business news 28 April 2021.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

A new Investment Council will advise on post-Brexit reform, UK manufacturers’ profitability drops to decade low, family businesses lobby group calls for £150bn of tax cuts, BBRS has cost £23m so far with no cases addressed, Investment in UK tech set for record year and lots more of the business news we have seen on 28 April 2021.

New Investment Council will advise on post-Brexit reform

The Department of International Trade has announced the creation of a new Investment Council to help advise ministers on how to make the most of Britain’s post-Brexit freedoms. The body, which is made up of private sector business people, will meet at least twice a year to provide strategic advice on how to make regulatory changes to improve the attractiveness of the UK for foreign investors. International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said:”Alongside the Office for Investment, this Investment Council led by Minister Grimstone is a major leap towards ensuring foreign investors are heard and fostering a business environment that is fair and drives innovation and economic growth across the UK.”

UK manufacturers’ profitability drops to decade low

Figure from the ONS show UK manufacturers’ profitability fell sharply for a second consecutive year in 2020, dropping to 8.8%, the lowest since 2010.

Family businesses lobby group calls for £150bn of tax cuts

The International Business Network has called for the abolition of corporation tax and cuts to income tax and VAT to drive a post-pandemic recovery. The group, which represents family businesses, urges the Government to make £150bn of tax cuts, £70bn of which should be permanent while quantitative easing should be abandoned and perpetual “Covid recovery bonds” issued in its place to finance the recovery. “The UK is at an economic crossroads between prosperity and long-term relative decline. It is vital it chooses the right path,” John Longworth, chairman of the network, said. “This package sets out a clear agenda to allow family owned and run businesses . . . the cover they need to drive us out of this economic Armageddon.”

BBRS has cost £23m so far with no cases addressed

The Business Banking Resolution Service finally went live in February after a series of delays, the Times reports, but since its inception in 2019 the body has cost more than £23m without having compensated a single business. The BBRS was set up to give small and mid-sized businesses an independent view on banking disputes. Craig Beaumont, chief of external affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Small businesses seeking redress will be looking at these big sums and expecting big results.”

Investment in UK tech set for record year

Venture capital investment into technology start-ups in the UK and Ireland is on track to set a record in 2021, according to data business PitchBook. Technology companies in the UK and Ireland raised £5.3bn in the first quarter of 2021, placing the sector on track to surpass last year’s funding record of £13.4bn. “In this post-Brexit era, UK-based companies have generally been able to attract capital and conduct business as usual,” PitchBook wrote in its new European Venture Report. “In the long run, prominent UK-based start-ups could play a key role in retaining talent and attracting new overseas investment,” the report added.

Big Tech

The pandemic continued to bolster big-tech’s coffers as people moved their work and social lives online and advertising followed. Even still analysts were caught out by the size of the jump as Alphabet, Google’s parent, posted record quarterly revenues of $55.3bn, while those at Microsoft grew by 19% year-on-year, to $41.7bn. The news however was not enough to help them join Apple in the $2 trillion valuation club. Apple and Facebook are yet to report this quarter.


Lloyds Banking Group reported a rise in first-quarter profit as bad debt provisions fell amid an ongoing economic recovery. For the 3 months ended 31 March 2021, pre-tax profit rose to £1.9 billion from £74 million a year earlier, while net income was down 7% to £3.7 billion.The company reported a £459 million release of expected credit loss allowances resulting from improvements to the UK’s economic outlook.


A  study in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that the world emits 5.5bn tonnes more carbon dioxide each year than individual countries’ report. That excess is equal to the annual emissions of the USA.  The issue is discrepancies between national and international models for reporting pollution and the overestimation by nations of how much carbon is absorbed by their forests.

Reckitt Benckiser

Household goods manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser reported a 1.1% fall in first-quarter revenue as a surge hygiene products sales amid the pandemic was offset by falling health and nutrition revenue, plus FX movements. Revenue for the three months through March fell to £3.51 billion, though like-for-like revenue rose 4.1%. FX revenue fell 5.2%.


