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This Week in Business

This Week in Business

The business forecast is sunny for the manufacturing and services sectors as a whole, after they both posted strong results over the past few months.

Indeed, the UK’s manufacturing sector managed to grow at its fastest rate for three years in April, according to research from IHS Markit. The service sector has seen “stellar” performance after a slow start to the year, and although businesses aren’t quite as optimistic as they used to be, job creation grew to a four-month high. The rise in services activity was attributed to resilient business-to-business demand, indicating there will be more and more opportunities for SMMEs to supply their goods and services to bigger firms going forward.

The outlook isn’t quite as positive for construction, however. Although growth unexpectedly accelerated in April, most of this comes from large civil engineering firms, who are seeing some increased demand for their services. There was also a small boost to residential building, which hit a four-month high. Little of this is being enjoyed by small businesses however, as SMMEs are finding their everyday operations significantly more costly. Construction costs have increased for the sixth consecutive month, making it harder for businesses to keep expenditure down.

Skills for Londoners

The Mayor of London last week launched the Skills for Londoners programme, a news skills agenda to boost training for Londoners, including a £114 million investment in the capital’s further education colleges and other training providers. Part of the package is the launch of the Construction Skills Academy, which aims to increase the number of skilled construction workers in London. Support will be provided for SMMEs in construction who have vacancies to fill.

Flexible working

London is leading the way for flexible employment practice, according to research from Powwownow. The research showed that a total of three hours and 31 minutes is allowed in the Big Smoke, compared to the UK average of two hours and 34 minutes.

Flexible working is becoming increasingly important for younger, skilled workers, and is particularly attractive for workers in tech. However, more than half of recruits aren’t being proactively offered these options, which may be discouraging potential employees from joining a firm. Positioning your business as a great place to work is an important strand of branding- our upcoming workshop on branding will help you develop the image your business presents.

If you have any questions or would like further information about the range of support on offer in the Building Legacies Programme, please contact or call the office on 020 7537 6480.


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