Michelin Development in the UK offers financial support, as well as business expertise and advice, to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that employ up to 250 people. Applicants in the Stoke-on-Trent area are able to choose financial help, business expertise/advice, or both if required.

Businesses can access support which is available to viable projects that can demonstrate the potential to create quality sustainable jobs.

What is on offer?

  • Successful applicants can receive unsecured loans from £5,000 through Michelin’s associate bank at a subsidised rate.
  • Repayment period of 3-5 years.

A Michelin Development loan can be used for a whole range of products which are linked to the creation of jobs. This could include purchase of capital equipment, process improvement, working capital and marketing – to name but a few.

Organisations can also access free and independent advice from Michelin’s in-house experts.

To find out if your business would be eligible for the loan, please call 0800 056 2007 or visit https://michelindevelopment.co.uk

 

The Regent Theatre & Victoria Hall are two of the biggest and most popular live entertainment venues in the Staffordshire area and welcome over a quarter of a million visitors to the venues each year.

The team will be hosting their first sponsors evening of the year on the 2nd April at the Regent Theatre. The evening will be built around experiencing the National Theatre’s iconic production of War Horse and guests will hear all about the amazing work that the Creative Learning team do in our local communities.

In addition, guests can find out more about how to become a sponsor and marketing opportunities included the popular What’s On Guide and various social media platforms.

Please contact Frazer Hoyle on frazerhoyle@theambassadors.com if you would like to attend or would like further information on the event.

 

Experienced sales and marketing professional Ryan Yates has joined the team at Beswicks Legal and Beswicks Sports taking on the role of Group Commercial Director.

Ryan joins Beswicks from Netbiz Group, where he was Managing Director, bringing with him a wealth of commercial experience at an operational level with core strengths in sales and marketing.

Beswicks Legal managing partner Nick Phillips said: “I’m really pleased to welcome Ryan to the team. He has expertise in a number of key areas, as well as bags of energy and enthusiasm, which makes him a perfect fit for Beswicks.”

Nick added: “At Beswicks we believe in continuously challenging ourselves to be the best and to lead the way in delivering outstanding legal services. I know Ryan will thrive in such a positive environment and will be a great addition to the team.”

Ryan said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be joining Beswicks. To have the opportunity to work for such a fantastic, forward-thinking law firm and a highly-regarded sports agency is tremendously exciting.”

Staffordshire’s Lymestone Brewery is celebrating a clutch of awards.

Two of the Stone brewery’s keg beers won regional gold medals at the 2019 SIBA Independent Beer Awards last week. And their brewery tap in Stone, The Borehole, was named pub of the year by the Heart of Staffordshire Camra group on Friday.

Judged by brewers and industry experts and organised by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) at their flagship BeerX UK event in Liverpool on 14 and 15 March, the Independent Beer Awards cover a huge range of beer styles.

Dad-and-daughter brewing duo Ian and Sarah Bradford from Lymestone were at the event, where they won a Midlands region gold medal for their Waterstone Wheat ale in the keg speciality light beers category. And there was a gold medal for Stray Cat Milk in the keg British dark beers (up to 4.4%) category. The milk stout is produced by Sarah at the brewery, but under the Stray Cat brand.

Head brewer Ian Bradford said: “We’ve been brewing Lymestone beers for over 10 years and the industry is almost unrecognisable from when we started. The demand for new beers and new flavours is stronger than ever, so I’m delighted that two of our newest keg beers have been awarded regional gold medals.”

Daughter Sarah, who started brewing with her dad in 2017, added: “The Stray Cat range is deliberately different from the Lymestone beers, and it’s been fantastic to experiment with different beer styles. It’s really important to develop new beers and to push what we’re doing.”

The SIBA regional gold medals weren’t the only awards for Lymestone Brewery last week – their brewery tap in Stone, The Borehole, was also named Heart of Staffordshire Camra’s pub of the year, the latest in a long line of awards for the community pub.

Director Vivienne Bradford said: “We opened The Borehole, our second pub, in March 2015 and it’s gone from strength to strength. It’s a real community pub, with lots of events and support for local groups and charities, and we continue to develop it. Last year we launched The Borehole Tasting Club, with regular tasting nights covering beer, spirits and more.”

Sauce, the locally designed and produced magazine focusing on Staffordshire’s thriving food and drink scene, is increasing from two to four issues per year in 2019.

2018 was a wonderful year for food and drink in Staffordshire, with plenty of fantastic events, pop ups, openings and awards for producers and venues across the county. It was also an exciting year for Sauce, seeing the launch of the magazine and website in April.

The warm and welcoming reception received by the first edition over the Spring and Summer was followed by an equally, if not more, enthusiastic response to the Autumn/Winter issue and its cover star, Larry the lobster, in September 2018. After repeated requests from readers and contributors alike to go quarterly, the agency responsible for producing the magazine – Provoke Marketing & Design in Stone – decided to take the plunge and produce four issues in 2019.

