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SBT

FEBRUARY 2017 ISSUE 409

SUSSEX BUSINESS TIMES

BACK TO THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS

SBT RESPONDS TO SOME OUTLANDISH CLAIMS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION

A STRIKE TO THE HEART OF SUSSEX THE RMT VERSUS SOUTHERN RAIL DISPUTE DISRUPTED THE LIVES OF COMMUTERS. SBT LOOKS AT THE FACTS AND SPEAKS TO THOSE WHO WERE AFFECTED MOST

MCPHERSONS CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

ACCOUNTING FOR CHANGE

THE WORLD IS GOING DIGITAL, AND TAX IS GOING WITH IT. MCPHERSONS CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS EXPLAIN MORE ABOUT DIGITAL TAX AND THE IMPACT THAT THIS COULD HAVE ON YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS SERVING THE SUSSEX BUSINESS COMMUNITY SINCE 1975

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SBTWelcome MEET THE TEAM

Lee Mansfield, Managing Director/ Publisher

Clare Fermor, Operations Director

Jess Saunders, Editor

Mike Deedigan, Sales

Geoff Diamond, Sales

Amy Watson, Production Manager

Jenny Ardagh, Editor

Elliott Mansfield, Sales

CONTRIBUTORS

Jim McCall, Managing Director, The Unit

Penny Cogher, Partner, Irwin Mitchell

Jeremy Wootton, Commercial Property Team, Bennett Grffin Solicitors

Michael Ogilvie, Business Advisor and Accountant, OBC The Accountants

2017 has already proved an interesting one, politically, economically and commercially. Train strikes have disrupted lives and businesses, trailing on from their 2016 roots. Donald Trump has stepped into his position as President, and triggered numerous protests and outcries of rage already. There are questions over Trident’s efficacy, and there are many more questions over the never-ending confusion that is Brexit. It’s a scary world we live in. On the plus side, we’ve got a great issue for you. This year we have got a number of exciting partnerships, including Network My Club, West Sussex Expo, and BFS; all included in this issue. Plus we overview the biggest events, including the Entrepreneurial Spark Awards, the most relevant news and interesting stories. One of our main stories this month is regarding the SouthernRMT industrial strike action, looking at the effect it had on local business people and discussing how we can prevent this happening again. Equally, we look deep into the future and the prevalence of AI – will AI disrupt the legal sector as a recent online article has claimed? We speak to legal professionals, who share their opinions. Our health and wellbeing section focuses on keeping employees healthy at work, physically and mentally, whilst our finance section covers the impact of Brexit on tax. Elsewhere, we have our usual lunch and hotel reviews – this month, Jenny Ardagh reviews The George in Rye – plus find news from Gatwick and Crawley Chamber of Commerce, motoring reviews and news, and our Made in Sussex, Vanuse.

Enjoy your read! Jenny Ardagh, Editor.

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SBTContents

Issue 409

SBT

FEBRUARY 2017 ISSUE 409

FREE

SUSSEX BUSINESS TIMES

BACK TO THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS

SBT RESPONDS TO SOME OUTLANDISH CLAIMS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION

A STRIKE TO THE HEART OF SUSSEX THE RMT VERSUS SOUTHERN RAIL DISPUTE DISRUPTED THE LIVES OF COMMUTERS. SBT LOOKS AT THE FACTS AND SPEAKS TO THOSE WHO WERE AFFECTED MOST

MCPHERSONS CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS

ACCOUNTING FOR CHANGE

THE WORLD IS GOING DIGITAL, AND TAX IS GOING WITH IT. MCPHERSONS CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS EXPLAIN MORE ABOUT DIGITAL TAX AND THE IMPACT THAT THIS COULD HAVE ON YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS SERVING THE SUSSEX BUSINESS COMMUNITY SINCE 1975

Cover: McPhersons Chartered Accountants www.mcphersons.co.uk

Managing Director/Publisher: Lee Mansfield lee@lifemediagroup.co.uk 01323 819 007 Operations Director: Clare Fermor clare@lifemediagroup.co.uk 01323 819 007 Sales: Mike Deedigan mike@lifemediagroup.co.uk 01323 819 007 Elliott Mansfield elliott@lifemediagroup.co.uk 01323 819 012 Geoff Diamond geoff@lifemediagroup.co.uk 01323 819 013 Editorial: Jenny Ardagh jenny@lifemediagroup.co.uk 01323 819 011 Jess Saunders jess@lifemediagroup.co.uk 01323 819019 Production Manager: Amy Watson amy@lifemediagroup.co.uk 01323 819 018 Subscriptions: Linda Grace linda@lifemediagroup.co.uk 01323 819 015 Accounts: Anne Greenwood anne@lifemediagroup.co.uk 01323 819 007 Published by Life Media Group, Unit1, Swan Barn Business Centre, Swan Barn Road, Hailsham, BN27 2BY Printed by Gemini Print A1, Dolphin Way, Shoreham-by-Sea, BN43 6NZ 01273 464884 www.gemini-print.co.uk

All material in this publication is strictly copyright and all rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. The views expressed in Sussex Business Times Magazine do not necessarily represent the view of Life Media Group LTD. Every care is taken in compiling the contents but the publishers of Sussex Business Times Magazine assume no responsibility for any damage, loss or injury arising from the participation in any offers, competitions or advertisement contained within Sussex Business Times Magazine. All prices featured in Sussex Business Times Magazine are correct at the time of going to press. Copyright Life Media Group LTD 2017 ©

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News

View the latest local and national business headlines.

Spending it

Stuck for ideas of what to give that special person in your life come 6 March? Here are SBT’’s top Mother’s Day gift ideas she’s sure to love.

Money Matters: Be Prepared For A Hard Brexit!

After months of waiting, Theresa May’s speech on 17 January gave us our first real insight into the Government’s plan for the UK’s exit from the EU.

Media Partnership

SBT is pleased to announce a new media partnership for 2017, with Network My Club.

Back to the Future of Business

SBT responds to some outlandish claims about the future of the legal profession, stating that by 2020 90% of lawyers will be obsolete.

Railway Strikes

The RMT versus Southern Rail (a Govia company) dispute through the majority of 2016 and into 2017 disrupted the lives of commuters. Jenny Ardagh looks at the facts and speaks to those who were affected most.

Cover Feature: Accounting for change

The world is going digital, and tax is going with it. McPhersons Chartered Accountants explain more about digital tax and the impact that this could have on you and your business.

Education: Apprenticeship Levy

Following on from last months look at the advantages of the Apprenticeship Levy. This month, SBT takes a look at the negative effects the Levy will have on smaller council schools.

Tried and Tested in Sussex

SBT enjoyed an over-night stay at The George In Rye, and took to Lewes for lunch at Le Magasin.

Chamber News

Sussex Business Times has partnered up with The Crawley and Gatwick Chamber this month to bring you all the latest news.

Motoring

SBT test drives three new cars; Infiniti QX30, the Suzuki Swift and Suzuki Baleno.

Ask the Experts

Local Sussex business experts advise on relevant issues.

Made in Sussex

This month’s home-grown hero is Vanuse.


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The Cloud Accounting Specialists Helping businesses prepare for digital accounting

Call us on 01424 730000 to arrange your free meeting or email info@mcphersons.co.uk 42 www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk

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www.mcphersons.co.uk


SBTLocal News Top Deloitte Business Award for Shorehambased Me Learning

Local online training expert, Me Learning, has been announced as one of the fastest growing technology companies in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA 2016. Featuring rising technology companies across the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions, these figures reveal Me Learning took the credible 360th position. Rankings for this international award are based on percentage growth over a four-year period. Me Learning’s growth tripled in this period and grew at a staggering 322%, launching them into the top 500 for such a wide region. “Since starting the company in 2005 we have seen steady growth as our breadth of courses develop and our customer base grows and grows. To be considered and even included in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA 2016 is testament to the consistently high quality of work our team produces,” said Co-Founder of Me Learning, Nick Richards. He continued: “We were delighted to be included in 2015 but to reach 360th in such a wide global region for 2016 is fantastic news – lets see if we can be even better placed next year!”

Prime Minister Supports Rockinghorse Sussex-based children’s charity, Rockinghorse has received a letter of best wishes from The Prime Minister, Theresa May for their Golden Jubilee year. The charity is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, having been founded by the late Dr Travor Mann back in 1967. In an amazing boost as the start of their Golden Jubilee, Rockinghorse received the letter of congratulations from 10 Downing Street following a 50th year launch event back in October 2016. Chief Executive of Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, Ryan Heal said: “We

are overwhelmed to receive such a wonderful letter of support from The Prime Minister herself, Theresa May. It is such an honour for the charity to be recognised in this way at such a prominent time in its history.” You can support Rockinghorse and ensure children’s services across Sussex are the best they possibly can be. To find out more about the charity’s 50th year projects and how to get involved, visit rockinghorse. org.uk

Caroline Ansell Supports Rail Ombudsman Bill Eastbourne and Willingdon MP, Caroline Ansell has thrown her support behind a Parliamentary Bill to set up national Rail Ombudsman, to scrutinise performance and complaints and represent the interests of passengers. It would also be able to fine train operating companies for poor service, late running and cancellation of trains. “This bill will go some way to address the enormous problems passengers have in getting a fair deal from train operators

when services to not come up to scratch,” said Caroline. She continued: “The Southern Rail fiasco has sadly shown how the system for pursuing complaints and getting a refund for shoddy services is simply not fit for purpose, needs radical overhaul and must be more effective. “But the issue of poor rail services is not confined just to our part of the world, so a national ombudsman seems like a positive step forward to raise standards and allow better and timely compensation for passengers when the service is poor.”

Rix & Kay Appoints New Partner to Drive Residential Property Services in Brighton & Hove Regional law firm, Rix & Kay has announced the appointment of Angela Arnold, influential residential property team based in Brighton & Hove. Angela has been promoted from Associate to Partner and has recently joined Rix & Kay’s Leadership Development Programme that supports and develops the very best talent from within the organisation by enhancing legal expertise, client care and service delivery. Angela has more than 10 years experience in residential property and manages the entire range of property

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sales and purchases with particular expertise in supporting medium and high net worth individuals, property investors and divorced or separated couples who need to manage property assets efficiently and quickly. Angela Arnold commented: “The opportunity to lead Rix & Kay’s residential property team in Brighton & Hove and establish the firm as one of the premier law firm’s choice for individuals and businesses looking to buy and sell property was too good to turn down.”


SBTLocal News Award-Winning Digital Agency, The Unit Celebrates 10 Years of Brighton Business Award-winning digital agency, The Unit is celebrating ten years in business, crediting Brighton’s rich creative scene and great local clients as significant factors in their success to date. The Unit started life on the fifth floor of New England House, a vibrant supportive environment for startups and small businesses for whom affordable office space is a priority. By 2011 The Unit had made a name for itself, creating award-winning customercentred websites and the client-base and workforce were growing. Managing Director, Jim McCall, who founded The Unit back in 2006, said: “Recruiting the right people with the right skills

was critical and Brighton provides a rich source. Even though what we do involves a lot of technology, it’s the people that make the business at the end of the day.” He concluded: “There’s nowhere else in the UK quite like Brighton for creative talent and digital innovation. It’s in a league of its own.”

Brighton’s New Bike Share Scheme on Track for Summer Brighton & Hove City Council has awarded a three-year contract to run the city’s new bike share scheme to UK owned operator, Hourbike, who also operate sharing schemes in other cities including Liverpool, Oxford and Reading. The company will be responsible for managing and maintaining the service. The scheme will offer a range of tariffs to suit both regular and occasional users. Hire costs will start from £2 per trip or £8 per day with users having the option to pay as they go on a 3p per minute tariff or purchase an annual membership at £72, which includes 30 minutes free use every day. Managing Director of Hourbike, Tim Caswell said: “We’re thrilled to have been selected to deliver a new bike sharing

scheme for Brighton & Hove. We know the number of people travelling around the city by bike is increasing so we’re looking forward to helping build on this with an additional cost-effective travel option.” For more information about the scheme, visit www.brighton-hove. gov.uk

Sussex Solicitors Top Ranked in UK Legal Accreditation Chambers 2017

Mayo Wynne Baxter, one of the largest law firms in the region employing over 230 lawyers and support staff across nine offices in Sussex, has announced that a number of their solicitors have been top ranked in Chambers 2017. Mayo Wynne Baxter’s departments ranked highly in Chambers include Agriculture & Rural Affairs, Clinical Negligence and Family/Matrimonial, while individuals within the firm ranked include Melanie Minter – Head of Department for Clinical Negligence, Helen Bell – Head of Department for Litigation, Karim Mohamed – Head of Department Professional Negligence, Simon Bailie-Hamilton – Head of Department for Rural Business and Property, and Lee Hills, Travel: International Personal Injury. Chris Randall, Chief Executive of Mayo Wynne Baxter said: “It’s an honour to have a number of our solicitors ranked highly in Chambers. The reputation of Chambers is one that we strive to continue being a part of and hope to see more and more names associated with our firm on their rankings in the future.”

Locate East Sussex Welcomes Rural Business Funding Confirmation Locate East Sussex is encouraging rural businesses in Wealden and Rother to apply for LEADER funding. As the funding stream comes via the EU, there were concerns that it may be stopped after the referendum result. However, reassurance has now been given that businesses and communities in the rural areas of Wealden and Rother will be able to apply until September next year – and possibly longer. LEADER funding is available to a

range of rural businesses, including farmers, environmental organisations and community providers, as well as voluntary and charitable organisations. Director of Locate East Sussex, Philip Johnson said: “We welcome the news that this funding, which is worth around £1.5 million, will remain in place for at least another 20 months and encourage rural businesses to apply.” For more information about LEADER,

please contact Don Cranfield, Programme Manager for Wealden and Rother Rural Partnership at Plumpton College on 01273 892031 or email leader@plumpton.ac.uk.

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SBTNational News Less than Half of UK Adults have Money in a Savings Account

Zurich has conducted research into the saving habits of UK adults. This study examines money habits and identifies the nation’s savings gap by combining research from YouGov of over 2,000 adults across the country with a unique, industry-leading behavioural experiment from neuroscience specialists, Mindlab. This tested a further 900 participants to measure the effect of emotions on saving. Just 47% of UK adults have money in a savings account, according to research conducted by Zurich UK, while one in six (17%) have no savings or investments at all. Additionally, 26% of those yet to retire don’t have either a private or workplace pension, and 8% of UK adults aged 65 and under who are not actively saving for the future believe that the state pension will provide them with enough to live on. Zurich encourages that, to secure enough money to live comfortably in retirement, you should be saving approximately half your age as a percentage of your salary. For example, a 20-year-old should be saving 10% of their income.

