National debt exceeds £2 trillion – business news 21 August 2020.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

The UK national debt exceeds £2 trillion, furlough numbers fall but not many are returning to the office. We cover retail, covid-19, markets 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.

National debt exceeds £2 trillion

UK Government national debt exceeded £2 trillion for the first time in July and is expected to go higher as the Treasury pours unprecedented amounts of stimulus into the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Debt jumped by £228 billion in the year to July, increasing by 20.4% to hit 100.5% of GDP. In percentage terms, it is the highest level since the 1960s.

Total debt hit £2.004tn in July, £227.6bn more than last year, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Economists warned the situation would worsen before improving with the continued cost of repairing the economy during and after the pandemic.

The ONS said it is the first time debt has been above 100% of gross domestic product (GDP) since the 1960-61 financial year

The July borrowing figure was £26.7bn, down from a revised £29.5bn in June.

It was the fourth highest borrowing in any month since records began in 1993. The three higher figures were the previous three months.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “This crisis has put the public finances under significant strain as we have seen a hit to our economy and taken action to support millions of jobs, businesses and livelihoods. Without that support, things would have been far worse. Today’s figures are a stark reminder that we must return our public finances to a sustainable footing over time, which will require taking difficult decisions.”

Fintech start-ups criticise pandemic support

A report from the Digital Finance Forum highlights dissatisfaction with support measures rolled out during the coronavirus pandemic, with just 25% of fintech start-ups saying the Government had done enough to support digital banking businesses. The poll saw 67% of executives say their views are not properly heard by policymakers and regulators, while 90% believe the pandemic had made it harder to raise funding in the next year. The report found that some executives feel Government-backed lending schemes “were unduly tailored to banks,” with banking start-ups an “afterthought.”

One in six workers head back to the office

Centre for Cities analysis shows that one in six workers have returned to the office, with worker footfall in cities 17% of pre-lockdown levels during the first two weeks of August, despite Government advice giving firms the green light to get staff back into the office. The report, which looked at Britain’s 63 largest cities, found that employee footfall in London was 13% of pre-lockdown levels, while in Cardiff and Edinburgh it stood at 14%, with Belfast’s rate at 18%. Andrew Carter of the Centre for Cities warned that shops, restaurants, pubs and other city-centre businesses faced “an uncertain future while office workers remain at home”.

Furlough numbers fall, as do job ads

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that 12% of the UK workforce was on furlough leave in the two weeks to August 9, down from 14% in the fortnight to July 26 and half the number recorded two months earlier. The analysis shows that the total number on workers on the coronavirus job retention scheme has fallen by more than 60% since its peak. Meanwhile, separate ONS figures show that the number of online job adverts slipped in the two weeks to August 14, falling from 62% of the 2019 average to 58%.

Counting the cost of net losses

In the wake of an outage across Google services yesterday, the Telegraph looks at the economic impact a loss of internet access could have. A report into the economic impact of disruptions to connectivity from Deloitte and Facebook suggests a temporary internet shutdown costs an advanced economy like Britain’s £107m per day – equivalent to 1.9% of daily GDP.

Covid-19 general news

Global cases exceeded 22.6 million and deaths pass 790,000

The UK reported 1195 new cases.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Covid-19 testing at U.K. airports will not remove the need for travelers to self-isolate because of the long incubation period of the disease.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on European leaders to work together to avoid reviving lockdowns as a resurgence of the coronavirus threatens already battered economies.“Politically, we want to avoid closing borders again at any cost, but that assumes that we act in coordination,” Merkel said Thursday during a visit to Emmanuel Macron

Germany recorded 1,586 new infections in the 24 hours through Friday, the same number as Thursday and above 1,000 for a fourth straight day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Spain has re-emerged as the epicenter of the pandemic on the continent. The country reported 3,349 new infections on Thursday, compared with 3,715 a day earlier, which was the most since April 23.France recorded 4,771 new cases on Thursday, a level not reached since mid-April. Masks must now be worn in busy outdoor areas of Paris and Marseilles.

Italy has also seen a pickup in new cases, albeit more contained than elsewhere. On Thursday, the country reported 845 new infections, the biggest increase since May 16.

Sweden recorded its highest six-month death toll from all causes since 1869. The Scandinavian country stayed out of the 20th century’s big and bloody wars, but its no-lockdown approach to the coronavirus pandemic led to greater infection and death rates than those of its neighbours. The last time so many people died in a half-year came during a famine.

Russia is planning to start international clinical trials of its Sputnik V vaccine.

A vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE is on course for regulatory review as soon as October, the companies said.

Hong Kong will kick off a campaign to test its entire population for the coronavirus on Sept. 1, in the first such effort attempted outside of mainland China.

Argentina reported a record daily rise of 8,225 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 320,884. There were 111 new deaths, taking the total to 6,517.

