GEMMA BLAGBROUGH Focusing on ability
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SIMON KAYE Financial cliffhanger Column - Page 5
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KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS The business NEWSpaper for Kirklees
Record orders for kitchens supplier
A KITCHEN manufacturer has created more jobs after reporting record orders. Dewsbury-based Rixonway, which supplies the social and affordable housing sector, has lifted output by 25% in the past month – providing the company with a record November. The boost in business has prompted the firm to add an extra shift to its work pattern and recruit an additional 14 staff, including five apprentices, to meet demand. Rixonway said it had enjoyed its busiest-ever quarter as an increase in new-build developments fuelled demand in the sector. The company said confirmation in September that the Government would continue its commitment to the sector and invest £2.1bn of capital funding for the Decent Homes catch-up programme had also given a boost to the business – helping to ensure Rixonway’s current order book will remain strong well beyond 2014-15. Rixonway, which has 485 employees, is one of the biggest manufacturers working in affordable and social housing in the UK and is the largest private sector employer in Dewsbury.
■ RIGHT RECIPE: Paul Rose, chief executive of Rixonway Kitchens
The award-winning company has been commended for its apprenticeship scheme, its environmental credentials and a commitment to using local suppliers. Chief executive Paul Rose said: “These figures demonstrate that following a slow start to the year – largely
due to the economic situation and uncertainty surrounding the changes in Social Housing finance – we are now seeing a significant increase in order confirmations from major new contracts across the social and affordable housing sector. “In addition to the Decent Homes
programme work, demand is increasingly being driven by PFI new-build developments that are now coming online and we expect this trend to continue as the government incentivises councils and landlords to build new homes.” Mr Rose said: “It remains a challenging economic climate, but we’ve repositioned the business by listening to our customers and responding to the changing market conditions. “Our focus has been to provide the best service in the sector. This has been made possible by constantly investing in our IT infrastructure and design systems to help improve the overall customer experience, primarily by speeding up ordering and delivery and this has kept us at the forefront of the sector.” Since the start of the Decent Homes programme in 2002 the company has supplied in excess of 500,000 kitchens as part of the government’s programme. The company, founded in 1978, makes about 12,000 units a week and employs 485 people at its UK headquarters and manufacturing site at Shaw Cross.
Web design company is hitting the heights BUSINESS is really taking off for a Brighouse web design company. Spacecake, run by husband and wife team Dean and Jill Wilson from their Halifax Road home, has completed a website for Austrian luxury aviation VistaJet – specifically to announce its $7.8bn order for 56 new Bombardier Global aircraft. The Brighouse firm was entrusted with helping announce the deal – the single largest transaction placed with any aircraft manufacturer in the history of business aviation – to the industry and the wider world. And it all began with a shoe shop.
Dean explained: “About three years ago, someone rang me and asked me to do some search engine optimisation for a shoe shop in Hipperholme. About a month later, the same caller rang to thank me because his website was on the first page of Google. The caller turned out to be vice-president of VistaJet – and his next assignment saw Spacecake designing the website to promote the multi-billion pound aircraft deal. The new aircraft will directly service growth markets, including Russia, China, the Middle East and Africa as well as serving the East and West coast United States.
Dean attended a number of meetings at VistaJet’s Mayfair offices to iron out the details before undertaking the project, which took about a month to complete. Now Dean is expecting to continue working with VistaJet on other web-based projects. Spacecake was set up in 1998 and mainly carries out work for businesses and organisations in the Huddersfield, Brighouse and Bradford areas – ranging from a children’s nursery to a building firm and motorcycle clothing supplier. Services cover brochure website design, e-ommerce website design, web hosting and internet marketing.
■ TAKE-OFF: Dean and Jill Wilson of Spacecake, and the website they built for VistaJet
INSIDE Marketing matters TWO Huddersfield chartered marketers hosted a Q&A session at a meeting of the Kirklees branch of the Federation of Small Businesses. Andy Earnshaw and Nadio Granata were invited by Sarah Gathercole, the new branch secretary, to lead the debate. She said: “Both Andy and Nadio had previously hosted marketing-based sessions for us and were requested to return by members.”
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Joining the Giants BUILDING products specialist Myers Group has renewed its links with Huddersfield Giants for the 2013 season – by featuring its logo on the collar of the team’s home and alternative playing shirt. The family-owned group, formed in 1929, first joined forces with the Giants in 2011. The group has enjoyed strong growth over the years in the building, renovation and DIY industry.
● Full story - Page 6
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
UK Coal digs deep to secure its future
BRITAIN’S biggest coal producer finished a complicated reshuffle of its business in a move that safeguards 2,500 jobs. UK Coal, which was renamed Coalfield Resources, has split its operations into two businesses – a mining arm called Mine Holdings and a property division Harworth Estates. Ownership of the South Yorkshire-based group has been broken up between the company, a newly established Employee Benefit Trust and the Pension Fund. Under the restructuring, the Pension Fund now owns 75% of Harworth Estates, which has 30,000 acres of land and other property, in return for a £30m cash injection. The company, which generates about 5% of Britain’s electricity requirements, slumped to a loss in the first half of the year as production at its Daw Mill ■ GEARING UP: UK Coal has announced details of a major shake-up intended to secure its future mine near Coventry plunged. Chairman Jonson Cox said: “The restructuring has helped to safeguard 2,500 highly skilled and well-paid the appointment of RWE Npower’s chief operating jobs, a skilled supply chain, and created a funding officer as chief executive of Mine Holdings. The group’s other deep mines are at Thoresby in plan for the £450m pension deficit that UK Coal has Nottinghamshire and Kellingley in North Yorkbeen burdened with.” The group also saw several changes among its shire. board of directors as part of the shake-up, including It previously warned it was “unlikely” that Daw
Mill, which employs 800 staff, would continue to operate beyond early 2014. Mr Cox said: “This has been a restructuring of unprecedented scale and complexity for this size of company, dealing with a legacy structure that was inherited on the privatisation of British Coal in 1994. “I’m delighted that we’ve succeeded in completing it. Without it, it was almost certain that the coal mines would have been unable to trade beyond the first quarter of 2013.” Control of Mine Holdings has passed to a newly established “Employee Benefit Trust”, which holds shares representing 67% of the voting rights. Among board changes, finance director David Brocksom will step down on December 31, although he will continue to remain available under contract for some months to ensure a successful transition. And Owen Michaelson has stepped down as a director of the company to become the chief executive of Harworth Estates with immediate effect. Mr Cox will remain chairman of the company and will also chair Harworth Estates and shareholder meetings of the mining business.
