Business confidence hit a record high last month with the manufacturing and construction sectors looking particularly perky. However, despite reports of continued growth across all sectors, fears over the potential damage caused by increased interest rates continue to swell.
All employees now have the right to request flexible working hours. From the 30th June, all employers are bound by law to consider all requests fairly and in a “reasonable manner”. Trade unions have welcomed the move, but the TUC have said that more needs to be done to ensure that employees’ requests are given fair consideration. A survey conducted the week before the legislation was bought in by YouGov, found that over half of SME decision makers were unaware of the new flexible working legislation, while on 43% support the change in law. The survey found that more needs to be done to educate SMEs about the benefits of flexible working and how best to implement processes that will work for them. The Department of Business Innovation and Skills claim flexible working will bring in benefits of £475 million in the first ten years through improved business efficiency and employee satisfaction.
Business confidence at record high
Business optimism in the UK has hit a 22-year high and is expected to grow further over the next six months, according to the Lloyds Banking Group’s Key Business Confidence Index. The survey, which looked at 1,500 companies across the UK, shows overall confidence has hit a new high of 53%, up from 10% in 2011. The rise was driven by expectations of stronger profits, orders and sales over the next six months, and reflects rising optimism in the strengthening economy.
Increased interest rates would damage 1-in-5 businesses
Over 1-in-5 businesses have reported they would be in financial difficulty if interest rates were to rise by 1% in the next 18 months, according to a report by insolvency trade body R3. R3′s most recent business distress index has shown that 16% of businesses would be in “some difficulty” and 6% in “serious difficulty” should interest rates rise. This has the potential to be just as challenging as the economic crisis, warned Giles Frampton, president of R3.
Holidays inspire new business ideas
Holidays are the best. A report by Sandler Training have shown this isn’t just in terms of personal well-being but also for stimulation, creativity and business savvy. The survey looked at 1,000 small businesses, all of whom have been successful over the past five years - nearly 20% said that the idea for their company came up while on holiday. Shaun Thomson, Sandler Training’s CEO, said: “Having a rare moment to unwind can actually be the perfect time to think up a winning concept for a business idea. Although it may be hard to imagine whilst you are packing your suitcase, you could be running your own business by Christmas.”
Don’t forget to do your P11D
Your P11D must be submitted to HMRC by 6th July. The form must be filed in for any company directors or employees who earns over £8,500 per year and covers any perks or expenses received in the previous tax year. Fines for a late submission are £100 per month with further fines for any incorrect information - for more details, check out this post on the P11D.
Sophie Turton is the assistant editor for Crunch online accounting.
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