30th November 2011
down to see full list; previous month's (October)
A Home and Small Business Viewpoint by Len Tondel, from 1st to 30th November 2011
EU proposes new consumer watchdog. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15938660
This can only be good news and is the way forward to tackling corporates who deliberately
hide behind a variety of international formations in order to avoid their commercial
responsibilities or even trade fraudulently, knowing full well that it is beyond
the means of the vast majority of their clients to successfully pursue them through
the courts. This kind of measure is also what the EU should be about. Heaven
forbid that the UK should ever be bothered to defend the rights of the consumer!
for broadband speeds in cities. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15937140
The Chancellor is afraid it seems, of the UK slipping behind everyone else in
the broadband race. Unfortunately, together with France, the UK is already at
the bottom of the EU league. So why is it necessary to keep pumping taxpayers'
money into the telecoms companies' coffers all the time to provide what they are
already charging their customers for? Putting them on the same footing as the
energy providers should do the trick. Every time they fail to deliver, it's £20
compensation to the client. That would put them out of business overnight and
companies fit for purpose could take their place.
Autumn Special. http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/as2011_documents.htm
Minister backs flourishing freelance sector. http://www.pcg.org.uk/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8211:
number of freelancers in the UK grew by 12% from 1.4 million in 2008 to 1.56 million
in 2011, according to figures released by Kingston University and the Professional
Contractors Group (PCG) for National Freelancers Day. The Prime Minister expressed
support for the sector, saying that the Government "recognises the valuable
contribution that freelancers make to the economy". The survey also revealed
that the most popular sectors for freelance workers are media, management, education,
IT, telecommunications and the arts. (EnterpriseQuest)
is the third report on the state of freelancing and the overall message seems
to be a positive one. (See also posts for 26.11 and 15.11.) The analysis
given in the report here - http://www.freelanceuk.com/news/3951.shtml
- provides a breakdown of the skills in demand although we should not lose sight
of the fact that this is an overview of European and not just UK, trends.
report on cloud vs dedicated hosting. http://www.ukfast.co.uk/cloud-vs-dedicated-report.html
theatre deals. http://www.westendtheatre.com/email/WETNov11-2.html
You can't have a proper Christmas without going to the theatre, surelY?
Farepak wind-up fees exceed compensation. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15919515
Apparently, the wind-up costs in this case have been a staggering £8.2 million.
The payout to Farepak customers on the other hand, is just 25p in the pound. Naturally,
administrators BDO are not suggesting that they only receive 25p in the pound
of their fees for pursuing the directors of a company which went bust 5 years
ago. Heaven forbid. (Scams which are officially wound up have long been a source
of rich pickings for administrators and their parasitic hangers-on.)
doctor owes clients £600k. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-15890690
and worst banks for customer satisfaction. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/28/britains-best-and-worst-banks-revealed/
Government proposals to underwrite £20 billion of business loans.
or first-time landlord guidelines. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/11/warning-for-accidental-landlords/?ncid=webmail4
With the UK property rental market exploding at the moment, I found this article
are also the rage - so an interesting British product which claims to save
up to 30% on coal or wood fires. http://www.woodmiser.co.uk
China will be biggest in e-commerce. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/25/china-will-be-biggest-in-e-commerce/
That's a bugger. All those gurus and experts running around claiming that English
is the language of the internet, of commerce and here we have the Chinese about
to take over the world as we know it.
same experts and gurus who claim that social media is the shape of the future
- a fact which may have escaped the 1.5 million actual unemployed youngsters all
duly signed up on Arsebook and clutching their smartphones but without jobs to
Plenty of opportunities and jobs in China for proficient English speakers. Proficient,
though. Not just textin'. Plus a bit of Mandarin to get you going. Ooops. That's
not on the schools' syllabub, either.
back the clock almost exactly 30 years to the 1981 riots and the Youth Training
Schemes (YTS and its derivatives) which were launched to combat school leaver
unemployment at that time. Same problems. And so the country has progressed, has
it? Mr Clegg doesn't want to lose an entire generation? You've lost it already,
freelance marketing jobs decreasing. http://www.freshbusinessthinking.com/news.php?NID=11086&Title=Change+in+marketing+leaves+freelancers+underworked
a quarter of freelancers are struggling to find work while a further third are
"getting by on less work", a survey conducted at the Manchester Enterprise
Freelance Fair suggests. Neil Lewis, organiser of the Freelance Fair, said that
while freelance jobs in digital marketing and technology have increased, people
working in other freelance sectors, such as print design, are struggling to find
work. He added that this "huge imbalance in freelance activity" was
partly due to cuts to public sector marketing budgets and was also a "symptom
of the shift to digital marketing from more traditional forms of communication."
of course, with the Government preparing to flood the market with cheap, susbidised
youth labour, all classical employment sectors will inevitably suffer further
shrinkage as a result.
tax avoidance costs the country £70 billion a year. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/25/the-real-cost-of-uk-tax-avoidance/
So where is HMRC's Daves' Mates Tax Avoidance Unit, then?
of the CIVET. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15888069
Barely has the public grasped the term 'BRIC' (well, apart from people who buy
tabloids) when along comes the CIVET. There's certainly growth and opportunities
in them thar hills - even if it is Made By Furreners who carnt speke inglish.
