Business news 30 November 2023

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Business closures surpass openings. Labour will prioritise small firms for government contracts. Business confidence climbs. Household borrowing down in October.  OECD downgrades UK growth forecast. And more business news that we thought would interest our members.

Business closures surpass openings

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that business closures have outpaced openings for the first time since 2010. The ONS Inter-Departmental Business Register shows that there was a 7% year-on-year decline in new businesses in 2022, while business closures were up 5%.

The analysis shows that in the construction sector, the number of business closures climbed by 41%, while in the retail sector, closures were up by almost 30%. Insolvency Service data published in October suggests that the number of firms going bust has risen to its highest level since 2009.

Labour will prioritise small firms for government contracts

Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds says Labour will prioritise small businesses for government contracts, vowing to “back British” commerce and ensure at least one SME will be shortlisted for “every appropriate contract.”

Unveiling Labour’s Plan for Small Business, Mr Reynolds said government itself “ought to be a better customer to small business,” adding that Labour will ensure that small businesses get a “fairer shot” at public tendering.

Labour’ plans include setting up a “permanent and independent” industrial strategy council, with SME representatives; reforming business rates to “reward expansion” and making them “market responsive”; a new export taskforce with the Federation of Small Businesses; a Green Prosperity Plan for energy; and boosting skills via technical excellence colleges.

Business confidence climbs

Research by Lloyds Bank shows that business confidence has climbed back to levels not seen since before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent energy crisis. An index tracking optimism among British companies has climbed by three points to a net balance of 42%, marking the highest level since February 2022. Firms polled are more confident in their trading prospects, with this up four points month-on-month to a net balance of 48%, while a measure of economic optimism was up by three points to a net 37%.

Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist at Lloyds commercial banking business, said there are signs that wage expectations may be stabilising, even against the backdrop of hiring intentions increasing to an 18-month high. “Price indicators in the survey are similarly up, with our data continuing to show that firms are still safeguarding their profit margins in response to past rises in interest rates, wage increase pressures, and the prospect of higher energy prices,” he added.

Household borrowing down in October

Consumer borrowing fell in October, with Bank of England data showing that consumers borrowed £1.3bn last month compared to £1.4bn in September. The decline came as consumers borrowed less on credit cards, with the rate of other forms of credit remaining stable. Paul Dales, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said that consumer demand has remained relatively resilient, with higher interest rates “yet to significantly crimp unsecured borrowing.” He did add, however, that higher interest rates are “continuing to percolate through the economy.” The Bank of England figures also show that households deposited £4.6bn with lenders in October, marking the highest level since November 2022.

OECD downgrades UK growth forecast

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has downgraded its outlook for the UK economy, saying it expects growth of 0.7% in 2024 and 1.2% in 2025. The prediction for next year is weaker than a forecast of 0.8% the OECD published in September.

The OECD expects the eurozone to see growth of 0.9% next year and 1.5% in 2025, with the US expected to post growth of 1.5% in 2024 and 1.7% the year after.

On the challenges that the UK is facing, the OECD pointed to inflation remaining above target for longer than expected. The report said: “Core inflation will linger at 3.8% in 2024 and 2.6% in 2025 on the back of the tight labour market.” The OECD noted that monetary policy is set to “remain tight until price pressures ease sustainably.”

On the possibility of a recession, OECD chief economist Clare Lombardelli warned that a soft landing for advanced economies is not guaranteed, saying the risks around it are “pretty high.” She also said that the risk of central banks getting policy wrong are “higher than they have been.”

OECD calls for triple lock reform

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has urged the Government to reform the “costly” pensions triple lock, saying that this would give ministers more “fiscal headroom” and improve public finances. Critics say the policy – which ties state pension increases to the highest of average earnings, inflation or 2.5% – has become too expensive for the Treasury. Institute for Fiscal Studies analysis suggests that the triple lock added an extra £11bn a year to public spending.

BoE will do ‘what it takes’ to hit inflation target

Governor Andrew Bailey says the Bank of England is getting its “sleeves rolled up” and “will do what it takes” to get inflation down to its 2% target, insisting: “That is the best thing we can do for growth in the economy – and we will do it.” Saying that officials “need to see how the final part of the journey down to 2% inflation plays out,” Mr Bailey stressed that the Bank has “not seen enough of that journey yet to be confident.” He also said the Bank is not yet in a position to discuss cutting interest rates, saying: “That is not happening.”

Signa has filed for insolvency

Selfridges shareholder Signa has filed for insolvency, saying it has been unable to find the “necessary liquidity.” The European property crisis, with rising borrowing costs and falling property valuations, has hit Signa, which is owned by Austrian billionaire Rene Benko. Restructuring experts have been trying to secure funds for Signa, which plans to continue business operations “within the framework of self-administration and the sustainable restructuring of the company.”


A strong pound helped London’s FTSE 250 shares advance yesterday whilst at the same time dampened the FTSE 100. The 250 index saw gains of 0.45% with the 100 down .4%.

US markets closed broadly unchanged on Wednesday, with the majority of sectors finishing flat.


OPEC+ are in deadlock over oil quotas with Saudi Arabia wanting to cut production but others resisting.


Elon Musk has entered into an expletive rich war of words with his advertisers on X over the push back he received over antisemitic tweets, admiting an exodus of advertisers would kill the company.

