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New measures to promote a culture of better UK payment practice. Further steps to support the Prompt Payment Code (PPC) in the UK and drive a culture of better payment practice have been confirmed in a letter to PPC signatories from Margot James, Minister for Small Business, and Philip King, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM). The letter highlights the significant success of the Code to date, and comments that it has been ‘hugely successful in achieving fast settlement of invoices, creating dialogue between parties, improving contract terms, and providing constructive assistance welcomed by suppliers and signatories alike’. The correspondence also confirms the future appointment of a Small Business Commissioner to provide help and advice to business, including on achieving prompt payment, and the Statutory Duty to Report for large businesses to report on payment practices that comes into force from 6 April 2017. To read the letter and CICM's news release go to
The UK High street enters its seventh consecutive month without growth. New figures released by BDO show that not only have UK High street retailers failed to increase sales since January, they have also failed to improve on August 2015 - one of the worst months experienced by the High street since November 2008. However, despite the disappointing results, Sophie Michael, Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO, suggested that there are a few more encouraging signs:" For example, online sales grew by 21.1% for the month – a monthly rise which has only been beaten once this year." To read BDO's news release go to
UK construction companies' payment delays increase by 22% in just a year. According to research by the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA), businesses in the construction sector have been the hardest hit of any UK sector by longer waits for their invoices to be paid, with delays increasing 22% in the last year from 67 days to 82 days. The ABFA also highlights that slow payment of bills is a major reason why the construction sector has such a high number of insolvencies. For example, last year 17% of all UK corporate insolvencies were businesses in the construction sector. Jeff Longhurst, Chief Executive of the ABFA commented: “The huge number of construction companies that became insolvent last year only goes to show how bad the problem is.” To read the ABFA's news release go to
UK growth projections revised up in short-term. Following stronger than expected national data for the second quarter of 2016, PwC has revised upwards its main scenario projections for UK GDP growth to 1.8% from 1.6% for 2016 and to 0.7% from 0.6% for 2017. John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, said: “Our improved outlook reflects the latest official data, which confirmed the UK economy remained in reasonable shape going into the Brexit vote. While we’ll have to wait until late October for the first official GDP estimates for the third quarter, it’s encouraging that indicators such as retail sales held up well in July and purchasing managers indices bounced back in August.” To read PwC's news release go to
UK business confidence returns. According to the latest Business Trends Report by BDO, the post-Brexit shock was sharp but short and UK businesses are starting to regain their confidence. The latest results indicate that business optimism - which predicts growth six months ahead - is up to 98.7 from 97.9 (well above the 95.0 level which would indicate the start of recessionary conditions), while business output – which reflects companies’ current experience of orders and is a good indicator of where GDP will be for the three months ahead – has fallen again to 97.4 from 98.2.  Taken together, these results suggest that the UK experienced a short, sharp fall in business activity post-referendum, but that businesses are confident that this will quickly reverse. Commenting on the findings, Peter Hemington, Partner at BDO, said: “After the immediate Brexit scare, businesses are becoming more confident as they start to find that, for most of us, it’s back to business as usual. But ongoing uncertainty and the likely longer-term damage if we exit the single market, are concerns." To read BDO's news release go to
London ranks top in PwC Cities of Opportunity Index, followed by Singapore and Toronto. PwC’s Cities of Opportunity report has found that London has claimed pole position for the second time in a row in a study of 30 leading business centres globally. Singapore comes second, Toronto third, with Paris and Amsterdam completing the top five. New York is in sixth place. Overall, European cities take four of the top ten places. To read PwC's news release with a link to the full report go to
The UK is expected to skirt with, but avoid, recession. In its first economic forecast since the EU referendum, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has downgraded its UK GDP growth forecast, from 2.2% to 1.8% in 2016, from 2.3% to 1.0% in 2017, and from 2.4% to 1.8% in 2018. This implies that the UK economy will be £43.8 billion smaller at the end of the forecast period than previously predicted. The BCC also predicts that the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s long-term political arrangements with the EU, as well as the timeline over which any actions will take place, are expected to dampen growth prospects towards the end of 2016 and over 2017, but that, despite these issues, the UK is expected to skirt with, but avoid, recession. To read the BCC's news release go to
The UK economy's performance in Q2 is "unlikely to be an accurate bellwether." KPMG has advised that it currently predicts that UK GDP will grow by 1.7% this year and by 0.8% next year (up from 1.5% and 0.5% respectively), but warns that one of two bleak scenarios may lie ahead. The worst case scenario outlines a significant setback to the economy, with overall performance broadly similar to that experienced after the financial crash in 2008. In this case, KPMG predicts UK GDP growing just 0.8% in 2016, before contracting by 4.8% in 2017. In its second scenario, akin to the performance of the UK economy in the early 1990s, KPMG predicts that the UK economy would grow 1.2% in 2016 before contracting to 0.7% in 2017. Yael Selfin, head of macroeconomics at KPMG, commented: “While the economy performed well during Q2 this is unlikely to be an accurate bellwether for future economic conditions in the UK. The uncertainty around the shape of Britain’s exit means we are likely to see significant shifts in data and sentiment from month to month." To read KPMG's news release go to
