Residential enforcement & evictions to resume – business news 26 May 2021.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Residential enforcement & evictions to resume, trade numbers with the Eu for Q1, digital skills key to recovery, under 50% of SMEs to ask staff to return to the office, government borrowing falls, grocery sales figures, materials shortage hits construction and more.

Residential Enforcement & Evictions to resume

Landlords and Creditors take note!

The Ministry of Justice has announced that the guidance asking enforcement agents not to enter residential properties to take control of goods will end on the 31st May.

Being able to enter the judgment debtor’s property will undoubtedly aid visits to enforce a writ of control.

The legislative moratorium on residential evictions by an enforcement agent in England also expires on the 31st May.

Should you have a writ of possession case that needs enforcing,  this can now be passed to the Sheriff’s office. Please note that the first day they will be able to send out notices of eviction is 1st June.

The moratorium on residential evictions in Wales is in place currently until the 30th June.

However if the Sheriff is made aware either prior to or on arrival that anybody in the household has symptoms or is self-isolating, they will not proceed with a visit, in accordance with Government guidance.

Trade with the EU fell by a fifth in Q1

The UK’s trade in goods with the European Union fell sharply over the last three years, but particularly at the end of 2020 as the Brexit transition period ended. Total trade in goods with the EU, the sum of exports and imports, fell by 23.1% between the first quarter of 2018 and the first three months of 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Exports fell by 24.0% over the period and imports by 22.5%. Between the last quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, total trade with the EU shrank by 20.3%. Meanwhile, total trade with countries outside the EU only fell by 0.8%.

The Guardian’s Richard Partington points out that a drop in trade was always likely after a stockpiling rush in late 2020, as companies built up supplies in anticipation of border disruption, and delayed sending shipments at first.

Exports have recovered in recent months closer to normal levels. But the ONS expects additional trade barriers to reduce the size of the British economy by about 4% compared with EU membership, with the full impact taking 15 years to be realised.

Digital skills key to London’s recovery

A study by the Learning and Work Institute has found that the number of young people taking IT subjects at GCSE level has fallen by 40% since 2015 while less than half of UK employers believe new entrants to the workforce were arriving with the necessary digital skill-set.

Some 80% of UK business leaders believe that investment in digital skills will be needed to recover from the pandemic but the Standard’s Pallavi Malhotra explains that too many young people, especially women, believe the myth that STEM subjects and the careers they enable are not for them. She goes on to cite research by PwC which shows that women make up only 23% of STEM jobs while only 3% of women say that a career in tech was their first choice.

Fewer than 50% of small firms will ask staff to return to the office

Less than half of small business owners plan to advise their staff to return to the office after 21 June, a survey by Hitachi Capital Business Finance has found.

The results showed that 16% plan to continue working remotely even after restrictions ease and almost a quarter said they will use a hybrid set up, rather than a full return to the office. Almost a third said they are now set up to work remotely for good. Small businesses in tech and science were most likely to see homeworking continue whilst the media and real estate sectors were most likely to see hybrid working, according to the survey.

Government borrowing fell in April

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data show borrowing fell in April compared with the same month last year, as parts of the economy reopened after lockdown measures eased, driving tax receipts up 7%.

Official figures show borrowing was £31.7bn – significantly lower than the deficit of £47.3bn in April 2020 and £7bn less than expected. The ONS now estimates that the Government borrowed a total of £300.3bn in the financial year to March. Although down slightly from its previous estimate of £303.1bn, it remains the highest level since the end of World War Two.

Ruth Gregory, senior UK economist at Capital Economics, commented: “April’s public finances figures showed that the Government’s financial position isn’t as bad as the OBR predicted only two months ago, reinforcing our view that the tax hikes and spending cuts that most fear may be avoided.”

Julian Jessop, an economist at the Institute of Economic Affairs, agreed, stating that planned hikes in corporation taxes should now be abandoned. Alternatively, some of the time-limited Covid tax cuts should be made permanent, “including the additional tax breaks for business investment.”

