Archive for September, 2017

Businesses Must Have A Brexit Strategy

Businesses must have a Brexit strategy

Mid last year the UK took the momentous decision to leave the European Union. Those on the Leave side rejoiced whilst the Remain camp dismayed at the vote, predicting an Armageddon-style doom for the UK economy and a mass flight of businesses from Britain, driven away by what many considered to be a form of economic suicide.

It’s safe to say that hasn’t happened, although this is mainly due to the fact we haven’t actually left the EU yet. This brings into question the strategy of businesses post-leave; are they prepared for what lies ahead? Many fear that the rocky state of the current Brexit negotiations will cause people to hold onto their cash, causing businesses to have less cash than they’re used to. So what strategy should businesses be taking?

Push for a soft Brexit…

A huge majority of business figures believe that a soft Brexit, in which the UK essentially remains in the single market, would be the best option for Britain. No new trade deals would have to be created and business would continue more or less as normal. This is the reason the current strategy of so many companies and business leaders seems to be, at the moment, putting on as much pressure as possible to ensure the UK doesn’t leave the single market. This may not be possible, however, and businesses must likewise have a Brexit strategy should the UK leave the single market.

But prepare for the worst

The UK will lose an estimated 75 billion by being cut off from the single market, with investors across the channel very likely to be put off from investing their cash into a shaky UK market. If the UK defaults to World Trade Organization (WTO) tariffs many businesses will be put off selling to Britain due to the extra charges they may have to pay to sell to us.

French winemakers, for example, may have to pay an extra 32% on their goods to sell them to us, and vice-versa with our own goods. The farming industry, too, will suffer negatively in terms of finance due to receiving considerably less funding. Farmers received £3bn in support from the much-reviled common agricultural policy last year, over £2bn in direct payments and about £600m in rural development payments.

Having said this, some businesses are looking at Brexit as an opportunity rather than a disaster. Although some economists have savaged the idea of a ‘free trade nirvana’ that will allow Britain to forge new trade deals all over the world, it would be stupid for businesses to not factor this idea into their strategy. The UK will indeed be free of European rules which have prevented many deals being struck with the world outside the EU as a past.

Operating as a solo trading nation, Britain will only have to make sure two sides are happy with a deal rather than the 28 of the EU member states. Businesses should certainly consider factoring the increased ability to create new deals with countries outside of the EU into their Brexit strategies; making deals with new countries post leaving could make or break many UK companies after we leave.

Bell & Co could provide your business with expert advice before we leave the EU; give us a call today to see how we can help ensure your Brexit strategy is the right one.


Alternatively, read our blog on what to do when facing with Insolvency:


Why are people in the UK so in debt?

A recent report has revealed that the UK is one of the most indebted countries in the world, with about £25,000 worth of debt for every citizen—or £1.7 trillion overall. This figure was worked out by calculating the UK’s debt-to-GDP ratio, which stands at 89%; a very large percentage that means we share the shame with only about 19 other countries.

This is, obviously, a lot of debt to deal with. The government may borrow and loan money all the time, but the UK people bear the weight of debt personally too.

So what’s the cause?

Student loans are on the rise

More and more of us are going through to higher education, and the days when the government gave you a grant to go are long gone. Instead, universities charge up to £9,000 a year per student, and there are indications that could be on the rise.

Although you don’t have to pay back student debt before you earn a certain level, if you’re a UK national, it means that a hefty chunk of change is being taken away from your paycheque in tax before it even gets to you.

Wages are stagnating, but the cost of living is going up

Chocolate bars that cost 35p a few years ago are now worth 60p. The price of milk is going up. It costs more to buy clothing and shoes. Unfortunately, wages are still pretty much what they when all these price rises happened. This means that it costs more and more for the basics, and there’s less to go spare. People might take out a loan for a holiday or Christmas, and struggle to pay it back if wages are squeezed even more.

We’ve forgotten what we’ve learned from 2008

After the crash of 2008, we promised ourselves that we would never let ourselves get into the mess again. However, that was not the case. More and more things seem ‘essential’ enough to put ourselves in debt for, but unfortunately, it’s taking more and more time to pay off any loans—which, in turn, means the interest increases.

Signs are pointing to another crash happening shortly, as the Bank of England has warned about it; Britain may soon find that its accolade of being one of the most indebted nations on earth will not be a good thing for its citizens.


Check out our previous blog on how Britain could be facing another debt crisis.


The Recession, ten years on: how are we affected?

The recession, ten years on: how are we affected?

The recession, ten years on: how are we affected?

The recession began as just another financial crisis on Wall Street. There was an issue with subprime mortgages in America—mortgages given to people who looked to be high-risk lenders, with difficulty maintaining a repayment schedule—which became a bigger and bigger issue as more and more people defaulted on their mortgage. Wall Street had accepted this higher risk, but it was unsustainable. Lehman Brothers, the investment bank, collapsed because of these problems, problems which continued across the globe.

