Global uncertainty mustn’t stall SME ambitions

Posted on Posted in Brexit, Exports, French elections, SMEs, Uncategorized, Uncertainty

We are living in times of such political unorthodoxy there is arguably a danger that economic commentators will start to sound like a broken record. Uncertainty, or rather what Mervin King the former Governor of the Bank of England calls radical uncertainty, is a dominating factor in the global economy. This is the kind of uncertainty that pollsters and skilled economists find difficult, if not impossible to predict. Events such as Brexit, a hung Parliament […]

Is the Budget likely to enable the UK to engage Top Gear?

Posted on Posted in Budget, National Living Wage, SMEs

Hammond’s first and last Spring Budget delivered on 8 March doesn’t seem very small business friendly. At first blush, increasing the National Insurance contributions for self-employed to fund care might not seem anything to worry about. But in the same breath corporation tax is being reduced. So, those larger businesses that have a choice about where they base themselves pay less, but small sole traders who have less flexibility are penalised. A tax on “strivers” […]

Efficient business. Efficient Britain.

Posted on Posted in Brexit, Efficiency, EU, SMEs, Theresa May

The results of the latest SME Confidence Tracker report show that the final months of 2016 were a time for collective belt tightening and falling investment as rising costs started to take hold for many businesses in the UK. Prior to the referendum, just one in 10 SMEs cited rising costs as their biggest challenge. In the final months of the year, this had more than doubled. As input costs rise due to a weakened pound, there are […]

Balloons have a habit of bursting

Posted on Posted in Bank of England, Inflation

While all eyes are on Mark Carney following the announcement that he is to stay on as Governor of the Bank of England until 2019, I wrote in August about the Bank’s decision to reduce interest rates from 0.5% to 0.25%. I felt it was hasty and it is likely to see a quicker rebound than might otherwise have been the case. The Bank clearly got a bit wobbly about Brexit. Evidence from our own […]

Brexit: the impact so far

Posted on Posted in Brexit, Exports, Investment, Midlands Engine, Northern Powerhouse, SME Confidence Tracker

At the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham this month, Theresa May announced that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty would be deployed by the end of March 2017, signifying the UK’s intent to leave the EU by summer 2019. Although this was expected sometime before the end of the year, the announcement sent the pound spiralling to a new 31-year low against the dollar as the impacts of the UK’s exit from the EU were […]