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Welcome to the February 2020 Newsletter from Certax Accounting

February 12, 2020

The Chancellor recently announced that the 2020 Budget will be delivered on Wednesday 11 March. The 2020 Budget will be the first to be delivered after the UK's scheduled departure from the EU on 31 January.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) recently suggested that average household debt is higher now than it was during the 2008 financial crisis. Unsecured household debt increased to £14,540 in the third quarter of 2019.

Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has called for UK businesses to act now to combat climate change. However, the WEF believes most firms are 'ill-equipped' to do so.

 

Average household debt higher now than during financial crisis, study suggests

According to a study carried out by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), UK average household debt is now higher than during the 2008 financial crisis.

Average household debt is currently 31% above its peak before the financial crisis, the TUC said.

The study revealed that unsecured household debt rose to £14,540 during the third quarter of 2019, representing a rise of £430 when compared to the same period in 2018. Total unsecured debt increased to £407 billion in the third quarter of 2019.

The TUC believes the key reasons for weaknesses in wages are a low minimum wage, job insecurity, slow wage growth and a decade of austerity. It has called for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) to be raised to £10 an hour 'as quickly as possible'; a ban on zero-hour contracts; stronger work rights for insecure workers; and an investment plan to 'boost growth across the nation'.

'The reason we're seeing this is bad management of the economy,' said Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the TUC.

'Wages are still worth less than a decade ago. Too many people have insecure jobs with uncertain hours.

'No more excuses – the government must put together an urgent plan to improve living standards and to help families struggling with dangerous levels of debt.'

 

WEF states businesses must take action to combat climate change

In a new report, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has stated that businesses must take action now to tackle climate change.

In its latest Global Risks Report, the WEF suggested that most businesses are 'ill-equipped to address climate change risk'.

The WEF's Global Risks Report is part of its Global Risks Initiative, which brings stakeholders together in order to develop 'sustainable, integrated solutions to the world's most pressing challenges'.

The report stated that many firms 'may not be planning for the physical and financial risks that climate change may have on their activities and across their value chains'.

The WEF surveyed business leaders and found that none of their top ten business risks are environmental in nature. The Forum urged businesses to 'reassess assets, reconcile trade-offs and develop new capabilities to move towards a more sustainable model'.

Commenting on the issue, Peter Giger, Group Chief Risk Officer at Zurich Insurance Group, said: 'It is critical that companies and policymakers move faster to transition to a low carbon economy and more sustainable business models. We are already seeing companies destroyed by failing to align their strategies to shifts in policy and customer preferences.'

 

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