Greggs boss set to step down
Pace plots set-top merger
THE Greggs boss who led a successful campaign against the Government’s “pasty tax” earlier this year is to step down from the high street bakery. Chief executive Ken McMeikan rallied customers with a 300,000-strong petition against plans to charge 20% VAT on its hot pasties and sausage rolls, prompting Chancellor George Osborne to overturn the tax plans. Mr McMeikan, who replaced long-standing Greggs boss Sir Michael Darrington in 2008, will take the job at catering group Brakes.
ONE of the world’s biggest set-top box manufacturers has revealed it is working on plans to merge its business with a Google-owned rival. Pace, based at Saltaire, has submitted a bid for Motorola Home, the internet giant’s set-top box division. Shares in Pace, which supplies boxes to BT, BSkyB and Virgin Media, were suspended yesterday as the deal would be classed a reverse takeover because of the size of Pace relative to the business it is eyeing. It is understood Pace is in competition with US technology businesses
S h a re s i n N e wc a s t l e - b a s e d Greggs – which has shops across Kirklees and more than 1,600 in the UK – closed down 14p at 472.5p. Shore Capital analyst Clive Black said: “We cannot hide our disappointment for Greggs shareholders on the announcement of Mr McMeikan’s resignation.” He credited Mr McMeikan with engineering a more efficient supply chain and creating a “fit-for-purpose” retail estate, including 28 franchise stores in Moto service stations and shops in locations such as bus and train stations.
Technicolor and Arris and a handful of private equity firms, which have also submitted bids. Motorola’s cable box business was acquired by Google as part of a £7.8bn deal announced last year. Google launched its interactive TV service for British consumers in July in a tie up with electronics giant Sony, a move which saw its interactive TV service made available outside the US for the first time. Earlier this year, Pace was hit when two of its key suppliers suffered disruption due to floods in Thailand.
Page 2 BA link-up for airport OFFICIALS at Leeds Bradford Airport celebrated the return of regular services to Heathrow – and pledged the move would bring benefits to Kirklees and the wider Leeds City Region. British Airways yesterday launched the new service which sees flour flights a day between Leeds Bradford and Heathrow – providing links for business and leisure travellers to the south-east and connections to key destinations in Europe, the USA, India, the Far East and Australasia. Airport chief executive John Parkin said: “This new service is a significant milestone for Leeds Bradford Airport and I urge businesses to take advantage of British Airways’ global network to stimulate further economic growth for the Leeds City Region.” Airport marketing director Tony Hallwood said the airport had been negotiating to restore links to Heathrow ever since BMI ceased to operate Leeds Bradford-Heathrow services three years ago following its takeover by Lufthansa. “It has been right at the top of the agenda in our discussions with major corporations,” he said. “It provides access not just to the Home Counties and the M25 corridor as well as worldwide markets. It should also attract inward investment to the region as businesses find that getting to West Yorkshire and its market of 3m people is now far easier.”
SHARE PRICES NORTH AMERICAN American Express £35.33 +0.10 Gannett 1110.14 -3.73 Hess Corp £31.23 +0.31 Microsoft 1672.87 +26.63 Motors Liquidation 46.67 Wal-Mart Stores £44.88 -0.10 AEROSPACE & DEFENCE Avon Rbbr 3643/4 +13/4 BAE Systems 3383/4 +3/8 1 Rolls-Royce 891 /2 -5 AIM Brady Plc 1011/2 AUTOMOBILES & PARTS GKN 2251/4 +13/4 BANKS Barclays 2491/2 -2 -23/8 HSBC 6411/4 Lloyds Banking Gp 463/4 Ryl Scotland 2973/4 -11/4 Stan Chart 14971/2 +12 BEVERAGES Diageo 18861/2 +8 SABMiller £277/8 -1/8 CHEMICALS Croda £235/8 +1/4 Elementis 98 2343/4 +4 Johnsn Mat £245/8 +1/4 CONSTRUCTION & MATERIALS Balfour Beatty 2571/8 -2 Costain 2481/2 +1/4 ELECTRICITY
Drax Gp 5501/2 -11/2 SSE 1432 -1 ELECTRONIC & ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT Laird 215 -21/2 EQUITY INVESTMENT INSTRUMENTS Alliance Trust 378 -3/4 FIXED LINE TELECOM SERVICES BT Grp 2357/8 +3/4 Cable & Wireless 361/8 -3/8 Comm Colt Group 971/2 -31/4 KCOM 701/8 -1 1 Talktalk Telecom 219 /2 -21/4 FOOD & DRUG RETAILERS Morrison W 268 -11/8 Sainsbury 3417/8 -11/4 Tesco 336 -3/4 FOOD PRODUCERS AB Food 1506 +21 Tate Lyle 769 +10 1 Unilever £24 /8 -1/8 GAS, WATER & MULTIUTILITIES Centrica 3351/4 -13/4 National Grid 7061/2 -1/2 Pennon Grp 607 +3 Severn 1555 +5 United Utils 6851/2 -4 GENERAL FINANCIAL 3i Group 2131/2 +3/8 ICAP 3001/8 -1/4 1 London StockExch 984 /2 +71/2 Man Group 771/4 +35/8 Provident Financial 1334 +4
Schroders 1634 -7 Schroders NV 1303 -6 GENERAL INDUSTRIALS Cooksn Grp 6431/2 +3 REXAM 4491/8 -1 Smiths Grp 1132 +1 GENERAL RETAILERS Ashley L 271/2 Carphone Whse 1981/2 -21/2 Dixons Retail 281/8 1 Home Retail 130 /4 +1/4 Inchcape 4361/2 +7/8 Kingfisher 2721/4 +1 1 M&S 392 /4 -13/8 Mothercare 326 -11/2 Next £37 WH Smith 654 +3 HEALTH CARE EQUIPMENT & SERVICES Smith Nph 6781/2 +121/2 HOUSEHOLD GOODS Aga Rangemaster 74 +41/2 Barrat Dev 1963/4 -2 Persimmon 789 -9 +1/4 Reckitt Benckiser £397/8 Taylor Wimpey 62 -1 INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING IMI 1092 +2 INDUSTRIAL METALS 5 Ferrexpo 225 /8 +1/4 INDUSTRIAL TRANSPORTATION BBA Aviation 2225/8 +21/8 LIFE INSURANCE
3593/4 1463/8 1741/2 9111/2 2443/8 3301/2 MEDIA BSkyB 7631/2 D Mail Tst 537 1 /4 HIBU ITV 1011/2 Johnston Press 133/4 Pearson 1182 Reed Elsevier 6471/2 STV Group 1021/4 Trinity Mirror 931/4 Utd Business 7401/2 UTV 128 WPP 860 MINING Anglo American 18141/2 Antofagasta 1358 BHP Billiton £201/4 Eurasian Natural 2761/4 Res Fresnillo 1961 Kazakhmys 754 Lonmin 272 Rio Tinto £323/4 VEDANTA 1105 RESOURCES Xstrata 10321/2 MOBILE TELECOM SERVICES Inmarsat 600 Vodafone Group 1611/2 Aviva Lgl & Gen Old Mutual Prudential Resolution Standard Life
-65/8 -5/8 1
+3 /2 -1 +3/8 +2 -4 -1/4 +5 +1/2 +21/4 -7 -1/4 -91/2 +31/2 +11 -63/4 -8 +81/2 +7 +1/4 -6 -21/2
Local shares Carclo Marshalls National Grid Weir Gp
4383/4 101 7061/2 1813
+23/4 -1/4 -1/2 -22
