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LATEST! 16.04.2014
(scroll down to see full list; previous month's (March 2014) Viewpoint

Scroll down for: A Home and Small Business Viewpoint by Len Tondel, from 1st April 2014

By way of explanation. The term 'home business' consists of two words. 'Business' is the second one; it's there to qualify and support the word 'home' and all that goes with it - and not vice versa. Consequently, we also list below, items which are of interest and value to the home. Whether in its context as an office or as a part of your family and lifestyle but always directed at the improved prospects and enjoyment that running a business from home, in its entirety, can bring.

For a current, multi-part overview of starting and running a business from home, go here: http://www.homebusiness.org.uk/features.htm

16.04.2014: IR35 recommendations made by Select Committee. http://www.freelanceuk.com/news/4508.shtml The Select Committee on Personal Service Companies has made 16 recommendations relating to the future of IR35 legislation in a detailed report into the consequences of the use of personal service companies for tax collection. The report was published on 31st March 2014 and has been described by Freelance UK as 'an indictment of the taxman'. Examining the effectiveness of IR35 legislation, the Committee has acknowledged that the rules can create 'considerable hostility' from freelancers, as well as demanding 'a great deal of [their] time and effort'.

The report is available at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldselect/ldpersonal/160/16002.htm (EnterpriseQuest)

Google cracks down on copycat websites. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/10765909/Google-cracks-down-on-copycat-websites.html

1 in 4 UK residents now has 'superfast' broadband. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/broadband/10767138/One-in-four-UK-residents-now-has-superfast-broadband.html (Except when it's not working.)

How to deal with frustrating people. http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/in-business/advice/24640/deal-frustrating-people/

15.04.2014: Ministers seek views on improving the business rates system. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-administration-review-discussion-paper HM Treasury and the Department for Communities and Local Government is inviting businesses and local authorities to provide their views about the administration of the business rates system in England. A new discussion paper has been published as part of a review aiming to simplify the system and make it more responsive to changes in property values. The review was announced in the 2013 Autumn Statement, and will focus on five elements of the rates system, including how property is valued, how often this is done, and how business rate bills are set. The final date for submitting responses to the discussion paper is 6th June 2014. (EnterpriseQuest)

Ofcom investigates phone provider. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-27026272#

How to sell your car online. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/how-to/10753194/How-to-sell-your-car-online.html

The Ten Digital Commandments. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/guardianwitness-blog/2014/apr/14/the-10-tech-commandments-to-avoid-digital-shame

14.04.2014: 4 million families on 'financial knife-edge'. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-27015809#

A third of rented homes 'not up to standard'. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/third-of-rented-homes-not-up-to-standard-9257848.html

Elderly increasingly falling prey to scammers. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/04/01/fraudsters-prey-on-the-elderly-one-in-four-know-a-victim/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cuk%7Cdl2%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D256599 And that's after the Government (and the criminal media) has finished with them . . . For now.

Learning the business of complaining. http://www.express.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/470178/How-to-make-sure-you-get-your-due-course-as-a-consumer

What turns off home-buyers. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/04/04/what-puts-buyers-off/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cukt3%7Cdl6%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D256748

13.04.2013: Safety fears over UK construction sites. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/apr/12/uk-construction-industry-timebomb-health-safety-cuts-building-hse

Breaking the chains on High Streets. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/breaking-the-chains-on-high-streets-a-movement-for-independent-local-loyalty-cards-plans-to-go-nationwide-9256656.html

Tourists urged to shop around when buying foreign currency. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2603419/Exchange-rate-deals-boost-holiday-cash-170-Tourists-urged-shop-buying-foreign-currency.html

New penalties proposed for offshore tax evaders (except for those who contribute to political party funds): http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-26998208#

12.04.2014: UK construction output shrinks 2.8% in February. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26987375#

Homebuyers face tougher scrutiny. http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/apr/11/homebuyers-face-tougher-scrutiny-household-bills-childcare-costs

UK property ownership slumps to lowest level since 1987. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2602978/Are-seeing-slow-death-home-owning-dream-After-boom-Thatchers-right-buy-era-property-ownership-slumped-lowest-level-1987.html

Footballer helps to save pasty company. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26996023#

eBay offers private sellers 20 free listings a month - but it's not all good news. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/04/11/ebay-offers-private-sellers-20-free-listings-per-month/

How to save '£240 a year' with LED lightbulbs. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/household-bills/10756999/How-to-save-240-a-year-with-LED-lightbulbs.html

Tested: latest energy-saving gadgets. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/greenproperty/10749453/Eco-living-the-latest-energy-saving-gadgets.html

11.04.2014: Freebie Friday. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/04/11/freebie-friday-this-weeks-discounts-deals-and-freebies/

Overdrafts 'complex and poor value'. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26973751#

Overdraft fees that cost twice as much as a payday loan. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2602061/Probe-bank-overdraft-fees-cost-twice-payday-loan.html

More than 600,000 people change bank accounts using new switching service. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26982564#

