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Sector Focus


Pay rises are still expected


Four in 10 Birmingham professionals still expected to receive a pay rise from their employer in the next 12 months, despite the country going into one of its worst ever recessions. That’s according to a survey


from employment website CV- Library. Workers in Birmingham scored just below the national average, whereas a slightly larger 41.3 per cent of all Brits said they anticipated a pay rise. While 39.7 per cent of


professionals in Birmingham expect a pay rise in the next 12 months, the study reveals that only 17.7 per cent believe they’ll be offered a promotion during this time. Lee Biggins, founder and


CEO of CV-Library, said: “If you’re expecting a pay rise or promotion in the next year, it’s important that you remain realistic with your expectations. Many businesses have struggled during this difficult


time. That said, it’s still possible to secure a great offer. Just be sure to present clear evidence for why you deserve that pay rise or promotion.”


Finance Warning of rise in fraud


Fraud experts from KPMG are predicting a ‘tsunami’ of Covid-related furlough fraud cases, and other non- furlough related fraud cases, to be heard in courts across the UK in the coming months. The financial services firm’s ‘Fraud Barometer’


revealed that only 76 cases of alleged fraud were heard in courts across the country in the first half of 2020, down from 217 cases prosecuted during the same period last year.


KPMG says that the 65 per cent decrease in cases


heard reflected the significant impact of the Covid-19 crisis on law enforcement, due to the closure of many court operations. KPMG also says that with the Government’s


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme being wound down in October, they believed that more fraud cases would emerge as the scheme ends . Roy Waligora, KPMG UK head of investigations, said


that a ‘tsunami’ of Covid-19-related fraud cases was on the horizon. He said: “While we get to grips with the ‘new normal’, we are likely to see a lot more HMRC activity where government aid schemes have been abused. This will place an additional burden on organisations to ensure that their programmes complied with the rules. “We must also keep in mind that fraud data dropped


drastically because court appearances were down as authorities struggled to keep pace during the crisis. Although the numbers indicate less activity, fraud has not gone anywhere.” Julie Bruce, forensic director for KPMG in the


Midlands, said: “Our analysis shows a massive drop in both the number and value of fraud cases compared to this time last year, which is really interesting given the levels we saw in 2019. “However, it’s worth bearing in mind that court


closures and diversions, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, led to a delay of cases. “Which means that the second half of the year will


Julie Bruce: fraud cases set to rise


be one to watch as we expect to see a surge in fraud cases once court operations fully resume.”


Increase in total net lending


Birmingham-based Unity Trust Bank has reported an increase in total net lending of more than £50m in its half-year results. Unity provides banking services


to the not-for-profit sector, including charities and trade unions. With many businesses facing


uncertainty following the outbreak of Covid-19, Unity has focused on supporting its customers, with a 10 per cent increase in lending. Despite the effect of the


pandemic, pre-tax profits remained solid at £3.2m. The bank is also continuing to


fund businesses, with net loans having grown in the first half of this year, from £478mn to £528m. This lending has enabled


businesses to help create 409 jobs, 19 community facilities and 383 new bed spaces. In addition, to support small


businesses access vital funding, Unity has provided £12.5m to accredited responsible finance providers of the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Social housing, education and


social sectors remain a priority for the bank. Unity Trust CEO Margaret Willis


said: “The six months to 30 June 2020 have been unprecedented


56 CHAMBERLINK October 2020 Carry on borrowing: Margaret Willis


socially, economically and emotionally, and our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by the virus. “By remaining resilient and


adapting our services to meet the changing business needs of our customers, I am extremely proud that we have been able to continue to support our customers during these challenging times. “With a strong balance sheet,


operational resilience and a history of safe, sustainable growth, we are well placed to continue to support our customers deliver positive change while also prioritising the well-being of our employees.”


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