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|HOUSEBUILDERS DRIVE GROWTH Activity in the construction industry is rising at the fastest pace in five months, but growth is being driven entirely by housebuilding. The closely watched purchasing managers index for the sector showed that business optimism had picked up for the first time in three months, with increased sales boosting hopes that clients aversion to taking risks will recede next year. The construction index rose to a balance of 53.1 last month, up from 50.8 in October and considerably better than economists expectations of 51.The survey, which is compiled by IHS Markit, the data analytics provider, comes after the PMI report for Manufacturing showed that last month factories lifted production at their fastest rate in four years.
FACTORY PRODUCTION ACCELERATES Factories are increasing production at their fastest rate in four years to handle a surge in new orders at home and abroad, leading to the sharpest rise in hiring since 2014.The purchasing managers index showed a reading of 58.2 in November, up from 56.5 in October. This was the highest level since August 2013 and the tenth best reading in the surveys 26 years history. Manufacturers reported solid demand from Britain and sharp gains in export orders, especially from clients in Europe and the United States, as global economic growth continues to pick up. The drop in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote is giving a competitive boost to exporters.
HOUSE PRICE GROWTH House price growth remained steady in November according to Nationwide Building Society, undershooting economists expectations and signalling that activity in the housing market continues to cool.Nationwide said that its mortgage data showed that the average price rose by 2.5% in the year to November the same as October. The average house price in November was £209,988.
BRAKE ON SERVICES The dominant services sector lost momentum in November, while the prices charged by companies are rising at the fastest pace in nearly a decade.The purchasing managers index for services dropped to a balance of 53.8 in November, down from 55.6 in October. However the sector is still growing any reading above 50 indicates expansion, while any reading below represents contraction.
500,000 UK BUSINESSES IN DISTRESS Nearly half a million British businesses are in "significant financial distress" in what Begbies Traynor described as the calm before the storm. The number of businesses experiencing financial distress had reached "unprecedented" levels over the past 12 months. Many had "overstretched themselves" taking too many risks after being lulled into a false scene of security by the continued low interest rate environment. There were 448,011 businesses across the UK suffering significant financial distress between July and September, an increase of 27% compared with the same period last year, it said. Begbies Traynor defines businesses as having "significant" financial problems if they have minor county court judgments recorded against them, a sign they are struggling to pay bills.
EMPLOYMENT AT RECORD HIGH Unemployment fell to a 42 year low in the three months to June as the labour market continued to set records in defiance of concerns about Brexit. Although wage growth remained disappointing, extending the squeeze on household incomes for a third month, the employment rate hit a record high.Unemployment has dropped to 4.4%, the lowest since 1975 and below the Bank of Englands estimate of the level at which wage inflation will start to build.