Business fraud is becoming more attractive because of growing rewards and falling chances of prosecution, according to BDO Stoy Hayward.
Its Fraudtrack report found that fraud involving businesses hit £538m in the first half of 2007, up 42% from 2006.
It said VAT fraud was so lucrative that criminals only needed to hide away a few percent when they got caught.
“Many fraudsters are laughing all the way to their offshore tax haven,” said BDO’s Simon Bevan.
The report said that even those fraudsters who end up going to prison would only serve between two and five years, even for those involved with multimillion pound frauds.
UK small businesses face a significant threat from climate change and dire financial consequences due to a lack of insurance, according to a new report.
The findings suggest that fewer than one in three businesses has a contingency plan to cover business interruption.
And only 8% of businesses in flooded areas received any form of flood risk warning.
Just one in four firms in flood-risk areas views climate change as a real threat to business, the report found.
British companies are overtaxed and face too much regulation which is hitting profits and jobs, a business leader is warning.
In his first major public speech as Director General of the CBI, Richard Lambert said that too few politicians recognise the “fundamental role” of business.
Britain needed a free trade, low tax, high skill economy – otherwise it faces an inward-looking, protectionist state bedevilled by high unemployment and high taxes, Mr Lambert said.
Business has reacted to globalisation by introducing new work practices, offshoring jobs and generating more employment but he said these changes had loosened the ties between business and society.
The fall in trust had partly followed lower-skilled workers finding themselves competing with low-cost workers overseas.
Mr Lambert said the world was on the brink of a “third industrial revolution” driven by the easy flow of information over great distances and at low cost.
More than a million older people cannot find work because companies are not prepared to invest in training or make minor adjustments for disabilities, the TUC has claimed.
In a report published yesterday, the union organisation said that industry and the government had to defuse the “demographic time bomb” of an ageing workforce being pushed out of jobs and on to benefits.
The study showed that more than one million unemployed people aged between 50 and 65 wanted a job. Only one in eight people in this age bracket who were not working had retired early and were classed as “affluent professionals”, while many were surviving on state support, said the report.
BANKING giants will this week announce they are writing off billions of pounds in bad debts while official figures show about 100,000 individuals might be declared bankrupt by the end of the year.
Analysts expect Royal Bank of Scotland, HBOS, Barclays and Lloyds TSB to unveil combined bad-debt provisions of up to £4 billion because of the increasing number of people who are unable to honour their repayments.
The shock figures are likely to reignite debates over why Britons appear to be taking on unmanageable levels of debt and what the long-term impact of these bad loans is likely to be on the lenders.
THE company at the centre of the biggest privatisation yet seen in the NHS will not save the health service money, according to an American manufacturer who has just won a settlement from it.
Novation has been under investigation for questionable business practices.
The Times revealed last week that the Texas-based company is expected to take responsibility for spending more than £4 billion a year of NHS money.
Novation and its German partner, DHL, will take charge of purchasing and distributing everything from bandages to hip implants.
The news has astonished critics of Novation in the US who say that the US Justice Department launched an investigation into the company and other group purchasing organisations (GPOs) in 2004 over claims that they had overcharged federal healthcare programmes for goods.
Thousands of people in the heart of London today went without power as faults and extreme heat forced EDF Energy to shut down service.
The power cut led to the closure this morning of Oxford Circus tube station, one of London’s busiest, although underground trains were running normally.
The station reopened after four hours.
Soho, with its myriad restaurants and bars, was also affected as EDF cut power for four hour in selected areas on a rotating basis.