British economy too reliant on people spending money, warns IMF. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/10758923/British-economy-too-reliant-on-people-spending-money-warns-IMF.html

Buy-to-let landlords rush to protect against interest rate rises. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/borrowing/mortgages/10757759/Buy-to-let-landlords-rush-for-protection-against-interest-rate-rises.html

Ticket touts are 'classic entrepreneurs' says new Culture Secretary. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ticket-touts-are-classic-entrepreneurs-who-should-be-allowed-to-operate-without-interference-says-new-culture-secretary-sajid-javid-9252429.html

The 'old school' used car scam making a comeback. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/04/10/the-old-school-used-car-scam-making-a-comeback/

Baldwins Kickstart Young Entrepreneur 2014 Award Program. http://baldwinsnewsletter.com/newsletters/12701_baldwins_kickstart_is_back_2014_email/html/index.html

The 5 biggest mistakes when using storytelling in business. http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/in-business/advice/24606/5-biggest-mistakes-using-storytelling-business/

Easter deals from Ideal Office. http://ideal-office8.co.uk/mailer/display.php?M=1193029&C=bc042acd793a8b78d790a998caebb28f&S=196&L=69&N=17

10.04.2014: Heartbleed bug; public urged to re-set all passwords. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26954540

New rights for consumers purchasing at a distance. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/266525/bis-13-1368
-consumer-contracts-information-cancellation-and-additional-payments-regulations-guidance.pdf
On 13th June 2014, the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 will come into force. The Regulations introduce various provisions of the Consumer Rights Directive into UK law, which will be further implemented by the forthcoming Consumer Rights Act. The Regulations will extend the cooling-off period in which consumers can cancel their order for goods or services from seven days to fourteen days, although exemptions will still apply, for example to orders for personalised goods. Other changes include prohibiting the use of premium rate telephone numbers for after-sales service and the introduction of a standard cancellation form to be provided by retailers.

Read more about the Consumer Rights Directive at: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/providing-better-information-and-protection-for-
consumers/supporting-pages/implementing-the-consumer-rights-directive-2011-83-eu

(EnterpriseQuest)

Half a million households in negative equity. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26389009

Desperate need for homes on sale, says Rics. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26957600#

Banks top complaints league table. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/banking/10754355/Banks-top-complaints-league-table-but-Hargreaves-Lansdown-sees-surge.html

HMRC raids on bank accounts could be illegal, MPs told. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/tax/10754362/HMRC-powers-to-raid-bank-accounts-could-be-illegal-MPs-told.html

W.C. (War Criminal) Party promises to lock up business owners who profit from illegal immigrants. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2601122/Well-lock-brutal-gangmasters-says-Labour-Party-calls-jail-terms-sweatshop-owners-base-businesses-employing-illegal-immigrants.html The party proposes starving, injuring, murdering, bombing and thieving from millions of defenceless civilians in their own countries, instead. Just as the present Government - and all aided and abetted by the country's criminal, media propaganda, of course.

How to make your business cyber-streetwise. http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/in-business/advice/24596/make-business-cyber-streetwise/

£5,400 home built in just 6 weeks. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/renovatinganddiy/10741624/Mango-House-a-5400-home-built-in-just-six-weeks.html

09.04.2014: UK business confidence 'surging'. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/apr/08/uk-business-confidence-surging-bcc

Credit unions out perform banks in smaller business lending. http://www.neweconomics.org/publications/entry/credit-unions-international-evidence Credit unions have an important role to play in the banking sector and provide a valuable source of loans for smaller firms, according to a report from think-tank New Economics Foundation (NEF). Credit unions are a form of co-operative bank that restrict lending to members, who must share a common bond such as location. According to the NEF report, credit unions apply greater personal and local knowledge when making loan assessments. The NEF has called for the introduction of policies to grow the credit union sector, which in 2011 managed over $1.5 trillion worth of assets for nearly 200 million members in 100 countries worldwide. (EnterpriseQuest)

Do bailiffs' powers need curbing? http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/apr/08/do-bailiffs-powers-need-curbing

The Scottish Business Exhibition, 13th and 14th November 2014, SECC, Glasgow. http://snt3.net/viewInBrowser.aspx?x=YIWKL5IT&i=AFOX47SX&c=18498&e=info%40homebusiness.org.uk&l=1

'Sorry' seems to be the hardest word, customer service survey shows. http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/469388/New-research-shows-most-British-complaints-could-be-solved-with-a-sorry

How customer focused is your business? http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/in-business/advice/19281/how-customer-focused-is-your-business/

08.04.2014: Freelancers group disappointed by lack of action on prompt payment. https://www.pcg.org.uk/news-events/news/2014/03/31/pcg-responds-government-climb-down-late-payments-action The Government's decision against making the Prompt Payment Code mandatory has been greeted with disappointment by the Professional Contractors Group (PCG), a membership association representing more than 21,000 freelancers, contractors and consultants. Chris Bryce, Chief Executive Officer of PCG, said: "Introducing a 'name and shame' policy was always going to be challenging, but it is still disappointing to hear that the Government will not be taking more direct action to make the Prompt Payment Code compulsory, or better still, introduce sanctions to the worst offending big businesses." (EnterpriseQuest)

