Business news 26 October 2023

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Late payments hit three year high. Directors need an extra code of conduct. PM’s advisor looks to ease unemployment. Interest rates, AI, Cyber attacks & more business news that we thought would interest our members.

Late payments hit three year high

Small businesses in the UK are facing a worsening late payment crisis, with payment times hitting a three-year high.

According to Xero’s quarterly small business index, small firms are waiting an average of 29.4 days to be paid by their customers, with payments in September being made 7.7 days after the due date.

The manufacturing sector has been the worst affected, with payments made 10.1 days late on average.

Industry leaders are calling on the Government to take action and help small businesses with late payments. The Federation of Small Businesses estimates that if late payments were made on time, 50,000 business closures could be avoided each year. The federation is urging the Chancellor to address the issue in the upcoming Autumn Statement.

A recent ​​survey commissioned by the AAT and the ACCA found that MPs want more powers to be handed to the Small Business Commissioner – a body introduced in 2016 to tackle unpaid invoices.

CPA doubts the Small Business Commissioner can change the Late Payment Culture. Businesses need to be motivated financially to pay on time.

We at CPA have long argued that stronger measures are needed and that primarily businesses pay late as late payment of suppliers is currently the cheapest form of cash flow that businesses can use. When suppliers are keen to maintain goodwill, the late payment usually comes free.

CPA argues that the late payment culture will only change when late payment of suppliers becomes the most expensive form of capital. Financial chiefs will quickly change payment practices if late payments hit them in the pocket.

This can be achieved with a simple series of measures.

  1. Late payment compensation levels were set decades ago and haven’t been updated for inflation. the current levels of £40 for debts up to a £1000, £70 for debts between £1000 and £10,000 and £100 for debts over £10,000 are woefully inadequate. These rates should be increased to properly compensate late paid suppliers and deter late payers. We would suggest changing the levels to £60, £120 and £200.
  2. Still there is the issue of enforce-ability. Take away the pressure of goodwill from small business suppliers and mandate by legislation that all medium and large businesses who pay late must automatically as part of their payment process, add late payment compensation and interest to the payment they make to their suppliers.
  3. Provide a simplified process for suppliers to claim late payment compensation and interest via the county courts from small businesses who have paid them late.
  4. Current legislation still allows large companies to withhold payments contractually by setting credit terms of up to 60 days.  The perils of unpaid invoices could be reduced by reducing the maximum permissible terms to 30 days, thus speeding up the payment to suppliers.

Introduce the above three measures and the damaging effects of the late payment culture in the UK could be seriously reduced. There would still be the issue of late payments between small businesses and consumers.

IoD: Directors need an extra code of conduct

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has launched a commission to draft a voluntary code of conduct for directors to improve standards, warning that a series of prominent corporate collapses have eroded trust in business.

The commission, headed by former Labour Party general secretary Iain McNicol, will run until March and report its findings in April. IoD Director General Jonathan Geldart said: “Directors make key decisions across a variety of organisations, and it is essential that they are seen as both competent and ethical actors.” It is noted that the Corporate Governance Code, which is currently being updated, covers the conduct of directors and is enforced on a “comply or explain” basis by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

With the IoD saying its code would be distinct from the FRC code and the legal duties of directors under UK companies law, Roger Barker, IoD director of policy and governance, noted that it would be “complementary to the existing governance code framework and directors’ fiduciary requirements.”

PM’s advisor looks to ease unemployment

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s top business advisor, Franck Petitgas, is reportedly on a mission to tackle Britain’s unemployment crisis ahead of next year’s election. Mr Petitgas recently met with recruitment and payroll business Employment Hero to discuss strategies for getting Britons back to work. The conversation focused on improving remote work access for disabled or sick workers as well as parents. The UK’s unemployment rate has risen to 4.3%, the highest in nearly two years. The Government is keen to reform the labour market to support its growth agenda and address the unemployment crisis.

BoE likely to hold rates steady

The Bank of England looks set to keep interest rates on hold at 5.25% next week, according to investors and economists polled by Reuters. The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee opted to hold rates at the 15-year high in September, bringing to an end a succession of increases. James Smith, an economist with ING, said rate setters “won’t want to take any chances and they really don’t want to see markets price in rate cuts.” He added: “Data has started to go tentatively in their favour but central banks have learned inflation data has tended to come in on the upside.”

UK firms face hundreds of cyber-attacks a second

Analysis by BT Business shows that British cybersecurity experts see 46m signals of cyber-attacks every day, logging at least 530 alerts to potential attacks per second.

The most targeted industries in the past 12 months were IT, defence, banking and insurance, with these accounting for almost 20% of malware sightings, while the retail, hospitality and education sectors account for 14.9%.

