16 minute read


Restart and Recovery: Liverpool Chamber’s International Members share their thoughts on the road ahead

International trade is crucial for the recovery of the economy with the recent crisis placing strain on economies across the world. This is a complex situation, with global and domestic consumption shrinking and supply chains disrupted, but British companies are planning ahead, developing continuity and contingency plans to support business growth as well as seeking assurances from the Government to help to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19. You can read more from Chamber members Brunswick International and Tithebarn Ltd below as well as the latest government updates. For more information on how Liverpool Chamber can support you please contact export@liverpoolchamber.org.uk

Brunswick International: Thriving in testing times

At a time when a lot of businesses were drawing back from extension plans, Brunswick International opened a new Customs Bond Facility, moving from their flagship site in Sandhills Lane, where they have been based for over 20 years, to their new state of the art premises on Triumph Business Park.

Steve Crane, Managing Director, explained “Despite the challenges, we have been able to protect staff and continue to service our customers. It has been a real team effort with all the company’s directors actively involved to make sure that the guidance around social distancing has been observed and the team have had the IT and managerial support needed to work from home which is a new development for us”. Brunswick are now be able to return to their new premises with a full staff complement and have also opened a new 50,000 sq.ft warehouse, fully racked, secure and ready for operations. It is a temperature controlled facility, and they have also been granted a Customs Bond facility, which will allow businesses to store their goods with the advantage of delaying the payment of custom duties until the goods are released. The site externally can house a further 15,000 sq ft of cargo.

Brunswick have welcomed the ongoing support from Liverpool Chamber who have been in regular contact to make sure they were aware of any funding opportunities as well as more general information and guidance. With things beginning to get back to some normality, Brunswick International is now turning its focus back to getting themselves fully prepared for the new post Brexit challenges in 2021.

Steve explains: “It is important that we don’t forget that there will be potentially be enormous changes around international trade in 2021 and whilst these are still to be confirmed, we have already put in place new systems and trained staff so we are fully prepared once the transition period is over. We are already working with our clients to help them prepare but we are also mindful that many will also need time to recover from the impact of Covid-19.

The next 6 months are critical to all companies to give them time to recover and hopefully get back to where they were before the pandemic struck. Working closely with the Chamber at this time is so important to us as they can provide access to expertise from different sectors as well as government departments to provide us with the confidence and knowledge to move forward.”

Tithebarn Ltd: The Show Must Go On

Denis Sowler, Export Sales Director at Tithebarn Ltd, highlights some of the challenges facing our exporters in marketing their products overseas.

“With businesses now having the ability to make “face to face”contact via zoom and other forms of instant communication, there are many pundits predicting the end of trade shows and the need for people to gather in large numbers. At this time of restricted travel and increased health and spatial awareness you can understand why people are being so cautious. However it is only by attending such exhibitions that you can really raise awareness of the benefits and unique selling points of your product or service to potential buyers.

Tithebarn have been displaying their award winning livestock mineral blocks around the world for many years. Their slogan for the Rockies is “pressed harder to last longer”. It is only by physically seeing and touching these rock hard compressed blocks that people can truly observe just how hard they actually are and be instantly impressed as to how small the compression process has made them. At the show-stand they can touch them, smell them and even lick them too; none of which can be achieved through a long distant digital call!

Here too they can talk with other likeminded businesses from across the world who have used the blocks under wide ranging climate conditions and farming systems. They can exchange ideas, experiences and their own success stories. For Tithebarn it is a chance to tell our story, to make new contacts, to meet up with existing clients and boost the confidences shared. For example, VIV is held biannually in Bangkok. This significant agricultural event attracts visitors not just from S.E. Asia but from as far afield as South America to Australia. We have gained significant business at such events and provided much needed work for the factory and the people we employ locally.

Shows are expensive. The DIT Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) is a great resource, typically providing £2500 towards the costs and I would highly recommend.

Now at this time more than any other, when we are trying to recover from the effects of the coronavirus and are also seeking new exciting markets following Brexit, is the need to get face to face, meet people, extol the virtue of our products and make Britain a great place to do business. This scheme however only allows for a maximum of six claims per company and unfortunately Tithebarn has long since used its available grants. Surely now is the time for the government to urgently reconsider the parameters of the scheme to get as many potential exporters out there selling their goods.

You have to put hooks into the water to catch fish. Let’s hope the Government will encourage us all with a little extra funding to make the leap of faith to grow our export capacity.”

UK Global Tariff backs UK businesses and consumers

The Government has announced the UK’s new MFN tariff regime. The UK Global Tariff (UKGT) will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff on 1 January 2021 at the end of the transition period and it is important for businesses to familiarise themselves with the new tariff regime ahead of this date. The new tariff is tailored to the needs of the UK economy, making it easier and cheaper for businesses to import goods from overseas. It will scrap red tape and other unnecessary barriers to trade, reduce cost pressures and increase choice for consumers and back UK industries to compete on the global stage.

