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Bell Pottinger North - Client News
Monday, June 05, 2006

As many as three out of five people are shamelessly planning to bunk off work to cheer on the England football squad during the World Cup.

New research by corporate recovery specialists Begbies Traynor finds approximately 60 per cent out of nearly 140 male and female employees working for smaller companies intending, or knowing someone who intends, to pull a sickie to watch the England team play.

This is significantly more people who are planning to skip work than during Euro 2004.  Begbies ran a similar survey for that tournament, and found that two years ago only 43 per cent of SME workers planned to slope off from their duties during England fixtures.

What does this say about our workforce?   Well, given that small businesses account for 99 per cent of Britain’s private sector, this could present employers with a problem, especially when Begbies found that 70 per cent of respondents to this year’s survey say they feel no shame about skiving.   Their justification:  the economy can cope, despite the highest unemployment rate in three years with 1.59 million jobless and the UK facing stiff competition for jobs from countries such as China and India.

And the bosses’ reaction?  Sadly, they might not be planning to do enough to keep their staff happy.  Begbies’ research found only 23 per cent of bosses intending to let staff watch England’s games at work, compared to 33 per cent during Euro 2004.

Employees say bosses should let them enjoy the World Cup. Sixty per cent think bosses should allow paid holidays for England’s matches, and 36 per cent want their bosses to provide TVs to screen the games. And if all this wasn’t enough, a very cheeky minority - 7 per cent - thinks companies should lay on drinks and snacks too!

But not everyone’s football crazy.  Ninety-three per cent of those surveyed think football fans get too much preferential treatment. And 20 per cent want their bosses to monitor employee absences closely during the World Cup.

Paul Stanley, partner of Begbies Traynor, Manchester commented:

“SMEs could suffer during the World Cup if so many staff plan to go missing during work hours. Given the nation’s interest in football and the likelihood that staff will be as good as their word and slope off, we think bosses are best off trying to strike a compromise and make sure there is a TV in the workplace during the World Cup.

“Or they might be a bit more imaginative and offer staff the chance to make up lost time later on.  But most importantly, they must be consistent and fair - if one person gets to watch the football, everyone should.  This way no-one will feel hard done by.”


Press contact:

Paul Stanley                                    Joanne Fletcher-Wall
Begbies Traynor Group plc                       Bell Pottinger North
0161 839 0900                           01625 506425

Information on Begbies Traynor can be accessed via the Group’s website at

www.begbies-traynor.com <http://www.begbies-traynor.com>

Notes to editors:

About Begbies Traynor Group plc

The Group specializes in business insolvency management and is becoming increasingly active in the area of personal insolvency. It also offers services in corporate rescue and investigation services and has entered the field of corporate finance.

In November 2005, the Group entered the rapidly-expanding volume personal insolvency market via the acquisition of W3 Debt Solutions, a firm specializing in providing advice and practical support to individuals in debt. 

The Group has grown to its current network of 32 nationwide offices ranging from Scotland to the South West of England, with 350 operatives. The Company continues to pursue its strategy of organic development, coupled with the acquisition of specialist knowledge of both individuals and firms, to further increase its market share in its core services.

The Directors believe that the Group is the UK's largest independent insolvency, corporate rescue and recovery specialist with clients ranging from major institutions to individuals with business difficulties.

The Office Network

The Group operates with 60 licensed insolvency appointment takers, some 225 fee earning staff and 65 in support and administration. The Group operates from 32 locations across the UK.

Business Activities

The core business of the Group is the formal administration of insolvencies including receiverships, liquidations, administrations, company voluntary arrangements and business-related personal insolvencies. The Group has extended its activities into a range of consultancy services including corporate rescue, credit management, forensic and investigation services and corporate finance.


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