The report says the average business will have its network scanned and tested by cyber criminals more than 3,000 times each day. The analysis also reveals that 61% of UK firms say that keeping up with cyber security measures is becoming increasingly difficult.

Tris Morgan, managing director of security at BT, said: “The volume of cyberthreats in the UK is rising at an alarming rate, so it’s really concerning that so many businesses and public services are leaving themselves open to attack.”

AI could worsen cyber-threats

A Government report has warned that artificial intelligence could increase the risk of cyber-attacks and erode trust in online content within the next two years. The report warns that by 2025, generative AI could be “used to assemble knowledge on physical attacks by non-state violent actors, including for chemical, biological and radiological weapons,” going on to warn that while firms are working to prevent this, “the effectiveness of these safeguards vary.” The report also suggests that it is likely that AI will help create “faster-paced, more effective and larger scale” cyber-attacks by 2025.

The report comes ahead of a speech by Rishi Sunak in which the Prime Minister will set out how the Government aims to make AI safe. He is set to say that while AI will bring “new knowledge, new opportunities for economic growth, new advances in human capability, and the chance to solve problems we once thought beyond us … it also brings new dangers and new fears.” Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said the research marks “a watershed moment,” with the UK “the first country in the world to formally summarise the risks presented by this powerful technology.”

Financial services leaders expect AI to impact productivity

A poll from EY shows that 77% of European financial services leaders expect Generative AI to significantly affect productivity and change roles. The survey found that up to a quarter of all roles will require AI training or upskilling over the next six to 12 months. However, many firms lack plans to train their workforce in new GenAI technologies. Only 2% of respondents believe their workforce is fully equipped to contribute to building AI capabilities and bosses flagged concerns about limited understanding and experience of GenAI applications and their impact across the workforce. While some firms have already implemented AI ethics frameworks, 45% have yet to develop one.

Lloyds: House prices will fall until 2025

House prices are set to fall this year and next before rising in 2025, according to a prediction from Lloyds Banking Group. Halifax-owner Lloyds expects prices to drop 4.7% this year and by a further 2.4% in 2024. In the longer term, the lender expects prices to rise 0.6% by 2027. The forecast is based on the Halifax House Price Index, which excludes figures for cash buyers, which currently make up over 30% of housing sales. According to the UK House Price Index, the average property price – based on completed transactions – was £291,044 in August.


Unilever has reported price growth continued to ease in the third quarter as it unveiled a 5.2% rise in underlying sales in the third quarter. The owner of Domestos and Ben & Jerry’s said turnover decreased 3.8% to €15.2 billion, but underlying sales grew 5.2% boosted by higher prices, up 5.8%, while volumes fell 0.6%. The firm said underlying price growth continues to moderate as inflation eases, with underlying volumes now positive in Beauty & Wellbeing, Personal Care and Home Care.

US Car workers

The United Auto Workers and Ford Motor reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year labour contract, after a six-week strike. The union said the deal included a 25 percent pay increase over four years, big gains on pensions and the right to strike over plant closures.


Global stocks fell as a number of high-profile corporate earnings misses fueled concerns about the strength of the economy and drained sentiment toward riskier assets. Meta fell 4% after a nervous report and Alphabet fell 9.5% after disappointing cloud figures. Overnight, the DOW dropped -0.32%, the S&P 500 dropped -1.43% and the  NASDAQ dropped sharply by -2.43%. And the bearish market has been rippling across other markets since

The US Dollar experienced a broad upsurge overnight, propelled by a robust rebound in benchmark treasury yields and a general mood of risk aversion.

Latest Insolvencies

Appointment of Liquidators – WOODCHESTER FUNDING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PRESCIENT PLANNING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CAT CAVE CO LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PALIGAP LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PINEHILL MEDICAL LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SOLKOS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – DAVID FISH LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – BRON RELEASING UK LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – R3 IT SERVICES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ALL VEHICLE PARTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ASTRUM PARTNERS LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – OLDCO1339885127092023 LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – BRIGHAM WEALTH MANAGEMENT LLP
Appointment of Liquidators – HALFPOT LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – JAMAWAL LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – STEP-IN MANAGEMENT LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – KCCI HOLDINGS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – AUREUS INVESTMENTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – RAC (UK) LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – JM LEADERSHIP ADVISORY LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – FOOTFALLS AND HEARTBEATS (UK) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – D D HEATING LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ELITE RENTIER LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – FOUR HAWKS LEISURE LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ELEV8 GLOBAL LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ATTENTIVE SECURITY LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – E S HARTLEY (LEISURE) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – KIWIKIT LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – DD SOLUTIONS 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.

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.