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The energy shortages S ampled a wave of panic bay- B, as weQ as speculation that Czechoslovakia would not have. As a result, the fed- eral government was forced to rai se the price of petrol and gas by over 30 per cent Under the new terms of the agreement, Czechoslovakia win pay for the afi wito afl drinjtng equipment and consumer goods, while a percent a ge of the ail supplies will be paid for in hard currency. The Soviet authorities chal- lenged the legality at such con- tracts by Individual republics or regions, insisting they must be ap proved by the central gov- ernment.

The oil deal, signed in Prague with the director of the Tyumen wtwiwid, provided for nearly , tonnes to be delivered to Czechoslovakia. The pr og ramm e is the larg- est hr the history of the Vene- zuelan petrofeumindustry and will require increased volumes of equipment for production, refining, transportation and storage as trail as for other PDVSA operations in petro- chemicals sndcoaL Thr equipment and materi- al required cover a vast range, rom leased' rigs for exploration and development weDs to purchases of drilling tors, ga» -compression equip-.

But PDVSA is constantly evaluating offers from other international suppliers, and is ready to diversify its supply sources. Some countries have feoently increased their mar- ket share. This was down slightly from a US Share of A bottle of Scotch whisky in Kbrea would still cost mare ffiap four times its landed cost he said.

Under foe measures, to be submitted, to. The proposals tailed to address the central problem of discriminatory taxes against Imported liquor and Korea remained one of only two industrialised countries levy- ing alcohol taxes on an ad valorem basis, Mr Tennant Gatt regulations required Identical tax treatment for imported and domestic liquor, and Korea had no way of avaiUfing Gait rules if It wanted to stay in the system.

A spokesman for Asians said: "We are very unhappy with the decision. KAL declined to comment but is also believed to be unhappy with the new system. The Interest payable on toe retevarrt 'mtBrest Patent date, Januarv It was stress- ing Far East and European ex p ansi o n, with a fond man- agement operat io n in Luxem- bourg.

The venture with be run mainly by Coryo staffi with a UK vtce-presideiii in SeouL ft wffi beam fay setting ananlties, whole Hft» endowments, t«wti» assurances and gro up sever- ance potiries. Strang lobbying by the British embassy was needed before CMI was allowed to take over the Joint venture equity stake of Connecticut Mutual, a US insurance group which dropped plans to alter the Kor- ean market because of prob- lems at boms. Pres- sure from trading partners for greater access to Korea's tected financial services tries could widen the crack 5.

B66 Group 7. Their access, allowed from , followed a trade dis- pute which included two aetjpa by the US Government under Section of its Trade Act. Tn Korea, being first is Important. AUco, part of the AIG group, was forced to can- cel health and aorident policies and suffered from a protracted strike by its salesforce.

The market has also become much more competitive. In addition to the foreign ones, 14 new domestic companies have been granted licences over the last three years. All are com- peting to win market share from the six original compa- nies which to domi- nate the Industry. The foreign companies have gained less than 2 per cent of total premiums. But all are optimistic. Justified in part by the fact that only per writ of Koppqft fawiiTfaa hold life insurance potiries.

In the US the figure is more than 70 per cent Moreover, the rate of new premium growth a veraged more than 30 per cent a year throughout the s. Social patterns are changing too. The economy continues to expand at well above the inter- national average. Until now the six major incumbents have enjoyed a rel- atively easy and extremely profitable business. The cash flow generated by their sales forces, usually short-term employees such as housewives, was easily transformed into p r ofits through tnv««fiHent in booming real estate and stock markets.

But the increased number of companies has increased fommA for skilled sales per- sonnel, putting upward pres- sure cm distribution costa. At the same time, the cooling off in the real estate market and the near collapse in the local stock market has depressed investment income. Mimh of the challenge lies in developing better trained and educated sales forces. The tnrin message will be to promote the idea of insurance as opposed to savings. Cur- rently, life insurance compa- nies are competing directly with banks for the funds of the Korean saver, and the concept of insurance for protection is relatively underdeveloped.

Initially, it is planned to offer non-life Insurance ser- vices to en t erprises and indi- viduals. Of the existing Finnish-Soviet joint ven- tures, 56 are located in Estonia. The Finnish and. Estonian partners have not yet derided on the size of the equity stake or how it will be partitioned.

Pobjola, which has a Triple A rating from Standard and Poors, became the first west- ern European Insurance com- pany to sign last autumn a co-operation agreement with Ingosstrakh, the Soviet state insurance company. Freedom has regained its wings. Now you can fly Lufthansa quality to Berlin. For a long time, BerGn was a symbol of freedom through- out the world.

This is where our history began. This is where, on 6th January , Luft- hansa first took to the skies. Uttie wonder, then, that Berlin is where our heart lies. With nonstop flights from major German airports and from attractive destina- tions in Europe and around the world. Where else than in the heart of Europe are there more opportunities today for renewing old acquaintances and forging new business links?

Berlin opens its arms to people from all over the world. And flying Lufthansa is the best way to get there. Partly because of the Gulf crisis, but also as a result at the July earthquake and political trouble, the government has halved its economic growth tar- gets to some 3 per cent this year and nest The total budget deficit has ; been estimated by Mr Jesus Estanislao, the finance secre- tary, to be heading towards lev- els exceeding the programmed targets by pesos 30bn Sl.

President Mifchatr Gorbachev determined to show that despite pro- found domestic problems Moscow can play a decisive role in the Middle East, an area of long-s tanding rivalry with the US and where it has built up important long-term alliances - not least with Iraq. This is semi as the key to the shut tie diplomacy of Mr Yevgeny Prima- kov, Mr Gorbachev's special envoy, who has just ended a second round of ta tka with all t he p rinci pal regional players.

The policy risks splitting the broad alliance ranged against Iraqi Pr esident Saddam Hussein and hay found little favour in Washington even though President George Bush has been kept fully informed. In a situation where nuances are telling, Mr Gorbachev concluded a two-day visit to Paris on Monday by TnaWng hin most forthrig ht wmim la- ment to obtain an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait by peaceful means.

Although French President Fran- cois Mitterrand was notably silent about the Gulf in public with the Soviet leader, France remains the one western government with which Iraq believes it can establish a dialogue. The view cannot therefore be dis- carded that Mr Gorbachev is «wWwg to develop a Moscow-Paris axis for diplomatic manoeuvring over the Gulf. Mr Primakov is to brief the Soviet leader this week in Moscow, and an the indications point to his quick return to the Middle East.

After his latest round of talks in Cairo, Damas- cus, Baghdad and Jeddah, the broad lines of Soviet strategy have begun to emerge. The Soviet Union is throwing its full diplomatic weight behind efforts to persuade Iraq to make a goodwill gesture to demonstrate seriousness about complying with the United Nations resolutions caHigg for a with- drawal from Kuwait.

MOsoow baa told tiie Iraqi leadership the most positive gesture would be to release all remaining western hostages. Only then would substantive dis- cussions be on the fundamen- tal question of an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait -. Mr Primakov, who had previous ly mown remarkable o p tim ism t iiw i giwnt hfa travels, came away from Iraq pessi- mistic. The same day the Soviet Tftrinn was co- with the United sponsor of a new Security Coumdl res- caDing for a with- Nation tiemamfing Iraq satkm to states for losses arising man the August 2 invasion of Kuwait.

Indeed, Mr Saddam was reportedly surprised by the extent to wfoch Mr Primakov was relaying to hi m the pogtkm of the US ami trying to mediate. S on the basis of this offer, Mr Gorbachev was willi ng t o take the initiative and make his state- ment in Fads. In Baghdad, official reaction to his statement was posi- tive. If it goes ahead, the venture would enable the Soviet Union to acquire technology useful for exploring for oil and gas. Oyo is taking advantage of the recent relaxation of the rules of Cocam, the Paris-based com- mittee which controls high- technology trade with commu- nist countries, including trade in products used in the strate- gically I mp or ta nt ail industry.

Japan has been ultra-sensi- tive about observing Co com rotes since Toshiba Manhine, a machine tools maker, was found in to have exported banned items to the Soviet Union. Under an agreement made public In Tokyo yesterday, Oyo Geospace, a Houston-based subsidiary which specialises in the oil and gas industries, will take a 40 per cent stake in a venture to manufacture seis- mometers at Ufa in the Bash- kir Autonomous Republic, In Soviet Central Asia.

R will start operating next sum- mer and is intended to produce instruments a year, ris- ing to 1. Most of the output is destined for use in the Soviet Union, to boost oil and gas output to earn hard currency. But some will be exported to eastern Europe and Vietnam. Industry analysts in Tokyo were cautious. The Frenchmen, including Pierre Sanchez above with his wife, freed after nearly three months, said the worst part was the isolation and lack of news.

For US hostages, they said, life was tougher. We believe the Americans and their western allies want to attack Iraq soon, but we will not fight the Iraqis. However, the government is now making clear to Washington that tt cannot be counted an to support US policy in the Gulf.

In th e light of th ese fac tors, t he govenunenthas opened fresh contacts With Aw i t mm , and grw amimmt flamtui Syrian newspapers have launched their severest anti-American cam- paign since the US sought to improve finks with Damascus two years ago. They fear the weapon could neutralise Syria's Soviet-made Sam missiles, which they regard as their main defence against Israel.

Government officials say that such is the fear of Israeli aggression that Mr Hafez al-Assad, the Syrian presi- dent, told Mr Yevgeni Primakov, the Soviet special envoy, during the Damascus lug of his recent M iddl e East shuttle that Syria could not countenance the destruction of Iraqi military power since it was a neces- sary d et e rrent to Israeli might The central command of the National Progressive Front, Syria's highest governing body riiaired by Mr Assad; meets this week and is expec- ted to issue an important policy state- ment.

