Business Information
New UK payment reporting rules will improve customer/supplier relationships. From next month, all big businesses in the UK will be obliged to post their payment records on a dedicated government website or face the risk of hefty fines for non-compliance. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's 'You and Yours' programme, Philip King, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM), says that it is data that all business should have to hand and advised that despite publicity around late payment, there are still not enough complaints (just three of four a month on average) being addressed to the CICM as administrators of the government’s Prompt Payment Code. To read the CICM's news release go to
London hit with over £353 million worth of bad debts last year. According to Creditsafe's publication, '2016 A Year in Review’, London has been pushed off the top spot for the most insolvencies throughout all regions in the UK. Although for three consecutive years London saw the most insolvencies in the UK (and the number of failures rose once again in 2016 to 4,473 insolvencies), Yorkshire and Humberside has now taken the lead with 5,722 company closures. This is almost double the amount for that region in 2015. To read Creditsafe's news release go to
UK micro-businesses say late payment enforcer will fail. has reported that a new report by FreeAgent has found that only 2% of UK freelancers and micro-businesses believe the forthcoming late payment Tsar will have any impact, with 57% of respondents not even aware the position was due to be filled. Initially announced in July 2015 (by then business minister Anna Soubry), the Tsar will aim to help tackle the payment 'imbalance' between small and larger firms. According to the article, the is currently a ‘cashflow crisis’ in the small enterprise space, with just 51% of all invoices paid on time in 2015. To read's article go to
The 30 richest countries in the world. Global Finance Magazine has published an article detailing the world’s richest and poorest countries for 2016. The article advises that on the basis of GDP alone, the richest five countries in the world are: the US, China, Germany, Japan and the UK. On the same basis, the poorest (and smallest) five are: Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, and Palau. Interestingly, using IMF data for per capita GDP (adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP)), the 'richest' rankings are led by Qatar, Luxembourg and Macao, while the US and UK are in 13th and 27th place respectively. To read Global Finance Magazine's article go to
UK businesses bad debt last year totaled over £920 million. New research from Creditsafe has revealed that the number of bad debts in the UK in 2016 rose in comparison with 2015, although the value of bad debts (£920 million) decreased.  Greater London had the highest worth of bad debt in 2016 with a total of over £353,000,000 being written off and an average bad debt of £42,194. In contrast, Northern Ireland region had one of the lowest amount of bad debts issued in the UK (114 in total), and Scotland was the second lowest (with 761). For full details by region go to
Brexit and uncertainty surrounding the UK’s future relationship with the EU doesn't appear to be deterring investors. According to new analysis by PwC, the UK is seen as a more important country for growth by investment professionals and has moved-up from fourth place last year to equal third with Germany this year. The US and China are ranked in first and second placed respectively. PwC also found that London is considered the 2nd most important city for growth prospects over the next 12 months, behind New York and followed by Beijing, Shanghai and San Francisco. To read PwC's news release go to
SMEs are vital to the UK economy. The Forum of Private Business' (FPB) review of small businesses in the UK in 2016 reports that over 99.9% of businesses are SMEs (employing 0-249 people), and the combined annual turnover of SMEs in 2016 was £1.8 trillion - 47% of all private sector turnover within the UK. In addition, in 2016 there was a record 5.5 million private sector businesses within the UK - an increase of 97,000 since 2015 and a 2 million uplift since 2000. 96% businesses were micro-businesses employing 0-9 people and accounting for 19% of turnover. To read the FPB's news release go to
Business rates shock to UK small business growth prospects. According to a new survey from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), 36% of small firms expect to see their business rates increase from 1 April 2017. Of those facing a rates rise, a substantial proportion (44%) of FSB members say their business rates will eventually rise by more than £1,000 per annum, while 21% will see their annual bill increase by more than 40%. Of the one in three small businesses facing a rise in rates, 54% expect profits to fall and 38% intend to increase their prices. Crucially, 55% plan to reduce, postpone or cancel investment in their business. To read the FSB's news release go to
Confidence boost for UK exporters ahead of Article 50 trigger. The British Chambers of Commerce's (BCC) latest 'Quarterly International Trade Outlook' (produced in partnership with DHL) shows that confidence among exporters that their turnover will improve jumped in Q4 2016 ahead of further moves towards Brexit. Businesses in both manufacturing and services are increasingly confident that their company's turnover will continue to improve and that profitability will increase or remain steady in the coming 12 months. To read BCC's news release go to
Modest pick-up in global growth but risks and vulnerabilities could derail recovery. The OECD has predicted that global economic growth is expected to pick up modestly next year to around 3.6% from a projected 3.3% in 2017. However, risks of rising protectionism, financial vulnerabilities, potential volatility from divergent interest rate paths and disconnects between market valuations and real activity hang over the outlook. In the Euro area, the moderate pace of growth is expected to continue and GDP is expected to expand at an annual rate of 1.6% in both 2017 and 2018. To read the OECD's news release go to
© 2016 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
US SMEs are optimistic about business prospects in 2017 and beyond. According to new research, 'Global SME Pulse' from American Express, SMEs in the US are even more optimistic about the global economy than their foreign counterparts. More than half of US executives (54%, vs. 39% overall) are positive about the global economic outlook over the next 12 months and 42% anticipate revenue growth of at least 8% over the same period. This is exactly double that of SMEs worldwide. In terms of profitability, US SMEs are also upbeat, with 35% forecasting a net profit of at least 8% per annum over the next three years.  To read American Express' news release go to
