Personal insolvencies at lowest level since 2005

The number of people becoming insolvent in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level in nearly a decade.

Personal insolvencies at lowest level since 2005According to the Insolvency Service, 20,826 individuals became insolvent in the first three months of 2015.

That is the lowest figure since the autumn of 2005, and a fall of 18.6% on the number a year ago – one of the steepest declines on record.

Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), the most used form of insolvency arrangement, fell by 23.5%.

One reason for the fall in insolvencies now is the big decline in borrowing in 2008, during the financial crisis. As a result, fewer people are in financial difficulty seven years later.

The number of companies becoming insolvent also fell.

In the first three months of 2015, 4,052 companies went bust, a drop of 11.3% on the same quarter last year and the lowest figure since the autumn of 2007.

Debt charity StepChange welcomed the news that personal insolvencies had fallen, but warned that dangers still remained.

“With levels of personal borrowing growing rapidly once again, the next government and lenders must ensure that the mistakes of the pre-crisis credit boom are not repeated,” said Peter Tutton, head of policy at StepChange.

“Our concern is that growing levels of consumer credit will be followed by growing numbers of people falling into problem debt.”

Bankruptcy methods and their alternatives

Bankruptcy: The traditional way of escaping overwhelming debt. Ends after one year, but you are likely to lose all your assets, including your house, to pay something to the creditors

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA): A deal between you and your creditors, overseen by an insolvency practitioner. Less stigma, less chance of losing your home, but involves paying some of your debts in one go

Debt Relief Orders: Introduced in April 2009, these allow people with debts of less than £15,000 (£20,000 from October 2015) and minimal assets to write off debts without a full blown bankruptcy.

April 29, 2015  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: Business Survival, Business Win, Finance Business, Uncategorized  No Comments

Solar farm mutual shines on community

A new solar farm is part of the Big60Million community energy project which is part owned by local villagers.

Solar farm mutual shines on communityThe group has a three further farms in Kent, Warwickshire and Stratford-upon-Avon, with planning permission secured for a fourth in Swindon is spread out over 23 acres.

Big60 boss Toddington Harper was passionate about the benefits of solar power and felt the Willersey farm, with its poor soil unsuitable for growing crops, was the perfect site.

A very small but vocal group of locals, he says, had other ideas. Soon the Daily Mail was running a story headlined “Hands off our views”, talking about German invasions thanks to Big60’s solar partner Belectric, headquartered in Bavaria.

“We just thought ‘this is not right, what we are trying to do is a good thing’,” says Mr Harper. When he finally spoke with the main opponent of the farm, everything became clear. “‘What’s in it for me?’ was her simple message, so we took that on board and thought, ‘let’s make everything in it for her’.”

So the company devised its five-year solar bond, each costing £60 and paying a fixed annual rate of 7%. The electricity from the 4MW farm – producing enough power in one year to meet the demands of 1,100 homes – is sold into the National Grid to generate 40% of the return, with the remaining 60% coming from government subsidies, which are guaranteed for 20 years.

With new subsidies falling, the solar bonds launched for the latest farms offer 6% interest, with the split closer to 50/50. But Mr Harper says longer term, thanks in large part to the falling cost of solar panels, the business model will not rely on government support.

The Willersey bond offer raised £4 million in two months from hundreds of individual investors, with 20% being bought by local residents. The rest came on the back of adverts in the national press.

Many were not interested in the environmental benefits of the farm, but simply wanted a good cash return from the solar farm.

But Big60Million is about much more than money. Only 5% of Willersey solar farm’s ground is covered by the infrastructure needed to support the solar panels, which means the vast majority of the land is given over to encourage biodiversity.

Beehives have been brought in as part of wider push to encourage biodiversity on the farm

Local beekeepers built hives to boost dwindling bee populations, while various bird and bat boxes, as well as habitats for insects and reptiles, have been placed across the farm to give wildlife the chance to flourish. Local schools also visit the farm so children can learn about the benefits of clean energy.

In the meantime, the company has big plans to build more solar farms. “Our vision is that each town and village in the country should have something similar to Willersey,” Mr Harper says.

