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BRETT WADSWORTH Back from the land of Oz

AMANDA VIGAR Beware the snoopers

+7.48 6559.48

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An EXAMINER publication

KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS The business NEWSpaper for Kirklees

Manufacturers in optimistic mood KIRKLEES manufacturers have reported a boost in business. Latest soundings among member firms by the Calderdale and Kirklees Manufacturers Alliance suggest that after five years of reduced sales, “decimated” profit margins and struggling against late payment, better times may be ahead. Chairman Gary Smith said: “Members are now saying there seems to be – in certain areas – a good upturn in orders.” He added: “Those manufacturers wh o a re m e m b e r s o f C K M A benefited from lots of support through the recession – being told as soon as any grants, support or advice relating to manufacturing were released. “Working closely with UKTI, ways of getting sales in new markets were explored while the Manufacturing Advisory Service teamed up with members to run cost-reduction and efficient manufacturing projects, which a number found invaluable to ensure they could match or beat their competitors’ quotes. “Both councils came up trumps too, offering grants, loans and even found a few companies more factory space. The University of Huddersfield, too, went to members and free of

charge did projects and found ways to improve products to ensure they had that extra edge to win new business.” Mr Smith said: “Thanks to all this support and good management, most West Yorkshire manufacturers survived the recession and have also been laying the foundations for growth and prosperity in the new market place we are emerging into after the recession. “The new market place is one that has matured and expects its suppliers to have become that bit more special and responsive to customer needs, with new better products at very competitive prices and delivery time scales to suit the customers’ ever demanding requirements. “CKMA is now gearing itself to ensure that all its members are well placed to grab the new business opportunities as they come, be able to upscale and ensure they gain maximum profits. “Members are now buying more locally, which they are all saying is giving unexpected benefits, as their suppliers often tip them off about new business opportunities. Stock levels are not too large and delivery times are a lot quicker than from the Far East!” Mr Smith, a director of Huddersfield specialist glazing firm

■ WIN: Darren Stringer, of Brighter Connections

10-year landmark A COMPANY providing IT support and advice has marked 10 years in business. Fusion IT was founded in 2003 by managing director Jamie Watson – since when the firm has expanded to employ 13 people, including a dedicated development team and boast an impressive list of clients. Said Jamie: “During the last 10 years, we have had to adapt to ever-changing technologies and it is this flexibility and commitment to delivering exceptional service for all our clients which has been key to our success.”

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■ OPPORTUNITIES: CKMA chairman and Novaglaze director Gary Smith

Novaglaze, highlighted the examples of excellence among local manufacturers who hosted factory tours for CKMA members, adding: “ Best practice groups are now flourishing, talking specific issues such as implementing the new pensions and health and safety in the workplace, where the companies discuss what works for

them and how to achieve the best results quickly and without too much cost. “What is becoming clear is that the small manufacturers can help the local big companies and this in turn is both good for the small manufacturers as well as the local economy too.”

IT firm opens door to public sector work A COMPANY in Huddersfield has achieved a Kirklees-wide first. Brighter Connections, an IT practice based at Edgerton, has been appointed to the G-Cloud 4 Government Procurement Framework allowing it to supply cloud-based technology services to public sector organisations. It allows the public sector to buy cloud-based services off the shelf, avoiding lock-in to expensive contracts with single suppliers and encouraging cost-effective, innovative solutions. Brighter Connections has been appointed to offer seven packaged specialist cloud services to organisations across the UK – including central government, local government, health, education, devolved administrations, emergency services, defence and not-for-profit organisations.


The company is one of only 26 suppliers on the framework in Yorkshire and the only appointed supplier in Kirklees Brighter Connections has been offering technology solutions and professional services to the commercial sector for 10 years. During this time, it has achieved a host of industry accreditations as well as ISO 9001 quality accreditation and ISO 27001 accreditation for Information Security Management systems. Twelve months ago, the firm established a strong foothold in the academic sector helping schools, colleges and academies to get the maximum benefit from their investment in technology. The development of excellent working relationships with academic establishments has acted as a springboard to enable the firm to offer its products and services to

local and central government departments and other public sector bodies – culminating in the firm being awarded a place to offer specialist cloud services on the G-Cloud 4 framework. Darren Stringer, managing director at Brighter Connections, said: “Our appointment onto the G-Cloud 4 framework, within 12 months of starting to offer our products and services to the public sector, demonstrates our commitment and enthusiasm to work in partnership with public sector organisations to help them gain the most out of their IT investment.” He added: “We are looking forward to offering our services through the government Cloud Store to new channels in the public sector which have been previously unavailable to us.”

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Steering ahead A CAR dealer with operations in Huddersfield is heading for a record year. With just a few weeks to go until the end of the year, Colin Appleyard Cars is on target to register over 1,600 new Suzuki cars for the first time in it’s 40 year history – with new car sales up almost 40% on last year. Managing director Robin Appleyard said: “We have exceeded all expectations.”

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Brewery group builds up real Head of Steam PUB group the Head of Steam has been sold by Emley-born businessman Tony Brookes to north-east brewer and retailer Camerons Brewery. Camerons Brewery has added seven new outlets to its retail pub estate – including the Head of Steam pub at St George’s Square in Huddersfield – with the purchase. That takes Camerons’ estate to more than 75 sites. The company plans to grow to an estate of 200 pubs within five years. The new outlets also include The Head of Steam sites in Newcastle and Durham along with iconic Newcastle pubs The Cluny, The Cluny 2, Tilley’s and Central in Gateshead. Camerons director and general manager Christopher Soley said: “We are delighted with these new additions. As a board, one of our key strategic investment areas is the development of a quality, sustainable estate in both our managed and tenanted pub divisions. These new sites fit the criteria that we targeted, offering traditional cask ales, craft beers and world lagers. “The seven outlets will form part of our managed group of pubs. There are no immin-

