NEWS - BUSINESS & ECONOMY
According to the Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), record cuts over the past three months have led to mortgage rates falling to their lowest in the UK since 2007.
The MAB collated and analysed data from Moneyfacts.co.uk to create the National Mortgage Index, which showed that the average two-year tracker rates had dropped by 28 points from September to November: the largest autumn reduction on record for these products.
Two-year tracker rates dropped to new lows of 2.38 per cent in November, with average two-year fixed rates at 3.44 per cent.Read more >>
Data released by Eurostat, the office for statistics of the European Union (EU), has shown that the standard of living has improved in the UK.
In this recent report, the UK has overtaken the Netherlands to join Denmark, Sweden and Finland in joint-fourth position.Read more >>
According to the latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the rate at which new firms are emerging is at close to a record high.
ONS data shows that 28.5 per cent more businesses were created in 2013 compared to the year before, bringing the total to 346,000. The measure of new companies as a proportion of all the UK’s firms stood at 14.1 per cent in 2013, which was the highest since ONS began recording the data in 2004.Read more >>
The latest BDO Business Trends Report predicts continued growth for UK businesses in 2015.
According to the monthly Business Trends Indices report from accountants and business advisers BDO, UK businesses should sustain steady growth next year.
Order books for UK businesses showed sustained growth as the BDO Output Index remained at 103.2 in November, unchanged from October. Both the services and the manufacturing sub-indexes remain above the long-term average trend rate, pointing towards moderate growth in the early months of 2015.
The report suggests a GDP growth rate of two to 2.5 per cent during this quarter and the next.Read more >>
A new report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) shows flexible working could improve productivity.
The results of their survey show that 83 per cent of knowledge workers (such as engineers, doctors, and lawyers) would make use of flexible working options if they were available.
If eight out of ten of such workers adopted flexible working practices they could add 0.7 per cent of GDP to the UK economy, or £11.5 billion, with improved use of their time.
The survey of 1,272 participants was commissioned by the mobile workspace solutions company Citrix.Read more >>
In a widely expected move, the Bank of England (BOE) has left interest rates unchanged at a record low for the 70th month running.
Since there was no statement, many will now turn to the minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on December 17th to fully understand the decision.
At the previous meeting of the MPC, two members of the committee voted to raise rates due to worries over the building of inflationary pressures.Read more >>
Chuka Umunna, Labour’s shadow business secretary, helped bring Small Business Saturday (SBS) to the UK.
Speaking in an interview with Startups, a website aimed at entrepreneurs and small firms, Chuka Umunna detailed how he dreamt up the idea to help bring SBS to UK shores.
The event made its second annual appearance on December 6th, and is designed to promote independent retailers.Read more >>
Domestic demand boosts manufacturing activity in the UK despite weak exports to Eurozone.
Further indications of the UK’s strengthening recovery were found in Markit’s recent Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI). It showed that manufacturing activity in the UK continued to expand, hitting a four-month high of 53.5 in November.Read more >>
Barclays has made a major online move by launching new video banking services.
The Barclays Video Banking venture is aimed to retain the personality of the retail branch, whilst allowing customers to save time and fit banking into their busy schedules.
The project is a ground-breaking, round-the-clock video service that allows customers to skip the high street trip but still speak face-to-face with advisors.Read more >>
Exporters from small to mid-sized businesses believe 2015 will bring them more international business, according to new research.
According to Open to Export, an exporter’s forum backed by the government, small and medium-sized enterprises are optimistic about opportunities overseas in 2015.
After trade data from the Office for National Statistics showed that UK recovery is not being driven by exports, initiatives like Export Week were set up to increase the amount of international trade in the UK.Read more >>
The SME sector in the UK is set to drive growth in cloud services, according to research from cloud services provider BCSG (Business Centric Services Group).
Research from Business Centric Services Group (BCSG) revealed that 72 per cent of SMEs have plans to embrace the cloud by 2017, adding to the numerous businesses that already have cloud services in use.
This indicates that businesses are realising the potential that the cloud offers in terms of time-saving and the ability to access files regardless of location.Read more >>
PwC has found that the UK’s biggest businesses will see their tax hit record levels this year.
PwC has highlighted the contribution of big business to the UK economy with new figures from their latest Total Tax Contribution survey. The survey shows that Britain’s largest companies paid the highest tax revenues ever recorded in 2014: a reminder that big businesses make a significant contribution to the UK economy.
PwC’s 100 Group, comprised of the finance directors of large companies and some multinationals operating in the UK, revealed that they have collectively paid some £80 billion this year. This is a rise of £2 billion from 2013.Read more >>
Welcome to this month’s news round-up of all the major stories that have kept us talking in November.