Mortgage approvals climb as rates come down

Data from the Bank of England shows that mortgage approvals totalled 47,400 October, up from 43,700 the month before. Net approvals for remortgaging increased from 20,600 in September to 23,700 in October. The increase in new home loans came as the Bank held interest rates on the back of inflation falling to 4.6%, leading a number of lenders to offer cheaper mortgage deals.

Rightmove analysis shows that the average 2-year fixed mortgage rate is now 5.56%, down from 5.77% a year ago, while the average 5-year fixed mortgage rate is now 5.14%, down from 5.52%.

Myron Jobson, senior personal finance analyst at Interactive Investor, said: “Rates remain high but are seemingly palatable enough for many homeowners to lock into a new deal rather than pay the more expensive standard variable rate.” Imogen Pattison, assistant economist at Capital Economics, said the “trough in mortgage approvals is behind us” but warned that with mortgage rates unlikely to fall much below 5% until H2 2024, “demand is likely to remain weak by normal standards.”

Car Production

UK Car Production increased for the eighth month in a row, with more than 91,000 vehicles built in October, new figures show. The total was almost a third higher than the same month last year, and the best October performance since 2019, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Production for the home and overseas markets grew by 23.9% and 33.4% respectively, with exports driving output.

Economists warn over stealth taxes

Jeremy Hunt’s decision to freeze tax thresholds will result in millions of workers paying higher taxes as their wages rise, economists have warned. Douglas McWilliams, co-chairman of the Growth Commission, says the reduction in National Insurance will not stop the “trend of rising taxation damaging the economy,” while arguing that the Chancellor’s decision to freeze tax thresholds will mean millions of workers will be dragged into paying higher levels of tax as their wages rise. Independent economist Julian Jessop warned: “Households and businesses are struggling under the weight of an increasingly complicated system where even small changes in income can result in much bigger tax bills.” Richard Hughes, chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility, recently said the amount saved by the tax cuts set out in the Autumn Statement will be “swamped” by people “drifting into higher tax bands,” while Andrew Lilico, executive director of Europe Economics, said: “The total tax take is bad for growth – and the whole thing is a bad fiscal mess.”

Tax cuts will grow the economy

Writing in the Times, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt says he and the Prime Minister “have always been clear that as part of our plan to grow the economy we would cut taxes when it was possible to do so.” He says an important step in this plan is a reduction in National Insurance, which is now possible as “inflation has halved, and borrowing is falling.” Mr Hunt says ministers have a plan to “grow the economy, cut taxes and reduce debt,” with the Office for Budget Responsibility saying that, in five years’ time, this plan will mean the economy will be bigger, the tax burden lighter and debt lower than would otherwise have been the case. The Chancellor says difficult decisions had to be made to cover the cost of pandemic and energy crisis support, insisting that taxes “did have to go up.” He adds that Conservatives “believe in lower taxes, lower borrowing and reducing debt.”

Young need to increase pension savings by 15% to retire early

Research from Legal & General has found that young savers would need to add a further £312 a month on top of the average 8% contributions to their workplace pensions to be able to retire before the age of 60. This represents an additional 14.25% of monthly income committed to a workplace pension. To retire by 67, the current state pension age, these younger savers would still need to be contributing an additional 3.5% to their workplace pension, amounting to a further £72.50 a month, even with a state pension boost of £10,600 per year upon reaching retirement.

Revenues for women’s elite sport to exceed £1bn by 2024

Global revenues for women’s elite sport are set to exceed £1bn by 2024, according to a report by Deloitte. The report forecasts global revenues of £1.03bn, with commercial revenue contributing 55% of the total. Jennifer Haskel, insights lead for Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “We wrote a prediction in 2021 and the revenues that were generated, from 2021 to now, is over 300% higher. So you can see over the past few years there has been an incredible amount of growth.”

Latest Insolvencies

Appointment of Liquidators – TIGER MILLIE LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – LONGTON DEVELOPMENTS LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – STM RAIL CONSULTING LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – PENDINE GROUP LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – HOWARD BUILDERS (SOUTHPORT) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – HEDGEHOG (UK) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – FOCUS DENTAL CLINIC LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – HYDRA ENGINEERING SERVICES LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – BUYLINE UK HOLDING LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – BRIAN PRESCOTT LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PANDROSE INVESTMENTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – NOALA LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – SCOTCH BONNET FUNDING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – T G N CONSTRUCTION LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – RENDEZVOUS BARS (WINDSOR) LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CRE8 PROJECTS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PR STANTON LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – VKP MANAGEMENT LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – OXFORD BOOKSELLERS LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – C2M CONSULTANCY LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – R.& H.WALE(EXPORT)LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – HIDALGO FUNDING LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – CRE8 MANAGEMENT LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PHORTUNA LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – NOVARITY LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – MERIDIAN SERVICES LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – NJH SERVICES LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – FORTNIGHT LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – PULPITO LTD
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – GONUTRL LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – SPA GARDENS PARTNERS LIMITED
Petitions to wind up (Companies) – O.K.S. CONSTRUCTION LTD
Appointment of Liquidators – MWC TRADING LTD
Appointment of Administrator – CLOUDIQ LIMITED
Appointment of Liquidators – NEW INN (THORNTON DALE) LIMITED
Appointment of Administrator – WHITE HORSE SURVEYORS LIMITED
Winding up Order (Companies) – CHERRY CAPITAL HOLDINGS LIMITED

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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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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.


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Claim late payment compensation (LPC) from former business customers who paid you late in the last six years!

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