UK Economy Grows Faster than Expected

UK Economy Grows Faster than Expected
The UK economy grew 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2015, higher than the previous estimate of 0.5%. As a result, the economy grew by 2.3% for the whole of 2015, rather than 2.2% as previously thought, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The figure came as a surprise to analysts, who had forecast that it would remain unchanged.

Other figures showed the UK’s current account deficit widened to a record high in the final quarter of last year. The deficit in the three months to December was £32.7bn, the equivalent of 7% of GDP, said the ONS.

For the whole of 2015, the deficit came to £96.2bn or 5.2% of GDP. Both figures were the highest since official records began in 1948.

Earlier this week, the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee warned that uncertainty over the UK’s membership of the EU posed risks to financial stability, with implications for the current account deficit. It has said it will watch for indications that the outcome of the referendum on 23 June could make it more difficult to finance the deficit.

The ONS said the deficit had widened because income from the UK’s direct investments abroad had fallen, while payments to foreign investors in the UK had risen. It also said the revision in GDP was caused by a stronger performance in the services sector and a smaller contraction in industrial production.

Chancellor George Osborne said the rise in the current account deficit meant the UK should not be contemplating Brexit. “Today’s figures expose the real danger of economic uncertainty and show that now is precisely not the time to put our economic security at risk by leaving the EU,” he said.

Hiring a Car When Touring Northumberland

Benefits of Hiring a Car When Touring Northumberland
If you are planning to visit Northumberland, Newcastle or the surrounding areas and spend some time travelling around for business or pleasure you may to consider leaving your own vehicle at home and hiring a car when you arrive so you can take advantage of the convenience and cost benefits of using alternative transport, and also be able to hire a vehicle that is suited perfectly to your specific needs during your visit, especially if you are travelling with a smaller or larger group than usual. With so many different things to see and do around the area making sure that you have the flexibility of having a reliable vehicle will give you the freedom to go wherever you wish without being tied to bus or coach times.

metrologo_smallAt Metro Rental they have a wide variety of cars and vans available for hire at very reasonable rate so you may find that hiring a car to use for shorter journeys around the area may actually save you some money in the long run, especially if a few of you are planning to make trips together so it may be worth taking a look the options available for car Hire in the Northumberland area. With cars available to hire from as little as £10.68 a day you can be sure that not only will you find a car that is suited to your needs you will definitely find one that is within your budget, with models ranging smaller budget vehicles to larger seven seater cars no matter the size of your group you will be able to find the perfect car.

As all hire cars available are maintenance checked and cleaned every time they are returned you can be sure that whatever car you choose it will be safe, clean and in perfect working order in every way so you won’t need to worry about the inconvenience of a broken radio or finding someone else’s rubbish that got left behind and the chances of breaking down or experiencing any kind of engine problems will be absolutely minimal. You can also be sure that with a straight forward pricing policy and easy to understand hire agreements that you will know exactly where you stand at all times and won’t have any surprise costs, hidden clauses or complicated penalties when collecting or dropping off the vehicle or during the hire period.

With a wide variety of flexible rental terms and prices available you can be sure that at Metro Rental they will be able to provide with you a car hire arrangement that caters to your individual plans and arrangements. As members of Hire Guard you can be certain that any vehicle that you hire from Metro Rental will be fully road legal, covered by the correct insurance and breakdown cover, and meet all the required legal safety standards specified for hire vehicles making them a really sensible choice if you are looking for a reliable company that really aim to put their customers safety first.

So if you are looking for a reliable and flexible car hire in Newcastle and want to be sure that you get a car that perfect for your needs, safe and reliable but also suited to you budget as well why not take a look at all the options that are available at Metro Rental?

Contact Metro Rental
As specialists within car hire Newcastle and Northumberland they have a proven track record of providing a first class service to their customers and have the experience and knowledge required to  make sure that they only hire cars of the best possible standard every time. For more information hiring a car in Newcastle or for touring Northumberland call (0191) 460 33 44 and speak to one of our friendly staff or visit the Metro Vehicle Rental website today. You won’t find a better car hire company anywhere in the North East.

