A huge new plan to improve London’s infrastructure has been put out to consultation by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
It’s no surprise that London continues to grow – as the centre of some of the UK’s key industries it attracts people from around the country and all over the world who come to visit, live and work. But that expansion has to be supported by the right infrastructure, and the Mayor of London clearly believes that the capital could start to lag behind its global peers without huge investment.Read more >>
Ramadan is becoming an increasingly important element of the British retail calendar with brands such as Primark and Harrods reaping rich rewards.
As religious holiday of Eid-al-Fitr comes to a close and gifts are exchanged, some UK retailers are likely to be enjoying a considerable boost from higher spending during Ramadan.
A report in the Wall Street Journal finds that the holy month has brought shoppers into high-end stores across the UK, and especially in London, for some time. Indeed, luxury stores like Harvey Nichols tell the news provider that they bring in top stylists from key markets in Islamic countries such as Dubai and Kuwait to help UK staff understand the specific needs and preferences of these customers. Harrods offers cultural training and Arabic-speaking sales assistants.Read more >>
Popular Google search queries could potentially be used to predict falling stocks, new research has found.
Every analyst and trader on Wall Street wants to stay ahead of the game and avoid the next great crash. But researchers at Warwick Business School and Boston University say they have developed a method that could potentially use one of the world’s biggest data sources – Google.
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Management consultancy Von Essen has identified a top class of oil and gas contractors earning as much as £1,500 per day.
Oil and gas is a sector suffering from serious skills shortages. Although that causes problems for businesses, it’s also good news for skilled professionals who can command higher pay to fill that void. According to consultancy firm Von Essen, some contractors have exploited this opportunity so successfully that they can now earn as much as £1,500 for a day’s work.Read more >>
International Monetary Fund data puts Britain ahead of the rest of the developed world in terms of economic growth.
Positive news continues to flood in for Britain’s economy, and businesses and households are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, the UK’s economic growth is ahead of every other country in the developed world, according to new calculations from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In an update to the World Economic Outlook it published in April, the IMF revised its projections for UK growth by 0.4 percentage points. That takes the total up to 3.2 per cent this year – faster growth than in any other developed nation.Read more >>
Facebook’s second quarter results show it has seen a surge in mobile advertising revenue to $791 million.
Facebook once attracted criticism for failing to make the most of the potential of mobile advertising. But as its most recent financial results for the second quarter of the year indicate, the social media giant has definitely worked out how to capitalise on a booming market.
“We had a good second quarter,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and chief executive. “Our community has continued to grow, and we see a lot of opportunity ahead as we connect the rest of the world.”Read more >>
Islamic banking has been growing fast, but could it break out of its niche position in the market?
As economies across Asia, Africa and the Middle East have grown, it is not surprising that demand for financial services in these markets has risen in the past few years.
But at the same time, the high proportion of Muslims living in these countries and other global economies has created the need for a different approach to financial services. Islamic banking, which is administered so that it complies with sharia law, has boomed as a result.Read more >>
New Confederation of British Industry statistics show that manufacturers are continuing to feel positive about their performance.
Manufacturing in the UK had something of a poor reputation for many years and was especially hard-hit by the financial crisis. Since then, the government has been attempting to rebalance the economy towards production and exports rather than importing from abroad.Read more >>
Foreign investment into the UK hit record levels in the last financial year, new figures show.
The UK has long been competitive place to do business, and as the economy recovers more and more companies are considering the nation as a destination for investment. In fact, according to new figures published by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the nation has managed to attract the highest number of investment projects since the government began recording data in the 1980s.
In the 2013-14 financial year, the data shows that the UK attracted 1,773 new investment projects – 14 per cent more than it did in the previous 12 months. The economic impact was also clear – 66,390 new jobs came from foreign investment, representing the highest figure since 2001.Read more >>
This year will see the UK economy expand faster than any other country in the G7, a new report finds.
Positive news keeps coming for the UK economy, which it seems is finally shaking off the effects of the financial crisis. New figures from the EY ITEM Club on 21 June show that the UK will not only continue to grow in 2014, but will outstrip some of its biggest global rivals.
In its latest Summer Forecast the body predicts that gross domestic product (GDP) will grow at a rate of 3.1 per cent in 2014. That will be the strongest rate of any economy in the G7, with Canada expecting growth of two per cent of 1.8 per cent anticipated in Germany.Read more >>
Open-house events are becoming more popular among some small businesses.
Small businesses often find that their size is an advantage when dealing with potential customers. They have the benefit of being able to inject a human touch into their service, which can frequently lead to stronger and more effective working relationships that keep clients coming back.
But some companies are even taking this a step further by inviting the public to discover where they live and work.Read more >>
The Competition and Markets Authority has recommended that UK banks face a full competition inquiry.
The UK’s retail banking sector is lacking competition and needs to be subject to a full competition investigation, according to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Two studies conducted by the markets watchdog found that the existing range of options offered by the banking sector fails to satisfy the needs of either individuals or small businesses. As a result, it has now opened aconsultation on its decision to launch an in-depth market investigation that will focus on the markets for personal current accounts and banking for small and medium-sized businesses.Read more >>
Turkey’s central bank has slashed interest rates yet again in the third consecutive month of cuts.
Turkey has been seen as a high-potential market, but recent instability there has made its outlook less certain.