Such meetings have never before been armoonoed in advance. At yesterday's meeting, he left la wmaker s Jn no doubt he mfpmdg to retain nrarl m inw flexibility as commander-in- chief of US forces. Senator Claiborne Pell, Dem- ocrat chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, expressed concern that a peremptory move toward offen- sive military action — without : any dear Iraqi provocation - would risk losing the support of the American public. Congressman Dante Fascell, chairman of the house foreign affairs committee, indicated tile main differenc e firmed on when Mr Bush would have to go to a frill session of Congress in support of military farce.

If your forces axe attacked by the e n e m y, then you have the right to respond. There is, however, no guarantee that the projects will go ahead. THOUSANDS of Israeli engineers, technicians and aca- demics went on indefinite strike yesterday in a dispute with the government over wage agreements, shutting down most radio and television broadcasts and disrupting some other services.

Although the proposed gov- ernment exemption from the agreement only directly affects about L workers, the strike call covered about , Offi- cials said little more than half had stayed away from work. Various South African firms are already benefiting from Israeli technology, notably in tee aims industry.

Opposition to the hill, which many fear violates Japan's pac- ifist constitution, has grown steadily both in the Diet par- liament and in the country since it was introduced more than two weeks ago. Yesterday, Mr Shin Kane- xnara, leader of the largest fac- tion in the ruling Liberal Dem- ocratic Party LDP and widely acknowledged to be erne of the most influential behind-the- scenes figures in the govern- ment, declared his opposition.

Mr Kanemam said the gov- ernment should not send mem- bers of tiie Self Defence Forces overseas, because that troubled ma ny people in Japan and in neighbouring Asian countries. Mr JEanetnant -doubted tire trfll could be passed in the current session of the Diet which ends on November 10, and urged the government to study what Japan and the rul- ing pa rty could do for the Gulf effort under existing laws. What remains unclear is how soon a more acceptable bill could be brought to the Diet.

But in Malaysia many behave that a FnHflwm headcloth - with what was mistakingly portrayed as a Chris - tian cross on it — donn ed by opposi- tion leader Tengku Prince Razaleig fa mwih in the last few days of the campaign played a decisive role in the ip AAgUdH victory of his arch-rival. Koala Lumpur, until these last elections there has been an unwritten acceptance that Malays will be the dominant political force while the ethnic Chinese, comprising about S3 per cent and the Indians about 10 per cent have been forced to accept positive economic discrimination in favour of the Malay majority.

That Umno felt the need to hint at the spectre of ethnic unrest in the last few days of the election campaign seems to attest to the real threat it felt from the opposition. In the event Umno and its National Front allies won a crushing victory capturing of the parliamentary seats. The election itself is likely to be given a lightly qualified seal of approval by the team of Common- wealth observers sent to watch it.

This despite allegations of abuse by members of the locally-based Election Watch group and other human rights activists who allege irregularities. But even if there were abuses Mal- aysia still stands out in the region, iff not as a model of post-colonial democ- racy, then with a substantially better record than many of its neighbours. But most observers think this unlikely. Ill the past Dr Mahathir haw sought to dose any channel through which his authority might be challenged. The casualties have indnded judicial independence, media and Individual freedom and parliamentary rights.

Many of those who sided with, or worked far the opposition coalition, fear they too win now pay the price. Such pressure might hasten what observers think would happen any- way: the disintegration of tiie opposi- tion coalition now the elections are over. But Dr Mahathir still faces chal- lenges. The fundamentals of the economy are indeed impressive.

Spurred by an influx of foreign investment the ecofr amy is expected to grow by around 10 per cent in real terms this year and by more than 8 per cent next, accord- ing to Mr Tang Kooi Ong, of Morgan Grenfell Asia Securities. But there are ripw that inflation- ary pressures are building and, because the economy is so export-ori- entated, the country Is vulnerable to revenues. T hrough industria l refo rms and a diversification away from agriculture, he wants to builda society within the next decade that would be equal to South Korea's standing today in the world.

He wants to inculcate new social habits, the east Aslan culture of thrift, hard work, team spirit, and acquiescence to authority. Malaysia's election did not produce what many of the country's but growing professional middle class had privately hoped for, the emergence of a solid multi-ethnic two-party political system. What they did do was rattle the structure of ethnic-based politics which for two decades has been a way of Ufa in the country.

But as the KadasMTi headgear affair demon- strated, ethnic politics, when ; exploited with force, can suZl deter- mine an election outcome. Opposi- tion parties held 55 seats after the third and final round of voting. AP reports from Islamabad. The US said it had found no reason to question the results. Tokyo fails to please Man dela Mr Nelson Mandela, the South African black leader, yesterday apartheid "absolutely insignificant" compared with other coun- tries, AP reports from Tokyo.

The country recently signed trade and dtnlo- matic agreements with Hungary and Romania, and South African trade officials visited the Soviet Union earfi»r this year. We will continue to build the best auto- mobiles in the world, and constantly improve their safety and environmental compatibility.

Utilizing shared knowledge and experience from all the Daimler-Benz corporate units, we will create new concepts in aviation, aerospace and the communications sciences and turn dreams into growth opportunities. Not only have the targets been relaxed and put back again but their basis has been changed to remove some of the big fluctuating vari- ables. Indeed, the targets are now so flexible, particularly in response to economic changes, that they have lost whatever precision they had in the past.

While the targets might now be more achievable, this may only he because they have become more adjustable. AH undermines the spirit as well as the letter of the original Gramm-Rndman law. For instance, the costs of the savings and loan rescue and bank deposit insurance and the surplus on the social security fund, to finance retirement pensions, have been excluded. Consequently, if the old defini- tions had been continued the deficit would have been projected to disap- pear by fiscal , while on the new basis there will not be a balanced budget until fiscal Most of the remaining rise reflects a deteriora- tion in the economic outlook this year or, rather, a more realistic offi- cial view of short-term prospects.

Critics hive argued that the defi- cit projections are still on the opti- mistic side. Similarly, the interest rate on three-month Treasury bills is proj- ected to decline from an average 7. Moreover, the revised targets include a number of loopholes, apart from the exclusion of the Desert shield operation and I tems such as Egyptian debt forgiveness.

Mr Stan OoQender, director of fed- eral budget policy at accountants Price Waterhouse, has noted that the budget director will be allowed to adjust the cwniwn- n namim deficit mflahniirnw and spending reve- nue limits to account for changes in the economy. The new law also gives the IRS powers to seek information from branches of subsidiaries of forelgn-owned groups.

Revenue would be generated from collection of taxes previ- ously lost because of the expiry of the Statute of Limitations and fbom the imposition of penalties for non-payment of taxes. While foreign investors and governments have been wor- ried about the possible exten- sion of extra-territorial author ity, there is relief that the provisions are not as onerous as originally feared.

However, forther congressional inquiries are under way and new propos- als aimed at foreign investors are possible next year. If these ceflings are exceeded. Moreover, all new govern- ment benefit programmes enacted by legtetetton may be offset by »»p""4fag cuts. The same point applies to proposed tax cuts. But this will not apply to Increases in social security spending caused by changes in the economy.

In addition, tighter controls are being applied to various federally guaranteed bodies to ensure a clearer definition and c on gress iona l authorisation of the subsidy component of direct and guaranteed loam. Further, the Treasury and the Congressional Budget Office have been directed fa prepare studies, on the finan- cial wwmrfrwxm of such guaran- teed enterprises, which axe involved in home mortgage, student and agricultural loans.

Despite raised eyebrows, architects of the reform, such as Democrat Senator Bill Bradley, believe the structure they so laboriously created is 8 till largely Intact. The aim of the changes was to broaden the definition of income in order to lower tax rates as far as possible. This involved eliminating various tax breaks and loop- holes to equalise the burden on households with similar Incomes and to produce the least possible discrimination between incentives to work, save and invest Like any product of the US political system, the changes were imperfect leav- ing a number of loopholes and large scope for deductions for mortgage-financed housing and employee fringe benefits.

Nevertheless, the maximum marginal Income tax rate was cut from SO to S3 per cent and capital gains were treated as income. The latest package amends but does not basically under- mine that reform. The limit on itemised deductions and the phasing- out of the personal exemption will add to marginal rates, depending on family size. The mar ginal tax rate rises by 0. Nevertheless, the US per- sonal tax system remains pro- gressive as a whole and no taxpayer will pay more than 31 per cent of their income In federal Income tax.

Moreover, nniika the original summit package, low income workers will be substantially assisted by the final law which increases the earned income tax credit for low-wage work- ers, especially with families, to help pay for child care and for health i ns urance. The decision to hold capital gains tax to a maximum of 28 per cent opens up a gap with the top maiyinai Income tax rate or between 8 and 5 per cent, depending on the impact of other tax changes.

While this is regarded as a virtue by supporters of the reforms, tt is seen as a drawback by the Bush admin- istration and others who favour a large cut in capital gains tax to, say, 15 per cent. They believe that such a dif- ferential will be a spur to investment activity and enter- prise. This battle will be rejoined next year. Several other tax breaks are either continued or Intro- duced.

Increase in top marginal rate from 28 to 81 per cent. An increase of five cents to 14 cents a gal- lon In federal petrol tax. A rise of eight cents to 24 cants a pack in cigarette tax by Doubling of tax to 82 cents on a six-pack of beer and a rise of 18 cents to 21 cents on a bottle of table wine, with an exemption for w nnil producers.

Taxes do not apply to aircraft, cars and boats used exclu- sively for business or trade, or to leather and artificial fur. Extend programme to all state and. Increase cap on employee wages subject to 1. Over pages, each report Mexico, Brad. Over pages, each Argentina are the most oomprehen- gence and poBtkal risk assessment 5 ive and up-fenlate surreys on the for bashessmen and bankers.

Industry, markets, trade and investment. Lads American Monitor saves the information needs, of Saaks. Further restrictions are imposed an the. Under current law. These indade res e arc h and experi- mentation tax credits and raUafe for employer pr ovMed legal services -and. The proposals now include aid to estates Including small business as sets a nd to amafier companies bnyMgir new equip- ment fra protective purposes or to help disabled people. The welcome extended to Mr Sobchak contrasted with the arms-length treatment given to Mr Yeltsin and to leaden of the secessionist Baltic repub- lics on their visits to Washing- ton over the past 12 months.