For those of us who have been knocking around for a bit, such 'disappointment' is par for the course. Not even the EU, the FSB and the Forum have been able to prevail on the issue of late payments which historically, is the single, biggest headache small businesses are likely to have. And the reasons are very simple. Big firms 'prey' on little firms; it's the law of the jungle. Plus, on a global scale, many of the worst payment offenders are governments, their departments and agencies themselves (albeit the UK is a better example than most); whereas corporate money for party funding and thus, Ministerial grace and favour, is far more important to politicians than the health and welfare of the country's 'pleb' small businesses - let alone the self-employed - who despite their collective numbers, have never got off their arses to band together to speak with one voice. A situation which has been compounded by the arrival of the internet where it can now be easily but just as falsely claimed, that a few anonymous postings are somehow 'the voice' of the small business community. Coincidentally, still doing absolutely nothing.

Now, if it was an appeal for thousands of morons to come together to get pissed and trash someone's house, on the other hand . . .

BCC says economic recovery is 'not yet sure'. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26930629#

Will you have to pay tax when you sell your home? http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/04/07/will-you-have-to-pay-tax-when-you-sell-your-home/

The small print that could cost landlords thousands. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/10745112/The-small-print-that-could-cost-landlords-thousands.html

Windows XP support comes to an end. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26884167#

Infected meat could reach UK pates, inspectors warn. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/07/infected-meat-food-inspectors-warning As we warned - back to business as usual.

Official release: new cuts to red tape come into force. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-cuts-to-red-tape-come-into-force

London is crowned top destination in the UK - and third best in the world. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2599125/London-crowned-destination-UK-best-world-TripAdvisor-awards.html What an astonishingly unsurprising conclusion - but then again, it is TripAdvisor.

Top Ten hotel perks. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2598999/Top-10-hotel-perks-Holidaymakers-vote-free-breakfast-desirable-free-wifi.html A 'free' breakfast has now become more important than 'free' wi-fi, it seems. Or, you could book into a decent B&B where both would be included 'free', anyway. As if there is ever such a thing.

How to keep the cash flowing. http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/in-business/advice/24545/keep-cash-flowing/

07.04.2014: Energy complaints reach record high. http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/apr/07/energy-complaints-reach-highest-level-tripled

Can collective consumerism help cut bills? http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/apr/06/energy-bills-consumers-collective-cheaper-rate

Parcel delivery scam. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/news/article-2597650/Fraudsters-striking-600-times-day-pays-smart.html

Refused credit? No need to panic. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/04/07/refused-credit-no-need-to-panic/

06.04.2014: Government-backed Citizens Advice Debtline charging up to 41p a minute. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/04/05/citzens-advice-charge_n_5096784.html

Could now be the worst possible time to buy-to-let? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/investing/buy-to-let/10743997/Could-now-be-the-worst-possible-time-to-buy-to-let.html

Government launches consultation on childcare agencies. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/boost-for-childminders-and-hardworking-families The Government has launched a consultation on draft regulations that outline how childcare agencies will operate when they are introduced in September 2014. Respondents are invited to comment on issues such as continuing professional development (CPD), the hours of support time and quality assurance visits that agencies should provide to registered childminders, and the role of local authorities. The consultation closes on 22nd May 2014.

The consultation documents are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/childminder-agencies-and-changes-to-the-local-authority-role

The French want to drive me off the ski slopes. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/10747514/French-want-to-drive-me-off-the-ski-slopes.html The French having the rather curious idea that jobs in France should be filled by the French - and not 'illegal' English immigrants. Whatever next?!

Benefits cheats face losing their homes. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10747122/Benefit-cheats-face-higher-fines-and-losing-their-homes.html Ummm. Bad news for many of the '8 million' Brits secretly running internet businesses from home - while claiming benefits on the side as well. Perhaps they should get into politics, instead? Then they can take advantage of taxpayer funding for their homes with full Prime Ministerial and party blessing.

Naked truth of home workers. 20% stay in their pyjamas all day. http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/news/article-2597943/Naked-truth-home-workers-20-dont-office-stay-pyjamas-day.html Well - why bother if one only has to go out once a week to the dole office? Mind you, the test sample was just 1,300 and conducted on behalf of a computer memory and storage company. Which, as a sample out of a supposed '8 million' 'homeworkers'/'self-employed' 'home businesses' is so inconsequential one might as well use the back of an increasingly rare fag packet for data storage. And once again, the usual reporting confusion with the term 'home workers'. A business and personal life coach commented, 'If people work in a less stressful environment, they will produce more creative and innovative business ideas'.

So who was questioned? Home workers? Or home businesses? Otherwise it's like confusing 'cloud' with 'pie-in-the-sky'. Or - perhaps not?

