Catch up on the big issues in this week’s Small Business Bites. We cut through the noise to dig out stories that really matter to UK small business owners, from the last month. Here’s our roundup of things you need to know.
Are robots really going to take over UK jobs?
Last month the BBC reported on a PwC study which estimated that robots will affect up to 30% of UK jobs by the 2030s. It speculated that jobs in manufacturing and retail were among those jobs most at risk from new technologies, however, the report also predicted that the nature of some occupations will change rather than disappear.
In April, CV-Library and The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF) carried out some research of their own and found that “despite the fears and speculation, it’s not quite as bad as it’s made out to be”. The research, which was conducted amongst over 1,000 manufacturing professionals, found that 63.3% hadn’t seen job losses due to the introduction of robots or automated processes.
Four out of five respondents also feel that there should be positive promotion around the benefits of robots and artificial intelligence.
Steve Barraclough, CEO of the CIEHF, said: “Robots and automation are regularly given a bad name. However, whilst automation might remove some mundane and repetitive jobs, it also makes a significant contribution to ‘upskilling’ employees, which is often overlooked.”
Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield among unhealthiest cities to work
CV-Library also carried out a survey which looked at the eating habits of 1,000 UK workers. Nearly three quarters of respondents (72.8 per cent) said their job has had a negative effect on their health and what they eat, and 36.4 per cent said they have gained weight as a result.
One in three also said per cent also said they snack a lot at work – and three quarters (78.4) said their colleagues often bring in unhealthy snacks to the office.
According to the survey, which analysed where in the UK employees are eating the most junk food, the unhealthiest cities to work are: Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Cardiff and Newcastle.
Read the full article here.
Virgin reveals faster broadband speeds for small businesses
Virgin Media Business has launched its new business broadband Voom Fibre – which it claims will offer speeds four times faster than those of its rivals. It will offer speeds of up to 350Mbps as standard, and users will also be able to choose from a range of additional options to suit their needs including increased upload speeds and support options. Available from May 2, it is specifically for small businesses. Prices start from £30 per month, with two additional options priced at £40 and £55 per month.
Peter Kelly, managing director of Virgin Media Business, said: “We have for many years now been the champions of small business, in particular entrepreneurs…with the launch of Voom Fibre we want to unleash every small business by providing the digital backbone they need for their business.”
“For UK small business to thrive in this evolving digital economy they should have the technical ability and capacity in place so they can focus on development and growth, we are removing a barrier and enabling them to fulfil their digital potential – offering them all the speed they need to achieve success.”
“Today we are putting a huge challenge to the market to do better. Our standard speed is now more than four times faster than our competitors’ fastest broadband product and we encourage them to match us to enable and benefit small businesses and the UK economy.”
For more information about Voom Fibre, see www.virginmediabusiness.com/voom.
Almost half of SMEs lose money due to Self Assessment submission errors
When cloud accounting software company Pandle surveyed 1,000 small businesses across the UK it found that 49% have lost money through Self Assessment submission issues, either by receiving fines or by paying more tax as a result. While 56% said they feel there is enough information available to them about Self Assessment, 48% said they are worried that the implementation of Making Tax Digital will be more confusing than the current Self Assessment system. 11% even said they believe it will create more work for them.
You can read the full report at http://www.pandle.co.uk/pandles-small-business-survey/.