ROBERT WALKER Company getting noticed
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COLIN BARRATT Inheritance tax topics Column - Page 4
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KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS The business NEWSpaper for Kirklees
Distress levels up for region’s firms
NORTHERN businesses are showing greater signs of distress, says a Kirklees insolvency expert – with more firms making pay cuts and reporting cash flow difficulties Figures from insolvency trade body R3 show that 31% of companies in the north of England, including West Yorkshire, have introduced pay cuts compared with 16% in the Midlands and 20% in southern England. Some 31% of firms in the north also owned up to cash flow problems against 19% in the Midlands and 22% in the south. Some 24% of firms in the north used a maximum overdraft facility compared with 13% in the Midlands and 14% in the south. Equally worrying, 26% of companies in the north said they had lost regular customers against 15% for the rest of the country. The survey showed that one in four UK businesses are concerned about their debts – with small businesses being
particularly vulnerable. The biggest concern featured bank loans and other finance debt. Chris Wood, Yorkshire R3 committee member and partner at Clough Corporate Solutions in Cleckheaton, said: “An alarming minority of the business community, particularly in the north, are struggling to address their financial woes. “If these distressed businesses continue along this downward trend they may lose control of their mounting debt, which will push them into insolvency in the coming quarter. “These businesses are allowing their debts to manifest instead of being able to pay them off. “Things aren’t improving for these businesses which is of real concern at a time when monetary and fiscal policy should be benefiting businesses. “These businesses are likely to fall on hard times when interest rates inevitably rise, making it more difficult to service
their debt.” Mr Wood said: “Cash flow difficulties are particularly severe in the north and these, coupled with debt concern, paint a w o r r y i n g p i c t u r e fo r s m a l l businesses. “Results from the barometer in December, 2010, revealed high levels of distress and debt concern. We assume this is due to the adverse weather conditions and expected businesses to have a bleak outlook during those difficult trading conditions. “The fact that some of those results have been compounded or increased this quarter is alarming. Businesses haven’t just hit a bump in the road, but have sustained financial problems. These could be “zombie” businesses that are unviable. When changes to monetary and fiscal policy become less favourable they are likely to go insolvent.”
Organisations including the Lockwood-based Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce argue that high speed rail is vital for the future of the regional economy – by putting businesses in closer touch with the capital and Europe and making Yorkshire more accessible for tourists. The report counters claims that a national high speed rail network will cost each UK household £1,000 in
taxes and the argument that it is “irresponsible” to spend money on a high speed rail system during a recession. It also responds to claims that the business case for the network relies on over-optimistic passenger forecasts and that time spent by commuters in trains is not being wasted when modern technology such as laptops allows commuters to work
Fleets hit by fraud FLEET operators in Kirklees have been warned to steer clear of staged “slam-on” collisions. Dr Will Murray, research director for Bradley-based Interactive Driving Systems, said statistics suggested an increase in this type of fraud, which often targets the drivers of liveried fleet vehicles.
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■ TRENDS: Chris Wood, partner at Clough Corporate Solutions
Employers highlight case for high speed rail link BUSINESS leaders lobbying for a high speed rail link between London and West Yorkshire have launched a report to dispel the “myths” they claim are being put forward by those opposed to the project. The report, entitled 10 Myths: Bringing balance to the debate about high speed rail, has been published by the business-backed Campaign for High Speed Rail.
productively on long journeys. Prof David Begg, director of the Campaign for High Speed rail said: “For too long, the opposition have been allowed to push misleading statistics and bogus exaggerations. “It is time for them to own up to the facts. “The economic case for high-speed rail is strong. This project must go forward.”
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Homing in on Attik ATTIK co-founder James Sommerville is among leading figures in the design and marketing sector who will address a major seminar in Huddersfield later this month.
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Solicitors for business inYorkshire www.chadwicklawrence.co.uk Huddersfield | Wakefield | Halifax | Leeds
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
TAKEOVER BID BOOSTS RANK SHARES in bingo and gambling group Rank have climbed to a three-year high after it rejected a takeover bid from Guoco, a Hong Kong-based conglomerate run by Malaysian billionaire Quek Leng Chan. Guoco has offered 150p per share through a mandatory bid after it increased its stake in the UK group to 41% through the purchase of a further 11.49% stake. That buy took its holding through the 29.9% level where, under takeover rules, it has to make an offer for all of the outstanding shares in Rank. Its offer values Rank at £586 million. In a statement, Rank said it had considered the offer but concluded it “considerably undervalues” the group and its prospects.
Guoco also issued a supportive statement, commenting Rank has an excellent portfolio of businesses, adding it “looks forward to continuing its existing relationship with Rank’s management.” Rank’s fortunes have improved markedly over the past year, with its share price recovering from a low of below 100p in July after it won a £150 million legal battle with the tax office for overpaid VAT, though this is still subject to appeal. Profits in 2010 also topped expectations, coming in at £55.2 million despite severe disruption from the snow over Christmas. Strong g r o w t h a t Ra n k ’s 3 5 - s t ro n g Grosvenor Casino business, where earnings rose by nearly 17%, was behind the improvement.
The strength of its Grosvenor business – including a casino at Folly Hall – has led to Rank often being touted as a possible takeover target. The latest developments prompted a 5% jump in Rank’s shares to around 157p. Only 10% of Rank's shareholders need to accept the offer for Guoco to gain a majority stake and broker N u m i s s u g g e s t s t h at e n o u g h shareholders will accept for that to happen. Rank is still best remembered as the producer of some the UK’s best-loved films such as the Carry On series, but is a shadow of the leisure giant that in the mid-90s ran cinemas, theme parks, restaurants and nightclubs and owned brands such as Odeon cinemas and Hard Rock Cafe.
Building up profits BUILDERS’ merchant and DIY retailer Travis Perkins has won business from its competitors as the wider market stagnates. The rival to Focus DIY, which last week fell into administration, said it had made gains in like-for-like market share between January 1 and April 30. The gains came across the group, including its Wickes DIY business and plumbing supplies chain BSS, despite the wider market delivering “little or no growth”. Travis Perkins said group turnover for the four months to the end of April was up 5.9%.