closed at at FTSE closed
5921.63 Up 7.23 NONLIFE INSURANCE Admiral Grp 1118 RSA Insurance Gp 1217/8 OIL & GAS PRODUCERS BG 10751/2 BP 4261/8 Cairn Energy 2681/4 Royal Dutch Shell A £21 Royal Dutch Shell B £213/4 Total £311/8 Tullow Oil 1256 OIL EQUIPMENT & SERVICES AMEC 1059 Petrofac 1706 Wood Gp(J) 775
-12 +1/8 +71/2 +21/4 +1/8 +1/8 +1/4 +11 -3 +20 +11/2
PERSONAL GOODS Burberry Gp 1316 +11 PHARMACEUTICALS & BIOTECHNOLOGY Astrazeneca £301/8 +1/8 GlaxoSmithK XD 181/2 Shire 1918 +18 REAL ESTATE Brit Land 556 +1 Captl Shop Cent 3501/4 -1/4 Hamrsn 484 +31/8 Land Secs 8141/2 +11/2 SEGRO 2421/4 -7/8 SOFTWARE ETC SERVICES Invensys 3193/4 -3 Sage Group 2921/8 -3 SUPPORT SERVICES Berendsen 583 +11/2 Bunzl 1042 +3 Capita 754 -51/2 De La Rue 927 -91/2 Electrocomp 2171/4 +1/4 Experian 1041 -10 1 G4S 249 /4 +1/8 Hays 783/4 +1/2 Homeserve 234 -21/4 Menzies J 608 -6 Rentokil 933/4 +1/2 1 Smiths News 159 /2 +4 Wolseley £281/2 IT HARDWARE ARM Hldgs 759 +5 Spirent Comms 1435/8 -11/4 TOBACCO
Br Am Tob Imperial Tobacco
LEISURE & HOTELS Bwin.Party Digital Carnival Compass Grp easyJet Enterprise Inns FirstGroup Go-Ahead Gp Greene King Intercontl Htls Intl Cons Airl Ladbrokes Mitchells & Butlers Natl Express Rank Org Stagecoach Group TUI Travel Whitbread
1071/8 £241/2 735 738 981/4 188 1265 6271/2 1654 1705/8 1933/8 3111/4 180 1391/2 3051/4 2841/4 £241/4
-1/4 -1/8 +6 +6 +43/4 +11 +1/2 +4 -5/8 -1 -23/4 +11/8 -1/8 -41/4 -21/4
TOURIST RATES Tourists going abroad can expect the following rates for sterling: Australia...................... 1.45 dollars Bangladesh................. 122.23 taka Brazil.............................. 2.97 reals Canada....................... 1.51 dollars China ............................. 8.92 yuan Czech Republic ...... 28.74 korunas Denmark....................... 8.81 krone Euro............................... 1.19 euro Hong Kong................ 11.78 dollars Hungary................... 315.49 forints India.......................... 76.74 rupees Japan........................... 125.58 yen Mexico ....................... 18.32 pesos New Zealand .............. 1.79 dollars Norway ......................... 8.69 krone Pakistan.................. 146.04 rupees Philippines ................. 56.15 pesos South Africa................. 13.01 rand South Korea.............. 1505.00 won Sri Lanka ................ 194.11 rupees Sweden....................... 10.24 krona Switzerland.................. 1.43 francs Taiwan ...................... 40.69 dollars Turkey....................... 2.71 new lira USA ............................ 1.53 dollars
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
One piece at a time
THERE’S no such word as “can’t” according to Gemma Blagbrough. The award-winning Dalton businesswoman has spent much of her life demonstrating that disability is no obstacle to achieving success. That success was recognised last month when Gemma was named winner of the category for Start-Up Business Woman of the Year in the Forward Ladies Women in Business Awards. The award was one of several won by Huddersfield businesswomen in the competition run by the Yorkshire-based networking group. Now Gemma is set to embark on the next phase of her career at the helm of Jigsaw Enterprise Training, a social enterprise offering personal development and training opportunities to young people and adults. The focus is on people with physical or learning disabilities and those who would benefit from a more interactive approach – and the aim is to make training a fun and interactive learning experience. Gemma, who was born with cerebral palsy and has mobility problems, set up determined to succeed. Jigsaw Enterprise Training “At college, we were in January last year to always on the top floor and address the kind of sometimes the lift would employment and learning break down,” says Gemma. barriers that she faced in “I was often learning on my her formative years – and own as a result. So with help other people who may Jigsaw I wanted to make face such barriers. learning fully inclusive.” The training includes Gemma recalls the initial short taster workshops and resistance she met when fully accredited courses, she said she wanted to where participants can become a nursery nurse. gain a qualification through “No one with a disability a recognised awarding had done childcare before,” body. she says. “But it never Training can be given to entered my head NOT to do groups or one-to-one at it because I had wanted to venues such as the do it since I was six. Chestnut Centre at Nursery nursing was my Deighton or learners’ own first love and I worked as a homes. nursery nurse in a number The company can help with bidding for external of nurseries linked to funding for courses and schools for several years. can also provide “Later, I was employed by associates to work the Careers Service as a alongside any regular or Connexions worker, which long-term training suppliers involved working evenings already in place. and weekends and that Gemma says: “The became really difficult. It company was incorporated was then that I began in January, 2011, but it had thinking about having my been in my mind for two own business and how that years. would give me more control “I had always struggled with learning and employment and that’s why I set it tup to enable people to help people enjoy learning and gain a sense of achievement.” Despite her disability – and thanks to her mother Janet’s determination – Gemma attended mainstream schools. She was a pupil at Rawthorpe Infant and Junior School before going to Newsome High School and then on to Dewsbury College to train as a nursery nurse. She also gained qualifications in youth and community studies at ■ CAN-DO: Gemma Huddersfield University. Blagbrough, of Dalton-based The barriers she faced Jigsaw Enterprise Training only made her more