A New Bathroom from PT Ranson

A New Bathroom from PT Ranson
Spring is an excellent time to make improvements in various aspects of your life, and some areas ready for a change may include such all-important areas of your home as the kitchen and bath. If you have plans to move home or remodel a bathroom in your home, it will be helpful to know what will be fashionable in 2016 and, PT Ranson bathrooms with such delights the range of Victoria and Albert Baths will be able to help you.

ptranson-vitra-new-03For those looking to move house then the rooms that buyers scrutinize are the kitchen and bathroom. Since other rooms can be improved upon with paint, floor wax or carpeting and perhaps some minor electrical work, an attractive, recently updated kitchen or bathroom is more likely to tip the scales in favour of a sale. If you are planning to upgrade to designer bathrooms in your current home for a future home sale or for your own enjoyment, you will want to do your research and find a manufacturer of high-quality luxury bathroom fittings who can deliver exactly what you want. If you are adding a new bathroom to your current home, you will want to choose a sleek design that provides the greatest possible return on your investment, and in many cases it will make sense to upgrade existing bathrooms to ensure a similarly updated and well-appointed look. The right designer will be able to help you do just that.

People adding a new bathroom to their home or upgrading to designer bathrooms have many things to consider before going into a showroom, and it is helpful to envision the desired result before deciding between the options that you have based on space availability, plumbing and other issues.

One of the most obvious considerations is what you generally want your designer bathrooms to look like. Do you have a preferred colour scheme? What about a preference for features that will be easy to clean? Do certain types of fixtures appeal to you more than others? Next, consider how your preferences will work with the layout of your current bathroom. To what extent might the existing layout have to change? Would you be willing and able to consider a more extensive renovation that involves new plumbing and electrical wiring? Will the dimensions of your existing bathroom or planned add-on leave enough space and allow for comfortable placement of fittings and ease of movement between the tub or shower, toilet and sink? All of these questions need to be answered before ordering your luxury bathroom fittings, and the right manufacturer will come to your home, do a walk-through and work with you to develop a design that will work with your preferences as well as any variables that cannot be changed.

Once you have gone through this initial phase of the design process, you will be able to decide on the features that you would like to include in your renovated bathroom. Popular features right now include basin-style sinks on vanity bases with additional shelving or drawers, wide sinks and mirrors which can be shared by couples in master baths, free-standing tubs, recessed spaces for shampoo and other toiletries, stainless steel fixtures and white or off-white fittings against a dark background. If you have limited cabinetry in your current bathroom or exposed plumbing which you would like to conceal, certain luxury bathroom fittings by Kohler and others can solve both problems in the form of an equally attractive and useful vanity base which also will also make the best possible use of the space. Shower cubicles can also be an excellent space-saving feature which makes for easier cleaning. For larger bathrooms, separate shower cubicles and free-standing tubs are an attractive way to break up a large space, and windows with a view of the treetops can make the bath experience even more relaxing. Finally, you will want to make certain that the installers are familiar with the manufacturer’s products and support services. A reputable designer will recommend knowledgeable installers who will typically bring in their own electricians and plumbers as needed for your bathroom renovation project.

Whether your home is ten years old or 100 years old, adding a new bathroom or upgrading to designer bathrooms is one of the best investments you can make in your home. The right luxury bathroom fittings will make your daily routine more enjoyable, impress your guests and put you in a favourable position to sell your home should that day ever come. You might even find that certain space-saving features are more attractive than the ones you already have. Make sure that the designer you choose can offer the best value for the design you have chosen, and your new designer bathroom will delight your family and guests for many years to come.

Many Burgbad bathroom furniture pieces, including sleek wood shelving and wall-mounted vanities, work especially well in bathrooms which reflect an appreciation for the beauty of nature. Imagine having such a bathroom for yourself; you’ll most certainly feel an improvement in your quality of life from the first time you step across the heated floor to your beautiful new tub for a relaxing soak surrounded by calming, natural colours and features.

P.T. Ranson has been supplying and installing components for luxury bathrooms across the UK for over 15 years. We work with architect’s specifications as needed and are prepared to guide homeowners through every step of the process, from initial consultation and planning to final installation. Let our experts outfit your home with the luxury bathroom of your dreams in 2016.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us today on 0191 469 6999 or visit the P.T. Ranson designer bathrooms website today.