05.04.2014: Official release: UK floods 2014: Government response and recovery. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-floods-2014-government-response

Official release: UK business barometer February 2014: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/298773/bis-14-p75a-sme-business-barometer-february-2014.pdf

The Business Show, 15th - 16th May, Excel, London. http://www.greatbritishbusinessshow.co.uk/index.asp

Nest Learning Thermostat claims 29% energy savings. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10736821/Nest-Learning-Thermostat-claims-29pc-energy-savings.html

Budget phone maker to launch super-cheap mobiles in the UK. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2597118/Budget-phone-maker-launch-super-cheap-mobiles-starting-60-UK.html

Smashing the smoke and mirrors of social for business. http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/columns/opinion/24457/smashing-smoke-mirrors-social-business/

'Change your website or face cancellation nightmares', lawyers warn retailers. http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/news/24496/change-website-face-cancellation-nightmares-lawyers-warn-retailers/

CNET Community: help me successfully get my Windows 8 laptop onto Windows 7. http://nls.cnet.com/pageservices/viewOnlineNewsletter.sc?list_id=e497&send_date=04/04/2014

04.04.2014: Freebie Friday. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/04/04/freebie-friday-this-weeks-discounts-deals-and-freebies/

Home ownership unaffordable - Cable. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/04/04/home-ownership-unaffordable-cable/ Bad news for all those '8 million' home businesses who thought that running a business from home was a cheap option. Still. The solutions are obvious. Increase the availability of business start-up loans and jack up the limits on credit cards. We musn't jeopardise the country's 'economic recovery'. For bankers.

High Street showing 'great resilience'. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26849833# So that's another one the Government's 'celebrity' advisers, the dumb media and 'weener' business website gurus have got all wrong, then?

MEPs vote to scrap roaming charges. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26866966

Bailiffs to be banned from using aggressive tactics. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-26876432#

New statements to show how your tax money was spent. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/tax/10742723/New-statements-to-show-how-your-tax-money-was-spent.html

Credit card firms to be probed over Britain's spiral of debt. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2596544/Credit-card-firms-probed-spiral-debt-9m-borrowers-struggle-cope-says-watchdog.html

World's Top 100 restaurants revealed. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/news/top-100-restaurants-in-the-world-revealed--as-heston-blumenthal-is-named-chef-of-the-year-9236056.html A list always worth bearing in mind if trying to impress an important client is the main objective. Or, to avoid - if you want a more enjoyable, relaxed and affordable experience. Supper Clubs and street food. That's where it's all at these days. Always making allowances for polluted s...holes like London and Paris, though.

The 'kitchen scrappage' scam. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/news/article-2595136/Beware-cold-callers-offering-bogus-kitchen-scrappage-scheme.html

Spending on court interpreters doubles in a year to over £15 million. http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/468538/Spending-on-foreign-laguage-court-interpreters-doubles-to-over-15m Plenty of work for 'home businesses' here, even if the main contract is with Crapita who take their handsome slice of the action too, instead of the courts doing business directly with interpreters and translators as used to be the case. Still, it's all part of the tax money-go-round for the Treasury to waste. On continuing to subsidise the country's murder industry, no doubt. Which helps feed the courts with non-English speaking refugees.

April 2 the most popular day of the year to start a business, claims O2 advertorial. http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/in-business/24454/april-2-popular-day-start-business-uk/ All based on data from Companies House, so scarcely representative. Still, it all helps to fill some column space.

Why email marketing is still the must-have tool for business. http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/in-business/advice/24459/email-marketing-still-must-tool-businesses/

03.04.2014: Tradesmen failings cost homeowners £1.9 billion. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/04/03/tradesmen-failings-cost-1-9bn/ So what were we saying on 25.03 (below)? And for years before that? Although let's not confuse the term 'tradesmen' with cowboys. The latter unfortunately, representing the very great majority.

Potholes will cost £12 billion to fill. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/04/03/potholes-will-cost-12bn-to-fill/ Sure they will, as every bent councillor and cowboy contractor in the district line up to make a meal of a job every child with a pack of playdough could manage. Even get Network Rail in to help, with their crews of one high-vis worker per twenty high-vis onlookers. All on a £1000 a week, of course.

Small firms in England are missing out on an estimated £100 million in unclaimed business rate relief, according to a report by chartered surveyors Bankier Sloan. http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/General-News/Pubs-missing-out-on-rate-relief-due-to-council-flaws Under the Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) scheme, firms with a single property of a rateable value less than £6,000 can claim 100% rate relief. However, the report revealed that at least 100 businesses per local authority area that are eligible for the scheme have not applied for it. This is partly being blamed on out-of-date and inaccurate information published on council websites. Report author Ian Sloan has urged local authorities to update their websites in time for 1st April 2014, when new rate discounts will be made available to retailers.

Housebuilding at its best levels since 2007. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/apr/02/housebuilding-boosts-construction-sector-best-levels-2007

The rise of the silver self-employed. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2595198/The-rise-silver-self-employed-How-recession-led-sharp-increase-50s-working-themselves.html 70% of the increase in numbers of self-employed is accounted for by the over-50s, apparently. When needs must.