and flexibility. I found a part-time job I really liked and began to set up Jigsaw. I still have the part-time job to help bring in funds, although Jigsaw is starting to make some money, too.” Gemma says: “Jigsaw is all about personal development, work preparation and disability awareness. It’s about confidence building, assertiveness, managing emotions, work preparation, CV writing, interview skills and goal setting. “There are also disability awareness classes for non-disabled people.” She says: “In the beginning, I thought it would be an extension of my youth work, but I have been working with a lot of adults who are low in confidence or have been made redundant or want to change career. You need a certain set of skills working with young people and I work interactively, which took some of the adult learners by surprise. They were used to boring seminars where you fall asleep at the back of the room!” Gemma is also considering extending into one-to-one coaching online and coaching by email and telephone. And she is keen to promote the cause of disabled people in mainstream jobs, saying: “Many employers will do what they have to do ‘legally’ but do not always understand the value of having a disabled employee. “Running disability awareness courses for employers is something I plan to expand in the new year. My ambition is to get together a group of like-minded employers who
Page 3 Gemma Blagbrough
are able to see past the disability. “Employers are often worried about the extra cost of employing someone with a disability, but that is a bit of a myth because there are schemes out there to help. They are also concerned about sickness and absence, but disabled people are very unlikely to be off sick. “Disabled employees are also very loyal and while they may not be able to do 10% of things, it doesn’t mean they can’t do the other 90%.” Gemma recalls: “When I wanted to do childcare, three colleges would not have me. They came up with the ‘health and safety’ excuse. “I want to be responsible for changing attitudes as much as possible. I can’t change the world, but I hope I can be a role model.” Gemma recalls: “My first real job was in a nursery as part of my work experience. “I went on to work at a school in Dewsbury, where the headteacher was in a wheelchair and she was my inspiration. “I worked for three different primary schools as a classroom assistant before moving into youth work.” But she says: “My family have been my biggest supporters. “We didn’t get pocket money when we were kids unless we earned it. “My father, who has a pub in Halifax, helped me set up my first ‘business’ when I was 12. I went around his customers – using my
sister as the cute one – and sold stationery. “Eventually, my father stopped me because it was turning into a real business and he was afraid the taxman would be after me! “My mother was instrumental in ensuring I had mainstream schooling. She felt very strongly that with support I could manage. “And there’s nothing like kids in the playground for toughening you up!” Gemma’s certainly “toughened up” in her role at Jigsaw, where she works with co-director Ruth Sharp. “Running your own business gives you autonomy – and I am quite ambitious,” she says. “Every decision is yours, which is scary, but it is exciting as well. When I get to the stage where I’m managing my own staff – now that will be frightening!”
Role: Proprietor Age: 32 Holidays: Cruising around the Mediterranean. I also spent several weeks in Australia First job: Selling stationery to customers in my dad’s pub Best thing about job: The flexibility is gives me and the fact that I can make my own decisions Worst thing about job: Because I’m still working part-time, the worst thing is time management and trying to prioritise Business tip: Ignore the business books that say you can be up and running in six weeks. Take your time to put the fundamentals in place. Build a good reputation.
Jigsaw Enterprise Training Work: Personal development and training Site: Dalton Phone: 07747 770322 Email: info@jigsaw -training.org Web: www.jigsawtraining.org
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Kirklees College gets the answers STAFF at Kirklees College have been working with a Huddersfield marketing agency to help students make the best choices of course. Ask Insight, based at the Media Centre, has helped the college develop a creative research tool for students to profile their lifestyles through a series of online activities. The new tool, called 8 Doors, aims to find out about the types of students that study particular courses at the college to help target marketing and course recommendation. Each of the college’s 2012-13 applicants was invited to complete an online profiling tool, which went live in August and was promoted at enrolment events and through social media. From more than 100 responses, one student was selected to represent each course area in the prospectus, which lists the full-time courses available at the college and was launched this week with a special event which celebrated the students featured. College engineering apprentice Jamie Gledhill, 18, of Slaithwaite, won an Apple iPad for his detailed 8 Doors profile. The prize was presented to him at the launch event by Jane Roper, director of marketing, communications and public relations at the college. Michael Bennett, head of marketing and PR at the college, said: “We want to explore the type of students who make up our student body, why they choose a specific course and find out if there are any trends or patterns. “We live in a world where people want to be seen as individuals. This is especially true for young people who are constantly sharing what they’re
■ PRIZEWINNER: Engineering apprentice Jamie Gledhill with Laura Rogers (left), marketing communications manager for Ask Insight, and Jane Roper, director of marketing, communications and public relations at Kirklees College
doing, what they think and what they’re interested in online.” Ask Insight director Susan Kenyon said: “8 Doors is a creative research tool which allows students to profile their lifestyles through a series of online activities which delivers valuable insight. “We are delighted that our joint collaboration with the college has resulted in useful insight which is being used
to promote their courses in the prospectus. “As an agency, we are specialists in the 14-19 education sector and we are proud to have worked with Kirklees College on their benchmarking research for the last four years which has formed a strategic partnership.” 8 Doors got its name from the eight doors on the homepage which represent the eight course areas.
