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Aptivation provides its services and processes for clients and candidates. It also makes you aware of key news items which are impacting on both our areas....................
12.04.12 - Good and Bad News on the Economy
Evidence from the BRC shows encouraging signs in what was otherwise a week of bad news for the economy. The warm weather last month encourages consumers to splash out, leading to total retail sales rising by 3.6% compared to 2011.
However, in 2011 March was the weakest month of the year due to the timing of Easter, meaning the picture may not be quite as rosy as first seems. This seems even more likely as the sunshine did not last, and poor weather over the Easter weekend meant that footfall fell by 12.5 per cent year-on-year, according to data from Springboard’s National High Street Index.
Statistics published this week by Deloitte also show that retail administrations have risen by 15% in the past year, largely due to increasing pressures on consumer spending and increasing competition from online sales.
Further bad news came from the property market, with property agents reporting am 11 per cent fall in interest from retailers compared to Q4 2011, sparking fears of further problems for UK high streets. The figures come as the number of empty shops on high streets are already being at record levels of more than 14pc.
The Government has launched a new Enterprise Capital Fund that will invest at least £40m in high-growth potential small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK.
The new fund – Notion Capital – is the eleventh, and largest, Enterprise Capital Fund and £62.9m has already been committed to it from the first funding round. This includes substantial commitments from private investors, the Government and the European Investment Fund (EIF). The Notion Capital fund will target emerging, high-growth cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies.
Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said: “It is absolutely vital that ambitious small firms can access the finance they need to expand and grow, and this new Enterprise Capital Fund will provide at least £40m of funding to viable UK high-tech businesses.
The Government has committed a total of £200m to the Enterprise Capital Fund programme in the four years up until 2014/15, and further funds will be announced in due course.
The Office for National Statistics reported a rise in the Consumer Prices Index to 3.5%, up from 3.4% in February. The figure ends a five-month run of declines from a peak of 5.2% in September 2011. The Retail Prices Index fell to 3.6% in March from 3.7% in February.
05.04.12 - Changes to Regulations
The date the 5th April is a time for change, with tax and other regulatory changes coming into force from the 6th April. This year, due to the Governments aim to cut costs and reduce the National Debt, some of the measures are potentially going to have a major impact on families and business.
Tobacco display ban – From 6 April it will be illegal for all stores in England which are over 3000sq ft to display tobacco products to the general public.
Changes to Income Tax - The income tax personal allowance increases by £630 to £8,105, as announced in the 2011 Budget. The threshold at which the higher rate of 40% is paid will be reduced to £34,371.
National Insurance contributions - The lower earnings limit for primary Class 1 national insurance contributions increases from £102 to £107.
Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay – From 1st April statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increased from £128.73 to £135.45 per week.
Statutory sick pay – Statutory sick pay will increase from £81.60 to £85.85 per week
Qualifying period for unfair dismissal - The qualifying period of employment for employees to bring a claim of unfair dismissal will increase from one year to two years.
Tribunal claim fees - For the first time, a fee will of £250 will be introduced for bringing a case to tribunal. A further £1,000 will be charged if their claim is accepted and given a hearing date.
Health and safety reporting requirements - The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 have been amended so that the required period of incapacity following an injury caused by an accident at work, which triggers the employer's requirement to report the accident, will increase from more than three days to more than seven. The deadline by which the employer must report the accident will increase from 10 days to 15.
Changes are coming into force to tax credits rules from the 6th April. This could well affect staff in many businesses!.
Currently there are a significant number of employees that currently work only 16 hours a week, and whose partners do not work. From 6th April, couples with children must, in most cases, now work a combined total of at least 24 hours, with one person working at least 16 hours, however exact rules do depend on personal circumstances. This change may lead to employees seeking more hours that you may or may not be able to give as an employer!
28.03.12 - Hot Takeaway Food
Most food of a kind used for human consumption is zero rated. A supply of food “in the course of catering” is standard rated. This includes the sale of hot takeaway food.
Over a number of years disputes have arisen as to what constitutes hot takeaway food (standard rated) and cold takeaway food (zero rated)
In an effort to overcome this issue it is proposed that “hot food” be defined as “food which, or any part of which, is above the ambient air temperature at the time it is provided to the customer, other than freshly baked bread.”
This means VAT will now be on this type of product, so cost of our snacks and lunch is now more!
21.03.12 - The 2012 Budget
The UK’S Coalition’s third Budget was a mixed pot of give and take.
The debate on whether the measures will stimulate growth, investment and create jobs will be only proved as the next year progresses. With borrowing at such high levels, interest rates now rising for mortgages, these will all create much pressure on the economy and the employment situation.
A raised tax-free allowance of £9,200 next year will see 23 million basic rate taxpayers take home £220 extra: And high earners will welcome the cut in the top rate of tax to 45p.
But another 300,000 people will be dragged into the 40 per cent tax band to help pay for that. And pensioners have to contribute £3billion with the freezing of age-related tax-free allowances.
State pension will be linked to life expectancy in the future.
