Archive for June, 2013

Government should ‘strengthen law on nuisance calls’

Six out of  ten people registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) are  not satisfied with the service, according to a statement by consumer watchdog Which?. The statement revealed that 85% of people registered with the TPS still receive unwanted calls, with one in ten getting 50 or more of these calls each month. Several proposals were made to Government including obliging firms making marketing calls to provide a Caller ID so consumers can report nuisance calls to regulators; extending the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) to cover all companies selling personal data; and forcing regulators to publish information about enforcement action they are taking.
There is more about the report at:
http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/news/which-demands-action-
to-end-nuisance-marketing-calls-and-spam-texts/4006968.article

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New construction product labelling regulations

New laws governing the certification and labelling of products and materials used in construction programmes in the EU will be enforced from 1 July. CE markings on the majority of construction products will be mandatory for UK-based manufacturers, importers, distributors and suppliers, and the use of alternative national labelling systems will be prohibited. There are also new obligations regarding health and safety and energy efficiency. Health and safety standards will now apply to products throughout their entire life cycle, while energy efficiency requirements must cover the assembly and dismantling of products, in addition to their use.
Read more about the construction product labelling regulations at:
http://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2013/june/new-construction
-product-labelling-regulations-come-into-force-from-1-july/

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RTI roll-out exceeds HMRC expectations

HMRC has announced that a provisional easing of the RTI (Real Time Information) rules, enabling businesses with less than 50 employees to report once a month instead of each time they pay employees, will be extended from October 2013 until April 2014, when all employers will have to report in real time. Over 80% of smaller firms and 77% of micro employers reported PAYE in ‘real time’ following the initiation of new tax reporting requirements under RTI in April. The new procedure requires employers and pension providers to make PAYE reports to HMRC when deductions and payments are made, rather than at the end of the tax year.
Read more about RTI at:
http://hmrc.presscentre.com/Press-Releases/Record-numbers-of-employers-report-PAYE-in-real-time-68e05.aspx

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Four in ten micro-businesses are underinsured

Small companies risk forfeiting £1.4 billion in annual revenue by failing to safeguard against business threats, a statement by Lloyds TSB has revealed. According to the report, 38% of micro-businesses with ten employees or fewer had been affected by theft, vandalism or damage in the past year, and approximately a third of them were incapable of  operating fully for more than a week, while one in five were unable to trade for up to a month. Despite this, 36% of micro-business owners have not taken any action to secure their business and 40% are underinsured.
Read more about the report at:
http://www.investortoday.co.uk/news_features/poor-planning-costs-nations-entrepreneurs-C2A314bn

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Government accepts business growth report

Proposals included in Lord Young’s ‘Growing Your Business’ report published in May 2013, such as lifting the age limit on Start-Up Loan applications and making tendering for public sector contracts easier,  have been approved by the Government. The recommendations will also be used as the foundation for a new policy for smaller businesses to be published in the autumn, to enhance Government communication with small firms and make it easier for them to access business advice and support. Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Half of all jobs in this country come from small and medium-sized business. So if we’re to get our economy going again, we must do all we can to support them.”
Read more about the recommendations at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-on-the-side-of-small-business

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Umbrella companies’ Charter launched

A Best Practice Charter for umbrella companies that manage payments of tax and National Insurance on a PAYE basis for freelance contractors has been introduced.   Nearly 30 firms have signed up to the Charter,  which guarantees that the working practices of umbrella companies are HMRC compliant, and obliges them to commit to operating their services in an open and transparent way.  At the moment, umbrella companies are unregulated, which has reportedly led to freelance contractors being held liable for alleged tax avoidance schemes by some umbrella companies, regardless of  being unaware of any such practices.
Read more about the Charter at:
http://www.futurelinkgroup.co.uk/Contractors/News/May-
2013/Umbrella-organisations-urged-to-sign-Best-Practice.aspx

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UK Manufacturing at highest level since March 2012

 

Following strong domestic demand & moderate growth in export orders during May, the UK manufacturing sector grew at the quickest rate for 14 months.  the latest Markit/CIPS UK Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) recorded industry activity last month at the highest level since March 2012.  It was also the second consecutive month of growth in production and, as a consequence of the increase manufacturing jobs have been created for the first time in four months.  CIPS chief Executive David Noble said: “The industry, battered and bruised in the past 18 months, is still building from a low base and as ever, there’s more work to do – but this is a solid foundation that bodes well for the future”.

There are more details of the latest PM figures at:

http://www.markiteconomics.com/Survey/Pressrelease.mvc/ff4aa4ed5e41429c86b62108fe19555d.

 

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Call to level tax system between online & store based retailers

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has created a working group to investigate the tax system for the rapidly-changing retail industry. BRC Chairman Ian Cheshire and Sainsbury’s Chief Executive Justin King had a meeting with Danny Alexander, the Treasury Chief Secretary, in April to discuss why online retailers pay less tax than high-street retailers. Director General of the BRC Helen Dickinson stated: “The reality is that retail is a people- and property-intensive sector and, while the reduction in headline Corporation Tax is valuable, other taxes on both people and property have continued to rise.”
There is more about the retail tax rethink at:
http://www.brc.org.uk/brc_news_detail.asp?id=2453

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Shops and offices exempt from council inspections

Local authorities have been restricted from imposing needless health and safety inspections under the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) new National Enforcement Code. The Code will instead concentrate on local authority inspections in specific sectors where high-risk occupations take place or where there is intelligence of a company placing employees or the public at risk. Thousands of businesses in low-risk sectors will no longer have local authority health and safety inspections, including most shops and offices.
Read more about the new Code at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-code-curbs-unnecessary-council-safety-checks

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Small firms opting not to use lawyers

Over 50 % of small firms are managing their own legal affairs because they are concerned about the cost of seeking external help from law firms, according to research by the Legal Services Board (LSB). The study, which surveyed over 9,700 small and medium-sized firms in England and Wales, showed only 13% of respondents stated that lawyers were a cost-effective way to settle legal problems, despite 38% having faced a significant legal problem in the past year.
Read more about the LSB research at:
https://research.legalservicesboard.org.uk/wp-content/media/In-Need-of-Advice-report.pdf

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