Staying safe at the wheel S the temperature has now hit A freezing and the gritters are out on the road it's important that
anyone who drives on behalf of your business is well prepared. Employers are responsible for the safety of employees when driving on company business, whether in a company vehicle or a private car. Surveys indicate that drivers of company vehicles are less well prepared for winter driving than drivers of private cars, which is a warning to fleet managers to spread the word – be prepared. Drivers should be prepared as far as possible for the hazards associated with winter driving. Ideally, journeys should be avoided in bad weather but if travel by road is necessary, some reasonable precautions should be taken: ● Check traffic information and weather bulletins for advance warnings
RISKY BUSINESS Kevin Barrett
of trouble along the route ● Plan your route to avoid exposed routes or steep country lanes. Leave yourself plenty of time to avoid rushing and make sure someone knows your route and your expected arrival time ● Make sure your vehicle is fit for the journey. Tyres should be properly inflated and have at least 3mm tread depth to be safe in wet or icy conditions. All lights should be working as should windscreen wipers, de-misters, etc ● All windows and mirrors should
be unobstructed by ice or snow before starting off ● The vehicle should be regularly serviced with anti-freeze in the radiator and a winter additive in the windscreen wash ● The vehicle should carry a basic emergency kit containing as a minimum de-icer and scraper, warning triangle in the event of a breakdown, mobile phone, torch, warm clothes, boots, blanket, a first aid kit, food and drink and a spade.
Kevin Barrett is risk management consultant at Wilby Ltd
China is year des
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Avoiding the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ ITH the leadership transW ition in China now completed and Greece’s position in
the eurozone finally assured, at least in the near-term, the “Fiscal Cliff” issue in the US is set to stand out as the key focus for financial markets between now and year-end. Indeed, there is plenty at stake – the failure of Republicans and Democrats to compromise on a deal would almost certainly send the US economy back into recession next year, which would have inevitable and significant repercussions worldwide. Global equity markets have expressed their worry, with recent weakness apparent, although they remain over 10% higher on a total return basis in the year-to-date. Overall, we remain hopeful that US policymakers will find a resolution and that this will allow investors to focus on what we see as a fairly encouraging macroeconomic outlook for 2013, which should ultimately prove positive for “risk assets”. There is no question that the level of systemic risk posed by the eurozone crisis has fallen dramatically since the summer months. Through their OMT – Outright Monetary Transactions programme – the European Central Bank has finally taken on the role of lender of last resort for troubled nations, which has helped to bring government bond yields lower in countries such as Spain and Italy. Policymakers have also removed the possibility of an immediate Greek exit from the eurozone, by recently agreeing to disburse 44bn euros in much-needed funding. The 500bn euros European Stability Mechanism fund is also now in place and it has been agreed that a move towards a Banking Union should be completed by the end of next year. Overall, it seems that Europeans have now convinced the markets that they understand the risks associated with the debt crisis and are willing to act accordingly. Nevertheless, the macroeconomic and fiscal outlook for the region continues to remain somewhat of a concern and this is likely to remain the case going into 2013. The eurozone economy fell back into recession in the third quarter of this year, unemployment is at a record high (11.7%) and political risks remain high – indeed, with regards to the latter, there has been increasing discontent from various Spanish regions towards Madrid (including Catalonia, the most significant Spanish region by GDP) and Italy
CITY TALK Simon Kaye
goes to the polls next spring. Despite heightened political uncertainty in the US over the last few months, due to the Presidential polls and the “Fiscal Cliff ” issue, economic news from the US has re m a i n e d e n c o u rag i n g – fo r example, third quarter GDP rose by 2.7%, the fastest pace since the last quarter of 2011. The labour market also continues to improve – the unemployment rate has now fallen to 7.9%, which is close to multi-year lows and recent data suggests that this is now being driven by job creation, rather than a decline in the overall workforce. The housing market, the initial cause of the credit-crunch, also appears to have turned a corner – record low mortgage rates, a significant fall in inventory levels (back to the long-term average), rising employment levels and improving credit conditions, have all provided support to house prices, which are 5-10% higher on an annualised basis. Rising house prices will help to bring a number of individuals out of negative equity (about 25% of US homeowners are currently in this position), which should qualify them to re-mortgage at lower rates, thus helping to further boost consumption going forwards, ultimately the key driver for the US economy. We would note that one current area of weakness in the US economy has been business investment, which has steadily declined in recent months. However, it is hoped that this trend could swiftly reverse next year, once the “Fiscal Cliff ” is resolved, which would further support growth. Meanwhile, monetary policy in the US is likely to remain extremely accommodative, with another round of Quantitative Easing likely before year-end, to replace “Operation Twist”. On the political front however, the policy outlook is far less clear, despite the recent re-appointment of President Obama. Indeed, the threat of another recession is very real in the US if the Democrats (who control the Senate) and the Republicans (who control the House of Representatives) fail to steer clear of the “Fiscal Cliff ” by year-end, which could result in a potential fiscal contraction in 2013 of about 4.5% of GDP. Although we believe that some
Simon Kaye is divisional director at Investec Wealth & Investment
form of compromise will be formed (both parties agree that some re-assessment of planned spending cuts is needed and that the potentially expiring tax benefits, to a certain degree, will need to be extended), it is difficult to predict the composition of the fiscal package which could emerge, although we anticipate that the level of austerity next year will ultimately be more than manageable for the economy. Some fears of a slowdown in China have proven to some extent justified, with the economy this year set to grow at its slowest rate since 1999. Nevertheless, although the economy has clearly slowed, China is still very likely to remain the key driver for global growth going forwards.
