Economy shrank in November – business news 15 January 2021.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

The economy shrank in November, a call for greater support,The government denies it is planning on reducing worker protections, the danger for the city, Brexit,  covid-19, market and other business news.

Here are CPA we want to share the business news stories we have seen that we think will affect our members and readers. Many of us are busy fighting to protect our businesses and therefore might have missed some of the news that could impact small businesses, their owners and those that sell on credit.

UK economy shrank by 2.6% in November

The UK economy understandably shrank by 2.6% in November as fresh lock-down restrictions in England reduced economic activity according to The Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS said it meant gross domestic product was 8.5% below its pre-pandemic peak.

The decline in November came after six consecutive months of growth, with a 0.6% improvement in October.

The services sector was understandably hit hardest, although some manufacturing and construction activity improved.

The dip in output for November will not come as a surprise as the majority of the country went into a second lock-down, and we are likely to continue to see fluctuation and possibly even a recession as the economy continues to grapple with tightening restrictions and persistently high covid numbers.

The hospitality and leisure sectors the most likely to continue to be directly affected by these measures. Whilst economic contractions are unsustainable in the long term, we can expect GDP to trend upwards as the vaccination programme is rolled out and restrictions are consequently eased.

In the meantime however, it has been reassuring to witness that investor confidence remains positive during this period of tighter restrictions as stock markets look to a future recovery.

BCC calls for greater support amid double-dip recession fears

With official figures expected to show that the UK has slipped into a double-dip recession, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has urged the Chancellor to provide more financial support to businesses. Figures from the Office for National Statistics are expected to show the economy crashed in November, with economists forecasting a 5.7% month-on-month fall in GDP, ending six successive months of growth. This would follow the record 19% decline seen in Q2. The BCC has called on Rishi Sunak to expand support, arguing that action is needed immediately as firms cannot afford to wait for any measures that may be announced in the budget on March 3. BCC director general Adam Marshall believes ministers must “urgently adopt a package of measures that covers the whole of 2021”, saying this will remove “the cliff-edges firms face in a few weeks’ time when reliefs, forbearance and furlough are set to end.” Paul Newman of RSM says “urgent clarity on substantial, additional government support is needed now as the March 3 budget may simply be too late.”

Kwarteng refutes report on workers’ rights

The Government has rejected a report suggesting that following its exit from the EU, the UK will pull back from employment protections based in EU law, with recently-appointed Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng insisting: “We are not going to lower the standards of workers’ rights”. “The UK has one of the best workers’ rights records in the world – going further than the EU in many areas. We want to protect and enhance workers’ rights going forward, not row back on them,” he added. His comments follow a report in the FT which says a plan to overhaul UK labour markets could see an end to the 48-hour maximum working week, changes to rules about breaks at work, and removing overtime pay when calculating certain holiday pay entitlements. Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband said the report “exposes the truth about the Government’s priorities, which are way out of step with the needs of workers and their families”.

Restrictions to hit sales in Q1

The KPMG / Ipsos Retail Think Tank expects a surge in coronavirus cases to hurt the high street in the first three months of 2021, with lockdowns seeing non-essential stores forced to close. It forecasts a two percentage point decline in retail sales, with this following a modest recovery during the final quarter of 2020

Experts warn of City’s access to the EU

Industry experts have warned that Britain’s financial services sector faces a political battle to secure access to EU markets, with prominent figures telling the House of Lords EU Services sub-committee that negotiations on post-Brexit financial services arrangements are being driven by political concerns, rather than regulatory or legal issues. They also warned that officials in the bloc could use equivalence rulings to drive business out of Britain and into the EU. Miles Celic, chief executive of TheCityUK, said equivalence is “becoming increasingly politicised”, while Nick Collier, the City of London Corporation’s representative in Brussels, said that there “isn’t really a technical case” for not granting equivalence, arguing “it’s really a political case”. Warning that firms which have moved staff to the continent and secured regulatory licenses in the EU may be unlikely to relocate back to Britain, Mr Celic said: “The longer we don’t have equivalence on the EU side, the more the concrete will set”.