UK Grocery Sales

Grocery sales have slowed, according to the latest data from market researchers Kantar, as pubs, bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen once again after lockdown measures were relaxed. However, UK grocery sales are still ahead of 2019’s levels. In the 12 weeks ended May 16, take-home grocery sales were 0.4% lower annually at £31.30 billion from £31.41 billion in 2020

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer posted yet another full-year loss as the pandemic weighed on sales and it continued attempts to transform a business pressured by online and fast-fashion retailers. Pre-tax losses for the 53 weeks through 3 April amounted to £259.7 million, compared to losses for the 52-week previous year of £335.9 million.

British Land

British Land reported lower annual losses as its cost cutting offset a pandemic-led hit to its portfolio valuation. Pre-tax losses narrowed to £1,053 million from £1,116 million year-on-year, as net rental income increased to £478 million from £367 million.

Materials shortage hits construction

Large construction companies have been urged to work with SMEs that are not able to engage in bulk buying and so are short of essential materials. The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) said bulk buying not only impacts the ability of small firms to complete projects, but also the cash flow of their business. The CLC called on businesses to “work collaboratively to manage this unprecedented situation to everyone’s benefit”. Soaring demand for raw materials is set to drive prices up 7% this year, the ONS has warned.

Building materials are running short across the UK. The Construction Leadership Council has warned that cement, some electrical components, timber, steel and paints are all in short supply.
It blamed “unprecedented levels of demand” that are set to continue.  The Federation of Master Builders said that some building firms may have to delay projects and others could be forced to close as a result.

UK tax break failing to deliver extra R&D spending, study finds

The UK’s R&D tax credit system is failing to deliver significant additional spending by businesses, a report from Cambridge reveals, while the Patent Box scheme has failed to deliver its objectives.

SNP would reform taxes after independence

A report from the SNP-backed Social Justice and Fairness Commission promotes the decriminalisation of drugs use, the eradication of poverty and a land tax should Scotland break from the UK. Freedom of movement would also be reintroduced. The report supports widespread reform of the tax system, with more progressive taxation as well as the greater use of green taxes to address the “climate emergency”.

HMRC records higher IHT receipts

Newly published data from HMRC has shown IHT receipts for April 2021 were £500m – £200m higher than the same period a year earlier.

Julia Rosenbloom at Smith and Williamson commented: “It is widely believed that changes to the tax system are inevitable given that the Chancellor needs to balance the books and rebuild the economy following the pandemic. We saw many clients transfer wealth to the next generation when it was predicted that IHT rules would be reformed in the last Budget. Although no changes to IHT were announced, we don’t know what reforms could happen in the future. I’d urge individuals to make the most of the current regime and think carefully about their next planning.”


The attorney general for Washington, D.C. has filed against Amazon, for allegedly engaging in anti-competitive practices that have raised prices for consumers. The antitrust lawsuit, the first to target Amazon in the US, says the online store’s policies governing third-party sellers prohibit them from offering their products at lower prices on other platforms, which leads to artificially high prices for consumers and let Amazon build monopoly power. Amazon denies the allegations. Along with Apple, Facebook and Google, it has in recent months faced investigation in various jurisdictions over allegedly anti-competitive practices.

UK good investment target, Gilbert says, but global markets concerning

Speaking at a panel organised by the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation, City veteran Martin Gilbert said the UK remained a good bet for investment as UK equities remained undervalued compared to global competitors and the rebound from the pandemic “is going to be pretty good.”

However, Gilbert warned that global stock markets “are as high as I’ve ever seen,” reminding him of 1999 when the bubble burst. He predicts that when the bear market arrives active rather than passive investing would come to the fore “because theoretically growth stocks should not do as well as value stocks during that period.”

Sunak to propose powers to block London listings on security grounds

Companies could be blocked from listing on the London Stock Exchange on national security grounds following a consultation launched by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak amid concerns about “dirty money” in British financial markets.

The UK Listing Authority, part of the Financial Conduct Authority, currently decides on a company’s eligibility to list in London but ministers could be given fresh powers to take a more active role in interventions.

A spokesperson for the Treasury said: “The UK’s reputation for clean, transparent markets makes it an attractive global financial centre. We’re planning to bolster this by taking a targeted new power to block listings that pose a national security risk, and will launch a consultation to inform its design in the coming months.”

Why should you become a CPA member!

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 some time to come.

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When you see your money come in, you will be so glad you used CPA.

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.