Bus row averted
■ SUCCESS STORY: The Grosvenor Casino in Folly Hall
HSBC’s rescue mission
Travel firm hit hard by squeeze
HSBC’s new boss set the scene for an assault on the group’s costs after the banking giant unveiled a 14% drop in first quarter profits. A bill of 440 million US dollars (£268.7 million) to cover payment protection insurance compensation, as well as weaker trading in Europe and the United States, sent pre-tax profits down to 4.91 billion US dollars (£3 billion) in the quarter to end March, from 5.71 billion US dollars this time last year. Stuart Gulliver is due to unveil a major strategy review tomorrow, which is expected to include some disposals and a crackdown on HSBC’s cost base.
TOUR operator Thomas Cook said its UK business was heading for a worse performance than last year after it reported wider first-half losses. Europe’s second biggest travel firm said underlying losses in its UK operations increased 37% to £158.7 million in the six months to March 31 as it discounted holidays amid weak demand from consumers. Conditions in the UK remain tough, as summer bookings are flat, having slowed since March when they were up 1%, the company said. The group’s profit margins are being squeezed as it
It has been reported that branch closures are among options being looked at, as well as potential job cuts among middle management. The bank’s cost ratio rose to 60.9% in the latest quarter but this included the PPI provision and other one-off items. Without the restructuring charges, the cost ratio was 55.1%, largely flat over the quarter, but still above Mr Gulliver’s target of 52%. “It will take two to three years to sort out the cost efficiency problems of the group,” he warned. Underlying profits fell to 5.5 billion US dollars (£3.35 billion) from 6.1 billion.
struggles to pass on a 20% increase in jet fuel costs. Average UK selling prices for the summer are up just 4% as customers opt for better value all-inclusive deals, such as packages that provide food. However, as its losses widen the group has warned it will be forced to raise prices by a further 2% or 3% across its business if fuel prices continue upwards. The number of holidaymakers from the UK declined 4% in the first-half as consumers who are facing their worst spending squeeze since the 1920s cut back on luxuries.
A POTENTIAL bust-up at National Express’s AGM today looks to have been avoided after an eleventh-hour deal between the board of the bus and train group and activist US hedge fund Elliott. Elliott, which owns 18% of the UK group, had wanted to appoint three of its own directors and force National Express to adopt a more aggressive tack, including expansion in the US and possibly putting itself up for sale. Now they will settle for one director’s appointment.
SHARE PRICES NORTH AMERICAN American Express £30.71 -0.02 Gannett 919.88 -7.34 Hess Corp £48.26 +0.84 Microsoft 1578.43 -4.90 Motors Liquidation 45.90 Wal-Mart Stores £33.74 +0.07 AEROSPACE & DEFENCE Avon Rbbr 2751/2 -2 -21/4 BAE Systems 3233/4 1 Rolls-Royce Gp 631 /2 +1/2 AIM Brady Plc 76 -3/4 Dawson Intl 2 1 Man Brnze 49 /2 Uniq 751/2 +21/2 AUTOMOBILES & PARTS GKN 2161/4 -2 BANKS Barclays 274 -35/8 HSBC 6481/4 -31/2 5 Lloyds Banking Gp 53 /8 -3/8 3 Ryl Scotland 41 /4 -1 Stan Chart 1572 -311/2 BEVERAGES Diageo 1265 +4 -1/4 SABMiller £221/4 CHEMICALS Croda 1893 +11 Elementis 98 156 -33/8 Johnsn Mat 1985 -1 CONSTRUCTION & MATERIALS 1 Balfour Beatty 325 /8 -31/2 Costain 230 +2
ELECTRICITY Drax Gp 4431/8 -23/8 Intl Power 3193/4 -33/8 Scottish & Sthrn 1308 +1 Energy ELECTRONIC & ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT Laird 1453/8 +21/4 EQUITY INVESTMENT INSTRUMENTS Alliance Trust 3791/2 -11/2 FIXED LINE TELECOM SERVICES BT Grp 197 +21/4 Cable & Wireless 471/2 +1/2 Comm Cable & Wireless 501/2 +3/4 Wwide 3 Colt Group 142 /4 -31/4 KCOM 603/4 -1/4 1 Talktalk Telecom 138 /4 +3/4 FOOD & DRUG RETAILERS Morrison W 303 -1/4 Sainsbury 3491/4 -51/4 Tesco 4041/8 -41/8 FOOD PRODUCERS AB Food 1033 -6 Nth Foods 73 -1/2 Tate Lyle 6151/2 Unilever 1967 -11 GAS, WATER & MULTIUTILITIES Centrica 3031/2 -12 -1/2 National Grid 6141/2 Pennon Grp 650 -5 Severn 1466 -24 United Utils 613 -13 GENERAL FINANCIAL
3i Group 269 -13/4 ICAP 508 +41/2 London StockExch 826 -10 Man Group 246 -13/8 Provident Financial 1012 +3 Schroders 1657 -23 Schroders NV 1355 -23 GENERAL INDUSTRIALS Cooksn Grp 7061/2 +4 -1/4 REXAM 3893/4 Smiths Grp 1210 -9 GENERAL RETAILERS Ashley L 201/4 +3/4 Carphone Whse 393 -23/4 5 Dixons Retail 15 /8 +3/8 Home Retail 2225/8 -35/8 Inchcape 3607/8 +41/8 Kingfisher 2751/2 -41/8 1 M&S 392 /4 -53/8 5 Mothercare 425 /8 +83/4 Next £23 -1/4 WH Smith 4933/8 +133/4 HEALTH CARE EQUIPMENT & SERVICES Smith Nph 684 -7 HOUSEHOLD GOODS Aga Rangemaster 1093/4 +21/4 Barrat Dev 1121/8 +1 1 -1/4 Persimmon 485 /4 Reckitt Benckiser £341/2 -3/8 5 Taylor Wimpey 38 /8 INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING Charter 782 -6 IMI 1081 +23 INDUSTRIAL METALS Ferrexpo 468 +151/8
INDUSTRIAL TRANSPORTATION BBA Aviation 2197/8 Forth Ports 1621 -2 LIFE INSURANCE Aviva 4383/8 -51/8 Lgl & Gen 1163/4 -11/4 1 Old Mutual 134 /8 -11/2 Prudential 749 -10 3 Resolution 297 /8 +3/8 1 Standard Life 218 /2 -11/4 MEDIA BSkyB 839 D Mail Tst 4787/8 +47/8 ITV 74 -15/8 Johnston Press 8 +1/4 Pearson 1136 -12 Reed Elsevier 532 -51/2 STV Group 1613/4 -1/4 3 Trinity Mirror 50 /4 +11/4 1 Utd Business 585 /2 +1 UTV 1441/4 -53/4 WPP 759 -8 Yell Group 65/8 -1/8 MINING Anglo American £301/8 -3/8 Antofagasta 1203 BHP Billiton £24 -1/4 Eurasian Natural 868 -141/2 Res Fresnillo 1438 +2 Kazakhmys 1283 +8 Lonmin 1562 +13 3 Rio Tinto £41 /8 -1/8 VEDANTA £213/4 -1/4 RESOURCES 1 Xstrata 1419 /2 -221/2 MOBILE TELECOM SERVICES
Local shares Carclo Marshalls National Grid Weir Gp
2931/2 1203/4 6141/2 1911
-11/2 -11/4 -1/2 -2
FTSE closed at
5942.69 down 34.08
Inmarsat 619 +26 +21/2 Vodafone Group 1701/8 NONLIFE INSURANCE Admiral Grp 1701 +4 -1/8 RSA Insurance Gp 1371/4 OIL & GAS PRODUCERS BG 14351/2 +1/2 BP 4541/2 -1/4 1 Cairn Energy 426 /4 -1/4 Royal Dutch Shell A £22 -1/4 1 Royal Dutch Shell B £22 /8 -1/4 Total £361/8 -1/4 Tullow Oil 1350 -14 OIL EQUIPMENT & SERVICES AMEC 1164 +1