Late payers ‘hitting region’ LARGE companies are squeezing the lifeblood out of the Yorkshire economy by failing to pay their suppliers promptly, it is claimed. A new study by invoice finance provider Bibby Financial Services, which has regional offices in Cleckheaton, found the trading performance of small businesses in the region is being hampered as between 20% to 30% of their sales ledger is overdue at any given time. Some 39% of firms in Yorkshire say the situation is so bad that it is squeezing cash flow and reducing opportunities for growth. Some 58% of firms consider late payment to be a major challenge for their business. The survey said that for most smaller businesses, payment is rarely received on time – with 28% of owners and managers in Yorkshire having to wait up to a month past the invoice due date before getting their money. In addition, 21% say they spend one day a month pursuing outstanding invoices – affecting productivity, performance and growth prospects. Bibby said the findings supported David Cameron’s argument that up to £20bn in funding could be made available to small business if leading UK firms improved cash flow in their supply chain by joining up to the Government’s new supply chain finance scheme. Mark Storey, spokesman for Bibby Financial Services in Yorkshire said the wealth and power of larger organisations should be used to support smaller businesses in Yorkshire along the supply chain.”
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KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS Town’s office deal HUDDERSFIELD Town has teamed up with new Academy sponsors Complete Office Solutions. They have launched an initiative to help businesses make savings on their office supplies - with any company making an initial order to the value of £50 or over receiving two free passes to the club’s Lewis James Suite for an npower Championship home match.
Demand strong for Grade A sites
DEMAND is improving for top-quality business space, a report has revealed. The latest Property Times UK Industrial Report, which covered the market for properties exceeding 50,000sq ft said take-up of grade A space rose by almost 7% in the third quarter of 2012 – the first quarter-on-quarter rise for nearly 18 months. As a result of strong grade A take-up, the availability of prime space fell by nearly 7% to 15m sq ft. Overall, take-up in the quarter fell by 30% to 5.6m sq ft across 44 deals, the lowest level since the first quarter of 2099 – reflecting occupiers’ preference for the best buildings. Total availability rose by 1.3% to 142m sq ft – the first quarter-on-quarter rise in nearly two years – as a number of secondary units came to the market across the UK. The report found that many occupiers have turned their attentions to freehold and leasehold build-to-suit deals in order to satisfy their requirements due to a lack of suitable grade A stock. As a result, bespoke take-up rose by 54% to 1.2m sq ft, accounting for 22% of total take-up. DTZ Research also found that the profile of occupiers had changed considerably from the third quarter of last year – with retail demand falling from 51% to 10% while demand from manufacturing increased by 41%. However, the reduction in take-up by retailers is expected to bounce back over the forthcoming quarters. Regional proportions of grade A space
remain at historically low levels, with over half the regions’ grade A space constituting less than 10% of total availability. The North West and North East retained their status as the regions with the lowest amount of available grade A space. Mike Baugh, director of industrial agency for DTZ in West Yorkshire, said: “Q3 has seen an encouraging increase in Grade A take up with two excellent deals for the Barnsley area. “With further deals likely to complete in Q4, supply of existing large warehouse space in the Yorkshire region will reduce to below 3m sq ft – circa 75% of which is in the South Yorkshire region.” In Yorkshire, take-up comprised two grade A lettings in Barnsley totalling 360,000sq ft. Ellbee took 205,000sq ft at Nexus 36 and Galpharm Pharmaceuticals took 155,000sq ft at Elmhirst Park. Grade A availability in the region fell to 3.4m sq ft, the majority of which is split between South and West Yorkshire. As most enquiries are focused in West Yorkshire, particularly around the M62 corridor, occupiers are turning to grade B stock to satisfy their requirements. Industrial investment volumes fell in Q3 to £435m across 38 transactions, which is nearly 50% below average and the lowest volume for two and a half years.
■ ENCOURAGING: Mike Baugh, director of DTZ's industrial agency in West Yorkshire
Giants collared by Myers Attention all new business owners !
Balance Accountants launch enhanced service for new businesses
Research shows that 4 out of 5 new businesses fail within their ﬁrst 5 years of trading and that 57% fail within the ﬁrst 12 months. The good news is that research also shows that careful ﬁnancial planning and a good accountant are 2 of the things that really make a difference in helping new businesses to avoid becoming just another statistic. The Balance START-UP SERVICE is squarely aimed at new or ﬂedgling businesses with the sense and foresight to learn the ﬁnancial ropes, get their accounts in order and then prepare to prosper and grow. It’s our way of helping to tip the balance in favour of short term survival leading to long term success. So if you are about to start or have recently started a new business then it might be worth a call to Balance Accountants to see how the service that we offer can help your business to succeed!!!! Balance Accountants specialise in helping business owners to have better, more proﬁtable and more enjoyable businesses. If your business is not performing as well as you want it to then you should contact us now. Balance Accountants,Victoria Court, 91 Huddersﬁeld Road, Holmﬁrth HD9 3JA Tel: 01484 685 413 Fax: 01484 682206 www.balanceonline.co.uk email@example.com
BUILDING products specialist Myers Group has renewed its links with Huddersfield Giants for the 2013 season – by featuring its logo on the collar of the team’s home and alternative playing shirt. The family-owned Myers Group first joined forces with the Giants in 2011. The Huddersfield-based group, formed in 1929, has enjoyed strong growth over the years in the building, renovation and DIY industry. The companies within the group – Readymix, Naylor Myers, Johnsons Wellfield Quarries, Myers Build & DIY, Boards Timber and HSH Skip Hire – together employ 335 people and are heavily engaged with the local community while supporting many charitable events and local projects. The Giants will work closely with Myers Group to create great activities for fans to enjoy on match days, while Myers Group will continue to engage with the Claret and Gold faithful. A spokeswoman for Myers Group said: “We do our very best to support the local community wherever possible. We have a strong association with the John Smith’s Stadium, being major suppliers of building materials – specifically ready-mixed concrete – during the stadium’s construction in 1994. “Our association with Huddersfield Giants is very important to us and we had no hesitation in renewing our partnership for a second term, we very much look forward to supporting the team and engaging with local fans
■ NAME CHECK: Giants player Jermaine McGillvary with Myers Group sales manager Andy Hoarty (centre) and Giants commercial manager Paul Cribb throughout the forthcoming season”. Huddersfield Giants commercial manager Paul Cribb said: “We have worked very closely with our partners Myers Group to create some great activities for our fans to enjoy over the past year and a half. “These have included the extremely popular Beach Week which has just celebrated its second year in Greenhead Park.” Said Mr Cribb: “It’s always great to
work with Myers because they definitely understand how to engage with the local community as they are still a family owned business with their roots firmly in Kirklees. “It’s fantastic Myers Group are continuing their support of the Giants for the 2013 season and we urge the Claret and Gold fans to reciprocate this support with Myers and all our commercial partners.”
