Daily Archive: April 1, 2017

Apr
01

Industrial heartland is in no fit state to pump up UK exports

With its manufacturing and engineering tradition, the West Midlands should be at the forefront of British hopes for exporting beyond Europe. Sadly, on most measures, it is in no position to do so

Brexit, according to its cheerleaders, offers British businesses the chance to expand trade beyond Europe to the rest of the world. Trade minister Liam Fox infamously said the easy option of shipping goods across the Channel had deterred businesses large and small from looking further afield. They had become fat and lazy, and now they would be forced to be more entrepreneurial.

Setting aside the reasons why countries all over the world mostly export to their neighbours (it’s cheaper, and there are shared histories and cultures) and try to do so within free-trade blocs (profits are higher when tariffs are low and regulations are harmonised). let’s consider the question of how fat and lazy business has become. Is it ready to accept Fox’s challenge?

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Apr
01

The car-loan boom isn’t the housing bubble. But there still might be a crash

The growth in credit and fall in savings have alarming echoes of the financial crisis. But at least regulators are no longer asleep at the wheel

Could it be 2005 and 2006 all over again? Industry figures last week showed that UK credit-card debt has soared while the savings rate has plunged to an all-time low. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, data shows that late last year car loans were being taken out at a faster rate than any time in US history.

Almost everyone in America leases a car or buys it using cheap credit. Except that they don’t take the opportunity to lower their outgoings and cut their monthly loan bills. Instead, they take the cheap credit and buy a bigger car. A much bigger car.

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Apr
01

How Karen Millen lost the battle for her name – and her fortune

The designer who became a global brand has been declared bankrupt after years of court action and financial bad luck

Karen Millen is used to seeing her name in lights. With 400 outlets spread across 65 countries, there is even a store that bears the Kent-born designer’s name in Mongolia.

But last week Karen Millen, the woman, became famous all over again for the wrong reasons, after suffering the humiliation of being declared bankrupt over an unpaid tax bill.

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