UK vacancy rate remains stable though footfall decline deepens. The latest Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has reported that footfall in January was down 1.3% on a year ago - the steepest drop in Footfall since the 2.8% fall in June 2016. The Monitor also found that the national town centre vacancy rate was 9.4% in January 2017, down from 9.5% in October 2016. This is the lowest rate since January 2016, when it stood at 8.7%. On a regional level, London saw the strongest improvement, with the proportion of empty shops falling from 9.5 to 8.4% over the three months to January. However, elsewhere the number of empty shops remains worryingly high and the variation between successful and vulnerable locations is widening. To read BRC's news release go to
UK retail sales rebounded slightly in the year to February, but are now expected to deteriorate. According to the latest CBI quarterly Distributive Trades Survey, retail sales volumes grew modestly in the year to February, having fallen in January. However, for the first time in four-and-a-half years, retailers now expect their business situation to deteriorate over the next three months. Ben Jones, CBI Principal Economist, said: “The rebound in retail sales suggests that some of the recent gloom about a slump in consumer demand at the start of 2017 may be overdone. . . However, retailers remain cautious about their prospects, expecting fairly tepid growth in sales volumes next month against a backdrop of rising inflation that is likely to erode households’ purchasing power through the course of the year." To read the CBI's news release go to
UK insolvencies saw a 24% rise for the first time in 3 years. According to Creditsafe's publication, '2016 A Year in Review’, business failures saw a 24% increase across the UK in 2016 for the first time in 3 years (23,571 closures compared to 19,067 in 2015).  The highest increases were in Q4 with 6,954 company closures.  As in 2015, businesses aged between three and ten years saw the highest amount of insolvencies, while businesses who had been trading for over twenty-five years remained the age category of businesses with the least insolvencies and would appear the most stable. To read Creditsafe's news release go to
UK SMEs trading internationally are increasingly concerned about economic climate and political uncertainty. BDRC Continental's latest quarterly SME Finance Monitor (based on more than 100,000 interviews with SMEs) has found that while smaller UK SMEs report ‘business as usual’, larger SMEs and those who trade internationally have greater concerns about the future. Between 2015 and Q4 2016 the increase in levels of concern amongst the largest SMEs with 50-249 employees rose from 8% to 13% for the economic climate and 7% to 15% for political uncertainty. More marked increases were seen amongst SMEs that trade internationally, notably those who both import and export where concerns about the economic climate rose from 17% in 2015 to 35% in Q4 2016, and concerns about political uncertainty from 8% to 32% over the same period. To read the Monitor go to
8 in 10 UK SMEs unphased by the uncertainty of Brexit. Despite the Bank of England’s projection that the UK economy would take a cumulative hit by 2019 of 1.5% of GDP due to Brexit - which equates to around £30 billion - research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance suggests that SME confidence has remained consistently bullish over the last 15 months. The only exception was a short-term fall in confidence in the weeks immediately after the EU Referendum vote. According to Hitachi Capital Business Finance, 8 in 10 SMEs are predicting business as usual in the next three months, while 40% of SMEs anticipate growth. Overall, SMEs in Wales were those most likely to express concern for their business, with 10% fearing contraction and 8% predicting a struggle to survive. Click here to read Hitachi Capital Business Finance's news release. 
UK start-ups declined in 2016 compared to the previous year. According to Creditsafe's publication, '2016 A Year in Review’, only 605,570 UK companies started-up in 2016 compared to 610,589 in 2015, and Q2 was the only quarter to see more newly incorporated business than the previous year. London, for example, saw a drop compared to the previous year with 3,000 fewer businesses being newly incorporated. The South East also saw a significant drop of nearly 7,000 fewer businesses opening their doors in 2016 compared to 2015. The biggest rise in start-ups was seen in the South West region, where 4,195 more companies were registered. To read Creditsafe's news release go to
Despite Brexit, 44% say that the UK is the best place to start a business. Idinvest's inaugural 'Entreneurship Barometer' has found that despite concerns that Brexit might diminish the UK's position as one of Europe's leading business hubs, 44% of the UK population still consider it the best country to start a business, beating rivals Germany by a strong margin. Participants were 10% more concerned about the European Economic outlook than the UK Economic outlook. The Barometer also found that over half the UK population are keen to start their own business, with 16% having definite plans to do so over the next year. This means that currently almost 2 out of 10 people living in the UK will be entrepreneurs by 2018. To read Idinvest's news release go to
UK Budget 2017: Loss Relief reforms & Business Rates could increase business failures. R3 has warned that although changes to corporation tax loss relief included in the Budget are expected to raise £1.6 billion over the next five years, this will come at the cost of an increase in business failures. After 1 April, businesses may only be allowed to write off 50% of past losses from future corporation tax bills, rather than the current 100%.  Andrew Tate, president of R3, says: “In some cases, business rescues will be hindered by hefty tax bills that would not arise under the existing tax regime. More business failure and less business rescue will be the consequence.” To read R3's news release go to
UK Manufacturing closures decreased in 2016. New research from Creditsafe has shown that although company closures rose 24% as a whole across the UK, the manufacturing sector saw a reduction from 1,793 company closures in 2015 to 1,676 in 2016. The sector’s insolvency count has now consistently declined over last previous 4 years, indicating a recovery from the bad reputation that lingered around it during the recession. In contrast, the sector with the most insolvencies was admin and support services, with 5,392 company closures last year. To read Creditsafe's news release go to
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