Now, the central bank has made yet another dramatic cut to interest rates in a bid to keep the country on its feet, with the third round of interest rate cuts in three months announced on 17 July.Read more >>
Competition could be improved in the energy market if cities invested in their own green energy, a new report says.
There has been plenty of talk in recent months about competition in the UK energy market – or the alleged lack of it. The ‘Big Six’ energy companies account for the vast majority of the nation’s customers and with prices continually rising, an official investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority is currently under way.
But a new report from the think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) argues that there is another way to increase competition – by encouraging cities and local authorities to invest in producing green energy themselves.Read more >>
The UK has experienced a record-breaking annual rise in employment, with close to a million people now in work compared to a year ago, official figures from the government have revealed.
According to data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the past 12 months have seen a rapid increase in the number of people now in employment, which is equal to the record high of 2005.
There are now 30.6 million people in work, 1.8 million more than in 2010, when the current government came into power. MPs in the coalition were quick to explain this upsurge as testament to its commitment to tackling unemployment and making real progress.Read more >>
Two of the biggest multinational companies in the world, Apple and IBM, have formed an ‘exclusive partnership’ that will see them develop innovative apps aimed at the business world.
Apple and IBM revealed that they are working on a ‘new class’ of applications focused on enterprises, in what is a landmark partnership.
One of the biggest outcomes of this new working relationship is the assimilation of IBM’s big data and analytical capabilities into Apple’s products, namely its iPhone and iPad. Both corporations said the deal marks a breakthrough in their approach to their respective spheres of expertise.Read more >>
The UK government’s Public Accounts Committee has revealed that the government is owed a remarkable £22 billion.
Around £15 billion of this total needs to be paid to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), while the rest is largely owed to the Department for Work and Pensions and the Ministry of Justice.
According to the committee’s report, the government is falling short of getting back what it is owed, resulting in higher borrowing and, consequently, holding it back from making real and lasting changes across all its departments.
For example, with £22 billion, it would be possible to build 1,500 new schools. It is also equivalent to a fifth of the total public funding that goes into the nation’s healthcare system.Read more >>
China has revealed that BRICS may be taking a central role in nurturing a commanding voice among developing countries so that they have a bigger influence on politics at an international level.
Speaking ahead of a BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit in Brazil, President Xi Jinping explained that this will ensure that there is an equal balance of power, which is still largely concentrated in industrialised western countries.
The economic powerhouse has already made significant efforts in this area by, for example, looking into the viability of a “BRICS bank”, which would challenge the hegemony of institutions like the World Bank.Read more >>
More and more London-based hedge funds groups are looking across the Atlantic for investment opportunities.
Winton Capital, Odey Asset Management and Cheyne Capital are just a few of the big names refocusing their attention on the US market because the potential there is markedly more pronounced than in Europe.
The Financial Times reported that this strategic change comes on the back of investors in North America “significantly” boosting their allocations to hedge funds, especially in pension schemes.Read more >>
The president of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi is offering banks up to $1 trillion (approximately £557 billion) of cheap funding, in the latest effort to boost growth in the eurozone.
Mr Draghi, who was previously the governor of the Bank of Italy, is hoping this stimulus measure will act as a spark for boosting credit and investor activity, as well as ensure the financial system is “flush with cash”, Bloomberg reported.Read more >>
In an information age defined by an interconnected, always on the go mindset, it can be all too easy for small and medium enterprises (SME) not to keep on top of things and maintain a high level of transparency.
The way small businesses operate has changed, and, with the advent of big data, it is becoming increasingly hard to manage the sheer volume of information that is automatically captured.
To streamline operations and ensure that rapport with customers remain solid and mutually beneficial, it pays to invest in technology. The biggest game-changer over the last 20 or so years has been the evolution of customer relationship management (CRM) systems.Read more >>
Amazon has requested permission from the United States’ Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to test its possibly groundbreaking drones outside of its research laboratory to get a real world feel of the challenges and possibilities of this technology.
In a letter published on regulations.gov, the international e-commerce company explained that its energy to innovate comes from its innate philosophy of delivering excellent customer service – it invents for their benefit.Read more >>
UK Chancellor George Osborne, with Foreign Secretary William Hague, has offered foreign direct investment opportunities to India, hoping to secure lucrative deals to the benefit of the subcontinent and of course Britain.
Mr Osborne is keen to build a strong, mutually advantageous relationship with India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is equally enthusiastic about delivering on his election promises to transform the country.Read more >>
Africa has been experiencing something of a startup revolution as of late.
Over the last few years, local entrepreneurs with plenty of ideas and ambitions have been developing products that are focused on meeting the specific needs, and transforming the image, of the continent.
Part of the reason for this recent surge is the increasing presence of technology in Africa.
While there is clearly a lot to do in terms of developing accessible electricity required to power innovation and champion progress, greater wireless connectivity and access to smartphones and computers is having a positive impact on the continent.Read more >>
British retailers have reported their biggest annual decline in prices since June 2006, according to a new survey.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed that overall shop prices experienced deflation for the 14th consecutive month, falling by 1.8 per cent last month, the “deepest” since its index came into existence.
Another record was achieved with food inflation, which fell to an astonishing 0.6 per cent in June. Meanwhile, non-food items experienced a quickening in deflation, recording 3.4 per cent last month (it was 2.8 per cent in May).Read more >>