News

Our small business news section covers the latest reports, research, stories and updates on regulations that affect the UK’s small and medium enterprises.

Death By Admin: 35% of Business Owners Waste Their Days Doing Paperwork

Death By Admin: 35% of Business Owners Waste Their Days Doing Paperwork

35% of UK small business owners waste the majority of their day doing admin – neglecting more important issues such as customer service, according to new research by Immervox. The Immervox UK Management Productivity study has revealed that nearly 25% of all small employers feel that planning for the future is the most important task they could be getting up to, but just 17% spend their time doing such. It’s suggested that business owners overloading themselves with paperwork is causing serious strains on their company’s performance, as 21% spend most of their time ‘resolving issues’ with less than 10% ensuring their customer service is up to scratch. When it comes to productivity, 25% feel disorganisation prevents the business from growing, followed by too much admin (18.18%), poor interna... »

Consumers Rein Back Spending In January As Retail Sales Slow

Consumers Rein Back Spending In January As Retail Sales Slow

UK retailers got off to a bad start in 2017, as consumers reined in spending after the festive season. According to new research from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), although retail spending has increased 0.1% year-on-year, this represents a significant drop from the 1.7% increase in December, and is the sector’s weakest return since August 2016. Not surprisingly, consumers cutting down on non-essentials after Christmas is seen as the biggest factor – as shoppers had a traditionally quiet January. Despite consumers generally tightening their purse strings, sales of furniture rose towards the end of 2016 with spending on food rising 2% in January, while online sales jumped 8.6% as more shoppers ‘shunned the high street’ – signifying the importance of businesses selling onli... »

Businesses To Bank On Britain After Brexit

Businesses To Bank On Britain After Brexit

UK small businesses believe they’ll have to rely heavily on home-grown trade in post-Brexit Britain, as few see room for growth in Europe. According to a study from Hitachi Capital, 59% of all UK small businesses expect to experience growth in the UK over the next year, compared to just 20% for Europe. With regards the rest of the world, 18% of small firms are looking towards North America as a possible market, while 9% have eyes on Australia and New Zealand – with 7% believing their business could potentially generate growth in Japan, East Asia and the Pacific nations. When it comes to the domestic market, a North-South divide appears evident – as 71% of small firms in the North East and 69% in the North West cite the UK as their biggest growth market, compared to just 51% in London... »

Loved-Up Consumers To Spend £28m On Red Saturday Alone

Loved-Up Consumers To Spend £28m On Red Saturday Alone

Loved-up UK consumers will spend an extra £28m this Saturday 4 February as the annual Valentine’s Day rush begins. According to figures from eHarmony, the period from ‘Red Saturday’ up until Valentine’s Day (Tuesday 14 February) will see over £700m spent on flowers, cards, chocolates and various gifts – with the average lover kissing goodbye to £22.58 on gifts. Scots appear to be the most romantically inclined, with an average spend of £31, compared to Londoners (£26) and those in the North West (£23) – while the Welsh and those in the West spend just £17. While it’s long been believed that money can’t buy you love, UK shoppers don’t seem to think so with 13% more people saying they’ll buy something for that special someone compared to last year. Rachael Lloyd, spokesperson for eHarmony.co... »

Money Problems Costing Business Owners Their Family Life

Money Problems Costing Business Owners Their Family Life

The stress and strain of running a small business is costing people their financial, mental and family wellbeing, a new study has revealed. Scottish Widow’s Centre for the Modern Family: Families in the Future report has revealed that 20% of business owners’ family members admit such a career choice has made them more stressed, with 19% admitting it’s increased money worries in the household. While 42% of the nation’s workforce would like to become self-employed, 40% revealed they prefer the financial security of being a permanent employee and 39% enjoy the benefits – such as a pension, parental leave and sick pay – too much to go it alone. When it comes to downtime with the family however, business owners appear to have more flexibility than an average employee, with 35% saying they... »