On yer Raleighs before they start getting ideas above their station and proving
a threat to the British Commonwealth!
phone services better than broadband or landline provision. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15890428
Another piece of information I would never have suspected.
to shop safely online. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/25/how-to-shop-safely-online/
Initiative launched to help firms expand abroad. http://marketing.yell.com/web-design/ukti-and-yell-to-build-open-to-export-platform/
A new scheme to provide support and advice to small firms looking to expand internationally
has been launched by Yell Group plc and UK Trade & Investment.
to Export' is an online marketplace where firms can collaborate and exchange information
about export market opportunities, means of entry and participation. The scheme
will be piloted on Yell's e-marketplace platform and will allow users to share
content and services. Trade Minister Lord Green explained that the scheme will
allow small businesses to "overcome the complexities of trading overseas
through relevant advice and support."
your rights at the shops. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/24/know-your-rights-at-the-shops/
Small businesses should be treated differently to larger businesses. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15864898
Incredibly obvious statement but it's something I have been banging on about to
MPs for 15 years and is the principal reason why the HBA formed its own credit
union. The sticking block has always been the banks. Their view has been - and
probably still is - that a unit of business activity is a unit of business account
activity and that there are no differences between an 'SME' and someone who runs
a business from home. And it is the banks which have always been the main influence
centre in determining how Government views business activity. The 'voice' of small
businesses in the UK being quasi non-existent because interest groups are too
divided, too scattered. Which is precisely what Government likes to see; and which
is precisely why the move towards web-based representation of the small business
community's 'interests' is manna from heaven. Nobody, except the people who control
the website, will know what's happening. Input is always anonymous. You will know
only what you are told, what you read. Thus democracy ends there.
price cuts highest in two years. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/23/property-price-cuts-highest-in-two-years/?ncid=webmail4
Aye, 'Let's get Britain building', indeed!
Green Deal won't reach an estimated 14 million homes. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/23/green-deal-14-million-homes
Another mentor recruitment drive launched. http://www.cobwebinfo.com/site/article_detail/item15575/
The Department for Business (BIS) has issued a call for another 10,000 volunteer
business mentors to join the controversial Mentorsme initiative, pledging £1.2
million to train them.
Get Mentoring training programme is to be led by the Small Firms Enterprise Development
Initiative (SFEDI), which has recently developed nationally recognised qualifications
and training materials for business mentors. (EnterpriseQuest)
we pointed out from the outset, the Government's ambitions for a mentoring scheme
on the scale originally proposed, were just pie-in-the-sky election propaganda.
Now that the original lash-up, advised by forum morons hasn't even got off the
ground, the country's business standards A-Team (SFEDI) is being called in to
try and restore some credibility and common sense to the idea - which on paper,
is perfectly laudable. However, a budget of only £1.2 million to train and
adjust standards for 30,000 mentors is just derisory. (Or aren't they going to
bother with the 218 ex-bank managers recruited so far?)
consults on merging NI and income tax. http://citywire.co.uk/new-model-adviser/treasury-reveals-plans-to-
National Insurance contributions (NIC) and income tax could be merged under proposals
set out by the Treasury in a new consultation. Other
measures in the consultation include taking NICs on an annual, cumulative or aggregated
basis. The document states that "closer integration of the operation of income
tax and NICs has the potential to reduce burdens on business". It adds that
the proposed reforms could improve fairness and simplify the tax system.
solid proposals, these.
start-up help for ex-service personnel. http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/business-news/government-extends-start-up-support-for-ex-service-personnel.html
Placing ex-servicemen in employment is traditionally very difficult (on the same
scale as ex-offenders) and the extra £5 million being pledged for what is
being called the 'Be The Boss' scheme has merit but is politically motivated by
unemployment statistics rather than a genuine belief that these people will actually
succeed in business. What is needed is some real Remembrance Day solidarity
from employers with a policy of positive discrimination for employing the ex-military.
Starting with the country's tabloid arse-wipes which have just spent a week lecturing
the world about poppy-wearing.
Live hit by phishing attacks. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/nov/22/xbox-live-users-phishing-attacks
Never used to have this problem when me and my mates played conkers.