But the rapid decline of Communist hegemony over the Soviet Union - coupled with US fears of a future break-up - has forced the Bush admin- istration to re-evaluate its year-dd policy of dealing only with Moscow. The administration has no desi r e to undermine Mr Gorba- chev, who remains a vital interlocutor on arms control, regional conflicts and the Gulf. Instead, the new policy series to encourage the emerging plurahsatlon inside the Soviet Union illustrated by the rise of politicians such as Mr Sob- chak.

He said the harvest was good, and such as Leningrad had manggpri to barter Industrial goods for food.. He also dis- missed speculation of a mili- tary coup to oust Mr Gorba- chev. Even the national liberation army ELN , a hard-line move- ment spedaMng in dynamit- ing oil infrastructure and kid- napping, has joined the bandwagon and signed a con- ciliatory communique put out by the guerrillas' national co-o rdinating body.

The communique, which calls for immediate peace talks and guerrilla representation in the assembly, is also signed fay Colombia's biggest and oldest rebel organisation, the tmre- generate Marxist group Fare. Until now, the Government had Insisted an demobilisation as a condition fra participation, as well as the release of all kidnapped victims.

Two seats in the assembly have been set aside for guerrillas already negotiating peace trams, such as the DPL, with the under- standing that there could be mare. If the Faro and the ELN were to surrender their arms, it would be an extraordinary vic- tory for President Cesar Gavi- ria, but past failures advise scepticism.

Both groups have been extremely combative recently anfl nritW Tma tho popular appeal which gave M guerrillas third place in the presidential election last May, within weeks of demobi- Hwfaig With the liberal and Conser- vative parties In squabbling disarray, M and other politi- cal forces are expected to win a good share of the assembly. Extradition - which had been left out of the agreed list of themes - will now certainly be raised, and almost certainly buried for good.

The extradi- tion of has become fam w rfngiy unpopular in Col- ombia, partly because the traf- fickers have succeeded in link- ing it with retaliatory bombs and partly because of the toss of sovereignty implied. The kidnap of Francisco San- tos, news editor of the Bogota daily.

A range of political figures and newspaper columnists now Gaviria: welcoming all argue for political treatment for traffickers - the Liberal Party congressional block came dose to agreeing on thta hu e, and M has always W n in favour of a drug dialogue. Some of thft targets will be congressional pnvfieges, such as free trips abroad.

Mrs Margaret Thatcher, the prime minister. Vfts r yestaday d» would maintain her staid against tbe surren- der of ftatber powera by the Westminster Parliament and tin adoption at a single Euro- pean currency. Britain, she said, would not be alone in opposing a single currency when the tall imphea- ttons - Incfanttng the transfer of money and the massive movement of people in search of jobs in new locations - were realised by other EC members.

She Insisted that the "hard Ecu" would not require a Euro- pean central bank, and added, "in my view it would not become widely used through- out the EC. Mrs Thatcher stressed teat she was opposed to strengthai- ing the European rymrmtwrinm or transferring new powers to tee European Parliament. Acknowledging that some powers had already been sur- rendered by Parliament, she declared: Tn my view we have surrendered enough. Mr- CtanFfflten, the eavf-' moment secretary, will also tell the House of Commons the amount the government will give each aswefias.

Portillo, the local gnu nmn»mfcvafai«tpr revealed yesterday in -a written state- ment teat just over one in three businesses win fece an inflation-adltisted,. He wryhiffitopd that 20 per cent oflHulZMSses next year, particularly in the north, wottidetHl gain from the reval- uation and introduction of tee uniform business rate UBR , while a further 45 per cent would fees no further real ferma increases. However, he also mada ft clear that the business rate bills for 35 per esnt of busi- nesses would rise by up to 20 pw cent above tbs rate, of infla- tion.

A further , or so small businesses where the owner Eves on the premises win see their real terms increase lim- ited to Id per cent Tbe current UBR level Is S4B pence in the pound. Prepare for now. MB TOM King, the defence secretary, yesterday gave a clear indication teat tee Trea- sury la prepared to fund Britain's military involvement In the Gulf from a budget an top of teat fear normal defence spending.

Although defence mini stern did not know what additional costs might be inc ur red, they imrf matte ft dear teat e ff orts would be made to cover than from tee wnn " fl i defence bud- get. Mr King told Mr Alan Rog- ers, a Labour defence spokes- man, teat he expected to have to bring a supplementary bud- get to the Commons for approval to cover the addi- tional costs of the operation. Mr King also repeated Ids insistence that the threat at military action against Iraq 1 md to be maintained because such pressure remained the best hope of a peaceful solu- tion.

He stressed that Britain still wanted a peaceful end to the crisis, but the message had to be sent to Saddam Hussein that, whatever happened, he would lose. Mr Tony Benn, a former Labour minister, said that if Britain and the OS rejected growing international demands for a peaceful settle- wont and launched a preemp- tive strike Iraqi forces, teen they would be responsi- ble for the loss of life that would result.

It was estimated that about XK people would be killed, be said. Mr King said the key ele- ments of the NATO alliance should remain an Inte grated military structure, a mixture of conventional and unclear forces, the i nclusion of a uni- fied Germany and the the maintenance of nuclear weap- ons in Europe. The development of a Euro- pean defence strategy is due to be discussed at the inter-gov- eramental conference to be held In December.

About half of all pupils give up foreign language study at Schools will be required to offer students the chance to study at least one European lan gua g e with a choice of other langu ag es Including Japanese, Arabic and Chinese. The proposals are intended to be p Hawari in over the next five years. At level one, they will be expected to understand wpnirww language of various and respond appropriately.

At level two, pupils will be required to express themselves verbally, while at level three they will be expected to be able to read, understand respond appropriately to writ- ten language. At level four, achieved at 16 , pupils ahnnld be able to formulate, record anti convey meaning to written language.

Tbe working group said it hart not endorsed fo reign ian- goage instruction in pri mar y schools, not because c hil dren: at this age cannot learn suc- cessfully, but because it did not believe sufficient teac he rs are available to do the job. However, it hoped that tbe introduction of the national curriculum would result in a larger pool of qualified lan- guage teachers. Liverpool determined to clean up its image Ian Hamilton Fazey on the public response to an inquiry into alleged city corruption L iverpool, the city which last week hit the headlines aww allega- tions of local government cor- ruption, Is keen to ejpffT l up its image, yywiHng to t hff in north west England.

Officers on Merseyside, who arrested 22 people last Friday over contracts and land sales involving Liverpool City Coun- cil, have been surprised by the public response to their inves- tigation. A number of cu r rent and for- mer city councillors ware also detained but all have been g iw m pnliee hall. The calls have got to be sorted and statements taken fay the SO fraud squad detectives now w orking foil-time on the inquiry. Business leaders are trying to put the best face on things.

The budget crisis, which recurs every year, is because the city Is saddled with inter- est payments from , when left-wing councillors bor- rowed from Japanese and Swiss banks to bridge deficits and fund council house build- ing. Tm not interested At British Midland, we've always tried to provide what our customers actually need, rather than what we think they might like. Our schedules, and our in-flight service standards, have been developed on this basis.

Benefits such as priority check-in at Heathrow. Double baggage allowance. Free parking at Heathrow when you book our car valet service. Instant upgrades on Avis rental cars. Even a gift and flower delivery service. All this for just 4 British Midland boarding passes. In short. Diamond Club and the Club lounges are geared exclusively to the requirements of the frequent business traveller. Which makes them, and British Midland, worth thinking about.

Mr Michael Howard, employment sec- retary, said the draft directives on part-tune and temporary work, working time, and maternity leave would together add Immensely to employment costs and lead to a rise in unemploy- ment. The statement marks an escalation in British opposition.

Mr Howard, however, emphasised that Britain would accept many of the social action pr ogramme directives fol- lowing negotiation. These directives indnded measures an health and safety and equal opportu- nities for workers. He signalled that the government was preparing to challrage in the European Court proposals put forward under articles of the Treaty of Rome. These require only majority voting, and so will not need British support. A number of these direc tive s have been put forward by the C ommis sion under what are clearly ina p propriate articles," he mM.

Among responses from employers, he said, a trade association of about companies employing , people had said the directives would make it uneconomic to employ part-time work- ers, and lead to 40 per cent drop in the number of jobs. He said the draft dir ec tive on work- ing time which seeks to limit some night shifts and iwjntin mlntimnw lev- els of paid leave amid mean chang in g 10 per cent of working patterns in Britain.

The inevitable result would be a loss of jobs. The two have established a joint venture company to market their services worldwide. A few protects had been postponed, a very few :- cancelled and easties in the air sc a ttered by the eco nomi c tana. Brussels urged to set meat rules IfrMmCtanur. Mumfectnrea also wand; to know when the standards wffltelte effect. HfeV' ' When you enter the terminal next year you will be struck by the simplicity of the Norman Foster design.

Everything you need is on one level. Departures are on the left, arrivals on the right. You will simply move in a straight line from the front of the building through check-in, security and passport control to the departure lounge at the back. Stansted is ideally located just a short drive off the Mil and the M By train, it will take just 40 minutes on the direct rail link from Liverpool Street.

Nothing could be easier: But then making life easier for the passenger is what BAA is all about, and that takes careful planning. This expertise was behind the opening of the North Terminal at Gatwick, the new Terminal 4 at Heathrow and the rebuilding of Terminal 3 to give far greater comfort than before. We are also planning the Heathrow Express rail link which will take just 16 minutes from Paddington.

But the power extends only to the imposition of liability for sums calculated at rates appli- cable to the year of assessment co nce rned, and regulat ions a re invalid insofar as they provide that sums «i«ii be ca l c ul a ted at rates applicable to a prevL ous year of assessme nt or not to a angle year of assessment, but to quarterly periods fall- ing In different years.

