General News

Industrial production across UK rises

UK industrial production output was better than expected in March, official figures have revealed, with manufacturing output leading the way.

Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures showed an output rise of 0.7% month-to-month rise in March, higher than the expected figure of 0.2%.

Manufacturing, defined in this survey as a sub-section of industrial production, scored a 1.1% increase, with electronics, metals and machinery all said to be performing well.

Hauliers looking to increase workforces

Almost seven in 10 transport and logistics firms in the UK have plans to increase the size of their workforce in 2013, a new survey has revealed.

In the same survey from 2012, just under half of respondents indicated they would be creating new jobs, so it is a notable year-on-year rise in employment intentions.

Another piece of good news coming from the survey was that only 21% were planning to make job cuts over the next year, suggesting that hauliers have come through the worst of the economic storm of the last few years.

Small companies to begin recruitment drives

UK small businesses are looking to grow their workforce through the remainder of 2013, a new survey by global workforce provider Regus has indicated.

A quarter of firms surveyed plan to increase their headcount by 5% or more, whilst 20% are looking to expand their numbers by between 2-5%.

Businesses are increasingly looking to expand their new business functions. More than half suggested that their recruitment drive will focus on sales and marketing staff, implying that growth is high on the agenda for the rest of the year.

Suppliers to large firms facing arduous payment waits

Suppliers to some of the UK’s largest manufacturing firms face agonising delays of almost eight weeks for payment to be received, a new survey by BACS Payment Schemes has revealed.

On average, each SME is waiting on approximately £40,000 each, meaning a total of close to £10 billion is due in overdue payments.

When chasing up payments, SMEs were increasingly frustrated by lacklustre excuses. For example, 18% were informed that they had simply forgotten to pay.

SMEs frustrated by funding refusals

More than 50% of small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have been refused funding by their bank over the last six months, a new survey has suggested.

Approximately a third of SMEs then received no explanation as to why their credit application was refused, whilst 80% also said alternatives to bank funding hadn’t been suggested by their banks.

Awareness of government schemes to help small businesses gain access to external credit was also shown to be low, with only two in five having ever heard of any government-led scheme.