News in brief: law, energy, POS, freelancers

News in brief
News in brief

Private firms legally obliged to list influential people

Under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, which is due to take effect on 6 April, all unlisted companies will legally be required to keep a register of people with significant control over the business. This includes any individuals who hold more than 25% of company shares or voting rights; have the right to appoint or remove the majority of directors; or have significant influence or control over the company, or a trust or firm which has such control.

The aim of the new measures is to improve transparency, yet there have been concerns from the small business community that this could put off investors in private businesses.

Shakespeare Martineau corporate law partner Ray Botterill said: “The PSC register represents yet another burden for private businesses, the vast majority of which have been operating entirely legitimately whilst enjoying the privacy that comes from running a business concern without the backing of public shareholders.

“Under the new regime, private businesses need to be aware that information about any person with a significant control in their affairs will be on public record. They also need to be aware that failing to comply with the new regulations could attract a fine or criminal sanction.”

Energy saving deal for fish and chip shops

A senior manager from one of UK’s largest energy suppliers to SMEs recently spent a day at the National Federation of Fish Fryers (NFFF), learning how to fry fish and chips.

Philip Scholes, who is head of npower Business, took part in one of the NFFF’s internationally renowned expert fish and chip frying skills workshops at its Leeds HQ. Led by training and accreditation manager Richard Wardel, Philip also learnt about the industry from NFFF Director, Andrew Cook.

The visit marked the start of npower Business becoming an associate member of the NFFF, and of the energy supplier offering its members the chance to claim £200 off their bills if they switch to the energy supplier.

NFFF director Andrew Cook commented: “Fish and chip shop owners are increasingly having more and more costs imposed upon them. Our members are therefore continually having to looking at more and more products and services to help them manage their energy consumption. Examples of cost saving measures our members are making, include exchanging florescent tubes for LEDs, and turning down fryers during off peak times.”

New POS solutions from Verifone

Verifone has launched Verifone Carbon– an integrated POS that offers consumers an online experience while at a brick and mortar store. Carbon can be used to provide loyalty schemes, provide bespoke offers to customers, and easily accept different payments types including mobile and contactless.

“Today, merchants need trusted tools and services to create simple, secure and engaging consumer shopping experiences and new ways to grow their businesses,” said Verifone Systems executive vice president Glen Robson. “Verifone Carbon is our most well-designed and technologically advanced product ever.”

Private sector growth slows

Private sector growth in the UK slowed, coming to a near halt, in the three months to March, but the outlook remains firmly positive, according to the latest CBI Growth Indicator.

The survey of 767 respondents across the manufacturing, distribution and service sectors showed the pace of growth fell to its slowest rate since May 2013, with a balance of +2% of firms reporting a rise in output, compared with +8% in February.

But firms’ expectations point to a recovery in growth for the next three months, standing at +19%, higher than the long-run average.

Number of freelancers on the rise

The number of freelancers in the UK is increasing, with 98,000 more people working for themselves in the three months up to November 2015 than in the same period in the previous year.

Weebly, the disruptive web-building platform, asked 100 top freelancers in the UK why they prefer freelancing to a regular '9-5' job.

Key findings:

• The majority of freelancers (37%) enjoy being the final decision maker

• 28% of freelancers claim that the career benefits without office politics is a great bonus

• 14% say that the diversity of freelance work keeps their skills sharp

• 12% mention that freelancers benefit directly from their hard work

• 9% of the individuals interviewed mentioned that better pay is a benefit in freelancing.