UK struggles to stay in global economy ‘premier league’

UK struggles to stay in global economy 'premier league'

Britain falls to 19th in PwC’s Escape index, seven places down on its pre-financial crisis positionBritain is struggling to stay in the "premier league" of countries ranked by the consultants PwC after suffering more grievously than rival nations in the slump of 2008-09.PwC’s Escape index – which looks at a range of economic, political, social, technological and environmental indicators of success – placed the UK 19th, down seven places on its pre-financial crisis position.Britain’s fall down a league table headed by Sweden, Switzerland and Singapore was matched only by the declines suffered by the countries worst hit by the eurozone sovereign debt meltdown: Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal.John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC and co-author of the report, said: "The UK continues to score well as an easy place to do business and recent sharp falls in unemployment show the flexibility of its labour market. But the UK was hit hard by the global financial crisis: s …

Family behind Boohoo.com pocket £240m from sale of company shares

Family behind Boohoo.com pocket £240m from sale of company shares

Amount raised is higher than analysts had expected and will translate to a market value of £560m when the company debutsThe Manchester family behind the fast-growing Boohoo.com are now one of the richest in the country after selling a £240m stake in the website.Boohoo will confirm this morning that it has raised £300m from investors after selling 600m shares priced at 50p. The amount raised is higher than some analysts had expected and will translate to a market value of £560m when the company debuts on AIM next week.After the listing the Kamani family will still own a 44% stake with £50m of the money raised being retained for investment purposes.The fashion retailer which targets 16-24 year olds was set up in 2006 by Mahmud Kamani and his business partner Carol Kane, who previously supplied high street rivals such as Primark and New Look. Kamani and Kane will be joint chief executives of the listed business.Despite the windfall Kamani said he had no plans to step back: "I’m …

Ryanair to sell flights via travel agents in attempt to attract business travellers

Ryanair to sell flights via travel agents in attempt to attract business travellers

Airline agrees deal with global distribution service Travelport in an effort to double number of business customers in two yearsRyanair is to sell flights through travel agents for the first time in a decade in an attempt to double its number of business passengers, agreeing a deal with global distribution service Travelport.Until now, agents could only use the airline’s website. Its details will appear alongside other scheduled airlines for booking agents using Travelport, which covers about a third of the European market.Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair’s chief marketing officers, said he was confident the move would result in business traveller numbers doubling within two year. About 19 million people a year travel for work on Ryanair, almost 20% of its passenger total.The airline will reveal premium fares later in 2014 tailored to business travellers, allowing flight changes and fast tracking through the airport.Travelport’s chief commercial officer, Kurt Ekert, said that by allowing agents …

Scottish independence: one in three firms could relocate after a yes vote

Scottish independence: one in three firms could relocate after a yes vote

Survation poll of 100 Scottish businesses shows 36% would consider moving following a yes vote on 18 SeptemberMore than a third of Scottish firms may relocate outside Scotland in the event of independence, a poll suggests.A total of 36% of companies would consider moving following a yes vote on 18 September, while 40% would not, according to a Survation poll of 100 Scottish businesses for the Scottish Mail on Sunday. Only 15% of those surveyed said an independent Scotland would be "beneficial" to their business, while 45% said separation would be "harmful".Three in four (75%) said it was essential or important for their business that an independent Scotland remain in a currency union with the rest of the UK. That option has been ruled out by the chancellor, George Osborne, backed by Labour and the Liberal Democrats leaders. The firms, said to have total sales of more than £15bn, took part in the poll on condition of anonymity.Concerns about independence have been r …

Government meddling in public service contracts is suspiciously socialist

Government meddling in public service contracts is suspiciously socialist

The Cabinet Office has appointed a public official to oversee G4S. It’s what you’d expect collectivists to doIs Francis Maude a socialist? Daft question, surely. Along with Oliver Letwin, minister for government policy, hasn’t Maude made the Cabinet Office one of the more ideologically consistent departments held by Tories in the coalition?But consider this. If the 1945 Labour prime minister Clement Attlee had appointed a senior official to ‘oversee’ one private company and report back to ministers on its inner workings, corporate governance and economic performance, we would have said, that’s par for the socialist course. That’s what you’d expect collectivists to do. They lack respect for the autonomy and freedom of private enterprise.So what do we make of the Cabinet Office making ‘crown representative’ Ian Tyler responsible for the good conduct of G4S? Tyler is – it’s reported – to be a sort of overseer for the contractor, checking its doings and (the government hopes) steering …