BT Launches Service to Block Shopping OnNew Mobile To Top £53bn Nuisance By 2024 Calls BT recorded more than 30 million nuisance calls in a single week during the run up to Christmas. The company, which supplies 40% of the landlines in the UK, said more than 12 million of these calls were about accident claims, and these figures were collected over seven days between 13th and 19th December. Now, BT is launching a new service for its customers which it says could block up to 30 million nuisance calls per week; BT Call Protect. This system will analyse call data to identify rogue numbers and highlight numbers that make a large amount of calls, all

of which will be diverted to a junk voicemail box. The system will continue to block such callers even if they change their number – a tactic commonly used by spammers. Customers will also be able to identify other nuisance callers by dialing in the code ‘1572’ after receiving a call.

Number of First-Time UK House Buyers Hits Nine-Year High The number of first-time home buyers in the UK has risen to its highest level since the start of the financial crisis in 2016, despite the average cost of a first home exceeding the £200,000 mark for the first time ever. Halifax recently published a report that shows that 7.3% more buyers entered the market last year, taking the figure up to 335,750 – its highest level since 2007. This report also shows that the average deposit that first-time home buyers pay has doubled since 2007 hitting more than £32,000. Halifax’s report shows that the average price paid for a first home in the UK was £205,170 in 2016 and nearly double that

in London, at £403,690 – a historical high – with the average deposit in the capital city clocking in at £100,445. Also according to this report, Northern Ireland was the cheapest region, at £115,269 with an average deposit of just £16,695.

Fathers Struggling with Work-Life Balance A recent study has found that nearly half of working fathers would like a less stressful job so they can spend more time caring for their children, while almost a third would take a pay cut to achieve a better work-life balance, claims the charity, Working Families. According to the Modern Families Index report, out of the 2,750 parents surveyed, one third of fathers said they regularly felt “burnt out”, and one in five claimed they were working extra hours. “For many fathers the workplace is unsupportive of their aspirations for a

better work-life fit. It runs the risk of creating a ‘fatherhood penalty’, where fathers are willing to follow a career that is below their skill set and reduce their earnings,” said Chief Executive of the Working Families, Sarah Jackson. She continued: “To prevent a ‘fatherhood penalty’ emerging in the UK and to help tackle the motherhood penalty, employers need to ensure that work is designed in a way that helps women and men find a good worklife fit.”

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Spending It

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Stuck for ideas of what to give that special person in your life come 6 March?

Here are SBT’’s top Mother’s Day gift ideas she’s sure to love

Hot air balloon ride over Rome Lift off into the skies on a 1-hour hot air balloon ride over Lazio’s rolling countryside near Rome. Rise early and prepare for takeoff from the village of Magliano Sabina. Experience the tranquil feeling of floating through the morning air. Gaze down at the scenic landscapes below and glide over verdant vineyards, gently sloping hills and majestic castles. Toast the experience with a celebratory glass of sparkling wine upon landing. From £253. www.musement.com

Gift cards for Afternoon Tea for Two An Afternoon Tea with cakes and sandwiches, chocolate truffles and matcha ice cream, to be enjoyed with 4 Piacha teas of choice. £34.80. www.piacha.co.uk

Bleeding Hart Mist The Bleeding Hart Mist can be used as a hydrating face and body mist as well as a pillow spray for sleep and relaxation. Its delicate, rosy, fresh, uplifting scent has a purifying effect. The combination of ingredients helps to re-energise and calm the nervous system, diminishing the effects of stress, fear and anxiety. £29. www.thehartspa.com

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Grand Gourmet Tour at Bolney Wine Estate: A comprehensive tour of the vineyard and winery, a tutored tasting of five of their award winning wines and a charcuterie style lunch (allow up to 3½ hours) £42.50 per person. www.bolneywineestate.com


Spending It

Linen Fringe Throw Perfect for throwing over a sofa or on a bed for cooler nights. It is a stylish accent for a bedroom, living room or outdoors in the garden. Shown here in Charcoal. Available in Pale Grey and Chalk and Charcoal Brown. £110. www.thelinenworks.co.uk

Cloth & Clay Strata Hiyan Cushion 30 x 45cm - £50 & Cloth & Clay Illusion Ideon Cushion 30 x 45cm - £40 Treat Mum to something different this Mother’s Day, with these striking cushions from premium bedding brand, Cloth & Clay. www.clothnclay

Large Aspen Leaf Gold Pendant and Gold Chain Each leaf is preserved, dipped in precious metal and attached to a delicate chain, making a thoughtful, creative gift. Availabe in oak, maple or aspen design and in a choice of sterling silver and gold. £85. www.nhmshop.co.uk

Melusina Round Vase in Tourmaline The Voyage Melusina Globe Vase offers endless creative possibilities. This beautifully presented vase will showcase a domed canopy of blooms, floated or immersed flower heads or even non-floral embellishments. £61. www.voyagemaison.co.uk

Jasmine, Lemongrass & Ginger Candle The invigorating fragrance opens with oriental lemongrass and ginger, balanced with an element of citrus and spice alongside the floral scent of jasmine and ruffled rose petals. This unique candle is set in gold lined glass to create a mesmerising hue and relaxing glow. £25. www.saramiller.london

Olivia Burton Ladies’ The Dandy Chalk New for 2017, Keep it simple with this stylish Midi Dial watch. Featuring a Rose Gold case and a clean White Dial, this versatile timepiece features a Chalk Blue leather strap which will add a pop of pastel colour to any outfit. £75. WatchShop.com

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Be Prepared For A Hard Brexit!

The ongoing political and economic debate has mostly been Finance about immigration and whether the UK would need to retain the right of freedom of movement of people as part of any deal on the Single Market. The prime minister has now indicated that the UK will not retain the “Four Freedoms”, most notably in respect of the movement of people. She has also reiterated Philip Hammond’s threat that if the EU failed to offer a good deal, the UK could move to become a low-tax regime, talking tough before negotiations have even begun! This approach is expected to have a major impact on the likely trade model that can ultimately be adopted and consequently the tax impact for local businesses engaged in international trade across both the EU and the rest of the world “ROW”. Trading in the new post-Brexit world As part of the EU Member States’ customs union, the UK currently has access to free movement of goods

Theresa May, Prime Minister - Creative Commons - UK Home Office

After months of waiting, Theresa May’s speech on 17 January gave us our first real insight into the Government’s plan for the UK’s exit from the EU; 4 key principles and 12 specific goals. Hugh Doherty, Indirect Tax Senior Manager at Grant Thornton, explores what this could all mean and some of the key things that businesses should be thinking about now in relation to their indirect tax position

and services plus access to Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) negotiated at EU level with countries outside of the EU. Leaving the EU will be the most significant change to UK trading

arrangements and the indirect tax regime for decades. When the UK leaves the EU, goods that cross the border will potentially be subject to customs duty and VAT would, in principle, be payable. As the UK government is unlikely to accept the free movement of people adopting a model similar to the Norwegian (EEA) or Swiss (EFTA) models which allow free access to the single market (subject to one or two administrative hurdles) appears to be out of the question. This would require the EU to give extraordinary concessions to the UK without much in return. The UK may be able to negotiate its own comprehensive trade deal with the EU, with the UK only retaining elements of customs union membership, we may end up in a similar position to Turkey, which, whilst not a member of the EU, is part of a customs union agreement with the EU for industrial goods only. As such there may not be a requirement to pay import duty on certain goods imported from other EU member states if an agreement can be reached. Alternatively, we may adopt a bilateral trade arrangement similar to that operated by Canada, which

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Money Matters

will leave the UK outside of the customs union altogether. This will require us to negotiate a new free trade agreement with the EU on a product by product basis. Where no agreement can be reached, the default World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules will apply. In other words, the applicable customs duty rates would be per the WTO with no preferential agreements. Theresa May stated in her speech that she would rather have no Brexit deal than accept a bad Brexit deal. Such an eventuality is, unfortunately, not outside the realms of possibility. Whatever the final result, by leaving the EU, it seems highly likely that, by 2019, there will be at least some form of customs border between the UK and the EU, leading to businesses having to complete import and export declarations for goods crossing our borders and to an increased cost of compliance. Whether any reliefs will be available will be determined by the final model adopted, which now appears wholly dependent upon how receptive the EU is to allowing the free movement of goods, without the free movement of people.

Impact on European case law and administrative reliefs On the day the UK has formally broken away from the EU, the Prime Minister also confirmed the laws in the UK will be the same as they were the day before. This will likely mean that the UK courts may still be required to take account of decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Nevertheless, businesses should consider what indirect tax EU simplifications/reliefs they currently benefit from and which are expected to change or be lost under Brexit.

“Businesses will need to consider their strategic options, including the potential VAT and customs consequences”

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Most notably: • EU VAT simplifications – MOSS (Mini One Stop Shop), triangulation, distance sales • EC Eighth Directive reclaims for foreign VAT • Place of supply - Use and Enjoyment • Input VAT recovery – Partial Exemption Some of the above will impact specific industries (for example, suppliers of electronically supplied services would be impacted by a loss of the MOSS scheme) whereas the others will be relevant to

businesses across a range of sectors (for example, the refund of foreign VAT under the EC Eighth directive). At least there will no longer be an obligation to complete EC Sales Lists or Intrastat declarations! So what should businesses do now? Whilst the effect of Brexit is not yet entirely clear, what is certain is that the UK’s exit from the EU will bring about significant change. Businesses will need to consider their strategic options, including the potential VAT and customs consequences. Businesses should take appropriate measures to mitigate any possible tax leakage. Specifically, for businesses that primarily trade in goods, the likely creation of a customs border between the UK and elsewhere will result in a change to the import/export process and possibly a significant increase in customs duty and VAT costs. This may have a profound impact on many supply chains and these should be reviewed now to ensure that they are robust enough to survive in the new economic and fiscal landscape. Hugh Doherty, Indirect Tax Senior Manager, Grant Thornton www.grantthornton.co.uk


Investing in the Future Stephen Hollamby of law firm Bennett Griffin explains how moving into 21st century offices allows them to work smarter whilst still providing the best possible service and client advice

Expanding law firm, Bennett Griffin has relocated to modern Advertorial new offices in the centre of Worthing at 1 Liverpool Gardens. The move sees the firm investing in its future with improved facilities that better meet the needs of its growing client base whilst also seeking to attract the best lawyers to its talented team. The firm had been a fixture on Warwick Street since the 1930s but, put simply, it had outgrown its pre-war offices and needed smart, new premises to meet the 21st century needs of its clients. Its bright new open plan offices, spacious client suite and generous meeting spaces have all been carefully designed to be both comfortable and functional. Stephen Hollamby, Managing Partner of Bennett Griffin said: “It was exciting to design a new office from scratch, to begin

with a blank sheet of paper and think ‘what do we need?’ Here was an opportunity to look at how we could design our surroundings, to reconsider the way that we work and to make the improvements that might have been inconceivable in our old offices. “By simply reconfiguring where teams sit, so that they’re no longer tucked away in separate offices, we’ve been able to join our Property and Business Law teams together. This has enhanced our ability to provide cohesive advice quickly and efficiently. “Building a long term relationship with our business clients is important; it means that we can really get to know our clients’ businesses and can proactively anticipate their legal needs, ultimately saving them time and money. I see our new facilities helping us with this process by opening up new opportunities, such as seminars and information days, which will provide our business clients with additional support.

“Our new offices are light and welcoming; the layout and the furnishings now feel like a modern law firm. Importantly we now have the space to grow our talented team to support our expanding business for the benefit of the people and businesses of Worthing and the surrounding areas. This has been a massive project but I feel that we’re investing in the future. “It’s been a little sad to leave our Warwick Street offices after all those years, however we are remaining in the heart of Worthing. This is an energising change for Bennett Griffin whilst holding firmly to our core values of providing the best possible service and advice to our clients. “Those values, along with our care and commitment to our clients, are the cornerstone of everything we do. I see our new offices as a tool that will assist our teams in continuing to provide an outstanding service into the future, so that we can build on our reputation, both locally and further afield.” The Bennett Griffin Residential and Commercial Property, Family, Personal Injury and Dispute Resolution teams have made the move to 1 Liverpool Gardens, Worthing. All phone numbers and email addresses have remained the same. Bennett Griffin will continue to provide its Wills, Trusts and Probate and Care, Capacity and Court of Protection services from its Ferring office at 11 Sea Lane.

www.bennettgriffin.co.uk | 01903 229999

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Money Matters

Network My Club

SBT is pleased to announce a new media partnership for 2017, with Network My Club. We caught up with the Founder of Network My Club, Bradley Hatchett to tell readers more about its networking groups and business growth opportunities across Sussex and further afield

Founder of Network My Club, Bradley Hatchett

Network My Club set up and manage Media business networking Partnership groups, in partnership with professional sports clubs and venues. Set up in 2015 by Bradley Hatchett, Network My Club is now partnered with Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club, Fontwell Park Racecourse and Portsmouth Football Club along the South coast, as well as recently announcing a new partnership with Surrey County Cricket Club in London. We caught up with Bradley following a recent Media Partnership between Sussex Business Times and Network My Club, which will see the magazine regularly feature their Network Albion Business Club and Network Fontwell Business Club. Network My Club is a relatively new business and one that seems to be growing exponentially. Can you tell us

a little about the turn of events that led you to set the company up? I was fortunate enough to spend three years working in the commercial department for Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium, where one of my roles was to run the football club’s business networking group, then known as Friends of the Albion. It was a very valuable platform for both the club and local businesses to engage with one another, so the idea materialised to replicate that model to provide other professional sports clubs with a similar opportunity, whilst giving businesses unique and exciting networking opportunities at these venues. It’s been an exhilarating journey so far, having first partnered with Portsmouth Football Club in July 2015, we’re now running four business clubs across the South and in London, with over 150 companies part of the network as members. What are your aspirations for

To get in touch with Network My Club call 01903 898025

16 www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk


What are the USPs that come with Network My Club membership? I’ve always said what we do isn’t reinventing the wheel, in terms of networking. However, through our partnerships and relationships with each club/venue, we are able to work with them to provide members with unique benefits. Each business club package is tailored slightly differently, for example, with the Network Albion Business Club at Brighton & Hove Albion FC, one member benefit is that companies are listed in the match programme, of which over 9,000 copies are sold each game at the Amex. On the other hand, with the Network Fontwell Business Club at Fontwell Park Racecourse, members can choose tickets to race days of their choice and get use of a hospitality box for external meeting and event space. This is all on top of the regular monthly networking that takes place at each business club, which is included as part of the company membership. We also coincide some of our monthly networking meetings with the sporting events too. At Fontwell Park, a number of our networking events throughout the year take place on the afternoon of a race

Founder of Network My Club, Bradley Hatchett

Network My Club’s growth over the coming 12 months? Once we have established our latest group, the Network Oval Business Club at Surrey County Cricket Club, we would like to develop the network further and partner with two or three more clubs by the end of 2017. As well as continually improving our existing business clubs, we are also planning on moving into new office space and increasing the size of our team, to assist with the planned growth.

day, which allow members and guests to enjoy lunch and network across the course of an afternoon as opposed to a couple of hours over breakfast in the morning. This is something we will also do with the Network Oval Business Club at Surrey CCC during the cricket season this summer. Give us your thoughts on the recent Media Partnership with Sussex Business Times? We’re excited to be partnering with SBT, not only to raise awareness of Network My Club and how we can help businesses across Sussex, but to offer our own members with some added exposure and opportunities to use SBT as a vehicle to raise their company profile. Members and guests can also now expect to see copies of SBT at our

monthly business club events at the Amex Stadium and Fontwell Park Racecourse! What opportunities does being part of the Network Albion and/or the Network Fontwell Business Club bring to Sussex businesses? As previously mentioned, although the main benefit is the opportunity to network and meet many businesses at our business clubs, our packages offer a variety of benefits for members to promote and showcase their company. We like to understand what a member is trying to achieve from their membership, and for example, if they are looking to expand in either West or East Sussex, both Network Albion and Network Fontwell reach out to a large number of companies in these regions and can provide members with a platform to grow into new areas, all through Network My Club. With continued growth month on month at both business clubs, as well as across the Network My Club group, we have lots of exciting plans for 2017 and look forward to the fruits of this being seen by our members! Find more about Network My Club at www.networkmyclub.co.uk, or their two business clubs in Sussex at Brighton & Hove Albion FC (www.networkalbion.co.uk) and Fontwell Park Racecourse (www. networkfontwell.co.uk).

or email info@networkmyclub.co.uk

www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk 17


Money Matters

Celebrating Chiclet Success in Brighton SBT attends the Entrepreneurial Spark Awards in Preston Road, Brighton, to celebrate the successes of the newest chiclet intake and future high-flying businesses in Sussex

On the evening of Wednesday 18th January, the Sussex Entrepreneurial Spark Events Hatchery on Preston Road, Brighton, became a hub of celebration, awarding big prizes and giving large praises to the most recent intake of Chiclets who have developed and grown their businesses in the last 6 months. Powered by NatWest, partnered with KPMG, Dell and EMC, Entrepreneurial Spark is the world’s largest free business accelerator for early stage and growing business ventures. It aims to develop entrepreneurs with a #GoDo attitude, mentoring and supporting them to become pitch perfect – quite literally – and confident in how to grow their business. We at SBT have covered a range of Entrepreneurial Spark events, including these awards, before, and the impressiveness of the venture and the individuals working so hard within the hub hasn’t faltered. The latest awards evening was a huge success, more elaborate and exciting than ever before with all guests and Chiclets dressed to the nines in black tie attire.