Lord Lowry dissenting. From until the end of tax years , the arrange- ments were regulated by sec- tion of the Income and Cor- poration Taxes Act In the absence of further pro- vision the effect of the chan- geover was that payments piaffe between the end of the accounting year and April s would never be brought into account, for they related to liability which had already been discharged. Thus, Regulation 3 charged to tax In Income paid between February 28 and April 6 - ie during year of assess- ment Regulation U charged to tax dividends and interest paid dining between the end of the accounting year and February 28 Woolwich applied to judicial review seeking a declar ation that the Regulations were unla wful.

As the legislation stood when the Regulations were pwite, it would have suc- ceeded. Income tax was a n annual tax assessed in respect of a particular year of assess- ment. No precedent existed for charging tax for a particular year on the income of a period of more than a year.

The Court of Appeal reversed his decision on the ground that the words introduced by section 47 cov- ered interest paid between Sep- tember 30 and April 5 That conclusion was right. Bead in its ordinary natural iw waning section 1A as «m»wnrt«l authorised the Reve- nue to make Regulations requiring payment of an amount representing tax on sums paid before an identified year of assessment, not prevv oualy brought into account.

However, the Revenue rightly conceded that regula- tion 11 4 was ultra tares. The Woolwich argued it had the effect of invalidating regula- tion 11 In toto. It was apparent from the introduction of paragraph 4 that the one thing the drafts- man did not intend was that sums artificially deemed to be paid in specified payment quar- a vM5SStf SSn without paraBnpfcW rr A. That was not a defect which could be cured by deletion The whole regulation would bare to be rewritten.

The appeal was avowed with regard to the torehditytrf regulation Lord Keith and Lord Bright- ipan agreed. Lord Goff gave a concurring judgment. Lord Lowry allowed the appeal on the ground that section 1 A , originally or as amended, did not authorise the collection of additional tax referable to the period from October 1 to April 5 ISM.

So why not contact your travel agent or local Gulf Air office and discover for yourself the delights of flying. Gulf Air style. A -recent telephone sur- vey canned flint by Architects' journal discovered that some 78 practices expected to have laid off ilmost two hundred staff before the end ofthe year.

If these numbers are proj- ected to cover aU practices the worst scenario suggests redun- dancy fig-anarty 10, archi- tects. This is" almost half the profession. Forecasts show that the office market is likely to foil an additional 20 pa cent in the next twelve months and a 15 per coot drop is anticipated in the r etail market and a 10 per cent drop in the industrial sec- tor. Demand fin- new houses is expected to drop by same 25 per cent in the same period.

Geographically the recession appears to be spreading from the South East to the Midlands and the North alfhnwfl h Scot- land continues to be healthy with an increase in workloads of 22 par cent in the mmhiI quarter. This is probably due to a more mixed approach to busi- ness in Scotland where part- nerships between the public and private sector seem to be more aimmcn and successful than in other regions.

The decline in speculative property development is dearly serious. The high cost of building labour costs annual growth some 9. The recent lowering of interest rates is expected to be of mod- est help to developers but is imirkgiy to lift tiw clouds of gloom descending over archi- tects' offices. New markets for skilled architects are opening up. The architectural market has become global and the poten- tial for designers in the recov- ery and redevelopment of east- ern E uro pe is wnrarni x i y.

The best British arcbftectnal firms have a good competitive edge in Europe. Design Skills and originality have exported weH to Europe and Japan. As his "Meaiathfeque" - new kind of nwdia ranlro — naan completion in Nftnes he has been invited to make a new master plan for file whole city. Mr fen Rtt- chie, has just completed a beautiful man pharmac y near Amiens. Even the French gov- ernment approves of British architects. Mr Bock Townsend and Mr Robert Macdonald were singled out in a recent French hnnaing ministry competition to design an area of Paris pub- lic bousing.

Spain offers enormous opportu- nities — 80 large retail schemes are In the ptpoHna. Biwtprn Europe has Its prob- lems for British firms — lan- guage, bureaucracy and fund- ing to name but three — but many architectural practices are approaching the challenge In highly ent er p rising ways, realising t he lon g term poten- tial of the large market. In the eastern sector of Ber- lin a prominent British firm, Thorpe Trent is working on a , sqm business park.

The Seifert Group is working on two hotels. The En gliah Court and the Rosslya in Moscow and on two large com- mercial developments in Buda- pest and the eastern sector df unified Berlin. The hotel proj- ect in Moscow is in an htatnrfo building overlooking Red Square mid win provide visit- ing hiMrinawnngn with 9 dub- like atmosphere and residen- tial accommodation.

It is in the area of the rescue and repair of historic buildings in eastern Europe that the British can offer a real lead. But even the most optimistic participants concede that bunding tot eastern Europe is goi ng to be a h ugten n game. Eastern Europe has enormous needs but is H tr m u ffd fo r cash. According to Bulgarian architect Mr Georg! I recom- mended as Austrian colleague for a project in the USSR but ft didn't go ahead because they weren't able to pay in dollars.

British architects axe not unaware of the problem. Many are developing ingenious ways around ft. Again, the hotelier involved in the development is French. The third schane is in many ways the most intriguing; a masterplan tor a UK Centre tor Management Excellence, to be sited in Obuda. A trust Is establishing the centre, which will enable Brit- tch businessmen to explore the potential of eastern Europe. Mean- while some British arc hitects are putting a workable infra- structure in place by another route — by forming alliances of thrir own with eastern Euro- pean architectural practices.

Compari- son be t ween the two firms is revealing. In bis own practice they are 10 times higher. The mismatch is not just in salaries. According to Mr Aih-iaw Tpamgn [ manag- ing director of consulting gro up Building Use Studies, thaw countries emir alongside Yugoslavia as the eastern Europe states with the most potential tor UK architects. At the other end of the spectrum are Bulgaria, Poland and Albania.

Mr Lea man has been con- ducting a United Nations proj- ect on enaryv-efficient build- ing. Such is the scale of the social, economic and political prob- lems that there is not nmrih roam for design.

While western architects and developers eagerly eye up hotel and leisure opportunities, Mr T Taiwan riaima that most locals are more concerned with chrap, basic schemes such as re-insulating inadequate s panel-cladding apartment blocks. An im portant RriHah architectural practice, RMJM, is demonstrat- ing the end of the cold war by designing a large golf and country dub on the river in Moscow.

Another BrWnh firm Jestico Architects has taken the imagi- native step of exchanging staff with a Hungarian practice to learn the ropes in their respec- tive countries. But it is not just Ihe prospect of eastern Europe that should gladden the hearts of work- starved architects in the UK.

Mr Nigel Coates, an amusing and racfical designer, has found an outlet for his dwrig n ftmladiw in night clubs ««i res taura nts in Tokyo. Research and development of architectural ideas concerned with energy saving and pro- duction are well advanced. In view of the the growth the London Docklands Enterprise Zone and the architectural quality of the unplanned devel- opment there as an example at the recent explosion in prop- erty development, the slow- down could be seen as not entirely a bad thing.

The Dock- lands grew rapidly in a plan- ning vacuum and we have been left with a grim muddle dominated by the vast and over-ambitions Canary Wharf. The building surge in Britain led to an unnaturally high level of development - a stow down may wau produce better quality environmental results in the long term. Many young architects would agree that both the number of competitions and volume of entries they attract have increased in recent years.

This year's Dulwich Picture Gallery competition to design a new pavilion alongside Sir John Soane's masterpiece attracted a record number of entries. But it is not Just the amount of competitions and entrants that are increasing. This is because of, rather than in suite of. The trend is for the larger architectural practices to trim running costs by laying off architects, who set up an their own. They recognise the fact that work in the c ur re nt economic climate is difficult to secure and regard entering competi- tions as one of the ways to solve this problem and raise their profile.

This they have done with limited results. Because of the costs and time involved, they are limit- ing their competition involve- ment to one at a time. But a recent move by Harper Mackay into competitions has not been for the potential glory, maintains Mr Mackay. The project did not result in a building commis- sion and the cost to the young team was five times more than the fee, but Mr Mackay frit it was a worthwhile experience.

There are also benefits for the practice portfolio. Harper Mackay recently competed alongside architect Doug Clel- land against three focal Ger- man architects for a develop- ment in Stuttgart described by Mr Mackay as about half the size of Broadgate. The award which seeks to encourage the improvement of industrial architecture commercial architecture. The award which seeks to encourage the improvement of industrial architecture includes a wide range of places where people work.

Entries are not restricted to architects but are open to all professional categories within the buildirg 'mdistry. Owners and contractors are also invited to nominate such designs for consideration. Conditions: Nominated buildings must have been erected in the UK and completed within the two years ending August 31, Closing Date for Entries: 16th November Mostly you have no chance of winning and yon don't get any money for entering.

Hard- ened architects will tell you that it is silly attitude to think you are going to win, but it is a way of keeping your cre ative hand in and practising your skills. There is dearly no lack of public support for such guid- ance, and there are encourag- ing noises on the subject com- ing from professional bodies. The Royal Fine Arts Commission RFAC , which includes a num- ber of leading architects, recently dealt with it in a report The need for improved guid- ance Is central to the wide- spread debate about the buffet- ing of new villages.

And the Department of the Environ- ment under the present secre- tary of state has been keeping more of an open mind on the matter than in the past On the whole it seems a pro- pitious ttme to ask what we hope to achieve with improved guidelines, and bow we might obtain tiwrn The history of town planning In this country has been punc- tuated by arguments about controls, arguments which on the whole professional archi- tects have tended to win.

The tighter the con- trols, the assumption goes, the blander the architecture. Much ingenuity has been expended by architects over the years in uniting their cause with prevailing political atti- tudes. Architects are now more likely to argue that private enterprise demands as little control as possible, despite that fact that Urban Development Corporations now seem to favour them. Few would deny that there Is a great deal to be gained by both private enter- The control off aesthetics remains the great unmentionable prise and public bodies from a more extensive and clearer sys- tem of dwdg n guidance.

