Business Connections

Small Talk: Labour’s small-firm backing stokes job creation hopes

‘‘If we want to tackle unemployment, we should promote policies that favour small businesses’’

Market Report: Healthy result as Ixico takes over Phytopharm

The drug company that gave up on a failed new treatment for Parkinson’s, having raised millions from the likes of the Michael J Fox Foundation, has received a clean bill of health after a reverse take- over yesterday.

Small Talk: It’s time to relieve little firms of the business rate millstone

Don’t be surprised if small businesses dismiss Chancellor Osborne’s support as two-faced

Small Talk: Firms must start to switch banks now it’s much easier

No bank is  launching an  introductory deal to entice small  business customers

Small Talk: Banks drag their feet over interest-rate swaps scandal

Britain’s banks insist they want to support small and medium-sized enterprises. So why have they been so slow to resolve the multi-billion pound interest-rate swaps mis-selling scandal?

Small Talk: Profits slump for TalkSport owner UTV after fall in advertising

Profits have slumped more than 40% at TalkSport owner UTV because of an advertising drought as there has been no big football tournament this summer.

Small Talk: It’s vital for start-ups that we nurture creative talent

Conflicting interpretations of the figures published by exam boards in recent weeks have prompted much debate over the current state of Britain’s education system.

Small Talk: Zero-hours contracts? Key for growth

Depending on whose figures you use, small and medium-sized enterprises account for between 60 and 70 per cent of jobs in the UK economy, and are behind as much as two-thirds of new job creation.

Small Talk: SME lending data throws up more questions than answers

Britain’s banks are convinced the key to repairing their relationships with customers is to be ever-more transparent about their activities. So it is that they have just published detailed statistics on lending to small and medium-sized enterprises in 120 postcodes around the country, including data on how much cash these SMEs have on deposit in the banks.

Small Talk: Slow progress in overcoming unpopular energy rollovers

One down, five to go. British Gas last week announced it would unilaterally abolish automatic rollover of energy contracts for small business customers in September. So will the rest of the Big Six gas and electricity providers follow its lead?

Small Talk: Eurozone is the best choice for taking first step in exports

It has become fashionable to urge British companies to look beyond the struggling eurozone

Small Talk: SMEs which can't get off the ground are the real headache

As former regulator Sir Andrew Large begins yet another inquiry into whether banks are starving small businesses of credit – in his case, specifically Royal Bank of Scotland – it is worth asking whether we are worrying most about the right people. The small and medium-sized enterprises that believe they have been unfairly turned down for lending may complain this is inhibiting their growth potential, but at least they were able to get off the ground in the first place. The next generation of SMEs may not be so fortunate.

Small Talk: Crowdfunding can flourish but it still needs a watchdog

Raise your glasses to BrewDog, the Scottish brewery company in the middle of a £4m growth capital campaign. It is raising the money from equity investors through a private share sale and looks likely to hit its target with no difficulties at all – £1m came in on the first day of the share issue.

Small Talk: It's time SMEs got a better deal on banks competition

The financial crisis may have sent economic growth into a tailspin, but it has been a major boon for one cottage industry: there is no end in sight to the inquiries and investigations into banking that the crisis has prompted. Still, the latest of these inquiries, an Office of Fair Trading investigation into competition in banking for small and medium-sized enterprises, represents an important opportunity.

News
A general view shows the skyline of a central business district in Beijing on November 27, 2013. Foreign investment into China rose 5.77 percent on year in the first 10 months of 2013, the government said on November 19.
Central to China’s agenda of driving growth through economic reform is a shift from debt-driven investment to consumption
News
Horses are given an early morning workout at Churchill Downs race track in Louisville ahead of tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby
Despite a decline in American horse racing, tomorrow’s meeting might be the most lucrative sporting event on Earth, writes Andrew Dewson
News
Six banks were fined, including Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), for trying to manipulate foreign-currency prices are a stark reminder of the need for sweeping changes
James Moore wonders if anyone noticed there were some good bits in Royal Bank of Scotland’s results
News
The weak dollar has led to speculation that Janet Yellen will not press ahead with a first rate hike since 2006
Fed chair, Janet Yellen, is expected to announce a rise in rates in the final quarter of 2015. Hamish McRae with Economic View
News
Stansted gets connected with Dundee from 30 March
Spare a thought for Anthony Brooke, one of the two men forced on to Alliance Trust’s board by Elliott Advisors, says Jamie Dunkley
News
Shoppers wait for Woolworths in Ashford, Kent, to open so they can hunt for bargains at the chain's closing down sale
Many commentators think businesses will breath a sigh of relief following the ruling
News
Parliamentary Business: The Lib Dems' centre of gravity on the EU has shifted. Mark Leftly finds the eurozone crisis has sharpened opinions
News
Women and the young are finding it more difficult than men to match with jobs that offer them the hours they desire
More hours mean lower benefit bills, higher tax takes and rising wages. David Blanchflower explains how falling jobless figures conceal a problem at the heart of the economy
News
Katherine Garrett-Cox opposes appointments at Elliott Advisors mooted by a hedge fund
Elliott has won the day and Alliance will need to work quickly to address that issue, says James Moore
News
Plans put forward by Ed Miliband have been met with derision by leading property figures (Getty)
Pledges to build millions of new dwellings, fiddling with stamp duty for first-time buyers – politicians are promising whatever they think the electorate wants to hear. Russell Lynch takes an unbiased look at the main parties’ election manifestos
News
Xavier Rolet says the economy will be pivotal in deciding how we vote
News
Protestors demonstrate outside a testy HSBC annual general meeting in London
HSBC’s shares were jumping like a grasshopper in spring in the wake of reports that it is considering spinning off the bank that brought it over to London in the first place, says James Moore
News
File photo
Employers should have an anti-harassment and bullying policy, which is properly communicated to the whole workforce, says Matt Gingell
News
The founders of Brew Dog, James Watt and Martin Dickie, with bottles of Tokyo*
This is an industry that has posted, on aggregate, compound annual growth of more than 100 per cent over the past three years, writes David Prosser
News
A Grimsby trawler: outside the South-east the economy is weak
There is widespread evidence that under-employment has risen even more sharply than the unemployment rate, says David Blanchflower
News
A court sketch shows Navinder Singh Sarao opposing his
extradition to the US at Westminster magistrates’ court
The Independent spoke to workers in the City on their lunch break
News
Protests against Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff
After a clear-out of executives and with dozens of politicians being investigated, the company's new chief has announced a clean start. Tom Bawden and Jamie Dunkley report
News
Bob Diamond’s bonuses ran into the hundreds of millions of pounds at Barclays
The disgraceful, shameful actions of Deutsche’s traders and of their colleagues who attempted to frustrate regulatory investigations are beginning to elicit merely a weary shrug of the shoulders, says James Moore
News
Protest rally in June 2011 in front of the parliament in Athens expresses opposition to a new austerity package
Hamish McRae can’t find a single developed country that has accumulated a national debt of 175 per cent of GDP in peacetime and not defaulted
News
Barclays is set to face its shareholders during what is likely to be another hostile AGM season after the demonstrations last year
Boardroom heads rolled when investors rose up and staged a series of pay revolts in the 2012 AGM season. Jamie Dunkley examines whether the events that rocked the City of London were game-changing or have been consigned to history
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Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living