Cameron tells CBI sorting debt 'harder than envisaged'. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15816199
Welcome to the real world, Mr Cameron.
crackdown on fake shopping sites. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15820758
to use price comparison websites. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/21/how-to-use-price-comparison-sites/
(Bearing in mind these have an increasingly poor reputation, are bang-full of
ads and were recently the subject of an FSA crackdown. Just like the vast majority
of business opportunity 'scam warning' websites which, if you look at them more
closely, are just affiliate programmes or advertising platforms in disguise.)
banks agree text message alerts for overdraft warning. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15822272
Amazingly enough, I still know a lot of people who don't have any kind of mobile
telecommunications device whatsoever. Then again, I don't think they borrow money,
either. Still, nice to see banks are up to speed technologically. Now all that's
left for them is to demonstrate they can handle money in a responsible and business-like
claims could be resolved out of court. http://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2011/november/government-
Creditors could apply to wind-up insolvent debtors out of court where there is
no dispute between parties, under new Government proposals.
proposals, which were part of a consultation on simplifying bankruptcy procedures,
recommended an initial electronic application to judge if court arbitration was
necessary in insolvency cases. Business minister Ed Davey said the proposals would
"reduce unnecessary burdens on creditors and debtors and bring substantial
savings for the taxpayer." However, restructuring specialist Alistair Lomax
warned that this could complicate matters, with courts likely to remain the "default
forum" in most cases. (EnterpriseQuest)
Affordable housing plan unveiled. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15810966
Another one, eh? Affordable for whom? The property developers, builders and donors
to the Conservative Party? (Or any other party currently in power.) Perhaps leave
the housing market to its own devices for prices to become affordable again? As
the next story suggests.
sellers drop asking prices by 3.1% the last month. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15790738
'Let's get Britain building', insists the Prime Minister, David Cameron. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15810966
Well, the country could make a start by renovating the 750,000 properties currently
standing empty. For the construction sector, such work is usually more labour-intensive
than a new development and thus better for jobs. That's also 650,000 houses more
than the 100,000 people the Government is 'hoping' to help with its latest scheme.
And as they are just standing empty, the country could almost afford to give them
away to youngsters wanting a home without the need for mortgage/deposit guarantee
schemes aka crippling them with a mountain of debt. Only one problem. Empty homes
stand on land which has already been sold. Which freezes out bent councillors
and green belt - or even brown belt - landowners, with or without planning permission,
from making loadsa money.
of course, doing up tatty houses is not so good for a BIG LETTER headline in The
Sun. Plus plus, 100,00 extra gullible home buyers to screw is good news for the
eBay opens UK high street shop. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/18/ebay-opens-uk-high-street-shop/
I find it ironic that in a day and age where everyone who pretends they know what
they are talking about and is predicting an online future, social media as the
path to riches, etc - that here we have a market leader opening an actual, real,
walk-in shop being hailed for its 'innovative' thinking. If things develop like
this we might even begin to start finding jobs for people once more. Even youngsters
Branston has a plan to get the country out of its pickle. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/branson-warns-of-a-jobless-lost-generation-6265072.html
A number of perfectly valid observations from someone who has to be listened to
with respect, obviously. Mr Branson is clearly concerned by youth unemployment
- officially standing at 1 million but which is closer to 1.5 million if you take
out all the statistical horseplay - as this represents his consumers. The problem
with the utterances of gurus is that everyone has loads of good ideas but nothing
or very little, ever happens. To deliver takes just one person who takes ultimate
reponsibility - and that is not in the genes of modern politicians.
promises to simplify bidding for contracts. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15808796
This story has done as many turns as promises of better or less, regulation. Or
efficient internet connectivity. Good for another few generations, I'd say.
Top 5 UK official cock-ups. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/18/taxpayer-sold-short-the-top-five/
My personal view is that we're looking at more than incompetence here. The pattern
over the years is too consistent. These are outright and deliberate scams.
message of apology from our colleague Andrew Ferguson, whose Breakthrough
Network is a resource shared with HBA Members. Andrew couldn't get out his newsletter
last week because of a house move which seems to have outstripped the operational
competence of BT for a few days. Describing BT as 'brain-dead' and awarding them
his 'Stuffed Dodo 2011' accolade, Andrew is now back with us.
BT ever have a brain?)
of the Century from none other than - Moikal O'Lary. "There hasn't
been a war in Europe for 50 years because they're all too busy flying on Ryanair.
I should get the Nobel peace prize screw Bono." I love it.
for Business (named by someone in Government with a black sense of humour)
to launch marketing data initiative. http://www.enterprisequest.com/news/2011/11/bis_to_launch_consumer_data_in.html
Pitched as being in the interests of the consumer, I can imagine it being anything
but . . .