Petrofac 1471 +12 Wood Group 673 +51/2 PERSONAL GOODS Burberry Gp 1302 +12 PHARMACEUTICALS & BIOTECHNOLOGY Astrazeneca £31 +1/8 Axis-Shield 3541/4 +111/4 GlaxoSmithK XD 121/2 Shire 1875 +8 REAL ESTATE Brit Land 5891/2 -71/2 Captl Shop Cent 3971/4 -75/8 DTZ Hldgs 28 -11/4 Hamrsn 4683/8 -53/8 Land Secs 766 -111/2 1 SEGRO 318 /4 -11/2 SOFTWARE ETC SERVICES Autonomy Corp 1675 +63 Invensys 329 -25/8 3 Logica 141 /8 -5/8 Misys 3431/2 +261/2 3 Sage Group 285 /4 +45/8 SUPPORT SERVICES Berendsen 487 -11/2 Bunzl 7481/2 -11/2 1 Capita 735 /2 +5 De La Rue 797 +2 Electrocomp 2733/4 -21/4 Experian 8091/2 G4S 2735/8 -3/4 Hays 1161/4 +3/4 1 Homeserve 513 /2 +91/2 Menzies J 540 -21/2 Rentokil 941/8 -1/8 Smiths News 1013/4 -1/2 1 Wolseley £21 /4 -1/8
IT HARDWARE ARM Hldgs Psion Spirent Comms
586 100 1403/8
-9 +13/4 +25/8
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 Airlines Gp Ladbrokes Mitchells & Butlers Natl Express Rank Org Stagecoach Group TUI Travel Whitbread
146 £251/2 584 3463/4 943/8 3383/4 1485 4931/4 1249 2483/8
-4 -1/2 -21/2 -81/4 +1 +7/8 -7 -57/8 -11 -53/4
148 3321/4 2591/4 1515/8 2437/8 2435/8 1645
-11/4 -27/8 +11/2 +23/4 +1/2 -11/4 +3
Tourists going abroad can expect the following rates for sterling: Australia...................... 1.44 dollars Bangladesh................. 112.91 taka Brazil.............................. 2.36 reals Canada....................... 1.50 dollars China ............................. 9.50 yuan Czech Republic ...... 25.19 korunas Denmark....................... 8.07 krone Euro............................... 1.09 euro Hong Kong................ 12.07 dollars Hungary................... 269.37 forints India.......................... 64.47 rupees Japan........................... 125.73 yen Mexico ....................... 16.96 pesos New Zealand .............. 1.92 dollars Norway ......................... 8.57 krone Pakistan.................. 131.44 rupees Philippines ................. 60.21 pesos South Africa................. 10.25 rand South Korea.............. 1544.00 won Sri Lanka ................ 169.49 rupees Sweden......................... 9.78 krona Switzerland.................. 1.36 francs Taiwan ...................... 40.89 dollars Turkey....................... 2.38 new lira USA ............................ 1.56 dollars
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS BUSINESS is more than brisk for Robert Walker. The sales and marketing director for family-owned Elland company Portfolio Display says: “We are inundated with enquiries at the moment – and for the past two years we have grown the business year-on-year.” The firm’s excellent track record led to Portfolio Display being highly commended in the category for growing business in the prestigious CBI People’s Awards in March. “We had made no redundancies and we have invested in training all the managers as well,” says Robert. “Turnover has grown by 20% and 15% in the past two years respectively.” To capitalise on its success, the company, which designs and makes promotional display products, has invested significantly in a new website, which is due to go live in the next few weeks. The six-month project will provide the firm with a site which is easier for customers to navigate and simplifies the process for buying its 200-plus products. “I knew before my “There is a lot of programming to go into the placement that I wanted to pricing system because we work in marketing, but it have so many different helped confirm my products and variations on ambitions.” products,” says Robert, After graduating, Robert who believes that worked as marketing technology will play a manager for another bigger and bigger role in engineering firm in Halifax selling. before joining the family “Smartphones are business. already having an impact, “My dad asked me if I but they will explode onto fancied working for the the scene in the next 12 company,” he recalls. “He months,” he says. “They will had never had someone in a overtake desktops as the full-time marketing role. I way people access the took up the post, which led internet, so our website me into sales as well and needs to be geared up for led me to being sales and Smartphone applications.” marketing manager and Robert is only, 30 but he later sales and marketing brings considerable director.” experience to his role at Robert and his brother Portfolio Display, a Garth are now directors of company founded 26 years the firm. “I work with our top ago by his father, Geoff. clients and bring the One of Robert’s earliest business in while Garth is experiences was helping to responsible for production put key fobs together at the and getting products out of tender age of five! the door to the customers!” “When I did eventually Garth has a degree in join the business, I already transport design and is in knew the products because the third year of a masters I had also worked here degree in manufacturing. during my summer Robert said: “We are both holidays,” he says. “I also sticklers when it comes to spent time during my attention to detail. You hear college years working for Caravan Guard, a specialist about companies where print jobs have gone wrong. insurance business in We won’t send out any work Halifax. I had sales we wouldn’t be happy to experience already.” After schooling, Robert attended St John Moore University in Liverpool, where he completed a four-year degree course in business studies with marketing. He spent his year out on placement working in marketing for an international engineering company in Manchester. “It was great experience because there’s no substitute for getting stuck into the practicalities of a job,” he says. “Learning the theory is fine, but I probably learned more about ■ ON DISPLAY: Robert marketing during my Walker joined the family firm placement year than I did with marketing credentials for the rest of the course.
