Grocery bills rise – business news 3 February 2021.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Grocery bills rise, house prices fall, a change at Amazon, a lot of talk on tax, 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.

Brits add £50 to grocery bills

Analysis suggests that the average British family spent £50 more on grocery bills in January, with £1bn in extra spending on food and drink in supermarkets recorded in the four weeks to 24 January when compared with the same period in 2020. This was driven by the latest coronavirus lock down which has seen restaurants and cafes – as well as schools – shut. It was also shown that the closure of pubs helped drive alcohol sales in supermarkets up by 29%, or £234m. The analysis also shows an increase in online grocery shopping, with online sales accounting for 14% of total grocery takings, up from just under 13% in December. Across all retailers, grocery sales rose by 12.2% year-on-year during the 12 weeks to January 24, up from the 11.4% reported the previous month.

House prices fall in January

Nationwide data shows UK house prices fell last month, with demand declining as the end of the stamp duty holiday nears. Figures from the building society show that the average price of a house was down 0.3% to £229,748 between December and January, while the annual growth rate eased to 6.4% from 7.3% – the first time it has slowed since June. Nationwide’s Robert Gardner has warned that housing activity could drop “sharply” as the tax break ends on March 31, saying: “The slowdown probably reflects a tapering of demand ahead of the end of the stamp duty holiday, which prompted many people considering a house move to bring forward their purchase.” Considering the climate for the property market, Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY Item Club, said: “Support in the first quarter will likely come from buyers looking to take final advantage of the stamp duty threshold increase before it ends on March 31.”

Covid-19 general news

There were 16,840 new cases in the UK yesterday (total 3.85m) as the daily numbers continued to fall but with 1,449 more deaths reported (108k total), we see the cost of the high number of infections in January .

Globally 453,081 new cases brought the total  to 103.8 million with 2,253,566 deaths.

Pfizer has said it expects $15bn of sales this year of the coronavirus vaccine it developed with German firm BioNTech. The vaccine was one of the first to be authorised for use by countries including the UK and the US. The vaccine sales represent a quarter of its expected revenue for this year.

GlaxoSmithKline Plc has teamed up with  CureVac NV to help with production of its experimental vaccine and also improve the shot to help protect against multiple mutations of the virus. GSK said it would support the manufacture of up to 100 million doses of CureVac’s first generation COVID-19 vaccine candidate CVnCoV in 2021.

The World Health Organization (WHO) team visited the Wuhan laboratory  at the center of months of speculation over the virus’  jump to humans.

AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine showed 82% effectiveness with a 3 month gap between the two jabs, according to a new study that supported U.K.’s controversial decision to extend the interval in-order to give as many as possible their first shot.

Late-stage trials showed that Sputnik V, a Russian covid-19 vaccine, has an efficacy rate of 92%.


Yesterday stocks staged a come back rally on hopes of a faster economic recovery as the FTSE 100 closed at up 0.78%  6516.65 and the 250 Closed down  1.46% at 20690.21.  The Eurostoxx 50 was up 1.69% and the 600 1.29%.

US Markets jumped on Tuesday, building on a strong rally on Monday as concerns about a speculative trading frenzy driven by reddit users continued to ease and conditions returned to a semblance of normal. Overnight, the DOW rose 1.57%, the S&P 500 rose 1.39% and the NASDAQ rose 1.56%. Asian markets this morning were broadly positive too.

Sterling is apparently struggling to extend its recent rally with much loss in its momentum. Sterling is at 1.134 Euros and 1.364 US Dollars.

Brent Crude is at $57.98  as the oil price rose more than 2% yesterday afternoon after major producers showed they were reining in output roughly in line with their commitments and on hopes of a Biden stimulus bill.

Gold is at $1836.5 after drifting lower yesterday as the silver frenzy died out.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has called for grace periods to be extended, to allow businesses more time to adapt to new Irish Sea border processes. The EU’s usual rules on customs and product standards are not yet being fully enforced at NI ports.


Amazon founder Jeff Bezos shocked silicon valley with the announcement that in the third quarter he is to step down as chief executive of the e-commerce giant that he started in his garage nearly 30 years ago. Later in the year he will move to the role of Executive Chairman handing over the CEO role to Andy Jassy, who currently leads Amazon’s cloud computing business.

That move makes sense. Most might think of Amazon as the world biggest online retailer. But its financial performance says its actually a massive web services company, with a shop on the side.

“Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming. When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else,” Mr Bezos said in a letter to Amazon staff on Tuesday.

It came as the eCommerce giant pulled in revenue of more than $125bn in the final quarter of the year.


The UK and Switzerland are tightening links on financial services outside of the EU. Swiss shares are to be traded again in the London.