The chief reward, would be a reduction of the uncertainty which attends development at present, and which leads to considerable resources being spent by developers in divining the wishes of planning authori- ties. In addition the public would feel that it was at last participating in setting positive goals for development, and not merely grumbling about the horrors that slip through the net Planners at local level could enjoy a wider public mandate for their detailed decisions.

Officials in the DoE could con- sequently rest easier in the knowledge that clear decisions were being made at local level, easing the flood of appeals. The local planning machinery is capable of being tuned to a higher degree of sensitivity - as Mr Tony HaH argues in the current issue of the. So it seems at least that design guidance can now he discussed freely. There will, however, always be taboos, and the control of aethetics remains the great unmention- able. Ah yes, of course, we set up local panels of profes- sional architects to advise the - planners.

There are useful measures to be taken which are not at all dependent upon the acceptance of aesthetic control. But it would be a mistake entirely to remove discussion of aesthetic issues from the public arena, : and thereby continue toperpet- uate the myth that only prates- wirawln wm hum anything use- ful to say about them. A pattern-hook is a prescrip- tive document, taking its authority from the pattern of building which predominates - in a particular area.

Histori- cally, the best of them have also been a reflection of wider patterns within the building industry itself. In London's Sp italfiel ris. The abO-- ityof the Ju ggern aut of devel- opment to respond to' context, , however, has not; yet shown compa -ibla advances. Leisure analyst Mr Rory Mal- colm of County NatWest says this is because leisure has shown a steady growth patient for the past 10 years.

Mean- while, older parents are also demanding better quality child- oriented holidays. The figures support the notion of a leisure surge. According to the English Tour- ist Board report. Investment In. Meanwhile a survey pro- duced by economic Ruetasting group Staniland hall Associ- ates has predicted that the increase in consumer spending cm leisure will be 8.

Downturn or not, leisure continues to pull the punters and also attract both British architects and US practices, which regard a London office as a springboard into Europe. Some US firms who have moved into Britain have con- siderable leisure experience.

In Britain leisure schemes are also growing larger and more sophisticated. The UK already has 15 theme parks, according to a Mmtel report, and last year 9. There axe maze to come. Won- derwork! Ten equally weighted factors are included — three favourable and seven unfavourable and the Index is calculated on a simple average of 10 factors. The revised Code advises members not to ask customers to approach health professionals for evidence in the first instance, but rather to engage with the customer to better understand their position, consider what evidence of their health problem is appropriate, and to seek other forms of supporting evidence such as a prescription or appointment letter if necessary.

Only as a last resort, or if the evidence is directly required by the original creditor, should the Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form be requested — and even then, the cost should not be borne by the individual in debt. Users of these payment systems will not have to do anything differently; all payments are being processed as usual. The transfer of the operational responsibility and control for the Bacs and Faster Payments products and managed services occurs simultaneously with Bacs and Faster Payments schemes becoming subsidiary companies of the NPSO.

Bringing the retail payment systems together is a key step in establishing a single voice for retail payments in the NPSO and it is hoped it will enable a vibrant economy, reduce complexity and risk and provide a platform for future competition and innovation. She brings a wealth of experience, is passionate about the Institute and is looking forward to using both her credit management and relationship skills to the benefit of the CICM.

MatchPlace IF is said to enable private and institutional investors, as well as banks, to fund invoices, thus releasing capital for SMEs. Businesses can submit their invoices through the MatchPlace IF platform for verification and receive up to 85 percent of their face value from registered investors. In , Encore made an initial investment in Cabot representing an approximate 43 percent ownership interest.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Christer has experience from the banking industry with several positions within business development, advisory and front office management at SEB.

He will report directly to the Board on all compliance aspects of High Court Enforcement. A former Board Director of the High Court Officers Association, Alan played a key role in the design, implementation and delivery of an educational pathway for Authorisation, by creating a degree level course in High Court Enforcement. Despite improving consumer confidence in the first quarter of , the quarterly survey of more than 3, UK adults revealed the extent to which leisure spending is under pressure.

Consumers reported reducing their leisure spending in seven out of 11 categories compared to the same period in Of those who spent less on going out in Q1 , almost half 45 per cent said they did so because they could not afford it, suggesting that consumers were consciously downshifting their discretionary spending. The report identifies and details the fraud trends from over , cases of fraudulent conduct recorded in The data, from organisations, including many major UK brands, is one of the most comprehensive pictures of fraud and fraudulent attempts in the UK.

Although there has been an overall drop of six percent in cases recorded by Cifas members, the new figures show concerning increases in a number of areas. The number of identity frauds increased once again in , with almost , cases recorded. The difference this year, over previous years, is that the increase is not down to increases in fraudulent applications for plastic cards and bank accounts, which are the products most frequently targeted by identity fraudster, but due to targeting of other sectors such as telecoms, online retail and insurance.

Also increasing last year was the number of money mules — individuals who allow their bank account to be used to facilitate the movement of illegal funds — a form of money laundering. In , Cifas members identified almost 11 percent more bank accounts that bear the hallmarks of money mule activity than they did in — over 32, cases.

Criminals are continuing to target younger people — there was a 27 percent growth in the number of people aged that have been identified as carrying out this type of fraud. The findings also reveal that more than a third of victims of bank account takeovers were over 60, so age is a key consideration for facility hijackers when selecting who they target. For all of the frozen funds, Lloyds Banking Group is contacting the sending banks in order to help them get the money back to the victims.

Just one in five 21 percent business owners who responded to the survey by Aldermore think there is enough support from the Government, with four in ten 43 percent calling for better enterprise education and training. When entrepreneurs do try to make use of government support services, the results appear to be equally disappointing; less than a quarter 24 percent found it easy to find information about government schemes and only just over a fifth 22 percent found it easy to find out who to contact for help; less than one-fifth 19 percent found it easy to access schemes that were relevant to their business.

The research also highlights concerns around existing initiatives that are in place to help small businesses and entrepreneurs. Four-in-ten 40 percent small businesses said they were aware of government funded start-up loans, but only six percent said they had used them.

Some 36 percent said they knew about grants for taking on apprentices, but only four percent said they had used them. And just over a quarter 27 percent of those surveyed said they were aware of capital allowances for installing energy saving equipment, but only five percent had made use of the scheme. When asked what kind of support they would like the vast majority of entrepreneurs responded with suggestions that revolve around finance.

More than half 53 percent said a cash bonus to help start a business would be useful, four in ten 42 percent said better tax incentives would help and 39 percent said they would like improved rates on business loans. There was also support for the creation of an Entrepreneur ISA, targeted specifically at those looking to start their own business and the idea of a Small Business Savings Allowance that benefits the self-employed.

This suggests over , self-employed business owners across the UK are experiencing financial difficulty. The LSB says these appointments signal that it intends to help restore trust in the sector, with a clear focus on vulnerable consumers and small businesses. Martin was Head of Partnerships at the Financial Conduct Authority FCA where he created its consumer vulnerability and financial inclusion programmes, as well as its model for engaging with consumer and civil society organisations.

The LSB has also appointed two new independent non-executive directors to the Board. Our DUAL Report aims to take away this stress and expense and will save you time by only needing to look at one report. You will also have the benefit of having our Customer Services Team on hand to discuss queries on both sets of data in one phone call. Charlotte has been with American Express for 17 years and has extensive experience across product, marketing and acquisition.

During her time with the company she has held various senior leadership roles in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, including Head of Product, Pricing and Portfolio Management for Europe, with responsibility for consumer and business to business product across the region. The Board, which is led by UK Finance Chair Bob Wigley, has been developed to ensure senior and fair representation across the industry. It focuses on issues of importance to retail, SME and wholesale customers including ethics, financial inclusion, financial fraud, crime, access to markets and diversity.

The consumer voice is also represented on the board via the inclusion of an independent consumer champion. The Association now regulates more than licensed appointment-takers, including those of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants ACCA under the terms of a collaboration agreement entered into in , and has seen its regulated IP population increase by 50 percent over the period. David, a regular contributor to Credit Management , has overseen the development of the IPA into one of the two main insolvency regulators in England and Wales and leaves the organisation in a strong position as the professional body recognised as the specialist in this sector.

Key articles, research papers from industry experts, webinars, and best-practice guidance can be found in an easy to search format. Stay up-to-date with new and topical resources added each month. Members can also access tailored e-learning courses on a wide range of subjects, and certificates make learning visible as you track your progress. Did any of the Lords or their researchers speak to the CICM, which manages the Code for government, and ask for facts or data?

Would the CICM have been willing to answer their questions or queries? Yes, of course. Would the debate have been improved if it had been better informed? Our figures show that one in two of the people we helped with rent-to-own debts borrowed again in order to meet their repayments. Victims of loan fee fraud are often targeted while searching for loans online and are then contacted by fraudsters offering a loan.

The scammer tells the victim they have to pay an upfront fee for the loan which they ultimately never receive. In there were more than 4, reports of loan fee scams made to Action Fraud. It has now overtaken investment fraud as the most common scam reported to the FCA.

The partnership will complement the equity and venture capital activities of the Business Catalyst Club by providing access to a broad range of funding options such as commercial property finance, business loans and venture capital along with alternative finance opportunities like asset-based lending and peer-to-peer lending. Research shows that over a third of people 36 percent usually just accept what financial firms tell them.

Other warning signs include: being asked to pay in an unusual way e. The chatbot enables customers to receive answers to their questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The developers claim it can answer more than different questions posed by customers as well as signposting debt advice, mental health support, self-service payment options and human customer support.

In the first three months of use in Norway, the chatbot conducted 15, live chats and the company claimed it was able to answer 90 percent of the 47, questions received. In future, the chatbot will be able to answer customer-specific questions on accounts, such as current balance and next payment date as well as integrating seamlessly with human chat.

The technology offers customers the ability to manage their accounts and seek help at any time. As well as extending service, Inturm says the development means customer support representatives can focus on complex cases such as those involving customers in vulnerable circumstances. For details of the awards visit: cicmbritishcreditawards.