Pensioners can buy £25 state pension boost. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pensions/10738914/Pensioners-can-buy-25-state-pension-boost.html Ostensibly a measure designed to help 'women and the self-employed' although the cynical might suggest that it's just another 'front-loading' attempt by Government and the Treasury to help pay for existing pension rights which are gradually being tapered out of existence altogether.

5 million paid less than the living wage. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/04/02/five-million-paid-less-than-the-living-wage/ Still fewer paying customers for the small business community; much of which has been paying itself 'less than the living wage' for quite a number of years. Musn't complain, though. We're enjoying an 'economic revival'.

Britain 13th in international quality of life index. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/its-not-all-bad-britain-fares-well-in-international-quality-of-life-index-9234133.html Ah well, they say money can't buy happiness. Which is true, of course . . .

Britain's best-known export - its social filth - in the news again. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2595423/Hundreds-Chelsea-fans-violent-rampage-Paris-making-Nazi-salutes-smashing-cafes-ahead-European-clash.html This will probably be the cue for yet another tv series featuring the country's dross. In the meantime, there is very limited reporting of these events in the widespread media which is anxious as always, not to bite one of the hands that feeds it.

3 tools to help you start and grow your own business. http://sbinformation.about.com/b/2014/03/27/small-business-tools.htm?nl=1

5 quick ways to boost your bottom line. http://sbinformation.about.com/od/creditloans/a/boost-your-bottom-line.htm

02.04.2014: Payments via mobile number start this month. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26836380#

Ghost gazumping: when is a house sale binding? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/houseprices/10729757/Ghost-gazumping-Can-home-sellers-demand-a-higher-price-after-a-deal-is-agreed.html

Copycat website dupes motorists into paying £40 extra for a tax disk. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/10736375/Copycat-website-dupes-motorists-into-paying-40-extra-for-tax-disc.html

The banking scam that targets the rich. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/04/01/the-banking-scam-that-targets-the-rich/

The 'internet marketing' scam - another expose. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/10734647/You-can-make-six-figures-we-test-internet-marketing-claims.html As we keep saying . . . It's like porn. Nothing new. Except that since the arrival of the internet, it's simply more evident. Like the presence of anonymous, cowardly and illiterate morons with their cerebral half-inchers.

Digital High Street Skills programme launched for small firms. http://www.theretailbulletin.com/news/digital_high_street_skills_programme_launches_to_boost_small_businesses_26-03-14/ A programme to help small, high-street businesses increase their digital knowledge has been launched by the National Skills Academy for Retail in partnership with the Association of Town and City Management. The Digital High Street Skills programme, which was piloted in Altrincham, will be introduced in other towns and cities across the UK in the coming months. The programme provides training in digital marketing, website development and social media. Jane Rexworthy, Head of the National Skills Academy for Retail, said: "We are calling on small businesses to take advantage of Government funding, which is available until the end of July to support them in accessing this programme." (EnterpriseQuest)

English teenagers are among the best at solving practical problems. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2594714/English-teenagers-best-solving-practical-problems-Nations-15-year-olds-beat-peers-U-S-European-nation-except-Finland.html Makes you wonder why they can't get jobs or set up and run businesses successfully, then? (Although they were outside the Top Ten. So, based upon the country's football and cricket national sport models - Failure Is Success.)

Enterprise Rockers - latest newsletter. http://www.enterpriserockers.co.uk/latest_newsletter.php

01.04.2014: Royal Mail stamp prices rising - again. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/31/royal-mail-stamp-prices-rising/

Rural broadband rollout criticised - again. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26819483#

BT's monopoly on broadband 'a government failure'. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/bts-monopoly-on-broadband-a-government-failure-says-patricia-hodge-9226887.html Not for BT executives, it hasn't been.

Payday lenders failing their customers. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26817986# Just like the entire financial sector, then? Who clearly don't appreciate competition.

Investigations into IR35 quadruple in twelve months. http://www.accountancyage.com/aa/news/2336347/ir35-investigations-quadruple-inside-year HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) carried out four times as many IR35 investigations in 2012/13 than in 2011/12, according to research by Bloomsbury Professional. The research also revealed that HMRC revenue from IR35 investigations increased from £200,000 to £1.1 million over the same period. Commenting on the findings, Martin Casmir, Managing Director of Bloomsbury Professional said: "The [IR35] legislation affects everyone working on a contract basis and it's very complicated, meaning some honest freelancers are falling foul of the rules." (EnterpriseQuest)

Hull Council printing own money. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10734073/Hull-Council-printing-its-own-money-by-paying-digital-cash-for-voluntary-work.html

How to avoid the Business Moneypit. http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/columns/opinion/24432/avoid-business-moneypit/

Credit reports made easy. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/31/credit-reports-made-easy/

The floating bookshop. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/living-by-the-book-the-floating-bookshop-9226778.html

5 favourite ways to make money from home. http://entrepreneurs.about.com/od/gettingstarted/fl/5-of-Our-Favorite-Ways-to-Make-Money-From-Home.htm . . . but not a lot.

