● Staying green through the gloom
Despite the recession, most small firms are continuing to embrace environmentally friendly measures.
Though 22% of firms surveyed by the Forum for Private Business said that economic conditions were delaying the implementation of new technology, the majority (61%) said there would be no impact on their environmental policies.
Those with formal sustainable initiatives in place said they were motivated by reputation, saving money and a sense of responsibility. Some 50% of respondents said VAT reductions for environmentally friendly investments would be very effective.
FPB policy representative Matt Goodman said: "It is important to emphasise that measures to reduce carbon emissions can mean savings on the bottom line, but we also need a more joined-up approach from the Government, including a system of workable incentives."
● Overtime pay declines
The number of employees benefiting from overtime payments has dropped by half a million since last summer.
Official figures show that this summer 15.8% benefited from overtime pay, a fall of 1.5 percentage points since summer 2008. Now fewer than four million workers receive paid overtime, with the total paid being £1b less than last year.
Brendan Barber, the TUC's general secretary said: "Job security remains the number one concern for workers across the country, but the sharp drop in paid overtime shows that many people in work are also suffering financially. Even those that are still earning overtime are often no longer able to claim double pay."
The TUC research also revealed workers aged 20 to 24 had experienced the greatest fall in overtime, with 15.9% able to take on paid overtime, compared with 20.1% in 2008.