The hearts and minds they are trying to win are usually the regulated population, overseers and the public to varying degrees. The UK insolvency regime is closely aligned with the accountancy profession, and the current review of regulatory arrangements in that arena has the potential to have some impact on what happens in the insolvency world.

It is interesting to note that a high profile insolvency case has triggered what could become a chain reaction and rebound on insolvency regulation. This appears to hinge on the participation in the decision-making process of individuals who have a background with the large accountancy firms.

There are parallels in the way insolvency work is regulated. There is always likely to be what some perceive to be a conflict of interests when those in the profession become involved in regulating it, and yet to be effective the regulator needs that input. What it does create is some natural tension, which has to be carefully managed. Insolvency regulators have moved to increase lay input into the process.

But are these real gamechangers or cosmetic adjustments to create an appearance of independent gloss on processes dominated by the people who make up an element of the regulated population? The trick is to find a balance that can deliver effective regulation through independent decision-making — free of any direct conflicts and inappropriate influence, while retaining necessary expertise without which it would be difficult to challenge poor practice.

The best lay minds will acknowledge that they need professional help. The Insolvency Service oversees the processes of the recognised professional bodies in the UK and has passed their systems fit for purpose on more than one occasion, but the review functions of the oversight regulator are ongoing — it is a rolling review, but with an important milestone coming up.

In the Service took a back-stop enabling power which expires in to set up a single regulator for the insolvency profession if it concludes that the present regime is not effective. The changes made by the insolvency regulators are real enough, and the integrity of their processes are not seriously in doubt, but a recurring question is whether they deliver sufficiently robust outcomes.

Those observers would perhaps be the first to acknowledge that they haven't seen all the evidence; however, perceptions count and putting into the public domain sufficient information to explain what has happened, and why, is a challenge. In those circumstances the balance of responsibilities usually lies with the regulator's obligations to the regulated person in terms of confidentiality.

There is a temptation for overseers to intervene, and for things to be shaken up. The question that should be asked is whether alternative structures would produce 'better' results. Would a single insolvency regulator in England and Wales be more effective than the two main professional bodies in keeping IPs in check? Or would the creation of a shiny new organisation merely satiate the critics for a while until the next decision raises those eyebrows?

The outcome of the FRC review may have some bearing on where the Insolvency Service goes with its own assessment of the case for a single regulator or some more modest changes to increase independence and transparency. The natural tensions referred to above must be policed by the regulators themselves and by the oversight bodies.

But even if insolvency has its house in order, is there a risk that the findings of the FRC review will bring consequences for insolvency regulation? And would change be beneficial to creditors? The deadline is nearer than at first appears, as any case for change has to be assessed in good time to activate the provision before its expiry.

The FRC review, expected to be concluded by the end of this year, will be timely, and any curtailment of professional input in the regulation process could have implications in other areas. Our mission is to be one of those players. He says what he thinks, but what he thinks has been meticulously thought out.

It is not about shooting from the hip; everything has a logic and a purpose. Klaus-Anders, however, had different ideas, having always been attracted to the concept of business and finance. You were given considerable responsibility at a comparatively young age, and although I never intended for it to be a long-term appointment, I ended up staying in the Navy for 11 years!

He also laughs when he thinks of the huge terrines of soup that preceded every dinner, and the enormous silver spoons with which they ate. But although the Navy was an important part of his formative years, he is keen not to be thought of as a naval man. It also enabled him to study for an MBA at the Norwegian School of Management that ultimately took him down the path to where he is today.

Quality improved, as did levels of customer satisfaction. The numbers also improved: in , Norway Post delivered the best annual figures ever in the history of the company. Then came the financial crash and I had to learn about counter-party risk, short funding and non-performing loans the hard way! I was told that delay was not an option, and by 22 October the listing was complete.

We had a new team on board, however, and the investors are happy since the value of their investment has doubled in four years. If credit defaults and creditors are not paid, then trust in the system breaks down, so while our clients are important, the relationship with our customers is perhaps even more so.

He was very visionary and entrepreneurial. My challenge now is continuing to grow the business and ensure we have the processes and structure to accommodate future growth without losing momentum. Growth is our number one ambition, so we need to focus on operational excellence and ensure our strategies are aligned throughout the business.

Our role is to help them and motivate them to achieve that and return to financial health. A good idea in Germany, he believes, will be a good idea in the UK or Spain. We are also looking at new and less mature markets like Italy Intrum recently completed a large deal in Italy , Spain and Greece.

In Spain, the unemployment numbers are coming down, but at 16 percent, Spain is still a laggard. At the peak of the crisis, 40 percent of those under 30 were unemployed. Although things are improving, the crisis is not resolved. In Greece, too, they are enjoying a recovery and we are early to the market through a partnership and now our own platform, so that too is exciting. A specialist will beat a generalist every time; focus is good.

Focusing on a few markets and one customer group is our mission — to have wider products and deeper penetration. It is good to be regulated to the same level as the banks and investors are happy with our healthy balance sheet. Success will also come by being a leader in the digital space, not just in how we interact with our customers, but also in how we use data. As well as four grown-up children between them, they also have joint custody of a year old Norwegian Forest Cat called Nemi.

The consultation, announced by Philip Hammond and due for publication any day, will aim to identify the most effective way of changing long-ingrained behaviours. For too long, it has become the norm to see large buying organisations holding on to their cash despite earning minimal returns , while their suppliers that need cash find it very hard to secure finance and often, very expensive. As a result, many SMEs are forced to increase their prices to offset the delayed payment, but sometimes the consequences can be more severe.

The public sector has a better record of paying suppliers in a timely manner than private sector organisations. In , the Time for Change report, compiled using information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed how the majority of invoices 90 percent sent to local authorities are paid on time, but also detailed how the administrative weight of the payment process, which is further exacerbated by aging accounting infrastructure and a lack of digitisation, makes payment performance a challenging area for councils to address.

Undeterred by the scale of the challenge, the London Borough of Bexley has really grasped the nettle when it comes to tackling its payment practices. Having partnered with Oxygen Finance to deliver the scheme, the council is now paying suppliers who have joined the programme within an average of seven days, with thousands of invoices having been processed early to date, injecting millions of pounds of liquidity into the economy.

Labour costs are our biggest outlay and being paid faster means we have the peace of mind that we can pay our contractors on time. Using the SIP has enabled us to grow our business in, what can only be considered, a very difficult time in the housing market. It just makes good business sense all round.

Mick Sullivan The Council attributes the success of the programme to the effective collaboration of several teams, as well as the robust technology and on-the-ground support provided by Oxygen Finance to transform processes. Ben Jackson The challenge facing the Government is to create an environment in which prompt payment, and even better, early payment is recognised as normal business practice across the board. Although there remains a general pattern of imbalance within the growth structure, the UK economy has shown pockets of growth, despite the disquiet.

A look into the vertical specific view shows a wide range of growth by vertical with Manufacturing and Professional, Scientific and Technical activities staying on one end of the spectrum registering quarterly growth rates of one percent and above in the final quarter of The growth in Manufacturing could be driven by accelerated global growth that improved UK exports.

Agriculture and Other Natural Resources including Mining and Construction remain on the other side of the spectrum with these verticals registering negative growth. Clearly there remain some headwinds for the British economy to contend with in order to correct the imbalance among the major verticals. Moving from economic growth towards business deterioration metrics provides a similar account. A look at business liquidations over time shows a turbulent environment over several quarters following the recession, with stabilisation and improvement commencing mid The last few quarters highlight a deterioration in business liquidations, signalling some stability in the business environment compared to the last year.

Looking at the same metric by vertical displays some pockets of weakness on this front — the Utilities and Transportation sector shows the highest increase in business liquidations. On the other hand, the Government, Agriculture and Manufacturing sectors demonstrate the highest levels of deterioration in business liquidations. It seems that although the Agricultural sector did not register an impressive growth in terms of GDP, the underlying environment for business stability in the sector may have improved over the past year.

These scores represent the probability that a business will experience significant risk of operational stress or severe delinquency within the next 12 months and classifies them into low and high-risk segments. The chart shows the percentage of businesses for each major sector that fall into the high-risk categories of both the Delinquency and the Failure Risk scores. Specifically, the last several years have been quite turbulent for the Mining sector, with commodity prices reaching both historic highs and lows.

Faced with digital innovations, established rules of operation within the sector have also shifted considerably, causing several businesses some financial distress recently. This is also reflected in the payment performance of the businesses within the two sectors. We consider the percentage of trade credit payments that are paid promptly within the terms of the transaction by industry.

The UK average for this metric is The Agriculture sector seems to have the strongest payment health with over 50 percent of payments being made promptly, followed closely by Construction with 42 percent of prompt payments. Despite slowing growth over the final quarter of , businesses within the Construction sector seem to be maintaining good payment health, possibly indicating an optimistic outlook in the near-term. The seasonal nature of this sector on which the winter weather prevailing within UK and the Euro area may have some bearing on this performance and following outlook.

However, Government and Machinery Manufacturing remain the sectors with the lowest percent of prompt payments, with each paying only Although prompt payments are very good indicators of the general health of businesses within an industry sector, it also remains true that each industry vertical follows their own norms around payment of suppliers, so a study of prompt payments within an industry over time will provide more insight into the health of the industry.

The chart provides this temporal comparison of prompt payments by industry. A closer look at the metrics over time shows that almost all verticals have made some improvement in the percent of transactions for which they make prompt payments over the past 12 months.

The Government sector, which registers the lowest percent of prompt payments across verticals, also shows the least improvement 1. The Construction sector topped the list with a considerably large improvement in prompt payments — a little over 14 percent. The two Manufacturing sub-segments — Consumer and Machinery — follow closely, registering Locations often offer advantages to businesses like local regulations, local government aid programs, proximity to other relevant businesses, and business performance can differ substantially on location choice.

On the other hand, the Greater Manchester and Greater London regions are paying only about respectively, 25 percent and 26 percent of accounts promptly. This range, although on a slightly lower degree than the range seen within industry distributions, is still quite wide and the imbalance is seen to persist on the regional distribution of payment health as well.