Post-Brexit trade disruption and regulatory issues in the past two weeks will not be fixable, according to the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. Barnier said today that many things “changed for good” when the UK left the EU’s single market and customs union, adding that “there are mechanical, obvious, inevitable, consequences when you leave the single market and that’s what the British wished to do”.

House prices set to fall, says Rics

House prices could fall “significantly” in the coming months, with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) saying ongoing coronavirus restrictions and the end of the stamp duty holiday are likely to hit values. Rics said that while property prices, sales and buyer demand all increased in December, growth was at a slower pace than seen in previous months. Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at the Rics, said a poll of surveyors suggests the latest coronavirus restrictions will “impact on transaction activity over the coming months”, adding that this is “most visible in the negative reading for sales expectations over the next three months when typically, with the expiry of the stamp duty holiday approaching, this series would be expected to remain firmly in positive territory.” The Rics poll saw near-term sales expectations slip to post a net balance of -22%, with this the weakest since April 2020. For the twelve months ahead, sales expectations are marginally negative, with a net balance of -6%.

Carillion’s key culprits

With Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng launching a legal bid to ban eight former Carillion directors from UK boardrooms for up to 15 years, Alistair Osborne in the Times says former CEO Richard Howson, former finance director Richard Adam and former chairman Philip Green were the “key culprits” in the firm collapsing with almost £7bn of liabilities and just £29m in cash. Mr Osborne says stand-in boss Keith Cochrane, who was in charge when Carillion crashed into liquidation, “is much less to blame”, saying that he “took the poisoned chalice” and could not have been expected to have “spotted all the shenanigans, not least with auditor KPMG asleep on the job.”

Covid-19 general news

There were 48,682 new cases in the UK yesterday bringing the total to 3.26m with 1,248 more deaths as the total reached 86,015.

Globally 733,459 new cases brought the total  to 93 million with 1,994,441 deaths. More than 35 million vaccine doses have now been given.

Britain will ban travellers entering the country from South America and Portugal from Friday due to a new variant of covid-19 from Brazil which is thought to be more infectious. British nationals are exempt from the rule, but will have to isolate for ten days on arrival.

France will extend its tighter  6pm curfew measures across the country in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.


Yesterday the FTSE 100 closed at 6801.96 up 0.84%  and the 250 Closed at 20775.75 up 0.8%.  The Euro Stoxx 50 closed at 3641, up 0.7%. Sterling is at 1.125 Euros and 1.365 US Dollars. Brent Crude finished the day at $55.87 and Gold  at $1849. Overnight in the US, the S&P 500 dropped -0.38% and the NASDAQ dropped -0.12%.

UK stocks rose on corporate earnings. House builders were in demand after another strong month for house sales in December. The net balance of surveyors reporting that house prices have risen over the last three months fell to +65 in December, from +66 in November but was above the consensus forecast of +61. Barratt Developments and Persimmon rose on this news. Whitbread, however was the top performer as the Premier Inn chain owner said its third-quarter performance reflected the damage inflicted by the ongoing Covid-19 government restrictions in the UK and Germany, where it operates hotels but there was hope of a recovery once the pandemic subsides.

The market easing slightly in early afternoon trade,  before perking back up as the indices on Wall Street rose in anticipation of President-elect Biden’s plans for fresh financial stimulus, aimed at supporting the world’s largest economy through the Covid-19 pandemic, which are expected to amount to as much as $2 trillion USD. That hope was enough to help shrug of worse-than-expected jobs figures, which showed almost a million new unemployment claims.

Asian Markets were mixed after US President-elect Joe Biden revealed details of a $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal, called the American Rescue Plan, to support American households and businesses amid the pandemic.