The Government is maintaining tariffs on a number of products backing UK industries such as agriculture, automotive and fishing. It also aims to promote a sustainable economy by cutting tariffs on over 100 products to back renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon capture, and the circular economy.

For more information visit the government website: https://www.gov.uk/


HMRC Extends Customs Grant Funding Deadline

From 1 January 2021, the way businesses trade will change, and they’ll need to prepare for life outside the EU, including new customs arrangements. Businesses are therefore encouraged to claim remaining funding available to support recruitment and improved IT capability as well as training courses to help traders submit customs declarations.

Liverpool Chamber is on hand to support business through training to help you to accurately complete export and import Customs Declarations. The courses cover a range of topics including what they are, why they are needed and what information is involved. They include practical practice exercises to help you to complete export and import customs entries and avoid common errors. The next standard courses are on 28 October and 19 November 2020 and bespoke courses are also available.

Contact export@liverpoolchamber.org.uk for further information on the courses and on how to apply for the grant.

Foursquare Group offers ‘pay what you can’ deal

Foursquare Group, which provides compliance and training services for independent businesses, has launched a ‘Pay What You Can’ COVID-Safe package to help hospitality and retail businesses reopen following lockdown.

The initiative, which simplifies the new health and safety measures businesses need to implement, was created to kickstart the independent hospitality and retail industry following the devastating effects of COVID-19.

Its pack comprises guidance and templates which all businesses can use to carry out risk assessments and plan their safe and successful reopening.

It has been carefully designed to meet new and existing compliance requirements so that businesses can safely return to operating as soon as possible.

Also included in the pack is a face-to-face audit by a Foursquare safety professional To help people travel safely and to take pressure of the public transport system, Merseytravel has launched a public information campaign - ReThink Travel. The campaign asks people to think carefully about whether they need to travel and, if so, when they travel and by what means. Many of us have turned to walking and cycling during lockdown and Merseytravel is encouraging people to keep doing this. Not only does walking and cycling help ease the pressure on transport services, it to independently verify that each business is ready to reopen.

Businesses taking part in the scheme will receive a COVID-Safe certificate to display on their websites and window fronts, which will boost consumer confidence and contribute to a faster industry re-start.

The business, based in Liverpool’s Royal Albert Dock, says its ‘Pay What You Can’ pricing model for this initiative is the first of its kind in the UK and makes this support accessible to as many businesses as possible at a time when they need it most.

A suggested price is provided by Foursquare Group for the pack, but the actual price also helps reduce congestion, improve air quality, and has a positive impact on our physical and mental health. If you can work from home, then please continue to do so. However, if you do need to travel then please plan your journeys and take into account factors including social distancing and longer journey times. Please visit the Re Think Travel campaign on the Merseytravel website for important information about rail, bus, ferry and tunnel services and key journey planning advice. paid is decided entirely by those businesses who use it. This is based on how much they feel is affordable for them.

A range of independents have already taken advantage of Foursquare’s offer, including Duke Street Food and Drink Market, Bold Street Coffee, Maray, Leaf, Bacaro, Free State Kitchen, floatation therapy centre Float Planet, The Brain Charity café, Ropes and Twines and So Salsa.

Liam Jones, Foursquare Group’s founder and chief executive, said: “I started Foursquare Group back in January 2019 and since then we’ve been on a mission to make compliance as simple and cost

Merseytravel has asked passengers to

‘ReThink Travel’

As more people start to travel, the ongoing requirement for social distancing means that space on public transport is greatly reduced.

effective for independents as possible.”

SP Energy Networks supercharges Liverpool charity

with emergency fund to help unpaid carers and their families

Local Solutions in Liverpool has benefited from support from electricity distributor SP Energy Networks to support an emergency fund for unpaid carers and their families who have been affected by Covid-19.

Local Solutions is among nine charities across the UK receiving funding to boost support for vulnerable people on the Priority Services Register. Funding from SP Energy Networks will help the charities deliver key services such as remote emotional wellbeing support, financial advice and medicine deliveries.

Local Solutions in Liverpool has received £5,896 to help 175 unpaid carers and their families with living costs, unexpected expenses and travel – through a new emergency fund for those affected by Covid-19 in the Liverpool City Region and North Wales.

The funding announcement follows SP Energy Networks and its parent company ScottishPower signing up to the C-19 Business Pledge. As well as keeping the lights on for 3.5 million households, SP Energy Networks has committed to help customers, employees and the communities it serves through recovery from Covid-19. The student cohort of 250 to 400 adult students per week all year round, as well as an international junior summer school which attracts 2200 students in July and August, draws students mainly from Asia, Middle East and Europe and has provided a significant boost to the local economy over the last 21 years. LSE has played a key role in Liverpool being voted the best city to visit in Europe by international students more than once in the last 5 years, organising weekend excursions, cultural visits, and a social programme that includes visits to restaurants, theatres, sporting facilities and evening activities. Students stay in local residences and homestay hosts who provide Guy Jefferson, Customer Service Director SP Energy Networks, said: “Alongside our crucial work to keep the lights on and the power flowing, we’re committed to supporting people in our communities throughout the recovery from Covid-19. Helping these important charities ensure that our most vulnerable customers in Liverpool have the help they need.