Busy times suit Robert receive ourselves. “I constantly read up on the latest developments in the industry, looking at new things. “My role at the moment is to oversee a lot of projects such as the website and new catalogue, which has been printed and launched.” Historically, the company has supplied promotional display and point-of-sale products mainly to the automotive industry – it includes Volkswagen and Audi among its clients. Over the past two years, it has diversified to cover all industries requiring promotional and exhibition material. The company is tendering for a major contract at the moment. “It’s one of the biggest brands in the world and I gave a presentation to them a few weeks ago,” says Robert. “The presentation showed their point-of-sale material in a virtual car forecourt to meet their brief of showing a forecourt for the year 2020. It is one of the biggest projects I’ve been involved with and we have made the shortlist. The contract is potentially worth £300,000 a year.” Robert and Garth also have plans to expand the business by adding another 3,000sq ft to the site at Elland Lane. “My dad started the company in a portable building in his garden and moved here 26 years ago,” he explains. The location is ideal for a number of reasons. Many of the firm’s employees live locally and Robert lives at Salendine Nook – allowing him to “free wheel” to work. Robert and girlfriend Victoria are moving house, but only to Birkby, so Robert will be spared a lengthy commute! Despite being busy helping to grow the company, Robert finds time for other interests. Chief among them is following
Page 3 Robert Walker
Huddersfield Town. “I started watching then when I was nine or 10,” he says. “I go to every home game and I’m looking forward to the play-offs. “I go to the gym and regularly go running. I enjoy listening to music, particularly indie and dance, and playing the acoustic guitar – although only for my own enjoyment.” Robert also enjoys travel, with Ibiza a favourite destination for him and Victoria. He says: “I used to go for the clubbing, but I cannot do that any more! We just go to relax in the northern part of the island. People think of Ibiza as a party island, but there are some beautiful locations.” Victoria runs her own business, VJW Holistic
Therapies, at Heritage Exchange, Lindley, and Robert has been known to help with the marketing. But business at Elland is never far from his thoughts. “Our year-end was in April and we will be setting targets for the next 12 months,” he says. “We also have a five-year forecast. We are setting tough targets, but they are realistic targets. We are always looking at new product design and development and how to use technology to stay ahead.” He adds: “We are confident about the team we have in place. Without them, this company could not function. You need people with the right skills – and we have the right people.”
Role: Sales and marketing director Age: 30 Family Girlfriend Victoria Holidays: Ibiza every year, but also love travelling to south-east Asia Car: Porsche Cayman S – the sports version First job: Paper boy, then working at Armitage’s Garden Centre in the summer Best thing about job: Working with high profile brands Worst thing about job: The red tape which government imposes on small businesses Business tip: Be passionate, enjoy it and work smart
Portfolio Display Work: Creative design, print, display and point of sale material Site: Elland Lane, Elland Employees: 20 Phone: 08458 543210 Web:www.portfolio -display.co.uk E-mailenquiries @portfolio-display. co.uk
Orchard aims for fruitful expansion A C O N S U LTA N C Y p rov i d i n g e n e rg y management services has opened two new offices as it continues to progress with its UK expansion plans. Orchard Energy has set up sites in Cardiff and Bristol – leading to new jobs at both locations as well as additional support roles at the company’s head office in Brighouse. Managing director Gareth Henderson said: “Our move to the South-West is a strategic one as we push our business out across the UK, creating regional centres with local staff who know the local business landscape and who can maintain regular face to face contact with clients. Management Buy-Out On The Horizon? Get some trusted and independent advice and experience on assessing your options We can guide you from start to finish: ✑
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“Today’s energy markets are very consumers could see their overvolatile, so it is vital that we have heads soar unless they take a close contact with our clients to proactive approach to energy puradvise them of changing trends and chasing.” enable them to adapt their energy Orchard Energy was founded in purchasing wherever possible.” 2004 by Mr Henderson. The The new teams will be led by company posted a 58% rise in regional manager Jennifer Short, turnover to £1.8m for the year who has moved to Bristol from ending September, 2010. Orchard Yorkshire to manage the offices opened offices in Newcastle in 2009 and develop business in these and Glasgow last year. areas. Clients have include Hull City She said: “Orchard has expertise FC, Yorkshire County Cricket in some of the South-West’s key Club, the Jorvik Viking Centre and York Minster, Eureka Children’s business sectors, including retail, ■ STRATEGY: Gareth Henderson, MD of Orchard Museum in Halifax and the tourism and manufacturing. Energy Harewood Estate near Leeds. “My role will be to identify new Orchard advises on energy opportunities and to speak to major energy consumers to find out where they efficiency, carbon management and compliance as well as purchasing energy on behalf of clients. can reduce overheads and power usage. The firm plans to add further energy manage“With so much pressure on energy supplies due to recent natural disasters in Australia and Japan ment services, including feasibility studies, energy and the unrest in the Middle East, big power audits and advice on renewable energy options.
