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

Annual Small Business Survey

A government department has revealed the results of its Annual Small Business Survey. Now that it’s 2008, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) once better known as the Department for Trade and Industry (DTi) has published the ASBS 2006/2007 findings. The results are from a survey of nearly 10,000 small firms that was conducted from November 2006 to February 2007. So what did the survey find? Of the firms quizzed some 20% had experienced growth in the previous year whilst 15% had seen a decline in business. Around 65% were expecting business to increase over the next 12 months with less than 30% looking to close over the same period. So on the whole the business outlook was generally positive. As for the potential issues that businesses foresaw over the... »

Rates Held at 5.25%

Interest rates stay at 5.25% In line with expectations the Bank of England has kept interest rates steady with no change of the current 5.25% figure. With a slowing economy and increasing inflationary pressures, it seems the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee is keeping a steady hand on interest rates balancing growth and inflation when compared to the drastic slashing of rates in the US where the figure is down from 5.25% in September last year to just 3% now. Previously the UK interest rate was cut in both December (to 5.5%) and February (to 5.25%) from a recent peak of 5.75% where it had been since July. »

Low Pay

National Minimum Wage will rise to £5.73

The National Minimum Wage will rise again in October 2008 to a rate of £5.73 an hour. »

FSB Budget Submission

Budget 2008 Stirs FSB

The Federation of Small Business has published its Budget Submission ahead of the 2008 Budget next week. »

New Corporate Manslaughter Act Places Onus on Business

From 6th April this year the controversial Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 comes into force. Businesses of any size, including UK small business, will be subject to the new laws. Corporate Manslaughter, or Corporate Homicide as it will be known in Scotland, is an offence where a work fatality is caused by a gross breach in the duty of care where the conduct of a company and its senior management has caused the breach. No individual liability will stem from investigations under the new laws but the risk of prosecution & conviction and the fines, ranging from 2.5% to 10% of a company’s gross annual turnover, are expected to encourage better corporate responsibility. Although the new Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act is aimed squarely at suppor... »

Waste and Resources Action Programme

Small Business Recycling Assistance Withdrawn

Just as the environment starts to take greater prominence on the small business agenda, a scheme to help businesses to go green is abandoned. A scheme set up to help Small Businesses to recycle has been dropped by the organisation that runs it. The Funding Support Scheme for Recycling Services to Businesses was initially introduced as a boost to help UK SMEs to go green. WRAP, the Waste and Resources Action Programme, started the scheme in October last year with funding from Defra department BREW – the Business Resource Efficiency and Waste Programme. But after Defra cut its funding WRAP has decided to abandon the scheme. 40 applications for the scheme had already been received. It looks like these organisations will either have to go it alone or seek assistance elsewhere. WRAP have ... »

Save Energy in the Office

Saving energy saves money and money saved adds to your bottom line. Britain’s SMEs account for 99% of businesses in this country and as such they can make great contributions to the environment by saving energy. Saving energy reduces costs and by reducing costs a small business can save money. Saving money then puts more cash in the company coffers to allow for either further investment or increased profitiability. So how can the small business save energy? Take a look at the Boost Efficiency webchat and get an insight into how much energy is wasted. Penney Poyzer, eco-expert and BBC2 presenter, and Mike Dinsdale of Brother discuss the 300 million pieces of paper that flow through Britain’s offices everyday and how IT contributes as much CO2 into the atmosphere as the airline i... »

National Minimum Wage to Cut Child Poverty?

Ex-minister links Minimum Wage with child poverty. According to the Press Association, David Blunkett, the ex Work & Pension Secretary, has called for the National Minimum Wage to be "increased significantly" if there is to be any cut in the levels of child poverty. Mr Blunkett believes that a steady rise in the Minimum Wage to 50% of the average wage levels will be enough to meet government targets of halving child poverty by 2010. On the contrary, last year the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) called for only a modest rise in the National Minimum Wage, urging the Low Pay Commission and other bodies to consider the fact that the National Minimum Wage had risen by 53% since it introduction in 1999 whereas average earnings had increased by just 38% over the same period... »

Apprenticeship Week

Apprenticeships are good for business but how, as an employer, do you get involved? With around 240,000 apprentices working across 80 industry sectors in 130,000 organisations in England alone, the apprenticeship is far from "a thing of the past". Starting an apprenticeship is not only a good career move for young people but of great benefit to small business too. So have you ever wanted to offer apprenticeships but not had the time or resource to train employees? If the answer is yes then Stephen Gardner, Director of Apprenticeships at the Learning and Skills Council will be answering questions in a webchat today at 15:30 GMT. He will be joined by 2006 Apprenticeship Awards (Large Employer category) finalist, Gina Mcdowell. With just 1-in-15 16-18 year olds in the UK serving app... »

Microsoft Split Small Business Server 2008

Microsoft announce plans to release Small Business Server 2008 and split the package! Just as Microsoft made their Vista OS in five flavours now they’re planning the same tactic with Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008). Formerly code-named "Cougar", MS SBS 2008 is to be sold in two versions. The Redmond software giant will launch Standard and Premium editions of SBS 2008 to cater for firms of 50 or less employees. For SMEs of the medium-sized persuasion, MS Essesntial Business Server (EBS) 2008 is designed for firms of up to 250 employees. SBServer 2008 Standard will be bundled with Windows Server 2008, Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0, MS Exchange Server 2007, MS Forefront Security for Exchange Server and Windows Live OneCare for Server. The Premium edition will contain a... »

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