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Weekly small business news round-up

A round up of news stories for the week ending 5th October 2012.

Small venue owners in England and Wales with a capacity of fewer than 200 people will no longer need a license for live music. UK Music, the umbrella organisation representing the collective interests of the UK's commercial music industry, estimates that the Live Music Act will allow an additional 13,000 venues to host music events between 8:00 am and 11:00 pm. This gives small venues, including pubs and restaurants, an opportunity to use an important cultural activity to attract more customers and enhance the life of their communities. The act comes as part of a concerted governmental effort spearheaded by Vince Cable to cut red tape to support growth in the small business sector, which is expected to revitalise the economy.

Entries for the Local Business Accelerator opened on 3 October 2012. The campaign, fronted by Dragons' Den's Deborah Meaden, is a partnership between local newspapers and community business leaders to help small businesses grow. The award seeks to reward the selected business with a special three-month advertising campaign in local newspapers and Local Business Accelerator business coaching support. The best entry wins a year of free coaching by Deborah Meaden and a campaign devised by one of the top creative ad agencies in London. Interested business owners are advised to refer to Local Business Accelerator.

Consumer Focus has published its 'Under the microscope' micro-business energy market report, prepared by Cornwall Energy. The report highlights that two-thirds of UK micro-businesses get rolled over to higher energy contract rates because they do not switch suppliers in the window available preceding their contract end date. This often leaves companies in a difficult financial situation and with little bargaining power against power companies, because contract roll-overs typically increase prices by an average of 30% and most businesses are unaware of when their contract actually ends. The reason for this unfortunate predicament is that energy companies are only required to send one notice to each company informing them of their contract end-date and are notrequired to display this information on every bill they send out. Make It Cheaper has been debating issues with key stakeholders about the roll-over contract since 2007 and we have been actively campaigning to get energy suppliers to become more transparent with business energy customers in their correspondence by displaying end dates. For more information and to learn how you can lend your support, read our press release.

As part of the changes to the UK tax and benefits system announced in March, the minimum wage of workers aged over 21 has been raised by 11p to £6.19 an hour, reports The Guardian. The minimum wages for workers below the age of 21 has been frozen at £4.98 for 18 to 20-year-olds and £3.68 for 16 and 17-year-olds. For small businesses employing over 21-year-olds on minimum wage, this will add an average of £220 annual cost per worker to the bottom-line including contributions. The good news is that Make It Cheaper can help cut down costs from other business expenses including energy, telecoms, and chip and pin, to help you leverage these expenses. In fact, we are so confident that we can help you save at least £500 across 3 products that we guarantee these savings - if we can't save you £500, we pay the difference. Call 0800 970 0077 to talk to one of our saving experts.

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