Try giving them a gift S Benjamin Franklin A famously said: “In this world, nothing is certain but
death and taxes.” And on death, the incidence of Inheritance Tax can be a significant loss of wealth from the deceased’s estate. An individual’s estate is normally comprised of assets such as the value of their home, savings and investments assets like quoted shares as well as personal possession such as jewellery. Amounts owed by an individual at the date of their death are taken into account to determine the value of their net estate. Where an individual’s net estate exceeds the nil rate band of £325,000 (£650,000 for married couples) on death, IHT of 40% is levied on that excess. The current nil rate band will continue to apply until 2015 and even with the recent economic woes the lack of any increase in this IHT exemption could potentially expose individuals wh o m ay p rev i o u s ly h ave thought this form of tax was the d o m a i n o f o n ly t h e ve r y wealthy. For those with modest assets, but not significant pension income there is often not much that can be done to mitigate the IHT cost for the next generation. If you need the assets for security of income in your
TAX TALK Colin Barratt
retirement you cannot also give them away to mitigate IHT. There are some insurance company products available to partly achieve this but should only be used with great care and with complete understanding. For those who have built up good pensions and are less reliant on capital, gifts could be made during their lifetime to children or grandchildren to save tax in the future. Gifts of up to £3,000 per individual can be made annually and are completely ignored for IHT purposes. If the £3,000 annual exemption has not been used in the year it can be carried forward to be used in the following year, potentially giving scope for up to £12,000 to be gifted, for married couples. Wh e r e i n d i v i d u a l s h av e surplus income, after taking account of all domestic expenditure, they could make annual gifts out of this surplus which could be exempt from IHT, as long as the gifts do not affect your current lifestyle.
This may be of benefit to say grandparents wishing to help their grandchildren who are faced with increasing educational costs whilst at the same time helping to mitigate their own IHT liability. This type of gift must be intended to be made on a regular basis and a good way of demonstrating this would be to set up a regular standing order payment from you to the recipient. You do not need to commit yourself for a fixed period of time but your intention must be to make more than one gift. Lifetime gifts in excess of these exemptions will be free of tax provided the donor survives seven years thereafter. For those contemplating making sizeable gifts, the use of “nil rate discretionary trusts” via their wills can still play an important role where taxation issues are not the only ones for instance where individuals are concerned about protecting their assets from young or inexperienced beneficiaries.
Colin Barratt is tax partner at Wheawill and Sudworth chartered accountants, Huddersfield
Home working is worth a look KIRKLEES employers are being urged to back National Work From Home Day – and reap the benefits for their businesses. The initiative from Work Wise UK, which is being backed by the CBI and the TUC, aims to show that allowing staff to work from home can lead to increased productivity and a happier workforce. Office stationery supplier Office Boutique is also backing the special day, which takes place on May 20 – and has compiled a list of six reasons to convince sceptical bosses of the benefits. It claims that home working can improve productivity. BT and Cisco both encourage year-round home working with BT saying it saves the company £2.2m a year and Cisco reporting a 69% rise in productivity. Home working also benefits customers. Instead of the usual nine-to-five office hours, employees can contact customers at other times. Home working does wonders for employers’ green credentials – saving energy on cars, trains and buses. It also saves on office overheads. Office space and facilities will “stretch” further and enables employees to help save money in times of cuts. With fewer distractions around the water cooler, important projects can be given full attention. And home working shows the company in a positive light, helping with staff retention, morale and work/life balance. A spokesman for Office Boutique said: “For employees, the exercise can be practical and enjoyable. They save on commuting costs and time, it helps with family arrangements and they can produce a higher quality of work. “Employees do not generally need to be convinced, but by providing some positive bullet points more employers can be convinced.”
Legal eagles get set to soar LAW firms in Kirklees are being invited to enter this year’s Yorkshire Lawyer Awards. And competition for the prizes is expected to be fierce following the success of last year’s 10th anniversary celebrations. This year, the awards will be presented at a ceremony and dinner on October 5 at the Queens Hotel in Leeds. Eighteen categories up for grabs include ones for niche law firms, rising stars in the profession, corporate and commercial lawyers, barristers and managing partners. To make a nomination, go to www.yorkshirelawyerawards.co.uk and for further information call Jo Gatie on 01423 851157. The deadline for entries is July 8, 2011.
Safety expert sounds fraud alert for fleets FLEET operators in Kirklees have been warned to steer clear of staged “slam-on” collisions. The warning comes from Dr Will Murray, research director for Bradley-based Interactive Driving Systems, which specialises in helping organisations around the world improve the safety record of drivers. His comments follow statistics suggesting an increase in this type of fraud, which often targets the drivers of liveried fleet vehicles. Dr Murray said: “Induced collision fraud represents a serious threat to public safety, estimated to cost hundreds of million pounds a year by UK insurers. “Gang members either purchase and insure low value vehicles or use hired vehicles and then force innocent members of the public and fleet vehicles to crash into them. “By ‘inducing’ an innocent driver to collide with them, the fraudsters can rely on a highly positive chance of the acceptance of insurance liability. “Multiple claims are subsequently submitted for the driver and – often fictitious – passengers. According to insurers, who continue to work hard to mitigate this risk, the average insurance bill per induced collision is £25,000 to £30,000.” Dr Murray said common methods of inducing crashes included “roundabouting” where a fraudster disconnects the brake lights of his vehicle and drives around busy roundabouts or slip roads looking
■ CRASH COURSE: Dr Will Murray, research director Interactive Driving Systems, said “slam-on” fraud claims were costing firms millions
for victims. Once a victim is selected, the fraudster drives two to three metres in front of target and breaks sharply. A variation on the theme is the “roundabout shunt” where a fraudster stops at a busy roundabout
and waits for a potential victim to pull in behind him. The fraudster then pulls quickly onto roundabout, but stops two to three metres onto the roundabout. The potential victim’s attention is usually focused on checking for traffic emerging
from the roundabout to their right, as they themselves pull onto the roundabout. Consequently, they are unlikely to see the stationary vehicle directly in front of them – until the inevitable shunt. Another variation is the “Russian Method” where the vehicle in front of you slams on the brakes after a third vehicle overtakes at speed and then cuts them up for no obvious reason. In fact, the overtaking vehicle is part of an organised “tag team” colluding in order to provide a “cover story” for why the vehicle in front of you braked quickly. Dr Murray said possible signs of a planned induced collision included the occupants in the vehicle in front of you turning around and looking at you out of the rear window – to ensure the trap is ready to be sprung. The occupants may gesture to their driver to “slam on” seconds before the vehicle stops dead in front of you. Vehicles ahead may navigate the same roundabout several times – a sign that they are looking for a suitable victim to target. Other suspicious behaviour includes the vehicle in front – with which you have just collided – does not stop at the scene, but drives on. The driver subsequently returns on foot to prevent you inspecting the damage to the fraudster’s vehicle or to stop you identifying the number of passengers in the vehicle. Following an induced collision, the driver of the vehicle you have run into may appear well-prepared with
written details of their name, address and insurer. Witnesses may appear from nowhere to corroborate your liability for the collision. Dr Murray said: “If you think you have been targeted for an induced collision, never admit liability at the scene. Do not confront the other party or take any action that you feel might place you at risk. Call the police from the scene and report the collision. Invite the other driver to remain with you until the police arrive. “Be vigilant at the scene. Count the number of occupants in the other vehicle, ask for the names and addresses of all people present, including any reported witnesses, together with the make, model, registration and owner of the vehicle with which you have collided. “Note the insurance details of the driver of the other vehicle, record it from what the other person tells you, not by asking them to write it down. Note any distinguishing features of the driver and passengers. This is useful evidentially in disproving subsequent insurance frauds. “Take photographs if you are able to without risk of confrontation. Record information about the location and extent of damage to the other vehicle in detail. Write the fullest possible account of the incident and all related details as soon as possible after the collision. And report any concerns to the police, fleet team, your manager or insurer as appropriate.”
