Also in the news this week - 3 February 2017

3 February 2017

Tax troubles for freelancers

Getting in touch with HMRC is one of the biggest challenges for freelancers, according to new research by IPSE. Almost two-thirds (61%) of freelancers have contacted the tax body in the past 12 months with questions; on average, freelancers lose one working day per year contacting HMRC and 44% say they find communication with HMRC "difficult". Other challenges include dealing with late payment, completing tax returns, bookkeeping, dealing with IR35 and writing contracts.

Europe remains key export market

UK companies are keen to maintain trading relationships with European customers and suppliers despite the Brexit vote, according to the findings of the British Chambers of Commerce's (BCC) International Trade Survey. Three-quarters of firms polled said they currently sell (76%) and source (73%) goods and services in the EU market. And 36% plan on putting more resources into exporting to the European market over the next five years. Dr Adam Marshall, BCC director general, said: "These results are an important reminder of the fact that it is businesses that trade, not governments … businesses still see Europe as a primary market for both selling and sourcing inputs - even after the UK leaves the EU."

All change at Dragons' Den

Nick Jenkins and Sarah Willingham are to leave the BBC Two show Dragons' Den at the end of the 14th series. Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden and Touker Suleyman are all expected to stay. Willingham, former owner of Indian restaurant chain Bombay Bicycle Club and the founder of NutraHealth, is planning a year of world travel with her family; Nick Jenkins, the founder of Moonpig, said he wanted to focus on his portfolio of educational technology businesses.

SME manufacturers "ticking along nicely"

The CBI's latest survey of 422 SME manufacturers reports healthy growth in total new orders thanks to a strengthening in domestic demand; and firms expect new orders to continue to grow over the next quarter. However, the CBI warns that pricing pressures are gaining traction. Alpesh Paleja, CBI principal economist, said: "Activity among SME manufacturers is ticking along nicely, with new orders growth reaching a two-year high. But the lower pound is clearly stoking cost pressures, which in turn is pushing up factory gate prices … further rises in consumer price inflation are on the cards."