UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

How to make the most of discount car prices


The motoring industry has been hit hard by the recession (as demonstrated by the cancellation of the 2010 British Motor Show) and consumers have struggled to secure the credit they need to buy a new car. But for those in a position to make a move, there has never been a better time to do a deal.

Car buying website Parker’s has named March 23 as the best car buying day of 2009. Price cuts, stock availability and dealers desperately chasing bonuses make it the optimum time to buy a car before prices on new and used vehicles start to go up again in the summer.

If you are getting revved up at the thought of some of the discount deals on offer, then here are some useful web tools and articles to help you finance and get the best deal on your new set of wheels. highlights the fact that, although you may get your hands on a cheap car, the rate at which it will lose its value is truly frightening. To help you cut costs, it has this guide to researching the best price, how to haggle your way to a further discount and, most importantly, how to finance the deal (including some dealer tricks to watch out for).

Late payments send small businesses to the wall


By clamping down on credit, Britain’s newly cautious banks are making collapse almost inevitable for many small to medium enterprise (SMEs) who need a financial cushion now, more than ever, as suppliers and customers struggle to pay bills as the economic downturn bites.

Small businesses in Britain, which employ over half of the private sector workforce and annually generate some 3 trillion pounds, typically depend on loans for working capital to tide them over during lean spells.

Stemming the rising tide of jargon


Every cloud has a silver lining and maybe one effect of the recession might just be to reduce the ever-rising tide of jargon.

The Local Government Association has launched a drive to do away with buzz phrases like “stakeholder “ and “best practice.”

Web round-up: Reaction to FSA’s bank regulation proposals


The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published a blueprint for a shake-up of global banking regulations aimed at preventing a repeat of the current financial crisis. The report, authored by FSA Chairman Adair Turner, recommends an increase in banks’ minimum capital requirements, closer regulation of hedge funds as well as proposals to stop banks lending too much during boom years and measures to restrict the ability of banks to take excessive risks.

The report comes a week after FSA Chief Executive Hector Sants said in a speech at Thomson Reuters London offices that the banking sector should be “very frightened” of the regulator.

Web round-up: small changes that save you money


With unemployment on the rise and the cost of living also heading in the wrong direction, the days of profligacy are over and many of us are suddenly starting to look at ways in which we can cut back and save a few extra pennies.

The web is full of information aiming to help you do just that, but wading through it can be confusing and time-consuming. To save you time, here are a few useful articles and online tools we have come across in the last few days.

Sorry seems to be the hardest word


    Alistair Darling may think it’s time for a bit of collective
responsibility, but anyone who thinks Gordon Brown is about to
apologise for Britain’s current economic travails should think

    The prime minister, who loved to boast about abolishing boom
and bust when he ran the Treasury for a decade, is now
contending with the economy shrinking at its fastest pace in
nearly three decades and the prospect of millions out of work.

Tumbling markets – where will it end?


Stocks went in a tailspin again today as banking stocks tumbled after AIG posted a record loss and HSBC announced Britain’s largest ever rights issue.

Banking stocks led the FTSE decline after HSBC’s plan of a deep-discount rights issue and embattled life insurer AIG announcement of a $61.7 billion quartely net loss, the biggest in U.S. corporate history.

Jam tomorrow – will you buy Marks and Spencer’s new sandwich?


As fans of Alice in Wonderland will know, it’s jam every other day — jam yesterday or jam tomorrow but never jam today. “All very confusing,” says Alice.

On Thursday, Marks and Spencer might make some of their customers wonder for a moment whether they too have walked into fantasy land. For February 26th is the day it introduces to its shelves a new product: the strawberry jam sandwich.

‘We are all to blame for financial crisis’ – archbishop


Bankers, auditors, money-market speculators and regulators all came in for criticism at the Church of England’s General Synod during a discussion on the implications of the financial crisis and the recession.

The City had lined its pockets, regulators had not done their job properly and auditors had signed off financial deals that should not have seen the light of day, the synod heard at its meeting in London.

UK job losses: real stories


Simon Owen is a strategy and innovation consultant who helps companies identify and implement new business opportunities. He worked at a London based consultancy before being made redundant in January 2009. The opinions expressed are his own.

Most recently I worked for a leading innovation company that specialised in innovative growth projects. They took a much more creative approach, and I enjoyed it because they generated great ideas that had genuine impact and acted on them.