Blog Archive

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Monthly Noteworthy News:

Bank Taxes to Fund Future Bailouts

The IMF is set to propose new taxes on global financial institutions. FSC (Financial Stability Contribution) and the FAT  Tax ( Financial Activities Tax) – did we just see irony? – will be placed on profits and pay. The next G20 held, Canada in June, is certain to have much to talk about. 

Inflation Rate rate at 3.4%

With a target of 2%  from the Bank of England (BofE), when above-target inflation persists the BofE is likely to raise its rate, although The BofE has held its interest rate at 0.5%.  The reasons given for the acceleration is higher fuel costs, air transport and food along with oil prices soaring   and petrol prices increasing

Dancer for Money

No, we’re not about to burst into song,  aka Tina Turner, but Barclays Live  has launched a regional competition for dancers. Wonder if we’ll be seeing any winners in future promo ads; we’re thinking a fusion of Halifax Howard, Diversity  and the Barclaycard rollercoaster. For those who dance for their money in a different way there is always the Small Step campaign  aimed at new and existing businesses. Rhetorical question:  a small step up for some ?

April Musings:

Ethical Money: Transparent Oxymoron or an Elephant in the Room? - The effect of fairness and the treatment of others.

We’re Guilty…..  - Reaction to the realisation of overspending.

Addicted to Money….. Or a Prescription for Pain  - Is handling money and pain such a new idea?

High Five?  -  5 bullet points that haven’t changed……. just like the economy.

Outside the Box – No clues required – Investigate  – Mistrust, blood-stained knife and CSI forensic science.

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

Questioning Changes….

Justifiable concerns needing answers require questions and knowing how to know seems especially necessary in our fast paced world.

Evaluating acquired knowledge should provide necessary information, or create further questions for further information.  A statement with syntax found more likely in flat pack instructions but not difficult to follow to be ready for anything, hence;

Cheque guarantee cards are being phased out in 2011 and we assume that cheques will be written up to the date of their own death, so it would be reasonable to ask, when will the cheque take its final breath?  We understand that 2016 is the final decision date for demise of cheque usage, from 31st October 2018, but we don’t yet know how it’s all going to happen.

2010 – to – 2018 seems a long time.  One year less than British Troops   being deployed under a labour government  to Afghanistan, a decade shorter than the Conservatives were in power.

When we mused on the question If or When  our conclusion was, whenever the word If  is used, for any certainty, replace it with When.  Small steps or large, when changes are being made, the next question is `to know or be knowing in preparation for change ‘?


(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

Monthly Noteworthy News:

Budget 2010

With the AAA status of the UK being threatened and a general election looming ever closer; the main points of the budget are now generally know but a roundup can be found here.


FSA Advice Site

The Government’s free money guidance service will offer consumers advice on a range of money issues from 1st April. MoneyMadeClear will give guidance to consumers in all areas of personal finance and offers comprehensive advice.


Local Authority Business Grant Incentive

According to the Forum of Private Business (FPB ), councils could free up to £150 million in match-funding from the government by pledging the money to bolster small business rate relief, following the latest round of LABGI grants. The scheme is aimed at encouraging business growth by providing councils with grant funding that is not ring-fenced. FPB have said  “Let’s give the money back to the businesses that are trading and get the economy moving again.”


March Musings: 

Try to Can the Spam – the difficulty of having the F-word attached to our business name

Financial Robots – A reminder about personal credit history

Reacting to Gear Changes – One size doesn’t fit all

Brief Encounters with the Economy – Economic Indicators

Outside the Box- SquidLondon – Brolly Brilliant Designers

The Sky is Falling Down – A True Story about Scams

And finally…. Thank you to the person who pointed out that Spring: Scaffolding’s Going Up mentioned gambling lambs: since altered to gambolling; much to the lamb’s disappointment.

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

Time Warping and Waiting….

