Trade experts to boost small firms – business news 17 August 2021

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Trade experts to boost small firm exports. Unemployment. Interest Rates, The recovery. Bosses concerned over loss of talent. Retired workers could help plug skills gaps and lots more.

Trade experts to boost small firms’ exports
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has announced that a group of international trade experts will help small businesses seize opportunities offered by new post-Brexit trade deals.

Ms Truss says 54 “export champions” will “get more businesses selling top-quality goods and services around the world and will help discover the next British export success story”.

Analysis shows that just one in ten UK firms currently sell overseas, with firms that do so typically more productive. They also tend to create more roles and pay higher wages. Exports support 6.5m jobs across the UK, with 74% of these outside London.


The UK unemployment rate came in slightly lower than expectations in the second quarter of 2021. The unemployment rate for the three months to June was estimated to be 4.7%, down slightly from 4.8% for the three months to May.

Economists: Bank unlikely to raise rates before 2023
Economists believe the Bank of England (BoE) will wait until 2023 before raising rates from a record low, although they suggested elevated inflation and a strong economic recovery could see the Bank opt to increase rates sooner.

At its August 5 meeting the BoE set out how it could tighten monetary policy but opted to continue with stimulus measures despite forecasts that inflation will hit double the Bank’s 2% target by year-end. While the Bank said it would start reducing its stock of bonds when its policy rate was 0.50%, economists polled by Reuters said they believe the bank rate would reach 0.50% in 2023.

While Britain’s economy expanded by 4.8% in Q2 and is expected to grow 2.6% in Q3, economists suggest this would slow to 1.3% in Q4 and to 0.8% in the first quarter of 2022. On an annual basis, growth of 6.8% for 2021 and 5.4% for 2022 is expected – stronger than the 6.7% and 5.2% forecast in the previous poll.

Around 85% of the respondents said the unemployment rate would take at least a year to reach its pre-pandemic level.

Recovery on the cards but challenges remain
James Smith, a developed markets economist at ING, suggests that the economic impact of the pandemic will not reverberate for as long as the hit from the financial crisis, saying it is “almost guaranteed” that the full recovery will be “considerably quicker” than after the crisis of 2008.

Pointing to the fact that the economy was just over 2% smaller in June than it was pre-pandemic, he says GDP is set to recover in around two years where it took five years to bounce back after the 2008 crisis. However, Mr Smith notes that while GDP is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels of activity in early 2022, it will take much longer for the economy to get back to where it would have been had the pandemic never happened. He also warns that challenges remain in regard to whether consumer confidence will remain high and drive activity, while also noting the likelihood of increased unemployment as the furlough scheme ends and the possible impact of other Government support winding down.

Bosses concerned over loss of talent
Nearly half of British business leaders fear losing talented staff who may move abroad post-pandemic and post-Brexit.

The survey by MovePlan and Hanson Search also saw 29% of staff say they are pessimistic about the UK’s chances of competing for the best talent. On job security concerns, 27% of staff polled will look to remain in their current role for as long as possible, while 24% hope to work for a large, international firm that can look after them in turbulent times.

Just over a quarter want to work for an SME where they would be “more than just a number”, with a fifth looking to become their own own boss or go freelance.

On what they felt was important in a job package, 45% of employees said team, people and culture, while 39% said flexible working – with these ranked ahead of a competitive salary and bonus structure.

The poll also saw 76% of senior executives and business owners say they base decisions on employee wellbeing, while 46% prioritise financial and commercial concerns. When quizzed on preferred working patterns, 66% of employees and senior executives favour a hybrid model, 14% of staff plan to work from home indefinitely and 3% of employees would work from an office full time.

Support grows for UK to change its centuries-old tax year date
Amid calls for the start of the tax year to be moved from April 6 to January 1, the British Chambers of Commerce has said doing so could simplify the wider tax system.

Retired workers could help plug skills gaps
With Azets saying it expects around 10% of new hires made in a recruitment drive to be retired workers or professionals returning after a career break, the Times looks at the thinking behind the move. It warns that professional services firms are facing widespread skills shortages at a time when there is huge demand for services from companies that have accelerated transformation strategies during the pandemic.

Anna Murphy, head of group resourcing at Azets, said there is “a vast, untapped talent pool of retired people and those looking to return to work after a break”. The Times notes that ICAEW analysis shows that the pandemic, globalisation and changing workforce demographics are driving demand for new skills in the professional and financial services sectors. Data shows that the sector hires around a fifth of all graduates entering the labour market each year and about 17% of England and Wales’ new apprentices. Researchers estimate that plugging skills gaps could boost output across the sector by 12% a year by 2038

Businesses without diversity hit by groupthink
Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation, says that many of the best-paid jobs in the corporate world are held by people from privileged backgrounds who have enjoyed an elite education, warning that this “creates huge hurdles” for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. She adds that it is “wrong on a social and moral level” that these candidates can struggle to find a place – or make progress – within the workforce, with it also being bad for business.

Ms McGuinness argues that when employees are drawn from a small talent pool, employers see a lack of diversity, adding that evidence suggests that this results in “less innovation, more groupthink, and reactive – rather than proactive – problem-solving”.

Generations divided over triple lock reform
A survey of 2,000 savers by Canada Life reveals that almost half (46%) believe the state pension triple lock should stay as it is, despite earnings being likely to surge this year. The over-50s are much more likely to want to keep the triple lock promise, with 59% supporting it compared to 34% of those under 50. Baroness Ros Altmann has previously said it would be wrong to abandon the triple lock because one year’s set of figures was out of line with previous expectations – but said a radical overhaul of state pension support was needed.


Just Eat Takeaway reported 61% growth in orders in the first half, leading to a surge in interim revenue. However, the online food delivery platform booked an operating loss of EUR355 million, sharply wider from the EUR11 million loss in the same period a year earlier. This was due to a jump in courier costs to EUR1.02 billion from EUR181 million.

Buy-to-let boom continues
Buy-to-let mortgage borrowing has reached a record high. There were 2.02m outstanding buy-to-let mortgages at the end of June, up from 1.65m at the end of 2014, according to UK Finance. Most new buy-to-let loans approved by lenders in the first three months of this year were for landlords remortgaging, while 28,500 mortgages of the 67,500 approved were for new properties.

Pandemic sees a surge in silver streamers
The pandemic and resulting lockdowns have driven an increase in what have been dubbed ‘silver streamers’ – older people using on-demand services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Data from Deloitte shows that the number of consumers aged between 65 and 75 with access to a subscription to a video streaming service has risen from 36% in 2020 to 57% this year. The report also shows an increase in the adoption of new technology in the 12 months to July, with 19.2m devices bought. This is 8% higher than a year earlier and marks the fastest pace of growth in a decade.

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.

CPA eases cash from tardy debtors – Efficiently, Effectively, Economically and Ethically. And we provide credit information so you can monitor and assess your key customers.

Unlike other credit management companies, we charge our members a fixed annual subscription irrespective of how high the debt value is!

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.

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

Get compensated for previous late payments

Have you been paid late by business customers in the last six years?

Maybe you no longer work with them. Under legislation, you are entitled to  compensation you for those late payments you have suffered.

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

Claim late payment compensation (LPC) from former business customers who paid you late in the last six years!

CPA (LPC) Recoveries is using our bespoke software and decades of experience to do just that for our clients

Check our compensation calculator to see how much your business could be owed!

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.