18 www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk

Hosted at all 12 Entrepreneurial Spark Hatcheries across the UK, including to name a few, Belfast, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Milton Keynes, a huge £280,000 in prize money was given away in one evening to entrepreneurs - £24,000 of that to Brighton-based entrepreneurs.

Awards included: Entrepreneur of the Moment, #GoDoAcceler8 Award, #GoDo Prize and Chiclet Choice Award. First up in Brighton was the #GoDo Award, awarded to the entrepreneurs who take action, seek challenges and make every day count, delivering impressive results using a #GoDo mindset. Nominees included RefSix, Fitta Mammo, Joosr and Shuttle, with the two winners Curtain Call and Hubbub, who were each presented with £3,000 to put towards their businesses. We then had the pleasure of listening to the pitches of 8 of the Chiclets themselves. Businesses included: Billy’s Beach Hut, about her very lovely sounding candles; Simply VAT; Curtain Call, a very impressive and confident pitch about a platform for the theatre industry that emulates IMDB meets LinkedIn; Harlow and Fox; Gamely, the makers of Randomise; GoKid Music, which was refreshingly presented in song form; Trademark Brothers; and Victoria Green Ltd. The overall winners were Curtain Call and Simply VAT, who each received £1,000 for their businesses. Next up, the #GoDo Acceler8 Award recognised the businesses that have made significant progress in the last six months by moving out of their


Entrepreneurial Spark

within their Hatchery: they mentor comfort zones to make the most of others, they take part in events, they every opportunity. £4,000 was up for use networking opportunities to grow grabs for two Chiclets, with nominees their relationships including Bonieri, with other Gamely, Invictus “Brighton alone over businesses and Recruitment, OMG the past 18 months business leaders, Tea, Radar and and they have a Stephie Ann Design. has created over 200 positive outlook The winners were jobs, 260 businesses, on the experience Gamely and Invictus investment of £5 million overall. RefSix Recruitment. and a turnover of £10 won the £1,000 Fiona Anderson, up for grabs for Entrepreneur million through the all these things Development businesses that go - a smartwatch Manager, interjected through the hatchery and mobile the prize giving app developed with a speech that scheme” for referees by encompassed referees. the poignancy of The last prize up for grabs was a the event itself, how well the Chiclets whopping £7,000 for the Entrepreneur had done over the past 6 months, what of the Moment: the main award of the a privilege it had been to be involved evening. Entrepreneur of the Moment over the past 18 months, and how well the hatcheries themselves were doing. Brighton alone over the past 18 months has created over 200 jobs, 260 businesses, investment of £5 million and a turnover of £10 million through the businesses that go through the hatchery scheme. Equally, guest speaker, Christine Taylor, Founder and Creative Director of Choccywoccydoodah gave an inspirational talk on what it means to create and thrive in business. She highlighted how the most important thing in business is people, and how every entrepreneur should be doing what they are passionate about. It was a truly individual speech that captivated the room. The Chiclet Choice Award was one that was nominated by fellow entrepreneurs. It recognised the Chiclet who demonstrated the greatest degree of return and support

is awarded to the entrepreneur that Entrepreneurial Spark believes has built a viable new product or service which has the potential to gain international recognition. They must have shown sheer determination, dedication and an ability for identifying and capitalising on small opportunities that can return big results. For their unending desire to learn, positively disruptive nature and outstanding achievement, Simply VAT was the winner for the evening for creating a successful business worth over £100,000 for making VAT simple. Entrepreneurial Spark CEO, LucyRose Walker said of the event: “I’m absolutely blown away by the quality and drive displayed by the entrepreneurs on this journey. Every award was fully deserved tonight and every entrepreneur winner or not, has grown and taken huge steps to becoming credible, backable and investable.”

www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk 19


Events In Sussex

An SBT Reminder:

Following on from last month’s announcement that Sussex Business Times has partnered with the West Sussex and Brighton Business Expos and ahead of the Fontwell event, we provide you with all the latest event details

West Sussex Business Expo

Partners for West Sussex 20 www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk Expo:

B2Bexpos

WEST SUSSEX BUSINESS EXPO 2017 FLOOR PLAN

FONTWELL PARK RACECOURSE (SET-UP DATE: 21 MAY, LIVE DATE(S): 22 MAY)

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Following on from the success of the Sussex Brighton Business Expo, which took Events place last October, B2B Expos have introduced the West Sussex Business Expo, set to take over Fontwell Park Racecourse on 25th May this year and promising to provide companies a place to do business. The event includes an exhibition hall, a seminar theatre, networking café, a connections wall and many other features that will provide businesses with support, inspiration or advice for starting or growing a business. Whether you’re an existing business looking to flourish, a business in the early stages, or want to explore the possibilities of starting your own business – you will find something of interest at the show. At this free-to-attend business show, businesses will find a hive of creativity and activity from both the seminar programme, featuring highpaced speed networking and inspirational speakers, as well as from a variety of exhibitors showcasing the very best of local and regional businesses. With a successful event comes many willing supporters, and those who have formed a partnership with the West Sussex Expo include the Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce, the Sussex Chamber of Commerce and the Chichester Chamber of Commerce. The West Sussex Expo has also bagged itself charity partners in Rockinghorse Children’s Charity and Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice. “Getting involved in the West Sussex Business Expo provides us with another fantastic opportunity to raise awareness and talk about our very special 50th anniversary this year to a wider Sussex audience,” commented Simon Gregg, Regional Corporate Fundraising Manager

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This floorplan is subject to change at the discretion of the event organisers NOT TO SCALE

at Rockinghorse. He continued: “We are delighted to have been chosen as a charity partner for the event, providing us with a unique opportunity to showcase our work and the fundraising events we are involved with this year.” Chestnut Tree House also stated their excitement. Corporate Fundraising Manager, Terrina Barnes said: “We are so grateful to Mike Monk from West Sussex Business Expo for choosing Chestnut Tree House as one of their charity partners for the second year. It costs over £3.5 million each year to provide all our specialist care services – both at the hospice and out in the community across Sussex – for children with life-shortening illnesses and their families. With less than 7% of this coming from central government, we are almost entirely dependent on the generosity and support of local businesses and individuals. Being the charity partner at West Sussex Business Expo helps us to increase awareness of Chestnut Tree House, reach

© COPYRIGHT MEMO EVENTS LTD 2016

out to more families who could use our services, and raise the vital funds we need. We are looking forward to meeting the exhibitors and visitors at the event.” The day will start at 8:30am with the Network Fontwell Breakfast meeting, run by Network My Club, followed by a Speed Networking Session as well as a Network Café and a Network Wall, where businessmen and women can exchange information with likeminded people. Four keynote speakers will also be in attendance, and we’ll be announcing more information on these speakers in upcoming issues of Sussex Business Times, so keep a look out! To book your free ticket to the West Sussex Business Expo, head to B2Bexpos.co.uk/westsussex or contact Mike Monk directly at mike@monkmarketing.com

Sussex Giving for Sussex Children

1967 - 2017

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31/01/2017 19:51


Fresh Cleaning Services

Fresh Cleaning Services

Uniquely focused on the customer experience, Fresh Cleaning Services Ltd is taking its high quality services to the next level, with expansion plans afoot coming up to their 15th year in trade Fresh Cleaning Services Ltd has been serving the builders Advertorial and commercial community for 13 years. Now entering the run up to its 15th anniversary, the business is expanding. Fresh Cleaning and its team pride themselves not only on the high standard of work that they produce but also on the high levels of communication and organisation that they implement within all projects. Their services include cleaning for both new builds and commercial work, offering 20 fully trained, reliable staff with a range of experience in everything from chemicals, floors, fabric cleaning and bin disposal to carpet cleaning. The dedicated team believe that clients should trust whatever cleaning service they use, and that the service they receive should be at the best standards possible. Dale Stephens, Operations Director at

Some of our clients include:

22 www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk

Fresh Cleaning Services ensures that all of customers are supported with thorough and regular communication. This is what makes Fresh Cleaning different; they are proactive, meeting with each and every customer on a monthly basis to ensure the service is on form. As any business knows, keeping the client happy is a priority, and proactively reaching out to those using the service is hugely beneficial. Dale explained: “If there are any problems – as there inevitably and frequently are in the cleaning environment – myself and my team are able to extinguish them before they become an issue.” The company also prides itself on its longstanding relationships with clients. Managing Director and Founder of Fresh Cleaning Services Ltd, Lee Mansfield commented: “We have a core of clients that have been with us since the beginning and continue to be happy with our service. We are very proud to say that

we have a very loyal customer base, and that reflects the quality of our service.” Fresh has grown organically, and gradually over the years to ensure the best deliver of service. Currently, the business is thriving, taking on more staff in 2016, including Emily Singer, who took the role of Commercial Manager. Emily helps to guarantee that the strict standards of the company are upheld, and that no customer is left unhappy. Darren Sinden, who joined the team in 2014, acts as Business Development Manager, looking after both the commercial and builders’ cleaning services, and ensuring that business keeps growing across the South East. The company has a wide profile of clients, stretching across the region from Southampton across to Dartford, and up to London. The expansion planned for the next two years will be careful and precise, but will be an exciting step for the company.


Fresh Cleaning Services

What do Fresh Cleaning Services customers say?

Managing Director – Lee Mansfield Lee Mansfield founded Fresh Cleaning more than ten years ago as a small enterprise. He has slowly grown the company, ensuring that standards, communication and competitive pricing are at the forefront of the business model. He has a daily input into the management and running of the services and applies strategic thinking to the growth of the business as a whole. Operations Director – Dale Stephens Dale Stephens, Operations Director, worked within national companies prior to joining Fresh Cleaning over ten years ago. These gave him the essential experience and training that he has implemented within Fresh Cleaning’s portfolio. Dale is extremely hard working and nothing is too much trouble: he is on call 24 hours a day for any of our clients and prides himself on being available and at their disposal. He has excellent management skills and controls each project with precision and efficiency. There is no doubt that Dale is key to the Fresh Cleaning business.

Business Development Manager – Darren Sinden Darren Sinden joined Fresh Cleaning Services in 2014. He has had twenty years of experience in the construction industry and has brought a wealth of knowledge in not just the construction industry but also the service industries alike. Commercial Manager - Emily Singer Emily has been the Manager of the commercial cleaning in East Sussex for a year with Fresh. She has 8 years experience in the trade, having her own cleaning business for 6 years. She works closely with the clients and the staff to maintain a very high standard of cleaning. Accounts Manager – Clare Fermor Clare has worked for the business from the start and is in control of all administration and accounts. Her meticulous attention to detail ensures a smooth running and accurate recording.