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
Opticians gets whole new look THERE was a Christmas theme to the re-opening of a Meltham opticians. Guests at the launch of Valli Opticians’ Meltham practice enjoyed mince pies and mulled wine as Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney cut the ribbon. The celebrations also coincided with Meltham village’s Christmas lights switch-on. Throughout November, the Hampshire Opticians practices in Lockwood, Meltham and Honley have been undergoing a transformation – rebranded under the Valli Opticians name – and the premises at Huddersfield Road, Meltham, have undergone extensive refurbishment. The Hampshire practices have been part of the Valli Group of independent opticians since 2005 when husband and wife team Moin and Rachel Valli purchased them. Moin, who was named Young Business Person of the Year in the Examiner Business Awards
2012, said: “Along with our team, we are passionate about providing state of the art equipment to make sure our patients receive the best possible care. “During November our Meltham practice closed for two weeks to undergo a comprehensive refurbishment programme. It re-opened on November 26 when all the Hampshire Opticians practices were renamed Valli Opticians.” Mr McCartney said: “I met Moin at the Examiner Business Awards. I was immediately impressed by his dedication to his patients, his passion for the area and his ambitions to grow the business and continue providing top quality eye care for our local community.” There are seven optical practices in the Valli Group portfolio, including the recently-acquired Mamtora Opticians in Hebden Bridge.
Picture brightens for estate agents
■ SIGHT PLAN: Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney (right) with Moin and Rachel Valli at the opening of the Meltham opticians
Companies still keen to invest PROPERTY businesses in Yorkshire have voiced strong investment intentions for the new year. A survey by Lloyds TSB Commercial found that 62% reported a commitment to maintain financial investments over the next three to six months. But the bank’s latest Property Matters report also found that small to medium-sized property businesses in Yorkshire continue to face challenges across the sector, including a lack of confidence over issues such as local planning policy, which are hitting investment. Businesses in Yorkshire reported a net improvement from minus 11.8 to plus 1 in confidence in the region – contrasting with the national average which stands at minus 10. Three quarters of small and medium-sized
businesses in Yorkshire expect no shift in values over the next three to six months, compared with 64% nationally. Residential lettings are set to remain strong, with 37% of Yorkshire SMEs predicting that the market will prosper over the coming three to six months. This compares with 45% of all SMEs nationally. Of these businesses, 59% of the region’s residential property businesses said they were expecting to see strong performance in residential lettings, compared to 40% of commercial operators. More emphasis is also set to be placed on house build opportunities, with 40% of commercial businesses in Yorkshire planning to focus on this area of the market, compared with 31% of all SMEs nationally.
Ken Davies, relationship director for Lloyds TSB Commercial in Yorkshire, said: “It continues to be a challenging time for those operating in the property sector in Yorkshire. “It is welcome news that 62% of SMEs in the region plan to maintain their financial commitment over the next three to six months. The commercial sector and operators in residential also revealed an intention to invest for the future. “SMEs continue to cite the challenging UK economy and local planning policy issues as influencing their decisions to invest. “We continue to work closely with our customers and have a team of dedicated property managers focused on supporting and advising businesses operating in the residential and commercial sectors.”
BUYER interest grew across Yorkshire and Humber last month, says the latest RICS housing market survey. Enquiries from would-be buyers saw a rise in the region during November and have remained in positive territory for two consecutive months. Meanwhile, the number of homes coming up for sale remained fairly flat during November. The RICS said the sector was now hoping that the government’s recent announcement of funding to free up land for development in England will have the desired impact and increase availability. Yorkshire chartered surveyors reported a modest fall in house prices – with a net balance of 29% more RICS members seeing falling prices during November. Across the UK, London was again the only part of the country to see prices increase, with surveyors in the capital reporting a net balance of plus 40%. Northern Ireland and Wales experienced the most significant drops with respondents in those areas reporting net balances of minus 49% and minus 36% respectively. Yorkshire’s chartered surveyors said they were optimistic that activity levels should hold firm – with 4% more respondents expecting sales to increase rather than decrease over the coming three months. RICS regional residential spokesperson Bruce Collinson said: “There is certainly some optimism creeping back into the housing market and it is encouraging to see an increase in enquiries from potential buyers, which will hopefully result in sales increasing next year. “That said; there is still a way to go until we see significant improvement in the housing market, and the barriers to home ownership are still very much a problem for the likes of first time buyers. “We have had encouraging sales results during the last quarter of the year, but there’s a slight shortage of saleable stock and a strong sense that if there was more supply of better quality and priced property, we could sell more.”
Osborne misses out CHANCELLOR George Osborne has missed an opportunity to boost growth, cut carbon emissions and reduce householders’ fuel bills by failing to support energy efficiency in the home in his Autumn Statement, it is claimed. Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “The Chancellor should have taken the opportunity to support the Government’s own Green Deal energy-efficiency initiative by introducing more incentives, including a lower rate of VAT on housing repair, maintenance and improvement work to encourage homeowners to take advantage of the Green Deal. “Local building companies are best placed for this type of work, but are reluctant to jump through the hoops involved without stronger market demand.”