SEO to Help Promote your Business

SEO to Help Promote your Business
Being able to effectively promote and advertise the goods or services that your business provides is absolutely essential if you want to give it real chance of success and growth in the future no matter what industry you are working within.

internet-marketing-agencyNowadays more and more people automatically run an internet search to find out more about products or services that they may be interested in rather than relying on more conventional methods of advertising or visiting many stores to find the information they need, so having a well thought out internet marketing campaign is a really good idea if you want your business to have the best chances of reaching potential customers.

Many small or new businesses take the decision to get expert advice from a professional internet marketing service such as Direct Submit so they can be certain that the time and money that they invest is going to achieve the results they want without taking them away from the day to day running of their business too often.

As the internet has become part of people’s lives more over the past few years many businesses have decided to take advantage of the wide reach of customers available for relatively little cost meaning it has become a competitive place to try and advertise your goods or services, especially if you don’t have the budget and resources of a large corporation, however with the use of clever internet marketing techniques such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)you can still have a chance of your website being seen on the first pages of results produced by a search engine such as Google alongside larger companies that have spent thousands on a sponsored link and other advertising.

Knowing that your website is appearing high in the rankings of relevant searches will help you website not only be noticed, but get seen by people that are already going to be likely to have an interest in what your company provides helping you to get more directed traffic, at Direct Submit they are able to give you all the advice and information you need to make sure that your website get seen in all the right places!

At Direct Submit they will be able to analyse your businesses key features and use them to create an internet marketing strategy that is completely tailored to your businesses needs and objectives by applying well proven techniques such as SEO to make sure that your website always appears in any search that may be relevant to your business helping you to reach many more potential customers or clients and increase your sales and leads substantially.

With a flexible service on offer they can cater to the needs of any business regardless of what industry they work within and with services available including planning, implementing, monitoring and maintaining your businesses personal internet marketing strategy, no matter how much help and support you may need they will be able to provide you with whatever expert information, advice or assist you require.  So why not take a look at the excellent range of SEO and other internet marketing services that are available at Direct Submit, you may be pleasantly surprised how affordable and effective professional internet marketing advice can be.

Direct Submit Internet Marketing
So why not take a look at the Search Engine Optimisation and other internet marketing services that Direct Submit have on offer and see how they can help make your website really work for your business. No matter if you are looking for a one off consultation, a complete package including on-going maintenance and performance reviews or a contract for a fixed term at Direct Submit they are always happy to help regardless of your needs or the size of your business and they always aim to offer a service that is always friendly and professional that delivers real results.

To learn more about how we can help you maximise profits, call us today on 0845 272 2350 or visit our Internet Marketing Services website today.

Credit Suisse to Cut Another 2,000 Jobs

Credit Suisse to Cut Another 2,000 Jobs
Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse has announced that 2,000 jobs will go at its global markets business. The latest cuts are in addition to the 4,000 job cuts announced last month and are part of the bank’s efforts to reduce annual costs by 800m Swiss francs a year (£580m; $820m).

Credit-Suisse

The company blamed a “high and inflexible cost base” and “volatile market conditions”.

Tidjane Thiam took over as chief executive of Credit Suisse last July, having spent six years leading the UK-based insurer Prudential.

In a statement accompanying today’s announcement, he described the performance of the global markets business as “disappointing”, blaming the company’s exposure to financial products that were difficult to trade in “challenging” market conditions. “In this context, we have taken immediate action to reduce outsized positions in activities not consistent with our new strategy and systematically reduced our exposures,” he said.

The bank is leaving some business areas altogether, including distressed credit products.

Credit Suisse is investing in its equities (shares) business which it described as “a core area of focus for the bank”.

Credit Suisse expects to report a loss in the first quarter of 2016, due to a charge of $346m to cover the costs of the reorganisation. In 2015, the bank made a pre-tax loss of 2.4bn Swiss francs ($2.4bn; £1.6bn) – its first annual loss since 2008.