Christine Munday, The English Wine Centre “We have used Fresh Cleaning and Dale Stephens in particular for the last six years. We have found them to be consistently prompt and reliable in their attendance here, constructive and helpful especially when we have needed their specialist cleaning skills. Dale has a cheerful disposition which makes the Fresh team a pleasure to work with.” Michael Gietzen, Director, Identity Signage & Printing Identity House “Fresh Cleaning have worked for us now for 5 Years. We have found their service to be excellent and the standard of work is of the highest level. The team is extremely responsive and there is no request to large or to small. It is nice to work with a company of this level of knowledge and professionalism. I recommend Fresh Cleaning Service Ltd to any other company/ organisation.” Joe Smith, Managing Director, SM Building & Property Maintenance “We have used Fresh Cleaning Services LTD on many of our building cleans in the last 2 years, we have found them to be reliable and consistent, their standards have always been to the highest level. We have no hesitation in recommending them to other organisations.” Visit www.fresh-clean.co.uk or call 01323 819013 for more information.

www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk 23


Back to the Future of Business SBT responds to some outlandish claims about the future of the legal profession, stating that by 2020 90% of lawyers will be obsolete. We take a look at whether AI really has the capacity to take over the legal sector, gathering opinions from professionals themselves and questioning the future of business as a whole

The future is something we’re all obsessed with, each Focus in our own way. We may be preoccupied with our own futures – where we’re going, what we’re doing, our career path, our relationships – but we’re also intrigued to say the least with the future of society as a whole, in particular when it comes to technology. This may conjure up images of flying cars, time travel, hover boards or migration to another planet entirely, but there are things that are far more real happening that are just as impressive, and in some cases, rather terrifying. The SBT team caught wind of an article that was floating about the internet, written by Robert M. Goldman (MD, PhD, DO, FAASP). All those letters of course instil a confidence akin to wearing a lab coat in a social experiment, but other more cynical minds look more sceptically at lab coats and letters at the end of names. It had some good points, of course: business is changing and society as we know it will have shifted dramatically over to a more science-fiction-esque dynamic. We can

24 www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk

2020 seems far-fetched. Or maybe that’s see this from past developments. For just me. instance, in 1998, Kodak had 170,000 Artificial Intelligence was a big topic employees and sold 85% of all photo within Goldman’s article, and this is a paper worldwide. Within just a few years, topic not only on speculative lips, but their business model disappeared and it’s in the minds of government officials, they went bankrupt. This article made the including the Prime Minister, Theresa point that what happened to Kodak will May. On 22nd January, she announced happen in a lot of industries in the next the government’s modern Industrial 10 years due to a shift in technology and Strategy, fit for job roles. With all or most Global Britain. This new technologies, they included 10 strategic suffer disappointment pillars, which and glitches for a long were: investing in time, before they become science, research superior and mainstream, and innovation; often so gradually that developing we don’t even notice. skills; upgrading Now, some – including infrastructure; Dr Goldman – say we supporting are heading into the 4th - Dr Goldman businesses to start Industrial Revolution, the and grow; improving Exponential Age, where procurement; encouraging trade and Artificial Intelligence rules over us all, inward investment policy; delivering health will no longer be an issue, we will affordable energy; cultivating worldno longer have to drive ourselves around, leading sectors; driving growth across education will be available for all, we will the whole country; and creating the right be able to 3D print all our belongings, institutions to bring together sectors. The and jobs as we know them will be halved. strategy’s focus within the innovation and Nobody can argue that these things research pillar was robotics and artificial aren’t possible, but achieving all this by

“There will be 90% fewer lawyers in the future, only specialists will remain”


intelligence, with the £4.7 billion increase in R&D funding announced in last year’s Autumn Statement central to successful outcomes in this area. The way that UK business is developing inevitably must be in line with the rest of the world, in order for us to compete and in order for us to thrive. Goldman states that computers will become exponentially better in understanding the world. This, even without this R&D investment, is a given. Just this year, a computer beat the best Go player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected, and software is allowing us to do things we never imagined even 5 years ago, let alone 10. When it comes to jobs, many have previously suggested that we are all in danger of losing them; in danger of AI taking over, with no need for human roles. Again, most realise that the working world will change, and that computers often do a better job than we do – in some things. But, a large number of people would challenge the notion that jobs would be halved and that things like customer service, or even jobs in law will be wholly replaced

with AI: “There will be 90% fewer lawyers in the future, only specialists will remain,” says Goldman. He explains: “Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice (so far, for more or less basic stuff) within seconds, with 90%

accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans.” He advises: “So if you study law, stop immediately.” SBT’s recent roundtable events, in association with NatWest, have given a balanced view on these kinds of topics time and time again, but the majority voice undeniably holds that human customer service will never be completely eliminated. We asked Garth Watson, ex practising lawyer and co-founder of Libryo, a LegalTech SaaS platform, which enables companies to understand the regulatory law that applies uniquely to them, his opinion on Goldman’s statement: “The problem with this statement is that it is too broad. There are many types of lawyers, including litigators, transactional lawyers, and those who work on the development of the law. It is probably safe to say that routine transactional law will be affected the most (things like “business as usual” contracting and property transfers) while litigators, which at times is more theatrical, than signing a non-disclosure agreement (for

www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk 25


Future Predictions

example) will not be too badly affected. The bar is already being very positively affected by legaltech and great efficiency is being brought to bear by tech like e-discovery.” Goldman’s suggestion is that IBM Watson, a cognitive computing system, is already in the process of becoming more efficient than humans, stating that the software already diagnoses patients 4 times more accurately than nurses. Thankfully he doesn’t quite go as far to say ‘stop studying to be a nurse immediately’. Even if this is the case though, the ‘human factor’ is something that cannot be replicated by AI, no matter how advanced it gets. Professor Martin Upchurch, Professor of International Employment Relations at Middlesex University wrote an extremely interesting blog called ‘Is a robot after your job?’ in January, which explained the realism of AI within the future workforce. In this, he states: “While algorithms might replicate past human behaviour in robotic form they are a long way off from ‘consciousness’ and the ability to ‘think’ at the level of a human. Returning to the ‘Turing Test’ the ability of robots to ‘think’ as humans do is only a remote possibility. Turing also identified a ‘halting problem’ whereby a computer using AI may never ‘know’ when it is ‘right’, and so will continue to compute.” He adds: “We should not get carried away with the rise of the robots. While their numbers may well rise to over 2 million, this compares with a worldwide But if you can go to your lawyer and get workforce of 3 billion. In the country the human connection you are after then with the highest density of robots (South that is a good deal. Korea) there are still less than 500 for “These may be fringe issues, that don’t every 10,000 workers.” apply to every client, or every lawyer, When asked if the legal sector would but they do highlight ever become completely important thing. AI run, Garth responded “In the country with an People entrust their with a solid ‘No’: the highest density affairs, their life’s “Because of the ‘human work, their legacy, factor’. When practising of robots (South their businesses etc law I realised that often Korea) there are to lawyers. There is a clients consulted with us because they enjoyed it. still less than 500 big trust component in there. And I’d Often clients would take for every 10,000 say that trusting a a call in a consultation human is part of it. and say, “sorry I can’t workers” People will learn to take your call, I’m with trust “the machine”, my lawyer” - it was but certainly in the near future, the kind of a prestige thing. Other times, human component of the offering of certain clients just wanted to chat. Even legal services will win out on these big though the clock was running, they just issues where trusted advisors are sought. wanted someone to listen. Going to a These are private client work examples, psychologist has a certain stigma to it.

26 www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk

but when it comes to corporate law the factors are still the same. Business is done on the basis of trust and respect with people and professionals that one has built solid relationships with. This will not go away.” Others disagree with this view, of course including Goldman, stating that AI can in fact replicate and replace humans. Matty Mariansky, Co-founder of Meekan by Doodle suggests that within the next year, branded bots will be able to implement personality and even humour to customer interactions: “In the next year, I predict we will see a business appoint the world’s first ‘Head of Humanity’ - tasked with creating personalities for the growing numbers of customer facing business bots, ensuring they seem as person-like as possible.” Equally on the impact of AI on jobs as a whole, Gary Peters of Lovelocaljobs. com agrees with the 5 year view: “Many


Future Predictions

technological changes have a long way to go within law. Garth explains: “If one looks at the trajectory of a successful startup, you are looking at at least 5 years before the startup achieves recurring revenue of about $100 million. Currently the global legal market is in the ballpark of around $700 billion. That means about 7000 odd legaltech startups need to succeed in becoming unicorns, which means that there should to be a whole lot more out there today. There aren’t; certainly not the kind that are focusing on doing the work of lawyers. Of course this does not contemplate law firms building their own AI, or fewer “super legal unicorns”. But the history of innovation shows that disruption comes from outside. He added: “At the moment lawyers are the guardians of the law. I have blogged that in the future for certain areas of law, namely law that is clear, but obscure, legaltech, not lawyers will be the guardians. Where law is more bespoke, for instance, advocacy, or agreements negotiated and drafted in collaboration with company representatives by “top of their game” private equity lawyers legaltech has a long way to go. I don’t think that kind of lawyer will be negatively impacted at all by legaltech in the next 5 years. I think most lawyers will actaully benefit from the adoption of legal tech – it makes research better so that lawyers can concentrate on being lawyers, not robots! Support staff jobs may come under fire though. of today’s jobs are likely not to exist in 20 years although my understanding is that it is in the region of 40-50% (although there is no real science to come to this figure). Technology is evolving so fast and the world is definitely changing, it is a worrying time as nobody is really clear where we will be in 20-30 years. Who could have predicted the advances in technology over the last 20 years? Not many!” Of course, it is true that technology is evolving fast. But we’re not talking about just mere technology, we are talking about an AI revolution, and arguably this will affect each sector very differently. We can see that the majority opinion is that the legal sector will not be one of the professions dramatically changed due to the need for a human presence – instilling trust, providing the means for disclosure and being empathic. These are all things that are beyond AI. Even more basic

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Future Predictions

IBM Watson posits that cognitive computing would be particularly useful in the finance industry, within stock markets, which seems a very likely development before 2020. Stock markets are nowhere near as specialist as the service lawyers provide, whether that be commercial or personal. Nobody is arguing that this isn’t a possibility across many areas of business, but not only is it more likely to be further off than 2020, with cognitive systems absorbing human learning to support human processes, a more realistic view seems to be that this human factor will be supported by ‘cobots’ rather than an overhaul of AI. Professor Upchurch gave the example of Mercedes-Benz, who in developing its autonomous cars, have had to begin replacing robots with humans in its factories, due to the lack of flexibility of the robots: “Moves are now afoot to develop ‘cobots’ which operate side-byside with humans to enable flexibility and creativity to flourish.” Dana Denis-Smith, founder and CEO of Obelisk Support, a legal business that provides highly-skilled lawyers on a flexible basis to FTSE companies, agrees with Garth’s views, highlighting how the ‘human factor’ is simply far too important in law to be overridden by AI, but that support is plausible: “Technology will always be an enabler of people but will never take over completely. Smart business will deploy technology to make the most of humans.” She added: “We’re deeply committed to human intelligence over artificial

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intelligence, our ‘humans first’ approach will also look at how technology can be utilised to make the most of an individuals’ core skills. Technology is there to make individuals’ lives easier, not eradicate their roles.” We also spoke to Coffin Mew about this call for law students to stop studying immediately. Amanda Brockwell, Partner at Coffin Mew explained that the tasks that AI would encompass would de-value the learning experience that is currently essential for practicing lawyers: “Lawyers – or lawyers’ time – is expensive, so automation of processing has long been a part of the legal workplace. Artificial Intelligence moves this on a step and arguably moves in on the preserve of professionals to make qualitative

decisions based on information put in front of them. “A lot of that experience comes as a result of trawling through due diligence and picking things up. If this is replaced by automation, how are the next generation of lawyers going to get that experience and instinct? How can they offer the genuine professional consultancy type project management, which is what valuable lawyers really bring to the party when it comes to getting a deal done?” Not only would lawyers not learn the instinctive and high level knowledge they need to in order to practice in their specialty, others would suggest that the inevitably huge worker resistance to a change to AI would ensure that, if it does happen, it would be a very rocky road to walk down. Even too rocky. We can see from history that changes like this, meaning people lose their jobs, are not taken lightly. Garth gave his opinion: “In the short term, because of senior partners’ success without AI, a reluctance on their part to change the status quo only a few years prior to retirement is likely. Because of this the uptake of AI may not be that radical, unless of course there are firms that start to outcompete other law firms because of their use of legal tech. This will probably be the main driver, which in turn will be fuelled by clients trusting and benefitting from AI enabled law firms such that they start giving them more of their business. That takes us back to the issue of trust and the human factor. Perhaps the AI enabled legal specialists of the future will first and foremost be specialists at being humans!”


The BIG Futures Show & BFS Extra 2017

Ahead of The BIG Futures Show and BFS Extra, which are set to take place in Eastbourne next month, Sussex Business Times refreshes your mind with all the information you need to know

The annual BIG Futures Show is set to take Sussex Advertorial by storm again this year, taking place at Eastbourne’s Winter Garden on March 22nd and aiming to provide businesses and students with inspiration and all the information and skills they need to prepare for future employment. As Sussex’s most prevalent employability and skills fair, The BIG Futures Show is run by the Eastbourne Education Business Partnership and is sponsored by a range of businesses and organisations, including Eastbourne Borough Council, Sussex Downs College, The View Hotel, NHS Health Education

England and Bexhill College. Hastings Direct are also sponsors this year and will be introducing an ‘Employability Hub’, during which short workshops and roundtable discussions will take place, related to a range of subjects including transferable skills, personal statements, CV writing, interview skills and employability behaviours. The BIG Futures Show is also hosting a partner event, BFS Extra, which will take place on 2nd March 2017 – before the main event – at The View Hotel on Eastbourne Seafront. Aimed at both exhibitors and other business owners, BFS Extra will see speakers and presentations from a variety of organisations, including Eastbourne EBP, Shopper Anonymous, Sussex

“THE SKILLS AND OPPORTUNITIES SHOW FOR EAST SUSSEX”

Skills Solutions, Disability Confident and many more. Some of the topics which will be covered include exhibition and trade show stands and displays, visitor and customer engagement and offering apprenticeships. In addition to this, teacher and governor representatives will be in attendance, providing advice and guidance to those who wish to become more familiar with today’s education system and the qualifications students can achieve. The BIG Futures Show offers the many benefits of national shows with a strong mix of businesses, employers and educators in one room, all with an aim to inform young people on their way into the working world. tim.sorensen@eastbourneebp.org.uk 07890 388624

22 MARCH

2017

WINTER GARDEN EASTBOURNE

SPONSORED BY Big Futures Show #BIGFS2017

www.bigfuturesshow.org.uk

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A Strike to the Heart of Sussex

The RMT versus Southern Rail (a Govia company) dispute through the majority of 2016 and into 2017 disrupted the lives of commuters and, in some cases, destroyed businesses. This month, Jenny Ardagh looks at the facts and speaks to those who were affected most before discussing how the government is working to prevent this from happening again Since privatisation of the rail network in 1994/5, national Insight rail journeys have more than doubled, with people across the UK depending on catching that morning train, getting to and from work, and travelling for pleasure. Over half of all trips by rail are for business purposes, with over 800,000 people commuting into London every day: 3,385 of those are commuting from Brighton; 831 from Lewes; 426 from Worthing; and 1,210 from Hastings and Rother (2011 census). So, it’s safe to say that when your daily commuter rail network fails you, business is in trouble. Recently, Sussex had the brunt of this trouble, to put it mildly, with strike upon strike, upon occasional engineering works and signal failures, upon more strikes. It went too far. Most, if not all of us have experienced the frustration with

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Southern Rail at some point over the past 5, 6 months or more, with the RMT Union dispute over driver operated trains causing all manner of problems. But why? The RMT is Britain’s largest specialist transport trade union, with more than 80,000 members, made up of workers in the transport industry, from mainline and underground railways, shopping and offshore, buses and road freight. The dispute arose because Govia Thameslink Railways (GTR), the parent company of Southern Rail, wish to end driver and conductor operation and extend driver only operated trains on all their services. In short, GTR wanted to extend the responsibility of opening the train doors to train drivers, rather than to the train conductors who currently open the doors. They claim that this would economise the rail network and would ensure efficiently running trains when staff can’t make it to work. Sounds simple

enough right? And, in turn, seems like a less than petty squabble. So let’s look at the other side. The RMT Union claims that driver only operated trains are unsafe for passengers, posing this as their reason for disrupting the rail network and people’s lives across the south east. Currently, Southern runs with driver and conductor operated trains, which means that there is always a ‘safety critical conductor’, in addition to a driver, on each train. Without both, the trains aren’t allowed to leave the station, hence why a lot of readers will have heard the announcement time and time again (cue groans): “Southern are sorry to announce that this train is cancelled due to a shortage of train staff.” Of course, many reading this will wholly sympathise with this industrial action, thinking that the mere suggestion of not having a safety critically trained member of staff on the train is ridiculous – who will be there to assist in an emergency?