ent plans to change the great offer radically at these sites and will be looking to adopt many of their principles into our current estate. “This is the first step in developing our estate in size, quality and geography and we are looking for further sites that fit a similar model to The Head of Steam group both within our current estate and new opportunities.” Camerons Brewery will be retaining all staff in the group, including the services of former co-owner Mr Brookes, who will work with the Camerons board on a consultancy basis to ensure the sites continue to deliver their unique offer. Mr Brookes said: “I am really pleased that we have sold our business to Camerons Brewery. After seeing the investment in their new brand range as well as their plans to expand their pub estate I felt Camerons were in a position to take the great work we have done and develop it even further. “Given the scale of Camerons and the relationship it has with other world brewers and suppliers I am looking forward to working with them to ensure these sites continue to

and is in danger of breaching financial covenants while it looks to secure its future before the end of a three-month reprieve from its lenders at the start of February. R i va l c h a i n H & T i s understood to be one of a number of trade and financial buyers that have formally lodged interest in buying Albemarle, which put itself up for sale last week. Other potential bidders

be successful businesses in the future.” The purchase of the sites has been supported by brewing partners Carlsberg UK as the two companies look to increase business together. The deal was facilitated by Newcastle advisors Watson Burton and UNW. Hartlepool-based Camerons posted a pre-tax loss of £100,000 in the year to April 28 after impairment costs of £500,000 linked to a debt refinance and a £1.8m impairment

Vodafone ringing the changes

Albemarle posts big profits plunge THE pressure on pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond to secure a buyer for its business was highlighted following a collapse in full-year profits. A 27% slump in gold prices since March and rising competition in a sector that has more than doubled in size over the past five years resulted in profits tumbling to £4.9m from £21.4m. Since then, Albemarle has been trading at a loss

■ CHEERS: The Head of Steam at Huddersfield railway station

charge relating to four sites. Turnover fell from £21.8m to £19.8m. The group reported a pre-tax profit of £1.9m in 2012. Announcing the results this summer, Mr Soley said: “2015 will see the company celebrate 150 years in business and our plan is to see our brands dominate our north east heartland area and see our products available to suppliers and customers nationwide.” In its annual report, the company stated: “Pubs remain a core element of our business and therefore in parallel with the disposal of non-core assets, we have invested in an improved operational pub management team and embarked upon an acquisition strategy to acquire additional freehold and leasehold sites. “Our ambitions for growth are to achieve a combined pub estate of around 200 pubs in the next five years. The contract brewing business remains robust and we see a significant opportunity for expanding our contract volumes in the forthcoming years. “Whilst our accounts show a reduction in turnover, this is as a result of a change to the beer production mix.”

are said to include Albemarle’s biggest shareholder EZ Corp – the US pawnbroking giant – as well as New York vulture fund Apollo Global Management. Albemarle, which also trades as Herbert Brown with a store in Huddersfield, has cut the size of its estate to under 200 sites, having closed its pop-up gold buying stores. Its pledge book fell by £3m to £37m.

VODAFONE unveiled a “radical break” from its usual diet of sporting sponsorship by pledging to focus more on social media-driven events. The drive by the mobile phone giant will target examples of first-time accomplishments inspired by its technology, from world-first events to those centred on the ambitions of individuals. It represents a significant shift from nearly a quarter of a century of “badge branding”, which saw the

group grow awareness across the world by associating itself with big names such as Formula 1’s McLaren racing team. Plans to scrap that McLaren partnership were announced in March, when a review found more than 90% of people in its operating markets were already aware of the Vodafone brand. The Firsts strategy, which is believed to require less funding than the Formula 1 deal, will build on this

awareness by seeking direct interaction with its more than 400m customers. The new approach will kick off in London on New Year’s Eve with what Vodafone claims will be the world’s first multi-sensory fireworks event, in partnership with food scientists from Bompas & Parr. Those unable to attend in person will be able to join the experience with a free augmented-reality smartphone app.

SHARE PRICES NORTH AMERICAN American Express £52.29 -0.09 Gannett 1536.73 -20.73 Hess Corp £49.11 -0.18 Microsoft £23.51 +0.13 Motors Liquidation 45.72 Wal-Mart Stores £48.85 +0.12 AEROSPACE & DEFENCE Avon Rbbr 5733/4 -11/4 BAE Systems 4161/4 +1/2 Rolls-Royce 1206 +11 AIM Brady Plc 731/2 AUTOMOBILES & PARTS GKN 364 -3/8 BANKS Barclays 2657/8 +1/4 HSBC 6573/4 -15/8 Lloyds Banking Gp 781/4 Ryl Scotland 3363/4 +11/4 Stan Chart 1314 -17 BEVERAGES Diageo 1925 +21/2 SABMiller £307/8 CHEMICALS Croda £23 Elementis 98 2527/8 +33/8 Johnsn Mat £311/2 +1/4 CONSTRUCTION & MATERIALS Balfour Beatty 2675/8 +3/4 Costain 281 -41/4 ELECTRICITY

Drax Gp 780 +151/2 SSE 1300 -2 ELECTRONIC & ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT Laird 260 +11/4 EQUITY INVESTMENT INSTRUMENTS Alliance Trust 439 +1 FIXED LINE TELECOM SERVICES BT Grp 3711/4 +5/8 Cable & Wireless 473/8 +3/8 Comm 1 Colt Group 122 /8 -13/4 KCOM 983/4 +13/8 1 Talktalk Telecom 281 /8 +63/4 FOOD & DRUG RETAILERS Morrison W 2601/4 +1/8 Sainsbury 3861/8 -23/4 5 Tesco 333 /8 +3/4 FOOD PRODUCERS AB Food £225/8 Tate Lyle 7791/2 -3 +1/8 Unilever £243/4 GAS, WATER & MULTIUTILITIES Centrica 3271/2 -17/8 National Grid 7501/2 Pennon Grp 638 -3 Severn 1665 +2 United Utils 6461/2 +1 GENERAL FINANCIAL 3i Group 3701/4 +11/4 ICAP 4313/4 +163/4 London StockExch 1618 -8 Man Group 843/8 -1 Provident Financial 1610 +15

