One of the largest vet operators in the UK has said customers are increasingly willing to spend money on their pets and will continue to do so even if there is an economic downturn.

CVS, which runs 500 veterinary practices in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, made the claim as it revealed a 24.2 per cent jump in revenues to £406.5 million for the year to June 30.

Pretax profits fell 17% to £11.7 million due to various expansion costs.

The company also said that there remains a major shortage of vets in the UK, with vacancy rates at CVS peaking at 12.5% last year.

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Executives said they hope the situation will improve, adding: "We are pleased that the Home Office has accepted the migration advisory committee's proposal to reinstate the veterinary surgeon on the UK's shortage occupation list and this should in time improve the supply of overseas vets in the UK."

Revenues were strong in the second half of the year, the company said, putting behind a profit warning from the first half.

CVS added that growth has come from referrals to different parts of the business. The division saw a 21.6% jump in revenues to £22.5 million.

British Gas has been forced to stop pushing through changes in payments to 500 contractors it uses for boiler installations.

The decision to pause the new payment terms comes after several suppliers who work for the energy giant said the changes would leave them out of pocket.

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A British Gas spokesman said: "We recently proposed a simpler way for our contractors to charge us for boiler installation services.

"This would introduce standard and fair charges across the country to ensure good value for our customers.

"We always listen to feedback and will speak to any individuals who are concerned."

British Gas, which is part of Centrica, has been losing hundreds of thousands of customers over the last few years, as competitors have eaten into its market share.

In July, bosses said 178,000 customers quit British Gas in the first six months of the year - following a further 742,000 who left last year.

YouGov, the international research data and analytics group, has announced that Nick Jones will be retiring as a non-executive director of the group at the Annual General Meeting in December.

Mr Jones has served on the YouGov board for 10 years and is the group's current senior independent director.

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YouGov chairman Roger Parry said: "Nick has made a great contribution to YouGov over the past decade.

"During this period, the Group has grown rapidly both in its size and in its international presence; with that, the need for robust, reliable and effective financial controls has also grown. In his role as chair of the Audit Committee, Nick has ensured that YouGov has adhered to the highest standards of financial systems, and has the right team in place.

"On behalf of the Board I would like to wish him well in his future activities."

Following his retirement, Rosemary Leith, a non-executive director and chair of the remuneration committee, will assume the position of senior independent director.

It said: "Due to its current size and range of expertise, YouGov has no immediate plans to recruit an additional non-executive director."