Business News 5th July 2017

We hope you enjoy reading the business news compiled by the Credit Protection Association on Wednesday 5th July 2017 for its members and visitors.

Markets Round up

The FTSE 100 saw further losses starting with an early sell-off, touching lows of 7336, to recover and close at 7357.2, with US stock markets closed for Independence Day. Shares in Worldpay rocketed after the payments processor confirmed it had received preliminary approaches from US-based payment processing and technology provider Vantiv Inc. and JPMorgan Chase Bank over a potential acquisition. Sainsbury’s was also on the front foot after delivering a super start to its financial year as grocery sales growth accelerated and general merchandise, including Argos, outperformed the market. Construction activity weakened more than expected last month, according to a survey published earlier, revealing the lowest levels of optimism relating to growth this year. Markit’s construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for June came in at 54.8, down from 56 the month before and short of the City’s consensus forecast of 55. European stocks were also down on concerns in Korea and the Middle East. Oil prices fell, dragged down by another rise in OPEC supplies despite their pledge to cut production, as geopolitical tensions in the Korean peninsula and the Middle East put a floor under prices. Meanwhile Gold edged up as tensions on the Korean peninsula encouraged safe-haven demand for the metal.

Entrepreneurial Gender Gap Narrows

The gap between the number of women founding businesses in the UK and the number of men has been closing rapidly in the UK over the past few years. That’s according to a report out today from Aston University in Birmingham. According to the report, the proportion of women starting businesses rose by 45% between 2013 and 2016, against just a 27% rise in the number of men. Women in the South East were much more likely to found their own business than those in the North East. Meanwhile, the West Midlands is the closest region to approach parity between the number of male and female start-up founders. Aston University’s Dr Karen Bonner said they observed ‘a tendency for women generally to be more risk-averse which may make them self-select out of entrepreneurship, particularly in places where there are “safer” employment options that allow them to work more flexibly around caring responsibilities.’ But despite the progress, men are still about twice as likely as women to start a business, with 5.5% of women now self-defined as entrepreneurs compared with 10.4% of men. Separately, research by Yell Business has found 40% of UK business are founded on under £500, while 32% are started on £250 or less.

Government scraps business rates for ultrafast broadband

The government has announced legislation to scrap business rates on new ultrafast broadband lines. The Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill has been introduced to Parliament to provide 100% business rates relief on investments in fibre optics. Older telecoms infrastructure will still be taxed as the Government aims to encourage spending on “gold standard” fibre optics.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1

Raising retirement age will not plug black hole

Legal & General has warned that the government will have to raise taxes, borrow more or cut back on healthcare spending, even if the retirement age is raised by ten years. Projections by L&G Investment Management show raising the state pension age to 75 will still leave the government with a budget deficit of more than 5.5% of GDP.

The Daily Telegraph

Pension perception gap

More than half of employees say that a pension is the most important workplace benefit, according to a survey by Hibob. However, about three in five bosses think their staff neither care about or understand auto-enrolment, while three quarters see it as “just another tax.”

Brexit & Insolvency

Top 10 firm Moore Stephens has called upon the government to publish its forecasts on what impact Brexit may have on UK insolvencies. The firm has asserted that it is crucial for the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) to clarify potential insolvency outcomes of Brexit in order for public limited companies to do the appropriate contingency planning. They contends that corporate strategies for a “hard” or “soft” Brexit will differ, and therefore companies need sufficient advance warning to prepare. They added that undertaking these estimates would be well within DExEU’s scope and they therefore have a duty to publish them to help businesses prepare for Brexit. “It would be surprising if these calculations over how the economy will be impacted were not made far in advance of the planned start of negotiations. If they have not been made, then that would be a concern. With the Insolvency Service regularly producing insolvency forecasts, it would be curious if the DExEU did not have this data.”

Accountancy Age

SMEs more vulnerable to Brexit disruption

Simon Lewis, chief executive of the Association for Financial Markets in Europe, warns that SMEs are more likely to suffer from Brexit-related disruption than larger firms. Writing in the Telegraph, he says the banking-related effects of a hard Brexit could lead to a higher cost of capital for SMEs and more restricted access to wholesale banking services. He adds that SMEs would find it harder to navigate these wholesale banking impacts. Mr Lewis also points to the fact that 55% of the SME participants questioned in a report for the AFME admitted that they had made no plans so far for Brexit.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 8

Tax policy can encourage investment

The Telegraph’s Jeremy Warner argues that the government can encourage businesses to invest more by extending tax breaks. He calls on the chancellor to exempt plant, machinery and building improvements from business rates. And he says Philip Hammond should extend capital allowances from investment in plants to investment in skills, training and human capital. He also says Mr Hammond must go much further with tax breaks for innovation and for the adoption of new technologies, and should abandon all the restrictions and complications around entrepreneur’s relief. He concludes that the chancellor “must make Britain overwhelmingly the best place in Europe to invest, from tax and every other perspective.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2

EU passes new rules to tackle tax avoidance

The European Parliament has passed a directive requiring big multinationals to report tax and financial data separately in all countries where they operate. The measure, part of a wider overhaul of tax regulation, is aimed at tackling tax avoidance and profit shifting to countries with lower taxes.

