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.

Larger Businesses Must Now Publish Gender Pay Gap Figures

Larger Businesses Must Now Publish Gender Pay Gap Figures

UK businesses with more than 250 staff must now publish how much they pay their male and female workers, as new government legislation comes into effect. Its estimated that gender pay gap reporting will affect 9,000 employers with over 15 million employees – with relevant firms required to submit all data by April 2019. As part of the new regulations, employers will be required to: Publish their median gender pay gap figures Publish their mean gender pay gap figures Publish the proportion of men and women in each quartile of the pay structure Publish the gender pay gaps for any bonuses paid out during the year It’s hoped that such transparency into how companies pay their male and female workers will help end the gender pay gap – which currently stands at 18.1%. Justine Greening, minister ... »

Over Half Of All Small Business Owners Don’t Know That R&D Tax Relief Can Help Them

Over Half Of All Small Business Owners Don’t Know That R&D Tax Relief Can Help Them

51% of small business owners haven’t heard of research and development (R&D) tax relief, according to a report by Catax. The survey of 500 enterprise owners revealed that, even among those that are aware of the incentive, a large percentage don’t believe their own business would qualify. 44% of respondents mistakenly believe that R&D is solely reserved for specialist tech, drug and science businesses, whereas in reality, R&D can potentially be claimed by any firm in any sector. 57% of those surveyed even say they’ve “developed a new product or service, and/or implemented a new business process over the past two years” — the basic requirement for an R&D tax claim. Another misconception, believed by 43%, is that any eligible R&D activity has to be successful and integrate... »

‘Robot Wars Is Scaremongering’: Majority Of Manufacturers Say Automation Will INCREASE Jobs

‘Robot Wars Is Scaremongering’: Majority Of Manufacturers Say Automation Will INCREASE Jobs

The increased introduction of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) in the UK workplace will actually create, not destroy, jobs – according to a new report by The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF). The survey of 1,000 manufacturing professionals has revealed that 63.3% have never witnessed an employee lose his/her job as a result of automation, with 36.7% saying such a process actually created jobs. These figures come in stark contrast to findings released two weeks ago, when it was reported that 30% of the UK workforce were at risk of being made redundant due to increased AI. Indeed, respondents appeared to have shrugged off such fears – with 72.6% believing society is being scare-mongered into thinking robotics and automation are a negative progression. How ... »

3 In A Row: Small Business Confidence Up For Third Successive Quarter

3 In A Row: Small Business Confidence Up For Third Successive Quarter

UK small businesses confidence has increased for a third consecutive quarter, according to a report by Capital Economics. The SME Growth Tracker of 2017 has revealed that, on average, small and medium sized enterprises are predicting a 2.3% increase in revenue for the coming 12 months. When broken down by region, firms in the North East are the most optimistic in the country, with a SME Confidence Index score of +11 – far acceding the national average. In contrast, business owners in Wales are more pessimistic about the future, with their SME Confidence Index score of -2 suggesting they believe they’ll suffer a dip in performance over the next 12 months. Despite the general optimism, it appears that businesses are worried about the potential of rising inflation and increased supply costs, ... »

Businesses Urged To Create “Illusion Of Old Britain” As Nostalgic Consumers Crave Old Currency

Businesses Urged To Create “Illusion Of Old Britain” As Nostalgic Consumers Crave Old Currency

UK small businesses have been urged to create an “illusion of old Britain” and allow consumers to pay in pounds, shillings and pennies, according to a report by the Small Firms Index (SFI). The survey of 1,971 UK shoppers revealed that the triggering of Article 50, coupled with the introduction of the new £1, has led to consumers hark back to old Blighty – with businesses expected to follow suit. 36% of all respondents said they were keen to return re-adopt old terminology when shopping, with consumers in Boston (75.6%), South Holland (73.6%) and Castle Point (72.7%) the most enthusiastic. In contrast, those surveyed in Hackney were less than happy to accept the opinions of others – with 70% suggesting London businesses should adopt a more “Euro-friendly” environment. . While pounds, shill... »

Biased Language In Job Descriptions Prove Businesses Still Hire Candidates Based On Gender

