National commerce body calls on Government to help small and medium-sized companies (From The Advertiser Series)
Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
The British Chambers of Commerce say ministers must support UK manufacturing base
CHAMBER CONFERENCE: The Government must offer stronger backing to small and medium-sized UK businesses to help the country's economy and increase exports, according to the British Chambers of Commerce.
The body yesterday (Thursday, March 14) held its annual conference in Westminster, with John Longworth, its director general, calling on David Cameron and Nick Clegg to help stimulate growth.
Mr Longworth said: “We have to ask ourselves in the UK; do we have the creativity, the talent, the enterprise and the capacity for sheer hard work, to build and drive the UK economy?
“Of course we do, and these are not businesses in the supply chains of multi-nationals.
“To allow this great manufacturing base to grow, we must create a truly business-friendly, enterprise-friendly environment, which will create the growth and the wealth we need to pay for the things like the NHS, welfare and pensions.”
ONLINE SALES: Supermarket chain Morrisons has revealed it will start selling food online.
The company, which is the UK's fourth largest supermarket, said online sales will start by the end of the year.
Bosses revealed the move, which could include a deal with online grocer Ocado, as the company saw its full-year pre-tax profit fall for seven years when they dropped to £879m.
Earlier this year, the firm bought 49 Blockbuster outlets to open as M Local convenience stores.
TABLET INCREASE: Catalogue-based retailer Argos saw sales leap after a growth in customer demand for tablet computers.
Its parent company, Home Retail Group, which also owns Homebase, said like-for-like sales at Argos were up by more than five per cent over the same eight week period last year.
BANK VOW: The parent company of Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks has denied it is looking to undertake a fire sale of its UK businesses.
National Australia Bank (NAB), which has announced restructuring plans to save £555m a year, was rumoured to be looking at selling Clydesdale and Yorkshire.
However, Cameron Clyne, NAB chief executive, who previously described the UK business as a problem asset after Clydesdale made a pre-tax loss of £183m, confirmed it would stay in the UK.
DRIVING FORWARD: Carmaker BMW said 2012 was the best year in its history after profits and revenue rise.
The German company, which owns Mini and Rolls-Royce has announced pre-tax profits rose near six per cent to £6.76bn.
It sold 1.84m vehicles in 2012 an increase of 10 per cent from 2011, which included 493,000 in Asia and 327,000 BMW and Minis in China.
The company also revealed sales of Minis across the world had passed the 300,000 mark for the first time in a single year.
PACIFIC MINING: A UK mining firm has revealed plans to extract minerals from the Pacific Ocean.
UK Seabed Resources, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, say surveys show hundreds of rock rich in valuable metals lying on the ocean floor south of Hawaii.
It has secured a licence from the United Nations to explore a 4,000m deep area twice the size of Wales.
The rocks are said to contain about 25 per cent metal, which is ten times the proportion found on land.
BUILDING PROFITS: Builder Miller Group recorded pre-tax profits of £6.6m for 2012, after previously slumping £30m in the red in 2011.
The company, whose operations cover housing, construction, property and mining, also revealed total housing sales increased by five per cent to 1,831 homes, with the average selling price rising from £161,000 to £170,000.