Smartphone (for stupid consumers) data tariff warning. http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/15780283
need better bank access to get back on track. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/17/bankrupts-need-better-bank-access/
Only tiny portion of £250 million riot fund paid so far. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15388682
Grants provided by the Government to compensate businesses damaged by riots in
August have so far paid out a fraction of their allocated funding, the BBC has
£250 million fund for firms claiming compensation under the Riot Damages
Act 1886 has paid out just £3,584 despite receiving 5,000 applications.
Councils have also reported that relatively few businesses have so far claimed
a share of the £20 million High Street Support Scheme. Some have attributed
this to the complicated application processes, intrusive questions and firms'
lack of experience in applying for public money. (EnterpriseQuest)
bloody typical. Totally par for the course. British (not Brussels) bureaucracy
at non-work. Instead of Mark Prisk playing the same 'better regulation' golden
oldie over and over again (http://www.enterprisequest.com/news/2011/11/prisk_proposes_better_regulati.html),
he would better serve his purpose of 'business minister' by donning a pair of
Doc Maertens and personally going around all the offending parties to kick some
arse. Stick the wasters on the dole queue (without benefits) where they can moan
about their jobs being taken by illegal immigrants.
million Queen's Engineering Award. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15756113
Thankfully, the solid credibility of the royal family takes over from David Cameron's
international standing as goontotheUS-for-hire for fronting this prestigious award
although in my view, naming it after a famous British engineer would have been
better still. Trouble then is that the majority of British i-dummies, X Factor
viewers and people who buy The Sun (the profile of today's average Conservative
party voter) wouldn't know any British engineers, despite using their inventions
excellent publicity for the country even if the real problem with British engineering
starts after the invention and design stage - Brits already being acknowledged
as the best inventors and engineering designers in the world since they discovered
the wheel. Going forwards to manufacturing on the other hand is then taken over
by other countries whose business mentality isn't fettered by an inbred political
and economic class whose educational and work standards are congenitally opposed
to honest productivity. Perhaps Mr Dyson could be asked to advise? Then we could
start getting loads of jobs for British unemployed back into the country. (And
publicly sideline Alan Sugar who doesn't think engineers make good managers -
as if the country's present bunch of non-engineering managers aren't already among
the worst in the world.)
Additional funding to be made available to promote UK tourism. http://www.enterprisequest.com/news/2011/11/additional_funding_for_uk_tour.html
Exactly what we've been suggesting for years. Then more and more. It's arguably
the quickest and easiest path to helping the country get back on its feet again
and for the millions of small and home businesses and self-employed folk to make
a real difference.
Americans give up on Europe. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-15715446
After being cold-shouldered by the Europeans, America has decided to affirm that
it is a Pacific power now and the recent agreement by the Australian government
to allow a larger complement of US troops into its country signals the prospect
of the world's fattest playground bully looking for a fight in the region. Coupled
with the announcement that troops are also to be withdrawn from Iraq - almost
certainly to be posted in the Gulf for an invasion of Syria and any other little
country which has oil resources but can't fight back - and it's looking as if
we might be getting well shot of the country which has done more to get the world
into its current mess than anyone else. (With a lot of help from the UK's arms
industry and the City, of course and currently aping the Americans by withdrawing
troops stationed in Germany in readiness for deployment anywhere else in the world
at the Pentagon's bidding.)
for medium-to-long term business prospects, I would avoid buying a house and setting
up in the Middle East or the Pacific just yet, while keeping that cesspit called
US banking at barge pole's length at the same time.
sandwich is the cheapest meal. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15760897
This is to get us ready for furthering the comfort zones of people who drive Hummers
and Range Rovers. But things could - and will - get worse than toast sandwiches.
Which aren't that cheap to produce because they need to be toasted so the
cost of producing heat needs to be factored in. When I used to visit family behind
the 'iron curtain' not too long after World War II, it was grated sugar beet,
eaten raw. You can do the same with carrots or kohlrabi maybe, even the hearts
of cabbage and cauliflower, with a bit of added salt or sugar if you can afford
it. Delve about the fields and the hedgerows for some bits of greenery, maybe
a mushroom or two and you've got a very healthy salad.
the article goes on to mention, you can boil up bones for a broth although once
again, the cost of heating the thing for three hours or more, needs to be taken
into account. When needs must, lots of meals can be made more cheaply than a toast
sandwich. (Costed at 7.5p a serving.) The Readers' Comments which follow this
article, contain a wealth of ideas.
