A FURIOUS ROW threatens to erupt today between one of Britain's biggest business groups and the Government, reports the Independent .
The Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling will tell the British Chambers of Commerce's annual conference the UK is winning "the Champions League of European Business" and claim that last month's Budget was a boost for small firms.
But the BCC will counter with a poll showing nearly two-thirds of entrepreneurs believe that it is far harder to start and grow a business today than it was when Labour came to power 10 years ago.
Referring to a new report which shows UK firms make almost as much profit as France and Germany's top companies combined, Darling will say: "The secret to much of the success from our biggest companies is small business. Which is why it is so important that we support R&D, raise skills and help companies export. The Budget did that."
But the BCC director general, David Frost, said Gordon Brown's decision to raise the small companies' corporation tax rate from 19% to 22% was a huge blow.
MORE THAN 100 UK companies issued profit warnings in the first quarter of the year, the first time in six years the total for the period has reached three figures, reports the Times.
Worst hit were retailers, which gave 18 warnings over the period. Companies listed on AIM, the lightly-regulated junior London stock market, made 63.
The jump has been uncovered by Ernst & Young’s (E&Y) regular analysis of profit warnings.
In the first three months of 2007, the professional-services firm found that 103 companies issued warnings, up from the 88 recorded in the previous quarter, and the 85 posted in the same quarter last year.
The last time there were 100 warnings in a single quarter was in 2005, when rapidly rising oil prices took their toll.
The last time there were 100 warnings in the first three months of a year was back in 2001.
THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of Tesco has been named the most influential unelected person in the UK, reinforcing the dominance of the supermarket chain over British life, reports the Guardian.
Sir Terry Leahy, the head of the company since 1997, has seen the number of its stores grow from 568 to 1,500 and its share of the grocery market exceed 31% during his time there. The news comes the day before Tesco is expected to post record full-year profits of around £2.5bn.
Sir Terry came top of a list drawn up by a Guardian Unlimited panel; he was nominated by four of the six panellists.
He joined Tesco as a marketing executive in 1979, and became chief executive in 1997 aged 40. He was knighted in 2002.
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