Looking into the improvement in the percent of payments over the past year, East Anglia and South West remain on the top five regions with 14 percent and 13 percent gain in prompt payment rate. Northern Ireland tops this list with a 15 percent increase in promptly paid accounts.

This disparity in gains may be driven by location specific circumstances that all businesses are subject to. Another interesting study is how business performance — particularly payment performances — differ with business size. The size determines critical business specifics like credit availability, access to advanced technologies and resilience after disruptive events like a natural disaster. Small businesses usually remain on the adverse side of the scale for these particularities and often find them a menace to their stability, while large businesses usually come out as the most This clearly brings to the forefront the predicament for small businesses, which due to their credit and cash constrained status, do not receive very favourable terms from their suppliers.

These businesses are required to pay very promptly on most of their accounts in order to maintain their supply side relationships and a steady flow of their input merchandise. We categorise businesses into various size groups based on their number of employees, where businesses with less than five employees belong to the smallest size band, while businesses with over 1, employees make up the largest one. Both the distribution of prompt payments by business size and their advancement over the past year present dramatic narratives.

There is a very high correlation between the size of a business and the number of people it employs. The smallest businesses, pay their supplier most promptly — registering This metric deteriorates systematically by business size, with the largest businesses over employees show the least percentage 5.

The temporal view shows deterioration in the rate of prompt payments among the businesses on the larger side — with employees and over. The businesses on the smaller side of the band, businesses with employees and less, continued to diligently improve the percentage of accounts they paid promptly over the past year. This clearly brings to the forefront the predicament for small businesses, which due to their credit and cash constrained status, do not receive very favourable terms from their suppliers.

On the other hand, large businesses by virtue of their higher resiliency and in most cases, established brand are able to acquire very favourable terms from their suppliers. Often, these suppliers of large businesses are on the smaller side of the spectrum and do not have sufficient bargaining power over payment terms from their large-sized customer.

Reform of regulation or other aids to small businesses by federal or local agencies, needs to be accelerated in order to rectify this imbalance that works against these businesses. The major segments within the UK economy — by sectoral, regional or size dimensions — show some scattered sluggishness mixed in with pockets of growth. While the overall commercial environment still faces some headwinds on the path to sustained improvement, the fundamentals of the business community, which manifest themselves primarily in payment performance and credit quality, seem to be progressing.

It is also intended to reduce resentment towards Inheritance tax in the UK clearly needs to be the so-called silver surfer generation, baby boomers overhauled. As we have seen time and again, crafty born who have typically done better out of and judicious estate planning by the extremely wealthy the housing market and pensions than any subsequent — such as the late Duke of Westminster, who passed generation.

There are connections. As a kid in the s — with pocket money of three Inheritance tax laws in the UK are both archaic and shillings 30p a week and a four-hour Saturday milk cynical, and there is no real place for them in The food banks I regularly see sprouting up around. Very, very rich people with more money than around my home town of Brighton are by all accounts they knew what to do with Getty reckoned that if used most frequently by breadline families where the you could count your money you were not seriously parents are aged 40 plus and cannot cope.

In , at loaded were few and far between. More commonly, a time when the country is haemorrhaging money the crazily rich were more likely to be encountered on an NHS obesity crisis, this strikes me as an absurd on the big screen. Fictional nut jobs, like Ernst Stavro paradox. But, as ever, life is stranger than fiction, and Getty As is the case in so many parts of the world today, was the real ticket, a money fixated workaholic who, mismanagement of economies by incompetent or according to legend, exhibited miserly ways that were avaricious administrations has directly led to a collapse surreally disproportionate to his means.

I daresay J Paul Getty would have a view. There were four of us in the team to cover the country in a hybrid role that was somewhere in-between Field Sales and Telesales. My approach was to offer the inch and deliver rather than promising the mile and falling short of expectation. It worked very well, and most of the customers we acquired then are still our customers today. Dan and his team invested significantly in new IT and systems to support their expanding operation and began exploring new ways of creating company reports with greater added value.

We also incorporated other elements, checking ethical trading records, Advertising Standards Authority records, The Living Wage register and other sources to give customers the fullest picture possible. This was all based on customer feedback about what they wanted to see, presenting personalised and bespoke information to a level of detail and in a format of their choosing.

Then it became clear that one provider keeps CCJ data for six years, and another for longer, which immediately explained the discrepancy and put minds at rest. This would likely resemble a Customs Union but without the politically sensitive name, allowing the UK to set up its own tariffs, but requiring a complex system for goods imported into the UK to then be sold onto the EU in a way that would equalise the tariff at the EU rate.

This could be a difficult system for UK businesses to comply with given the potentially complicated nature of the tariff equalising process. There are a few options for facilitating this in a way that would reduce the delays and costs anticipated from a hard border. These include various technological solutions and data sharing arrangements with the EU, simplifications of the customs procedure to move it away from the border, and a mutual recognition and benchmarking of Authorised Economic Operator AEO status.

It appears likely that some sort of customs controls and checks will be brought in should the UK continue to look for an arrangement outside of a Customs Union. HMRC is currently estimating that this could lead to a significant increase in the numbers of customs declarations submitted by businesses — some figures predict this will jump from 60 million per year to over million.

HMRC also predicts that , businesses currently trading with the EU would need to submit customs declarations for the first time. The UK Government is understandably anxious to find a solution that moves customs interventions away from the border. Only around UK businesses are currently accredited with AEO status, of which over 50 percent are freight forwarders and logistics companies.

HMRC is preparing for a substantial increase in applications leading up to Brexit but whether companies are sufficiently prepared to apply successfully is an interesting point. Businesses must be able to demonstrate high standards in customs and security procedures in order to attain AEO.

Businesses will need their individuals involved in customs to be able to demonstrate their competency in customs matters. At the Institute we provide this training through our Diploma in World Customs Compliance and Regulations or our oneday training sessions. We keep it simple. Portfolio Credit Control are recruitment specialists, exclusively supplying credit professionals at all levels across the UK in permanent, contract and temporary roles. Call us now for more information or email recruitment portfoliocreditcontrol.

COFACE isn't predicting doom, but its latest 'State of the Global Economy' paper suggests we're sitting on the top of the wave and it might all be downhill from here. According to Coface, low unemployment is now the biggest constraint on most firms' output. So far, China has managed a decade of avoiding a hard landing while moderating some of the speculative excesses in its economy. But have we become complacent? A couple of stats from Atradius had me wondering.

Apparently, 40 percent of Chinese companies surveyed use no credit insurance at all. The country is a huge copper exporter, and it's suffered in the past couple of years from low copper prices and a strike at its big Escondida mine; but there's a lot more to the country than that. It's invested time and effort in striking over 20 free trade agreements covering a vast number of other countries, as well as a scarce employment resource will start pushing wage inflation up.

There's another worrying sign. At this stage of the cycle you'd expect most people to be feeling pretty happy with the economy; the persistence of discontent, and the prevalence of protectionist discourse as well as election of way off-centre parties, suggest this isn't the case — and things could blow up badly if the economy starts to falter.

Add to that the fact that over a fifth of companies now report that ultra-long payment delays represent more than ten percent of their turnover and since 80 percent of that will probably never get paid, basically they're running on turnover that's eight percent less than the financial statements say , and that anxiety dream could become a full-on nightmare. As always, be very careful when dealing with the Middle Kingdom! The country has a solid fiscal base, with public debt less than a quarter of GDP, and it's seeing three percent growth.

With commodity prices now recovering, this could be time to do a bit more business in Chile. So, is this the beginning of the end? But there are huge education and consulting opportunities as well. And perhaps the best news of all, not only does Chile have all those FTAs, but it has a well-developed banking sector, particularly when it comes to foreign trade finance — a huge advantage over the rest of South America if you're looking for a local trade hub.

AN interesting new spanner has been thrown into Brexit works with the House of Lords' insistence that ministers should seek to negotiate a new customs union with the EU. The vote may not succeed in keeping Britain in a customs union, but it's certainly shown the Government which way the wind is now blowing — particularly as a large number of Tories have joined the rebel peers. The Government appears so far to be sticking to its guns — but given the way it backed down over citizens' rights and then fudged the Irish border issue, I wouldn't mind betting we'll see some kind of move to conveniently rebrand customs union in Brexit-friendly terms.

Labour, with its talk about not 'the' customs union but 'a' customs union, is certainly going that route. What does this mean for British exporters? They certainly cannot relax. The bomb is still ticking, and it hasn't been defused — and the closer we get to B-day, the greater the chance that it will explode while David Davis and Theresa May are still holding it. Keep working on your strategies for dealing in a WTO environment, for the time being; prepare for the worst, and hope it doesn't happen.

It found that over 60 percent of the total value of exports came from were in product-country relationships that had been in place since the s. New exports, it seems, take a long time to build to significant levels. Losing an existing trade hurts much worse than not getting a new one. Result: more volatility in the currency markets. Normally immune currencies like the rouble and Kazakh tenge, as well as the Hong Kong dollar, have seen big price movements in recent weeks.

There's also an interesting shift in views on the dollar. Central banks are now apparently looking to other currencies in building their reserves — a change from policy over the last few years; the euro, in particular, is benefiting, as the eurozone sees the fastest growth in a decade and banks that have so far been euro-light start rethinking their strategies.

At the same time, China seems to be thinking about whether the renminbi could eventually take the dollar's place as reserve currency. A recent launch of renminbi denominated and foreign-tradable oil futures revives the liberalisation trend. Certainly, nothing's going to happen overnight, but like the early moves in any chess game, it will be interesting to see what's going to happen.

Meanwhile keep a close eye on your currency rates, and hedge appropriately. In contrast to South-East Asia, where intra-regional trade has rocketed, the Med hasn't managed to establish strong trade links. Now, Coface says, trade routes are finally beginning to grow — but along the south and east, not the EU-dominated northern shore.

Morocco and Turkey have joined global value chains, particularly in the automotive sector, while Egypt and Cyprus are becoming major regional chemicals players, and Tunisia and Morocco have started exporting ICT products and services within the region.

