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New law to enforce fair trade
A new law against dodgy business operators has come into force, obliging all companies to trade fairly. The move outlaws practices such as false closing-down sales to misleading claims by salespeople, specifically banning 31 practices. ... more

Services sector at seven-year low
Companies in the services sector have experienced their toughest quarter since 2001 in the last three months, according to research by the CBI. The organisation revealed that only travel companies had seen an uptake in activity with restaurants, pubs, cinemas and other entertainment venues witnessing a slump in sales. ... more

Apprentice star sparks degree interest
Aston Business School (ABS) in Birmingham has reported a 27% increase in the number of applications to a course attended by one of the stars of the current series of The Apprentice. Alex Wotherspoon completed the BSc in management and strategy (MAS) course at ABS in 2005 but the university believes his success on the show, which features Sir Alan Sugar’s hunt for a new recruit, is behind the... more

Offshoring creating IT skills gap
Junior IT staff have seen pay levels and job prospects stagnate because of the trend by companies to relocate services to India, research by the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (ATSCO) claims. The organisation’s research suggests annual salaries in the most junior positions have not risen for the past five years as people have been put off entering the trade due to the competitio... more

Faster bank transactions scheme
A new scheme promising faster bank transfers for telephone and internet transactions has gone live. The £300m Faster Payments Service has been developed by 13 banks and will allow customers to make one-off payments of up to £10,000 that will leave the account and reach the destination account on the same day. ... more

Pension life expectancy up
Many UK companies now assume future male pensioners will live until the age of 87, an increase of one year since 2006, according to research by accountancy firm KPMG. The assumed life expectancy has risen steadily from 83 in 2004, but KPMG warned that the Pensions Regulator wants employers and pension schemes to work on the basis that men will reach 89. ... more

CML predicts property price fall
The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has forecast a 7% fall in house prices over the course of 2008. The organisation expects there to be 35% fewer transactions than in 2007 as falling prices and restrictions in bank lending meant people stayed put. ... more

Retail sales fall in April
Retail sales in the UK fell by 0.2% in April, representing the first back-to-back fall since January 2006, data from Office for National Statistics revealed. The rate was an improvement on the 0.4% fall in March, when figures were hit by wet weather and an unusually early Easter. ... more

Advance rail ticket launched
Train travellers pre-booking tickets will now receive an ‘advance ticket’ as part of a new scheme to simplify the ticketing system. The new ticket replaces a range of previous tariffs including Leisure Advance, Value Advance, Business Advance and Apex. ... more

Warning over UK food prices
The UK is more at risk of the impact of high food prices than many other countries, according to Ernst & Young’s Item Club. World food prices have soared in recent years, due partly to rising demand from China and land previously used for food production being use to produce crops for biofuel, as well as adverse weather conditions in large parts of the world. ... more

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