CNET Community: is it safe to use my computer again after it was compromised? http://nls.cnet.com/pageservices/viewOnlineNewsletter.sc?list_id=e497&send_date=03/14/2014

31.03.2014: Households putting less money aside. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26795178# That will be all those home business running costs of '8 million' Brits internet trading from home. And not putting anything to one side for HMRC, who can monitor every move they make. (Not that there's much profit to be made from selling used baby buggies.)

Attempt to cut off illegal websites' advertising revenue. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26788800#

Banking technology brings 'seismic' decline in branch transactions. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/banking/10733432/Banking-technology-brings-seismic-decline-in-branch-transactions.html

Schools to be told to buy British produce. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/howtogrow/fruitandvegetables/10724769/Schools-to-be-told-to-buy-local-British-products-minister-says.html

Greed scams greed; a typical scam story. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2591705/Woman-tells-horror-conned-320-000-best-friend-secretly-running-Ponzi-scheme.html

TaxationWeb March newsletter: http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=20130af8d76b06160470ee741&id=32fbac573a&e=45c941d6f6

30.03.2014: Crackdown plans for nuisance selling calls. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-26806116# What - another 'plan'? What's happened to the last fifteen?

£1 million in fines for nuisance call firms. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2592475/1million-fines-nuisance-call-firms-120-000-complaints-just-six-months.html

Consultation on modernising cheque payments launched. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cheque-payments-to-become-quicker-and-easier The Government has launched a consultation on proposals to use 'cheque imaging' in the UK, which allows banks to accept certified digital images of cheques, as well as traditional paper cheques. According to HM Treasury, if adopted, this payment method would reduce the time it takes for a cheque to clear to as little as two days, increase consumer convenience and broaden payment options. The consultation closes on 7th April 2014.

The consultation documents are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/speeding-up-cheque-payments-legislating-for-cheque-imaging

Official release: Government puts small business at the heart of the economy. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-puts-small-business-at-the-heart-of-the-economy We'll be seeing loads of knighthoods and HMRC 'luvvy' tax deals for small business owners, then?

Which British shops don't pay their garment workers a living wage? http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/which-british-highstreet-shops-do-not-pay-their-garment-workers-a-living-wage-9223733.html In which case appealing to the consciences of British consumers who are directly responsible for these wages and conditions, isn't going to change matters one bit. As long as they can hold their exploited worker dummyphones . . .

Landmark VAT interest ruling. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/29/landmark-vat-interest-ruling/ Next landmark interest ruling: it is not in the 'interest' of the regime to pay back money from its coffers to 'fuckin' plebs' especially as they can't afford millions of £s for advisers, accountants, barristers and the English legal system to buy justice.

French trade minister apologises for 'digusting' food served to Chinese president. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/french-trade-minister-nicole-bricq-apologises-for-disgusting-state-dinner-remark-9223256.html Which is what French food has increasingly become.

Health warning calls on 'advergames'. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/29/health-warning-call-on-advergames/

29.03.2014: 30 million financial policies to be probed. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26780863#

Figures show two-paced housing market. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26784029# Oh, dear. Must get this story suppressed by the country's fawning, criminal media asap or all that talking-up of house prices by estate agents, banks and building societies in order to milk dumb plebs, will have been in vain.

UK's worst broadband provider. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/28/the-uks-worst-broadband-provider/

UK's worst mobile phone provider. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/28/the-uks-worst-mobile-phone-provider/

Taxman cracks down on health professionals. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/28/taxman-cracks-down-on-health-professionals/

Will social media hurt your business? http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/columns/opinion/24404/will-social-media-hurt-business/

There's life in a cold-call yet. http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/uncategorized/24392/theres-life-cold-call-yet/

Why failing to make a will could ruin your business. http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/in-business/legal/24384/failing-make-will-ruin-business/

The home-office hoarder. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/mar/28/homes-home-improvements-office-clutter

Work begins on world's first 3D-printed house. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2014/mar/28/work-begins-on-the-worlds-first-3d-printed-house

28.03.2014: Freebie Friday. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/28/freebie-friday-this-weeks-discounts-deals-and-freebies/

Retail sales bounce back with 1.7% rise in February. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26765711#

HMRC is addicted to property. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/tax/10727458/HMRC-is-addicted-to-property.html

4.5 million UK homes in 'fuel poverty'. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/28/4-5m-uk-homes-in-fuel-poverty/ Add to that public transport poverty, education poverty, healthcare poverty, food poverty and cash, no shekels poverty and there you have the embodiment of Thatcher's 'sold out to pigs in troughs and fcuk the plebs' Britain. No wonder the present Government is effectively paying people without a clue to start their own businesses - because anyone with a bit of nouse looking at the simplest of figures would realise they've got no chance - or no chance at all.

