Two thirds of workers return –  business news 18 September 2020.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Two Thirds of Workers return, landlords, interest rates, inflation, retail plus covid-19 other business news we have seen over the last two days (Sorry, due to circumstances beyond our control, we weren’t able to post yesterday)

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.

ONS: Two-thirds back in workplaces

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says almost two in three people are now travelling to work, with analysis showing that 62% of adults commuted to work last week. This compares to the 36% recorded at the end of May and comes amid a government drive to get people to return to offices. The ONS report says that 20% of people were still working from home last week, while 10% of the workforce remained on furlough. The proportion of people furloughed is expected to decline in the coming weeks as government support winds down before the scheme comes to an end on October 31. Since the start of this month, employers utilising the scheme have had to cover at least 10% of the bill, with this increasing to 20% as of the start of October.

Crisis creates more homeworkers

Research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) suggests that many staff could see a permanent shift toward working from home, with a survey of 1,000 employers finding that 37% believe staff will regularly work remotely post-pandemic, compared to 18% before the coronavirus outbreak. CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese said a “step-change shift” to remote working brought about by the lockdown has pointed to the potential for flexible work. He suggests that, if supported and managed properly, remote working can be “as productive and innovative” as office-based activity, adding that it will also allow people to benefit from better work-life balance.

Commercial landlords face £4.5bn in unpaid rent

The British Property Federation (BPF) has cautioned that commercial property landlords could face unpaid rent bills of more than £4bn in 2020, as a ban on business evictions was extended by the Government. The BPF estimates total rent unpaid for UK commercial property between late March and the end of December will be around £4.5bn. While this covers sites including offices and warehouses, the retail and hospitality sectors are likely to account for the vast majority of the unpaid rent. A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “We recognise the current challenges facing commercial landlords and the significant impact recent changes are having on their business models. We will continue to work urgently with the sector to ensure it is adequately supported.”

£50bn may be in the shadow economy

A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) suggests that up to £50bn in cash could have disappeared into the “shadow economy”. The warning comes after it was shown that while the number of banknotes in circulation hit a record high of 4.4bn in 2020, estimates suggest less than a third are regularly being used for cash transactions. While little is known about the cash, the NAO report says it could be held overseas or in undeclared household savings pots. However, it also warns that some may be in the “shadow economy” – income from illicit services such as drug dealing, prostitution or undeclared work to avoid paying tax.

BoE holds interest rates at record low

The Bank of England’s (BoE) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has unanimously voted to hold interest rates at their record low 0.1%, with the level of quantitative easing to stay at £745bn. The BoE said that despite a stronger than expected recovery in recent months, the economy remains around 7% smaller than at the end of 2019. It also said it does not intend to increase interest rates until “significant progress” had been made in getting inflation back to its target level of 2% target, with data released this week showing it is currently at a five-year low of 0.2%. The MPC’s September report also notes the BoE’s “plans to explore how a negative Bank rate could be implemented effectively”, although rates are unlikely to fall below zero this year as the MPC said the Bank and Prudential Regulation Authority will begin “structured engagement on the operational considerations” in Q4 2020. The Bank also warned that the increasing rate of coronavirus infections and uncertainty over the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU poses a threat to Britain’s economic recovery.

Today’s announcement from the Bank of England is in line with industry expectations and leaves the central bank with options to provide stimulus to the economy amid the ongoing uncertainty.

For the SME sector particularly, the shape of the recovery depends on many known unknowns with the challenges of 2019 and 2020 – Brexit and Covid-19 – bundled into one and it is vital that we continue to open new channels for distributing much needed liquidity to support the real economy. SMEs have shown a great deal of adaptability and resilience in the face on changing consumer behaviour and as such it is critical that economic and monetary stimulus in tandem with government schemes work to continue to support the sector so that we can return to pre-crisis growth levels as soon as possible and avoid the downward spiral of output and job losses.

Inflation hits 5-year low in August

Inflation fell to 0.2% in August, from 1% in July, with last month’s gauge of the cost of goods and services revealing that prices rose at their slowest rate in five years. The Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme contributed to the dip, with the initiative designed to encourage people to dine out seeing prices in restaurants and cafes down 2.6% year-on-year. The Office for National Statistics said this marked the first time the prices had been negative since records began in 1989. A temporary cut in VAT also contributed to a decline in prices, with the reduction on the levy from 20% to 5% for food, non-alcoholic drinks, accommodation and admission to attractions in place until mid-January 2021. Thomas Pugh, UK economist at Capital Economics, said that while August’s figure was probably “the low point” for inflation, it is unlikely to hit the Bank of England’s 2% target within the next few years. Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG, said slow price growth “will serve to protect households’ spending power at times when many are feeling under pressure”, while PwC economist Jing Teow said: “A weaker recovery, driven by lower consumer demand, could lead to a prolonged situation of low price growth, putting more pressure on the Bank of England to further ease monetary policy by cutting rates further, perhaps below zero.”

