LSBF Blog - Global Matters

How Britain’s stubborn trade deficit could be fixed

December 22 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

The trade deficit continues to be a bone of contention for the British economy. How can the UK reduce its trade deficit?

Taking a look back at the performance of the UK economy in 2014, we can see there’s always one aspect that could do with being fixed, the trade balance, or as it’s more commonly known in Britain, the trade deficit.

Net trade negatively impacted GDP growth by 0.5 percentage points, which is really cutting back the UK’s economic recovery.

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Crowdfunding will send UK company to the moon

December 22 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

UK’s Lunar Missions Ltd pass first crowdfunding milestone for mission to the moon.

The UK company, Lunar Missions Ltd, has successfully reached their funding target of £600,000 on crowdfunding website, Kickstarter. The project, Lunar Mission One, will attempt to land a spacecraft on the Moon to fulfil the mission objective of drilling at least 20 metres into the south pole of the Moon.

Crowdfunding has been growing in popularity as a means of investment since it was first introduced to the internet around seven years ago. It’s a method of funding where monetary contributions are raised from a large number of people, which is why the internet is so useful for startups attempting to reach the masses.

 

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UK businesses look overseas for acquisitions

December 19 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

British companies are taking the hunt for rival firms abroad.

New figures from EY (Ernst & Young) showed that the value of foreign takeovers by UK firms soared by nearly 60 per cent from £27.3 billion to £67 billion this year.

However, the data showed only a 16 per cent increase in the number of takeovers, which rose from 641 to 766. Overall, the number of deals by UK firms rose by 5.3 per cent to 2,726.

 

 

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How SMEs can benefit from this year’s technology

December 19 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

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UK mortgage rates fall to lowest since 2007

December 18 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

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.

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Start-up tips and pitfalls

December 18 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

The rise of SMEs in the UK is opening up new avenues of growth to explore, but could also lead to a number of pitfalls. Here are our tips on how to avoid them.

Small and medium sized enterprises in the UK are growing in confidence, and there seem to be more entrepreneurs than ever. In fact, Britain was recently ranked as the most entrepreneurial nation in Europe.

However, for every success story, there’s a small business that has failed. With this in mind, there are a number of things start-ups can do to make sure they’re doing all they can to reach their full potential.

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Small firms confident for 2015 growth

December 17 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Britain’s small firms are optimistic about growing next year as they hire more staff and export bigger volumes, according to a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The FSB’s Small Business Index revealed that the outlook for orders, exports, hiring and growth has remained strong, with 65% of small businesses in the UK confident about expanding further in the first quarter of 2015.

Small firms’ productivity rose by more than 1% in the second half of 2014, meaning they can capitalise on growth plans in the New Year.

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UK standard of living rises to fourth highest in Europe

December 16 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

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.

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Experian launches service to help SMEs

December 16 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Experian, the global information services group, is launching a new service called My Business Profile to help the UK’s 2.2 million small and medium sized enterprises.

My Business Profile will help SMEs check and manage their credit profile, increasing their chances of securing financial backing.

Despite various government initiatives, since the start of the 2008 financial crisis the trickle-down of finance has repeatedly failed to fully reach SMEs.

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Virtual currencies grow more mainstream

December 15 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Since the introduction of Bitcoin in 2009, virtual currencies have rocketed in popularity.

The general public are beginning to accept digital payment into the mainstream. Bitcoin lets people anonymously transfer money around the world for free, and cuts out the need for a middle man

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London tech scene receives £85m from UK government

December 15 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

The UK government has launched a new scheme called the London Co-Investment Fund (LCIF) in an attempt to fix the funding problem experienced by the capital’s tech start-ups.

Established by Funding London and Capital Enterprise, the project has secured £25 million to be invested in over 150 seed-stage firms in the technology, digital and science sectors over the next three years.

Another £60 million will be provided by six private sector partners: Wellington Partners, Playfair Capital, London Business Angels, Angel Lab, Firestartr, and Crowdcube/Braveheart Consortium.

These were chosen based on their past knowledge of investing in the three sectors.

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Number of new businesses close to record high

December 12 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

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.

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UK is the best place for start-ups, says Innocent boss

December 12 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Start-up companies in the UK are well placed to become multinational brands, according to Richard Reed, the co-founder of Innocent Drinks.

Innocent Drinks started out as a stall at a music festival before the founders left their jobs and became a fully-fledged fruit juice and smoothie business.

In an interview with Computer Weekly, Reed acknowledged the difficulties involved in setting up and growing a business, but added “I can’t think of a better country to be doing it in than the UK.”

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UK businesses set to grow in 2015, says report

December 11 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

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.

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UK economy to gain £90bn boost from flexible working, says report

December 11 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

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.

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UK green start-ups look east to boost Chinese trade

December 11 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

A group of start-ups involved in the low carbon energy sector aim to boost Chinese trade with visit.

A delegation from companies in the low carbon energy sector and identified by UK Trade & Investment West Midlands will soon visit China in a bid to increase trade links with the country.

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Driverless cars to be tested in four UK cities in 2015

December 11 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Driverless cars to be trialled in London, Bristol, Coventry & Milton Keynes.

In the recent Autumn Statement, autonomous and driverless cars were given the green light for trials.

South-east London’s Greenwich and Bristol will each host its own project, while Coventry and Milton Keynes will share a third.

The public body Innovate UK has announced that the trials will last between 18 and 36 months, beginning in January 2015.

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Bank of England leaves interest rates unchanged at record low

December 10 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

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.

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Guidelines on importing for SMEs

December 10 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

The current SME focus is on exports, but there is little guidance for firms wanting to import for the first time.

Small and medium-sized firms are well supported in the exports arena. However, those wishing to start importing may feel left out or confused by the government literature currently available.

Before venturing headfirst into the market, you may like to consider the following important points to help you succeed.

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London-based game-maker raises further £4.5m in funding

December 10 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Space Ape hailed as London’s answer to Rovio, creator of Angry Birds.

Space Ape Games, a London-based mobile games studio has received £4.5 million of investment from investors in a third round of funding.

Following global success of their combat adventure game, Samurai Siege, the studio received further funding from investors that have previously backed successes such as Spotify and Facebook. The latest round of funding was led by Northzone but also included existing investors like Accel Partners, Initial Capital and Connect Ventures.

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Small Business Saturday was ‘a no brainer’, says Shadow Business Secretary

December 09 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

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.

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Manufacturing boosted by domestic demand despite weak exports

December 09 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

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.

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Barclays launches face-to-face video banking

December 08 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

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.

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SMEs optimistic about international trade next year

December 08 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

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.

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Cloud services look to SME sector for investment

December 05 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

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.

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