Large companies should make their payment performance a board-level issue, and include it in annual reports, to improve accountability and transparency. Small firms contain the dynamism and the ambition to grow that will get the economy up and running, if they are given the right conditions to flourish, invest, and make their mark.”

Talk to CPA about how we are tackling the late payment culture.

Interest rates could fall to 3% in 2025

Economists at Capital Economics say interest rates could fall to as low as 3% next year, with the Bank of England reducing the cost of borrowing in response to lower inflation. Capital Economics forecasts that inflation could fall to 0.5% in 2024 and remain below the Bank’s 2% target through 2025 and 2026. The report said: “The UK is on the cusp of switching from having a bigger high inflation problem than other major economies to having a bigger low inflation problem.”

Energy could see a ‘dynamic’ price cap

Domestic energy prices could be capped based on the time of day that households use their appliances, Ofgem has said, with the watchdog considering a “dynamic” price cap. Ofgem is considering a range of options for changing the system, saying it is becoming harder to retain a universal price cap that is suitable for everyone. Alongside dynamic pricing, other options included: a targeted cap based on a variety of factors, such as vulnerability; prices that set a limit between a supplier’s default tariff and tariffs available in the market; capping the profit margin suppliers are able to make; and replacing the cap with a ban on acquisition-only tariffs. Simon Virley, head of energy and natural resources KPMG UK, said that while the existing price cap had saved money for customers, this had “come at a price,” adding that it meant “effective competition and innovation in the market suffering and switching levels falling off a cliff.”

Retail sales start to stabilise

Retail sales in Britain have started to stabilise after ten consecutive months of decline, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Sales volumes rose by 2% in the year to March, from a weighted balance of -7% in the year to February. It was shown that internet sales volumes declined by 27% in the period, having grown by 4% the month before. The number of orders retailers placed with suppliers fell by 22% in the year to March, compared with 14% in February. Martin Sartorius, principal economist at the CBI, said: “The stabilisation of retail sales in March should give some hope that the sector’s downturn is bottoming out. The earlier timing of Easter will likely mean weaker year-on-year sales in April, but easing inflation should support retail spending going forward.”

Jobs market shows signs of recovery

Data from Adzuna suggests that the jobs market is showing signs of recovery. The jobs search engine says the number of vacancies hit 866,242 in February, with this down just 0.14% on January’s total. Vacancies had fallen by 6.64% between December and January and by 6.95% between November and December.

Disposable income up for the lowest earners

Disposable income in the lowest-earning households in Britain has increased for the first time in more than two years. Asda’s Income Tracker compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research shows that disposable income for such households grew by 4.9% in February, with this driven by an increase in gross income and a slowdown in core inflation. However, these households’ discretionary income remained negative, with take-home pay £68 less than the amount needed to cover bills and other essentials. The tracker also found that discretionary income for the average UK household was £18.56 a week higher in February than a year before, at £231. This marked the 11th consecutive month of growth.

UK venture capital investment falls 45%

The amount of venture capital investment in the UK fell by 45% in 2023, according to KPMG’s quarterly Venture Pulse report. The analysis shows that the value of VC investment across the UK fell from £29.1bn across 3,832 deals in 2022 to £16bn across 2,658 deals in 2023. VC investment sank to its lowest levels since 2016, with analysts noting that the decline came amid a “backdrop of geopolitical and macroeconomic challenges and a parched exit environment.” London accounted for £10.7bn of UK VC investment in 2023, with this coming across 1,495 deals. This was significantly down on the £22.4bn across 2,086 deals recorded in 2022. Nicole Lowe, UK head of KPMG UK’s emerging giants practice, said: “Whilst there is a real craving for normalcy and a period of stability this year to help boost the environment for fundraising, it is unlikely that the conditions improve much over the next 12 months.”


Oil prices steadied after the biggest gain in a week, with OPEC+ set to confirm production cuts despite tensions in the Middle East and Russia.


The Government stake in NatWest has dropped to below 30% for the first time since the bank was nationalised in the 2008 financial crisis. A stock exchange announcement on Monday confirmed that the Treasury’s stake in the bank, which also owns Royal Bank of Scotland and Coutts, is now 29.82%, down by a little over one percentage point. It leaves the Government with a stake worth a little under £7 billion.


Ocado said its Retail’s division volumes grew 8.1% year on year in the first quarter, leading to revenues growing 10.6% to £645.3 million. According to today’s trading statement, Ocado Retail, which is a joint venue between Ocado and M&S, had an online market share of 13.5% in the period, up from 12.8% in first-quarter 2023. Average orders per week, active customer count and average basket value all saw upward trajectory. Revenue growth guidance for the year remains in the mid-to-high single digits.


Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun has said he will leave at the end of the year as the aircraft maker continues to suffer the fallout from a recent surge in safety concerns. Chairman Larry Kellner also resigned and will not stand for re-election, while Stan Deal, the group’s head of commercial aeroplanes, will leave effective immediately.

Latest Insolvencies

Petitions to wind up (Companies) – GLASGOW EAST WOMEN’S AID
Appointment of Liquidators – 2 CATS SAILING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ANCIENT HUME LIMITED
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Appointment of Liquidators – ZAMA STRATEGY LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – MCKENZIE LANDSCAPING LTD
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Appointment of Liquidators – CHARTER MORTGAGE FUNDING 2018-1 PLC
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Petitions to wind up (Companies) – SUPER CHOICE EUROPE LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – GRAHAM BENNETT ASSOCIATES LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – BOI G.P. NO 1 LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – EAGLE GENOMICS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CSI WITHAM LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – APP TECH PRODUCTIONS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ANTUIT UK LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – GRANGE PM CONSULTANCY LTD
Appointment of Administrator – CROWN PLACE LLP
Appointment of Liquidators – CAJSOFT LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – NORTHBANK DESIGN LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – MDE (SCOTLAND) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CASTLETON SIGNS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PEROMNIA LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – A.C. EMMERSON LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – LDH HOTELS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – MESELE LTD
Appointment of Administrator – ST HELENS CHAMBER LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SUNNY BUILDING CO. LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – AQUA-HEAT ENVIROTECH LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – CAUSEWAY 2000 LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – L A PLUMBING & HEATING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SHORTLAND SHOES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CHARTERHOUSE LONDON LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – MED REALISATIONS 2024 LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – BCEL LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – WARD CIVILS (MCR) LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – CONCANNON HEATING SERVICES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CAUSEWAY 2017 LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – J B S HARDWARE LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – DISPLAY CABINETS UK LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – NITROGEN GROUP LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SMITH CONCEPT LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – VIZIVOX LOGISTICS 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.

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.