Graduates are receiving a helping hand BUSINESS leaders have urged to join the debate about the future of graduate employment. Graduates Yorkshire and The Graduate Network are hosting the fourth annual Graduate Employment Conference on Thursday, May 19, at the Park Plaza Hotel in Leeds. Graduate internships schemes, including those o p e rat e d by t h e H i g h e r Education Funding Council fo r E n g l a n d , re g i o n a l development agencies and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills are drawing to a close over the next couple of months. Speakers at the conference will consider the next steps for internships and universities as well as business perceptions of
g r a d u at e s a n d g r a d u at e opportunities outside London. It will also explore trends in social media for recruitment, job hunting and careers advice. The event will also mark the launch of The Graduate Network’s inaugural survey of national employers, which will be distributed to more than 80,000 employers across England to establish salary benchmarks and industry trends. The region’s recruitment experts at Graduates Yorkshire have placed 130 interns in the past year and 85% of these have been retained in full-time employment. The scheme has also helped graduates to become more employable by providing business coaching and
mentoring. Martin Edmondson, chief executive at Graduates Yorkshire, said: “With a lack of support from the Government for graduates leaving university and the unemployment rate a m o n g yo u n g p e o p l e reaching its highest rate since
the 1990s, competition in the jobs market is fierce. “Graduates need to increase their employability to maximise their chances of securing their dream job after university. This means preparing for the working world early on and gaining
valuable work experience, learning interview techniques and acquiring transferable skills in their roles while at university. “This event will highlight the support structures in place to help these graduates in their chosen career.
“We hope to address some of the key issues facing graduates in today’s job market and put real measures in place to address these challenges.” Go to http://gec11. eventbrite.com
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
More judges named for Yorkshire property awards SIX property experts have taken on one of the toughest tasks in the region by joining the judging panel for the 2011 RICS Pro-Yorkshire Awards. The annual awards organised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors recognise Yorkshire and Humber’s most innovative and inspirational initiatives and developments in land, property, construction and the environment. The new judges complete a 17-strong panel of independent experts who are visiting the 56 shortlisted projects before the winners in eight categories are announced at a black tie dinner on Friday, May 20, in Leeds. The new judges are Chris Gomersall, of Leeds City Council; Mike Connolly of Turner & Townsend; Andy Dransfield, of Faithful + Gould; Martin Conlon, of Assent Building Control; Karl Redmond, of Construction Network Sector; and Rob Hindle, of White Hindle and Partners Ltd. Colin Harrop, chairman of the regional board of RICS and the Pro-Yorkshire Awards judging panel, said: “The judging process is incredibly
difficult as we must thoroughly consider each of the projects individually against a strict set of criteria. This includes all aspects of the building from the planning, design and construction right through to its environmental and sustainable credentials. “Each of the judges new to the panel this year brings a wealth of experience and expertise in the property field and with judging now underway, we are all looking forward to revealing the highly anticipated winners.” The awards – known as the region’s property Oscars – received an impressive 69 entries this year with 56 making it to the shortlist. Nominations range from small-scale schemes built by the vision and persistence of one person to multi-million pound developments. The eight award categories cover Building Conservation, Commercial, Community Benefit, Design and Innovation, Regeneration, Residential, Sustainability and Tourism and Leisure. The entry that scores the highest across each category will also be named Project of the Year.
Clarion set for office move A PROMINENT city centre building is set for a facelift. JF Finnegan has bought the Elizabeth House office building on Queen Street, Leeds, to transform it into a new head office for law firm Clarion. The Sheffield-based developer has acquired the vacant 25,000sq ft building from Valad Property Group, acting on behalf of the Osprey managed fund, for an undisclosed sum. It will now be refurbished to provide high quality, contemporary office accommodation. Clarion plans to move its 100-strong team from its existing 10,000sq ft Leeds office on Oxford Place into
15,000sq ft of office space next April. As well as refurbishing the interior, there are plans to modernise the exterior of the building. The upgrade will include creating a dedicated entrance for Clarion leading to its own reception area and three floors of office space. John Flathers and James Knowles, of Irwin Mitchell in Leeds, represented JF Finnegan in both acquisition of the building and the 15-year lease to Clarion. SNR Denton UK LLP acted for Valad in the sale and Clarion was represented by property partner James Lawson in the lease deal.
Deals spurs on DTZ team THE industrial team at property agent DTZ in West Yorkshire is celebrating a hat-trick of successes at Gildersome Spur Industrial Estate. Belgrade Insulations, DHL and CD UK/Avante Bathrooms have all taken space on the industrial park, near Morley in Leeds, which has been acquired by clients of Invista Real Estate. Paul Mack, associate director at DTZ in Leeds, said: “Despite tough economic conditions, we have seen a
dramatic rise in transactions over the last nine months and take-up levels for industrial and warehouse premises in Leeds have exceeded all expectations. “Once again, Gildersome Spur Industrial Estate has proved to be a location of choice for occupiers in the Leeds and West Yorkshire region, where we have now leased more than 240,000sq ft of space over the last three years. There are now only four units available on the estate.