Railway Strikes

Equally, who will be there to assist, for example, disabled passengers? Mick Whelan, General Secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, which incidentally has now successfully negotiated with Govia over this issue, said: “The truth is that passengers, every time they are asked, want a second safety-critical person on their trains - on board to help the elderly, the young, and the disabled. The company, which doesn’t seem to care what passengers think, want to take us one step closer to losing that second role.” The questions then remain: are driver only operated trains actually unsafe? And will people actually be losing their jobs? Firstly, Govia seems to suggest driver only operated trains are safe, as does evidence from the 30% of trains in the UK that are run without a conductor. But, arguably, with passenger numbers on Southern having increased by over 64% from 116.1 million to 191 million a year over the past 15 years, there is obviously more of a safety risk, especially if this number increases. We heard numerous comparisons to Thameslink services throughout this fiasco, which run a number of driver only operated trains, even across the same lines and through the same stations

as Southern. The RMT claim that this and motivation, come what may and comparison is ‘meaningless’, and Mick whoever they hurt.” Whelan explains: “Thameslink trains have Some people reading this may station staff dispatch on every platform disagree with GTR’s almost Disney while Southern does not. In the Southern villain view of the RMT union and may area, many stations are unmanned, or sympathise with the threat this change undermanned.” poses to not only the public but also on On the other hand, The Rail Safety and conductors’ jobs; if conductors are no Standards Board published a statement longer needed, that means they lose in June that said there was ‘no increased their jobs. risk from properly implemented driver only Believability aside, GTR has made operation’. They suggested that none numerous statements that they will still of the projects published by RSSB over have a second member of staff on board the last 15 years on various aspects of the trains, alongside various promises driver only operation on passenger trains of job security, including no decreases had identified any increased risk from in salary, no compulsory redundancies dispatching a train without a guard being and no compulsory location moves. On present, compared to with. 5th August 2016, Passenger Service On 5th January, in response to these Director of Southern, Angie Doll said: claims over safety, a “We plan to have just Southern spokesperson as many services said: “Today, a third of staffed with On-Board “The truth is all trains on the UK rail that passengers, Supervisors as we do network run with the driver with Conductors today. every time they in sole control. The RSSB We simply want the are asked, want and now the ORR has flexibility to be able a second safetyconfirmed that this is a to run a train without critical person safe method of operation a second member and the unions must now of staff on board, if on their trains” acknowledge that they they are unavailable have no credible argument so we can get our that it’s an unsafe method of operation. passengers on their way.” But, the Because of their unjustified and pointless RMT refute this, claiming that there is no industrial action, the travelling public have guarantee and has rejected numerous faced months of misery and hardship settlements. So the battle continues, to their work and family lives for no despite a seeming attempt for resolution. substantive reason. The RMT and ASLEF Angie added: “Our proposals match are being wholly unreasonable and they modern-day customer service to are abusing their trade union powers to modern-day trains. The only difference call strikes.” is drivers will close the doors, freeing up Agreeing with this claim that the our on-board staff to provide the best strikes are ‘wholly unreasonable’, Alex customer service.” Foulds, GTR’s Passenger Services This leads me personally, and perhaps Director, said: “The RMT leadership is those reading this, to the question: is playing politics with innocent people this really about passenger safety or is it who are simply seeking to go about their about jobs? Alongside all the evidence business with employers, family and presented about driver only operated friends. It is a shameful and pitiful act trains, it’s hard to believe it’s about and shows everyone their true colours safety. But, with all of the settlement

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One of these rail users, Rebecca offers from Southern ensuring jobs will still Crook, Brighton resident and commuter exist, it’s hard to believe it’s about jobs. for 14 years from Brighton to London So what is it about? Is this just a power Victoria, shared her experience: “In battle and a case of ‘we’re right, you’re summary the service since the beginning wrong?’ Are we dealing with petty school of last year has been dreadful and my children having a tantrum over change? outward bound journey to work is the illCommenting on the strike after rail fated 7.29am train which fares actually increased, didn’t arrive on time despite little to no trains “In summary the for a whole year. That running on the Brighton service since the line, Lewes MP and regular beginning of last year was before all this strike commuter, Maria Caulfield has been dreadful and action started. “Its a constant battle said: “I have spoken to all my outward bound to get in and out of parties in a bid to bring journey to work is the work with last minute this dispute to a close, ill-fated 7.29am train cancellations, station however, the key argument which didn’t arrive on staff, who frankly are that has been made again time for a whole year” as good as a chocolate and again by the unions fireguard and Senior has been based on safety. Managers from Southern who have a This independent report clearly states complete disregard for customers. They that DOO is safe, and therefore one has have no understanding at all of the to ask why the strikes will continue to frustration we have to endure daily.” go ahead, causing yet more misery for She concluded: “Clearly whatever rail users, and their families, across my approach Southern, the Unions and the constituency of Lewes.”

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Government have taken, its not working so I want assurances that matters will be resolved immediately with all trains restored. I paid £5,400 for my season ticket and now have access to at least 25% less trains however I won’t receive 25% discount.” The negotiations haven’t been as efficient as they should be between two apparently reputable businesses, and equally, this escalated situation should have been avoided in the first place. Writing this, there are pitches being made, deals being drawn up and talks occurring between leaders, within government and across the companies and unions involved. In January, the ASLEF drivers strike was called off due to successful negotiations, and we are awaiting the same conclusion from RMT. Either way, this cannot be allowed to happen again. Tory MP, Chris Philp stood in the House of Commons on Tuesday 24th January to discuss a Protection of Critical National Services Bill to be implemented within the rights of strikers. He had previously stated that trade unions had “abused” their right to strike by undertaking “completely unreasonable” industrial action as part of an ongoing dispute with Southern Railway. This proposed bill aimed to regulate industrial action and for those taking industrial action in relation to critical national services to demonstrate that the matter in dispute is such that the adverse effects on the provision of service to the public caused by the action is proportionate and reasonable. This would ensure that the damage incurred to these thousands of commuters and their businesses wouldn’t happen again,


Railway Strikes

without good reason. Unfortunately, his bill didn’t pass, although widely supported. As we have seen across history, strikers’ rights are an essential part of a democratic nation that believes in free speech. However, as Chris Philp rightly pointed out in the House of Commons: “The public also has a right to get to work and not be forced from their own jobs by militant union action.” He rightly adds: “Current legislation does not give this balance.” So, although this legislation didn’t pass, the underpinning philosophy is correct – we cannot allow this kind of disruption to people’s lives to occur again due to striking action. I, and many others, don’t see a valid reason for such disruption from any side, and whether you sympathise with RMT strikers or not, it went too far.

We reached out to businesses across Sussex, asking them what their experience has been, what they think of the situation and who they feel is to blame... Brighton-based business, Hyve Managed Hosting have had one of its employees, Joey Chan, resign as a direct result of the Southern Rail strikes, after the daily commute from West London to Brighton became too much of a nightmare to continue after months of disruptions. Joey Chan, recently resigned Systems Engineer at Hyve Managed Hosting, commented: “The first signs of trouble began to show in the run-up to last Christmas. Everyone thought the delays and cancellations were typical of that time of the year. However, once the summer of 2016 came along, my journey home was stretched to two and a half, sometimes three hours on a regular basis. This poor, unreliable and unpredictable service from Southern has caused me intolerable levels of stress. I am left with no other option than to abandon this commute, leaving my current job in the process.” Max Leviston, General Manager at Sea Life Brighton said: “When will this rail chaos end, and at what point will the Government see fit to intervene? The ongoing plight of commuters is frankly ridiculous, but Southern Rail’s ineptitude is now having wider reaching consequences, which simply cannot be allowed to go on. As a tourist attraction in Brighton, we are experiencing first-hand how travel uncertainties and rail strikes are punishing the city’s

economy. Visitor numbers are down, not just at our aquarium, but for the city, and dare I say, county-wide.” Nick Gross, Head of Transport and Logistics at Coffin Mew Solicitors commented: “The public is being caught in the crossfire of this dispute. A franchise contract governs the relationship between the Government (which awarded the franchise) and Govia (which operates it). But there is no sign, at least on the face of it, that the Government is flexing its muscles and considering exercising its rights under it. The question must be asked - why? It’s hard to believe that this failure to perform over such a long period is anything other than a breach of contract. Whilst Govia might have a period of grace to rectify it, the fare paying public have no visibility as to whether steps are being taken to terminate the franchise if these problems can’t be resolved within the time frame specified in the contract.” Cathy Hayward, Managing Director of Magenta Associates, who missed our on her daughter’s 7th birthday celebrations due to the strikes, told us: “I run a small 10-man business based in Brighton. Most of our clients are based in London or further afield, so our team spends a considerable amount of time on the train to the capital. Over the past nine months, our business has been significantly affected by the action. We

have missed or been unacceptably late for client meetings and pitches for new business and on a personal level, my team have missed out on evenings with their friends and family because they’ve been stranded in London. Often they’ll have to get up well before their children are awake just to ensure they can get to London for an 11am meeting.” She added: “There is so much miscommunication about the strikes and the issues at stake that it’s impossible to know who is to blame. If anyone is at fault, it’s the Government for not stepping in and resolving this issue earlier. Commuters and businesses like mine are being held to ransom by Southern and the RMT.” Shanil Nayee, Account Executive at Harvard commented on who she feels is to blame: “It’s difficult to sympathise, or blame anyone because the situation has gotten ridiculously out of hand. Those striking are clearly fighting against a change – reportedly safety concerns on train platforms – but the people being affected right now are daily commuters. Southern Rail don’t seem to want to budge on their stance and both appear to have reached an impasse. Quite frankly, I just want to see the situation resolved so I don’t wake up every morning dreading the commute ahead of me.”

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Advertorial

The Healy Way

Sussex Business Times caught up with John Healy, Chairman of international law firm, Healys to find out more about the firm, their journey and plans for the future The firm started 38 years ago. Can you Interview tell us about those early days and how Healys has grown over the years? The origins of the firm go back to early 1980s, when I set up the practice in the city of London. That followed several years of experience with a larger practice where I gained the valuable experience needed to ‘go it alone’. I have always had the ambition to grow the practice and for it to become an established name, offering a quality legal product to clients. We have always endeavoured to show commitments to our staff and have looked to grow the practice from within. That’s why we recently promoted 3 solicitors to partner level and have recruited a new partner with a focus on financial disputes and fraud claims. Two of the new partners are now leading the growth of our Real Estate and Family Teams in Brighton. We have continued to focus on how we can better serve our clients and looked at new sectors, as well as the way we offer our services. For example, we have launched a number of new areas of our work and now have expertise in Franchising, Hotels & Leisure, Real Estate & Property Development and Banking & Finance. We consistently see that our clients come to us with more complex issues, which need the skill set

How has Healys managed to sustain growth, and continuously expand, despite the challenges of the past 5 years? We have developed a business strategy What achievements is Healys most with the help of ideas generated from proud of in Brighton & Hove? within the firm. In particular, we have Initially the Brighton practice was set identified areas of work which are up in the mid 1980s. We set about more specialised, such as Immigration, creating a commercial law firm which Media and Gaming Law where we stood out from others locally and was have a depth of experience. There is an assisted by our strong city connections. entrepreneurial spirit As we have grown, running through the we have been able to “I have always practice, which means support community and had the ambition we constantly review civic activities along our aims and objectives with local charities. to grow the in order to achieve a Working alongside such practice and for viable, efficient and organisations is very it to become an commercially focused rewarding and we feel practice. we are giving something established name, back to the community. offering a quality What are your More recently, our legal product to aspirations for Healys Immigration Team have clients” for the next 5 years? been concerned about The legal world has the lack of information changed since I first set up in business. from the Government about EEA Small firms, unless operating in niche nationals and the right to work and live areas, are unlikely to survive in today’s in the UK. Sussex has a particularly market place. Further growth within the high number of foreign nationals from firm is, therefore, essential in order to the rest of the EU, and many don’t meet our regulatory obligations and to know who to turn to. We are proud that provide effective and efficient services Healys has had the foresight to create using the latest technologies. Our aim a free helpline and to offer advice is to double in size with year-on-year and guidance to EEA nationals and growth generated internally rather than employers who are worried about what by seeking mergers with other practices, will happen after Article 50 is invoked. of other solicitors within the firm. This broadens our ability to offer a bespoke service to our clients.

Contact us today on 01273 685 888 or email brighton@healys.com 34 www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk


Advertorial

which has been a recent trait within the profession. Above all, we never wish to lose our basic values, which form the foundation of the practice, namely to deliver creative legal solutions of consistently high quality to our clients and to provide fulfilling careers and professional satisfaction for our staff in a friendly workplace. At Healys in Brighton, what would you say was your Unique Selling Point as a legal firm? The tag line “Creative Legal Solutions” was chosen some years ago, which is, I think, a good starting point for our USP. We are lawyers who think strategically and often “out of the box” in order to find solutions which enable clients to achieve their goals. We are approachable, flexible and we box above our weight in many situations. Having a large London practice assists the offering we have in Brighton. The Brighton office comprises teams of motivated lawyers. Reputation matters and I believe we are known for providing a quality service to our clients. That’s why I believe as a firm that relationships matter. We aim to provide a personal bespoke service that is lead by the partners. This creates a true partnership between Healys and its clients. Their success leads to our success. You have offices in Brighton and London, two places surrounded by huge amounts of competition with other law firms. How do you ensure you stay at the top and maintain a loyal and happy customer base? We welcome competition and think we stand out by offering a professional, effective service at the right price and often with flexible approaches. What sets you apart from the other law firms in Brighton, Sussex, London and the South East? Some of the services we provide are not available locally – such as Immigration. There is no substitute for professional knowledge and experience but most firms boast that. We always seek to go an extra mile so as to provide our clients with the best possible outcome. How has the Brighton market changed since the firm’s inception? Over the 30 years or so that we have

“We have come a huge way since I started the firm, but we are still on a journey of expansion and improvement which will be ongoing for many years to come” been based in Brighton, we have seen a huge influx of Media and IT based companies. These small and medium size enterprises provide a very useful area of work for us. In 1997, Brighton and Hove joined to form the unitary authority of Brighton & Hove. City status was granted by the Queen in 2001, enabling Brighton & Hove to expand and attract investment. The region did not suffer as badly as other regions during the recession years. It is now a vibrant commercial centre, attracting new business and of course the easy access to London has brought growth in the housing market, attracting new residents to the city. Making it into the Legal 500 list is quite an achievement – how much weight do you put on achievements like this and what does this mean for the firm? The Legal 500 List is indeed important, as are other similar achievements and practice standards. Clients, and potential

Visit www.healys.com

clients, want to know that we have experience in certain areas and gaining approval from professional bodies, such as the Legal 500, assists as an acknowledgement of our reputation and experience. In 2016 we have had two new recommendations in Immigration and Media and we aim to grow this further over the next couple of years. What is the future at Healys from the eyes of the Chairman? The future is exciting. We launched a new strategy to move the firm forward, to expand its client base and range of services by internal promotion/training and recruitment of experienced and motivated lawyers. We have come a huge way since I started the firm, but we are still on a journey of expansion and improvement which will be ongoing for many years to come. We see ourselves as being amongst the leaders of the profession locally, with an enviable reputation.

