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Money Talk: Mr Osborne's very unwelcome surprises

George Osborne presented his first proper Tory Budget on July 8 and, while it left many things unchanged from the earlier March version, there were some announcements that did take commentators particularly various employers' and business organisations by surprise. Probably the biggest of these surprises, and one that naturally hasn't gone down very well with employers, was the announcement of the National Living Wage (NLW). The pre-July Budget scenario was that there were increases to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) due to come into effect from October 1, with the resulting rates becoming:

Money Talk: Auto Enrolment - creeping ever closer

We've mentioned it before, but make no excuse for highlighting it again: Auto Enrolment is coming your way and you need to be ready for it. We're talking about the legal responsibility of all employers to provide an appropriate, approved workplace pension scheme for their staff. It doesn't matter whether you run a site as a dealer, or as a commission-operator; whether you trade as a limited company or as a sole-trader/partnership: if you employ staff and are registered as an employer with HMRC then Auto Enrolment will affect you. The only question is 'when' and the short answer is 'anytime between now and October 2018'.

Money Talk: How to help with your business rates revaluation

The latest round of property valuations for business rates purposes is now in full swing. Since early February, the Valuations Office Agency (VOA) has been issuing questionnaires to thousands of businesses across England and Wales, and a similar exercise is happening in Scotland. The information will be used to update the rateable values of business premises as at a nominal date of April 1, 2015, with this forming the basis of the business rates to be charged from April 2017.

Money Talk: Don't ignore individual site-operator finances

Hardly a day goes by without the sell-off of yet another tranche of forecourts by a major oil company to one of the numerous independently-owned groups in the UK retail market. Almost inevitably there are the associated recruitment ads by some of these same groups, looking for people to join them as site managers or more often commission operators, to run the sites that they're acquiring. This pattern has been going on for a while now, and seems destined to continue until the last of the traditional oil companies sells off its last retail property in the UK.

Money Talk: Budget 2015 (the March one)

It was always likely to be a strange Budget coming as it did just seven weeks before the General Election which looks highly likely to end without any clear winning majority. The Chancellor had to stand up and deliver a Budget that somehow appealed to his existing voters but didn't scare off those who might be thinking of joining them on May 7; and do so in the knowledge that he might not be in a position to put his announced measures into practice after that date.

Money Talk: Why small businesses need accountancy advice

We meet owners of small businesses at many events trade shows, franchise seminars, awards functions and just about anywhere else where business people gather. Being friendly, we speak to them. In oh-so-many instances, our newly-found acquaintance will say something along the lines of: "Mine's only a small business" or "I only run a com-op site" invariably followed by "so I don't really need much accounting" Maybe it's just a polite way of trying to end a conversation with accountants?

Money Talk: Fuel price crash continues - for now

It's difficult to avoid using hyperbole when describing the current fall in pump prices: unparalleled is one adjective that springs to mind. Even those of us who've been involved in this business for 30 or more years struggle to remember anything quite like it.

Money Talk: We're now trading in a deflationary universe

It seemed that many consumer spokespersons and media commentators were in a state of glee with each seemingly daily fall in the price of oil in the closing weeks of 2014. At times there was an almost vicious element to some of the pieces; some celebrating the oil industry getting its comeuppance for causing years of misery, others insisting that because the price of Brent Crude had dropped from $130 to around $60 per barrel, petrol prices still hadn't fallen far enough, fast enough. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the media coverage was written by people who have no idea how any industry actually works, and wouldn't know what a barrel of Brent Crude was even if you tipped one over them.

Money Talk: Are you brave enough to try our end-of-year quiz?

1] Your accounts show total shop turnover for the year as £240,000 at an overall GP% of 19%. But your business plan was based on an expected GP of 23% on sales of £220,000. How far off-target is your gross profit against the business plan?

Money Talk: Average forecourt pay rates rise by 1.3%

As we've been doing every year since 1998, we've once again taken the payroll data that PAYEPeople processes on behalf of hundreds of forecourt operators across the UK to find the real pay rates that were being paid to nearly 6,000 individual hourly-paid employees, giving a true snapshot of what's being paid.]

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 4 November 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East130.9367.90138.13126.75
East Midlands130.73139.73126.64
London130.73139.60127.04
North East129.5562.90137.10125.31
North West129.9963.90138.40126.48
Northern Ireland128.05133.57124.33
Scotland130.6059.30137.24126.23
South East131.4566.90139.66127.42
South West130.7674.90137.94126.68
Wales129.84136.06125.42
West Midlands130.4059.90137.63126.57
Yorkshire & Humber130.02139.47126.29

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When a major car manufacturer like Ford predicts that sales of its electrified cars will outnumber petrol and diesel models by 2022, does that ring alarm bells about the possible speed of change for forecourts?

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