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Interest rates held again
The Bank of England has held interest rates at 5% despite growing evidence that the UK is heading for recession. Business groups the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the British Retail Consortium had argued for a rate cut to boost high street spending but with inflation likely to top 4% when the next set of figures are released, the monetary policy committee (MPC) decided against a cut. ... more

FSB calls for apprentice help
The Federation of Small Businesses is calling for more help to assist small firms in taking on apprentices. The lobby group believes apprentices should be paid the same rate as 16-18-year-olds in ordinary employment and called for better support to ensure apprentices complete their course. ... more

Pension deficit stands at £41bn
The pension funds of the FTSE 100 companies currently have a deficit of £41bn, according to research by actuarial group Lane Clark & Peacock (LCP). The data represents the biggest annual swing in funding since 2002, with the same companies enjoying a £12bn surplus in July 2007. ... more

Rise in companies going bankrupt
The number of businesses going bust rose by 11.6% to 3,560 in the three months to the end of June, according to government figures. The total was up by 15% on the same period a year ago. Companies entering administration also increased from 859 to 938 in the last quarter, up 9.2% on the previous three months and 60% on the same period in 2007. ... more

Helpline to hit rogue employers
The government has launched a helpline to allow staff to report unscrupulous employers over illegal pay rates and mistreatment. There will also be a new Fair Employment Enforcement Board made up of trade unionists and business leaders that will aim to oversee the enforcement of the minimum wage, health and safety legislation and regulation of employment agencies and gangmasters. ... more

Manufacturers expect a slowdown
UK manufacturing will slow sharply over the next few months in the face of falling demand and rising material prices, according to a survey by the CBI and credit rating agency Experian. The survey revealed that average unit costs rose at the fastest pace since 1988 in the past three months, while manufacturers in seven regions – including London and the West Midlands – saw a decline in ord... more

Estate agents ‘ignoring HIPs’
Estate agents in England and Wales are ignoring the requirement for every home for sale in the UK to have a home information pack (HIP), according to research by the BBC. The organisation reports that the Law Society believes HIPs are often not produced for weeks after a property has gone on the market, with sellers reluctant to meet the costs in the current economic climate and housing market... more

Plans to tackle tipping abuse
Businesses will be banned from using staff tips to bring wages up to the minimum wage under new plans announced by the government. The move, which is aimed primarily at those in the service sector and restaurants in particular, is likely to come into force next year. ... more

Low point for new mortgages
The number of new mortgages has fallen to its lowest level since the current system of recording data began in 1999, figures from the Bank of England show. The amount of loans approved in June slipped to 36,000 from 41,000 in May, with the increase in total mortgage lending lower than expected at £3.1bn. ... more

Record fall in house prices
House prices in the UK fell by 8.1% over the 12 months to July, according to figures released by Nationwide. The building society said the annual fall was the largest it had ever recorded since it started the survey in 1991, and that house prices dropped by 1.7% in July alone. ... more

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