UK broadband speeds drop by 35% when everyone surfs in the evening. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15742055
I'd never have guessed it. In other words, connectivity which goes from pisspoor
to virtually non-existent.
house prices continue to fall. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15735837
guarantee cards to return? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15737886
Michael Korn wins £10,000 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Award 2011. http://www.shell-livewire.org/news/
freelancers in high demand, report says. http://www.freelanceuk.com/news/3951.shtml
number of freelancers hired online grew by 55% in the third quarter of 2011 compared
with the previous quarter, a report by online freelance recruitment firm Elance
has shown. Placements for creative freelancers experienced the highest growth,
rising to 55,860 from 52,000 over the same period. The most popular creative skills
were graphic design, multimedia and writing skills. The growth in demand for online
freelancers was attributed to the economic uncertainty resulting in firms requiring
a more flexible workforce. (EnterpriseQuest)
taxpayer to be given online access to their tax records. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15722698
reports surge in business website uptake. http://www.internetretailing.net/2011/11/yell-grows-its-emarketplace-with-websites-for-sme-customers/
firm Yell increased the number of websites it runs for customers from 164,000
in the first half of 2010 to 355,000 at the same point in 2011, as part of its
strategy to become a leader in the e-marketplace sector. Figures published in
Yell's half-year report show that digital customers grew by 11.1% to 940,000,
and their total digital revenue was up by 9.17% to £236.3 million. The company's
overall turnover was down by 12%. Mike Pocock, chief executive of Yell, said it
was shifting from being "a provider of print and digital advertising to
small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to a leader in the emerging local eMarketplace."
Gover, HBA member and head of the Selclene empire is gearing up for Christmas
and New Year at http://www.craigynoscastle.com/
The worst ways we waste money. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/12/the-worst-ways-we-waste-money/
Although I suspect there's an awful lot of people out there who don't think for
one moment, there's a crisis.
Fear of failure stops a quarter of potential
start ups. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/fear-of-failure-deters-startups-6261303.html
Entrepreneurship Week starts tomorrow - although you may be forgiven if you've
missed the fact hidden amongst all the X-factor and I'm an ex-Celeb headline shite.
Some inspiring case studies for you in this article. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/the-people-who-want-to-make-jobs-not-take-jobs-6261617.html
launched to help businesses manage their money. http://www.enterprisequest.com/news/2011/11/campaign_launched_to_help_firm.html
facing unexpected tax bills on Payment Protection Insurance compensation payouts.
To every silver lining there is a dark cloud, as they say.
US patent trolls threaten UK SMEs. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/11/us-patent-trolls-threaten-uk-smes/
I worked a great deal with the rag trade during my earlier years and the US was
notorious for thieving the ideas of talented young designers. (It's not just oil
and minerals they are interested in.) Over the years, the theft became increasingly
outlandish, extending to the infamous case of Basmati rice. Just one reason why
the States are only minor UK trading partners. They take what they want without
paying for it - although we should be grateful, I suppose, they haven't dropped
a few million daisy cutters on as well.
tax return system praised by Audit Office. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15693861
dangers of uninsurance. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15700529
A salutory story but when you ain't got no money, you ain't got no money.
5 new taskforces from HMRC to tackle tax evasion. http://nds.coi.gov.uk/content/detail.aspx?NewsAreaId=2&ReleaseID=421910&SubjectId=2
taskforces will be focusing on scrap metal dealers and fast food outlets in Scotland,
construction traders and landlords in the North West and North of Wales, and those
not submitting statutory returns for corporation tax, income tax Self Assessment,
PAYE and VAT in the South East. HMRC is planning to launch a total of 12 taskforces
in the next year with more expected in 2013. (EnterpriseQuest)
Digital by Default: A Revolution in Public Service Delivery, 1st December,
The Barbican, London. Book
charities) Invitation to 'Securing Funding from the European Union', one day
workshop at the Blakemore Hotel, London on Tuesday 13th December or Wednesday
8th February. Online brochure.
Courier Desktop service: http://www.wedelivertheworld.co.uk/quote/index.php?utm_source=Download%2BDesktop&utm_medium=
Do you think that the democracy and representation of small business groups has
been eroded by the media and the internet? We do. And so do a lot of other special
have been asked to participate in an academic study of these effects and if you
want to make a contribution, your views will be welcomed at email@example.com,
subject Research Project.