'Raft' of new measures for small businesses promised by Britain's W.C. (War Criminal) Party. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ed-miliband-pledges-to-support-small-businesses-with-raft-of-new-measures-9219696.html

What motivates you? http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/in-business/advice/24387/motivates/

New paths, new opportunities for SMEs. http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/in-business/24373/new-paths-new-opportunities-smes/

27.03.2014: More than 45% of Brits now have non-traditional debt. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/26/almost-50-of-us-have-non-traditional-debt/

88% of businesses affected by late payment in 2013. http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/news/24371/88-businesses-affected-late-payment-2013/ Really? And the internet, dummyphones and apps haven't changed all that? Whaddya know. I wonder if yoof and the long-term unemployed are being told all this by their ex-bank manager 'mentors' when they apply for their business start-up loans?

BT broadband tops complaints list. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26757049# Absolutely perfect shambles to justify the appointment of a BT head honcho as Minister of Trade.

Millions may be paying too much for their energy, says regulator. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/10725608/Millions-of-households-may-be-paying-too-much-for-their-energy-regulator-expected-to-say.html It's about time the regulator got the boot, then, having done nothing but parrot what the public has known for years. Next thing, they'll be suggesting a review. I'd put them all in a cardboard box under Chiswick flyover, myself. To keep the company of all the families who have had to quit their homes because they can't pay all their bills.

Shopper wins 16-year legal battle over PC World laptop. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/borrowing/10723923/Shopper-Richard-Durkin-wins-16-year-credit-battle-over-PC-World-laptop.html

World's Top 20 places for the good life. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/internationalproperty/10710665/Worlds-top-20-places-for-the-good-life.html

26.03.2014: Slump in High Street sales growth. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/25/slump-in-high-street-sales-growth/

Fewer commuters but journeys are longer. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/26/fewer-commuters-but-journeys-longer/ Before anyone gets too excited, these are figures are based on the Census and cover the period 2001 to 2011. According to the Pentagon. During which time there has been an absolutely massive surge in numbers of people 'working from home' - 0.8% over ten years. WOW. O...M...G x 60 rpm. Awesome. (Or they could simply be unemployed. The Pentagon didn't say.)

So this 'explosion' in the numbers of people working from home that all the politicians, dumb media, telecoms companies and 'weener' websites have been talking about . . . ?

Relaxation of planning rules for shops and farm buildings. http://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2014/march/relaxed-shop-to-home-conversion-rules-to-come-into-force-next-month/ Changes to permitted development rules will make it easier to convert shops and farm buildings in England into homes from 6th April 2014. The changes of use that will be classed as permitted developments will include the conversion of a shop or building that has been used for financial or professional services into residential property and the conversion of an agricultural building with a floorspace of less than 450 square metres into up to three homes. The rules will only apply to buildings that were used as shops or for financial or professional services up to 20th March 2013 or when they were last in use if not in use on that date, and if the floorspace is less than 150 square metres and the conversion will not result in the external dimensions of the building increasing.

Social media - is it still an option? http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/columns/opinion/24339/social-media-still-option/ OK. But after all the time a 'home business' could waste organising its social media, will it actually produce more money? We have seen a similar situation with SEO. For years, a top, page one ranking on Google has been promoted as a must-have. Depending upon your trading activity, obviously, we (having occupied #1 slots with Google, Yahoo and all the other search engines for 15 years) and quite a few other top performing businesses we have compared notes with, have found that search engine rankings make no or very little difference to the bottom line at all, AS LONG as you are pursuing other marketing avenues as well. Then again, like most things being promoted on the internet - any form of reality check would put a lot of scammers and spammers out of business.

Of course, internet addicts will immediately point to 'thousands' of online success stories. Out of millions of 'home businesses' around the world which don't even have an internet connection. Especially in many parts of 'Bongo Bongoland' Britain.

Try this link: 'Push' marketing still sells. No matter what the 'gurus' say. http://www.globalbusinessnews.co.uk/news/mar2014/gbn2014_q1.html#gbnmarketing

25.03.2014: Lloyds accused of short-changing PPI claimants. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26715982#

Government confirms scope of Flood Re. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/water-bill-governments-approach-to-flood-insurance The scope of Flood Re, a UK-wide scheme to reduce the cost of insurance for households at high risk of flooding, has been confirmed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Commercial properties will be excluded from Flood Re, but domestic properties used by micro-business owners will be included, provided the proprietor's insurance policy is classed by their insurance provider as 'domestic'. Residential properties in council tax band H and properties built after 2009 will also be excluded from the scheme, which is expected to be introduced in summer 2015. (EnterpriseQuest)

HMRC criticised for new campaign targeting freelancers. https://www.pcg.org.uk/news-events/news/2014/03/14/pcg-alarmed-new-hmrc-campaign-targeting-clients-revealed A new HMRC campaign that targets freelancers and consultants has been criticised by the Professional Contractors Group (PCG). HMRC has written to the clients of some freelancers and consultants requesting detailed information about any payments up to a value of £350,000 made to them under a contract for services. Chris Bryce, Chief Executive Officer of PCG, said it was unfair to only target smaller firms by excluding payments over a certain value and argued that it was potentially damaging to these freelancers and consultants for HMRC to contact their clients implying that they were under investigation. "For the smallest businesses, where client relationships are key, this is especially harmful," he added. (EnterpriseQuest)

Taxman to use anti-terrorist laws to deal with future internal whistleblowers. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2588501/Tax-chief-wont-rule-using-terror-laws-whistleblowers-three-years-HMRC-sparked-fury-targeting-staff-member-revealed-Goldman-Sachs-deal.html For the avoidance of any lingering doubts, that's what the long-term objectives of 'anti-terrorist' laws really are. And the internet. And drones. And dummyphones. To keep 'fuckin' plebs' in their place.

