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Merseyside Police Officers are now investigating a stabbing at address in Southport

MERSEYSIDE Police have confirmed that emergency services had attended an address in:- Meols Cop, Southport, after a stabbing incident, on:- Friday, 29 March 2024.

We are told that the incident involving a male in his 50s happened around 8pm, when Police were called following reports that a man had been assaulted on Meols Cop Road.

The male was taken to Hospital with multiple slash wounds after being treated by Paramedics and is currently in a critical condition.

The peoperty on Meols Cop Road is currently within a Police Cordon, while crime scene investigators carry out forensic examinations at the scene.

We are told that doorcam snd CCTV images are being required from the area, as well as house-to-house inquiries are on going.

Detective Inspector Gavin Mulcahy said:- “An investigation is underway and is in the very early stages as we seek to establish what has happened on Meols Cop Road, Southport, I would like to reassure residents that at present we believe this was an isolated incident that took place inside an address in the area. Our Officers remain in the area and are committed to reducing knife crime in Merseyside and removing anyone who stores, carries and uses weapons on our streets. I would appeal to anyone who was on Meols Cop Road, opposite Meols Cop High School, on the evening of Friday, 29 March 2024, att around 8pm, to please get in touch. You may have seen or heard something suspicious which has led to this violent incident. I would also ask people who were in the area to check their doorbell or CCTV footage just in case they may have captured something which may be vital to the case. It's vital that people with information, no matter how small, to please contact us as it might be essential to the investigation.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Merseyside Police on:- 101, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on:- 0800555111, quoting log:- "838, Friday, 29 March 2024." Always call:- 999 if a crime is in progress.

"Cash and lending problems hitting small business growth prospects" new FSB research

LATEST Small Business Index research shows confidence undermined by rising late payments, record finance costs and more; comment from FSB Merseyside and Cheshire

The growth prospects of small businesses across Cheshire, the north west and beyond are being undermined by rising late payments, steep lending costs and other barriers to finance, according to the latest Small Business Index from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The data covers the final quarter of 2023; the same period when figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the UK slid into a formal recession. FSB is warning that a significant turnaround in small firms’ fortunes is needed if they are to provide the growth required to kickstart the economy.

Late payments and finance...

The share of small firms experiencing late payments of invoices rose from:- 60.8% in Q3 to nearly 65.8% in Q4. The proportion of small firms which saw late payments worsen over the quarter increased from more than 27.9% in Q3, to 34.9% in Q4.

Small firms’ views of the availability and affordability of new credit remained notably negative, with only around 14.5% small businesses rating it as:- ‘quite good’ or ‘very good,’ while 52% rated it as:- ‘quite poor’ or ‘very poor.’

Among those small firms with successful credit applications over the quarter, 33.4% were offered a rate higher than 11%; a new SBI record high.

Investment and growth aspirations downbeat...

The percentage of small businesses expecting to increase their capital investment essentially stayed flat, at:- 24.1%, between:- Q3, 25.1% and Q4 25.6%, indicating that they are still being cautious about committing funds for investment while interest rates remain high and are not expected to begin to fall until later this year.

Looking at the bigger picture, the overall growth aspirations over the coming year for small firms worsened slightly between:- Q3 and Q4, going from:- 49.6% anticipating growth and 12.7% bracing for contraction in Q3 to 48.2% forecasting expansion and 15.0% preparing to shrink in Q4.

There were pronounced differences between UK business sectors. Information and communication firms were notably optimistic, with a healthy 56.0% predicting they would grow over the next 12 months, and just 9.4% expecting they would downsize or consolidate the business, sell or hand it on, or close down entirely. Manufacturing firms were similarly more confident about future growth, with 54.8% forecasting growth ahead, and 7.9% expecting to shrink, as were professional, scientific and technical firms, at 52.5% looking to grow and 9.8% predicting they would contract.

Retail and wholesale firms were less optimistic than the average, but were still within touching distance of the all sector scores, with 47.3% predicting growth, and 18.6% predicting contraction.

The hospitality sector was far more downbeat about its future prospects. Just 31.6% accommodation and food service sector businesses believe they are on course to expand, while a greater proportion; 35.5% predict that they will contract. Among that latter figure, 12.6% expect to close entirely in the next 12 months, 3.4% times the rate for all businesses.

FSB Merseyside and Cheshire’s Phil McCabe, said:- “Given that we entered a recession at the end of 2023, news that small business confidence and their future prospects have been hit is no surprise, but now we can see just how they are being impacted and the potentially devastating consequences if this is not addressed. Hospitality and the visitor economy is hugely important in north west and our research shows more than a 3rd of businesses in this sector expect to contract; more than those anticipating growth. Shockingly, an eighth of these expect to close for good; much higher than the national average rate for all businesses. This is a real concern. Late payment has long been the scourge of small businesses and it is getting worse; more firms are experiencing it and the time taken to pay invoices is increasing. Large companies should make their payment performance a board level issue, and include it in annual reports, to improve accountability and transparency. Finance is becoming increasingly more difficult to obtain and, even when applications are successful, we are seeing record high costs for the SBI. One major barrier to investment among small firms is the imposition of personal guarantees for even relatively small amounts, which is why we raised a super complaint with the Financial Conduct Authority about the practice. We think lenders should take a more holistic view of borrowers, and should recognise that demanding personal guarantees is having an overall chilling effect on growth and investment. The question for our small business members in Cheshire, Liverpool City Region and across the UK is how we rekindle growth; and kickstarting investment and expansion will be a big part of the answer.”

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