overview of the project, being conducted by Zurich University, can be found here:
hacker, Charlie Miller, exposes major smartphone security issues. Love this
guy. (The written introduction is in French but the explanatory video attached,
is in drawling American.) http://www.deplacementspros.com/Grosse-faille-de-securite-sur-les-iPhones-et-iPads-avec-video_a12116.html?preaction=nl&id=16314248&idnl=100401&
business joke of the decade. It reads like this:
show UK suffering: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/trade-figures-show-uk-suffering-6259374.html
CBI slashes growth forecasts: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/cbi-slashes-growth-forecasts-6259329.html
Fears grow for Christmas sales: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/fears-grow-for-christmas-sales-as-ms-warns-of-fierce-discounting-6259094.html
Pay transparency has failed to deliver boardroom restraint: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/david-prosser-pay-transparency-has-failed-to-deliver-restraint-in-the-boardroom-6259095.html
was a quick skim of the headlines taken from just one 'paper.) So here's the punchline:
EU must reform or face decline, says Nick Clegg (Who's he?) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-must-reform-or-face-decline-says-nick-clegg-6259346.html
Go on, fall off your perches, then. (Although seriously, a staggering 88% of
Brits are so sick and tired of their country that they are considering moving
somewhere else within the next 5 years. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/09/were-sick-of-britain-were-leaving/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cuk%7Cdl4%7Csec1_lnk2%7C84510
Looks like the politicians are getting their immigration issues confused with
the even greater ones of mass emigration.
shoppers could face VAT bills: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15663240
E-commerce helps firms reach overseas markets. http://www.worldpay.com/media/index.php?page=archive&sub=ecom-expo-research&c=UK
businesses are extending and upgrading their e-commerce services in order to grow
into international markets, research by WorldPay suggests. Six in ten were already
offering e-commerce services, and said the key driver in their decision to sell
online was the potential for international commerce. A quarter of online businesses
said international online transactions accounted for between 30% and 40% of their
income. Furthermore, three quarters of firms that do not currently sell online
were planning to do so within the next six months, and many were motivated to
do so by the potential for increasing revenue. (EnterpriseQuest)
surprisingly, this statement of the obvious does not come from any British banking
service which recently decided that to the contrary, British online traders using
their credit card facilities should pay unrealistic minimal monthly fixed charges
(typically £50 up) irrespective of the volume of business generated and
thus pricing themselves out of the marketplace completely. As PayPal is the clear
market leader in online banking transactions, followed by WorldPay, that dominance
will now be totally unchallenged by what just a couple of years ago, was seen
as 'must have' mainstream banking alternative for healthy and competitive UK e-commerce
aspect of the Government's Cock-Up Britain initiative.
report consumers are being left open to scams. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15639683
Scams like consumers and taxpayers forking out for MPs' reports which merely repeat
what consumer associations have been saying for years and who have since had their
funding withdrawn; and official reports including one by the National Audit Office
which said exactly the same thing way back in June. (June eBoss and Comment
refers.) And this is the so-called Commons Public Accounts Committee!
concrete being proposed? No. As usual. What you will find though, is that in a
few months' time some gutless, media attention-seeking Minister will berate a
hapless civil servant for not having done his or her job.
another Government scam for you: prime providers starving Work Programme
subcontractors of referrals. http://www.cobwebinfo.com/site/article_detail/item15538/+Prime_providers_starving_Work_Programme_subcontractors_of_referrals/?link_466=15538
The Governments flagship Work Programme has come under fire from a number
of the organisations responsible for its delivery: contracts to deliver the Programme
are held by 'prime providers' who pass on referrals to small, local subcontractors
- an approach intended to provide what the Government has termed a "boost
for the big society". However, the Programme has already come in for significant
criticism over the way it has worked in practice, with concerns that many of these
subcontractors are finding their role in the scheme unsustainable.
just business as normal hiding behind a propaganda exercise - but to comment further
on this story go to: http://www.cobwebinfo.com/site/article_detail/item15538/
Why don't the British buy British? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15551818
Exactly. I have never seen such a mongrel consumer nation in all of my travels
in any part of the world. Less time worrying about the euro and a bit more emphasis
on the pound sterling would do very nicely indeed, thank you. Although it would
be motivating to see the Government take the lead by spending less time continuing
to lick up to a third-rate trading partner like the States. Sliame Fox and his
sponsors obviously left their mark!
November is Write A Will Month and there is a scheme which operates during
this time in which a participating solicitor will write your will free of charge
in exchange for a contribution to a nominated charity. http://www.willaid.org.uk/
article here on why you really should make a will. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/05/why-you-must-make-a-will/
(Lord Mayor of London) promotes UK start-ups abroad. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/lord-mayor-promotes-uk-startups-abroad-6257748.html
Every little bit helps they say but if this is the best the Lord Mayor of London
and his delegation can do - and the British media can come up with as a worthy
business news story - then we'd better all start learning Greek.
it doesn't hold the attraction of junketing at taxpayers' expense, Boris might
like to turn his gaze to helping British business in general by finding a solution
to why the thousands of passengers who arrive at London St Pancras International
on the Eurostar every day, can't find, let alone get into, London Kings Cross
railway station, just a couple of hundred yards away. Perhaps another use for
that council workers' brush he was holding after the riots recently? Stick a notice
on it and get a Coalition MP to wave it about outside Eurostar arrivals? Now there's
an idea for boosting the economy.
no point in immigration controls being relaxed (been going on for donkeys' years;
nothing new there) to speed up passenger flows when people then spend half an
hour working out where they should go and what they should do, next.
this is the state of one of the country's prestigious international gateways then
God help all the poor bastards who will be arriving for the Olympic games.