Women Held Back by ‘Old Boys’ Network,’ says Report

Women Held Back by ‘Old Boys’ Network,’ says Report
“Old boys’ networks” are stopping women from getting into the boardroom in the UK’s top companies, according to the equalities watchdog.

Nearly a third of the UK’s biggest companies largely rely on personal networks to identify new board members, the study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found. Most roles are not advertised, it said. “Our top boards still remain blatantly male and white,” said EHRC commissioner Laura Carstensen.

The study, which looked at appointment practices in the UK’s largest 350 listed firms, which make up the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250, found more than 60% had not met a voluntary target of 25% female board members. In fact in 2012-13 and 2013-14, the period of the study, fewer than half of companies increased their female board representation.

The EHRC said the problem was particularly acute for executive roles, where nearly three quarters of FTSE 100 companies and 90% of FTSE 250 companies had no female executives at all on their boards during the time covered by the study.

The research comes just months after a report found there were no longer any all male boards in the UK’s FTSE 100 companies.

But the EHRC said the “headline progress” of Britain’s biggest companies was “masking the reality”. “The good work of a forward thinking minority masks that many top businesses are still only paying lip service to improving the representation of women on boards. The recruitment process to the boards of Britain’s top companies remains shadowy and opaque and is acting as a barrier to unleashing female talent,” added Ms Carstensen.

The EHRC said too few companies were setting targets or encouraging applications from women with job descriptions and were relying on vague terms such as “chemistry” and “fit” rather than clearly defined skills and experience.

Other findings in the report:
> Men outnumber women in senior positions in the FTSE 350 by a ratio of around 4:1
> Three quarters of FTSE 350 companies have two or fewer women on their boards
> Nearly three quarters of FTSE 100 companies have no female executive director and 90% of the FTSE 250 have no female executive directors
>Companies with no women on their boards are more than twice as likely to rely on personal networks to fill roles than companies with more women on their boards

On Tuesday a government-commissioned review, led by Virgin Money’s chief executive, Jayne-Anne Gadhia recommended that financial services companies link parts of executive remuneration packages to gender balance targets. It also suggested that companies set internal targets for gender diversity in their senior ranks and publish progress reports.

Sports Direct ‘Clarifies’ Earnings Forecast

Sports Direct ‘Clarifies’ Earnings Forecast after Mike Ashley Comments
Sports Direct has said it expects full-year underlying earnings to be “at or around the bottom” of a previously estimated range. The sportswear retailer issued a statement after its shares dived on Tuesday following comments from founder and deputy chairman Mike Ashley.

Mr Ashley was quoted by The Times as saying “we can’t make the same profit we made last year”. He also said: “We are in trouble, we are not trading very well.”

Sports Direct’s shares fell more than 10% on Tuesday following the comments.

In a short statement on Wednesday, Sports Direct said it now estimated that underlying earnings for the full year to the end of April 2016 “are at or around the bottom of the range announced on 8 January 2016”, which was between £380m and £420m.

On Tuesday, the House of Commons speaker said MPs could order Mr Ashley to answer their questions about how his workers are treated. John Bercow said the matter could be taken further by immediately assessing if Mike Ashley could be held in contempt for refusing to appear at Westminster.

Mr Ashley branded MPs “a joke” on Monday as he said he would not attend, despite being formally summoned.

A Commons committee wants to quiz him over a review of staff conditions.

A BBC investigation in October 2015 found that ambulances were called out to the headquarters of Sports Direct 76 times in two years.

Former workers said some staff were “too scared” to take sick leave because they feared losing their jobs. Sports Direct said at the time that it aimed to provide safe working conditions for all. In December, the company said it would review all agency worker terms and conditions.

Ofcom Tells BT to Improve its Business Services

Ofcom Tells BT to Improve its Business Services
Communications watchdog Ofcom has told BT to install high-speed cables to businesses much faster and reduce the prices it charges for them. It follows its review into “leased lines” which are used by big businesses and mobile and broadband operators to transfer data on their networks. Most of these lines are owned and maintained on behalf of competing providers by BT.

Ofcom said BT’s performance had not been “acceptable.”

