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May 30, 2014

Also in the news this week – 30 May 2014

IT skills shortages threaten business growth

The combination of IT skills shortages and increasing talent demands could scupper business growth unless closer ties are formed between students and industry leaders, according to ReThink Recruitment. Research by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has found that there has been a 64% growth in demand for temporary IT experts and 69% for permanent professionals. Michael Bennett, managing director at ReThink Recruitment, said:
 "As demand continues to rapidly increase it's likely we'll soon reach a pivotal point in the looming skills gap. What we need to see is greater engagement with potential talent at an earlier age to encourage them into this profession."

UK SMEs working longer hours in bid for growth

New research from eFax has revealed that 98% of UK small business owners are optimistic about their company's growth in 2014 but they are having to work even harder to make that a reality. The survey found that 73% are working longer hours than last year, with more than a third (34%) working more than ten extra hours a week. In addition, 40% regularly miss lunch breaks and 83% find themselves working at weekends in order to deliver the work needed to make the business a success.

HMRC crackdown brings in record revenues

New figures show that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has secured a record £23.9 billion in additional tax revenue over the past year as a result of increased activity to make sure people pay the taxes they owe. The additional tax is up £3.2 billion on the previous year, up £9 billion on three years ago and nearly £1 billion above the target set in the Autumn Statement 2013. More than £8 billion has been secured from large business, over £1 billion from criminals and £2.7 billion from tackling avoidance schemes in the courts.

UK and China agree £2 billion digital media link-up

Creative companies from the UK and China are set to benefit from £2 billion worth of trade and investment opportunities, Vince Cable has announced. The business secretary was in Qingdao to launch the Global Digital Media and Entertainment Alliance between the UK and China, aimed at opening doors to the Chinese market for UK creative companies. Cable said: "British creative products are in high demand with our total exports to China reaching more than £1 billion per month. This new plan will deliver a massive boost to UK creative exports and position the UK as the favoured location for inward investment."

Business finance system still "broken", says BCC

New figures released by the Bank of England on the Funding for Lending scheme show that net lending to businesses fell by £2.7bn in Q1 2014 and lending to SMEs fell by £723m. John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "This provides further evidence that Britain's business finance system remains broken. The litmus test for the Funding for Lending scheme has always been whether young and fast-growing businesses are able to get the finance they need to expand and drive the recovery, and unfortunately many of these firms remain frozen out of the market."