India reported 68,900 new cases.


UK and European Stocks fell yesterday with the FTSE down 1.6% and similar falls on the continent following conservative comments from the Federal Reserve meeting in the US on the state of the recovery.

Overnight in the US the S&P 500 rose 0.32% and the  NASDAQ rose 1.06% to 11264.95, a new record.

Oil prices fell yesterday on demand concerns driven by cautious views from OPEC+ producers and the US Federal Reserve regarding economic recovery from the covid pandemic.

Gold prices inched higher yesterday, regaining ground from a more than 3% slide on Wednesday after the US Federal Reserve minutes highlighted the uncertainties surrounding economic recovery from a pandemic-induced slump and dented risk appetite.


UK  retail footfall data showed the number of Britons venturing out to shops and restaurants rose to its highest level since March, with footfall running at two-thirds of the level seen a year ago, new figures have shown. Retail parks have seen the strongest recovery, with visits in the week ending 16 August running at 85% of the level seen a year ago.

However, the number is still well below where it would be expected to be if the coronavirus crisis had not occurred, with the number of people visiting retail areas 32% down on that seen a year ago.

The ONS report shows that firms remain concerned about the future, with 10% saying they are at a “moderate” risk of insolvency and 1% saying the risk was “severe”. While 4% of companies have less than six months’ worth of cash reserves, 1% have none.

UK Retail Sales climbed 3.6% higher in July compared to June, to beat their pre-pandemic levels, official data showed today. The climb came despite a seven per cent fall in online shopping after digital retail comprised a record 33.3% of all retail sales in May.

Frasers calls for business rates rethink

Mike Ashley’s Frasers yesterday reported a 20% drop in annual profits, with pre-tax profit at £143.5m for the year ending April 26, while revenues rose 7% to almost £4bn. The retail group said 2020 will be remembered as the most challenging year in its history, but estimated that profits will increase by up to 30% this year despite disruption brought about by the coronavirus crisis. Announcing the results, Frasers’ CFO Chris Wootton called for reform of business rates, saying store closures are likely when the business rates holiday comes to an end. Frasers had been due to publish its annual results last week but said it needed more time to complete the accounts, pointing to a hold-up at RSM, which took over as auditor last year after the firm’s acrimonious split with Grant Thornton.

Government’s £56m coronavirus consultancy bill

A report by the Guardian and open-Democracy shows that Whitehall departments have spent more than £56m on consultants to help deal with the coronavirus crisis, with Deloitte and PwC among sixteen private consultancy firms contracted to work on the Government’s response to the pandemic. Deloitte has been given contracts worth at least £8m from four Whitehall departments, while PwC is being paid up to £3m by the Cabinet Office and has a contract worth up to £2.5m with the Treasury. A PwC spokesman said: “We have made the breadth of our capabilities and skills available to rapidly support the critical work of the public sector at a time of national crisis.”

US unemployment

US Unemployment claims lept unexpectedly back above the 1 million mark last week, according to figures released yesterday. The total claims of 1.11 million in the week ending 8 August were 135,000 higher than the previous week’s total of 971,000. The figure was also above economists’ expectations, who had predicted a fall to 925,000.

STA Travel files for insolvency

Student travel firm STA Travel, which has 52 UK shops, has filed for insolvency. STA blamed the coronavirus pandemic for bringing the travel industry to a “standstill.” Parent company STA Travel Holding AG, which is based in Switzerland, said that that an external administrator would be taking control of the company.

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.

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.

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

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

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 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

Keep up to date with the latest news by following us on social media:-

CPA on Linkedin

CPA on facebook

CPA on twitter

See all our latest news here!

Housekeeping: Opening a New Account

Late payments are never good for business. What can you do?

Get paid earlier by understanding why late payments happen.

Protecting Your Business isn’t Half As Painful As You Think

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – recognising the types of payers you do business with!

See our blog on how to communicate with your debtor early and clearly to set the framework for prompt payments

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Debt Recovery (But Were Afraid To Ask)

Understand the “why” behind late payments

Read our blog on what to do when not paid on time

10 Bad Habits Every Credit Controller Should Give Up

The Credit Controller’s Best Friend

Debt Recovery: It’s Easier Than You Think!

How Managing Your Cash Flow Can Make You (and Your Business) A Success

Avoid insolvency – Don’t let your money go up in smoke

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.

25 excuses for late payment and how to get around them.

Read our Cash Flow Advice

Read about our overdue account recovery service

Read our blog – What is credit management?

Read our blog – How to select a debt collection agency

20 ways to avoid identity theft

see our blog – 15 steps to avoid invoice fraud

Overcoming 5 common reasons for disputed invoices

As insolvencies rise, could you spot these warning signs in your customers?

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