He said: “The £5bn for capital investment is good news and clearly shows the Government recognises the positive impact a growing construction sector has on the economy. However, the Chancellor should have done more beyond the measures to support 120,000 new homes already announced. That is just half the number of new homes needed each year to meet current demand.” Meanwhile, property agency Lambert Smith Hampton said the Government had not gone far enough with a ruling that all newly built commercial property completed between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016 will be exempt from empty property rates for the first 18 months, up to the state aids limit and subject to consultation.
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■ HOME TRUTHS: George Osborne should have done more”
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KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
Alan Young, David Maybury, Darren Owers, Dan Rosinke, Cath Worsley & Paul Grace
Yorkshire Bank YORKSHIRE Bank has announced a new leadership team for its eastern region, which covers Kirklees. Alan Young has been appointed regional director for the region. Mr Young has been with Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank for 37 years, most recently in New Zealand. He will lead a team responsible for Yorkshire Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centres in Newcastle, Stockton, York, Hull, Bradford, Doncaster, Sheffield and Lincoln, as well as the regional hub in Leeds – all with access to Yorkshire Bank’s £1bn Business Expansion Fund. David Maybury has been appointed as head of the regional hub at the Business and Private Banking Centre in Leeds with Darren Owers becoming head of commercial and small business banking for businesses with an annual turnover up to £25m; Dan Rosinke, head of corporate banking for businesses with an annual turnover of more than £25m; Cath Worsley, head of private banking; and Paul Grace, head of business development.
Orchard Energy ORCHARD Energy has expanded its energy solutions division with the appointment of technical sales manager Steve Lindsay (pictured). Managing director Gareth Henderson said the appointment had been made in response to increased demand for energy efficiency advice and auditing from businesses looking to reduce costs and cut carbon emissions. He said: “Steve’s role will be to work with organisations with an annual gas and electricity spend of £50,000 or more to find ways of reducing their energy bills. “An important part of this process will be to understand their budgets and their business priorities to find solutions that will produce the return on investment they need in line with specific timescales and business needs.” Orchard’s energy solutions team currently works with more than 1,300 large public and private sector organisations and many smaller firms on energy efficiency planning and environmental performance. Orchard Energy has its UK headquarters in Elland and has offices in Bradford, Glasgow, Cardiff, Bristol and Newcastle. New office openings are planned for Surrey and Northampton in 2013.
Let them eat cake A FURNITURE store celebrated its first year trading in Huddersfield with cakes all round. Staff at the DFS store at Phoenix Retail Park, held a day of celebrations – with local Kirklees councillors and customers among those invited to join in. Store manager Jayson Boocker said: “I can’t believe how quickly a year has passed. It’s been a great adventure and I would like to say a thank you to everyone who has passed through our doors.”
Movers and shakers
Question time for marketers! HUDDERSFIELD-based chartered marketers hosted a marketing-based question-and-answer session at a meeting of the Kirklees branch of the Federation of Small Businesses. Andy Earnshaw and Nadio Granata were invited by Sarah Gathercole, the new branch secretary, to lead the debate. She said: “Both Andy and Nadio had previously hosted marketing-based sessions for us and were requested to return by members, as many small business challenges are marketing-based and these guys really know their stuff.” Attendees included specialists from sectors including accountancy, internet marketing, social media, agricultural contracting, literacy, contract cleaning, window blinds, secretarial services and radio advertising. Branch chairman Alex Mullen said: “These guys mix knowledge, experience and humour which keeps everyone engaged; in fact the session ran over by 25 minutes but no-one realised. “It’s monthly meetings like this that will entice more and more members to regularly attend and it really adds value to FSB membership, as everyone could start work the following morning and implement Andy and Nadio’s advice.” For further information on the FSB contact call Sarah Gathercole on 01484 818783
■ QUIZMASTERS: Andrew Earnshaw (left) and Nadio Granata (right) with FSB Kirklees branch chairman Alex Mullen
Laying claim to a prize
■ ACCOLADE: Chris Rodgers, head of business development at First4Lawyers, with colleagues and the award A CLAIMS management firm based in Huddersfield has landed a national award. First4Lawyers, which has its head office in Dundas Street, was named Claims Management Company of the Year at the Personal Injury Awards 2012 in London. The awards, run in conjunction with Claims Magazine, celebrate excellence in the personal injury claims sector and provide an opportunity to applaud high standards of practice by organisations working in this field. The judges said First4lawyers had aided numerous clients to gain access to justice in an innovative and ethical manner, while striving to raise industry
standards. It praised the firm’s “rigorous” false claim vetting process and “exceptional” panel of law firms. First4Lawyers is one of the UK’s leading personal injury claims specialists. Formed in 2008, the company has grown to now represent more than 40 of the UK’s most respected law firms. Chris Rodgers, head of business development, said: “It’s a real accolade to be named Claims Management Company of the Year. This award is recognition of the hard work and dedication of the entire First4Lawyers team – from our claims advisers to our excellent panel of solicitors.”
Cool result for Fiona A CLECKHEATON company run by a mother of two has been hailed as one of the UK’s top start-ups. Children’s skincare products firm Naturally Cool Kids, founded by Fiona Wood (right), won the Mumpreneur of the Year category in the Startups Awards 2012. The awards were presented at the Kensington Roof Gardens in London before an audience of more than 130 leading business figures. The competition, which is organised by Startups.co.uk, celebrates the success of businesses in the UK that have been trading for less than three years. Duncan Bannatyne led the judging panel alongside a number of other highly successful entrepreneurs and business experts. Business journalist and entrepreneur Adrienne Lawler presented 15 awards to the winning companies and individuals. It’s the latest accolade for Fiona, who was named regional winner of the Take One Small Step competition run by Barclays Business in 2010 and reached the 2011 finals of The Mumpreneur Awards – an annual contest to celebrate parents who manage the difficult task of juggling business with family life – run by Mumpreneur UK, a support network for mums in business. Fiona was also shortlisted in the in the third annual Forward Ladies Women in Business Awards earlier this year.