OECD predictions

The UK Economy will fare better than originally expected this year, the OECD has predicted, although it will still suffer one of the biggest hits from the coronavirus pandemic in the world. The global economic organisation also said the world economy would weather the coronavirus pandemic better than initially thought. It predicted global GDP would shrink by 4.5%, whereas it had previously expected a 6% contraction.

UK Retail Sales

UK Retail Sales reached pre-pandemic levels last month, driven by supermarket and home improvement purchases. Retail sales were up 0.8% in August compared to the previous month, which was the fourth consecutive month of growth. Retail sales were up 4% compared to February, before the coronavirus pandemic hit the country. Non-store retailing volumes were 38.9% above February and household goods stores saw sales rise 9.9%.

Card spending falls

UK Finance figures show that credit and debit card transactions dipped in June, with the 933m transactions recorded in the month marking a 2.7% decline compared to May and a 43.1% dip on June 2019. While more of the high street was open in June following the lockdown, many shoppers opted to make purchases online, with 23% of card transactions in June made through the web – up from 14% a year ago.

US Retail

US Retail Sales rose 0.6% in August to $537.5 billion, according to the Census Bureau. The market had been expecting a stronger rise of 1.1%. Core retail sales, which exclude motor vehicles and gasoline stations, rose 0.7%, below expectations of a 1.0% rise.

US interest rates

America’s central bank indicated it would not raise interest rates until inflation had remained above 2% “for some time”. According to the Federal Reserve’s forecasts, this suggests rates are likely to remain close to zero until at least the end of 2023. The Fed reckons that unemployment in America will fall to 7.6% by the end of the year. Its earlier estimate was 9.3%. The current rate is 8.4%.

US Unemployment data

US Unemployment data yesterday showed the number of Americans filing new claims for benefits fell last week, but remained perched at extremely high levels as the labor market recovery shifts into low gear and consumer spending cools amid fading fiscal stimulus.


Joe Biden has said he will not allow peace in Northern Ireland to become a “casualty of Brexit” if he is elected US President in November. The Democratic candidate said any UK-US trade deal had to be “contingent” on respect for the Good Friday Agreement. Conservative allies of Prime Minister Boris Johnson implied that Mr Biden did not understand the issues, and should mind America’s own business.

The U.K. government said a round of informal EU trade talks this week were “useful,” as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the Financial Times she’s “convinced” a deal is possible.

Covid-19 general news

Global Covid-19 infections exceeded 30 million as the number of cases continued to climb. The virus is spreading at a rate of 1 million cases every four or five days.

The global death toll is approaching 1 million, with the U.S. topping the list with almost 200,000 fatalities.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said further measures may be announced in the next few days and weeks to contain infections in the capital amid reports of a surge in virus cases. The capital has recorded about 25 cases per 100,000 over the last seven days, rising from 18.8, according to the report

The U.K. won’t rule out any measures in response to the pandemic, but will look to avoid another national lockdown, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on BBC Radio.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield said face masks are the most important, powerful public health tool we have. “I might even go so far to say that this mask may be more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine,” he said. Redfield also noted that he thinks a vaccine won’t allow a return to regular life until mid-2021. The answer to the mask vs. vaccine question is “both”; face coverings will remain essential in risky settings well into next year, even when shots become widely available.

The World Health Organisation sounded the alarm about a resurgence of covid-19 in Europe. Its regional director noted that the caseload there is now increasing at a greater rate than during the outbreak’s peak in March. Spain, France and Britain have the highest confirmed figures. Globally the pandemic has caused 300m known infections; Europe counted 300,000 just last week.

Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical company, said  that an experimental drug called LY-CoV555 has an antiviral effect on covid-19. The Lilly drug lowered levels of the virus in patients compared with those who were not given it. The study also suggested that those who took the drug were 72% less likely to need hospitalisation, but it may be that too few people participated in the study to make this finding statistically significant

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 11 of 19 volunteers who had developed antibodies as of April seem to have lost them only two months later.

France reported 10,593 covid cases – the most since lockdown

Today is the last day for countries to sign up to COVAX, a World Health Organisation-led effort to make 2bn doses of covid-19 vaccines available globally by the end of 2021. The deadline had been 31st August, but was pushed back because wealthy nations were slow to sign up with the likes of the US and the UK seeking their own deals to procure supplies.


Next said sales were down 33% on last year during the first half of 2020 during the pandemic, according to its half-year results. The company still made a profit before tax of £9m, down 97% on the first half of last year. However, the company expects improved profits for the full year of £300m compared to an update in July, which forecast £195m.

