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Final salary pension deficit
Final salary pension schemes have gone back into the red and now face a deficit of £24.1bn, according to figures released by the Pension Protection Fund. The data revealed a decline from a surplus of £8.3bn in June and from £83.3bn in July 2007. ... more

Economy ‘worse than expected’
The UK economy is in a worse state than many had expected, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned. The organisation admitted it – along with other forecasters – had been too optimistic about the economic situation, having originally predicted that the effects of the credit crunch would only last a year. ... more

BCC: small firms need energy help
Small businesses are more vulnerable than consumers to exploitation by energy firms and should receive helping in dealing with them, according to the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC). The group has also called on the energy regulator Ofgem to explain why businesses have to sign long-term deals with companies whereas consumers can switch after just 28 days. ... more

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

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