“If you’ve received a letter from the NHS advising you that you are ‘at risk’ from Covid-19 then I’d really encourage you to sign up for SP Energy Networks’ Priority Services Register so you can access these additional services.”

Steve Hawkins, Chief Executive of Local Solutions, said: “We work with people across the Liverpool Region and North Wales to improve people’s lives who face disadvantage. SP Energy Networks’ support will help 175 carers and their families through Liverpool Carers Centre’s accommodation and support for over 200 students contributing to the local economy. The impact of Covid-19 has threatened the future of LSE and similar organisations with courses coming to an abrupt end and students having to return to their own countries. However The Liverpool School of English has not closed its doors and is adapting to the new “normal”, delivering online courses for all students until it is safe and regulations allow them to return to face to face teaching. In partnership with English UK they have implemented ‘Staying COVID 19 Secure’. This includes the installation of a thermal imaging camera to temperature check all health and wellbeing service on Zoom, as well as enabling us to support carers in crisis during this difficult period. Unpaid carers continue to be our unsung heroes, caring for family members, often for many hours a day.”

People who have received a letter from the NHS advising them that they are ‘at risk’ and should take additional measures to protect themselves from Covid-19 are being advised to sign up for SP Energy Networks’ Priority Services Register. This provides free additional services to customers in vulnerable circumstances if there is an unexpected power cut. They should sign up at spenergynetworks.co.uk or text PSR to 61999.

More information about how SP Energy Networks is responding to Covid-19 is available at www.spenergynetworks.

Planning a recovery strategy post covid-19

Founded by Maria McDonnell in 1999 The Liverpool School of English employs 50 people full time year round with an additional 150 staff during the Summer School in June, July and August.


students, staff and visitors. Other measures in place include individual desks, social distancing stickers for the floor and the doors, hand sanitising stations through the school, staggering starting times and breaks and PPE equipment to name a few.

Maria McDonnell, School Director, says: “The furlough scheme has helped the school to keep valued staff but the delays in the decision making around other funding schemes have caused us real problems. Courses have been cancelled and refunds given and the introduction of a 14 day quarantine period for people arriving into the U.K. has resulted in many students choosing alternatives places to study English like Ireland or Malta.

Despite what is still a relatively bleak outlook in the short term, I am still hopeful that students will return to study, travel, and work and enjoy all that this great city has to offer.”

A time of change, redirection and opportunity

ArchiPhonic reveals brand refresh and new website as lockdown eases.

Liverpool-based architectural design company, ArchiPhonic, has revealed a refreshed brand and new website.

The new look visual identity and website was completed during lockdown by citybased brand and creative studio, In Good Company, and focused on modernising the firm’s existing brand and aligning it with new business objectives.

Speaking of the rebrand, co-director, Adam Mokhtar, said: “As for many businesses the past few months have been a period of change and redirection. Although it has been a challenging time, it has presented us with an opportunity to look at our company structure and delivery and ensure that our visual identity aligns with our business objectives.”

The rebrand comes as the architectural design firm shifts from residential projects for private clients, into the commercial market, with a particular focus on working with commercial developers in the Liverpool City Region on residential projects.

Adam continued: “During lockdown, we have seen many of our clients taking a change in direction or using this new climate as a point of opportunity. We have taken time to refine our processes and delivery to best support these changes.

“As a result we have become even more efficient and used that to our advantage, taking 14 new projects in and around the Liverpool City Region, in a variety of different sectors, from residential to mixed-use.

These new projects include an autonomous new-build, three-bedroom house in rural agricultural landscape, a replacement dwelling with associated holiday lets and stables, and the conversion of an existing building into ground floor retail with flats above. “We have not only had time to explore new sectors, but also focus on doing more of what we do best, which is adding value to schemes,” said Adam. “Whether that is working with clients from the start of a project, or being brought in specifically to see if we can improve the quality and yield of a scheme.”

Speaking of his outlook for the business and the city’s economy post-lockdown, Adam remains optimistic.

“We are already seeing a bottleneck of requirements from the property industry as a whole, which is great news for Liverpool’s architecture, design and construction firms,” he said. “Those of us that deliver excellent service should be able to benefit from those opportunities. “There will always be challenges, but the continued and forever optimistic nature of Liverpool’s business community means that we will prosper and push forward in the face of adversity, just as we always have.”

To find out more about ArchiPhonic visit:



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