Tesla, an electric-car manufacturer, announced it would recall almost 135,000 vehicles in America after a regulator concluded that the touch-screen systems in certain models were unsafe.


Vodafone reported a 4.1% fall in third-quarter revenue, pinned on lower international roaming due to the pandemic, but stuck to its annual earnings guidance

Sunak urged to rethink property tax

The Chancellor has been urged to scrap council tax and stamp duty and replace them with a single new property tax, with campaigners claiming the move would save households an average of £435 a year. The Fairer Share pressure group suggests the levy could involve a flat rate of 0.48% on the current value of a property. While it acknowledged this could hit households in London, with those in the capital paying more due to the “extreme” rises in house prices, it said people in the north and Midlands would see savings, with this helping the Government’s “leveling up” efforts. Kevin Hollinrake, chairman of the Property Research Group – which campaigns for reform of the property tax system – welcomed the proposal, saying: “The time is right to put fairness back at the heart of how we tax property. It would also boost transactions throughout the market, creating huge economic output at a time when we most need it.”

Banks fear tax raid as Chancellor balances the books

Analysts at UBS believe Rishi Sunak could launch a tax raid on banks as he looks to tackle the UK’s record deficit. With the Chancellor looking to balance the books after public finances took a hit from the coronavirus crisis, there is speculation he could look to readjust corporation tax. With a Conservative manifesto pledge preventing Mr Sunak from increasing income tax, national insurance and VAT, UBS analyst Jason Napier said there is concern that “as governments come to balance budgets” in the wake of the pandemic, the banking sector “could appear an attractive source of funds.” Mr Napier says banks’ administration of Bounce Bank Loans that are 100% guaranteed by taxpayers are an area of concern, saying that if lenders are considered to have been deficient in applying controls to funds advanced under cover of government guarantees, “we see the risk of increased taxation or levies applied.”

Chote: Tax increase needed to cover health and care costs

Sir Robert Chote, the former chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility, says permanent tax increases equivalent to 1% or 2% of GDP could be needed to fund health and social care services. Such increases would equate to around £25-£50bn a year – or approximately 5p-10p on income tax. Sir Robert said it would be “a surprise” if Chancellor Rishi Sunak felt that he could permanently support inevitable increases in health and care spending on the back of borrowing and not roll out permanent tax increases.

Chancellor told pensions should be a tax target

With the Chancellor believed to be considering raising taxes in his March 3 budget, Professor Judith Freedman, a tax expert at the University of Oxford, has suggested pensioners should be targeted. While Rishi Sunak is reportedly contemplating increases for capital gains and inheritance tax, Prof Freedman has said: “If you are looking at broadening the base, people in receipt of pensions should be within your purview because they are not paying national insurance on those pensions.” However, Mr Sunak is said to have agreed to maintain the triple-tax lock on pensions.

Late-filers offered enhanced TTP arrangement

With HMRC data showing that 1.8m people missed the January 31 deadline for submitting their self-assessment tax return, the Revenue is offering enhanced Time to Pay arrangements. Those wishing to set up a payment plan to spread their tax bill into 12 monthly installments must still submit their tax return and pay any outstanding balance. They must also arrange the payment plan by March 3 or face a 5% late payment penalty

Landlords the losers if Sunak raises CGT

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, says landlords, those with holiday homes and pensioners could be the big losers if Rishi Sunak opts to raise capital gains tax in order to pay for the pandemic.

The pandemic and pension pots

The Independent examines the consequences of the pandemic for people’s pensions. In the last three months of 2020, 360,000 savers accessed their pension early, an increase of 10% in the same period of 2019. Between them, they took out £2.4bn early, up from £2.2bn in the same three months the previous year. However, the amounts of money being accessed has been falling. The average amount withdrawn in the last quarter of 2020 was £6,600, down slightly from £6,800 the year before.

January transfer spend lowest since 2012

Premier League clubs spent £70m during the January transfer window, the lowest total in a winter window since 2012 and far below the £230m spent in January 2020. Tim Bridge of Deloitte believes the market faces a period of uncertainty amid the impact of the pandemic, saying now is “probably the toughest time ever to predict what the transfer market will look like in 12 or 18 months.”

HMRC overpays staff

HMRC accidentally overpaid its own staff more than £1.25m last year, with 255 workers seeing more than £1,000 extra paid into their accounts. The tax office says it has recouped the overpayments.

Washington mulls ‘billionaire tax’

Washington is considering a wealth tax on certain financial assets, with a proposed bill mooting a 1% state-wide tax on “extraordinary” intangible financial assets including cash, publicly traded options, futures contracts, and stocks and bonds — but not income. The first $1bn in value would be exempt from the tax that would apply to taxable worldwide wealth.

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.