February 6, 2014

PMC Telecom offers headset repair service

by Brian Turner

PMC Telecom has announced a headset repairs and buybacks service for telecoms and phone systems. The service should appeal to any business with a significant number of phone handsets or headsets, especially call centres, where replacing broken or damaged equipment can result in big costs. The repairs include fixing damaged parts, as well as replacing […]




October 27, 2011

Apprentice numbers double; university applications fall

by Jan Harris

There was an increase of more than 50 per cent in the number of people starting apprenticeships in England between August 2010 and July 2011. While 279,000 people started apprenticeships in the 2009/10 academic year, in 2010/11 this figure had grown to 442,700. Apprenticeships in manufacturing, engineering, construction, health and public services all grew in […]




October 26, 2011

Abolition of unfair dismissal laws called ‘madness’

by Jan Harris

A plan to abolish unfair dismissal laws has been called madness by Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb, who is also a parliamentary aide to Nick Clegg. The controversial suggestion, devised by David Cameron’s chief strategist Steve Hilton, was aimed at freeing up business and boosting economic growth. However, business secretary Vince Cable said it was […]




Bill focuses on social value of public sector contracts

by Jan Harris

A new bill is making its way through Parliament, which would ensure that ‘social value’ is considered when public sector contracts are awarded. The private member’s bill, put forward by Conservative MP Chris White, aims to push the concept of social value to the front of the public sector procurement process. This would mean that […]




October 25, 2011

Huge differences found in credit agency ratings

by Jan Harris

An SME could be given wildly different ratings according to which credit agency does the check, according to new research. With the disparity having the potential to force a business to cease trading in the worst case scenario, accountancy firm Shelley Stock Hutter is calling for the Government to launch a new “code of transparency”. […]




Nick Clegg cuts regulatory burden for SMEs

by Jan Harris

As part of the government’s mission to reduce red tape for small businesses, Nick Clegg has revealed plans to cap company inspections at twice a year and stop on-the-spot inspections altogether. Speaking to small business leaders, Mr Clegg said he wanted to stop regulators “breathing down the necks of businesses”. He suggested that it is […]




October 24, 2011

Medium sized companies key to growth says CBI

by Jan Harris

The CBI has called for the government to support the ‘forgotten army’ of mid-sized businesses, as they have the potential to expand quickly and help Britain prosper. The government should improve access to finance, especially in the bond markets, for mid-sized firms, the CBI said. John Cridland, the organisation’s director general, applauded Germany’s “Mittelstand” – […]




SMEs failing on energy efficiency says E.ON

by Jan Harris

As part of its campaign to make British businesses energy fit, E.ON has warned that around four million of the 4.8 million small businesses in the UK are failing to implement energy efficiency measures. According to E.ON’s research, this means that they are missing out on £7.7 billion every year. SMEs could soon improve their […]




October 21, 2011

Google AdWords failing SMEs

by Jan Harris

Less than a fifth of SMEs manage to generate enough online sales through Google AdWords to cover the cost of the service, according to a recent survey of 500 small UK businesses by YouGov. John Cheney, the CEO of Workbooks.com which published the results of the survey, said: “One company found that for every £1 […]




Royal Mail free to set prices

by Jan Harris

Postal regulator Ofcom is allow the Royal Mail Group to set its own prices for most of its products, including first-class post which was previously adjusted according to the RPI measure of inflation. However, there will be a cap on the price of second-class stamps, to ensure people on low-incomes will still be able afford […]




October 20, 2011

Campaign launched to encourage female entrepreneurship

by Jan Harris

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and business community network Everywoman have jointly launched a campaign to encourage more women to start their own businesses. The Real-Life Entrepreneurs campaign aims to provide solutions to help entrepreneurs deal with everyday challenges. The FSB and Everywoman are calling on the government to set targets for growth in […]




Vince Cable voices double-dip recession fears

by Jan Harris

Business secretary Vince Cable told ITN news viewers last night that the UK economy is now in a worse state than it was under Labour and a double-dip recession could not be ruled out. However, he was optimistic that the government would be able to turn things around. Mr Cable, who was speaking one year […]




October 19, 2011

Charter launched to help SMEs recycle waste

by Jan Harris

The government’s small business recycling charter, which is being launched today, should go some way to dealing with the problem of SMEs being unable to access affordable recycling facilities. The charter will be signed by local authorities and small businesses as part of a commitment to work together to improve the availability of recycling services. […]




Dragons Den star backs Local Business Accelerators scheme

by Jan Harris

Entrepreneur Deborah Meaden of Dragon’s Den fame is the national ambassador for the Local Business Accelerators (LBA) scheme which launched today. The scheme which is headed by the Newspaper Society with support from the David Cameron, offers £15 million of free advertising to fledgling UK businesses. The initiative aims to boost local businesses and to […]




October 18, 2011

Big banks launch Community Business Loan scheme

by Jan Harris

Two of the UK’s largest banks, RBS and Natwest, are fighting back against recent criticism that mainstream banks are failing to adequately support small businesses. The pair have launched a new £5 million Community Business Loan scheme, which will offer funding to small organisations who would not normally be considered for mainstream bank credit. With […]




Invest NI announces new funding for SMEs

by Jan Harris

Invest NI chief, Alistair Hamilton, expects a scheme offering loans to companies which cannot access equity, to be operational within three months, according to a report by the BBC. The scheme is part of Invest NI’s support for SMEs in the current, difficult economic climate. Interest rates will be slightly higher than those offered by […]




October 17, 2011

Shawbrook SME bank launched today

by Jan Harris

Shawbrook, a new bank focused on funding UK SMEs was launched today. The independent bank, which is backed by RBS Equity Finance, will aim to fill an ongoing gap in funding provision for smaller companies. The UK’s ‘Big Four’ banks are still failing to provide affordable finance for small businesses despite the Project Merlin agreement […]




SMEs less confident as GDP growth falls

by Jan Harris

Optimism among UK small businesses has taken a battering following a 0.1 per cent downwards revision in GDP growth for the second quarter of this year. According to the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) ‘Voice of Small Business Index’, UK SME confidence fell by 9.6 points from a positive 0.3 to -9.3 in the third […]




October 14, 2011

Companies failing to meet women directors’ targets

by Jan Harris

While FTSE 100 companies have made some progress in increasing the percentage of female executives, more needs to be done in order to meet targets. A review into female representation in boardrooms was launched six months ago by Lord Davies, the former chief executive of Standard Chartered bank. Since then just 33 FTSE 100 companies […]




Manufacturing Advisory Service to support SME growth

by Jan Harris

Mark Prisk, the minister for Business and Enterprise, today announced a new Manufacturing Advisory Service, which will help SMEs to grow. Mr Prisk made the announcement at Arrowsmith Engineering in Coventry which supplies the motorsport and aerospace industries. The Manufacturing Advisory Service, which will be provided by the Manufacturing Advisory Consortium (MAC), will fill a […]




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