Sainsbury’s swung to a full-year loss after rising grocery and general merchandise sales were offset by lower fuel sales and the high costs associated with adapting to the pandemic. Pre-tax losses for the year through March amounted to £261 million, compared to a year-on-year profit last year of £255 million

KPMG Venture Pulse survey released

The latest KPMG Venture Pulse survey reveals that venture capital investment in Scottish businesses cooled in the opening months of the year, with the combined value of deals falling to £64.3m, from £97.6m previously. Amy Burnett, senior manager with KPMG private enterprise in Scotland, commented: “The figures for Q1 are relatively subdued and disappointing, but it’s clear investors still have an appetite for Scottish scale-ups. To some extent, we bucked the global trend towards the end of 2020, with significant deal volume and value, and we’re now seeing that steady off and balance itself out.” Bina Mehta, chair of KPMG UK and head of the firm’s ‘emerging giants’ practice, added: “The fact that the amount of VC investment coming into the UK from overseas increased in this post-Brexit environment is encouraging, as was the continued strength of corporate VC investment


Housebuilder Persimmon said its forward sales position in the year to date as up 23% in what it described as a ‘strong’ start to 2021. Forward sales from 1 January to date, including legal completions, had risen to about £3.0 billion, up from around £2.4 billion year-on-year.


Advertising giant WPP said its first-quarter revenue had risen 1.8% year-on-year amid a return to like-for-like growth in all of its business segments. Revenue for the three months through March increased to £2.90 billion, with growth on a like-for-like basis of 6.3%. Revenue less pass-through costs had fallen 1.4%, but risen 3.1% on a like-for-like basis.

PAC issues stinging report on tax and UK’s net-zero vision

A report from the Public Accounts Committee has said that the Treasury and HMRC have no “clear vision” of how taxes could help the UK meet its legal target of net-zero emissions by 2050. Committee chair Meg Hillier said the Government needed to release a clearer plan ahead of Cop26: “The economic revolution required to abandon fossil fuels and reach net zero must be the greatest coordinated ask of governments around the globe in history,” she said. “But the UK Government has been blithely issuing ever more ambitious climate targets for years now, with no sign of a roadmap to reach any of them. The departments in charge seem stuck in a bygone era, with little sign of the innovative thinking needed to achieve all this.”

Supermarket Sales

UK Supermarket Sales climbed in a recent 12-week period, data from Kantar showed on Tuesday, with online grocer Ocado Group again posting the chunkiest sales rise. Kantar noted UK shoppers took heart from easing social restrictions and took more time to visit physical stores, though recent growth in alcohol sales have slowed as pubs have reopened. What’s more, food prices slipped to deflationary territory for the first time in over four years.


In an indication of the state of the nations return to a new normal of office work, IWG said revenue fell in the first quarter of the year as lock-downs restrictions continued to stifle demand for office space. For the three months ended 31 March 2021, revenue fell 23.6% to £528.3 million, with pre-2020 occupancy down 820 basis points to 66.4%.

Muted interest in advice during pandemic

Research from Netwealth suggests the pandemic has made people more engaged with their personal finances, although just one in seven Britons have increased their reliance on financial advice. A February survey of 2,000 adults aged 35-plus found two in five (41%) said they were more engaged with their personal finances throughout the pandemic than in previous years. But the research also found only 15% said they relied more on a financial adviser or wealth manager during the pandemic compared with previous years.

French and German finance ministers back US global tax plan

France and Germany have backed the US Government’s idea of a global minimum corporate tax rate of 21% to be negotiated at the OECD. Germany’s finance minister Olaf Scholz said that personally, he had nothing against the US proposal. France’s Bruno Le Maire said: “If that is the result of negotiations, we would also be agreed.” Austrian Finance Minister Gernot Bluemel said the U.S. proposal was constructive. “This tax fairness must also apply above all between digital and analogue business models,” he said.

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 charge our members a fixed annual subscription irrespective of how high the debt value is!

It takes less than 17 minutes to see how you would benefit, do you have the time now?

No face-to-face meeting required – 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

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.