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Time Called on Bankrupts

Two bankrupt former pub owners from Warehorn, Ashford have been given suspended prison sentences after failing to tell the Official Receiver that they had sold their pub and fled to Spain with the profits, following a prosecution by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Lynda Anne Parker and Graham Richard Hornigold, former owners of the Woolpack public house plead guilty to offences under the Theft Act 1978 and the Insolvency Act 1986 at Canterbury Crown Court. Despite owing creditors almost £46,000, Parker and Hornigold sold their pub in March 2002 making a profit of over £200,000 and fled to Malaga in Spain where they set up home. Despite a warrant being issued for their arrest in 2005, the pair were only brought into custody on 29th January 2009 on their retur... »

Grant Funding Scheme Turns Down 99 Per Cent of Applicants

Grant Funding Scheme Turns Down 99 Per Cent of Applicants

As few as one per cent of small firms that have applied for funding through the Government’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme have received help, according to a survey by financial adviser Clifton Asset Management (CAM). The survey of 1,000 small businesses also found that just 68 per cent had heard of the scheme – and almost all of these (93 per cent) did not think it would be worth applying for because the application criteria is so tight. The EFG scheme was announced in January this year, and is a Government initiative supporting up to £1.3 billion of new lending to viable businesses with a turnover of up to £25 million. Under the terms of the scheme, banks are advised to lend to businesses that they would be happy to lend to commercially, regardless of ... »

School Leavers Must Have Better Job Skills

School Leavers Must Have Better Job Skills

Small businesses are being held back by a lack of basic skills amongst employees, according to new research by the Institute of Directors (IoD) which shows employers want improved literacy and numeracy standards in education.   In an IoD survey of 1,300 directors, more than a third (33 per cent) reported that staff lacked basic skills such as literacy, numeracy and IT. Of those employers, seven in ten said that the skills gap was a “significant problem” in their organisation. Better standards in reading and writing were seen as an “urgent” priority for the next Government by almost nine out of ten (86 per cent) respondents, while 79 per cent wanted to see improved employability skills, such as communication, team working and problem solving. In addition, one in... »

Government makes changes to Trade Credit Insurance Top-up Scheme.

Changes to Trade Credit Insurance Top-up Scheme

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) today announced further changes to the Government’s Trade Credit Insurance Top-up Scheme. Since the 1st of May companies that have had their credit insurance cover reduced have been able to purchase six months top-up cover under the Government Scheme. After feedback from business, the following three changes will be made to the scheme’s rules today: 1) The price of the top-up cover will be reduced from 2% to 1% 2) The £20,000 lower limit on top-up cover will be removed 3) The upper limit on top-up cover will be increased from £1 million to £2 million Since launching the scheme, the Government has collected market information from insurers, brokers and businesses that use trade credit insurance. Evidence i... »

High-speed Broadband should be available to all SMEs

High-speed Broadband should be available to all SMEs

The Government’s plans to make ‘minimum’ speed broadband available to all businesses by 2012, will leave many small firms with slow, inefficient Internet access, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned. Earlier this month, the Government announced in its Digital Britain White Paper that it will provide the infrastructure for all UK businesses to be able to access minimum speed broadband (2 Mbps) by 2012. FSB chairman, John Wright, said: “We welcome the Government’s commitment to ensure universal access to fast broadband, but our research shows that a third of small businesses already have 2Mbps broadband, yet struggle to do core, day-to-day business activities,” “More than half of small businesses rely on the Internet for up to 50% of t... »

Rowlands Growth Capital Review

Small and medium sized businesses, banks, industry representatives, regional agencies, venture capital experts and academics were today invited to give evidence to the Rowlands Growth Capital Review. The review will determine if Government intervention is needed to ensure adequate finance will be available to firms as the economy improves. Historically the period immediately following a recession is when small and medium sized businesses find it most difficult to access long term growth finance. It is also when demand for this type of finance is strongest. Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said: “Small businesses will play an important role in the recovery of the British economy. These businesses now have the opportunity to contribute to our thinking on the frameworks we will need to... »

Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)

DTI, BERR and DIUS now BIS

A shake-up in Government structure means the interests of businesses are now represented by the newly formed Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). BIS replaces two departments – the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR, formerly the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI)) and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) – and brings together enterprise and skills, including further and higher education, under one roof. According to the Government, the remit of BIS will include advocating the needs of business, particularly small firms, promoting innovation across the UK, collaborating with regional development agencies across the UK to promote growth, and the development of apprenticeships. According to a BIS spokespe... »