By looking at 3 aggregated news stories on Google from this day in history the picture appears to reveal a pretty bleak outlook for times ahead and not just for UK consumers but for industry too.
Public sector job losses may not be offset by growth in the private sector as the Government is hoping and despite talk that investment in industry is the way to plough Britain out of the quagmire, industry will still struggle with rising costs in the same way as consumers.
‘HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) has revealed that growing numbers of cash strapped companies that have put off paying taxes are at risk of insolvency because they simply haven’t addressed the root causes of the difficulties.’
This story explains how a growing number of business are having to make payment arrangements with HMRC to pay their tax bills.
This arises when business reach the end of their tax year, calculate their tax bill and find out they don’t have enough money in the bank to pay it. Poor planning can be the culprit but so can a reduction in income or an increase in expenses.
So if a growing number of companies are struggling how are they going to be able to afford to employ more people?
‘Consumers fled the high street in droves last month, according to industry figures released today. They showed that a slump in sales following the government’s VAT hike became entrenched during February.’
This is a real worry in my opinion. Rates are low and mortgage payments are at record lows and yet consumers are starting to curb their spending.
What happens if rates are put up? Even less spending which means less buying from businesses which means businesses suffer which means they can’t employ more people.
With the rising cost of essential energy and fuel purse strings are tightening.
How much is fuel duty? Why is it so heavily taxed? Oh, it’s because everyone needs it. The demand is out of necessity so people & industry will pay whatever the price (to an extent). But that’s another story…
‘The UK economy will grow by less than expected in 2011 but growth in 2012 will be better than predicted, the British Chambers of Commerce forecasts.
The group downgraded its forecast for UK GDP growth in 2011 to 1.4% from a December forecast of 1.9%’
OK so the numbers are small but the difference means expectation has been downgraded by over 26% which is huge.
The unemployment forecast is up from 2.6 million to 2.65 million which just looks like 0.05 but is actually 50,000 more people expected to lose their jobs.
On the plus side, the forecast for 2012 has gone up! (I wander if this is with or without factoring in the cost of the Olympics?)
Overall though today’s outlook appears pretty bleak.
Still, at least the sun is shining…