Central banks

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said “now is not the time” to be talking about exiting ultra-easy monetary policy and pledged the central bank will give plenty of notice before scaling back its bond-buying program. His comments came after minutes from the European Central Bank’s latest policy meeting showed the Governing Council unanimously agreed that additional monetary stimulus was needed, though economists don’t think anything further will be required

Global warming

Last year may have been the hottest on record. NASA calculated that the average global land and ocean temperatures in 2020 were fractionally warmer than in 2016, the previous peak. However, the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration disagreed. Temperatures in 2016 were bolstered by the El Niño weather event, 2020 set it’s levels without such a boost.

Pandemic pressure can explain late filing

HMRC says people filing an annual self-assessment tax return online could avoid paying a penalty if they have a coronavirus-related excuse. The tax office said that it will accept disruptions caused by the pandemic as a reasonable excuse for people missing the deadline, meaning they may be able to appeal the standard £100 fine for missing the January 31 cut-off. Those wishing to cite the pandemic as a reason for a late submission must prove the crisis has had an impact and how it caused a delay.

Brits braced for IHT increase

With ongoing speculation that the Chancellor may increase taxes to help foot the nation’s coronavirus bill, a poll by inheritance lending specialist Tower Street Finance has seen more than half of respondents say they expect policymakers to increase inheritance tax to 50%. A further three in ten said an increase to 60% may be on the cards, while one in seven are expecting the IHT rate to rise to 70%. The poll of 2,000 people saw one in 33 say IHT could be increased to 80%, double the current rate. The survey also saw 45% of respondents say they do not feel the Government should make any changes to IHT or the nil-rate band – the threshold above which an estate has to pay the levy. Andrew Bartle, managing director of Tower Street Finance, said the research shows “the majority of people are bracing themselves for an IHT rise – whether that’s a straight increase from the current 40% charge or a reduction in the nil rate band, or indeed both.”

MPs call for stamp duty holiday extension

A group of Conservative MPs based in northern England have urged the Chancellor to extend the stamp duty holiday. The Northern Research Group has urged Rishi Sunak to extend the tax cut for properties worth less than £500,000 for a further 12 months, as well as calling for extensions of business rates relief, the VAT cut for leisure and tourism and mortgage holidays for furloughed workers. John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle, says the stamp duty holiday, which is set to come to an end on March 31, has been “very, very beneficial for the housing market,” adding that it gave the market confidence and suggesting that maintaining that confidence is beneficial for the wider economy.

Day buys back Bonmarche

Fashion chain Bonmarche has been sold back to retail tycoon Philip Day after it crashed into administration, with the move saving 531 jobs and 72 stores. Administrators at RSM have sold the remaining stock, as well as the head office and the distribution centres, to Purepay Retail Limited, a subsidiary of secured creditor EWM Group, backed by an international investor consortium. This comes after administrators at FRP Advisory sold sister brands Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home to the same entity.

Don’t let Covid-19 bust your business!

It will if your cash flow dries up, either sooner or later.

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 sometime to come.

CPA eases cash from tardy debtors – Efficiently, Effectively, Economically and Ethically. Above all tactfully, because maintenance of goodwill is paramount.

To meet the needs of creditors in the current crisis, we have designed a “critical care” package especially tailored for the situation.

  • The annual package costs start at very low rates
  • A minimum performance warranty is provided
  • Several complimentary services included

Clients instruct CPA on-line via their PC or phone, completely user-friendly. Your late paying customers are told to pay you direct (not to us).

A very recent report shows a 23% increase in the number of unpaid invoices since March 11th THIS YEAR – are you getting a build-up of late payers?

Right now, overdue accounts must be a concern and CPA has a great track record of encouraging slow-payers to pay their suppliers quickly.

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.

Do you sell on credit?

With pressures on the cash flow it is essential that you stay on top of the credit limits you grant customers and watch carefully for any late payments.

Those customers will look for the easiest option to boost their cash-flow. Don’t let it be you.

You can’t just assume your customers can and will pay you eventually, no matter how big their name is.

It is essential to have credit management systems in place to monitor and check your customers credit worthiness.

It is also best practice to use a trusted third party like CPA to make sure you are paid on time by customers, no matter how good a name they have.