Schroders £243/8 Schroders NV 1945 +14 GENERAL INDUSTRIALS REXAM 4821/4 -31/4 Smiths Grp 1378 +7 GENERAL RETAILERS Ashley L 271/4 +3/4 Carphone Whse 2763/4 -1/4 Dixons Retail 513/4 +3/4 7 Home Retail 188 /8 -1/8 Inchcape 582 +31/2 Kingfisher 3653/8 +13/4 M&S 461 -93/4 Mothercare 392 -11/2 1 Next £54 /2 WH Smith 991 +15 HEALTH CARE EQUIPMENT & SERVICES Smith Nph 850 +4 HOUSEHOLD GOODS Aga Rangemaster 149 -1/2 Barrat Dev 3381/2 +5/8 Persimmon 1183 Reckitt Benckiser £473/4 +1/8 Taylor Wimpey 1081/4 -1/4 INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING IMI 1455 +11 INDUSTRIAL METALS Ferrexpo 1761/4 +11/4 INDUSTRIAL TRANSPORTATION BBA Aviation 313 -2 LIFE INSURANCE Aviva 4287/8 +91/2

2061/2 1871/4 1266 3291/4 3411/4 MEDIA BSkyB 800 D Mail Tst 899 ITV 1835/8 Johnston Press 14 Pearson 1286 Reed Elsevier 869 STV Group 3061/2 Trinity Mirror 1861/4 Utd Business 6681/2 UTV 2181/2 WPP 1318 MINING Anglo American 13241/2 Antofagasta 7611/2 BHP Billiton 1844 Fresnillo 742 Kazakhmys 2131/4 Lonmin 3021/4 Rio Tinto £327/8 VEDANTA 8211/2 RESOURCES MOBILE TELECOM SERVICES Inmarsat 7301/2 Vodafone Group 2331/2 NONLIFE INSURANCE Admiral Grp 1215 RSA Insurance Gp 1001/2 OIL & GAS PRODUCERS Lgl & Gen Old Mutual Prudential Resolution Standard Life

-3/4 -13/8 +10 -11/4 +3/4 -4 -71/2 +11/8 -1/4 -4 +51/2 -1/4 -61/2 -1/2 +4 -1/2 -71/2 -1 -15 -41/2 -1/2 -1/8 -23

+40 +25/8 +9 -11/4

Local shares Carclo Marshalls National Grid Weir Gp

278 1721/2 7501/2 £203/4

-2 +31/2 +1/4

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6559.48 Up 7.48

BG 12371/2 +121/2 BP 4763/4 -5/8 Cairn Energy 2683/4 -1/4 Royal Dutch Shell £203/4 +1/8 A Royal Dutch Shell £215/8 +1/8 B Total £36 Tullow Oil 8691/2 -30 OIL EQUIPMENT & SERVICES AMEC 1103 +5 Petrofac 1174 -20 1 -3 Wood Gp(J) 796 /2 PERSONAL GOODS Burberry Gp 1496 +14

PHARMACEUTICALS & BIOTECHNOLOGY Astrazeneca £343/4 -1/8 GlaxoSmithK XD 51/2 1 Shire £27 /4 +1/4 REAL ESTATE Brit Land 6041/2 +31/2 Hamrsn 5031/2 +1/2 3 Intu Properties 315 /4 -1/2 1 Land Secs 947 /2 +7 SEGRO 3315/8 +25/8 SOFTWARE ETC SERVICES Invensys 4991/8 +13/4 Sage Group 3713/4 -1/4 SUPPORT SERVICES Berendsen 917 +12 Bunzl 1366 +4 Capita 1005 +15 De La Rue 877 -3 Electrocomp 2721/4 -3/4 Experian 1113 -4 G4S 2607/8 -17/8 Hays 1173/4 +1/4 Homeserve 2587/8 -31/8 1 Menzies J 774 /2 +7 Rentokil 1093/4 +13/8 Smiths News 2271/2 +51/2 IT HARDWARE ARM Hldgs 1011 -7 Spirent Comms 1023/8 -1/4 TOBACCO Br Am Tob £317/8 -1/8 Imperial Tobacco £223/4 -1/8 LEISURE & HOTELS

Bwin.Party Digital 1191/8 Carnival £211/2 Compass Grp 9211/2 easyJet 1436 Enterprise Inns 1421/2 FirstGroup 117 Go-Ahead Gp 1630 Greene King 8541/2 Intercontl Htls 1900 Intl Cons Airl 3661/8 Ladbrokes 1765/8 Mitchells & Butlers 418 Natl Express 2631/4 Rank Org 133 Stagecoach Group 3661/8 TUI Travel 384 Whitbread £351/4


+1/8 +41/2 +9 +13/4 +3/8 +10 +41/2 +18 +81/2 +21/4 +2 +51/2 -1 -11/2 +57/8 +3/8

FTSE 100

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Tourists going abroad can expect the following rates for sterling: Australia..................... 1.71 dollars Bangladesh................ 119.71 taka Brazil............................ 3.41 reals Canada...................... 1.66 dollars China ........................... 8.88 yuan Czech Republic .... 30.10 korunas Denmark..................... 8.48 krone Euro.............................. 1.14 euro Hong Kong............... 12.04 dollars Hungary................. 321.09 forints India........................ 88.10 rupees Japan......................... 160.39 yen Mexico ...................... 18.84 pesos New Zealand ............. 1.84 dollars Norway ....................... 9.60 krone Pakistan................ 166.55 rupees Philippines ................ 61.81 pesos South Africa................ 15.77 rand South Korea............. 1501.00 won Sri Lanka .............. 201.92 rupees Sweden..................... 10.19 krona Switzerland................ 1.39 francs Taiwan ..................... 42.26 dollars Turkey...................... 3.15 new lira USA ........................... 1.56 dollars



