Small-business satisfaction: Small businesses are more positive about their relationships with banks than at any time since the recession, according to the Bank of England. The bank’s third report into the financing of small firms found that banks have concentrated on improving relationships, with many clearing banks differentiating and segmenting their small-business customers to provide them with the most appropriate service. Positive developments include small businesses no longer having to rely on variable rate overdrafts as they did five years ago, says Howard Davies, the bank’s deputy governor. But he warns of continued difficulties which make it “hard to say the UK was getting the most out of the entrepreneurship evident in our small firms”.

The damage of interest on late payment: Any law allowing interest to be charged on bills that are paid late would damage small businesses, says a new study carried out by the credit management research group of Bradford University’s management centre. This comes amid moves to persuade legislators to give businesses a statutory right to add interest to late payments.The Forum of Private Business has lobbied for a legal right to interest and Ian Peters, head of National Westminster Bank’s small-business services, is making a case at the European Commission round table on small enterprises. But the Bradford study finds that credit is part of small-business common practice and that larger companies would benefit most from a statutory right of interest. “When we asked companies who was paying them late, it was predominantly small companies,” says Professor Nick Wilson, Bradford’s study team leader.

Criminal attacks rise: There were almost 600 000 criminal attacks on commercial premises last year, and designers are no strangers to these incidents. The North East Risk Management group has launched an updated publication offering security and fire prevention advice for all commercial buildings. Sponsored by Thorn Security, the booklet is called Building Security by Management and Design and has been put together by specialists from business, local government, the police, the fire service and security and insurance industries to “produce a blueprint for action”, according to a NREMG spokesman. A free copy of the booklet is available from Justine Scott at Thorn Security on 01932 743060.

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