■ TAKING CARE: Termrim Construction, based at Bradley, has landed its biggest-ever contract to build this three-storey care home in Ilkley – despite challenging conditions for the UK construction industry
Latest deal is a real record
A BUILDING company in Huddersfield has landed its biggest contract in 35 years of trading. Termrim Construction Ltd, based at Bradley, has secured more than £9m of new business for two projects to build care homes in Ilkley and Liverpool. The Ilkley contract is the largest single value contract ever awarded to Termrim with a value of £6.2m. The three-storey scheme at Ilkley is being built on the site of the former Ilkley Middle School and will provide a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments for sale with 24-hour care for residents aged over 60. The scheme will also provide residents with communal facilities including bistro dining, lounges, library, internet rooms, beauty salons and communal gardens. Construction work has begun with
excavation works to level the site followed by piling of the foundations and superstructure works. The contract is scheduled to complete in autumn, 2012. Termrim is also on site delivering a range of new build and refurbishment contracts worth more than £17m for clients including Kirklees and Calderdale councils, Accent Group, Yorkshire Housing and Methodist Homes for the Aged. Closer to home, Termrim is on site at Wakefield Road, Moldgreen, where it is building a 36-apartment scheme for Yorkshire Housing. The scheme began in March, 2010, and is scheduled for completion in July this year. Te r m rim managing director Graeme Bird said: “The construction industry remains extremely challenging and very competitive and
we are delighted to secure these new projects. “ Thi s work de m onst rate s a continuing ability for Termrim to deliver quality, value for money contracts for its clients in this challenging economic climate. “These new contracts should secure employment for our workforce and many of our local suppliers and sub-contractors.” Termrim Construction Ltd was formed in 1976 by the late Peter Patrick. Following the tragic loss of Peter and Andy Patrick in August, 2007, the company remains privately owned by the directors. The company is based at Bradley Business Park and employs 95 people in office and site-based jobs delivering building contracts for public and private sector clients across the north of England.
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
Landlords see rise in demand ALMOST half of landlords reported that tenant demand rose during the first quarter of 2011, according to a report by buy-to-let mortgage specialist Paragon. The company’s latest Private Rented Sector Trends Report showed that 49% of landlords recorded growing levels of tenant demand during the period, compared with just 5% who said it was falling. The proportion of landlords reporting growing tenant demand was up from 40% during the final quarter of 2010. The proportion of landlords reporting increasing levels of tenant demand has now risen for seven consecutive quarters. Looking forward, landlords expect tenant demand to continue strengthening with 52% expecting demand to increase over the next 12 months and only 6% forecasting a decline. Nigel Terrington, Paragon chief executive, said: “Landlords are experiencing high levels of tenant demand and this is expected to rise due to a number of factors, including social housing reforms, lifestyle choices, low numbers of first-time buyers and wider demographic changes. “We are seeing evidence that strong tenant demand is feeding through to higher rents. A
lack of available mortgage finance is restricting the sector’s ability to expand and needs to be addressed to create a healthy and vibrant buy-to-let market in the UK.” The report also showed that buy-to-let mortgage finance availability remains low – 64% of landlords said that availability was limited. H o w e v e r, l a n d l o r d c o n f i d e n c e strengthened, with 23% of landlords saying they were more optimistic about the performance of their property portfolio. Yields increased to 6.2% – the highest level since the final quarter of 2009 The average number of properties in a portfolio stood at 13, with an average weighted portfolio value of £1.51m. Average gearing – the level of borrowing as a proportion of the property’s value – stood at 41% while the average void period fell for the third quarter in a row to 2.8 weeks a year. Said Mr Terrington: “Landlords have experienced a positive start to the year. Tenant demand continues to strengthen, yields are rising and confidence is high. “Prospects for landlords in the private rented sector are high and they can expect this to continue throughout and beyond 2011.”
It’s all systems go! A COMPANY providing modular and portable buildings has teamed up with a Huddersfield IT systems support business. Thurston Building Systems, based at Wakefield, brought in Lockwood-based P2 Technologies Ltd to upgrade its servers. Thurston’s existing email platform was running on old server hardware which was slowing down business processes and affecting productivity. P2 installed new server ■ SERVICE: Martin Page, hardware and used an director of P2 Technologies updated server system running virtualisation technology which emails, enhanced security consolidates multiple server and improved management roles onto one physical tools. server, lowering physical Craig Wolfenden, IT server hardware costs and manager at Thurston, said: improving server utilisation “We now have a much more and administration. powerful server system and The Lockwood firm also we’re seeing the benefits of moved the email system virtualisation. onto a new platform, giving “Our IT system is more Thurston increased mobile efficient and it has enabled and flexible access to
us to move our applications onto the new virtual servers without having to purchase additional physical servers. Virtualisation is improving server flexibility with less hardware. “Staff can now access the company email system when out of the office.” Martin Page, director of P2 Technologies, said: “Thurston Building Systems now have a scalable server platform in which to deploy server roles without additional physical server costs. “From an IT manager perspective, server maintenance is improved and in a growing business virtualisation allows for rapid deployment of server roles as and when required. “When installing the virtualised server system we worked closely with Craig to ensure the switch over went smoothly, backed with our ongoing support.”
Agents named for new development PROPERTY agencies DTZ and BNP Paribas Real Estate have been appointed joint letting agents for BAM’s Leeds city centre development Latitude Blue. The building, sited at Whitehall Road, will offer
115,000sq ft of grade A space across seven storeys. When completed, the scheme will represent one of the greenest office developments in the city, with a BREEAM rating of excellent. Detailed planning consent
has been granted and construction will begin following agreement with a prospective occupier. Latitude Blue is the second part of BAM’s Latitude development, which also includes Latitude Red.