Brett keeps things in trim

HE’S helped build buses, limousines and luxury yachts in a career that’s taken him to Australia and back – twice. Now Brett Wadsworth, who runs car interior trim specialist Alpha Auto Concepts from premises at Shelley, is in big demand by the owners of vintage and classic cars as well as modern day motors who want their vehicles to stand out from the crowd. And while he may have swapped the sunny skies of Western Australia for Huddersfield’s changeable climate, Brett is enjoying life with wife Debbie and children Josie and Max. Young Brett attended Holmfirth High School before embarking on a four-year apprenticeship as a coach builder with bus firm Yorkshire Rider and studies at Kitson College in Leeds. He later moved into the bodyshop and in time learned a range of mechanical, electrical. painting and trimming skills. Brett worked alongside men who had honed their skills with coach firm Rippon Brothers. He says: “When I started, they were still making ash-framed buses and had panel beaters making the wheel arches out of The business occupies Matters of questionable taste aluminium. premises at Barncliffe Mills at aside, Brett’s pleased to be back “I learned the traditional way Shelley. home. of doing things. I was lucky to The unit provides a light and “I visited people I knew in the work with those guys.” spacious workshop and a industry and people I used to do It was the kind of showroom, which the work for,” he says. craftsmanship that is all too rare Wadsworths intend to develop “The general feeling was they in the motor manufacturing as a reception and display area. were glad to see me back. industry today, says Brett. Brett’s clients are car owners There aren’t many guys with our “The only people who employ who want to make a statement. set of skills left and we all tend those kinds of skills now are “They want to imprint their to know each other. If there’s firms like Aston Martin or personality on their car,” he something one of us can’t do, Morgan,” he adds. says. “They want to make it their they will refer the customer to In the late-1990s, Brett and own. My job is to help them someone who can.” Debbie went backpacking, firstly realise their vision. The Wadsworths now live in to South Africa and then to Australia. “It’s like creating a tailor-made New Mill. Says Brett: “I didn’t Down Under, Brett landed a suit! But I can advise and make want to be too far from my job in marine trimming, working suggestions, too. workplace. on the interiors of luxury yachts Brett draws inspiration from “I didn’t want to be commuting moored in Sydney Harbour. the top names in transport. “I and getting stuck in traffic. I like He says: “It was one of the look at the likes of Rolls-Royce, the area and I like our premises. best jobs I ever had – looking at Bentley or Lear jets,” he says. I can work in good, natural light Sydney Harbour Bridge and “They are at the top of their and in the summer it is really working at Double Bay Marina game, they see what’s new and bright.” on boats belonging to celebrities they know what their customers Brett has plans to develop the like Kerry Packer. I also got to want.” business, including looking at know actor Sam Neil. I thought Brett doesn’t always agree so-called discreet how lucky I was to be working with his customers’ preferences, transportation, such as mobile there.” however. offices. Returning to the UK. Brett “One client wanted the car The idea is to convert a van or worked for a Huddersfield interior trim to be bright blue and people carrier to provide an company doing interior trim work yellow,” he recalls. “I didn’t like it, office for up to four people with before setting up for himself – all mod-cons and luxury fittings but the customer’s always right!” working from a shed in his mothers’ back garden. He ran the business for seven years, featuring in motor magazines and building up a reputation for the quality of his work on everything from car trims to full vehicle restorations. Then it was Return to Oz! Says Brett: “The Australian immigration minister said the country needed 96,000 skilled workers. We fancied a change at the time and we went for it.” Brett went to work for a limousine builder in Perth. “The firm invested and they got more and more orders,” he says. “They went from two or three guys in the trim shop to employing 10 and I became shopfloor manager. “I also learned more skills. Anything to do with interiors, I made it my mission to master it.” Five-and-a-half years after emigrating to Australia, Brett and Debbie returned to Huddersfield ■ ALL THE TRIMMINGS: Brett Wadsworth, of Alpha Auto Concepts in May this year and set up Alpha Auto Concepts in August. at Barncliffe Mills, Shelley

Page 3 Brett Wadsworth

such as tinted windows and reclining seats to allow high-powered business people and their PAs to carry on working as their driver whisks them along the motorway. However, restoration and interiors remain the mainstay of the business. Says Brett: “I like to see the customer’s face after I’ve completed the job and they open the car door for the first time and go ‘wow’.” Brett’s interests away from work include bike riding, aikido and golf – although the course at Bradley where he often plays isn’t likely to spring as many surprises as some of the “hazards” to be confronted on those in Australia. “I played a lot of golf out there,” he says. “There was a fantastic 18-hole course in the suburbs where we lived and I would play two or three times a week. “On one occasion, I chipped up onto the green to be confronted by a six-foot, alpha-male kangaroo watching me. I was in too minds about playing my next shot!”