About CPA

The Credit Protection Association can help!

Formed in 1914, CPA has been providing credit management services to SMEs for over 100 years.

At the Credit Protection Association, we provide first class credit information that can help you avoid being over extended to customers who are at risk. Our monitoring service can flag up warning signs long before the end, giving you the chance to adjust and reduce your exposure. We provide recommended credit limits and credit scores on a traffic light system and can help you set appropriate credit policies for your customers.

We regularly publish lists of the latest insolvencies but by then it is too late. Our credit reports however predict approximately 96% of company insolvencies long before they arrive.

Companies in trouble usually have very bad cash flow and they try to deal with it by delaying payment to their suppliers, increasing your exposure to them.

If you supply on credit, help us help you identify the risks.

Why use a third party collector?

As a third party collector, we can also get your payments prioritised over those who are not as hot on collections. When your customer receives a letter from the Credit Protection Association regarding their outstanding account, they are going to want to get that resolved as a priority. Our overdue account recovery service can get your unpaid invoices to the top of their “to do” list and get your invoice paid.

Over the years we have collected billions in overdue invoices for our customers.

Our debt recovery and credit management services give our members the financial freedom needed to grow and prosper, while our new Late Payment Compensation department could unlock hidden potential and offer the compensation needed to springboard your business to success.

You might be hesitant about contacting a debt collection agency. What are they going to be like?

Can they help your particular type of business?

There is no need for concern. CPA are courteous, helpful and very probably have had direct experience of working with your type of business.

Debt collection agencies are not all alike.

Success lies in both recovering money and keeping customers happy. The Credit Protection Association was founded in 1914 and has helped tens of thousands of UK businesses to collect outstanding payments and reduce the risk of incurring bad debt. We believe that creditors deserve to be paid for the work or goods they have supplied but we fully understand the need to maintain
the best possible relationship with customers!

At The Credit Protection Association, we provide solutions, advice and back-up in all areas relating to the supply of services or goods on account. Client-members receive everything they need from a single source to reduce debtor days and write-offs.

The Credit Protection Association has helped has assisted tens of thousands of UK businesses with their credit control requirements, since the First World War.

We are polite, firm and efficient when it comes to recovering outstanding debt.

“We have used CPA for a number of years now. The website is easy to navigate around with lots of helpful reports. The staff are always at hand and very friendly. CPA has helped us reduce our debt over the years and keep track of potential issues with our customers.”
~ CPA client in Buckinghamshire

“The service from CPA has proved to be everything that you said it would be. We have already seen a huge benefit. We have had a number of overdue accounts paid promptly and directly to us. It is also a huge weight off our mind to know that once we have passed an overdue payment over to you, you take care of everything whilst keeping us informed.
~ Credit Controller client in Warrington

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


Ready to speak to an advisor?

For help or advice on credit management, entirely without obligation.

Call us today

0330 053 9263

CPA is passionate about late payment

The Credit Protection Association has been protecting smaller firms against poor payment practices for over 100 years.

We are extremely passionate about breaking the late payment culture that holds back the UK economy and threatens many SMEs, with cash flow difficulties being the single biggest killer of Britain’s small businesses.

If you were regularly paid late we can help. Those former customers used you to boost their own cashflow, regularly paying you late.

As a result you had extra costs, you had the distraction of having to chase payment, you had opportunity costs because your capital was tied up in their late invoices.

Under little used legislation, you are entitled to compensation for those late payments.

You put up with the PAIN – now claim the GAIN!

Now you can boost your own cash-flow.

CPA can help unearth the those hidden treasures.

We have the technology to reveal the compensation you are due and we have the extensive experience and expertise to then turn those claims into cash.

Did you know that your business is entitled to a minimum of £40 for every commercial invoice paid late to you over the past 6 years?

How many of your invoices are paid late each month – 20, 50, 100 or more?

At £40 per invoice that’s claim of £57,600, £144,000, £288,000 plus interest. The more invoices the bigger the claim! 