Families will welcome a higher child benefit threshold salary of £60,000, but wealthy homebuyers will be ruing the 7 per cent stamp-duty crackdown.
And smokers and drinkers have been hammered harder than expected, with a whopping 37p on a packet of fags. Alcohol was hit with beer and wine going up by 5.7%.
The planned fuel increases for August 2012 are retained which will mean an extra 3p at the pumps.
VAT registration threshold will rise to £77,000 from April 2012. More than 3 million small businesses will benefit from a new simplified tax system
See the excellent BBC summary of the budget and how it affects you.
14.03.12 - Jobless at 17 year high as 1.3 million have to work part time
Unemployment rose to a 17 year high of almost 2.7 million, but there was a slowdown in the rate of increase.Official figures showed that 8.4% of working people out of a job. Some 28,000 joined the jobless queues between November and January, while youth unemployment surged by 16,000 to reach 1.04 million, almost 1 in 4 young people. The impact on the public sector grew, with 37,000 people losing their jobs! London is the hardest hit, with 11,000 more unemployed in this period, taking the jobless figure in the capital to 433,000, 10.2% of the working population.
07.03.12 - The Sunday Times top 100 companies to work for
The 12th annual publication by The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For showed an interesting list as companies tried to compensate job losses, low salary increases and poor invetsment. The top ten were:
1. UKRD Group 2. Pertemps People Development Group 3. Brooks Macdonald 4. Metaswitch Networks 5. DRL (Appliancces Online) 6. Admiral Group 7. W L Gore & Associates (UK) 8. Hilti (Great Britain) 9. Totemic 10. Bravissimo.
The absence of major household names in this top list is a major indication of the way the economy is going!
02.03.12 - Rate rise blow to hit thousands
Britain's taxpayer backed banks are raising the cost of mortgage payments for more than 1 million customers, even though interest rates have been at a record low of 0.5% for three years. Someone with a £200,00 interest only loan will see their monthly payments rise from £583 to £665 , an increase of £984 per year, a 14% increase!
24.02.12 - Foreign Workers take jobs, as unemployment rises
Britain's unemployment rate hit a record 16 year high, at 2.67 million,with a record number of people now working part - time! Women's unemployment soared to over 1 million, the highest level for 23 years, while youth joblessness also rose to more than one million. Jobseekers Allowance claims rose for the eleventh month in a row. The Office for National Statistics also stated that there was 580 jobs every day being taken on by foreign workers.
20.02.12 - We are working longer
The Office of National Statistics produced results that the average retirement age rose from 63.8 to 64.6 for men and 61.2 to 62.3 for women.
17.02.12 - National Minumum Wage
In a Written Ministerial Statement this week Norman Lamb announced the publication of the Government’s evidence to the Low Pay Commission. The evidence was submitted in September 2011 and reflects the latest information on earnings and economic forecasts, as well as recent announcements on workplace pension reforms, young people and the participation strategy, and the Employment Law Review.
The Government’s evidence calls on the Low pay Commission to focus on the impact that a rise in National Minimum Wage will have on employment. The Government also show that National Minimum Wage has a significantly greater impact on small firms. The report explains that the NMW “bite” (the NMW as a percentage of median earnings) is higher for small firms than for medium or large firms and has grown in recent years. It also reflects that employers are likely to reduce hours as a result of national minimum wage increase.
The Low Pay Commission will make their recommendation to the Government before the end of February 2012 and the revised minimum wage rate is usually announced during the Budget.
10.02.12 - House Prices soar 84% in the last decade
The value of private residential houseing in the UK has soared by £1.8 trillion since 2001, the equivalent of £68,000 per household. It is an increase of 84% rise it was worth 10 years ago.The best area for the value increase was in Scotland , the smallest were in the West Midlands and the South-East. However though the value of outstanding mortgage debt has risen in this period , a £655 billion rise!
03.02.12 - Shares surge which will help recovery
The Stock Market surged to a 6 month high. The benchmark FTSE 100 Index climbed to its highest level since mid 2011.
The market could be set for a bumper 12 months.
24.01.12 - BRC Survey Shows Slight Increase in Retail Employment
A survey published this week revealed that retail employment has risen by 0.5% in Q4 2011 compared with Q4 2010, which is the equivalent of over 4,000 full time jobs.
The BRC Retail Employment Monitor also showed that the number of retail outlets had grown in the same period by 528, although there was a net fall in the number of non-food stores compared to last year.
Stephen Robertson, British Retail Consortium Director General, highlighted that stores closures follow the reductions in non-food staff numbers during 2011. With further retail failures in the first few weeks of 2012 there is a danger more stores will be pushed over the edge. The problems are compounded by the 5.6 per cent increase in business rates due in April.
17.01.12 Business Record Checks
HMRC’s business records check scheme has been criticised for target small business instead of focusing on the tax money that big business owe. The business record check scheme has been expanded to inspect up to 20,000 firms from April to check their tax returns are accurate and reliable. However at the same time, companies such as Vodafone are making agreements to pay £1.25 billion of the £6 billion they allegedly owe.