In fact, Big60Million is at the forefront of a fundamental shift in the way that energy is generated and distributed in the UK. Indeed the government estimates there are already 5,000 community energy projects in the country, which could generate up to 15% of the country’s total renewable electricity generation by 2020. The potential is huge – in Germany, community energy already makes up more than 40% of renewable output.

What was meant to be nothing more than a good investment opportunity has turned into so much more.

April 27, 2015  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: Building Businesses, Business Survival, Business Win, Gloucestershire Businesses, Growing Business, Growing Economy, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized  No Comments

Website Design Cheltenham helps Floortex win Queens Award for Innovation

Website Design Cheltenham is delighted to have helped one of our clients- Floortex to win a Queens Award for Innovation.

Website Design Cheltenham helps Floortex win Queens Award for InnovationOn the Queen’s birthday- Tuesday 21st April Floortex were named as winners of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the UK’s highest accolade for business success.

Floortex received their Award for International Trade as a result of outstanding overseas sales growth over the last three years equating to an increase in sales of 53%.

Floortex export to over 30 other countries worldwide including Canada, Australia, Russia, Japan and throughout the Middle East.

A bespoke logistics operations in both Europe and North America, exceptional customer services and a dedicated sales and marketing team, has given Floortex a totally unique market position.

Which is where Website Design Cheltenham comes in to the ecommerce equation.

We have been helping Floortex with a number of websites for nearly ten years- from the design, creation, implimentation, search engine optimisation, ongoing marketing and ecommerce processes.

As a result Flooretex have been selling $200,000 dollars worth of floor protection products online every month just in the USA alone.

Steve Bull, CEO and owner of Floortex stated “As a UK Company being selected for The Queens Award for Enterprise is one of the greatest honours achievable. We are all so proud and excited to gain this recognition and it’s testament to the huge effort put in by the whole team since we started in 2002. An award of this stature will only spur us on even more to further consolidate our position as the Global Leader in Chair mat and surface protection innovation and continue to develop our Global Presence.”

Naturally, we will be using the Queens Award logo on future marketing and promotional materials and believe this will further fuel our continued sales growth and market share for many years to come!

Only 140 Queens Awards have been announced this year for outstanding business achievement in the fields of International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development so this is a fantastic example of a local and British success story.

April 24, 2015  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Exports, Business Growth, Business Sales, Business Win, Ecommerce Business, Exporting Businesses, Global Business, Growing Business, Growing Sales, Online Business Growth, Online Marketing, Online Profits Growth, Online Sales Growth, Search Engine Optimisation, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized, Winning Business, Winning Websites  No Comments

Rolls Royce wins record £6 billion engine order

Rolls Royce has won an order from Emirates to supply engines for its super jumbo fleet.

Rolls Royce wins record £6 billion engine orderRolls Royce has received its largest order to date, worth £6.1 billion, to supply engines for 50 Emirates A380 planes.

It will be the first time the engineering giant has made engines for the Gulf carrier’s super-jumbo fleet.

The news boosted Rolls Royce’s share price by over 3per cent after a year of profit warnings.

Emirates said the deal gave further support to trade ties between the UK and the United Arab Emirates and would have a “significant economic impact”.

Announcing the deal in London, Emirates president Sir Tim Clark said: “Today’s announcement is significant not only because it cements the partnership between Emirates and Rolls Royce, but also because of the significant economic impact that this will have on aviation manufacturing in the UK and Europe.”

About 200 engine orders have been placed by Emirates for 50 Airbus Group A380 aircraft, making it the largest order received by Rolls-Royce.

Emirates Airlines, has recently put pressure on Airbus to produce a more fuel efficient version of the A380. The airline already has an order for 140 A380s, and if Airbus makes the proposed changes, the airline would place an additional order for 200 aircraft.

As the super jumbo has been in service for less than 10 years, Airbus is reluctant to change the engines according to the new requirement from Emirates. In an interview with the Financial Times last month, Mr. Clark said that he would like to see the Rolls-Royce XYB engine, which is originally designed for the wide-body A350, being used in the A380.

The deal consists of the Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines, worth £6.1 billion at catalogue price, including a long term “Totalcare” package. The package provides service and maintenance to Emirates for the said engines.

Rolls Royce currently employs 24,500 people in the UK.

