To Have Or Have Not 
As news emerges that pay for the directors of many of the UK’s FTSE 100 companies rose 50 per cent over the past year, research shows that the average pay rise in the private sector was just 2.6 per cent. And in the public sector there has been a general pay freeze for most workers.

The research, from Incomes Data Service (IDS), an independent research organisation, highlights a growing divide between private and public sector pay awards. And in both sectors, average pay is well below the current rate of inflation, which stood at 5.2 per cent last month.

Ken Mulkearn, editor of IDS Pay Report said: "The different experiences of the public and private sectors are shaping the difference between the level of pay settlements between the two sectors."

"While pay awards are ahead in the private sector, they are still some way behind inflation, even in manufacturing where pay awards are higher in comparison to other sectors," he added.

Further data from IDS show an even greater divide, as the research reveals that the average pay for a director of a FTSE 100 company is now over £2.5m.

And the handsome remuneration doesn’t just stop at salary; directors’ bonus payments rose on average by 23 per cent over the last year, taking the average bonus to £906,000.

Editor of this report, Steve Tatton said that closer scrutiny of bonus payments was expected in the future and that "remuneration committees will have to make sure that they are able to provide full and thorough justifications for the bonuses awarded."

Meanwhile, down at the other end of the pay scale, the TUC is calling on the Low Pay Commission to recommend rising the nation minimum wage – currently £6.08 per hour for an adult aged over 21 - next year by more than the rate of inflation.

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Small Businesses Lose Money Through Energy Inefficiency 
According to E.ON, one of the UK’s leading energy suppliers, small businesses in the UK are losing £7.7bn every year because they aren’t taking sufficient care in improving their energy efficiency.

Research by E.ON showed that nearly four million of the UK’s 4.8 million small businesses just aren’t aware of energy efficiency measures and equipment. For example, of the businesses surveyed, almost nine out of 10 did not have lighting timers or motion sensors and 13 per cent said that they left the windows open when the air conditioning or heating was on.

The survey also found significant frustration around the subject among employees, with almost 90 percent saying that their fellow employees’ attitude to energy efficiency was ‘irresponsible,’ while 84 percent said their company’s approach to the environment affects their overall happiness in the workplace.

With price increases for businesses of as much as 30 per cent over the last year, the cost of energy is now one of the highest bills companies have to pay, so it makes sense to take measures to improve energy efficiency.

The research exposes small businesses in the financial and professional services sectors as being the least savvy when it comes to energy efficiency awareness. Almost all of the small businesses surveyed from these sectors were unaware that they are missing out on savings of up to £2,000 per year each.

"Introducing small changes in your business behaviour, like installing energy saving equipment, light sensors and smart meters, can have a significant financial impact on your energy bills," said Iain Walker, head of business sales at E.ON.

"With energy saving playing a key role in employees' happiness in the workplace, taking a more efficient approach makes sense. It's a win, win, win situation - saving your business money, helping protect the environment and improving the happiness of employees."

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QE2 No Guarantee Of Lending 
Bank of England Governor Mervyn King has told MPs that the £75bn the Bank has injected into the economy in a bid to aid the UK’s recovery is no guarantee that the commercial banks will lend more to business.

However, Mr King said that he thought that lending would have fallen if the action had not been taken and denied waiting for too long before agreeing on taking the step of a further injection of cash.

Giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee, Mr King said: "I can't guarantee that it means that bank lending will rise, but what I do believe is that it won't fall as far as it might otherwise have done,"

"I think the action will make a difference to the amount of lending, but it certainly doesn't guarantee that lending to the real economy is positive.

"Only the banks are in a position to assess credit risks for SMEs. What we have to do is to find ways of giving incentives to the existing banks in order to lend more."

£200bn had already been pumped into the economy in 2009, so this second round of quantitative easing, or QE, has been dubbed QE2. When asked why the Bank had waited for so long to incrase its QE programme.

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Nick Clegg Calls For Relaxation Of Rules 
In a speech to small business leaders in East London later today Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will call for a reduction in the number of “intrusive visits” that state inspectors can make on businesses.

Some companies face up to 12 visits a year from such bodies as Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) or the Health and Safety Executive. Mr Clegg will suggest that this be cut down to a maximum of two annually.

Mr Clegg says that the Liberal Democrats support moves to reduce red tape and support “intelligent, effective regulation”. He will also criticise the previous Labour administration for introducing an average of six new regulations a day.

“The diehards will tell you that the Liberal Democrats share Labour’s love of regulation, that we are red tape-wielding zealots intent on gold-plating every new offering from Brussels – but that is absolute nonsense,” he will say.

However, Mr Clegg will mount a defence of some regulation saying that deregulation is not the “be all and end all for growth”, describing such a position as “ridiculous”.

“Where people have expressed support for regulation, we’re keeping it,” he will say. “Like with the hallmarking system for gold and silver. But, if it’s tedious and pointless, it’s going.“

“So, no more insisting that a shop selling kitchen descaler has a poisons license. No more having to pay for a piece of paper just to put on a little live music in a pub. Where there were twelve pieces of legislation on consumer rights, we’re collapsing them into one.”

The Government has already begun a plan to cut bureaucracy for businesses amid claims that the reforms have already saved British businesses £3bn. However, the British Chamber of Commerce said last month that new regulations had imposed £45m on businesses.

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“Forgotten’ Medium-Sized Businesses 
A report issued today by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and management consultancy McKinsey has said that the Government and City should focus on Britain’s ‘forgotten army’ of medium-sized firms as a way of boosting the economy by up to £50bn a year over the next decade.

Such businesses, with a turnover of between £10m and £100m, represent less than 1 per cent of all businesses in the UK but generate 22 per cent of revenue and 16 per cent of all jobs.

According to the report, new measures should include improving access to finance for these companies, especially in the bond markets and nurturing our own version of the German ‘Mittelstand’.

In the German model only 10 per cent of family firms is run by the eldest son whereas in the UK the figure is 50 per cent. The report also notes that second-generation, family owned companies run by sons generally underperform and that too few executives have a university qualification.

Director General of the CBI, John Cridland, said: "Medium-sized businesses are truly a forgotten army, and now is the time to unlock their potential.

"We should be championing, nurturing and encouraging our mid-sized firms so that more of them grow and create jobs.”

Mr Cridland went on to say: “"I want the UK to have its own version of the German "Mittelstand".... These future champions would help the UK weather unexpected economic shocks, and act as a new engine for growth.

"To achieve extra growth, medium-sized firms must have access to new kinds of finance. This means opening UK bond markets to medium-sized businesses, encouraging use of venture capital, and making it easier for large companies to invest in medium ones, possibly in their supply chains."

A Department for Business spokesperson said: "We welcome the CBI's focus on the UK's mid-sized companies.... The Government is already focused on this group as part of the growth review"

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