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Businesses ‘must cut waste’
The government should increase its efforts to cut down on the amount of waste from businesses, a parliamentary committee has said. The House of Lords Science and Technology Commission suggested introducing variable rates of VAT to encourage companies to reduce the amount they contribute to landfill. ... more

Small firms turn to bank loans
Small businesses are turning to long-term bank lending in a bid to boost cashflow during the credit crunch, according to research by Barclays Commercial Bank. The bank’s study found that 16% of companies with a turnover of over £1m have taken out loans of £500,000 or more; an increase of 3% on the same period in 2007. ... more

Economy ‘will pick up in 2009’
The economic slowdown will reach its nadir at the end of 2008 and the start of 2009, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). According to the organisation business confidence is continuing to slump and the effects of this are now spreading from banking and the housing market into other sectors such as recruitment, consultancy and marketing. ... more

Surge in rental supply and demand
Supply and demand for rented properties have soared in the wake of the housing slowdown, figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have revealed. The body saw the number of houses being rented out rise at the fastest level on record in July, as people who would otherwise have sold their property decided to become landlords instead. ... more

Recession is ‘just months away’
Recession in the UK is just months away and the next six to nine months will be “difficult and risky”, the British Chambers of Commerce has warned. The group has predicted either zero or slightly negative growth over the next three quarters but claims a major recession could still be avoided if the Bank of England reduces interest rates. ... more

Cash tightest since early 1990s
Cashflow levels are at their lowest level since the early 1990s and companies are dipping into their credit facilities at the fastest rate since 1992, according to funding provider Bridging Finance. According to statistics from the Bank of England, the amount of money companies had available in unused credit facilities fell by 13.3% in the year to June. ... more

Communications ‘getting cheaper’
People spend more time using communications devices than they did five years ago but prices are falling, according to a study by Ofcom. The report found that the average person spends seven hours and nine minutes a day on the internet, using a mobile phone or watching television, with the latter accounting for three hours and 38 minutes. ... more

One in four workers ‘unhappy’
Over a quarter of office workers now describe themselves as unhappy in the wake of the economic downturn, according to a survey by recruitment consultancy Badenoch & Clark. The rate of 26% is up from 21% in April 2007 and has been attributed to employees being asked to take on extra responsibilities as companies look to keep staff levels to a minimum. ... more

Inflation hits 11-year high
UK inflation soared to 4.4% in January, taking it to the highest level since the current measure began in 1997. The rate of inflation rose by 0.6% in July alone, the biggest single increase over the same period. ... more

Ryanair scraps third-party bookings
Ryanair has announced plans to cancel thousands of bookings made through internet travel sites which it claims are illegal. The price comparison websites – known as screen-scrapers in the industry – allow customers to purchase flights without having to go direct to Ryanair, which the budget airline says runs counter to its terms of conditions and slows down its site for other customers. ... more


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