At £100 per invoice it’s £144,000, £360,000, £720,000 plus interest.

Discover NOW the potential value of late payment compensation hidden in your sales ledger!

For over 20 years, CPA has calculated and recovered Late Payment Compensation on behalf of Clients!  

Yes, CPA can help you boost your business cash-flow.

Don’t let your bankers control you, contact CPA today.

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.

Read our blog here on how to crack down on the late payment culture.

Read our blog here on how to give late payers the slap they need.

The “Why” of the late payment culture.

New PM should walk the walk and back small firms over late payments

Paying late is “crack cocaine” to big business.

Late payment culture risks “spiraling out of control”

visit our late payment compensation page

See our full blog and FAQ on late payment compensation

Do you realise you could be sitting on a fortune?

Late payments often result in a cash flow crunch and leave SMEs in need of a cash injection.

If you sold B2B on credit then there may be a hidden source of capital you can call on.

If you fancy an extra bit of extra cash in your business, rather than jumping through hoops with your bank, you could look to uncover the resources from an unexpected source within your own business.

Not many are aware but there could be a hidden fortune within your business, sitting there, just waiting to be uncovered and released.

We can help you uncover the pile of gold, you didn’t even know you were sitting on.

If you trade with other businesses and were often paid late then you could be entitled to significant compensation.

Under little known and under-utilised legislation your business could be due huge amounts in compensation that you didn’t even know about.

Let’s be clear – this is not a way to weaken any customer relationships you value. It is one that identifies who’s been paying late and then recover the potentially significant sums in compensation using Late Payment Legislation from businesses where the relationship has already ended.

You can pick and choose who you want us to follow up – but once we’ve agreed which companies you’d like to pursue compensation from it’s a fast process and there’s no financial outlay to you whatsoever. My team at CPA put its expertise to work to recover the compensation due and fight late payment culture.

That compensation could provide the cash boost your business needed.

But don’t delay, that compensation evaporates if not claimed within six years of the late payment.

How can CPA help?

CPA has developed a unique technology to dig into your accounting records and discover the cash injection you are due by means of compensation. The software does all the hard work. Our software interacts over the cloud with over 300 different software packages, working directly with your accounts package, just so long as it’s stored on a computer.

We recognise that most companies do not have the resources to spend time on the identification and calculation of Late Payment Compensation. Our service can produce an Analyses within just a few days with (usually) less than 30 mins of co-operation from our clients. We work directly with over 300 accounting packages but can also work with bespoke accounts packages. Indeed, speed is essential as the oldest invoices may fall foul of the 6-year time limit.

Once the Sales Ledger Analyses is made available to clients, all that is required is that management decide which commercially sensitive ex-customers to remove from the list and return it to us.

CPA then uses its years of collection experience to explain and recover the Late Payment Compensation Claims. Clients do not handle any part of the recovery process as our team will take all communications from the companies against who the claims has been made. Often, it’s simply a case of explaining the legislation, sometimes we have to go all the way and enforce the legislation through the courts.

The result is that we are realising clients’ claims worth tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds which, of course, is pure net profit. You may also be among the recipients of “hundreds of thousands of pounds” should you elect to take advantage of our services.

We do the work, you receive the cash.

If you have supplied goods and services to businesses on credit and were regularly paid late then you could be due significant sums in late payment compensation.

We are talking to companies and unearthing claims in the hundreds of thousands from former business customers who paid them late. Large business customers who abused their power to inflict unfair and sometimes illegal payment practices.

We are helping business owners who are looking to boost the returns from their business before they retire. We are helping businesses who have lost major clients after years of loyal service to get properly compensated for systematic late payment. We are helping companies that were looking to close down, who looked insolvent and finding that cash injection they need to avoid insolvency.

Those former clients who regularly paid you late can finally be made to pay.

Ready to speak to an advisor?

For help or advice on credit management, entirely without obligation.

Call us today

0330 053 9263

The Credit Protection Association is a credit management company established in 1914. If you supply goods or services on credit then we can help you!

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.