We’re waiting….. Watching and waiting……Transition, shift….It’s happened.  The continuum of time, whether from the much caricatured Einstein  or the Beam-Me-Up Scotty  type means that so often we all wait for something to happen, and then, the moment passes; or is happening in another sphere.

The recent much discussed budget is now relegated to the history books and some will elect  to wait for the next thing. What exactly are we waiting for?

‘Buzzing’ around is a list relating to fly swatting methods. Rather than waiting, Barack Obama’s method, at that time, was to obliterate with a single blow, however, other suggestions include; aim ahead, focused slap, approach either side, improvise, and, our favourite, the chopsticks ‘Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything’ . The general message is,whatever the method, be ready to strike because before you can wave a chopstick at a fly, everything shifts.

Mindset attitudes need to change to cope with transition, only last month credit card industry changes were agreed, and the Government announced the roll out of their MoneyMadeClear generic personal finance advice service. For common knowledge, just like common sense, isn’t always so common; for example, some creditors have free client advice services and codes of practice i.e. Finance and Leasing Association’s Lending Code and the Banking Code, are available to access.

With constant and complex combinations of shifts; rising living costs, drops in income or reduced working hours, money management attitudes aren’t immune from change or distortion during uncertain times. Moving to a better or safer place, doesn’t always follow on from watching and waiting. Sometimes it’s better to get out and see what is waiting, relativity speaking.

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)


Pubs, contributors to communities, are still closing their doors at an average rate of 39 per week; over 2,000 each year.  However, bucking this trend is a new source of funding for pub purchase or refinance for the smaller Independent. With the Budget looming and therefore the obligatory rising duty and taxes, we hope that this news “hits the parts others can`t reach”


Allied Surveyors Plc, one of the UK`s best known firms of Surveyors, has ceased trading. However, with an agreed Management Buy-Out, the restructuring is currently being coordinated.  The Residential and Commercial arms are being kept apart, and Allied (Scotland) will continue to reflect the different processes created by the Home Report, now in place in Scotland.


We are still pleased to say that, although finance is constantly fluctuating, up to 100% Business finance remains available for Purchase or Remortgage of Pharmacies, Surgeries, Opticians, Vets, Care and Nursing Homes. Residential 90% loan-to-value funding is available for mortgages and 90% LTV for personal loans including debt and credit card consolidation.

Claims Management

A major UK Claims Management Firm is being investigated by The Ministry of Justice, although no specific details are available as these could jeopardise the progress and outcome of their investigation. For a fee, the company offers to review customer credit card, and similar, accounts to establish whether the credit agreements are enforceable by the provider.

Estate Agents

The Office of Fair Trading has recommended that the Government considers imposing new rules regarding fees received by Estate Agents for referring buyers to providers of ancillary services such as mortgage advice. “The OFT believes this could cause an Estate Agent to favour one buyer over another, to the seller`s disadvantage”.  Here at SUF we have been saying this for nearly two decades, and firmly hold the opinion that any, and every, sales process within the home purchase/remortgage arena should be regulated by one consistent source, the FSA.

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)


St. David’s Day …..  St Patricks Day…..   First Day of Spring ….. Mother`s Day…..  Six Nations Finals …..  Cheltenham Gold Cup  and British Summer Time.  Lambs gambol in meadows between the golden daffodils, cute critters wake up to the sound of the bluebird of happiness singing high on bud-laden boughs as Spring bursts out…. Oooh!  Can you hear the needle scratch across the virtual record of Disneyesque music lilting in the background?  The booing and hissing is almost audible as March is hobbled together with a looming Budget and enters rather like Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring  ; all angles for the policy makers and budget people and reminder that, in economic terms,  Spring will have to face some strong winds.