Micro firms have highest rate of insolvency in UK. http://press.experian.com/United-Kingdom/Press-Release/
The rate of business insolvencies in the UK has risen to 0.09% in September 2011
from 0.08% at the same point in 2010, research by Experian has found.
report showed that insolvencies among micro enterprises that employ one or two
people had increased by 25% to 258. The North East had the highest rate of business
failure at 0.13%, although this had fallen from 0.15% in 2010. Scotland had the
lowest rate of insolvency with 0.07%, but the West Midlands experienced the greatest
increase, from 0.08% to 0.11%. (EnterpriseQuest)
like the Government's Cock Up Britain initiative is already firing on all cylinders,
rogue letting agents. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/05/be-wary-of-rogue-letting-agents/
Topic of the week from the CNET Community: Do You Have The Right Weapons To
Deal With Spam And Phishing Scams? http://nl.com.com/view_online_newsletter.jsp?list_id=e497&send_date=11/04/2011
Co-op Bank continues to go after Lloyds Bank branches. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15601351
A reason to be cheerful. Good to see the UK's leading ethical (and our favourite)
bank in such a strong position.
'How I cut my energy bills to £100 a year'. http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/blog/2011/nov/03/how-cut-energy-bills-to-100-a-year
A story which should be read carefully. The headline is a tad misleading. (Aren't
down, but worries persist for 2011. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/bankruptcies-down-but-worries-persist-for-2011-2205169.html
"A record number of people were declared insolvent in 2010, although the
trend is down . . . Some 135,089 individuals were declared bust last year, the
Insolvency Service reported yesterday, up 0.7 per cent from 134,142 in 2009."
'bankruptcies down', is it?
should get incentives to lend to businesses, says Governor of Bank of England.
A smile if they do; their walking cards if they don't.
Diamond Geezer starting to talk real. "No taxpayer money should ever
again be put at risk to rescue a failed or failing bank," Mr Diamond
Home insurance cover soars as £667 million a year is wasted by not shopping
will lose their homes by Christmas. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/02/35-000-to-lose-home-by-christmas/
lottery for council tax benefit. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/02/the-future-postcode-lottery-for-council-tax-benefit/
to extend buy-to-let mortgage range. http://money.aol.co.uk/2011/11/02/barclays-extends-buy-to-let-range/
Britain's small firms owed over £33 billion in late payments. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15552513
This figure is up 10% on last year and the highest ever since BACS began keeping
records in 2007.
normal for hard times. Pity this can't be blamed on the Greeks and the euro, eh?
What the Government needs to do is set up another Red Tape department which talks
about late payment and yet, does nothing about the problem. Not that there's much
you can do, though. It's a cultural thing as much as anything and unlike the rabid
practice of bankers paying themselves grotesque bonuses even if they don't deserve
them (i.e. never), or, big businesses paying late to enhance their profits, the
vast majority of small businesses then pay late as well because quite simply,
they ain't got the money to pay any faster.
slight increase in UK house prices. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15528740
'The Silence of the Pigs'.
get this off my chest because it's been a niggle for a few years now which came
to a head, so to speak, when I recently had the misfortune of listening to a young
social media 'guru' with a Brylcream bogbrush hairstyle talking about social media
etiquette. Now, I don't do online social networks (too much work to do with real
friends and neighbours and real business activity) so correct me if I'm wrong
but this 'expert' seemed to be suggesting that if you don't want to do business
with someone you should simply 'snub' them. Is that right? Just ignore their correspondence
or messages, he was suggesting? (Although 'to ignore' is not the same as 'to snub'.)
admittedly this chap didn't sound (or look) very intelligent or he wouldn't be
an internet guru with slimey spiked hair I suppose, but surely, how is someone
you are simply ignoring going to know that they are being 'snubbed'? We are talking
the internet here, aren't we? Outage lasting maybe hours; connectivity which can
be outperformed by anyone with loud voice; more spam than honest emails, all getting
caught up in the same filters set up by keyboard jockeys who don't know what they're
doing. And that's before the Carlsberg Special comes out.
course, it's probably a form of online behaviour that our spikey guru thought
was fashionable; just like his second-hand black BMW with lo pro tyres (all for
£3000 on the debit card) for impressing the trollies parked outside his
local Sainsbury's. Or those other great internet hallmarks of stupidity, illiteracy
and cowardice. So 'snubbing' I suppose, falls within the spectrum of online genius-level
it isn't at all; the silent 'snub' means nothing more than no message sent and
received. Instead, what our guru was advocating was something which the public
knows better as 'pig ignorance'. The problem with pig ignorance generally and
in the business world especially, is that it gives you a certain reputation you
can do without; assuming you want to get on, of course.