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Accounting for Change

The world is going digital, and tax is going with it. McPhersons Chartered Accountants explain more about digital tax and the impact that this could have on you and your business What is ‘Making Tax Digital’? Cover In 2015, HMRC issued a paper, Feature ‘Making Tax Digital’, which proposes that by 2020 they will have moved to a fully digital tax system. This is not just about software, it signals the end of the traditional tax return. By 2018 businesses, the self-employed and landlords will need to use software or apps to keep business records and to provide financial information to HMRC on a quarterly basis. Digital accounts will give small businesses greater certainty and control over their tax position. Those who pay more than one type of tax (corporation tax, VAT, PAYE) will be able to take a single view of their total liabilities across all taxes. There will also be the option to pay tax as you go to help manage your cashflow.

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Will it apply to everyone? • The gross turnover or property income threshold of £10,000 is currently being discussed and it is likely that only the smallest unincorporated businesses may be exempt. It will not apply to employees or pensioners unless they have additional income of £10,000 through property or through selfemployment. • Deferring may be possible by one year for gross turnover or income of over £10,000 but below a threshold to be determined. • A very small minority who genuinely cannot use digital tools will not have to comply. More details on this are promised.

Digital record keeping will normally mean using a ‘cloud’ or an online accounting package which records income and expenditure as near to real time as possible. McPhersons will be supporting their clients with this transition with software such as Quickbooks Online, live bank feeds and apps such as Receipt Bank as well as assisting with the transition to cloud accounting. For some clients this will be a huge change. There will be no more handing over a bag of receipts at the end of the year! Even the use of spreadsheets to record transactions will be superseded by cloud accounting. For those who do their own accounts and tax returns, the more involved system could result in them paying more tax than they need to.

“McPhersons have already gone through the move from desktop to cloud with many of their clients”

How do I convert my business to digital?


Cover Feature

What third party information will be included in my digital tax account? HMRC already has access to third party information and this will be used more effectively and in real time – i.e. not just looking back historically but looking at live data. For example, collating information from employers, pension providers, banks and building societies. Going forward it may also include income from dividends, peer to peer lending and property and savings income. How will making tax digital work? HMRC is currently building its own system alongside software providers like Quickbooks, Xero and Sage. Businesses will need to ensure the software they choose is compatible with HMRC. McPhersons already offers its clients access to licensed software with all these packages with Quickbooks being the preferred choice for many of their clients. Accountants are going to have a key role in helping their clients make the transition and McPhersons have already gone through the move from desktop to cloud with many of their clients. How can McPhersons help me convert from desktop to the cloud? McPhersons are cloud accounting specialists and are trained in a variety of cloud accounting software. If you are not yet on the cloud, they will advise the best solution for your business. What are the benefits of digital accounting? There are ways to get the most out of online/digital accounting and these include: 1. Utilising ‘bank feeds’ which can automate much of the bookkeeping work – automatically posting entries to avoid you keying them in. 2. Expense tracking – taking photos of your expenses and sending these direct to your accounts software which then posts it. 3. Automated invoicing. 4. Digital payslips for payroll. 5. Always having up to date information to enable business and tax planning. What will it cost my business to convert? The cost to businesses of introducing digital accounting as well as the continuing costs of maintaining digital records and submitting quarterly updates are concerning. Free software has been promised by

HMRC but seems yet to materialise. However, McPhersons can offer a fixed fee and an affordable monthly payment solution that fits your business model whether you are a sole trader, partnership or limited company. This would cover all the work that is required. There is a view that reporting online could lead to mistakes and fines. HMRC is attempting to reassure people that they can report online with confidence and are also being more lenient when mistakes are made. The consultation proposes a graduated model with each non-deliberate failure to submit information on time attracting penalty points. Only once the points reach a set level would a penalty be charged. They are also willing to share more information with software developers about the triggers of tax investigations. Developers can then adapt their software to warn taxpayers to make amendments before final submission of information.

Tax is a complex issue and most businesses will retain their accountant to ensure they are not paying more tax than they have to. How will I pay my tax going forward? You will be able to view your current tax position at any time and can choose whether to pay in a single payment or pay as you go. Voluntary Pay As You Go will apply to those unincorporated businesses, sole traders and landlords, in respect of their Income Tax/National Insurance Contributions/Capital Gain Tax, from 1 April 2018, to VAT from April 2019 and to incorporated businesses, in respect of their corporation tax affairs, from 2020. Contact us on 01424 730000 or info@mcphersons.co.uk and we will get you fully prepared for the important changes ahead.

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Apprenticeship Levy

The Problem with the Apprenticeship Levy Last month we took a look at the Apprenticeship Levy and the advantages this will have for employers. But, it won’t benefit everyone, and as claims have emerged regarding the negative effects the Levy promises to have on smaller council schools, Sussex Business Times investigates…

In January’s issue, Sussex Business Times took a Education detailed look at the Apprenticeship Levy and the benefits this scheme is likely to have on businesses across the country. Just to recap, the Apprenticeship Levy is a new government initiative, which was announced during the 2015 Summer Budget and will be applied to businesses in all industries – including schools – across the country, where control of apprenticeship funding will be put into the hands of employers through the Digital Apprenticeship Service. This levy will

charge employers 0.5% of their paybill, but only if the salary bill is in excess of £3 million. Employers with a salary bill of less than this will not have to pay the Levy, which will be effective on and after 6th April 2017. Last time, we outlined the many benefits the introduction of the Levy will have on businesses in the UK. While to employers, as well as hopeful apprentices, it may seem like a no-negative scheme, it is clear to see that it does have its downfalls, especially in other areas of UK education.For example, for small councilrun schools, who will have to pay the new Apprenticeship Levy while non-local authority schools will be exempt. The Local Government Association (LGA) represents over 350 councils in England and Wales, and argues that any school with a wage bill of less than £3 million should be exempt from paying the Levy, claiming that council-maintained schools are being treated unfairly in comparison to academies, especially considering how stretched these schools’ budgets are currently. The LGA estimates that the introduction of the Levy will affect up to more than 2.5 million students at 9,000 council-run schools with wage bills under £3 million. This is because, where a school is maintained by the council, its staff contribute to the overall wage bill of the council rather than being counted separately. This means that the Apprenticeship Levy is applied to them and will need to be accounted for in school budgets from April 2017, while

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Apprenticeship Levy

schools will be. They will be forced to find free standing academies will not have this additional money to pay the levy, while an problem. academy or faith school with an identical Chair of the LGA’s children and young wage bill can invest that money in making people board, Richard Watts has urged sure their pupils get an the government to excellent education.” level the playing field “In the majority Kevin Courtney, who for schools, explaining of cases, local is the General Secretary how it is no secret authorities will be of the National Union that many schools responsible for of Teachers, has also are struggling with paying the Levy in the explained that the their funding, yet Government should once again, councilcommunity schools maintained schools they maintain, rather ensure the Levy does not have to come from are being dealt a poor than the schools school budgets, or at hand in comparison themselves” least put additional with academies. funding in place to pay He said: “It for it. He previously commented: “It is is discriminatory for small councilstill wholly unclear how the Levy will be maintained schools not to be exempted collected from community schools, which from the Apprenticeship Levy in the do not use LA payroll services, or how same way that small academies and faith

voluntary aided schools, which do not use LA payroll services will have their exemption protected. If the Levy does not have to be paid from any school or academy budget, then the government should increase their funding to compensate.” He continued: “However, as we now know, 98% of schools face real terms cuts between now and 2020. Schools cannot afford yet more cuts in funding, especially cuts which fall as capriciously as these!” The NAHT (National Association of Head Teachers) has backed the LGA’s and National Union of Teachers’ opinions, with the organisation’s General Secretary, Russell Hobby stating: “School budgets are already being pushed beyond breaking point. Figures released by the National Audit Office last year show that school funding is being cut by £3 billion in real terms – destroying the government’s claims that school budgets are protected.” He then went on to explain that, when the National Funding Formula was announced last year, the Government promised that no school would lose more than 1.5% of its budget, but the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy will cause council-maintained schools of any size to lose a further 0.5% of their staff budget, which is already stretched. In addition to this, the NAHT is also calling for the government to unearth new training and apprenticeship schemes that schools can access and can too benefit from, using the apprenticeship funding that will be gathered together thanks to the Levy. Backing up this suggestion, Apprenticeship and Skills Minister, Robert Halfon believes that the Apprenticeship Levy will boost the UK’s economic productivity, while increasing the country’s skills base and giving millions a step on the ladder of opportunity. He concluded: “In the majority of cases, local authorities will be responsible for paying the Levy in the community schools they maintain, rather than the schools themselves. We expect these schools to have full access to funding for apprenticeship training and will support all employers, including schools and local authorities, in using Levy funds to invest in quality apprenticeships.” Opinions on the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy hugely differ, and what will come out of it in the long run, we will just have to wait and see.

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Focus: Worthing

Worthing Works

The Centre for Cities’ latest report has shown Worthing to be top of the ranks in both efficiency and productivity, leading the way with exports, jobs and digital connectivity. SBT takes a look at the report and what Worthing is seemingly doing right

Creative Commons - Worthing 09001 by Miles Cary ©

After the UK’s decision to leave the EU, much of the uncertainty was Focus around exporting, and this is still the focus of many discussions on the logistics of triggering Article 50. This is also a major concern of many businesses across Sussex and across the country as a whole. As such, this year’s Centre for Cities research focused on the UK’s 63 largest towns and cities and their export activity. It asks where cities export to globally, what they sell, and how much. The report, Cities Outlook 2017, found that cities accounted for the bulk of British exports at 62% of the total export number, and the EU is the largest export market for almost every one of those cities with 46% of all cities exporting there. This is three times more than the

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USA, the second biggest market for UK urban exports, and five times more than exports to India, Japan, Russia, South America and South Korea combined. However, whilst Britain’s top exporting city was found to be Sunderland, with £40,650 worth of exports per worker in 2014, this was closely followed by our very own Sussex town of Worthing with £29,640 worth of exports in the same year. Surprisingly, the ‘big smoke’, London is the 5th biggest exporter per worker. Although the report found that this statistic didn’t necessarily translate to high productivity, it seems that Worthing has outdone itself, being one of only 12 cities in the report findings to be ranked above average for productivity. In addition, Worthing is performing well above many cities in terms of jobs and exports, with an 80.5% employment rate (the 5th highest employment rate;

increasing yearly by 7.1%) and the second highest exports per job in the country. The data highlights Worthing to be both an innovative and efficient economy, sitting in the top band within our geographic region in terms of productivity. The statistics speak for themselves, giving great confidence in Worthing’s industries and trade. Furthermore, Worthing ranks highest in digital connectivity, which is one of the key components for a city’s offer to businesses and entrepreneurs. Last year 93.3% of properties in the town achieved ultrafast broadband speeds (above 100 Mbps) - the highest percentage in a category where 8 of the top 10 cities were in the south. Worthing also performs well in statistics relating to skills and education, with the town ranking 2nd in terms of the population’s percentage that has formal


Focus: Worthing

Creative Commons - Worthing Seafront by ReflectedSerendipity ©

“Worthing is performing well above many cities in terms of jobs and exports, with an 80.5% employment rate (the 5th highest employment rate; increasing yearly by 7.1%) and the second highest exports per job in the country”

qualifications (just 4.2% with no formal qualifications). Councillor Daniel Humphreys, Leader of Worthing Borough Council, enthusiastically welcomed the publication of the report, commenting: “The Council has been championing the growth of our economy, supporting our local businesses and opening our doors to innovative enterprises who want to make Worthing their home. “As underlined by Centre for Cities, this approach has made us one of the most productive places in the UK, creating a sound platform onto which we can invite further high value business investment.” He adds: “The message is clear Worthing works.” The report’s findings are particularly welcomed after recent efforts from Worthing Borough Council to market the Borough on the national stage. The Investment Prospectus and partnered

website InvestAW are just some of the tools aimed at attracting new businesses to Worthing, and a number of key regeneration sites are edging closer to being unlocked for development. Cllr Bryan Turner, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, added: “This report is a positive endorsement for the Borough as a great place to do business. Already leading the country in high-speed broadband access, we will pull further away from the pack when the benefits of our strategic investment in Gigabit infrastructure start to be felt more widely, especially in relation to reliability. “Through years of consistent work and investment, the Borough has become a launchpad for people to do great things - whether that’s grow a digital and technology company, start an innovative social enterprise or export to the other side of the world.” So, for Worthing, the future looks bright, especially if it keeps going in this direction of success. Sussex will likely be highly affected by the triggering of Article 50, and of course has been affected by the negative impact of uncertainty. However, as Cllr Daniel Humphreys points out, ‘Worthing works’, and this not only fuels confidence into the town itself, but spreads confidence across Sussex. It can and will be done, but the strategy greatly depends on the EU trade deal that is struck. Commenting on the findings of the report and the impact of a trade deal, Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities said: “Securing the best possible EU trade deal will be critical for the prosperity of cities across Britain, and should be the Government’s top priority as we prepare to leave the single market and potentially the customs union.” She adds: “The UK faces a major challenge in boosting productivity and wages, and increasing the value and volume of city exports will be crucial in addressing those issues. National and local leaders need to consider how they can make cities more attractive to exporting firms. Improving skills and infrastructure across the UK will be vital in this, and should be a central part of the Government’s industrial strategy.” Adam Marshall, Director General of British Chambers of Commerce, reaches a poignant conclusion: “Without successful cities, towns and counties, the future success of the UK is in doubt.” All we can say is, well done Worthing.

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Keeping Healthy in the Workplace:

Who’s Responsible?

For February’s health focus, Sussex Business Times investigates whether or not employees’ ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle is the responsibility of the employer, and takes a look at the different initiatives businesses can introduce as a means of improving overall health and wellbeing in the workplace As we have mentioned in Health & previous issues of Wellbeing SBT, juggling a strong work life balance can prove to be very difficult. Throw in the pressures of trying to stay fit and healthy and you’ll often find that you’ve got yourself a bit of a situation. Of course, those who have active jobs or jobs that are based within close proximity to their homes are more likely to have an easier time with sticking to a healthy lifestyle with the ability to incorporate exercise into their daily lives. For those who have

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office jobs, this can be very difficult to maintain. However there are a number of things that both employers and employees can do to take steps toward a healthy and productive workforce. Of course, we could go into all of the dietary and physical requirements needed to sustain a balanced food and exercise regime in day-to-day life, but understanding which food types are good for you and which ones are harmful doesn’t take much besides common sense or a quick Google. The more obvious problem surrounds what businesses could be doing to ensure their employees are leading this kind of lifestyle.