Figures from the ONS showed that the non-financial business economy contributes £1 trillion to the UK, when measuring approximate Gross Value Added (aGVA) at basic prices. In addition, the annual aGVA growth of 8.1 per cent was at its highest since 1997, and the service sector accounted for over half of this record figure.Read more >>
Analysts predict sales will beat Cyber Monday’s as Black Friday surpasses media hype.
According to IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group), sales through retailers’ websites on Black Friday amounted to a staggering £810 million – well above the forecasted £555 million. When the full data is released, stores may well find that this figure is far above Cyber Monday’s results.Read more >>
Employers must offer flexible working hours to attract the best workers.
Recent data from YouGov has highlighted that around four tenths of those surveyed would feel uncomfortable asking about flexible options.
The survey of 1,300 people showed that both men and women were equally unlikely to broach the subject, even though 37 per cent of respondents had difficulty juggling work and family life.
To maintain health in the workplace, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) recommends that businesses should adopt new values that promote flexible working.Read more >>
Online retailers to make an impressive start to the festive shopping period.
Closely following the chaos of Black Friday comes an equally booming Cyber Monday, with analysts predicting £650 million of sales over the course of the day.
The run-up to Christmas is often the highlight of the retail year, as consumers usually go on a month-long shopping spree. This year, it is forecast to be worth around £36.5 billion; and on Cyber Monday, internet industry body IMRG has predicted that 25 million shoppers will spend up to £451,000 per minute.Read more >>
New figures from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) show London is leading the UK’s continued economic improvement.
As a major business and finance hub for not only the UK but all of Europe, England’s capital plays a major role in the nation’s growth.
As the figures show from RBS’s latest Regional Growth Tracker, London is at the forefront of the economic recovery. The city grew by around 3.7 per cent in the third quarter of this year, well above the national average.Read more >>
The iconic London ‘Tube’ has broken records with the busiest day in its history.
Millions of Londoners depend on the Underground to get to work, enjoy their social lives and keep customers coming back to their businesses. It’s the lifeblood of the capital. So it’s hardly surprising that anyone who has spent any time in the capital is used to seeing crowded carriages, especially in peak commuter periods.
However, Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that last Friday (November 14th) was officially the busiest day in the history of the Tube. A total of 4.576 million journeys were made on the underground network, far surpassing the 4.544 million journeys made on the previous record day. Considering that this was August 7th, 2012 in the midst of the Olympic Games, when tourists flocked the city in even greater numbers than usual, that’s quite an achievement.Read more >>
UK businesses are seeking growth opportunities beyond Europe, EY has found.
UK businesses are very much in growth mode and especially in the case of small firms, demand overseas will play an important role in satisfying their appetite. However, a slack eurozone has meant that in many key markets, demand remains weak. For many firms, that means that they are looking further afield for opportunities.Read more >>
Output is rising among manufacturing firms as small businesses continue to benefit from economic recovery.
Smaller manufacturers are still benefiting from the UK’s economic recovery, in spite of the pressures stemming from slacker global demand.
That’s the view of the latest SME Trends Survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which found that manufacturing companies are benefiting from stronger domestic demand at a time when export orders are harder to come by.Read more >>
Next year’s World Expo is a major opportunity for nations to show off what they can offer. The government is hoping it could be worth £1 billion to the UK.
When next year’s World Expo kicks off in Milan, delegations from around the world will flock to Italy to demonstrate what they have to offer to a truly global audience. It’s a massive opportunity for governments and businesses alike to benefit from showing off their products and services on the biggest possible stage. So much so, in fact, that the UK government says it is aiming to make the event worth £1 billion to the UK economy.Read more >>
World leaders are positive that in 2018, a decade on from the financial crash, the global economic outlook will be markedly better than it has been in the interim years.
After much discussion at this year’s G20 summit, attendees came to an agreement that they will transform their respective economies in fundamental ways to make this possible.
One of the key commitments is for heads of state to boost their economies by 2.1 per cent over the next four years, which will orientated around a package of 800 measures designed to stimulate growth.Read more >>
Virgin America’s debut on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York went spectacularly well with share prices increasing by more than 30 per cent during the first day of trading.
The company floated 13.3 million shares at an initial $23 (£15) a share, which later peaked at $31.18. Approximately $307 million (£196 million) was generated by the close of business.Read more >>
Non-financial businesses’ contribution to the economy hit £1 trillion last year, with the service sector contributing 54.7 per cent of that figure.
The UK’s recovery is well underway and businesses are continuing to generate more and more wealth for the nation.Read more >>
Accountancy network BDO International’s latest research points to continued confidence among UK companies.
Economic recovery is underway and news is continually emerging about improving business conditions for UK firms. According to the latest figures from accountancy firm BDO, this upswing is being translated into strong levels of business confidence.Read more >>