you don't want to do business with someone, just tell them and tell them, politely,
why. To their face. At worst, it still helps them - and in the long run,
it will help you, too. It's perfectly normal to choose just one bidder out of
several, or to do business with someone new. If you are going to be honest it
certainly won't go against you. It's part of becoming a business professional
- a condition which Spikey couldn't get his head around. Until I got up off my
chair, told him quietly out of everyone else's earshot why I was going and left
the room. That is a snub.
last regional Business Link e-newsletter. (Killed off by the Government.)
I have decided to commit this to our archives out of respect and because it contains
some useful links as always. It beats collector copies of the last edition of
News Of The Screws, any day.
takes seventh place for ease of doing business. http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings
The UK has been ranked seventh in the latest Ease of Doing Business Index published
by World Bank. The Index ranks economies from 1 to 183, with a high ranking indicate
that the country's regulatory environment nurtures the start up and running of
local firms. The ranking is based on the average ratings over ten measures relating
to the business environment of each economy. Interestingly, the UK was ranked
first for getting credit, but was rated sixth for resolving insolvencies, tenth
for protecting investors and nineteenth for starting a business.
bit of a bugger that, only 19th for starting a business - after the Prime Minister
recently put his name to a promote Britain campaign which boasted that the country
was the best place in the world to start a business. Perhaps he should have asked
someone at Business Link, first. Before closing it down.
'replacement' initiative for Business Link already running with two flats and
in the wrong direction - report reveals little progress made by first-wave LEPs.
Partnerships (LEPs) have so far made "very little progress" since their
launch one year ago, a new report published by the Centre for Cities think tank
has concluded. The report, 'Cause célèbre or cause for concern?
Local enterprise partnerships one year on', reveals that eight LEPs have yet to
gain Government approval for their boards, with the other 16 taking an average
of six months to achieve this.
HMRC unit to target the 'wealthy' tax dodger. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15520778
our usual gratitude and thanks to BAD News and Cobweb
month's (October) Viewpoint
November 2011 contents:
for Home Business Alliance members:
of the News
credit ratings damage small enterprises; HMRC has reduced business record check
target; HMRC cracks down on private tutors and coaches; HMRC targets enterprises
in the Olympic borough; Small firms expect accountants to offer online service;
Legal watchdog opposes cuts to Trading Standards; Cloud computing appeals to small
enterprises; Mobile visitor rates and sales increase, report shows; New law enables
small firms to protect copyright; Small firms should not ignore cookie law, ICO
warns; Online searches increase boosted by m-commerce; Calls for better public
3G networks for m-commerce; Do small firms get value for money from Google Adwords?;
Theft and fraud costs retailers £5 billion a year; Highlands and Islands
to study social enterprise; Enterprise support scheme launched in North East;
Successful Regional Growth Fund bidders still not paid; Firms at risk from delaying
PI insurance purchase; Rising number of construction firms in financial distress.
to India . . .', by Rachael Ross and the 'How To
Work Successfully From Home Guide'
Guest Article, November 2011:
7 Email Management Tips For Increasing Office Productivity
Tax and VAT News
news; Tax cheats - where are we now?;
amnesty NOT just for 'plumbers'; 'plumbing'
profession to tighten up tax affairs; HMRC
guidance - can it be relied on?
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Tax Relief For Home To Work Travel - for self-employed taxpayers (article)
HMRC VAT car and van update
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join! Tax Insider plus, HMRC help business cash flow; 'HMRC launch online
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BREAK: Watching What You Wear
Tips For Providing Excellent Customer Service
Steps to Setting Up an Online Business
Things You Say:
Biggest Business Giveaway; Digital by Default conference; Art of Design webmag;
Can you please help?; Cyber-security; mitigating the threat seminar; 10 Steps
To Mobile Marketing Nirvana et al; Big Offers cash & carry; disposal
of your IT equipment; half-price business card offer; Achieving Business Excellence
workshop; Creating video for the web course plus other open course programmes;
Marketing Suite; Royalty-free stock photography; Savings on the move with mobile
apps plus free audio book (the Trainline); On-line security test; Latest UPS and
DHL major discounts;
Guidance for small firms considering cloud computing; Free carbon footprint calculator;
IPO guide to licensing and selling ideas; LicenceGuard;
sell your unwanted printer cartridges; easy and secure online storage; Royal Mail
business pack; free website building links; courier price comparison website;
airport parking checker and booking site, etc, etc.