Role: Owner Age: 40 Family: Married to Debbie with daughter Josie, nine, and son Max, four Car: Astra 2-litre – and the works van! Holidays: We love America, particularly Florida and New York First job: Collecting glasses and bottles at the White Hart, New Mill Best thing about job: Providing customer satisfaction and seeing their reaction when they open the car door and say ‘wow’ Worst thing about job: Feeling under pressure. People do their best work when they’re relaxed Business tip: Maintain a good relationship with other people in your industry – you never know when you might need their help or advice

Alpha Auto Concepts Work: Vehicle interior specialist Site: Barncliffe Mills, Shelley Phone: 01484 603000 Email: sales@alphaauto Website: www.alphaauto


Who will be the next Business of the Month? If you are proud of what your business has achieved; why not tell us about your success story and you could be a winner of our prestigious award. For further details please contact: Ian Greenwood, Eaton Smith Solicitors, 14 High Street, Huddersfield HD1 2HA T: 01484 821389 E: Business Of The Month Awards - Rewarding Success Since 1995


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‘Snoopers’ charter’ fears surface Business Advisors and Chartered Accountants

• A firm led by people who have actually run businesses • Through the year support and advice delivering comfort and value • Management information and account specialists • VAT, payroll and tax support • Year end reporting and full compliance service • Planning and support for your business and you Contacts Phone: 01484 688 616 Email: Web address: Part of the V&A Vigar Group


ITHOUT wishing to sound W overly paranoid, we all know that “Big Brother” is

watching us. While we’re not yet monitored night and day as in George Orwell’s dystopian vision, there are few places we can go where we’re not caught on CCTV. Google Maps allows the curious at one end of the country to check out where we live and what car we drive. The online world provides snooping possibilities for anyone intent on gathering information about us. People now commonly share things about themselves via social media that they would not have dreamed of divulging a decade ago. With these snippets of information, the snooper can build up an extraordinarily detailed picture of our lifestyles, where we live and work and what we get up to in our free time. And knowing how inaccurate HMRC records are I fear that people will be

harassed without due cause! So, what is HMRC doing to monitor us? It used to be the case that a local tax inspector would, if they had suspicions, spy on homeowners and trawl through the local media searching for information about lifestyles inconsistent with declared income. Now, sophisticated computer systems are employed to stay one step ahead, which is, in many ways, no bad thing, provided that we know how our data is being used, and why. There are inherent dangers in untrammelled snooping powers, not to mention clashes with legislation designed to protect our civil liberties. Images, news stories, planning information and social media are all easily accessible, but Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs also has more sophisticated tools at its disposal. Perhaps the most sophisticated weapon in HMRC’s armoury is something called “Connect”. This massive computer database contains

over a billion records including taxpayer records, information from third parties and the Internet. It includes interest on bank accounts, business ownership details and information from overseas tax authorities. It has successfully revealed information on undisclosed overseas income, undisclosed literary income and assets omitted from IHT returns. Since being set up in 2010, it has so far yielded over £2bn in additional tax and is now in the process of being upgraded. One of the areas to be upgraded is HMRC’s “web robot” software which trawls the Internet for information on taxpayers. Of course, anyone can support the taxman’s attempts to claw back undeclared income. My uneasiness stems from a suspicion that HMRC’s tax investigation activities are only the start of a more sophisticated and shadowy ‘Snooper’s Charter’, which may prove to be more ‘1984’ than 2014.

Amanda Vigar is managing partner at Holmfirth-based accountants V&A Bell Brown LLP

Funding concerns persist

To promote your business to over 49,000 Examiner readers and over 230,000 online users Call: Anne Joseph 01484 437745 email:

MORE than half of firms in Yorkshire and Humberside plan to seek funding for business growth during the next 12 months, a survey has revealed. But of those, 63% are concerned that their request for bank lending will be turned down, according to results of the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer. The quarterly survey, which canvasses the opinion of SME owners from a variety of sectors across the UK, further revealed that many UK business owners are unsure as to how to fund plans for growth. Four in 10 business owners surveyed in Yorkshire and Humberside admit their knowledge of funding sources –other than the conventional – could be better, while a further 17% are completely unaware of any alternatives to bank lending. Mike Randall, chief executive of Close Brothers Asset Finance, said: “It is encouraging to see that so many firms in Yorkshire and Humberside have plans to invest in their business, but to make these plans a reality firms need to have the necessary working capital required

■ SEARCH: Firms should consider funding options, says Mike Randall for growth. “For many, accessing finance can seem like a daunting task if they perceive that banks aren’t willing to lend and applications are likely to be turned down. “However, our findings would seem to suggest that firms are not being

pro-active enough when it comes to financial planning and many are failing to seek appropriate alternatives to bank lending.” The Business Barometer highlighted that access to cash is still a major challenge for many businesses in the region; with 9% of local business owners surveyed claiming it is crippling their business. Mr Randall said: “ “We would urge businesses to widen their search and consider other means of funding to help them achieve their potential. Business owners need to explore the broad range of financial solutions available to them. “Over the last few years, asset finance has become increasingly popular. However, there is still a lack of awareness surrounding it that may be holding firms in the region back from realising their growth aspirations. “Asset finance is a flexible form of funding that allows firms to unlock the capital tied up in their existing assets so that it can be used to facilitate their expansion strategy.”

FMG s new co

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deal covers vehicles and Ireland. FMG than 300 people, t their head offices in

A CAR dealer with operations in Huddersfield is heading for a record year. With just a few weeks to go until the end of the year, Colin Appleyard Cars is on target to register over 1,600 new Suzuki cars for the first time in it’s 40-year history – with new car sales up almost 40% on last year. Managing director Robin Appleyard (pictured) put the success down to Suzuki’s “excellent” range of value for money cars and 4x4 vehicles, the improving economy plus Appleyard’s unique friendly yet professional sales service. He said: “We have exceeded all expectations. Our previous best, achieved before the recession, was 1,500 new registrations so we are obviously delighted with this year’s performance. “Clearly, the sales guys have done a brilliant job but they have been helped by all the support staff who provide a fantastic after-sales service which in turn encourages customer loyalty

“This has given us the confidence to increase our staffing levels by 10%.” Mr Appleyard said customers had taken to Suzuki’s range of cars and 4x4s, adding: “All models are flying out of the door and the brand new S-Cross has also been very well received.” Three members of staff who have reaped the rewards of the company’s success with Suzuki are

Recognition for backing training A COMPANY in Huddersfield has been recognised for its commitment to apprenticeships. TaxAssist Accountants at Lockwood was among those being honoured at an awards ceremony at the House of Commons. The awards, run by national training providers 3aaa, were hosted by Gordon Birtwistle MP and presented by BBC presenter Chris Evans and Olympic gymnast Louis Smith. TaxAssist Accountants was crowned Best UK Accountancy Firm Supporting Apprentices. Nick Brook, who runs TaxAssist Accountants in Huddersfield said: “We’re delighted to have won this award for our apprenticeship scheme. Too often, young people leave college with no real experience of working life whereas apprenticeships allow them to train in their chosen career and also gain valuable work experience.”

