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Firms warned over pay rises
Companies are being urged to keep wage rises in check in a bid to counter rising inflation. Following the end of the Shell fuel drivers pay dispute, business secretary John Hutton called for “discipline in public and private sector pay if we are to keep inflation under control”. ... more

Call to regulate estate agents
The estate agency industry should be regulated to provide customers with better protection against unscrupulous operators, according to a report by the former head of the Office of Fair Trading, Sir Bryan Carsberg. The report calls for a basic qualification for anyone wanting to set up in business as an estate agent. ... more

Pay-as-you-drive plan scrapped
Norwich Union has scrapped its controversial pay-as-you-drive insurance scheme less than two years after its introduction. Under the policy, the company used satellite technology to track how far people travelled using a black box installed in the car. ... more

Insolvencies likely to rise
Worsening economic conditions could see an 18% rise in the number of companies going out of business in the UK, business advisory firm BDO Stoy Hayward has warned. The organisation predicts an increase from 16,168 in 2007 to 19,124 in 2009, representing the highest level since the internet boom failed in 2002. ... more

CBI downgrades growth forecast
Employers’ body the CBI has downgraded its forecast for economic growth in 2009 for the second time in four months. In March the organisation revised its prediction from 2.1% to 1.7% and has now reduced it to 1.3%. ... more

Yahoo Google online ad agreement
Yahoo will be able to use Google’s advertising technology after the two parties agreed a deal that will also see Google ads appear on Yahoo searches in the US and Canada. “This commercial agreement provides Yahoo with the opportunity to deliver more relevant ads to users and provide advertisers and publishers with better advertising technology,” said Eric Schmidt, Google chairman and chi... more

Unemployment up by 38,000
UK unemployment rose by 38,000 in the three months to April as companies hit by the credit crunch began laying off staff, figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed. The rise took the rate of unemployment from 5.2% to 5.3% of the population, with a total of 1.64m now out of work. ... more

Firms urged to be more flexible
Companies should be more amenable to requests for flexible working as a way of easing the financial burden on employees, HR consultancy Croner has said. With fuel prices hitting new record highs and the price of oil approaching $150 a barrel, the organisation is urging to employers to help staff reduce the cost of living by allowing them to work from home more often or to alter their normal wo... more

Marketing spend mainly online
Over half of marketing budgets are now spent online, research by the e-Consultancy has revealed. The study, which was carried out on behalf of Clash-Media, revealed that 70% of companies now use search engine optimisation, paid search and email marketing to in-house lists. ... more

Manchester C-charge criticised
The Forum of Private Business has accused the government of ignoring the needs of small companies in its decision to allow the introduction of a congestion charging scheme in Manchester. The secretary of state for transport, Ruth Kelly, announced that the government would provide £1.5bn for public transport improvements to the region with the remaining £1.3bn to come from the charge. ... more

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