April 17, 2015  Tags: , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Exports, Business Sales, Business Win, Exporting Businesses, Flying Businesses, Global Business, Growing Sales, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized, Winning Business  No Comments

UK inflation rate falls to zero in February

That scurge of the UK economy- inflation, has been reduced to zero per cent.

UK inflation rate falls to zero in FebruaryUK inflation rate fell to 0% in February, the lowest since records began, official figures show.

Lower prices for food and computer goods helped to cut the rate from 0.3% in January, official figures show.

February’s figure is the lowest rate of Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation since estimates of the measure began in 1988.

The drop in the CPI measure was sharper than many analysts had expected, with most expecting a rate of 0.1%. The February figure means that the cost of living is the same as it was a year earlier.

For now at least, the fall in the price of food, games, petrol and energy, if it persists for a few months, is good news for most of us – because it increases our spending power and our pounds go further.

In other words we feel and are a bit richer. But if stagnation in prices were to go on for longer, if it were to turn into fully fledged deflation, that would be worrying.

The point is that if we thought that the price of things we don’t normally have to buy at any particular moment – household goods like washing machines for example, or motor cars – was on a firmly downward path, we would probably defer purchases of those things, and that would depress economic activity.

Low inflation could support UK economic growth, business lobby group the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said.

Last week, the Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane said rates were as likely to need cutting as raising in the immediate future.

In February, the Bank said that inflation could turn negative temporarily in the spring because of falling oil prices.

Cuts in energy bills are among the factors likely to push inflation lower in March, according to economists.

But unlike in the eurozone, where prices are already showing annual falls, many economists think UK consumer demand will remain steady in the face of falling prices, due to robust employment growth and signs of a pick-up in wages.

Falling prices for food, laptops, tablets and computer peripherals contributed to the fall in February’s CPI measure, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. The ONS figures also showed the rate of Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation fell to 1% from 1.1%.

Chancellor George Osborne told reporters that zero inflation was “good news for families”, and that voters faced a choice in the general election on 7 May.

“Frozen prices are a first for the British economy. This zero inflation is driven by falling petrol prices and falling food prices, so it’s good news for families,” he said.

April 3, 2015  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: Business Growth, Business Sales, Business Win, Growing Business, Growing Economy, Uncategorized  No Comments

London Stock Exchange has best quarter for two years

The London Stock Exchange’s FTSE 100 managed to record its best quarterly performance for two years.

London Stock Exchange has best quarter for two yearsHowever the three months run ended on a downbeat note as investors seized the opportunity to cash in some of their profits.

Overall the FTSE 100 finished the day down 118.39 points at 6773.04., with worries about the lack of resolution over Greece’s problems, uncertainty over US interest rates and, closer to home, pre-election jitters after the campaign began in earnest on Monday.

But over the first quarter it rose 4.93%- its biggest increase since the three months to March 2013. During the course of the three months it also hit a new closing peak of 7037 just over a week ago.

European stock markets also performed well during the quarter, but badly today as well.

The gains followed the European Central Bank’s decision to introduce – finally – quantitative easing in an attempt to boost the eurozone economy and combat the threat of deflation. The FTSEurofirst 300 rose almost 16% over the quarter, its best first quarter since 1998, while Germany’s Dax was the star performer, up 22%.

In the US it was a different story. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down around 120 points by the time London closed, on course for just a small rise on the quarter, taking a breather after record breaking runs last year.

Elsewhere the oil price came under pressure, with Brent crude down nearly 2% at $55.81 ahead of a resolution to the nuclear talks with Iran which – if they end favourably – could see a new supply of oil hit world markets.

Meanwhile, new Chinese stimulus measures proved a disappointment, providing little support for the commodity sector.

Individually, Meggitt fell 14.5p at 548.5p as Exane BNP Paribas began coverage of the engineering group with an underperform rating and 475p price target.

B&Q owner Kingfisher jumped to the top of the FTSE 100, up 15.8p to 380.6p as it announced plans to return £200 million to shareholders and shut 60 underperforming UK stores.

Among the mid caps, Mitie dropped nearly 6% to 276p after the outsourcing group said full year profits were likely to be lower than expected, due to cuts in local government spending on home care and social housing.