Exhibition space A PHOTOGRAPHIC exhibition featuring Huddersfield Town’s commercial partners has been staged at the John Smith’s Stadium. Club photographer and University of Bradford photography student John Early produced an exhibition of black and white images featuring a selection of Town’s business partners as part of his final year degree studies. The large scale images, which featured a small biography of each company, were displayed in the corporate areas of the John Smith’s Stadium during the game against Burnley. Club partners featured included Kirklees College, Orchard Group, One17 Design, Expect Distribution, Total Foodservice, Stafflex, The Pink Link Ltd, Rocar Moores and Strikes CS.

Keighley’s Dave Evans; Mike Taylor, of Ashton; and after-sales manager Lee Morton. Along with their partners, they recently enjoyed an all expenses long weekend in Grand Canaria, courtesy of the car manufacturer. Mr Appleyard said: “The motor trade, like most industries, has experienced a tough few years but throughout we have maintained our staffing levels in this sector, which means we are now in a strong position to face the future with confidence. Indeed we are currently looking for five or six extra people including a business manager and more sales staff.” Colin Appleyard Cars was Suzuki’s first officially appointed car dealer in the UK and has consistently been the Japanese manuf a c t u r e r ’s t o p p e r f o r m i n g dealership. The company has showrooms in Keighley, at Folly Hall in Huddersfield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Shipley as well as Nissan and multi-franchise motorcycle dealerships in Keighley.

Page 5 Export successes FIGURES showing Yorkshire as the only northern region in England to show year-on-year export growth have been welcomed by an international trade expert. The trade in goods statistics released by HM Revenue & Customs show that total exports for the region were worth £4.34bn for the third quarter of 2013 – up from £4.14bn for the same period last year. In both the North East and North West, export values for the quarter fell over the same period. Mark Robson, regional director for UK Trade & Investment, said: “It is clear that, despite some uncertainty, local businesses are making the most of the international opportunities available, particularly in established markets.”

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Firms share in contract work

A PROJECT to spruce-up buildings on Huddersfield University’s Queensgate campus is brining rewards for two local firms. Brighouse-based HWA is to supply curtain walling, windows and doors for an external refurbishment scheme that will improve the performance of 40-year-old buildings at the campus while Dual Seal, of Leeds Road, Huddersfield, will provide glass for the order. The envelope enhancement is the largest single refurbishment project ever undertaken by the university – involving 687 bays of glazing with an overall length of 2,177 linear metres. Cavity insulation works and wall tie replacements will be completed on 25% of the building along with concrete and brickwork repairs. The latest appointment of HWA by contractor GB Building Solutions follows successful delivery at the university’s new Leisure and Learning Centre and the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre and meets the university’s aspiration to support local businesses. HWA also champions procurement close to home and selected Dual Seal Glass as its supply chain partner. HWA director Howard Sykes said: “’We are thrilled to be involved in this project. Huddersfield University has revitalised the town with sensitive regeneration and exciting new structures that retain a sense of our local history. “These latest improvements add to that legacy and our involvement as partners is an ideal opportunity to show off what we can do.’’ Dual Seal director Nigel Meredith said: “’Having supplied glass for the major part of the university’s recent redevelopment


■ GLASS ACT: HWA associate director Alex Lavan and Dual Seal Glass commercial director Nigel Meredith with GB Building Solutions project manager Matt Luhrs

work, it gives us a great sense of satisfaction to see our high-performance glass products used once again on such a high-profile project on our doorstep.’’ Completion of phase one of the envelope scheme coincides with handover of the new Leisure and Learning Centre in January, 2014. GB Building Solutions is a part of the GB Group which provides end to end

property and construction solutions, from site finding and development funding, full design, management and construction of new and refurbished facilities, through to aftercare and asset management. GB Building Solutions builds on over 100 years of history. It specialises in care, student accommodation, residential, hotel and leisure, education and commercial sectors.

Export success for Naylor A COMPANY providing clay pipes for the construction sector has won an award for overseas sales. Cawthorne-based Naylor Drainage, which draws many of its employees from the Kirklees area, was named Exporter of the Year in the Made in Yorkshire Awards. Difficult domestic market conditions over recent years led Naylor to invest heavily in its international sales function. Company exports were particularly boosted by the development of two specialist ceramic pipe systems – Hathernware Chemical pipes, which can be used in very corrosive environments and Denlok jacking pipes, which can be installed without digging a trench. In fast-growing economies in South East Asia and the Middle East, Denlok has proven particularly popular as a means of installing infrastructure in urban areas with minimal surface disruption. As a consequence, Naylor products have now been supplied onto every continent and used in 49 different countries. Current year growth has been particularly dramatic with exports set to increase by almost 50%. The Sunday Times recently singled the company out as one of the UK's fastest growing exporters in their annual

■ WORLD BEATERS: Chief executive Edward Naylor (left) with (from left) marketing manager Liz Hudston, chief operating officer Bridie Warner-Adsetts and engineering apprentice Jacob Hobson "International Track 200" survey. Naylor's success in the regional awards mean that the Naylor Export function goes forward to a national awards – part of the International Festival for Business –

which will be held in Liverpool in July, 2014. Naylor apprentice Jacob Hobson was also shortlisted in the category for Apprentice of the Year.