Biased Language In Job Descriptions Prove Businesses Still Hire Candidates Based On Gender

Gender-biased language in job descriptions proves that businesses are still taking a sexist approach to hiring candidates, according to a new study by Adzuna. Their survey, which analysed a selection of traditionally ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ words over one million job applications, revealed that businesses still consider some jobs more suitable for men and some more suitable for women. The most popular masculine words, such as ‘lead’ (410,748), ‘active’ (219,468) and ‘competitive’ (202,188), were more prevalent in job descriptions for sales and consultancy positions – while ‘feminine’ words like ‘support’ (519,187), ‘responsive’ (483,428) and ‘understand’(241,741) were more popular in vacancies for social work, nursing and teaching. When broken down by sector, the tech sector is revealed... »

38% Of All Cyber Attacks Completely “Avoidable”, As Business Owners Blamed For Failing To Warn Staff

38% Of All Cyber Attacks Completely “Avoidable”, As Business Owners Blamed For Failing To Warn Staff

38% of all cyberattacks on businesses in 2016 were completely “avoidable” and would have been prevented if staff has been trained properly, according to a report by CFC Underwriting. The survey of 254 UK small firms revealed that a significant number of attacks made by cyber-criminals were “phishing scams” – where hackers send emails to businesses purporting to be from a reputable company in order to extract sensitive data like credit card numbers. A relatively mundane attempt at fraud, fingers are being pointing at business owners for failing to educate and warn staff about such risks. Indeed, 27% of respondents admitted to never training their staff on issues of cyber security because they “didn’t know where to start” – suggesting business owners themselves are in need of more education ... »

Small Businesses Now Believe Offering Employee Benefits Will Increase Productivity

Small Businesses Now Believe Offering Employee Benefits Will Increase Productivity

UK small businesses are beginning to realise the benefits of offering employees additional benefits, according to a report by MetLife. The MetLife Employee Benefit Trends Study 2017 has revealed that just a quarter of UK small enterprises still don’t offer any added incentives to their workforce, with 76% of these firms planning to reserve this in the future. When quizzed about their reasons for a more positive change of policy, 66% of respondents said they believed it would increase productivity, while 64% said enhancing wellness was a deciding factor why they changed their mind. Around 63% said such perks would help with recruitment while 61% believe they would help with the retention of key staff. How To Spot The Signs Of Poor Employee Mental Health At Work Business owners have also bee... »

Technical And Professional Industry Fastest Growing Sector In Small Business Space

Technical And Professional Industry Fastest Growing Sector In Small Business Space

The technical and professional industry is the fastest growing sector in the small business space, according to a new report by Hampshire Trust Bank. The research, in conjunction with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), revealed that there are currently 17% more small businesses in the UK than there were in 2010 – with the number of legal firms, vets and architects increasing by 40% over that time. Communication firms (33%) and business services (25%) have also experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, with transport and distribution also preforming well (22%). In contrast, the growth in the number of small retail (3%) and construction enterprises (4%) has slowed down considerably, with respondents saying that competition is the biggest barrier to growth. Mark S... »

Medium-Sized Businesses Are UK’s “Economic Engine” As Overseas Turnover Up 50% Since 2011

Medium-Sized Businesses Are UK’s “Economic Engine” As Overseas Turnover Up 50% Since 2011

UK medium-sized businesses have reported that their overseas turnover is up 50% since 2011, according to a report from the BDO. Outperforming UK FTSE 350 and smaller firms, medium-sized enterprises generated £127bn in 2016 – up from £84bn five years previously. Despite the backdrop of Brexit in 2016, the “economic engine” of the UK economy remained buoyant and increased its international sales from £119bn to £127bn – a 7% rise. In contrast, the levels of overseas trade of FTSE350 and small businesses in 2016 fell 30% (from £524bn to £366bn) and 13% (from £12bn to £10.4bn) respectively. With Article 50 negotiations set to begin from Wednesday, the government has been urged to consider the significant of small and medium sized businesses to the economy – with the UK’s 30,000 medium firms acc... »

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