The Great Debate UK

Sluggish U.S. economy may threaten UK business development


- Paddy Earnshaw is the Director of Customer Relations at Travelex Global Business Payments. The opinions expressed are his own.-

British importers and exporters’ confidence in the economy leapt in July, as positive economic data fuelled hopes for a return to strong economic growth. According to the Travelex Confidence Index (TCI), which jumped 12 points in July to 116, from 104 in June, strong gains were driven by quarter 2′s GDP figure, as it showed the UK grew at its fastest pace in four years.

Momentum seems to be building in the UK economy – only 6 weeks ago, we feared the worst for Europe, as the sovereign debt crisis unfolded. Now it is the U.S. which seems to face the steepest challenge. Certainly, we expect the deteriorating picture in the U.S. to crimp importer and exporter confidence in the upcoming months, as 8 out of 10 respondents (84 percent) feel the threat to business development comes from the health of the global economy.

U.S. employment data was worse than expected on Friday, revealing that the U.S economy shed 131,000 jobs in July – roughly double what had been expected by economists. The poor set of unemployment results has only heightened the sense of dread from across the Atlantic – is this the clearest indication that the U.S recovery, in contrast to the UK, is running out of steam?

Budget should pave way for businesses to hire



- Joe White is chief operating officer at The opinions expressed are his own. He will participate in a in a Reuters Budget live blog at noon GMT on Wednesday, March 24, 2010. Please tune in and join the discussion.-

With the general election just around the corner, chances are that this will be a very safe budget from Chancellor Alistair Darling.

Glossy or matte? Women in the recession


Glenda Stone- Glenda Stone is chief executive and founder of Aurora, a recruitment advertising and market intelligence company, and co-chairs the UK Women’s Enterprise Taskforce established by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The opinions expressed are her own.-

A theory once proposed by Estée Lauder Companies chairman, Leonard Lauder, was that in times of economic downfall women purchase more lipstick.

Simplify employment tax to kick-start recruitment


David Ellis-David Ellis is partner and head of human capital at BDO LLP. He specialises in the development of tax efficient, performance driven long term incentive plans for senior employees. The opinions expressed are his own.-

There’s no doubt about it, the UK’s complex employment tax regime is a major barrier for businesses to attracting talent. For our new report, launched today, we spoke to 126 financial decision-makers and we found that 34 per cent would be more likely to employ additional staff if taxes were reduced or reformed.

Skills shortage could hamper economic recovery


andy-powell- Andy Powell is the CEO of Edge, an independent education foundation dedicated to raising the status of practical and vocational learning. Edge is leading the education and business communities in the second annual celebration of vocational qualifications, VQ Day (Vocational Qualifications Day), on 24 June 2009. The opinions expressed are his own. -

It’s a challenging time to be running a small or medium enterprise (SME). Despite talk of “green shoots” the unemployment figures out today paint a fairly dim picture, with the prospect of a worsening scenario in September and tough prospects for graduates and school leavers this summer.

from The Great Debate:

China’s growth obsession may spawn jobless upturn

Wei Gu -- Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

China is pulling all the stops to keep the economy growing by at least 8 percent, a pace considered necessary to absorb millions of migrant workers and graduates that hit the job market every year.

Ironically, with all its attention focused on the vigorous "defense of the eight", Beijing risks losing sight of its ultimate goal -- creating enough jobs to preserve social peace -- and may end up engineering a jobless recovery.

from UK News:

Would you take a pay cut?

A small but growing number of companies are considering asking their workers to take a pay cut as a means of cutting costs without having to fire anyone.

In the latest example, three unions representing steelworkers at Corus have offered to take a 10 percent cut across the company's entire UK workforce of 25,000 for six months in an attempt to save one of the last remaining steel factories in Britain -- the plant at Llanwern in Newport, South Wales.