Page 6

RICS forecasts New Year surge in prices SURVEYORS’ expectations that house prices are set to increase into the new year surged to their highest levels in more than 14 years in November. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said that a balance of 59% more surveyors predict rises will increase rather than edge ■ SHORTFALL: Simon down over the next Rubinson, RICS chief three months as the economist number of homes for would-be buyers to choose from continued to fall “well short” of demand. Meanwhile, the proportion of surveyors predicting sales will pick up heading into 2014 reached a record level, with a net balance of 76% more surveyors expecting sales to increase, marking the highest reading in records going back to 1998. RICS warned that without a “meaningful increase” in the supply of homes, both house prices and rents will become more unaffordable. It said the reading for the number of surveyors predicting price rises rather than falls is the highest since September, 1999, and demonstrates the impact that the recovery is having on an “anaemic supply” of properties for sale in the housing market. In what RICS said is a “sharp” pick-up, a balance of 58% more surveyors also reported already seeing house price growth last month. For the second month in a row, each region of the UK saw prices rise. House sales have also lifted strongly compared with a year ago. An average of just over 20 homes per surveyor were sold in the three months to November, compared with around 15 during the same period last year. The housing market has been showing strong signs of recovery throughout 2013 following a string of Government schemes such as Help to Buy and Funding for Lending which have widened mortgage availability and fuelled demand from buyers. A new phase of the Government’s flagship Help to Buy scheme was launched in October to give more people with low deposits a helping hand on to or up the housing ladder. The scheme offers state-backed loans to people with deposits as low as 5% and lenders representing around two-thirds of the mortgage market have confirmed they will take part. But experts have said that stronger efforts must also be made to increase the number of homes on the market, with the mismatch between supply and demand putting an upward pressure on prices. Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “It’s no secret that the housing market is on the way up and prices are surging ahead in many parts of the country.” He continued: “As the Chancellor pointed out last week, housebuilding is on the up, but it is rising nowhere near quickly enough to make up the shortfall that has built up in recent years. “If there is not a meaningful increase in new homes, the likelihood is that prices, and for that matter rents, will continue to push upwards, making the cost of shelter ever more unaffordable.” The Funding for Lending scheme which has been credited with boosting mortgage availability generally is being re-directed away from households to help small businesses. The number of mortgages on the market has increased by around 40% since Funding for Lending was launched last year. Mr Osborne also announced last week that non-UK residents will have to pay capital gains tax (CGT) on property sales from April, 2015. This is expected to take some of the heat out of the London housing market as strong house price growth in the English capital has been put down in part to overseas investors looking for a safe haven to place their cash.



Page 7

‘Back Help to Buy’ A MOVE to adjust the Funding for Lending scheme to better support small businesses has been welcomed by the Federation of Master Builders. But the FMB said the Government must also stand behind its Help to Buy scheme and find new ways to incentivise more house building. Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Our members have been telling us for some time that the Funding for Lending programme has serious flaws, and that the banks remain reluctant to lend to them. “In fact, small construction firms report that access to finance is the single greatest barrier they face when attempting to grow their business. “Construction companies need to able to secure financing to respond to increasing demand, which is beginning to improve thanks to enhanced consumer confidence and the Help to Buy scheme bringing vitality back into the housing market.” Mr Berry said: “By rolling back the portion of

guarantees aimed at shoring up individual mortgage lending and concentrating instead on backing loans to small businesses, we hope our members will now see strides forward on the part of lenders when it comes to financing the resurgent construction sector. “While we welcome the simplification to what has been a confused and confusing approach to SME financing to date, the Government must also urgently consider a reduction in VAT on domestic building work from 20% to 5%, which would be a boon to householders looking to carry out repair and maintenance work and make their homes more energy efficient. “Reforms to the planning system and the removal of barriers to smaller developers and house builders are also key, as we are still not building anywhere near enough new homes to keep up with rising demand.”

Fears over skills gap

THOUSANDS of construction jobs are under threat because of a lack of skilled workers, an industry body has warned. A study by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) found that one in 20 firms believe the problem is so acute it could put them out of business. The survey of 300 firms revealed that one in five said a skills gap had hampered their


growth plans over the past two years, while a tenth had lost contracts to a competitor with better-skilled employees. James Wates, chairman of CITB, said: “Our report clearly shows that more needs to be done to address construction’s skills ’time bomb’, to safeguard jobs and ensure that growth is possible. “With major projects such as



the new nuclear build programme coming online in the next five years, now is the time to start sparking the imagination of young people and harnessing their talent for the future of the industry. Any delay now could be putting the industry’s growth on hold. “We need to show that construction is a hi-tech, world-class industry with outstanding career prospects.”


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■ HAT’S OFF: New recruits at Miller Homes Yorkshire (from left) Stuart Hall, John Birch, Shaun Roddis, Marvin Jones and Michael Ramsbottom

Five-star performers A HOUSEBUILDER with a new development under way in Huddersfield has appointed five new recruits. Miller Homes, which is working on the Lindley Park development at Birchencliffe, said the five were taking on a variety of roles. They comprise contracts manager Stuart Hall, senior site manager Shaun Roddis, site manager John Birch and assistant site managers Michael Ramsbottom and Marvin Jones.

During 2013, Miller Homes has opened three new sites in the Yorkshire region – Victoria Gardens at Altofts, Lindley Park and The Brookes at Drighlington. Next year will see a further two developments launched both in Harrogate with the possibility of a further two in West Yorkshire. Properties available across the region range from one bedroom apartments priced from £75,000 to five bedroom executive homes priced from £217,000.


