Study suggests many individuals ‘plan to work past retirement age’

Study suggests many individuals ‘plan to work past retirement age’

A study carried out by insurance company Prudential has suggested that a significant number of employees are planning to work past their state pension age.

Prudential found that 50% of those retiring this year are contemplating working past state pension age.

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A further 26% of those seeking to delay retirement wish to reduce their hours or work part-time, with only 14% wanting to continue working full-time hours. Meanwhile, an additional 43% of individuals stated that they enjoy working, and 19% are looking to earn a living from a hobby or by starting their own business.

However, 8% of those scheduled to retire in 2018 revealed that they cannot afford to, with 47% placing blame on the rising cost of day-to-day living.

Commenting on the study, Stan Russell, Retirement Income Expert at Prudential, said: ‘The shift to ‘pretirement’ in recent years shows that many people reaching state pension age aren’t ready to stop working.

‘However, not everyone has the luxury of choosing their retirement date due to their financial situation not allowing them to give up work, and others may be forced to stop working for health reasons. Saving as much as possible as early as possible in their career is the best way for people to ensure they are financially well-prepared for a retirement that starts when they wish, or need, it to.’

Artificial intelligence ‘will be critical to firms’ survival’, survey suggests

Artificial intelligence ‘will be critical to firms’ survival’, survey suggests

Artificial intelligence (AI) will be ‘critical’ to firms’ survival over the coming five years, a survey carried out by software firm SAP has suggested.

According to the survey, 90% of business leaders believe that AI will be critical to the survival of their business. It also revealed that a further 88% believe that they could use AI to make predictive judgements. SAP also found that many business leaders are keen to make use of so-called digital assistants within their business.

63% of executives think that using chatbots will be vital in the next five years, SAP found.

Of the 2,500 executives surveyed, 61% of business leaders believe that AI will transform existing jobs, and 31% think that it could replace jobs altogether. A further 74% believe that upskilling staff members will be a priority in the next three years.

Commenting on the matter, Alex Guillen, Market Manager at tech company Insight UK, said: ‘AI paves the way towards creating a next-generation workforce, where bots deal with the time-consuming repetitive tasks, offering organisations the chance to redeploy workers to more engaging and value-creating tasks.

‘But as business leaders increase adoption of complex AI, they’re going to look at how to configure the organisation to manage, monitor and support the bots – just like you would people.’

Business group urges government to increase VAT registration threshold

Business group urges government to increase VAT registration threshold

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has urged the government to increase the VAT registration threshold in order to ‘stimulate small business growth and encourage innovation’.

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Under current rules, businesses must notify HMRC if their taxable turnover for the last 12 months exceeds £85,000, or if there are ‘reasonable grounds’ for believing that their turnover will exceed £85,000 in the next 30 days.

During the 2018 Spring Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a call for evidence in regard to the design of the VAT registration threshold. Responding to the call, the IPSE warned that lowering the registration threshold would ‘actively discourage’ self-employed individuals and small businesses from growing beyond it.

The business group has called on the government to raise the threshold in line with RPI.

Andy Chamberlain, Deputy Director of Policy at the IPSE, commented: ‘Lowering the VAT threshold would be disastrous for the UK economy, particularly during the uncertainty posed by Brexit.

‘The cashflow problems caused by such a move would mean people would face the stark choice of either raising their prices – causing them to lose customers – or absorbing the cost themselves, which would do significant damage to their businesses.’

Meanwhile, the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) also recently published its response to the call for evidence, and stated that reducing the VAT registration threshold would generate ‘unwelcome added costs and burdens’ for UK small businesses.

Business group calls on large firms to ‘lead the way’ in tackling late payment

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has urged large businesses to take immediate action to end the ‘culture of late payment, poor payment practice and supply chain bullying’.

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FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, has written to all FTSE100 companies, calling on them to work with small businesses in order to create a new payment culture.

According to FSB research, 84% of small firms have reported being paid late, with 33% revealing that at least a quarter of all payments are received later than agreed.