A healthy life doesn’t just relate to physical means, and mental health is also an incredibly important factor. There’s no escaping the fact that mental health is a serious problem for businesses and the economy. All too often, employers are first made aware there is a problem when an employee takes time off work, which can have a huge impact, both financially to the business and the pressure put on the remaining employees. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the total cost to employers of mental health problems, among their staff, was estimated at nearly £70 billion each year back in 2015. This is


Health & Wellbeing

home; a win-win situation. For a large in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, this amount of people, a long commute initiative has still been met with staff to work in the morning often means skepticism. breakfast is skipped, and so another Tesco’s launch of this wellbeing suggestion could be that the working initiative came alongside UK health day starts an hour later. Lunch breaks hitting headlines when Prime Minister, are equally as important, and while Theresa May announced plans to the majority of businesses supply their increase support and resources for employees with an hour’s break per day, employees suffering from mental ill health, many staff members will work through which currently accounts for more than this because of a heavy workload. 20% of NHS activity. This costs the Therefore, business British economy leaders/owners approximately £15 “According to the could provide billion per year in Organisation for employees with a lost productivity and Economic Co-operation is now the leading more manageable workload and be cause of long-term and Development, the more persistent in sickness in the total cost to employers making sure staff country. of mental health members take their As a part of problems, among their lunch hour. their strategy, retail staff, was estimated at The question of giant, Tesco offered whose responsibility nearly £70 billion each its staff free fruit it is to ensure and vegetables year back in 2015” employees lead and free health a healthy lifestyle check-ups from during working hours is one that carries Nuffield Health, as well as mental health debate, and a large amount of UK advice throughout January as a part of workers believe that it is the duty of its ‘colleague health month.’ Not only employers to ensure their staff are well was this a beneficial practice for Tesco looked-after during working hours. employees, but charity too, as Tesco Tesco recently introduced this initiative, donated £1 for every employee who inviting employees from the brand’s took the voluntary pledge to take part. 2,600 UK stores to pledge to improve Although, for the third largest retailer in their fitness, diet and sleep quality and, the world (in terms of profits), £1 might despite the fact that many workers find not seem like such a generous donation, employers and the workplace unhelpful the consideration that there are more equivalent to £1,035 for every employee in the UK workforce. They also report that stress accounts for 40% of all work related illnesses. The Mental Health Foundation predicts that by 2030, even if rates of prevalence stay the same as they are now, there will be approximately 2 million more adults in the UK with mental health problems than today, due to population growth, meaning the problems this causes for businesses will be far more extreme. So what can businesses do to ensure their staff members are happy and content at the workplace? In December we took a look at the benefits of a shorter working week, and this is something employers really should bare in mind. Spending a little more time away from work has proven to be the cause of increased productivity in the workplace, and at the same time gives employers more time to kick back and relax at

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Health & Wellbeing

than 470,000 employees across the country makes up for it. Getting back to the brand’s ‘colleague health month’, what would be expected to be a successful and appreciated scheme has seen reactions that haven’t been entirely positive. On an unofficial online forum for Tesco staff, Very Little Helps, one employee stated that the pledge made them feel like a child, being “treated like three-year-olds and being given an apple a day,” while another staff member commented: “They are oblivious to the extent Tesco causes ill-health, especially stress and, of course, stress can lead to smoking, drinking and comfort eating,” suggesting that, for a number of their employees, Tesco is actually the cause of an unhealthy lifestyle. Of course, if this is the case, then you can’t knock the monster company for attempting to improve upon this, even if it doesn’t quite make up for it in the eyes of the employees. While running the risk that introducing a health and wellbeing scheme in January, straight after the Christmas rush, could have been seen by employees as too much of a quick ‘solution’ for health issues, Managing Director at Bluecrest Wellness, Peter Blencowe went on to

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“Organisations need to have a commitment to ongoing health, and any programmes need to continue throughout the year” commend Tesco’s scheme, claiming that any time of the year is a good time to start a wellbeing initiative, as many people start the new year with resolutions to become healthier. He said: “Organisations need to have a commitment to ongoing health, and any programmes need to continue throughout the year.” Although Tesco’s wellbeing initiative has had mixed reactions and responses, other businesses have introduced similar strategies to ensure a healthier and therefore, happier workforce. Cofounder of online furniture store, Swoon Editions, Debbie Williamson introduced ‘Swoon Sweater’ to her employees – a free weekly fitness session in a nearby park after work where employees are drilled by a personal trainer with resistance exercises such as push-ups

and squats, as well as cardio, including sprints and step aerobics. She claims that, for a small business like hers, 23 days equates to 10% of the working year: “If we didn’t create an environment in which our employees prioritise their wellbeing and look out for each other during busy times, we would need to compensate by increasing our workforce, with no added value for the customer.” Debbie’s fitness drive has proven to be a huge success, with most of the firm’s 58 employees getting involved on a regular basis. Alongside this, the company’s employees are all offered free gym membership and, although this is a substantial commitment from such a small company, it has shown itself to be beneficial in the long run: “It offers the team opportunities to mix outside the workplace and this contributes significantly to morale. I would recommend other businesses consider a similar initiative.” These are all elements that Sussex businesses should consider as steps to take towards forming a happy, healthy and therefore more productive workforce. Although companies might have to pay out to incorporate such initiatives, they could be extremely beneficial for business in the long run.

@blanchhousebrighton @blanchhousebrighton @blanchhousebrighton @blanchhouse @blanchhouse @blanchhouse

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17 Atlingworth Atlingworth Street, Street, Brighton, Brighton, East East Sussex, Sussex, BN2 BN2 1PL 1PL 17 01273 603504 603504 01273 info@blanchhouse.co.uk || www.blanchhouse.co.uk www.blanchhouse.co.uk info@blanchhouse.co.uk

17 Atlingworth Atlingworth Street, Street, Brighton, Brighton, East East Sussex, Sussex, BN2 BN2 1PL 1PL 17 17 Atlingworth Atlingworth Street, Street, Brighton, Brighton, East East Sussex, Sussex, BN2 BN2 1PL 1PL 17 Atlingworth Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 1PL 17 @blanchhousebrighton @blanchhousebrighton www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk 345 @blanchhousebrighton @blanchhousebrighton @blanchhousebrighton www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk @blanchhousebrighton 01273 603504 www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk 33 01273 603504 603504 01273 603504 01273 603504 01273 @blanchhouse @blanchhouse www.blanchhouse.co.uk @blanchhouse @blanchhouse @blanchhouse info@blanchhouse.co.uk www.blanchhouse.co.uk @blanchhouse ||| www.blanchhouse.co.uk info@blanchhouse.co.uk |info@blanchhouse.co.uk www.blanchhouse.co.uk info@blanchhouse.co.uk |info@blanchhouse.co.uk www.blanchhouse.co.uk


Working Lunch:

Le Magasin, Lewes

For this month’s review, Sussex Business Times took to Lewes to enjoy a lunch at the town’s Le Magasin restaurant

Le Magasin Lewes

Address: 50A Cliffe High St Lewes, BN7 2AN Telephone: 01273 474720 Web: le-magasin.co.uk

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There are a good number of choice Lunch places to eat and drink in and around Review Lewes, with the Sussex town being notorious for having more pubs per square mile than anywhere else in Europe. I don’t know how factually correct that statement is, or has been in the past, but it’s a statement that I’ve grown up with and one that’s not hard to believe when strolling around the town. Other news reports suggest that pubs have been closing at an alarming rate in recent years as economic uncertainty grips and supermarkets encourage the stay-at-home drinker to do just that, with rock bottom booze pricing. As a result, more and more pubs have been shifting their business models, offering themselves up as eateries and it certainly seems like Lewes pubs have followed suit in that regard. There are, however, plenty of restaurants dotted around the town too,

and if you were to combine all of these numbers together and divide by the square mile, I think my first statistic would stand. It definitely suggests a town with a populous that likes to lunch. Our choice of destination for this edition of SBT is the small, but perfectly formed, Le Magasin, which is nestled along Cliffe High Street, just a couple of doors down from the birthplace of Bill’s Restaurant, which seems to have achieved a lofty status in Lewes, with out-of-towners visiting as some kind of pilgrimage to the hallowed ground, and in great numbers. As a result, it would be many people’s first thought if visiting Lewes, but there are a great number of fantastic alternatives on offer. One such, as it turns out, is Le Magasin. Having been steered onto the place by a good friend, (as all of the best places are, of course) my guest and I were a little surprised to see that Le Magasin is relatively small, with perhaps 50 covers. The initial impression was that of a coffee shop or maybe a cafe. Certainly, the atmosphere in the room was that of a


Chilli and Lime, served with Pitta bread. meeting place; somewhere to talk, chat, All accompanied by a large bottle of eat and drink, in equal measure and sparkling water. certainly not a stuffy affair. We had spent so long entering The relaxed approach was evident into the spirit of the and that continued atmosphere that we as we were shown to “The food itself was were approached more our table and handed exciting. Unexpected, than once to place our our menus. Thankfully given the first orders, but always in a simple choice of the most polite and around eight to ten impressions of the options, and all very place but completely friendly manner. The food itself was appealing. in line with the exciting. Unexpected, My guest, Jeremy reports we’d heard given the first Ornellas of Blanch ahead of our visit” impressions of the place House fame, opted for but completely in line the Toulouse Sausage with the reports we’d & Garlic Mashed Potato with Pancetta, Shallot Rings and Jus, and heard ahead of our visit. Not having been along in the evening, I chose the new addition to the constantly I can’t comment on how the room shifts evolving menu: the Rare Thai Beef in its personality, but I would imagine that Salad with Kohlrabi, Carrot, Coriander,

it’s a lively place that would be great for socialising. The wine menu is extremely inviting and the staff appear to know a thing or two about the stuff, so I would imagine that you’ll be in safe hands when you visit. The same can be said for the coffee; Le Magasin prides itself on sourcing and serving incredible coffee, retailing bag upon bag from the Monmouth Coffee Co. Being a fan, I had to try both a regular cappuccino and also a straight espresso before leaving with a bag to enjoy in my own time. So there it is. I’m glad we took the advice to pay a visit. Le Magasin is a real jewel in Lewes’ crown and somewhere that should definitely be on your list of places to try. Toulouse Sausage & Garlic Mashed Potato: £13.95 Rare Thai Beef: £11.95 Large Sparkling Water: £3.80 Cappucino: £2.25 White Coffee: £2.20 Total: £34.15

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Hotel Review: The George in Rye

Address: The George in Rye 98 High Street Rye East Sussex TN31 7JT Telephone: 01797 222114 Web: www.thegeorgeinrye.com

This month SBT heads further east to stay at The George in Rye Having never been to Rye before, I was keen to see what the town, Review renowned among friends and family for being beautifully quaint, was like. Upon arrival, I saw immediately what they meant. This medieval town was almost a replica of Lewes, where I have spent much of my time, just larger and a little bit more lavish. Located in prime position on the cobbled streets, The George in Rye is a Grade II listed hotel and sixteenth century building, which from the outside exudes history and comfort. On entering the reception area, I was hit with the community feel of the place. Often the hotels I review, although mostly very welcoming in the end, are initially quite oppressing: an empty room, a single desk with a single receptionist

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going about their business, and the temptation to flee over fear of not being in the right place at all. This was a wholly different experience, with The George Tap bar directly in sight of the front entrance, people socializing and laughing and, to

the right hand side, two desks where I assumed I needed to go to check in. It was confusing for a moment – almost as if a travel agency had attached itself onto a pub - but refreshing nonetheless, and the staff welcomed my guest and me very warmly. We were shown to our room, led through the bar to a delightful outside area lit by various strings of coloured bulbs, which evoked a nice character and enclosed feel, then through to our room. Room 44 is one of 11 Luxury Rooms at The George in Rye, whilst also offering 6 Queen Rooms, 11 Superior Rooms and 6 Junior Suites – there are 34 rooms in total. All the Luxury Rooms are decorated differently, encompassing a variety of themes. Ours was inspired by EF Benson’s Mapp & Lucia stories and really was extraordinary in terms of the design. I later learned that co-owner Katie Clarke


Tried & Tested in Sussex

and her design partner, Maria Speake of Retrouvius, source the fabrics, furnishings and individual pieces from an eclectic range of established brands, reclamation yards and local designers. Equally, should you be inspired by anything you see in the rooms, you can head to The Shop Next Door, run by Katie herself, where you can buy some of the homewares in the rooms, including the bed linen and bespoke headboards using the fabric you see. The whole hotel embodies an interior designer’s creative mind and it was clear that each and every corner had been deeply thought through. All the rooms feature Vi-Spring beds, Frette linen, William Holland copper and zinc baths, power showers, REN products, flat screen TVs , Ruark iPod docks and free WIFI. Both the room I was staying in and Room 46 face the high street, but you wouldn’t know with both net curtains to screen the windows and a thick curtain which wrapped around the copper roll-top bath, providing two levels of privacy and quiet (not that Rye is ever particularly raucous). The room was decorated in dusky pinks, creams and browns, with a beautiful textured headboard that acted almost as wallpaper, stretching from the bed to the ceiling. The bathroom was spacious enough and the shower powerful, all feeling very modern, which was a nice contrast to the historic feel of the building as a whole. In terms of food, The George Grill makes for an excellent evening meal. I can highly recommend the Seafood and Chorizo stew, which warmed me up on the wintery January evening of my stay; it was fresh and delicious with the perfect amount of spice. The crustacea, particularly the lobster is a very good choice, with prices not too bad for what it is. Price wise overall, I’d say the restaurant is pricier than your average pub restaurant, but equally I can see why. The restaurant and bar areas are both homely and an ideal place to either finish off some work, or to socialize with colleagues, friends or family. I could imagine myself heading into a corner of the bar and getting on with some writing, replying to emails or even having a meeting with a client here, whilst keeping confidence in good service, a professional yet laid back atmosphere and a range of good food choices. Corporate events are no strange thing to The George, with tailor-made residential

“The whole hotel embodies an interior designer’s creative mind and it was clear that each and every corner had been deeply thought through” meeting rooms with the ability to host up to 100 delegates. The hotel also hosts a variety of corporate events, including teambuilding exercises, away days and entertainment. Breakfast was served from 7 till 10 AM, so my guest and I headed down at our leisure to be met with a small table filled with the usuals: fruit, yoghurt, croissants, granola etc. The homemade yoghurt was particularly delicious, so I simply had to have a bowl with dates before indulging in a hot breakfast too. My partner had The George Full English, which, I am told, was filled with flavour and very satisfying, and I had Eggs Benedict (of course). The eggs were a little on the overcooked side, but

the sauce just right and the ham flavourful. For me, Rye was a fair distance to travel for one evening, so the journey back felt a little arduous due to only having arrived less than 16 hours before. However it was a surprisingly easy journey both ways with little to no traffic, and even with just an hour and a half journey, it felt like I had stepped into another world, with stunning surrounding countryside and the Camber Sands beach nearby. Overall I found the hotel to be of high quality, with aesthetics to please any eye, in particular those of you with an eye for design. The restaurant, the facilities and the staff were on point, and Rye itself is such a lovely place to stay for either business or pleasure.