Daily Mail

UK Construction

UK construction activity weakened more than expected last month, according to a survey published on Tuesday that revealed the lowest levels of optimism about growth this year. Markit’s construction purchasing managers’ index for June gave came in at 54.8, down from 56.0 the month before and short of the City’s consensus forecast of 55.0. A PMI reading above 50 indicates growth and the industry has exceeded this level for 10 months now. However, June’s data revealed weaker growth momentum across the UK construction sector, Markit said, with business activity, new work and employment all expanding at slower rates than the prior month. Activity seems to have been clearing a large backlog of work, but there was a lack of new work to replace completed projects, with new order growth at its weakest in three months.

Bank Of England to tighten lending requirements

Amid new worries about sub-prime lending, the Bank of England is looking for banks to tighten up their mortgage requirements to ensure home owners can cope with a potential interest rate rise. On Tuesday the BoE’s Financial Policy Committee revealed it has told banks and other lenders they need to test whether borrowers could still afford their mortgages if interest rates are lifted by the three percentage points. “This recommendation applies to all lenders which extend residential mortgage lending in excess of £100m per annum,” the central bank said in a statement following its meeting last week. The Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority has also highlighted various concerns during a review of lending in personal loans, credit cards and car finance. Lenders have been given until September to examine underwriting standards and write to the BoE to explain themselves. That information will then be used by the PRA to decide if any further steps need to be taken to rein in risky lending.

Rate rise dissent

Michael Saunders, an external member of the MPC, has said that the BoE should start raising interest rates to prevent the economy from overheating. Mr Saunders said that the Bank was overstimulating the economy with rates at 0.25% and £375bn of QE. His comments echoed those made earlier by Ian McCafferty but stood in contrast to those of Gertjan Vlieghe, both of whom are also external MPC members. Mr Saunders and Mr McCafferty voted for a quarter-point rate rise last month, while Mr Vlieghe preferred to hold rates at 0.25%.

France seeks to lure City banks to Paris

France is planning major new policy measures to help lure City of London and Wall Street firms over to Paris, as well as boosting entrepreneurship. Amongst the measures outlined by prime minister Edouard Philippe was a cut in corporation tax to 25% from 33.3% by 2022. The government also said it would enact President Macron’s pledge to end “residence tax”, paid by all homeowners and renters, for 80% of households.

Volvo ditching the combustion engine

Volvo is phasing out cars that rely solely on combustion engines, with every new model launched from 2019 to have an electric motor, as the shift away from the technology that’s dominated the auto industry for more than a century gathers pace.


London ‘still Europe’s top tech hub’

London remains Europe’s number one hub for technology investment despite Brexit, with record levels of capital flowing in, say officials in the city. In the first half of 2017, private equity investment in the capital’s tech sector totalled £4.5bn, said the Mayor of London’s agency, London & Partners. At the same time, venture capital invested £1.1bn in London’s tech firms. That total was more than in any other six-month period in the past decade, the agency said.

BBC News

Student Debt

Students in England are going to graduate with average debts of £50,800, after interest rates are raised on student loans to 6.1%, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Interest charges are levied as soon as courses begin and the IFS says students on average will have accrued £5,800 in interest charges by the time they have graduated from university. But if loans are not repaid after 30 years, they are written off – and the IFS forecasts that about three-quarters of students will not pay off all their debt, despite making payments from their earnings into their 50s.

bbc news


Shop prices in the UK were down 0.3% on year in June, the British Retail Consortium said. That followed the 0.4% decline in May. Food prices climbed an annual 1.4%. “The year on year numbers belie the fact that prices have been heading upwards for the last six months; it’s just that significant deflation in the second half of 2016 means there has been considerable ground to make up in the year on year figures,” said BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson.


China’s private sector expanded at the slowest pace in a year in June largely reflecting the weakness in services activity, survey results from IHS Markit showed Wednesday. The Caixin composite output index fell to 51.1 in June from 51.5 in May. Nonetheless, a score above 50 indicates expansion. The Purchasing Managers’ Index for the service sector slid to 51.6 in June from a four-month high of 52.8 in May, signaling the second-slowest increase in activity for 13 months. “Even though the impact of slowing expansion in China’s services sector was cushioned by a slight rebound in manufacturing activity, the downward trend in the economy remains entrenched,” Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, said.

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Business News 4th July 2017

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Business News 30th June 2017

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