The UK bank, Northern Rock, was caught in the crossfire due to their practice of heavily using the international money markets. When this became known, customers of the bank flocked to take out their savings. Known as a bank run, this essentially drained Northern Rock of its assets and turned it from a healthy company in the morning to one that was facing bankruptcy by the day’s end.

Across the world, countries fell prey to the credit crunch, now recognised as one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression of the 1930s. many were affected, Companies were reluctant to employ new staff, employees were reluctant to accept redundancy, wages stayed stagnant, and the cost of living shot up.

It’s not been an easy road to recovery. The UK government’s insistence on austerity has recently become an unpopular one, quality of living for many have dropped and more and more families becoming reliant on food banks. Mid way through recovery the UK voted to leave the European Union, a move which to date has yet to see benefits, a decision which could throw finances into disarray when the UK officially leaves.

Lord Aidar Turner, who was head of the UK Financial Services Authority between 2008 – 2013, worries that not enough has changed. Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, he warned that the world has not learned from the problems that lead to its problems the first time. Problems like debt overhang, where people and countries are so in debt they can’t borrow any more, are still rife. So much do, the Banks are having to sell on their non-performing loan portfolios in order to recover some if the debt owed.

Recently, AIB is reported to be set to push the button on what they are calling Project Pine. Project Pine is a €300million sale of non-performing loans secured on assets in Britain and Northern Ireland.

To read more on this recent AIB loan sale follow: https://www.businesspost.ie/business/aib-offload-e300-million-non-performing-loans-397495

Or Read our blog on a previous AIB loan sale and how we can help: https://bellcomp.co.uk/2017/02/10/aib-loan-sale/

Since the downfall of the markets, in real terms, levels of unemployment have gradually decreased in the ten years since the financial crisis began. Wages have slowly risen, though so has the cost of living which means there is still a gap. House prices have risen, but not to the levels seen pre 2007 and though a lower amount of new houses are coming onto the market people are still wary of taking on a new mortgage and expose themselves to more the risk.

Overall, Debt is still an issue. Even though short-term lenders like Wonga and QuickQuid have been handed new sanctions, debt shows no signs of slowing down. Something which needs to be addressed.

If you are finding yourself in a difficult position due to unaffordable mortgage repayments, the possibility of repossession or fear your mortgage has been sold to a Vulture fund then speak to us today.

We are experts in working with those who are in financial difficulty due to property Debt related issues. Covering Ireland UK and several countries in Europe, our experts have a wealth of knowledge and can negotiate on your behalf to find solutions suited to your situation.


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Do I have to tell my employer that I’m in debt?

Do I have to tell my employer that i'm in debt

Do I have to tell my employer that I’m in debt?

There is no hard and strict rule that explicitly details every employee who’s in debt must inform their employer or there would be a queue of people outside of HR’s door after every Christmas.

Having said that, there are some professions where debt may become an issue. An existing or new employer has the right to perform any due diligence to confirm that you do not have a County Court Judgement -CCJ- or are Bankrupt.

In Bankruptcy, you are put on a NIL Tax Code so it may become obvious to your employer that you are Bankrupt. There are also other ways your Employer can become aware of your Bankruptcy when performing their due diligence.

CCJs are for outstanding debt, and any organisation can apply for one – whether it’s for small amounts such as a household bill or larger sums like a personal loan. If the judge finds in the Creditor’s favour, the borrower is obliged to pay the debt. However, if the debt is paid off in full within thirty days, the CCJ will not show on your credit file.

If it takes longer than thirty days for you to pay the outstanding debt off, your CCJ will appear on your credit file for 6 years which is mostly how a CCJ is identified.

Most employers don’t have restrictions that are aimed at their employees in debt. Some employers, however, have clauses in their contracts which state that employees who have a CCJ against them or are Bankrupt can be at risk of discontinuation of their employment.

Mostly in specific professions that involve the handling of money, such as working in a Bank or as an Independent Financial Advisor, debts as well as going Bankrupt, could result in you being dismissed from employment.

Some positions require you to be a member of a particular regulatory body that may involve terms that hinder those who have a CCJ against them or are Bankrupt from retaining their membership. This can have a huge knock on effect on your financial prospects, so if you think your employment is at risk and notice you are getting into debt, talk to us about our pre-insolvency options before making decisions that could greatly affect your employment status.

One important thing to remember is that you’re not alone there have been plenty of people who fell into debt but are now thriving. With our professional guidance, you can plan, approach and settle.

Why not check out our earlier blog where we assess whether or not your job is at risk when considering bankruptcy:



For further advice on Bankruptcy watch the video below:

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