Archive for April, 2013

Non-bank business lending increases

The number of business loans provided by non-bank community lenders increased by 33% in the first quarter of 2013 compared with the previous quarter, according to a survey  carried out by the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA). The CDFA said awareness of non-bank lending  was increasing among firms, particularly as recent figures from the Bank of England showed falling demand for traditional bank loans.
Read more on the survey at:
http://www.cdfa.org.uk/2013/04/19/demand-for-non-bank-business-loans-increases/

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Regulatory Innovation for Growth programme launched.

Funding to encourage local authorities and national regulators to adopt more business-friendly enforcement policies has been launched by Business Minister Michael Fallon. The Regulatory Innovation for Growth programme provides up to £20,000 for each project for innovative enforcement schemes based on regulators working more closely with business. Examples of potential projects include helping  start up firms with compliance or offering easier access to information/training for specific business sectors.
There is more on the fund at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-fund-will-help-regulators-and-business-work-together-for-growth

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Businesses plan to increase marketing spend

Over a third of businesses plan to increase their spend on marketing in 2013, compared with 23% that plan to spend less, according to the latest IPA Bellwether report. The report also revealed that, despite a slight increase in budgets allocated to marketing in Q1 of 2013, they were yet to return to pre-recession levels and, in 2012, spending fell for the fifth successive year. Spending on Internet advertising saw the quickest rate of growth, while budgets for direct marketing fell sharply.
Read more on the report at:
http://www.ipa.co.uk/news/q1-2013-bellwether-report-reveals-marginal-rise-in-spend

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Small firms face attacks from cyber criminals

Almost a third of targeted cyber attacks between 2011 and 2012 were aimed at small firms, according to research by Symantec. The research found the key reasons smaller firms were targeted was due to inadequate online security and because they provide an attack route into larger businesses. The research also revealed an increase in attacks aimed at manufacturing firms. Stephen Trilling of Symantec said the sophistication of attacks, along with modern IT complexities, requires smaller firms to be proactive and use “defence in depth” security measures to stay ahead of attacks.
Read more on the research at:
http://www.itpro.co.uk/security/19624/symantec-2013-threat-report-flags-surge-targeted-attacks

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Government accepts recommendations to raise minimum wage

The Government has increased the national minimum wage (NMW) for both adults and young people, in line with recommendations made by the Low Pay Commission (LPC). From 1st October 2013, the NMW for adults will increase by 12p to £6.31 per hour, while the rate for 18 to 20-year-olds will increase by 5p to £5.03 per hour. Furthermore, the Government announced it will increase the rate for apprentices and will undertake enforcement work to crack down on the high number of employers not paying apprentices the relevant minimum wage.
Read more about the NMW rate changes at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-approves-new-national-minimum-wage-rate-of-6-31

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Small suppliers suffer late payments from manufacturers

Over half of small firms supplying to manufacturers wait for nearly eight weeks to receive payment, according to a survey by Bacs Payment Schemes. The survey also found small firms are owed around £40,000 each in late payments and suppliers in the North of the country are owed nearly double that of suppliers based in the South. The main excuses given for late payments included forgetfulness or not having the time to settle the bill. Mike Hutchinson of Bacs said smaller suppliers experiencing the burden of late payments faced serious implications in a time when cash flow is key.
Read more on the survey at:

Suppliers to manufacturers wait eight weeks for payment

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Government funding supports new Copyright Hub

Government funding of £150,000 to create a Copyright Hub website, which will provide information on rights ownership and copyright licences has been announced by Intellectual Property (IP) minister Lord Younger. The Hub will help small businesses to learn about a wider range of licensing options, while enabling firms to licence copyrighted works more easily and cost effectively. Lord Younger said: “Above all, it chimes with Government’s aim to provide a further portal to assist businesses to grow faster and to boost our creative industries.”
Read more on the Copyright Hub at:
http://www.ipo.gov.uk/about/press/press-release/press-release-2013/press-release-20130325.htm

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Mentoring and support available for high-street retailers

The Association of Town & City Management (ATCM) will be in charge of providing advice and training to help regenerate high streets, as well as guiding Portas Pilot projects for the next two years, it has been announced by local growth minister Mark Prisk. The ATCM will also head a £1 million package of mentoring and support for retailers, which will include regionally-based workshops, webinar training and one-to-one guidance. To date, 27 Portas Pilots and 330 Town Centre Partners have been created across the UK. Mr Prisk said the Government had worked hard to boost the high street by simplifying planning, reducing business rates and reviving local markets.
There is more on the support package at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-body-to-focus-on-future-high-street-renewal

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Small firms unaware of auto-enrolment changes

Almost six out of ten small and medium-sized employers are either unaware of the forthcoming auto-enrolment requirements, or are not aware that these apply to their business, according to research by RSM Tenon. The research revealed a further 56% did not realise their employment costs would go up when their staging date arrived, and 70% had made no plans to introduce auto-enrolment. Some 40% of smaller firms do not currently offer a pension and, of those that do, 5% do not have any members.
Read more about the research at:
http://www.pensionsage.com/pa/56pc-of-employers-unaware-of-auto-enrolment.php

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