October 13, 2011

Increase in women’s pension age delayed

by Jan Harris

The Pensions Bill has been amended to help woman who would have been penalised if the pension age for women had been increased quicker than originally planned. According to the Pensions Act 1995 women’s pension age should be increased to 65 by 2020 and to 66 between 2020 and 2022. Plans by the coalition government […]




Government boosts economy with £140m innovation investment

by Jan Harris

Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced the opening of the first Technology Information Centre (TIC). The manufacturing TIC will be part of a wider network of seven TICs, which are part of the government’s efforts to stimulate growth in the UK economy. The Technology Strategy Board is investing £140 million over six years to support […]




October 12, 2011

North East benefits most from small firms

by Jan Harris

Small businesses in the North East are the most resilient and are helping to drive economic recovery, according to the Barclays Business Regional Impact Index. SMEs in London and the South West were also found to be performing strongly and showing a strong entrepreneurial spirit according to the survey of 1,000 owner managers. However, the […]




London voted Best Business City in Europe

by Jan Harris

London was voted Best Business City in Europe for the twenty-second time in this year’s European Cities Monitor 2011, followed by Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Berlin. The UK capital took top position in six out of the twelve major categories in the monitor, which is produced by commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield. […]




October 11, 2011

Third of small business bosses guilty of favouritism

by Jan Harris

A study into employers’ attitudes towards their employees has revealed that 31 per cent of small business owners show favouritism to certain members of staff. The reasons for favouring certain employees ranged from preferring workers with a stronger work ethic to favouring those with a good sense of humour, an attractive personality, or who showed […]




Small businesses hit hardest by online fraud

by Jan Harris

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has warned that SMEs are vulnerable to fraud when taking online payments. In cases where credit card information has been stolen and used to place an order, the e-Commerce merchant may have to refund expenses and pay a chargeback fee if the legal cardholder refuses to pay. Small businesses […]




October 10, 2011

Waste recycling initiatives launched

by Jan Harris

With some councils failing to provide small businesses with access to affordable recycling facilities, small business organisations often have to turn to the private sector for waste management solutions. Waste firm Biffa today launched a new online service, which aims to offer more cost effective waste and recycling services to small businesses. SMEs can search […]




Chuka Umunna appointed shadow business secretary

by Jan Harris

Ed Miliband’s newly announced shadow cabinet includes Chuka Umunna as shadow secretary of state for business, innovation and skills. Mr Umunna has been an MP for less than 18 months, having been elected to his home constituency of Streatham last year. However, he has been Shadow Minister for Small Business and Enterprise since May and […]




October 7, 2011

Financial crisis could be worst ever

by Jan Harris

The financial crisis of the 1930s was dubbed the Great Depression, but the current crisis could be even greater, according to Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King. Growing fears of a double-dip recession have led the Bank to announce another injection of £75bn into the economy through a further round of quantitative easing (QE). […]




Overseas markets growing for UK fashion businesses

by Jan Harris

Demand for British fashion across the world is growing according to new research by DHL Express. Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of the UK fashion SMEs surveyed said that British influence on global fashion is growing, while 65 per cent expect overseas sales to double in the next two years. However, two thirds of respondents […]




October 6, 2011

Irish SMEs finding it much harder to secure loans

by Jan Harris

In 2007, just one per cent of Irish SMEs were unsuccessful in their loan applications, but by 2010 this figure had soared to 27 per cent, making Ireland the second most difficult place in Europe for SMEs to secure a loan. According to the survey by Eurostat, SMEs in Bulgaria experienced the most difficulty in […]




SME reporting requirement changes could save £600m

by Jan Harris

The government is launching a consultation on proposed changes to financial reporting requirements for SMEs, which could save £600 annually on accounting and administrative costs. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ ‘Audit Exemptions and Change of Accounting Framework’ proposals include giving SMEs more control over whether they have an financial audit or not, rather […]




October 5, 2011

Scottish SMEs focus on Asia for growth

by Jan Harris

The vast majority (90 per cent) of small businesses in Scotland expect to grow over the next year, but more are targeting Asia and Western Europe, rather than America, for expansion. Last year, 17 per cent of Scottish entrepreneurs surveyed by Deloitte said they planned to focus on America for expansion over the following three […]




UK SMEs positive about future

by Jan Harris

Economic growth in the UK is set to come from small businesses, according to a new report published by Enterprise Nation with support from BT. The report highlights the significant changes currently happening in the small business sector, with more people setting up businesses while government funding for start ups is being cut. With high […]




UK economic growth at 0.1% in Q2

by Kay Mitchell

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today announced the UK economy grew by 0.1% in the second quarter – slightly less than a previous estimate of 0.2%. Today’s reading is the third and final one for the April to June period and third quarter figures will be available later this month. In the meantime, […]




October 4, 2011

Euro zone delay decision for next Greek financial instalment

by Kay Mitchell

European stock markets lost ground this morning after it emerged that euro zone finance ministers have postponed the approval of Greece’s next instalment of its bailout loan. A meeting was scheduled for October 13, at which time finance ministers were expected to approve the next tranche but this has now been cancelled. London’s FTSE was […]




S&P maintains UK’s AAA credit rating

by Kay Mitchell

Credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) yesterday affirmed the UK’s AAA credit rating with a “stable” outlook. An AAA rating is the highest possible and the agency said in a statement: “In our view, the U.K. has a wealthy, open, and diversified economy, supported by a well-established political system and macroeconomic policy framework, which […]




Credit easing plan could boost investment in SMEs

by Jan Harris

In his keynote speech at the Conservatives Party conference, Chancellor George Osborne announced a ‘credit easing’ plan which could boost the economy through investment in SMEs. The plan would see the Treasury buying up corporate bonds of larger companies and also smaller businesses, thereby increasing the amount of cash in the economy and cutting the […]




BRC calls for change to business rates rules

by Jan Harris

Following the news that council tax rates will be frozen for another year, The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is calling for business rates to be frozen as well. Currently, business rates are based on the Retail Prices Index (RPI), which calculates inflation based on changes in the price of certain retail goods and services. The […]




October 3, 2011

Minimum wage increases to £6.08 per hour

by Kay Mitchell

The UK minimum wage rose by 15p to £6.08 an hour from Saturday 1st October and is set to benefit almost one million people, according to the Low Pay Commission. The 15p an hour rise applies to workers aged 21 and over. Meanwhile, the rate for 18 to 20-year-olds will increase by 6p to £4.98, […]




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