A slight rise in retail sales volumes

Sales on the high street grow marginally: CBI Distributive Trades Survey

  • 33% of retailers reported that sales volumes were up on a year ago, and 27% stated that sales had fallen – an improvement on last month’s weaker performance
  • Looking ahead, retailers expect somewhat faster sales growth in the year to October
  • While the volume of orders placed on suppliers was broadly flat (+2%), this was still a marked improvement from last month’s year-on-year fall (-11%) and beat expectations of another decline (-8%)
  • For the fifth consecutive month, high street retailers considered the volume of sales to be significantly below average for the time of year

JSA claimants: National Study of Work-search and Wellbeing

Mental health in context: the national study of work-search and wellbeing: DWP

  • 22.6% of recent JSA claimants had a common mental disorder (CMD) like anxiety or depression
  • People who started a JSA claim in the first quarter of 2011 had worse mental health than people of working age in the population as a whole
  • Two-thirds of JSA claimants believed that working leads to better health
  • Recent experience of adverse life events, such as a major financial crisis or a relationship breakdown, was relatively common: one in ten had been homeless or living in temporary accommodation in the previous 12 months
  • Discussion of health and wellbeing in work-focused interviews with Jobcentre Plus Personal Advisers was not widespread, but was found to be helpful when it happened
  • Satisfaction with support from Jobcentre Plus was lower among people with CMD than among those without, although a symptom of CMD is to tend towards more negative views
  • The experience of claiming JSA was associated with feelings of shame and the stigma of being on benefits. Personalised support and being treated respectfully were important to people

Could opening up more public services to competition save £22.6 billion?

The CBI thinks so.

The CBI says the government could achieve major savings when public services open up to a range of diverse providers. Savings “come primarily through efficiencies and productivity improvements – doing what is already done to the same or higher standard but at lower cost. They can be achieved while still maintaining the quality of the service offered and, in many cases, improving it”

I’m not surprised that the CBI should say this but I’m not sure it is as simple as they make it out to be. And the Local Government Association reckons “The estimated savings are pie in the sky” – I’m not really surprised by this reaction either

Small businesses in employment and enterprise

  • Each year small and medium sized businesses take on around 1.3 million unemployed and disadvantaged people. In contrast, large firms with more than 250 employees hire less than 130,000 on average
  • People from groups such as long term sick, disabled and students  are more likely to be employed by a small business
  • 95 per cent of this group that find work in the private sector will work for or start up a small or medium sized business. Almost nine in 10 (88%) unemployed people that are actively looking for work will find a job in, or start up, a small business.