Also in the news this week - 17 March 2017

Inflation to erode real wages

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has upgraded its UK GDP growth forecast for 2017 from 1.1% to 1.4%. But it has downgraded its expectations for 2018 from 1.4% to 1.3%, and published its first forecast for 2019 of 1.5% growth. It predicts that inflation will breach the Bank of England's 2% target this quarter; while average earnings will hold steady, the inflationary pressures are likely to erode real wages. As a result, it says, consumer spending is expected to slow substantially.

Companies House launches Follow service

A free Follow service has been launched that allows people to receive email alerts on companies they are interested in from Companies House. The email reveals what's been filed with Companies House as soon as it has been accepted. The email will also contain a link to the filing history of the company. Users can follow any company on Companies House, including - for added security - their own.

FSB to launch membership for would-be entrepreneurs

A new type of membership offer from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has been developed to meet the needs of new entrepreneurs and those about to establish a business. FSB Business Creation, launching in Spring 2017, will give members that are planning to start a business phone access to a team of new-business advisors, networking opportunities and other benefits and services.

Number of companies reaches record high

The number of companies in the UK has hit the four million mark for the first time. According to data from Companies House and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) there were 4,005,093 companies and similar businesses registered in the UK as of February this year. A record 664,720 companies started in the UK in 2016. John Korchak, director of operations at Inform Direct, said: "These figures underline the positive entrepreneurial culture in the UK, with small business continuing to drive economic growth."

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