The draft proposals come less than a month after Ofcom promised measures to improve BT’s Openreach operation, which is its business responsible for telecoms and broadband infrastructure. In February the regulator stopped short of demanding it was split from BT, but said it was still an option.

Ofcom said that Openreach was taking too long to install leased lines and was not providing enough certainty that the services would be provided by the date first given to customers.

Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom’s competition group director, said: “BT is relied on by many companies to install these lines, and its performance has not been acceptable. “These new rules will mean companies across the UK benefit from faster installations times, greater certainty about installation dates and fast repairs if things go wrong.”

It said since 2011 the average time between a customer’s order and the line being ready to use had increased from 40 working days to 48.

Ofcom wants that reduced to 46 days by the end of March 2017 and returned to 40 days by 2018. The regulator also found that Openreach was failing to complete one in four leased line installations on the initial date it promised customers. It wants Openreach to have completed 80% of leased line installations on the date initially promised, rising to 90% by the year after.

Openreach must also fix at least 94% of faults on its leased line network within five hours.

The regulator plans to reduce the wholesale prices BT charges for leased lines services over three years and expects those reductions to be passed on to businesses. It wants BT to give competitors access to its optical fibre network, which would allow rivals to take direct control of the connection.

UK Inflation Rate Stays at 0.3%

UK Inflation Rate Stays at 0.3%
The UK’s inflation rate remained at 0.3% in February, the same as the previous month. Rising food prices, especially for vegetables, helped keep the Consumer Prices Index unchanged, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Annual inflation has been below the Bank of England’s 2% target for two years, and last year it was zero. The Bank said last month that it expected inflation to stay below 1% this year.

Under the separate Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure, which includes housing costs, inflation was 1.3% in February, also unchanged from the previous month.

Other ONS figures published at the same time indicated that Chancellor George Osborne is close to missing his target for cutting the country’s budget deficit in the 2015-16 financial year. Government borrowing fell less than expected in February, coming in at £7.1bn, according to the ONS. That brings the total deficit for the 11 months of the year so far to £70.7bn, as against the chancellor’s full-year target of £72.2bn.

SEO to Market your Business on the Internet

SEO to Market your Business on the Internet
If you want to be sure that your company’s website has the best possible chances of success you might want to consider hiring an expert service such as Direct Submit to help you create an internet marketing strategy that is certain to ensure that your website is seen in all the right places and by all the right people, helping your internet based sales and leads begin to grow in no time at all.

seo-services

Effective Search Engine Optimisation
By implementing strategies such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) at Direct Submit they are able to your ensure that your businesses website will be seen by the people that are already looking for services or products that you provide.  By making sure that your business appears higher up on the pages of results produced by search engines such as Google or Yahoo, people will be far more likely to see your site and click through to your page, increasing the amount of relevant traffic that your website receives.

Making sure that your page can be found by potential customers and investors is essential if you want your online business to grow, no matter how small or large a company is if their website is difficult to find it is unlikely to be a success.  Effective SEO requires ongoing motoring and maintenance along with expert knowledge making it a time consuming and complicated process, although when it is carried out correctly the results can really pay off.

So if you are a new business or your existing website isn’t performing as well as you would like contacting a company such as Direct Submit could be a really worthwhile investment.  Their friendly team are always on hand to help you plan an internet marketing strategy that is completely suited to your company’s individual needs and implement it to the highest standards, not only saving you a lot of time and effort, but also boosting your internet sales far more quickly than you may think.

By employing an expert service such as Direct Submit you will be able to have more time to get on with other work to keep your business growing while they make sure that your website really works for you. With a focus on paying attention to detail and providing every client with the right advice so they can help them build an SEO strategy that is completely suited to the needs of their business, they pride themselves on offering the best possible service to every business no matter how small or large.

With each stage of the process being carried out by one of their team of fully trained staff including key phrase research, website analysis and compliance, SEO promotion and marketing, linking strategy and ongoing monitoring and maintenance you can be certain on having expert advice and support every step of the way.

For more information on making your website work harder for you, or you would simply like to discuss your Internet Marketing or Search Engine Optimisation project, call us today on 0845 2722350 or visit the Direct Submit website.