Business News 7th July 2017

We hope you enjoy reading the business news compiled by the Credit Protection Association on Friday 7th July 2017 for its members and visitors.

Markets Round up

Yesterday the UK Stock market had a quiet start with a few stocks going ex dividend bringing the FTSE100 down a few points. However by 10am we were heading down fast as news that the ECB had opened the door to removing their pledge to accelerate their bond purchase program. European markets sank to 11 week low as the Euro edged up. As the afternoon session got under way and the US markets woke up we saw US bond yields widen which caused the UK banks to firms up and gave a lift to the FTSE 100 to close at 7337.3, down 0.4% on the day. U.S. stocks closed lower as investors continued to rotate out of battered technology names. Asian shares fell as investors fretted over the European Central Bank plan to unwind stimulus programs and a disappointing U.S. jobs report. Oil prices fell by more than 1 percent, with U.S. crude futures dipping below $45 per barrel as news of a rise in U.S. production added to earlier reports that OPEC output was also on the rise. Gold inched down early to hover around their lowest in nearly two months, with investors waiting for key US non-farm payrolls data later in the day.

Fall in Real Incomes

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said real household disposable incomes in the UK are falling at their steepest rate since 2011 . The amount that families have to spend – after tax and benefits are taken into account – fell by 2% in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 2016. The ONS said that was the biggest decline for more than five years. It added that the main reason for the fall was the rise in inflation, which hit 2.3% in the year to March. The real household disposable income measure is adjusted for inflation, meaning that rises in the cost of living result in lower disposable income. Over the same period, wages rose by just 2.1%. The fall has been largely put down to the sustained drop in the value of Sterling on the back of last summer’s Brexit vote. In essence, the lower pound has had the knock on effect of raising import prices and retailers have duly passed the higher costs down the line to consumers.

FSB complains over business rates relief

The Federation of Small Businesses has criticised “shambolic delays” in compensation promised to companies suffering from increases in business rates. The group has written to Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, to raise concerns that many local authorities are yet to establish how they will distribute their share of the £300m hardship fund. More than 500,000 businesses have seen their bills go up and some suffered rates rises of up to 3,000% following April’s changes.

The Times, Page: 47

UK House Prices fall

UK house prices have fallen for three quarters in a row for the first time since 2012, according to the Halifax. Prices in the period between April and June were 0.1% lower than they were in the previous three months. Prices in June fell by 1% from the month before, taking the average price of a property to £218,390. Measured on an annual basis, the growth in house prices eased from 3.3% in May to 2.6% in June, the lowest increase for four years. The Halifax said one reason for the slowdown was the fact that consumers were increasingly being squeezed as increases in incomes failed to keep up with inflation. “Although employment levels continue to rise, household finances face increasing pressure as consumer prices grow faster than wages,” said Martin Ellis, Halifax’s housing economist. “This, combined with the new stamp duty on buy-to-let and second homes in 2016, appears to have weakened housing demand in recent months.”

CBI & Brexit

The UK should stay in the single market and customs union until a final Brexit deal is in force, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) business lobby group. CBI head Carolyn Fairbairn said it was “impossible” for all the details of a new trade deal with the European Union to be in place by March 2019. That is when talks about the UK’s withdrawal are due to formally finish. To minimise disruption, UK businesses need a “bridge” instead of a “cliff edge” for the new deal, she said. Businesses are delaying investment because of the uncertainty, according to the CBI, whose members employ nearly 7 million people.

EU & Japan

the EU and Japan have finally settled the terms of a major free trade agreement after 4 years of talks. They also agreed a new ‘strategic partnership’, covering broader issues such as climate change cooperation. the deal is expected to lower trade costs on almost all goods traded between the bloc and the East Asian country. European Council President Donald Tusk said that ‘although some are saying that the time of isolationism and disintegration is coming again, we are demonstrating that this is not the case’. Which of his namesakes was that aimed at?

Business struggles with less access to EU workers

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation has said that Brexit policies that limit access to EU workers will hamper UK business growth. A study by the group found that organisations are seeking to protect themselves from economic uncertainty by recruiting more accountants and financial workers, but Brexit could make it more difficult for them to do so. Tom Hadley, REC director of policy, said a sharp decline in job seekers was forcing businesses to attract workers by increasing starting salaries at the fastest rate in 19 months, with these hikes fast becoming unaffordable for many companies.

The Independent, Page: 62


German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts a two-day G-20 summit in Hamburg, with talks focusing on trade, climate change and migration. President Donald Trump will attend and is expected to hold his first meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin on the sidelines. Large demonstrations are expected and police have gathered a force of 14,000 in preparation

Returnships offer talent and experience

The Telegraph’s Small Business Network looks at how SMEs can benefit by offering ‘returnships’ to workers who have taken a career break. A recent survey of 1,200 UK workers by CV-Library found that 79% would be more likely to join a firm that offered a so-called “returnship” programme.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 8

Accountancy big four accused over tax haven secrecy

A report commissioned by the European Parliament’s “Pana committee” has urged regulators to focus more intently on the facilitation of tax avoidance by the big four accountancy firms. The report, by Prof Richard Murphy, calls for new requirements on Deloitte, PwC, EY and KPMG to ringfence their huge audit and tax consultancy businesses against conflicts of interest. It also calls on the firms to acknowledge the fiction of their supposedly devolved corporate structures, and to report more fully and openly on the finances and profits of their international “partnerships”. The report puts a particular focus on the four’s “over-representation” in tax havens, or what it calls “secrecy jurisdictions”, implying that a large part of their business is assisting international clients in avoiding tax liabilities.

Third of workers battle mental health problems

Over a third of the UK workforce is experiencing anxiety, depression, or stress, according to a survey of employees. The findings, published by PwC, suggest that mental health problems affect around one in six people in any given week. Of 2,000 workers who responded, 34% said they had a health and wellbeing problem. The survey also found 39% of employees had taken time off work or reduced their responsibilities due to their health. And nearly a quarter, 23%, said they do not think their organisation takes employee wellbeing seriously.

The Independent, Page: 18

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Business News 6th July 2017

Business News 5th July 2017

Business News 4th July 2017

Business News 3rd July 2017

Business News 30th June 2017

Business News 29th June 2017

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