Business news 28 September 2023

James Salmon, Operations Director.

The number of businesses falls for first time since 2011. Sterling hits six-month low against the dollar. Companies plan to keep on hiring. Citizens Advice offers record levels of support. Borrowers raid savings and cut pension contributions to cover home loans. And more business news that we thought would interest our members.

The number of businesses falls for first time since 2011
The number of VAT or PAYE-registered businesses in the UK has fallen for the first time in over a decade, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data. The figures show that there are 2.73m tax-registered businesses in the UK, as of March 2023. This is down by 1.5% from the same time in 2022, marking the first decline since 2011. The ONS noted that while the number of businesses used to correlate with GDP, this has weakened in recent years. While the ONS data only goes up to March, insolvency statistics suggest that the number of businesses may have continued to decline, with England and Wales seeing the highest number of insolvencies since 2009 in Q2.

Sterling hits six-month low against the dollar
Sterling has fallen to a six-month low against a strengthening dollar and is set to see the biggest monthly drop since August 2022, with a decline of more than 4% in September. While the pound has slipped from a 15-month high in July, it is still up almost 18% from a year ago, when the controversial mini-Budget drove it to a record low.

Companies plan to keep on hiring
Businesses plan to continue hiring workers and investing, with a poll from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) showing confidence in both areas remained positive in the three months to August. While a reading of hiring and investment confidence came in at a net positive five points, this was down two points compared with the previous three months. The survey also shows that business confidence in the economy climbed to a net -38, up from -41. REC chief executive Neil Carberry said that while employers remain cautious about the wider economy, “they will have been cheered by dropping inflation and a pause in interest rate rises.” He added: “Throughout this year, firms have leant on temporary work to navigate the slowdown – we will be watching for a switch back to permanent hiring as growth picks up.”

Citizens Advice offers record levels of support
Amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, Citizens Advice has already provided record levels of crisis support this year, warning that many people are “living on empty” as they try to pay for the essentials. By the end of August, the charity had offered food bank referrals and other charitable support to 159,360 people. This is 16% higher than the same period last year. Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Last year saw us break a number of unwelcome records. But by many measures, 2023 is set to be even worse,” adding: “Increasingly the people we help are living on empty and unable to afford their essential bills.” Citizens Advice’s projections suggest it will help about 240,000 people with crisis support in 2023 – nearly 40,000 more than the record set in 2022.

Borrowers raid savings and cut pension contributions to cover home loans
Homeowners are resorting to raiding their savings and cutting pension contributions in order to cope with higher monthly mortgage payments, according to a study by KPMG. The survey found that 18% of respondents had already raided their savings, while 25% were considering doing so. Additionally, 11% had cut their pension contributions, with 20% considering doing the same. The study also revealed that some mortgage holders were moving to interest-only mortgages, extending the length of their mortgage term, or selling their homes and downsizing to cope with the increased costs. “Inevitably, increased household budget and savings being used to pay the mortgage, or higher rent costs, will continue to lead to less money being spent elsewhere within the economy by consumers,” said Linda Ellett, UK head of consumer markets, retail and leisure at KPMG.

London office vacancies hit 30-year high
Analysts at Jefferies say London’s office market is in “rental recession,” with empty workspace across the City, West End, and Canary Wharf hitting a 30-year high. Jefferies estimates that West End vacancies are at 7%, with rates in the City at 10% and more than 20% at Canary Wharf. It is noted that the tipping point for a rental recession – when rents start to fall – tends to be around 8%. The analysts warned: “Retail was technology’s first casualty and we think offices are next. Utilisation has shrunk and landlords are losing pricing power as tenants offload surplus space.” Jefferies revealed its estimates as it downgraded some of the UK’s biggest office landlords: Land Securities, British Land, Derwent London and Great Portland Estates.


UK Regulators on Wednesday gave approval for Norway’s energy giant Equinor to develop the controversial UK offshore Rosebank field in the North Sea, just off the northwest coast of the Shetland Islands. The North Sea Transition Authority said it has also given the necessary consent. The UK government said it had given operator Equinor and British energy company Ithaca Energy — which hold respective 80% and 20% stakes in the field — permission to proceed following “extensive scrutiny by the regulators,” including regarding the environmental impact of the development.


Brent crude oil surged to $97 a barrel yesterday, a 10-month high during trading, before dropping $96.55. WTI meanwhile hit $95 for the first time in more than a year. Stockpiles of oil in the US had unexpectedly fallen and along with production cuts in Saudi and Russia, buyers were concerned over supply constraints. Oil has risen 30% since June and worries are mounting about its inflationary impact.


The National Grid say there is a reduced risk of blackouts this winter, due to greater Energy generation capacity and increased battery stores. In its Winter Outlook National Grid ESO said under the most likely “base case” scenario the margin of electricity supply over demand would be 4.4 gigawatts (GW) or 7.4%, “broadly in line with recent winters”.