Finally Findel fell 19.75p to 232.25p after the home shopping and educational supplies business said full year results would be ahead of last year but slightly below market expectations. It blamed a poor final quarter performance from its education division, with the prospect of further spending cuts per pupil whichever of the two main political parties gains control following the election

March 31, 2015  Tags: , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Growth, Business Services, Business Win, Global Businesses, Growing Business, Growing Economy, Share Floatation, Uncategorized, Winning Businesses  No Comments

FTSE breaks 7,000 record

Britain’s benchmark FTSE 100 share index has risen above the psychologically important 7,000 level for the first time.

FTSE breaks 7,000 recordThe FTSE 100 has broken through the 7,000 level for the first time in its history, propelled by investor hopes that interest rates will stay at record lows and signs that Greece will stave off a deeper financial crisis.

Britain’s benchmark index of shares climbed 60.19 points to finish on Friday at 7,022.51, a 0.9pc gain that took the index to its highest ever close. A new intraday record was also set, with the index touching 7,024.21 during the afternoon.

It was a landmark moment for the index, as the 7,000 level is seen as psychologically important. The FTSE 100, which was launched in 1984, first breached the 6,000 mark in 1998 and it has taken another 17 years to surpass the next milestone.

The blue chip index has set a number of all time highs in recent weeks, having finally overcome its dotcom bubble peak last month after a wait of more than 15 years.

As with stock markets on the continent and on Wall Street, investors in British shares have been buoyed by the economy boosting measures taken by central banks around the world.

The European Central Bank’s £700 billion quantitative easing programme, which began earlier this month, has been a major driver of the stock market’s rally.

The US Federal Reserve has also helped. On Wednesday, a statement from the US central bank suggested its first interest rate hike since 2006 was months away, easing concerns that a tightening of monetary policy was imminent.

UK wage growth data released the same day and a relatively cautious set of minutes from the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee also prompted investors to push back their forecasts for a rate rise on this side of the Atlantic.

The QE programmes undertaken by the Fed and the Bank of England, combined with record low interest rates, have seen investors pile into shares in recent years, a trend that is now being encouraged by the ECB’s own bond-buying.

Whilst this is great news for UK investors, other stock markets have also been breaking new records.

In the US, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average have regularly hit record highs over the past two years. Germany’s DAX, which includes dividends, hit a new peak of 12,167 on Monday after surging 22.8pc since the start of the year. Similarly, the CAC 40 in France has jumped 19.1pc in 2015 to its highest level since 2008.

March 23, 2015  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Finance, Business Growth, Business Win, Finance Business, Global Businesses, Growing Businesses, Growing Economy, Share Floatation, Uncategorized, Winning Businesses  No Comments

FTSE 100 closes at new record level

The Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 share index has hit a new high- passing through the previous record set on 30 December 1999.

FTSE 100 closes at new record levelThe FTSE closed at a new peak of 6,949.63. The previous record close was 6,930.2, set at the height of the dotcom boom.

Earlier in the week, the index also set a new intra day high of 6,958.89- which surpassed the previous figure of 6,950.6, also set on 30 December 1999.

Shares rose after eurozone finance ministers approved reform proposals submitted by Greece.

The proposals were a condition for a four month extension of Greece’s bailout- which also had an impact on Greek stocks, with the benchmark Athex index ending the day 9.8% higher.

Stock markets around the world have been buoyed by economic stimulus programmes put in place by central banks after the global financial crisis that hit in 2008.

Whilst the growth of the FTSE 100’s rise is good news- it has been slower than those of stock markets in the US and Germany. Both the US’s S&P 500 and Germany’s Dax 30 exceeded their millennial year peaks in 2007 and they are now about 45% and 65% higher respectively

As such it is hardly impressive that, more than 15 years later, the FTSE 100 has finally breached its previous record close.
Savers switch

Analysts say that low interest rates for savers have encouraged people to invest in the stock market.

The FTSE 100 advanced for a record six straight years after it was launched in 1984.

One of the rockiest periods in its history was during the financial crisis in 2008 as the FTSE 100 had its worst year on record in 2008, when the crisis wiped 31.3% of the index’s value.

But on 24 November 2008 the index made its biggest one day gain of 9.8% when the US federal reserve stepped in to rescue Citigroup.