OECD in tax rise warning

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned governments against imposing tax increases and spending cuts before economies have recovered from the effects of coronavirus lockdowns. In its quarterly world economy health check, the OECD suggests that public spending is needed to support a rebound in growth, saying: “The aim must be to avoid premature budgetary tightening at a time when economies are still fragile.” The Guardian reports that there are calls from some Conservative backbenchers for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to reduce spending and increase taxes to cap the UK’s borrowing, which is expected to hit close to £300bn in this financial year. The Chancellor this week refused to rule out tax rises in the autumn Budget, the paper notes

Rent protection fear for landlords

Experts warn that calls for ministers to extend the ban on the collection of rent on commercial properties ignores the plight of landlords. With the Government yesterday further extending the rent protection period for commercial tenants until the end of the year, Blick Rothenberg head of property Heather Powell said it is “scandalous” that landlords should be required to provide financial support to restaurants, cafes and retail outlets that have been open since June. Landlords, she argues, “don’t have the responsibility or financial resources to support this sector in its entirety,” adding that landlords “have only collected rent from tenants who have felt like paying it since March 2020” but still have their own bills, mortgages and insurance to pay.

House prices up 3.4% in June

Land Registry and Office for National Statistics figures reveal that average UK house prices increased by 3.4% in the year to June 2020. This compares to a 1.1% year-on-year increase recorded in May. The price increase recorded in June took the average house price to £238,000. England led the way on price increases, with values up by 3.5% over the year, with a 4.2% climb recorded in London. Month-on-month, prices climbed 2.7% in June. Meanwhile, HMRC data shows that property transactions in England increased by 28% between May and June, although year-on-year transactions were down 37%. PwC economist Jamie Durham commented: “As the index captures transactions that completed in June, it is likely many of the sales were agreed prior to lockdown, however the proportion of sales agreed after lockdown will be increasing.” He added: “Looking forward to the rest of this year, we would expect the housing market to start to weaken.”

Football club wound up

Football club Macclesfield Town has been wound up in the High Court over debts exceeding £500,000, with the club owing £190,000 in tax. Judge Sebastian Prentis at the Insolvency and Companies Court heard that former manager John Askey is owed £173,000, while a financial creditor is also owed a similar sum. Meanwhile, Judge Prentis adjourned a bid to wind up Southend United. The club has until October 28 to clear tax debts, with it owing HMRC £494,000. The Guardian looks at concern over the plight of Wigan Athletic, with Paul Stanley of Begbies Traynor saying the coronavirus crisis “certainly isn’t doing us any favours”.

EC president: EU will target tech firms over tax

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, says the EU will introduce a digital tax on firms such as Google and Facebook if nations fail to reach an agreement on levies to target global tech giants. The Telegraph notes that efforts to ensure large tech firms pay their share in taxes have gathered momentum in recent years, with proposals drawn up with the OECD and G20 gaining support in the EU, although plans for an international framework for a digital tax were dealt a blow earlier this year when the US pulled out of talks and warned it could retaliate against policies targeting US firms.

Amazon tax revealed

Amazon UK Services, the warehouse and logistics operation that employs more than two thirds of Amazon’s UK workforce, paid £6.3m in corporation tax last year, despite Amazon reporting overall UK revenues of £13.3bn. The annual report also reveals that Amazon’s key British unit made £2.9bn in revenue and profit of £102m. A spokesperson said: “Corporation tax is based on profits, not revenues, and our profits have remained low given retail is a highly competitive, low-margin business and we continue to invest heavily”.

Amazon launches podcast service

Amazon Music is set to take on Apple and Spotify in the podcast market, with a service streaming shows launching in the US, UK, Germany and Japan. A report from Deloitte in 2019 said the podcast market is expected to grow 30% to £850m by the end of this year.

IoD sees flat revenue

The Institute of Directors’ annual report shows that overall revenues were flat on a like-for-like basis at about £26.5m, excluding a £747,000 government grant. The business group’s accounts for 2019 were prepared on a going concern basis, with external auditor Buzzacott issuing an “emphasis of matter”.

Aspinal closes boutiques

Handbag brand Aspinal of London has launched a CVA that will see it close its ten boutiques, with the firm struggling amid a decline in shoppers during the coronavirus pandemic. KPMG’s Will Wright said the move would “provide a solid and sustainable grounding for the future”.

Byron mulling GBK bid

Gourmet Burger Kitchen owner Famous Brands is looking to offload the chain and indicated it will no longer provide funding to the restaurant operator. With Deloitte seeking buyers for GBK, Calverton UK, the owner of rival burger chain Byron, is said to be considering a bid.

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.

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.

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.

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