Self-employed numbers to outstrip those of state staff by 2018. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2588464/Self-employed-set-outstrip-state-staff-time-2018-report-predicts.html Thus lowering considerably the burden on government and the Treasury and allowing politicians to boast that the country has become 'a nation of shopkeepers' once again. Mind you, the report claims there are 4.5 million self-employed already, which put into the mix with 8 million home-based internet businesses (which should be self-employed) it only goes to prove that nobody really knows what they are talking about any more. And when it comes to job statistics, I would happily include myself in that assessment.

'We'll all retire on odd jobs and lodgers'. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pensions/10714707/Well-all-retire-on-odd-jobs-and-lodgers.html Sounds like a real-time British, self-employed home business to me. Rather than '8 million home-based internet businesses' selling a used game station on eBay every twelve months.

Pledge to close building skills gap. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/25/pledge-to-close-building-skills-gap/ It's more than just building skills which the Brits need to drag into the present century but also the practice of so-called tradesmen sitting around drinking cups of tea, smoking, yapping and farting around for a few hours a day while demanding an astronomical rate for the job. It's no coincidence that of all the self-employed trades, 'cowboys' have long been synonymous with builders alone and that given a choice, many customers simply won't touch an English builder. Which is a great shame - because I'm sure there are some good 'uns out there.

And before British 'builders' start to whine (invoice mode) about the East Europeans or any skilled immigrant construction labour, they, more than any other sector, need to get off their arses, switch off their dummyphones and take a look in the mirror. Then, if they're good enough and really want to work, there are plenty of places around the world which, as always, will take them on.

What are the rules about replacing roof tiles? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/propertyadvice/10710850/Property-clinic-what-are-the-rules-about-replacing-roof-tiles.html

The black market in fences. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2588550/Fences-flood-black-market-Panels-changing-hands-80-national-shortage-wake-winter-storms.html

Ministers resist ban on payday loan ads. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/25/ministers-resist-payday-loan-ad-ban/

7 amazing tips to get more done with Windows 7. http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/business/community/hints-and-tips/seven-amazing-windows-7-tips-to-get-more-done?WT.srch=1&WT.mc_id=Reprise_Outbrain_Seven+Windows7+Tips Or, do what British politicians do and hire a foreign housemaid. Much cheaper. Much more versatile. And much more fun.

24.03.2014: Small firms urge break-up of Big Six energy companies. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/10718035/Small-firms-urge-break-up-of-Big-Six-energy-giants.html

Credit report scams. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/24/watch-out-for-these-credit-report-scams/

Britain's best city to live in. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/bristol-named-britains-best-city-to-live-in-9210931.html

More could lose homes, says charity. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/03/24/more-could-lose-homes-says-charity/

'Sell off land so people can build their own homes'. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/sell-off-land-so-people-can-build-their-own-homessays-labour-minister-9211137.html That should bankrupt 'homeowners' even more quickly than taking out a Ponzi-scheme mortgage, especially with some of the so-called 'builders' and 'tradesmen' one gets in the UK.

2014 Budget round up

Key points having an impact on smaller firms announced by the Chancellor George Osborne in his 2014 Budget include:

The main rate of corporation tax will be reduced to 21% from 1st April 2014, then to 20% in April 2015.

The VAT registration threshold will be raised to £81,000 from 1st April 2014 and the deregistration threshold increased to £79,000.

The Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) will be doubled from £250,000 to £500,000 until December 2015.

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) - the venture capital scheme that provides enhanced income tax and capital gains tax relief to qualifying investors - will be made permanent.

The Employment Allowance, which was announced in the 2013 Budget, will come into effect from 6th April 2014. The Allowance will enable businesses and charities to claim £2,000 each year to offset against their employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs).

The full Budget report and associated notices are available from HM Treasury at: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/budget-2014

 

 

A Happy, Healthy and Wealthy New Year to you all.

With our usual gratitude and thanks to BAD News and Cobweb Info.

Len Tondel

 

 

Viewpoint: January 2014; February 2014; March 2014

December 2013; November 2013; October 2013; September 2013; August 2013; July 2013; June 2013; May 2013; April 2013; March 2013; February 2013; January 2013

December 2012; November 2012; October 2012; September 2012; August 2012; July 2012; June 2012; May 2012; April 2012; March 2012; February 2012; December 2011/January 2012

 

 

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Tel: 0871 284 5100 Fax: 0871 284 4999 (Calls to 0871 numbers cost 10p per minute)

Contact/e-mail: info@homebusiness.org.uk
 


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