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Slump in disposable income
Rises in the cost of living means UK consumer spending power is now 15% lower than it was five years ago, according to research Ernst & Young. The study found that the typical family had less than 20% of its income remaining after bills and tax, compared with 28% in 2003, suggesting businesses selling non-essential items can expect some tough times ahead. ... more

Sharp fall in equity withdrawal
The number of people extending their mortgages to generate extra disposable income has fallen, according to the Bank of England. The data reveals the amount of housing equity withdrawal fell from £7.4bn in the last quarter of 2007 to £5bn in the first quarter of 2008. ... more

FPB backs fuel tax campaign
The Forum of Private Business (FPB) is joining a campaign to force the government to abandon plans for a 2p rise in fuel duty from October. The Freight Transport Association and other haulage bodies have been campaigning against the move, which comes at a time when oil has hit a record $146 a barrel. ... more

UK still attracting foreign capital
The UK is still seen as an attractive destination for overseas companies to set up or expand, according to government figures. The statistics revealed that there was a 23% rise in the number of jobs created by new foreign operations in 2007, accounting for 45,000 positions. Such investment also safeguarded a further 58,000 jobs. ... more

Sugar steps down from Amstrad
The Apprentice boss Sir Alan Sugar has announced that he is to step down as boss of Amstrad. The company was sold to BSkyB in 2007 and the famous entrepreneur now intends to focus on his other business interests, which include Viglen Computers, Amshold, Amsprop and Amsair. ... more

FSB backs entrepreneur scheme
The Federation of Small Businesses is urging the government to expand a scheme that provides local authorities with around £300m a year to support entrepreneurship. The government is planning to replace the Local Authority Business Growth Incentive (LABGI) scheme with an alternative that would see local authorities receive only £100m a year. ... more

Confidence lowest since 1992
Business confidence in the UK has hit its lowest point since 1992, according to BDO Stoy Hayward’s business trends report. The report revealed business confidence slipped further in June as the housing market continued to fall and inflation rose due to high food and fuel prices. ... more

One in three has no savings
One in three people is unable to put away anything for their retirement, according to a survey by pensions provider Scottish Widows. The report found that 49% of the 6,381 respondents were not saving enough for a comfortable retirement and 60% said there was no prospect of being able to increase the amount of money they put away in the next 12 months. ... more

House prices fall again
The rate of house price falls slowed to 0.9% in June from the record 2.5% in May, according to figures released by Nationwide Building Society. But prices were now 6.3% lower than they were a year, the research found, and the average price of a house has fallen by over £13,000 since the market peaked in October 2007 ... more

Businesses face further fuel rises
Businesses and consumers could see energy bills increase by 20% on top of market rises to pay for the cost of meeting the EU’s 2020 emissions target. The warning comes from Ernst & Young, which estimates that the UK needs to find £100bn for the investment needed to achieve the target of cutting green emissions by 20% by 2020. ... more

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