Calder Trading Estate, Lower Quarry Road, Huddersfield, HD5 0RR
1 Modern workshop unit with vehicle inspection pit 1 Self contained secure yard area 1 Located off busy A62 Leeds Huddersﬁeld Trunk Road 1 Close to J25 of M62 motorway Rent: £8,000 per annum exclusive
Attractive Office Suites
Buckden Mount, 8 Thornhill Road, Huddersfield, HD3 3AU
1 Recently refurbished 1 Ample on-site car parking 1 162 & 383m2 (1,742 & 4,126 sq ft) 1 Ease of access to Hudds Town Centre and J24 of M62 £10 per sq ft per annum exclusive
Pine Street, Huddersfield, HD1 1SS
1 Workshop/storage unit 1 473.64m2 (5,098 sq ft) 1 Edge of town centre location 1 Ease of access to A62 Leeds Road Corridor Rent: £15,000 per annum exclusive
First Floor Offices
Spen Valley House, Bradford Road, Cleckheaton, BD19 5LT
1 Prominent ﬁrst ﬂoor ofﬁces 1 Ease of access to J26 of M62 1 41.7 – 83.40m2 (449 – 898 sq ft) Rent: £11 per sq ft per annum exclusive
Prestigious High Spec Office Suite
Unit 1 Cartwright Court, Bradley Business Park, Huddersfield, HD2 1GN 1 Ofﬁce units available from 1 Units from 1,009 sq ft 1 Established business park location 1 Ease of access to J24 & J25 of M62 Rent: £15 per sq ft per annum exclusive
Modern Workshop Unit
Unit B, Brockholes Business Park, Rock Mill Road, Huddersfield, HD9 7BN 1 307m2 (3,308 sq ft) 1 Prominent location 1 Frontage to the A616 New Mill Road Rent: £5.25 per sq ft per annum exclusive
262 Huddersfield Road, Holmﬁrth, HD9 3JQ 1 Available as a whole or in part 1 Units from 400 – 14,000 sq ft 1 Prominent roadside frontage 1 Extensive car parking Rent: On Application
Character Town Centre Offices
10 New North Parade, Huddersfield, HD1 5JP
1 Attractive character town centre ofﬁces 1 66.1m2 (712 sq ft) 1 Newly refurbished Rent: On Application
Prominent Town Centre Office 8 Victoria Road, Elland
1 102.49m2 (1,103 sq ft) 1 100% Business Rates Relief current year 1 Private Car Parking Rental: £6,000 pax
KIRKLEES BUSINESS NEWS
Movers and shakers
It’s time to play follow the leader Jamie Westwood
Handelsbanken JAMIE Westwood, 41, has been appointed corporate manager for Handelsbanken in Huddersfield. Mr Westwood (pictured) joins the team at the Pennine Business Park, Bradley, with 26 years experience in banking. Most recently, he was a commercial manager for five years with RBS in Huddersfield. Tony Jones, branch manager for Handelsbanken in Huddersfield, said: “Jamie has been recruited to support our continued growth in working with business in the local area. I am delighted to have him in the team.” Said Mr Westwood: “I am really pleased to be working in Huddersfield against and look forward to the new opportunities that working for Handelsbanken presents.”
SEVEN childcare practitioners from a local group providing day care have been highlighted as potential leaders. The seven, who work for Portland Nurseries in Huddersfield, have received the Institute of Leadership Management (ILM) Level 3 Certificate in Leadership. The certificates were presented at a ceremony held at Oakwood House Nursery in Edgerton. The recipients are based at Oakwood House or at the group’s other sites at Portland House and Harlequin Nursery. Receiving certificates were Lisa Goddard, Sarah Woodward, Emma Wright, Pam Burrell, Natalie Clifford, Nicola Sykes and Sarah Pogson. Portland Nurseries worked closely with Allied Business Solutions to tailor-make a qualification that focused on the
skills needed to be an effective team leader. The project was part-funded by the European Social Fund. Rosemary Murphy, owner of Portland Nurseries, said: “We recognise that it is only through developing a highly skilled workforce that we will be able to provide high quality childcare. “It is a big step for someone to move from being part of a team to actually leading it and this training has allowed these practitioners to develop the skills and qualities needed to become our future leaders. “We are a growing company with four nurseries, Harlequin, Holly Bank, Oakwood House Nursery and Forest School and Portland House Nursery and Out of School Club. “We now employ 76 staff. Training is the key to our success.”
■ LEADERSHIP MATERIAL: Pictured with their certificates are award-winners (from left) Lisa Goddard, Emma Wright, Sarah Woodward, Natalie Clifford, Nichola Archer and Pam Burrell. Sarah Pogson was unavailable for the photocall
Good idea to take notes
the stars of your community
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■ TALK TIME: Attik’s James Sommerville (left), and Richard Sharp, of The SHARP Agency, are among speakers at the Media Centre next week SOME of the biggest names in design and marketing will meet in Huddersfield for a major event. James Sommerville, co-founder of internationally-acclaimed design agency Attik is among the speakers at #NoteToSelf, which will be held at 7pm on Thursday, May 19, at the Media Centre in Northumberland Street. Attik was founded in Huddersfield before expanding to set up offices in London and in San Francisco and Santa Monica in the USA. The event, which is open to creative professionals and undergraduates, will also hear talks from Richard Sharp, co-founder of The SHARP Agency; Ben Holden, creative director of Manchester-based web design and development company
Cahoona and Huddersfield-based illustrator Jeffrey Bowman. The event has been organised by former Huddersfield students David Moore and Chris Roberts, who said they were inspired by attending creative seminars and events while freelancing in Manchester. Said David: “When I was a student at Huddersfield University, I would have loved the chance to find out what inspired and influenced someone like James Sommerville or Richard Sharp – but we didn't have any events where we could go and listen to people in the creative industry.” For more information about #NoteToSelf visit www.notetoselfcreativeconsortium.com
Employment issues to the fore EMPLOYMENT legislation comes into sharper focus at a seminar this week. Chapel Hill-based recruitment agency Stafflex has joined forces with Huddersfield law firm Eaton Smith to stage the event from 7.45am on Thursday at Eaton Smith’s High Street offices. The first hour will provide an update on important new employment legislation for 2011 with particular focus on the Agency Workers Directive, which comes into force in October, 2011. It will also look at key learning points from recent employment cases and proposed changes to the employment tribunal system. The second part of the event will focus on internet misuse and what employers should include when formulating an internet policy in light of social networking sites such as Facebook and employees airing their views in a near-public forum. Contact Maggie Netherwood, business development manager at Stafflex on 01484 351010.
Focus turns to management MANAGING people is the topic for two seminars to be held by the Kirklees Better Health at Work team. The team has joined forces with Sheffield Hallam University to stage the events on June 9 and 10 and on June 30 and July 1 at the Textile Centre of Excellence, Red Doles Lane, Huddersfield. Contact Ros Sweet on 01484 416777.