Furthermore, over a third report that their agreed terms of payment have been extended over the course of the last two years, which has had a significant impact on cash flow.

The call follows the recent release of the parliamentary report on the collapse of Carillion, which revealed serious problems relating to the payment of suppliers.

Commenting on the issue, Mr Cherry said: ‘The poor payment practices that run rampant through UK supply chains is a national disgrace with the country falling behind almost all other industrialised nations in our ability to pay small businesses on time’.

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Rising fuel prices adversely affecting UK businesses, industry warns

Rising fuel prices adversely affecting UK businesses, industry warns

The motoring industry has warned that rising prices for both petrol and diesel are adversely affecting UK businesses.

Data published by the RAC revealed that, during May, petrol prices rose by 6p per litre – representing the ‘worst monthly rise in at least 18 years’.

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Meanwhile, the average price of a litre of diesel also rose by 6.12p, constituting the ‘second worst rise’ since the beginning of 2000.

Fuel prices have risen ‘every single day since 22 April’, the RAC found.

It stated that the cost rises can be attributed to a combination of rising oil prices and a weaker pound, and will ultimately affect businesses and individuals alike.

Commenting on the issue, Simon Williams, Fuel Spokesman at the RAC, said: ‘The rising oil price, together with a weaker pound, is a punitive combination for anyone who drives regularly.

‘For many people, there is little alternative to the car for the majority of journeys they have to make, so it is therefore very difficult to avoid feeling the pinch of rising pump prices.’

Significant number of UK firms affected by cyber-attacks and breaches, survey finds

Significant number of UK firms affected by cyber-attacks and breaches, survey finds

A survey carried out by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has revealed that a significant number of UK businesses have been affected by cyber-attacks and breaches over the past 12 months.

Four in ten of all UK businesses experienced a cyber-attack or breach over the past year, the DCMS found.

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The survey revealed that the most common attacks involved the sending of fraudulent emails, and criminals impersonating an organisation online. Malware and viruses also proved to be particularly harmful to UK businesses, the DCMS found.

72% of large businesses were subject to an attack, with the cost of all attacks on such firms over the past year totalling £9,260.

According to the survey, large businesses experience an average of 12 attacks per year, whilst medium-sized firms experience six.

Commenting on the survey, Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: ‘We are investing £1.9 billion to protect the nation from cyber threats and I would urge organisations to make the most of free help and guidance available for organisations from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).’

Meanwhile, Ciaran Martin, CEO of the NCSC, stated: ‘Cyber-attacks can inflict serious commercial damage and reputational harm, but most campaigns are not highly sophisticated.

‘Companies can significantly reduce their chances of falling victim by following simple cyber security steps to remove basic weaknesses.’

Self-employed individuals ‘unfazed by Brexit’, study suggests

Self-employed individuals ‘unfazed by Brexit’, study suggests

A study carried out by mortgage lender Kensington Mortgages has suggested that a significant number of the UK’s self-employed workers are ‘unfazed’ by Brexit.

Kensington Mortgages surveyed more than 1,000 self-employed individuals, and found that 63% believe that Brexit will have ‘no impact’ on their business.

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However, in terms of Brexit’s impact on the UK economy, 52% of the self-employed individuals polled believe that the economy will be adversely affected.

Meanwhile, 47% of those surveyed expect 2018 to ‘bring in more work’ than 2017, and 42% are confident that they will make more money this year than last year.

The study also revealed that 35% of self-employed workers believe that Brexit will make it harder to obtain a loan, with sole traders and freelancers expected to be amongst those worst affected.

‘Self-employed workers are, without a doubt, the backbone of the UK economy, so we should all take reassurance from their optimistic outlook and ability to build up their savings to cope with life’s unexpected events,’ said Craig McKinlay, Sales and Marketing Director at Kensington Mortgages.

‘The fact that such a diverse group of workers would have diverging views on Brexit is unsurprising. What is perhaps more important is how we respond to these concerns. Regardless of regional location, business size or age, the self-employed have unique day-to-day circumstances that unite them.’