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Half of UK small companies say rising costs will hit growth

Half of UK small companies say rising costs will hit growth. Trading Standards aims to bring lucidity to compliance to ease business burdens.

Nearly 50 percent of UK companies have raised concerns that rising costs of doing business in the UK will likely impact growth in the coming months. In order to ease the burden for consumer-facing entities, Business Companion – the resource centre developed by the Chartered Institute of Trading Standards – has built a range of guides for traders of all kinds.

The concerns have been raised through a survey conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses that found many companies are worried about the pressures of rising fuel and utility costs, higher taxes, and the increase in national insurance. Externally, the war in Ukraine, the pandemic and Brexit uncertainties have destabilised supplies and forced small business exports to a two-year low.

To bring some stability to day-to-day operations, the Business Companion website aims to reduce compliance risks, providing information and advice around the legal requirements of doing business. Guides are added on a regular basis, and range in industry and topic from information on responsible marketing of knives, bladed items and hazardous materials, to instructions on the labelling of prepacked-for-direct-sale foods, delivery charges, legal requirements for IVF fertility clinics and direction for the licensing of animal activities. Guidance has been extended and updated to cover areas where compliance is specific – such as holiday bookings, care homes, renewable energy installation, online platforms and age-restricted sales. General guidance useful for the wider business community has also been published, on key issues such as Alternative Dispute Resolution and consumer vulnerability.

Making sure they are trading on the right side of the law is essential for the proper maintenance of any organisation, but given the current difficult market conditions, few can run the risk of fines, penalties, or the possibility of a period of enforced closure. All organisations are required to comply with a range of legal requirements on an ongoing basis – and often traders need to know those obligations offhand. The Business Companion site’s Business in Focus series contains a collection of guides, checklists, explainer videos and other resources to help companies understand the laws they must be familiar with.

The resource is free to use and updated regularly, notably when there is a change in the laws that companies need to be brought up to speed with.

“Traders have a duty to protect consumers,” stated a recent press release distributed by CTSI, “especially when they are dealing with potentially dangerous products or providing critical services to at-risk groups and you are responsible for keeping up with the requirements particular to your business. Business Companion can help you meet those obligations, avoid the risk of enforcement action or legal penalties, and be safe in the knowledge that you are playing your part in keeping the public safe and your customers happy.”

As businesses look to navigate these difficult economic and trading conditions, clarity around the web of laws that organisations must abide by is welcomed, as is the trust that compliance engenders among consumers.

To read the Business Companion resources, click here.

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