David Cameron respond to criticism that HMRC are too close to big business by promisiong to take action on tax avoidance in this year’s Budget. Cameron said:"One of the things that we are going to be looking at this year is whether there should be a general anti-avoidance power that HMRC can use, particularly with very wealthy individuals and with the bigger companies, to make sure they pay their fair share.”
10.01.12 - Immigration from outside the EU 'linked to UK jobless'
The government's official advisers on migration say there is a link between immigration from outside the European Union and job losses among UK workers.
The Migration Advisory Committee said there were 23 fewer UK Jobs for every 100 migrants from outside the EU.
But a separate report from the National Institute ofEconomic and Social Research (NIESR) says immigration has had little impact.
Read the full story on the BBC
04.01.12 - 2012 Forecast for Employment
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has forecast a fall of 120,000 in the number of people in employment in 2012.
This would bring UK unemployment to 2.85m and youth unemployment to 0.92m, with the public sector likely to lead job losses.
31.12.11 - A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU, but let Aptivation make it better for you in 2012
2012 will be a very successful year when using the expertise and knowledge of Aptivation.
29.12.11 - 'Recession to return to Europe' say economists
The vast majority of leading economists polled by the BBC believe recession will return to Europe next year.One fifth said the eurozone would not exist in its current 17-member form, while the majority put the possibility of a eurozone break-up at 30%-40%.
The poll also found that most economists expect UK interest rates to remain at 0.5% throughout next year.
Read the full story on the BBC
14.12.11- Unemployment is spiralling to a 17-year high, official figures revealed today
The jobless total rose 128,000 in the three months to October to stand at 2.64 million - the highest since September 1994.The latest grim landmark came against a backdrop of yet more redundancies with holiday giant Thomas Cook threatening to axe 1,000 staff and software group Logica said that it will have to cut hundreds of posts.
There was also little cheer for those in work, with average basic pay awards of only 1.8 per cent over the past year and heavily outstripped by a 4.8 per cent surge in the cost of living.
The Office for National Statistics figures graphically revealed how the Chancellor's deficit reduction drive is now having a huge knock-on effect.The number on the public payroll fell 67,000 during the quarter to stand at 5.99 million, the first time it has been below six million since 2003. The ONS today revealed that 376,000 public sector jobs have gone since the 2010 election with 41,000 of those in London.
A breakdown shows that in the year to the end of September there have been 42,000 jobs losses in the NHS and social work, 57,000 in education, 65,000 civil servants, 15,000 from the police and 5,000 from the forces.
Employment minister Chris Grayling said: "There has obviously been an unwelcome increase in unemployment since the summer but these latest figures show some signs that the labour market is stabilising.
The number of people in employment is higher than last month's published figure and the number of unemployed people is steadying. Encouragingly this is also the case for young people not in education."
But most City economists said they expected unemployment to rise towards three million as the British economy slips back into recession as a result of the eurozone crisis. The latest rise takes the jobless rate to 8.3 per cent of the working population, the highest since 1996. There were 423,000, or one in 10, unemployed in London.
09.12.11 - The EU Veto
The decision by the PM to veto any European Union treaty change, which was proposed to resolve the eurozone debt crisis, put Britain at odds with the other 26 member states! The impact of going it alone will mean we will have to change our economic policy so that every aspect is pro-growth. We will as a nation, need to reduce our individual expectations and be prepared to work harder for less immediate rewards. Aspects which will be impacted: lower top rates of tax, lower welfare payments, the value of sterling to make it competitive, low interest rates and policies which will not boost inflation. The EU will not only be a defining political issue but a long term trading implication on business and prosperity. The over-riding question though will be " Does Europe need Britain more than Britain needs Europe?"
01.12.11 - UK Government Autumn Statement 2011 - It's bad news for growth and jobs
No good news for the economy, so the impact on the employment figures will take a further turn for the worst.
25.11.11 - Employment Tribunals and Dismissals
The Government announced this week the outcomes of their Employment Law Review. In a written ministerial statement Business Secretary, Vince Cable, announced that the Government would reform employment tribunals, workplace dismissals and collective redundancies.
The most relevant issues were addressed in the Government response to the Resolving Workplace disputes consultation, which ACS responded to in April 2011. The Government have committed to making the employment tribunal system less complicated and less costly. The Government have also extended the qualification period for an employment tribunal from one year to two years. Despite general disagreement with consultees on this point the Government have asserted the need for businesses, particularly small businesses, to have confidence in employing people without threat of costly tribunals.
18.11.11 - The number of over 50s not working in London - Read this if you are in this age range?
17.11.11 - Youth unemployment reaches 15 year high - Read this article and note its impact on jobs!
11.11.11 - Aptivation launches their new website
Aptivation have been in operation for some months, to test and monitor the solutions it can provide. This method has now led to an expansion in what they can offer, hence now the Web Site. Its aim is not only for information concerning services, but also to highlight key jobs its clients are currently sourcing for. A new venture for the future providing its own unique brand for solutions, recruitment processes, sourcing and providing value for money solutions.