Of the electricity generated in the UK in 2022, 40.8% came from fossil fuels and 56.2% from low-carbon sources –  41.5% from renewables and 14.7% from nuclear.


Apple’s iPhone 15 faces a potential setback as some consumers complained of overheating during use or charging.


Donald Trump was found liable for fraud for exaggerating his net worth by billions of dollars a year on financial records submitted to banks and insurers.


Chat GPT used to be limited to basing responses on material it had been trained on up to September 2021. Now OpenAI have confirmed it can access current information and some premium users will be able to ask the chatbot questions about current affairs, and access news. All users will soon also have this feature.

London’s first time buyers

First-time buyers have all but abandoned the London housing market over the last 10 years after being priced out of the market. Mortgage lender Halifax said only 24,323 Londoners bought a house for the first time between January and August 2023, a 9% drop from the same period in 2013.

Fintech sector sees ‘shoots of positivity’
Janine Hirt, chief executive of fintech sector trade body Innovate Finance, says London’s fintech sector is showing “shoots of positivity.” Noting that it is a “difficult year and it is a difficult market and it’s a difficult economy for everyone,” she said fintech firms are “proving their value in this space.” With analysis showing that the UK is second only to the US in terms of fintech investment, Ms Hirt said: “I imagine that maybe not H1 next year, but at least in H2 I think there is a lot of dry powder, so I’m quite optimistic of where we’re going.”

Labour plans to close tax loopholes
Labour is finalising plans to close tax loopholes that would give the party a multibillion-pound war chest to fund new spending commitments before the general election. A review of loopholes carried out by shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has identified at least £4bn of additional revenue. Among the areas being examined are reforms to inheritance tax, business relief for inheritance tax, and business asset disposal relief. Scrapping these could provide additional revenues of £1.5bn a year. Figures from HMRC show that tax reliefs cost the Treasury £195bn in 2021.

IFS proposes IHT overhaul
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has called for an overhaul of the inheritance tax system, proposing reforms including a joint allowance of £1m for married couples. The taxman is expected to collect £15.3bn worth of inheritance tax by 2033 and the IFS suggests that the Government could reduce the inheritance tax rate to 32% and still collect the same expected revenues. While 4% of estates currently pay the tax, around one in eight people will face an inheritance tax bill either on their death or their partner’s death within the next decade, the think-tank said. The Treasury has defended the levy, stating that over 93% of estates will have zero inheritance tax liability in the coming years. The IFS also argues for the removal or capping of business and agricultural relief, as well as including 80% of bequeathed pension pots in taxable estates. Experts warn that current exemptions disproportionately benefit those with large portfolios.

Majority of voters oppose IHT cut
Most voters believe it would be a mistake for Rishi Sunak to hand the country’s richest extra wealth by slashing inheritance tax. While the Prime Minister is considering reducing the levy or ditching it altogether, a poll shows that 60% of voters believe those over the threshold should continue to pay the same or be taxed more. TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said scrapping the charge would be a “huge tax cut for a very small, very wealthy minority” and “drain £7bn from the public purse each year.” He added: “It’s no surprise that a clear majority of the public oppose lower inheritance tax thresholds and instead want the wealthiest to pay their fair share.”

Latest Insolvencies

Appointment of Liquidators – PRIZEOPEN
Appointment of Liquidators – ROOKESBURY CONSULTING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SFS MEDIA LTD
Appointment of Administrator – J D COOLING SOUTH EAST LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – APAR DBA CONSULTING LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – THE MADISSON AGENCY LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – KENDALL’S LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – EARTHLY NATURE LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – TRANSFORMICA LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – GREENWAY HOMES (NE) LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – DAVID CHARLES TRAVEL LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – BABY TV LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – HEATHCROSS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – JYOTI VEKARIA LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – MEDIPATROL LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – CODING GENIUS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ECL MANAGEMENT SERVICES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – WREKIN SELF STORAGE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – RB AVONMOUTH LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – GROSVENOR BRIDGING LOANS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PILATUS PHARMA LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – WENDOVER MOTOR SERVICES (2003) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – BENANNE LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – MARINE COMPLEX SYSTEMS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – MARCH FINANCIAL LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – FAP ENTERPRISES LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – N W EVANS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – EUROCAMP UK LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – STOLRIC (R SMITH) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – TIML GLOBAL LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – SMD EU WHOLESALE LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ALLOY WHEEL SYSTEMS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – RELAX SEATING LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – SUNNY DEVELOPMENTS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – MERABOILER GROUP LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – ELECTRO IMPORTS LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – KBS GROUNDWORKS & CONSTRUCTION LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – MERRILL LYNCH (CAMBERLEY) LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ALLEN’S SKIP HIRE LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – DBRS & SON LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – ARIA SALE LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – CHAPCO CONSTRUCTION LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – AVIDUS SCOTT LANG & CO. LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – REMUS CONSTRUCTION & DEVELOPMENT LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – NUMACHINE LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – AVIDUS SCOTT LANG GROUP LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – ELYSIAN SYSTEMS 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.