The FTSE 100’s biggest one day fall occurred on 19 October 1987, dubbed Black Monday, when ripples from Wall Street’s stock market crash prompted a 12.2% drop.

February 26, 2015  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Finance, Business Growth, Business Win, Growing Business, Uncategorized, Winning Businesses  No Comments

Dyson invests £1 billion in UK engineers

James Dyson is to invest £1 billion in research and development in the UK to produce hi-tech exports.

Dyson invests £1 billion in UK engineersThe firm has committed £1 billion to develop 100 new products over four years.

“Export is vital for Britain to create wealth,” said founder and chairman James Dyson. “In order to export you have to have high technology products that are better than those produced elsewhere in the world.”

To boost UK research and development, engineers who come to study in UK universities should be encouraged to work in the UK after their course has finished, Mr Dyson said.

“One important thing we should do is to keep those engineers in Britain. A lot of them come from overseas, in fact, 90% of researchers at British universities come from overseas, and we must encourage them to stay here.”

“I would change our immigration laws to allow the right sort of people to stay here,” he said.

“I think it’s a European Union dominated by Germany, and in our particular field we have these very large German companies who dominate standards setting and energy reduction committees, and so we get the old guard and old technology supported and not new technology.

“I want to keep EFTA – European free trade – and free movement of peoples, but I don’t see that we need to be dominated and bullied by the Germans.”

Dyson’s £1 billion investment plan represents a significant increase in R&D spending at the company, which first made a name for itself selling bagless vacuum cleaners. Since then it has produced fans, heaters and powerful hand dryers for toilets.

Dyson also announced an extra £45 million investment in research at UK universities. The company has already made a commitment to spend £5 million on a robotics lab at Imperial College London, but there was no indication as to which other institutions would receive funding.

In January, the firm said it would invest £250 million to expand its Malmesbury research and development campus, and create 3,000 jobs.

Dyson also announced an investment of £200 million for manufacturing expansion in South East Asia. A proportion of the investment will go to its West Park motor factory in Singapore.

Dyson faced criticism for a 2002 decision to shift its vacuum cleaner manufacturing to Malaysia with a loss of hundreds of jobs.

Mr Dyson said; “We manufacture where our suppliers are in South East Asia and Singapore.”

He added that his family and firm paid UK taxes. In the past there have been reports of schemes being set up in locations including Malta for tax purposes, then wound down.

“It’s quite clear and quite simple,” Mr Dyson said. “Our companies are based here in Britain, I and my family are based here in Britain, and we all pay British taxes. We paid £330 million in the last three years. We have no companies based offshore at all now.”

November 21, 2014  Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Development, Business Exports, Business Jobs, Business Sales, Business Win, Exporting Businesses, Global Business, Growing Business, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized, Winning Business  No Comments

Rugby world cup worth £1 billion to UK economy

Next year’s Rugby World Cup will add £982 million to the UK economy-  says a report commissioned by the tournament’s organising committee.
Rugby world cup worth £1 billion to UK economyThe research, by accountancy firm EY predicts that the tournament will attract a total of 466,000 visitors who will spend as much as £869 million.

The 2015 Rugby World Cup will be hosted in 11 cities across England and Wales.

In terms of single sporting events only the football World Cup brings in more paid spectators, the report added.

Spending on food and drink by ticketholders will generate as much as £32 million in revenue, EY calculated, and a further £13 million will be spent in “fanzones” – city centre shopping attractions with a Rugby World Cup theme.

The report also estimated the benefit to host cities of improved infrastructure, through investment in transport and stadia.

Debbie Jevans, who is in charge of England Rugby 2015, said the report proved that the tournament was “set to create a wide range of economic opportunities across many different sectors”.

She added: “Whether through investment in infrastructure, supporting jobs or generating revenue in ‘fanzones’, the economic benefits will be shared around our 11 host cities and beyond.”

Eleven cities across England and Cardiff have been selected to host matches at Rugby World Cup 2015. These include Brighton, Cardiff, Exeter, Gloucester, Leeds, Leicester, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes and Newcastle.

November 17, 2014  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: Business Growth, Business Sales, Business Win, Global Business, Growing Business, Growing Sales, Uncategorized, Winning Business  No Comments

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