UK Economy To Slow Down In 2017 and 2018, Report Concludes

UK Economy To Slow Down In 2017 and 2018, Report Concludes

The UK economy is expected to slow down both this year and next, according to a report by The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). Despite 2% growth in 2016, including 0.6% in Q4, NIESR’s forecast predicts the UK economy will slow to just 1.7% in 2017 and 1.9% in 2018. A drop in value of the pound sterling versus international currencies, and the impact of Brexit means consumer price inflation is likely to rise – which spells potentially good news for businesses but bad news for consumers. In global terms, the world economy is expected to grow at a faster rate in the next couple of years, with the annual growth rate forecast to rise from 3% in 2016 to 3.1% in 2017, and then to 3.5% in 2018. Simon Kirby, head of macroeconomic modelling and forecasting at NIESR said: “... »

Government Reveals Regulations For Late Payment Reporting Ahead of April Launch

Government Reveals Regulations For Late Payment Reporting Ahead of April Launch

The government has revealed new regulations to be induced for late payment reporting ahead of its April launch. Published by small business minister Margot James, the announcement has confirmed that from April 2017 large companies will have to publically report twice a year on their payment practices – including and the average time it takes them to pay supplier invoices. Companies who fail to adhere to the new regulation could be criminally prosecuted, and it’s hoped the new measures will help “shine a spotlight on bad payment practice and lead to improved standards.” Just last December it was revealed that just 51% of all small businesses are paid on time, with just 24% of all invoices settled within three days of being issued. James said: “The UK is home to a record five and a hal... »

Details For Gender Pay Gap Reporting Revealed

Details For Gender Pay Gap Reporting Revealed

The government has released a set guidelines related to its gender pay gap legislation, which will be implemented in April 2018. Under the legislation, employers of more than 250 staff will be required by law to publish data relating to how they pay their male and female workers. Just last Saturday, further details of upcoming changes were announced and it’s now revealed that large business owners will have to publish the: Gender pay gap (mean and median averages) Gender bonus gap (mean and median averages) Proportion of men and women receiving bonuses Proportion of men and women in each quartile of the organisation’s pay structure Just last November, a report released to coincide with Equal Pay Day revealed that UK female employees are paid, on average, 13.9% less than their male counterp... »

Small Business Insolvency Rates Rose In 2016, But Still Second Lowest Level In 11 Years

Small Business Insolvency Rates Rose In 2016, But Still Second Lowest Level In 11 Years

The number of small businesses entering insolvency rose in 2016, but is still at its lowest level in 11 years, according to new government statistics released today. A report by The Insolvency Service has revealed that an estimated total of 16,502 companies entered insolvency in 2016, a rise of 12.6% on the year before. A change in legislation regarding claimable expenses is seen as a possible factor for the increase, with 1,796 enterprises liquidating in Q4 alone. Worrying still, the estimated liquidation rate in 2016 was 0.47%, compared with 0.44% in 2015, representing an increase for the first time since 2009. With regards the different type of liquidation, creditor voluntary liquidation was the most common form, accounting for 72.1% of total insolvencies. This was followed by compulsor... »

UK Economy Grows 0.6% In Q4 Despite Brexit Concerns

UK Economy Grows 0.6% In Q4 Despite Brexit Concerns

The UK economy grew 0.6% in Q4, despite fears the UK’s decision to leave the EU would slow growth. According to the ONS, economic growth between October and December 2016 was identical to the two previous quarters, with the economy growing by 2% in 2016 – compared to 2.2% in 2015. Strong performances by the services and retail sectors were cited as being the main reason behind the surprising results, with the former growing by 0.8% in the last quarter. The manufacturing industry also bounced back from a slow Q3, with its quarterly growth figure of 0.7% slightly better than the 0.5% rate most economists had expected. The figures also showed that the construction industry grew by 0.1% and agriculture by 0.4%, while industrial production was unchanged. Paul Goodman, chairman of the Nati... »

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