SMEs are focused on growth despite Brexit and US Elections. C2FO has announced the results of its annual Working Capital Outlook Survey, which found that the majority of SMEs are more concerned about competition from emerging markets and higher interest rates than the effects of Brexit and the upcoming US presidential elections. The Survey, which examined the preferences of more than 1,800 SMEs in the US, UK, Germany, France and Italy (EMEA), found that the majority of SMEs (55%) report that cash flow is the biggest obstacle for business growth. Meanwhile, more than a quarter (29%) of respondents report that they have no or limited ability to borrow. Overall, borrowing is most expensive in the UK and US (only 42% and 47% of SMEs respectively borrow at a rate below 8%) compared to France (52%), Germany (51%) and Italy (58%). Those in media, retail/leisure and construction are borrowing at the highest rate compared to other industries. To read C2FO's news release go to
HMRC business asset seizures up 145% in a year. According to new research by Funding Options, the number of businesses whose assets were seized by HMRC in order to settle outstanding debts grew by 145% in the last year, from 649 cases in 2014/15 to 1,592 in 2015/16. The research also found that HMRC seized assets to recover £42.6 million of outstanding debt in the last year, an increase of 175% from the previous year where debts to the Revenue totaled £15.3 million. Funding Options says that the significant increase in businesses affected as well as the value of the outstanding debt is a clear indication that businesses are struggling to pay their overdue tax bills and that HMRC is cracking down on those businesses with overdue tax bills. To read Funding Option's news release go to
UK exports surge, trade gap narrows following Brexit vote. GTR (Global Trade Review) has advised that the latest data from the Office for National Statistics  has shown that the UK trade deficit fell from £5.6 billion in June to £4.5 billion in July 2016 due to a boost in British goods exports (notably ships and fuel) - which jumped by £0.8 billion or 2% - while imports dropped by 3.6%.  This indicates that the plunge in the value of the pound following the UK’s vote to leave the EU seems to be helping British exporters. Geoffrey de Mowbray, joint chairman at British Exporters’ Association, told GTR: "There are many risks associated with Brexit for exporters not least uncertainty around documentation going forward, but the opportunities are immense particularly with existing trading partners outside of the EU and others, such as the Commonwealth.” To read GTR's article go to
One-quarter of UK SMEs are suffering post-Brexit. The latest Zurich SME Risk Index report has shown that many small businesses in the UK have had a tumultuous time since the EU Referendum. Less than 3 months on, almost a quarter of SMEs (22%) already feel that the devaluation of the pound in the fallout from the vote has hindered their business, and over half (57%) are now primarily concerned with the effect of Britain’s official withdrawal from the EU on foreign currency and exchange rates. SMEs have, however, shown confidence that Theresa May can deliver on the international stage, with more than three times as many business owners indicating that her appointment as Prime Minister will have a positive impact on the success of their business (25%) rather than a negative one (8%). To read Zurich's news release go to
UK Business confidence falls into negative territory for the first time in 4 years. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found that UK small business confidence has continued to fall, dipping into negative territory for the first time since 2012, and that business owners feeling confident are now outnumbered by those that feel the opposite. Confidence has now fallen for the last three-quarters in a row. Despite this, the FSB also found many positive signs of small businesses proving resilient and getting on with the job in hand, in spite of a fragile economic outlook in the longer-term. Many firms may have ‘priced-in’ the impact of the EU referendum result in advance of the vote, with others now looking for immediate growth opportunities in the wake of the result. Small exporters' performance has also improved, backed by the weakness in sterling, with more businesses expecting this to rise further in the next three months. To read the FSB's news release go to
UK manufacturing output continues expanding at a healthy pace. According to the latest CBI monthly Industrial Trends Survey, UK manufacturing output continues to expand at a solid rate. The survey found that manufacturers are expecting the rate of production to accelerate rapidly, with 11 of the 18 sub-sectors upgrading their expectations for output over the next three months. Meanwhile, export order books weakened slightly but remained comfortably above their long-run average. Chemical firms experienced the sharpest drop in overseas demand, contrasting with the motor vehicle and transport sector which reported the greatest improvement. Total orders remained unchanged from the previous month, well above average levels. To read the CBI's news release go to
Saudi Arabia is the worst country in the G20 to do business with says new research. According to new research released by Creditsafe, Saudi Arabian businesses pay bills to their UK counterparts later than any other G20 country, at an average of 92 days beyond terms (DBT). The best G20 country to trade with based on the findings is Brazil, with Brazilian companies taking an average of just one DBT to pay UK firms. The G20’s other South American representative also emerges credibly, with Argentinean businesses paying UK firms 2 DBT on average. By way of comparison, UK businesses take an average of 13 DBT to pay their fellow G20 partners, with 30 days being the average standard payment terms set by UK businesses. To read Creditsafe's news release go to For more information on this item, please contact Josh Evans at Creditsafe on 44 (0) 2920 856 523.
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