Faith PR BIRSTALL-based Faith PR has welcomed a junior designer to its team. Danielle Graham (pictured) joins the agency where she will be working across all accounts to provide creative support in areas such as branding, newsletters and corporate brochures. She is currently on her placement year from Huddersfield University where she is studying for a degree in graphic design. Ms Graham brings a range of experience from working with Radicon Transmission, a leading supplier of custom-engineered gear boxes, as well as freelancing in design. She said: “I am extremely excited to be a part of this great team and very much look forward to what the future brings at Faith PR. “To join at this stage while the agency is still relatively small presents me with a real opportunity to develop and grow. “I am looking forward to the challenges ahead and the chance to work with such a broad range of clients in both the B2B and consumer sectors. “I believe I will be able to use the skills I have gained through university and enhance them in my role here.” Faith PR founder and director, Stefanie Hopkins said: “Danielle is joining the team at an exciting time as our PR and communications offer continues to expand to cater for the design requirements of our growing portfolio of regional and national clients. “Danielle’s experience in graphic design will prove a valuable addition and I can see real potential in her abilities and the contribution she will make to our clients and the team.” Danielle’s appointment follows the company’s recent relocation to new larger offices at Centre 27 Business Park to accommodate the rapidly expanding team.

Peter Harper & Steve Price

Polyseam SEALANTS and adhesives manufacturer Polyseam has appointed Peter Harper (top) and Steve Price (also pictured) as sales executives. Mr Harper and Mr Price bring with them more than 40 years knowledge and experience of the sealants market and have been given the task of opening up new opportunities and markets for the Aspley-based firm. Polyseam chief executive Kjetil Bogstad said: “We are delighted that Peter and Steve have joined the company and their knowledge and experience will undoubtedly help take our business to the next level. There are a lot of exciting developments in the pipeline for the next six months and this is just the first step.” Mr Price, a former key accounts manager at Soudal, takes up the role of UK sales manager with Polyseam, which is based at Shaw Park, Silver Street. Mr Harper is a former area sales manager from Bostik. Polyseam has been developing and making sealants and adhesives for the own-brand market for 20 years and employs more than 30 people. The company is known for a range of sealants, collars, wraps and boards that help to ensure that new builds and refurbished properties meet requirements for air, sound and fire insulation. Polyseam is also market leader in that field in Northern Europe.

Movers and shakers

Page 8

It’s celebration time for Fusion A COMPANY providing IT support and advice has marked 10 years in business. Fusion IT was founded in 2003 by managing director Jamie Watson – since when the firm has expanded to employ 13 people, including a dedicated development team and boast an impressive list of clients. Said Jamie: “The last three years has been very challenging for many UK businesses and Fusion are pleased to have been able to work with local and national businesses – helping them become more efficient and able to work in a way that matched their evolving requirements. “During the last 10 years, we have had to adapt to ever-changing technologies and it is this flexibility and commitment to delivering exceptional service for all our clients which has been key to our success.” The company and its employees celebrated with a party at the firm’s Edgerton offices. Fusion IT shares the same building as Ramsdens Solicitors. Paul Joyce, managing partner at Ramsdens, said: "It is great to be able to celebrate business success – especially in the current market – from a company created locally in Huddersfield, which employs local people and now operates on a national basis.

■ IT CROWD: Jamie Watson (far right), managing director of Fusion IT, celebrates with colleagues and guests at the firm's 10th anniversary party Jim Houston, service manager at Fusion, said: “I have been with Fusion since 2008 and have seen so many changes within the industry. “At Fusion, we are at the forefront of Cloud technology and VOIP telephony

and we want to keep pioneering new technology and making it work for our clients!” Fusion supports a number of local charities and raised more than £400 at its birthday party for The Laura Crane Trust.

He’s making a meal of things AWARD-winning ice cream producer Yummy Yorkshire has showcased its produce at a meal celebrating the benefits of wind energy attended by chef and broadcaster Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The Great British Wind Meal event, which took place at the chef’s River Cottage Plymouth Canteen, was organised by RenewableUK and energyshare to showcase products where the ingredients come from sources powered by the wind. Alongside a talk about the importance of wind power to farmers and food producers, a three-course meal, featuring Yummy Yorkshire’s vanilla ice cream as part of the

desert, was served to the 50 guests. Yummy Yorkshire installed a wind turbine in 2012 with the aim of providing all of the electricity needed to power Delph House Farm, Denby Dale, where the firm’s 50-strong Friesian Holstein herd is based. Jeremy Holmes, of Yummy Yorkshire, said: “We are delighted to have been invited to be part of the ‘Great British Wind Meal’ showcasing the best food and drink from the British countryside produced with the help of the wind. “We are in a windy spot at Delph House Farm and installing a wind turbine made sense to reduce our carbon footprint and boost our income.”

■ ICE MAN: Yummy Yorkshire’s Jeremy Holmes (left) and chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Duncan’s deduction

■ CLOSE SHAVE: Duncan Smith, of Clough and Company, bids goodbye to his beard after 40 years

AN ACCOUNTANT from Cleckheaton-based Clough & Company has shaved off his moustache and beard for the first time in 40 years as he joined 12 of his colleagues who reached for the razors as ‘Movember’ drew to a close. Duncan Smith initially promised to remove his facial hair if he raised £500 for the charity, but he managed to almost double this raising nearly £1,000. Combined with his colleague’s efforts the total raised by Clough &

Company is now more than £2,600. The accounts manager said: “This was my way of participating in Movember, but I never expected it to generate so much support. “I was certainly apprehensive because I’d had the beard and moustache for such a long time but my colleagues had bought me a razor and shaving foam and even my wife came into the office to see whether I’d go through with it so there was no backing out.”

He said: “It’s fantastic to raise such a significant amount of money for a great cause, so it’s definitely well worth it. Everyone’s been very complimentary about my new look, so I don’t know whether I’ll grow another beard –although I certainly feel the cold more than I did before!” Movember is a global charity that encourages men to grow moustaches during November to raise funds and awareness for prostate and testicular cancer and mental health.


Kirklees Business News Dec 10th

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