Signs of destruction from a prolonged and cold Winter are all around and you don’t need us to be a Greek Chorus (no pun indented regarding the Euro debacle)  for details, suffice to say, tiptoe ‘around’ the tulips . Only a few months ago everyone was asking  ‘When will this ‘crisis’ be over?’ then we had, ‘What’s going to happen?’ and now we have ‘Will this ever be over, how can it all be turned around?’  The ‘bougette’ is unlikely to contain any answers to wealth creation; now represented by the large red briefcase  as opposed to the original true derivative, ‘little bag’.

With meanings including careful, anxious, busy, occupied, or diligent, `business’ , deriving from bisignes,  or bisig,  could be more than semantics in the economic woods this year, where Business, Companies and Industry are indicators. It will be interesting to see what will be built upon to protect any economic growth however, we note, a special scaffold is erected outside No. 11 at the time of the Budget……

… for photographers, we hasten to add.

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)



Market Recovery
A 100% commercial mortgage has been launched for the Medical Sector. This includes surgeries, pharmacies, opticians, care homes and nursing homes. Rates are comparable to residential mortgages so it is encouraging to see further movement within the marketplace.
The Enterprise Finance Guarantee
This continues to be expanded with one high street lender announcing that a further £88m is now available – Multiple bureaucratic hoops to jump through but this finance could assist where a lender cannot fully take a risk on a business proposal.
Tax Relief extensions
The pre-budget report announced that during 2010 – 2011 empty commercial properties will have tax relief, with those having a rateable value below £18,000 being exempt from business rates. There is also a deferral of the increase in corporation tax for smaller companies along with the Time To Pay Scheme being extended for `as long as is needed’. 
(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

Any fool can make things complicated, it requires a genius to make things simple, or something to that effect said E.F Schumacher.  As layer upon layer of complexity is added to spice up a story, be used as spin or just remind us that common sense isn’t so common, it’s a reasonable adage to be reminded of in seemingly complicated times.

Another complex story to get an update is Alice in Wonderland. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll, Maths Don at Oxford, writer of mathematics books and author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass has been translated to film again.

As the finance lending marketplace is increasingly competitive, it’s no news that, tightening up of lending criteria is an affect. The complexity of finding appropriate funds can evoke many responses including the feeling of falling down a long dark hole. It’s very understandable to feel alone when the fall is long and the bottom opens into a world of curious characters and, in fiscal terms, the metaphors don’t stop there as the world of money and business can be confusing, frightening, unfriendly, chaotic, nonsense and madness.

Alice’s adventure begins because she is curious.

Without asking questions she follows the white rabbit, falling down the rabbit hole only to find herself alone with her curiosity in the confusing Wonderland. Instructed to drink from a bottle she shrinks, told to eat cake she grows, is given a mushroom to eat but no advice how to eat it; too small, too big. She talks to a mouse who’s frightened by what she’s telling him and is left holding the Duchesses baby which turns out to be a pig. Cheshire Cat asks questions then disappears and the smoking blue caterpillar repetitiously states, “Who are you?” With plenty of chairs at the Mad Hatters tea party she’s told there’s no room. When offered wine she is given tea and with his watch limited to telling the day of the month, the Hatter and his friend perpetually move around the table to new cups instead of washing the used ones. The gardeners paint the (planted by mistake) white roses red, in the hope that The Queen won’t notice and give out her “Off with their heads”.

And so the story continues until Alice realises it’s a dream.

Just as time is central to Carroll’s story as it is with finance. The Hatter’s unusual watch is unusual in that it has days on the face as; “it’s always six o’clock and tea-time” (we wish), but time and timing is essential in placing finance; especially if ‘growing up’ is the objective. Alice asked for help in the strange world of conflict, but never got any: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” …. That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

Notes you might want, incidentally, whilst writing this, we discovered that Mad Hatter is a CEO or other major executive who is not trusted and whose ability to lead is being questioned and the 10/6 sign on the Hat of the Hatter is it`s value not his worth and, ironically, the rabbit fence around Antony, the location for much of Burton’s movie, had to be removed during filming.

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

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