“The shift to a truly seasonal schedule will see a closer focus on the delicious produce available in Staffordshire at different times of the year, as well as the dishes our talented local chefs come up with using this produce,” says Sauce Editor and Founder of Provoke, Daren Bach. “And of course it will also allow us to showcase even more of the fantastic people behind Staffordshire’s flourishing food and drink scene.”

The Spring edition of the magazine will appear in early March, and as with past editions will be stocked in farm shops, food halls, hotels, restaurants and other destinations across the county. It is free to consumers, who are encouraged to support the local, independent businesses featured in its pages.

The team is open to ideas for food and drink focused editorial content, and advertising opportunities are available. To discuss, contact: team@staffordshiresauce.co.uk

My Simple Mortgage has secured investment that will support ambitious plans for expansion in 2019.

In a little over a year,  the size of the team has doubled. With three mortgage and protection advisers – James, Zoe, and Steve who are now working with a range of  customers from first-time buyers to buy to let landlords. Founded in 2014 by James Adams, and joined by co-director Mark Savill in 2016, the company takes a genuinely personal approach to helping customers.

Whether a client is buying their first home, re-mortgaging, investing in a rental property or needs a commercial mortgage, they aim to make the process as straightforward as possible, especially for busy local business leaders and owners who are stretched for time.

At the moment, the gap between the average maturing two-year fixed rate mortgage and lenders’ standard variable rates (SVR) is the widest it has been in 11 years. Yet figures from the FCA suggest up to 35,000 homeowners across the ST postcode area stay on their lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) when a fixed, tracker or discount mortgage deal ends.

With so many people paying too much for their mortgage, the firm have recently launched their Mortgage Health Check, a free whole-of-market advice service to assess whether a re-mortgage is right for your personal situation.

“Many business owners and self-employed people in particular think that if their circumstances have changed or their income is variable they are stuck with their current mortgage,” says James, who has more than 10 years’ experience in the mortgage advice sector. “That’s just not the case and there are savings to be made for thousands of homeowners across the area.”

Leek United are offering customers a taste of Gingerbread along with their favourite cuppa this week.

The Society’s Hanley staff have chosen the Stoke-on-Trent-based Gingerbread Centre as the focus of their community fundraising throughout 2019.

And they want to raise people’s awareness of the charity and its work by hosting a special coffee morning at the Branch in Stafford Street, Hanley on Friday, 22 March.

“Working in the city centre, we are all, sadly, only too aware of the numbers of homeless and vulnerable people there are in North Staffordshire,” said Hannah Sergeant, Leek United’s Hanley Branch Manager.

“That’s why we chose The Gingerbread Centre as our nominated charity, and we hope that customers will help in supporting us to raise as much as we can throughout this year.”

Hannah and her colleagues are hosting the coffee morning between 10am and 12 noon, to enable customers and visitors to the branch to enjoy light refreshments – and find out more about the charity’s work.

Biscuit, the charity’s giant gingerbread man mascot, will also be in attendance, along with Gingerbread Centre fundraiser Paul Deakin.

“Homelessness is so much more than simply being on the streets – it can also be about people simply not having somewhere to call their own,” said Paul.

“As a charity, we already know that our budget will be cut this year, so raising public awareness of what we do, and the support of individuals and businesses such as Leek United is vital to us.”

Established in 1977, The Gingerbread Centre was originally an Advice Centre for single parents, but in the 1980s recognised the need had changed and now provides 24-hour supported accommodation for homeless families, teenage parents and pregnant women from across North Staffordshire.

The charity has two main facilities; Rothesay Court in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent supports homeless families, including single dads, and Catherine Court in Hanley is Gingerbread’s Teenage Parents Unit, providing supported accommodation for pregnant girls and teenage parents aged 16 to 19.

UPDATE FROM HMRC

HMRC are continuing to support UK businesses to help them prepare for the changes that will occur if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 M‌ar‌c‌h.

This week they published a letter to 135,000 UK businesses that currently trade goods with non-EU countries. The letter outlines important changes to customs procedures and VAT for UK-EU trade that will occur if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. These changes will also impact on UK trade outside of the EU.

What you need to know about EORI numbers:

  • any business that already trades with non-EU countries and has a UK EORI number will continue to be able to use this for UK-EU trade and does not need to apply again
  • UK EORI numbers are eight digit numbers and begin with the prefix ‘GB’, such as GB00000000
  • any business that already trades with non-EU countries and has an EU EORI number will be able to use this for UK-EU trade for a temporary period; HMRC will provide further information about moving to a UK EORI number shortly and these businesses do not need to apply for a UK EORI number at this time
  • EU EORI numbers will be begin with different country prefix, such as ‘IE’ or ‘FR’.

Their latest letter follows on from three letters we have already written to 145,000 UK businesses that trade with the EU, setting out the actions they must take to prepare their business for a potential no deal exit from the EU on 29 M‌ar‌c‌h. They include the actions these businesses must take now to make sure they are able to trade as smoothly as possible when we leave, such as registering for an international trader number, known as an EORI number, which these businesses will need to continue trading with the EU.

