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

Skills Shortage forces Overseas Recruiting

Small Business News – 16th November 2007 A skills shortage is making London businesses struggle to compete and firms are increasingly looking to recruit staff from overseas according to research by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and KPMG. Not only is there a lack of skilled graduates but also of lower-skilled staff too. The results from the London Business Survey show that 65% of the capital’s firms expect a skills shortfall in the next 6 months whilst 58% of businesses are already recruiting from abroad to fill skills gaps. Of those companies looking to recruit overseas 29% said they would be increasing their recruitment outside the UK and, contrary to the opinion that overseas workers perform lesser-skilled jobs, 83% of companies are recruiting workers with highe... »

Bank of England Quarterly Inflation Report

The Bank of England released its quarterly report this morning, hot on the heels of yesterday’s news of a rise in inflation (to 2.1%) for the month of October and last Thursday’s interest rate decision (interest rates remain at 5.75%) The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has indicated that in the short-term there is likely to be an increase in inflation and a slowing in growth with signs that, in the medium term, growth will again increase and inflation fall to within targets. The MPC sees residential and commercial property values moderating and expects personal saving rates to impact upon consumer spending. The report also made note of the instability in world markets due to the recent financial turmoil, predicting a cautionary approach to any future UK monet... »

Inflation up to 2.1%

Small Business News – 12th November 2007 The Consumer Price Indices (CPI) saw Inflation up at 2.1% in October according to The Office for National Statistics (ONS). September’s inflation figure was 1.8% but rising petrol prices and the rising cost of food have since pushed inflation up. The government’s target is to keep inflation at 2% or less. The price of petrol rose by 2.7p a litre last month, mainly due to the government’s 2p fuel duty rise on October 1st. Downward contributions to the CPI were due to a drop in energy prices with both gas and electricity bills falling slightly due to the phasing-in of tariff reductions. The Retail Price Index (RPI), the figure upon which many pay rises are based, also rose last month from 3.9% to 4.2%. Last Thursday, The Bank o... »

PM Backs Independent Review on Flexible Working

Small Business News – 9th November 2007 Prime Minister Gordon Brown today announced further measures to extend workers rights to request flexible working. In light of new figures in the 2007 Work-Life Balance Employer Survey that reveal flexible working is of great benefit to business as well as to employees, the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (DBERR) has appointed Imelda Walsh, Director of Human Resources at Sainsbury’s, to lead an independent review on flexible working. In particular the review is to look at how requests for flexible working can be extended to parents of older children. The business case for flexible working is that productivity gains can be made and staff retention is improved. Imelda Walsh’s services were secured due to he... »

Face Time Not Facebook

Sahar Hashemi, the founder of Coffee Republic, is one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs. She reckons that we have so many electronic ways of communicating with our clients, via instant messaging (IM), email and VoIP, that businesses are losing the art of actually talking face-to-face with their customers. Sahar Hashemi’s advice is – shut down your email, log-off Facebook and get back to basics. Recent research has indicated that younger businesspeople are far too reliant on electronic tools when communicating with potential clients and partners and she believes that, although electronic comms have their place in modern day work, you just can’t beat the trust & understanding from meeting people face-to-face. This Friday 9th November Sahar Hashemi joins th... »

Interest Rates Stay at 5.75%

Small Business News – 8 th November 2007 The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has kept interest rates at 5.75%. This is the fourth month in a row that UK interest rates have remained the same since the last increase in July 2007 when the rate rose by one quarter of a percent from 5.5% to 5.75%. With inflation currently at 1.8%, below the 2% target, and oil prices close to $100 a barrel, the MPC thought it wise not to drop interest rates in the wake of an uncertain economic outlook. The next interest rate decision will be announced on December 6th. »

South East Business Awards

Research released today shows that 86% of business leaders in the south east of England believe that local business should support their neighbourhoods and contribute to the local community. The study by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) shows further insight into the current business climate in the south east of England. Other figures considered the economic outlook for the region with 50% of businesses expecting a similar level of business prospects 22% expecting a more positive view mainly due to regeneration & building projects 20% were a little more downbeat blaming regulation for their gloomier economic attitudes Having a skilled local workforce was highlighted as the most important factor by nearly 40% of businesses. All these figures are a prelude to the South E... »

Better Business for Female Entrepreneurs

Small Business Week 2007 The final day of Small Business Week 2007 focuses on the role of the female entrepreneur in the web seminar Better Business… for Female Entrepreneurs. With around 620,000 small business run by women in the UK and an estimated combined turnover of around £130 billion annually, this is the fastest-growing channel of the UK SME sector. This final day of the week sees Maxine Benson, co-founder of everywoman, "the business resource for female entrepreneurs and women business owners", Beatriz Butsana-Sita, director at BT Business and Julie White, owner of Truly Madly Baby, discuss the success of the female entrepreneur in UK business today. »

Better Business on the Web

Small Business Week 2007 The fourth day of Small Business Week 2007, turns our attention to how small business can be effective on the web in the web seminar Better Business… on the Web Ake Nylen, General Manager of broadband, VoIP & software services at BT Business and Adam Wayland, editor of speak of ways that small business can maximise the world wide web for return on investment. Reaching new audiences, increasing efficiency and driving sales are all discuss in the week’s penultimate webinar. »

Better Business by Going Green

Small Business Week 2007 The second day of Small Business Week 2007 sees another webinar (web seminar), this time with Molly Webb of The Climate Group, Donna Young, BT’s Head of Climate Change and Martin Brommell from BT’s Local Business organisation. Today, from midday, these experts discuss the subject of small businesses "going green" in the webinar Better Business… when you go green With increasing expectations on green credentials from customers & employees alike, and with Government regulations on environmental issues, many small businesses feel the need to go green, but how? What actions can small businesses take? Are there any business benefits to going green? Watch today’s webinar and find out how. »

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