Yes, 2010 was not the roaring positive start to a new decade for many businesses and consumers as the UK slipped into, and technically out of, recession. Business and consumer confidence was low as the election loomed, with apprehension about the coalition government’s budget and CSR, (Comprehensive Spending Review). Interest rates remained low for the year; SME businesses stated banks were not lending with the banks saying they had the funds but few credible opportunities were presented by companies; house prices remained in the doldrums and, for first time buyers, getting on the housing ladder continued to be an issue. Standard rate VAT increases in January 2011 and retail sales are struggling at the end of 2010 with adverse weather adding to the general retrenchment by consumers. It appears that most businesses and many consumers seem to have curled up and let things pass them by this year. Is this the demeanor of a pussycat or a sleeping tiger waiting for an opportunity to pounce?
As 2011 is the year of the Rabbit, let us hope that the government, businesses and consumers activate themselves into stimulating the economy and not run around frantically finding the nearest burrow to hide in for the year…………
Remember, procrastination means never having to make a decision, but a positive attitude will inspire, stimulate and maximise the benefits from any opportunity. For businesses wishing to review operational performance, produce or update business plans or forecasts and implement strategic change, MW Interim Finance provides independent professional finance support to achieve your objectives. Visit www.mwinterimfinance.co.uk for further details.
Unemployment in the UK increased by 35,000 in the three months to October to 2.5 million, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said. It is the first time that the jobless measure has risen for six months however 33,000 of the increase was in the public sector, raising the overall unemployment rate up to 7.9%. It has been assumed that the private sector will mitigate many, if not all, of all current and future losses now resulting from the full impact of public sector cuts………..but with UK retailers suffering, VAT rising in January and businesses holding on to cash rather than investing there is a fragility to the economic recovery.
Millions of families are struggling to pay their bills — and the number is likely to increase in the new year, according to analysis from the Bank of England. The report published this week shows that two fifths of households have difficulty from time to time or constantly in meeting their monthly bills, compared with a third last year, and more than half regard their overdrafts or credit cards as a burden.
More than three years after the start of the credit crunch, the Bank of England warns today that a lack of available credit “continues to be one of the main factors holding back the economic recovery” and repeat warnings about the size and concentration of Britain’s banking sector.
The Bank of England is forcing high street lenders to repay £185 bn of emergency loans in an attempt to avert a new market meltdown next year. Bank officials have recently held meetings with four major banking groups and the biggest building societies demanding that the loans, which were handed out at the peak of the financial crisis, be paid back sooner than planned. Analysts warn that the tough line could stop banks lending to small businesses and slow down Britain’s economic recovery.
The messages therefore for a UK economic recovery are not looking good for 2011.
As we reach the end of 2010 there are many businesses still under pressure to maintain sales, margins, profitability, service their debt and create / maintain positive cash flow. Some businesses have managed to recover their cash position but are indecisive about investing for the future. Whether driven by perceived risk, fear of failure or apathy decision makers in SME’s and some larger organisations are not addressing issues, some critical, in re-evaluating their operational or strategic focus. This is the first time in over a year when all the factors likely to impact businesses in the future, more so in the private sector, are “known”. The austerity measures are in place, taxation rates understood, interest rates stable, lenders willing to support good business cases and even retirement and pension related issues have more clarity.
2011 should be a year of increasing confidence and utilising an independent business resource is one way of stimulating a business to review, plan and invest for an economic upturn and to maximise potential opportunities. MW Interim Finance provides independent professional finance support to assist is implementing achieve your strategic and operational objectives. Visit www.mwinterimfinance.co.uk for further details.