Small businesses in Wales welcome early Xmas present

Small firms in Wales are welcoming the news that their government will be giving them more help with their business rates from April. The Welsh Assembly Government says that, from then, companies with a rateable value up to £7,800 will qualify for a 25 per cent reduction in their rates through rate relief, replacing the previous threshold of £6,500.

The threshold for 50 per cent general relief will also increase, from a rateable va... Continue Reading

Puccino's goes under but future of cafe culture is looking up

Fourteen outlets had already closed over the past few months, and now cafe and coffee kiosk operator Puccino's has officially thrown in the towel. That means another 29 units will stop trading immediately and 43 are being transferred to Puccino's Worldwide Ltd.

Before collapsing into adminstration, Puccino's shifted more than 5.5 million espresso shots every year, holding 80 outlets in the south-east alone. Its fall ma... Continue Reading

Derby outlet could be added to list of UK hotels for sale

It looks like a Derby establishment could be joining the growing list of hotels for sale in the UK, as its owners confirm they've appointed an agent to look into the possibility of putting it on the market.

Midland Road's three-star Legacy Aston Court Hotel is the latest in a long line of potential Continue Reading

London businesses: Cautiously optimistic

Businesses in London are more optimistic now about their prospects for 2010 than they've been in the last 18 months. So say pollsters from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and KPMG, who have unveiled the results of their latest survey of firms in the capital.

Most companies are still cautious about future investment, though, and they have their doubts about London's longer-term status as a world city. An overly b... Continue Reading

Pre-Budget report: What's in it for small businesses?

Small business owners have awaited the chancellor's pre-Budget report with bated breath and now Mr Darling has spoken. The main proposals you'll want to take away from his last such report before a general election include:

• A six-month extension of the £1.3 billion Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme for small firms – that takes it to September 2010. First unveiled in March, the scheme means guaranteed 75% loans to e... Continue Reading

Insolvency specialists see another retail 'bloodbath' on the horizon

Get set for a bloodbath on your local high street after Christmas: a retail bloodbath of the insolvency kind, that is.

This year's drop in spending, alongside rising unemployment, means there's another wave of administrations on the horizon, much like the one witnessed in the opening months of 2009.

You'll remember the slew of closures that saw British high streets say goodbye to Woolworths, the music outl... Continue Reading

SME customer charter to shore up credit lines

Do you own a small business? Having problems raising finance? NatWest and RBS are here to help! And all through the launch of a new "SME customer charter".

The banks say they're aiming to boost support for their 1.2 million business banking customers with the charter, which promises to lower overdraft rates, make fees more transparent and extend free banking so more start-ups have a chance to establish themselves.

"... Continue Reading

FSB: Tax tweaks would devastate holiday lettings firms

Give us a Break: that's what the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging the government in light of proposals to change the tax rules on furnished holiday lettings.

Under the changes, eight in ten small firms in the holiday sector could go bust, the FSB says. And all because taking away their tax breaks is likely to force job losses, stifle trade and cost the tourism industry millions.

As the situation stands... Continue Reading

Brewery giant Thwaites puts up pubs for sale

Pub and hotel owner Thwaites – recognisable to most as the brains behind the Lancaster Bomber and Nutty Black ales – has put up eight pubs for sale.

But the brewery giant has been criticised for specifying that prospective buyers of the East Lancashire outlets cannot continue to run them as pubs. The company's pubs for sale include Padiham's Victoria Hotel, Accrington's Adelphi and the Sportsman’s Arms in Blackbu... Continue Reading

Struggling business owners burning candle at both ends

More corporate insolvencies are the last thing the small business world wants to see, so what are company owners doing to keep bankruptcy from their doors? They're working 65 hours a week in some cases, that's what.

Number crunchers at Abbey and Alliance & Leicester Business Banking have been looking into the lengths small-firm owners are going to in a bid to keep their businesses afloat. And it turns out one in six are rea... Continue Reading

TV Dragon demands more help with raising finance for small firms

From Enterprise Tsar to small-screen Dragon: there must be something in the air prompting familiar faces to throw their two cents' worth on small businesses' finance woes into the ring.

After The Apprentice star Lord Alan Sugar was pilloried for deeming struggling small-firm owners "moaners", fellow entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne has spoken out in support of the very same recession-hit demographic.

There should ... Continue Reading

Blackpool watches building backlog of hotels for sale

Interesting figures to emerge from the Las Vegas of Lancashire this week: despite a healthy tourism season, Blackpool now has guest houses, self-catering apartments and hotels for sale to the tune of £72 million.

Number-crunchers say 300 holiday accommodation outlets have gone on the market in the last 12 months alone, but shifting them is proving a problem f... Continue Reading

The heart-warming tale of the Sun Inn pub sale

News of a pub sale with a difference reaches us this week, after two residents of a tiny Herefordshire village stepped in to stop their much-loved local falling into the hands of property developers.

Leintwardine's Sun Inn, one of the nation's last parlour pubs, was being put up for sale at auction until local businessmen Gary Seymour and Nick Davis came along with their offer after rallying around to raise the necessary fi... Continue Reading

Small firms are fuming but life is still sweet for Sugar

He left struggling small-business owners picking their jaws up off the floor when he called them "moaners" earlier this week, but so-called Enterprise Tsar Lord Alan Sugar still has the backing of the prime minister.

The national council of the 215,000-strong Federation of Small Businesses called for Sugar to be replaced by "someone with more understanding and empathy for the small business sector" after the comments, made at a finan... Continue Reading

Professional valuation tips for a smooth business sale

Using the services of professional valuers will go some way towards ensuring you don't pay more than necessary when buying a business. That, and taking a thorough look at stock levels, customer traffic and the books of account for tax returns.

Because it's illegal to under-report tax returns to the authorities, submitting the wrong figures after buying a business will attract penalties, notes business consultancy boss Josep... Continue Reading