Where can I go for further support and guidance to prepare my business for EU Exit?

If you are in any doubt about whether your business, or a business you support, will be affected by EU Exit then you should use the dedicated ‘Prepare your business for the UK leaving the EU‘ tool on GOV‌.UK. The tool asks seven questions about the nature of the trade they carry out before presenting the relevant guidance to inform their preparations.

If you are a UK business that trades with the EU, or you support such a business, then we have a dedicated ‘Communications resources‘ page that helps to explain the actions you must take to prepare and provides further guidance and support for each step. The page includes:

  • step-by-step guides for UK importers and exporters setting out the key actions they need to take to prepare their business
  • details of the latest guidance on key areas, such as how to successfully complete customs declarations and how to move goods to the EU through roll on roll off ports
  • links to the technical notices published in August last year
  • copies of the latest letters issued to UK traders to inform their EU Exit preparations
  • information about the further guidance and support available.

You will also find dedicated guidance on ‘Preparing for EU Exit if you live in the UK‘, ‘Living in Europe after the UK leaves the EU‘ and ‘Continuing to live in the UK after we leave the EU‘ which you may find useful.

Rewarding businesses across the UK with over £100 Million, randd uk have been invited to the Palace of Westminster just two days before the official date for Brexit. Finance Director, Matt Timby FCCA and Head of Marketing, Sam Warburton CIM (affiliate) are set to travel to London on the 27th March 2019 to greet officials & professionals at the annual gala to celebrate release of The Parliamentary Review.

“We’re thrilled to be invited to the Palace of Westminster and the team are honoured to be featured in The Parliamentary Review”, said Matt Timby FCCA.

Published in the 2019 Financial Services edition of The Parliamentary Review, randd uk are proud to be recognised as industry leaders in R&D tax credits. Distributed to over 50,000 leading business executives, policy makers and other relevant individuals, The Parliamentary Review includes a forward from The RT Hon Theresa May MP and features a letter from Lord Pickles & Lord Blunkett.

With the date from Brexit looming ever closer, randd uk are confident and prepared to support business through this uncertain period. Managing Director, Mick Keyse said, “Businesses that are innovative are more likely to survive long term. Claiming R&D tax credits now will actively prepare and secure a company’s future post-Brexit.”

For further information, please contact Sam Warburton on 01332 477 070 or visit www.randduk.com.

Samantha Hulson from Birch HR gives us an insight into some of the most challenging HR issues which could affect your business in 2019….

Working in HR consultancy is always interesting, challenging and very busy and it looks as though this year is not going to be the exception. It’s always useful to take the time to take stock of employment law and some HR issues on the horizon. Best to be prepared.

It appears that pay will be the dominant force in 2019 according to employment law expert Paula Bailey, who predicts that a gender pay gap report will be high on the agenda.  New laws came into play in January this year that requires UK listed companies that employ more than 250 UK staff to prepare a report that highlights the difference in pay between chief executives and their average UK worker, with the aim of highlighting pay discrepancies.

Employment rights will also be brought to the fore with promises that from April 2019 maximum tribunal fines will be increased for serious breaches of employment rights, specifically around zero-hour contracts and agency employees.   This means that employers will need to provide wage slips to ‘workers’ as well as their employees on zero-hour contracts that state how many hours they’ve worked where pay is variable.

Following on from the #MeToo campaign from last year which centres around sexual harassment in the workplace, 3 independent reports have been compiled which have recommended to the Government that employers need to have a legal duty placed on them to prevent such harassment happening. There is also the need to provide more support to victims who both raise concerns and make tribunal claims. HR can certainly help with this.

Also worth noting that European workers currently living in the UK will be able to apply for settled status this year which will grant them access to indefinitely remain after the end of Brexit’s transition period. But those that are eligible must give evidence that they have been living in the UK for five years, by the time they send in their application.

The National Minimum Wage, including the National Living Wage, is due to increase this April, and HMRC has promised to be more proactive in ensuring that companies comply with the new rise. For workers aged 25 or over, this means an increase from £7.83 per hour to £8.21.  The standard rate for those under 25 will rise from £7.38 to £7.70.

More equal pay tribunals are gaining momentum too, which include Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsburys, led by female staff who feel unequal with regard to pay compared to male staff.

Yes, there really is talk about microchipping employees to improve security, this will be fascinating to see how a court decides to rule on this given the potential of GDPR implications and privacy rights. We understand that UK firm BioTeq, offers this service to businesses and individuals, they have already fitted 150 implants in the UK, in the flesh between the thumb and forefinger.

And finally, the Good Work Plan, which sets out proposals for achieving ‘fair and decent’ work with a realistic scope for development and fulfilment’ for all UK workers.  Proposals suggest that the maximum tribunal fines that can be issued to employers for serious breached of employment rights be raised from £5,000 to £20,000.