Coface believes a rise in protectionism could force the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries into more reliance on each other — in which case, having a hub in a relevant country might be a prudent strategy for exporters. As Trump's protectionist stance becomes more and more evident, getting the deals finalised becomes more urgent.

But it's also the EU's best way of making its products more competitive - if US trade stutters, Europe could benefit. Currently queued are deals with Japan the world's third largest economy , Mercosur combined, the world's seventh largest, and the EU's tenth largest export market , Mexico, Singapore, and Vietnam.

It's worth noting that the Singapore deal will include services as well as goods — opening up one of Asia's biggest finance markets to EU players. It's a pity the UK won't benefit. If you want to gain the advantage of these deals, though, you could always open an EU base; something Easyjet, insurer XL Group, and fancy-dress supplier Smiffys have already done.

LCI has just expanded its debt collection service to 11 African markets, including Mauretania, Senegal, Gambia, Kenya, and Nigeria, as well as offering trade credit insurance across the middle east and Africa. Given payment behaviour is not impeccable across the region, it's providing a welcome service. But how creditworthy is LCI itself?

Not triple-A perhaps…but then nor is the UK these days. On top of this comes travel, transport and financial services. That said, opportunities also lie in aerospace which is rated as being the third largest in Europe and the seventh worldwide — there are, the UK Government believes, more than firms serving this sector. Not to be forgotten is the Italian automotive sector which, in , the US Government reported as the fourth largest market in Europe with 1.

Half of the manufacturing is undertaken by 1, firms in and around Turin. Education has recently seen reform with a focus being placed on foreign languages, digital skills; further training for teachers; and investment in school broadband and Wi-Fi. Similarly, the Italian Health Service is having to cope with an aging population, a focus on prevention, and more outpatient care.

Those supplying medical devices and diagnostic systems could find a market to crack. Italians are well known for their fashion sense and have one of the highest spends on these types of goods anywhere in the world; fashion, accessories, shoes, cosmetics, perfumes, furniture and interior design are all of interest.

Allied to this are a number of large shopping centre developments that have opened in Milan, Verona, Torino and elsewhere which no doubt will be followed by others. Sub-sectors linked to this should be of interest. Milan is leading this charge and there are opportunities for energy efficient buildings, public lighting and waste management. While some consider that selling to Italy is often best achieved by appointing an agent or a distributor, Italian law allows firms to set up forms of partnerships standard and limited , corporations, sole traderships, branch or representative offices.

There are variations on each here which will need specialist advice. But before a company can trade, it must deposit 25 percent of its share capital in a bank account and then register with the Italian Trade Register. The company must then apply for a VAT number. A reduced rate of four percent is applied to basic food products, some social services, some publications, and some seeds and fertilisers. Some ten percent is charged on tourist services and some other food products.

This fixed rate must be paid by all resident companies on income from any source, whether earned in Italy or abroad. There is also a regional tax on business activities IRAP of 3. Non-resident individuals are only subject to tax on their Italian source income.

Social security contributions INPS apply to all workers. Employers withhold 9. Firms will undoubtedly want to protect their trademarks, designs, patents and copyright. Italy, offers protection to companies and individuals.

However, the law here, especially for patent protection, is not totally harmonised within the EU. Italy is clearly a substantial market that will need time and effort to break into. But the results and rewards may well make the effort worth the investment. With the Brexit transition agreement now on the way to being finalised, exporters should feel confident for the short to medium term at least.

Adam Bernstein is a freelance business writer. Alberto Cotti How many members do you have? We currently have members Where are you based and what events do you hold? What training do you provide? We are in the process of creating a certificate for the role of the Credit Manager. We also deliver qualified training at different levels and on various disciplines and skills.

Italy has shown along the years a constant attitude to delaying payments. Many small companies believe that paying late is an intelligent approach - until somebody pays them late! EU rules about payment terms are becoming more respected than in the past, especially between bigger companies. Even in Italy a Prompt Payment Code was delivered two years ago, but there is much still to do.

We support FECMA granting access under request to our associates and will answer any questions related to the world of Credit Management. Contact for further information: Alberto Cotti — acotti dkny. Finish: This is a free event. CPD 6 Care about your career? Care about your business? All technical updates and consultations are also sent out to members in the monthly member Technical Briefings, which are also accessible via the CICM website. CICM Technical experts aim to respond within 24 hours and some of the most recent topics have included: banning credit card charges; pre-action protocol for Partnerships; legalities around contract clauses; dealing with vulnerable customers when collecting debt; benchmarking payment practices with competitors; gaining entry to property advice; advice on drafting guarantee letters; and fraud avoidance.

The CICM is at the sharp end of credit and wider business issues and thanks to the Technical Committee it remains informed in what is an everchanging environment. The world of consumer credit is very different in terms of regulation with many changes implemented since the FCA was established — so having its finger on the pulse is very important. I attend countless meetings of organisations including the Money Advice Trust, Consumer Forums, Christians Against Poverty and filter through what is most important to the committee so it can be communicated to members.

They should get in touch with any question no matter how trivial they feel it is — we are here to help. I think the gravitas of the CICM has been improved by having all these sector experts on board, which in turn has enhanced its professional standing and reputation. I recently attended the International Credit Professionals Symposium in Budapest to ensure I have all the most current knowledge at my disposal to pass on to members of the Committee.

Members are asked to complete a short survey after they have received a response from the Advice Line. The culture of keeping quiet on late payment is still rife, particularly among SMEs. Smaller suppliers fear that they will be dropped by big company clients if they complain and often draw on their own finances in order to plug payment deficits. There was hope that the appointment of a Small Business Commissioner last year would lead to a more rigorous attitude toward late payment, but in reality, SMEs are raising very few complaints so the issue goes untreated.

From our own data, which tracks payment performance across 20 different business sectors and 11 UK regions, we can clearly see that the picture of payment performance is in constant flux. In the last month, we have seen how long a business takes to pay its invoices beyond the agreed payment terms, ranging from a figure of ten Days Beyond Terms DBT at best and over 19 DBT at worst.

For the year to date, we have an average DBT figure of nearly Whether you view this language as hyperbole or not, the premise is entirely fair. The business case for prompt payment is clear and unquestionable, and the fear of speaking out should no longer be the status quo. The Energy sector needs a particularly loud shout out this month, after decreasing its DBT score by over a third to fall just under the day mark after a threemonth hiatus up in the low 20s.

We have also seen significant improvements for the International Bodies sector, Home Businesses and IT sectors this month. The IT sector in particular has been on something of a DBT rollercoaster this year, with a score as low as 7. In spite of these much improved scores, the main swathe of sectors we track monthly have edged toward worsening payment performance, albeit very marginally. The Mining sector, alongside the Business Administration and Finance sectors all sit at 18 days or more this month beyond agreed payment terms.

This broader picture also shows that like the sectors, nearly a third of regions have either improved or kept their payment practices the same this month and two thirds have shown a loosening grip on late payments. Northern Ireland wins our best payment performer award there is no actual award, fyi for the month and Wales delivered the greatest drop in DBT, after shaving nearly a day off its score. On the flipside, East Anglia gets the worst performance label, with a rise in DBT of over two days to reach 17 days in total.

This returns the region back to the level of late payment it had reached at the end of , which is always a worrying sign in such close proximity. It is the West Midlands, however, that increased the number of days it pays suppliers the most, rising from To end on a positive, there are a few regions that have maintained a steady DBT for the year to date.

London in particular, while still averaging at a high score of In a melting pot of constantly changing DBT scores, consistency is always worth celebrating. This legislation provides the potential to release debts quickly and for very limited cost. Equally it provides traps for the unwary who have legitimate reasons not to pay.

Again, if the parties do not include a compliant procedure, the Act will imply one. It is not open to the paying party to do nothing without seriously risking that it must pay the amount applied for. In the absence of an agreed period, it must be at least seven days beforehand. Failure to follow either of these procedures will usually mean that the amount applied for will need to be paid. Even if the payer has valid reasons not to pay, the message behind the legislation is that the payer has lost its immediate right to raise these arguments.

It does not lose them entirely, but it shifts the onus on to the payer to prove his entitlement to recoup the money paid over. Coupled with fast-track dispute resolution, the payee is in a powerful position to threaten to put the payer's failure to follow the procedure in front of an adjudicator.

The adjudicator's award is enforceable in front of the courts. However, if you are looking for payment you will need to pick your claims. What you do not want to do is go to the trouble of an adjudication to then have the courts refuse to enforce.

Often this will be because the courts will see certain contractors looking to ambush innocent payers who have inadvertently failed to follow the correct procedures. However, you do need to be aware of the potential counter-arguments.

These are: a challenge to the procedure; or the running of a counter-adjudication. However, the typical reason is where the first adjudication has resulted in a windfall to the payee, purely because of simple failure to follow procedure. The payer then runs a counter-adjudication to get his own decision to set off against the payee's.

However, even a quick analysis of compliance with the procedures and the payer's motives for not paying, should give a sense of which applications are worth pursuing. There will be many, many examples where reluctant payers have received valid bona fide claims and have no reason to challenge, but have simply refused to pay and have not issued a certificate or a pay less notice.

These are the ones to identify. It is impossible to walk through its corridors or dine in its imposing function rooms without a deep sense of awe. Please email fellowslunch cicm. Over 1, worldwide watch lists changing daily! We provide Daily Monitoring on all ofyour customers, email alert any new match status, automate most of your Enhanced Due Diligence cases and this isall included in your basic AML cost.

Membership Benefits CICM membership gives you access to all of these benefits Credit Management magazine National and regional events Knowledge Hub Qualifications and training Professional letters after your name Branches around the country Industry resources Monthly e-newsletter Webinars Mentor Hub Recruitment Hub Monthly technical brief Networking and collaboration including social media Legal, insolvency and business advice lines Continuing Professional Development CPD Benefits that keep you informed, help you in your work and support your professional development For details visit www.

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