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NEWS

Guests in SBT’s chamber news section this month, the Crawley & Gatwick Chamber of Commerce exec team detail their full calendar of exciting events for 2017, including a Joint Chambers event in June of this year

New funding pot for small businesses in Crawley Small grants are available from Crawley Borough Council for Crawley small businesses thinking about expanding or taking on apprentices. From startups to businesses with fewer than 50 employees there is an opportunity for some support from Crawley Borough Council. • Apprenticeship grants for local small businesses to offset the costs of hiring and training apprentices. • Grants for small business startups, available to encourage Crawley residents to set up their own enterprises

by helping them meet business set up costs. • Grants to help existing small businesses to grow. For example, this could help a business to pay to access relevant training modules such as business planning, employment law and recruitment, marketing, finance. Funding of up to £2,000 is available for small business grants, where 50 per cent match funding is required. The maximum apprenticeship grant is £1,500. Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development at Crawley Borough Council, said: “This new scheme can

provide a fantastic way to support small business growth and encourage apprenticeships in Crawley, as part of our Employment and Skills Plan. “The small grants would provide vital funding to enable residents to put their business ideas into action, encourage small and micro businesses take on apprentices and help existing small businesses to grow.” For more information email economic.development@crawley. gov.uk, visit www.crawley.gov.uk/ smallbusinessgrant or call 01293 438519

www.crawleychamber.co.uk

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Chamber News

What is changing? From April 2017 there will be changes affecting businesses with very low cost bases. These businesses will now be classed as “limited cost traders” if they spend: • less than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover on goods in an accounting period; or • more than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover but less then £1,000 a year. So what is going to change and who is The amount spent on goods does likely to be affected? not include the purchase of capital goods such as new equipment, food What is the VAT flat and drink and rate scheme? vehicles or parts of When calculating how “The government vehicles. much VAT it needs to Limited cost pay or claim back from believes that some traders who HMRC, a business businesses have participate in the usually works out the been using the flat rate scheme difference between the from April 2017 VAT they charge their scheme to pay onwards will have customers and the VAT less VAT than they a fixed rate of they pay on their own 16.5%. This means purchases. should be” that work sold for The flat rate scheme £120 with £20 of simplifies this process VAT will result in a flat rate VAT charge by introducing a fixed rate of VAT which is payable to HMRC. Participating businesses of £19.80. The government believes that are allowed to keep the difference between some businesses have been using what they charge customers and what the scheme to pay less VAT than they they pay HMRC. should be. In particular, if a business Businesses may be able to reclaim VAT has small expenses and operates in a on capital items that cost £2,000 or more. sector with a low fixed rate of VAT, it To be eligible for the scheme a business will pay HMRC less than it would if it must be VAT registered and have VAT were outside the scheme. turnover of £150,000 or less in the next 12 Businesses can voluntarily register months. for VAT before their turnover reaches The fixed rate of VAT that a business the £83,000 VAT registration threshold will pay depends on their type. So, for so they can make use of the flat rate example, IT consultants pay 14.5% while scheme and have a cash advantage those in the publishing sector pay 11%. Effects on the tax liability for small businesses Among the measures relating to business taxation in the Autumn Statement 2016, Philip Hammond announced a change to the VAT flat rate scheme. This could have significant effects on the tax liability of small businesses that currently make use of the scheme.

Tel: 07813 885529

Who will be affected? The measure will increase the VAT bill of businesses that are labour-intensive but spend little on goods. Examples of the kind of entities that may be affected are IT contractors, consultants and construction workers who supply their labour but are not responsible for purchasing the raw materials. Next steps Businesses have time to comment on draft legislation which was published on 5 December 2016. If you need more information on any of the above please contact Philip Hayden – Director of Richard Place Dobson Accountants in Crawley - philip@placedobson.co.uk

Upcoming events and dates for your diary: 15th February – 6.00pm – Members networking - Xenia Cocktail bar, Crawley 29th March – 8.00am – Members breakfast – Crawley Town FC 26th April – 8.00am – Members breakfast - County Mall 24th May – 8.00am – Members breakfast - Rawlison & Butler For more meetings and to book for the above events please go to the website – www. crawleychamber.co.uk or email jose@crawleychamber.co.uk.

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Chamber News

Sussex students inspired by Global Entrepreneurship Week With an entrepreneurial atmosphere taking over the country, Crawley & Gatwick Chamber of Commerce are sponsors and supporters of Young Start-up Talent (YST) as are many of its members. The initiative held a number of workshops across the South East to budding young entrepreneurs who are hoping to start their own business. Lorraine Nugent, MD of Media Word Waves Ltd and Founding Partner of Young Start-up Talent commented: “The interest in the initiative has been extremely inspiring and incredible to witness.” After hosting a drop in session and workshops at many of the schools and colleges across the region, YST presented business workshops at the Crawley Campus of Central Sussex College where the turnout was incredible. With over 500 enthusiastic students from all aspects of the curriculum attending the seminar, Young Start-up Talent was extremely disappointed to have to turn away over 150 more students, as there was simply no more room! However,

“With over 500 enthusiastic students from all aspects of the curriculum attending the seminar, Young Start-up Talent was extremely disappointed to have to turn away over 150 more students, as there was simply no more room” due to the unbelievable attendance and enthusiasm at the college from both students and lecturers, Young Start-up Talent returned to the Crawley Campus. Anahita Henry whose remit is enterprise and entrepreneurship at Central Sussex College said: “Young Start-up Talent workshops are key features of the College’s calendar. We strive to instil in our students an enterprising approach to their studies as many of our young people have some really great business

ideas with real money-making potential. Many learners will go on to set up their businesses after being inspired by the YST workshop and entering the competition. We’ve also seen that our annual focus on enterprise and entrepreneurship gives our students the opportunity to showcase their ideas and talents and pitch to potential employers and investors, making the whole experience very realistic”. After going through a number of workshops and speed networking with sponsors, a final five young entrepreneurs will be pitching their businesses at the offices of Thales in Manor Royal on 16th February to compete for the £50,000 prize fund. The winner will be announced at a showcase event on 13th March at Lingfield Park Marriott Hotel. To find out more about the initiative and to be involved in the future, or if you would like to attend the showcase event please visit http://www.youngstartuptalent.co.uk or contact info@youngstartuptalent.co.uk.

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Email: jose@crawleychamber.co.uk

52 www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk

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Motoring

Test Drive Sussex Business Times continues to provide businessmen and women with insight into the motoring world, this time reviewing the Infiniti QX30, the Suzuki Swift and Suzuki Baleno

Infiniti QX30 The second car that Sussex Business Times has had come through from Infiniti was the QX30, the bigger

market – BMW, Mercedes and Audi, for example. To remind you all about this, as a still Luxury relatively new brand, Infiniti is to Nissan what Lexus is to Toyota; a luxury branch of a volume manufacturer. It’s still a relative minnow brother of the Q30, in Europe, but is “The 18” wheels hugely popular in and following in its footsteps, this newer the States, and the also give you model is another great hopes that plenty of traction company example of where the by giving European on the road with buyers what they brand is going. Its appeal to its target an assured drive want, it can replicate market seems clear as some of that success with confident day and well defined. over here. Though Just by looking at the QX30 is far from a handling” Infiniti’s selection of fully-fledged SUV, it’s motors, we would got plenty of compact suggest that the target customer for crossover competition. this brand is someone who is willing The reward for those opting for the to step away from the ‘regular’ brands brand is a stylish car that includes that dominate the premium end of the everything you’d expect from a

54 www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk

premium manufacturer, including a full leather interior with a decent finish, all mod cons (so far as gadgets are concerned), reversing camera and 18inch alloys, while a Sat Nav is also fitted as standard. So far as SUVs go, though, it’s not terribly spacious inside and feels more like a regular saloon that’s been jacked up a little. It’s less SUV and more ‘beefed up’ hatch but it has an eyecatching look that suggests a quality product. While there are various petrol and diesel engine options in the Q30 hatchback, the choice in the QX30 is much more limited. There’s both a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 2.2-litre diesel engine on offer. The 168bhp four-cylinder unit is paired with a sevenspeed dual clutch automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive. That makes it rather pricey though, starting from £29,490


Engine capacity: 2.2L Diesel Transmission: 7-speed dual clutch automatic 0-62mph: 8.5 seconds Max speed: 134mph OTR price: £33,370

and rising to a substantial £33,370 for the top-spec Premium Tech model. Spec for spec it’s around £2,000 more than the Q30 hatchback. Although the price is high – some may say too high – the drive isn’t bad. It’s quite quick. The response that you get from the engine is good. After a spell of injection-lag, the QX30 jets off with impressive gusto. The 18” wheels also give you plenty of traction on the road with an assured drive with confident handling. In short, it’s a good offering from the company. It puts them in a segment of one of the fastest-growing markets in Europe. The only real sticking point is the price. With so many options in this crowded space available, it’s going to need a good salesman to convince potential customers to deviate from its competition.

www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk 55


1 Motoring

Suzuki Swift vs Suzuki Baleno SBT also got behind the wheel of two Suzuki models: the Swift and the Baleno. Here, we provide you with our thoughts The Suzuki Swift began in 1985 as Suzuki a marketing and manufacturing Swift rebadge of the Suzuki Cultus, manufactured and marketed worldwide across three generations and four body configurations — three-door hatchback, four-door sedan, five-door hatchback and two-door convertible — although overtime, this model has seen many improvements. The Swift provided us with a lot of fun and offered a certain sense of nostalgia,

As the bigger brother to the Suzuki Suzuki Swift, the Baleno gives a little Baleno more space and a little more comfort. Having two small cars in this part of the Suzuki range poses benefits to the manufacturer, as this is an area they excel in and where a lot of their customer base is. The Suzuki Baleno boasts many of the elements and gadgets you would expect in a modern-day car; electric front and rear windows, gear shift indicator, outside temperature display, fuel consumption display, automatic headlamps, green-tinted windows and USB and AUX connectors as well as Bluetooth integrated into the audio unit, DAB digital radio, navigation system and smartphone linkage. The general feel and build quality inside the Baleno is OK. It’s relatively comfortable but the finish is generally

56 www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk

being reminiscent of the much older Swift models. Smaller cars can often be more fun to drive, taking you back to the first cars you ever owned and at a time when the only way to drive was as though you were in a Go-Kart. The obvious improvements in this model are clear, especially in terms of the car’s build and general motoring tech. The Suzuki Swift boasts a K12B Dualjet engine, cruise control, tilt adjustable steering wheel, gear shift indicator, 16” alloy wheels, Bluetooth integrated audio unit and steering wheel mounted audio controls. However, the real plusses that come along with the Swift are the fuel economy and convenience of town or city driving. They’re simple to park and boast plenty of initial poke to get you out of junctions and to keep up with town traffic, although you wouldn’t really want to venture out onto the motorways all too often in it. The only thing missing from this little run-around is a Sat-Nav.

in the lower end, with a slightly plastic feel to many of the components. It’s a car that’s likely to fail in exciting the younger crowd and will more likely be one for older drivers that may use it to nip to the shops each week, spending the rest of the time gathering dust in the garage. Overall, the Baleno is a good car, which offers more of a sense of security

B

Who in the business would drive the Swift? Probably the office junior, or maybe the intern. Definitely not the sales rep or MD, although this doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t make for a great little car; it’s just not one for the more experienced drivers out there. Engine capacity: 1242cc Transmission: Manual 0-62mph: 12.3s Max speed: 102.5mph OTR price: £12,849

and safety in comparison to the Swift. Who in the business would drive it? Probably the accounts team, junior sales. Engine capacity: 1.0 Transmission: 5-speed manual 0-62mph: 11.4s Max speed: 124mph OTR price: £12,999

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SBTMotoring News Nissan To Harness Internal Ingenuity With New Innovation Awards Nissan has announced the winners of its inaugural Chairman’s Innovation Awards as part of the company’s drive to cultivate top talent and innovative ideas from within the business. Launched in May last year, the first Chairman’s Innovation Awards encouraged employees to share their innovative ideas to unlock business growth and product transformation. An additional award was also developed to celebrate existing innovative behaviour within the business. Over 2,000 entries were received

Extended Grand Prix Tour Puts Experience On Map A luxury supercar tour, created to capture the spirit of the Monaco Grand Prix and offer fans the finest elements of the prestigious event and location, has launched an extensive new route through five countries for 2017. The week-long Mayfair to Monte Carlo tour, which originally launched in 2015, runs from 21st to 29th May and has been created by Exclusive GP’s team of experts in the Grand Prix experience. It offers twenty-five supercar fans the chance to make the trip from Mayfair to Monte Carlo, in a choice of coveted supercars, and incorporates a range of luxury five star hospitality venues, including the Reims Champagne region, the Furka Pass, St Moritz, Lake Como, Nice and Monaco. The trip through some of the best driving roads in Europe culminates in a three-night stay in the French Riviera for the Grand Prix race event, where a celebrity driver – who will also lead the tour – will join the group. For more information visithttps://www.exclusivegp. com/

58 www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk

from across nine European regions, with 20 finalists being invited to the Nissan Brand Centre in Barcelona to pitch their ideas to a judging panel consisting of Nissan Europe Chairman Paul Willcox, members of the Nissan Europe board, Frank Campbell, from Energy management experts and Nissan partner EATON, and Carolina Costa, former MD of Orange Labs London – the incubation hub for the telecommunications firm. As well as the judging panel, Nissan employees were also given a say on the winners using a “people’s vote” function via the company’s employee app.

The two winners announced are: • Jean-Christophe Sellier from Nissan France for innovative behaviour in leading the Micra Intelligent Get & Go, an online car-sharing program that allows up to five people to own a Micra. • John Ferguson Nissan UK (Sunderland plant) for his idea to use cutting-edge digital e-ink and e-paper technology toallow customers limitless choice of colours for their car.

Audi Sets New Uk And International Sales Records In 2016 Audi has enjoyed another recordbreaking UK sales success in 2016, completing a total of 177,566 customer deliveries by year-end and therefore improving upon its 2015 full year performance by 6.4 per cent. Total UK market share at the end of 2016 for the premium brand also rose by 0.3 per cent to 6.6 per cent. Globally, AUDI AG has 3.8 per cent more sales, resulting in around 1,871,350 cars in 2016. Worldwide, demand increased for the seventh year in a row since 2009 and the company has almost doubled its market success over this period. Worldwide, Audi acquired the most new customers in

2016 in Europe, particularly with the new A4. Dietmar Voggenreiter, Board Member for Sales and Marketing at AUDI AG commented: “2016 proved to be even more challenging for Audi than expected, with strong headwinds in many key markets. We managed to demonstrate the robust strength of our business with balanced growth around the globe.”

Mercedes Slashes Prices In Ireland By 10% Because Of Weak Pound Mercedes-Benz recently announced that it would be reducing new car prices by 10 per cent due to Brexit. The company says the cuts are in order to support distributors after the slump in the pound, making UK imports cheaper. The cost of a top of the range Mercedes AMG GT S is now 25,000 EUR cheaper than before. With righthand drive and the benefit of a 12 per cent fall of the pound against the euro since June, Ireland seems to have all the perks!

The Irish statistics office, last month said that the number of used private cars imported and licensed in December more than doubled to 6,357. They mainly come from across the Irish Sea before being taxed and registered and Mercedes said decreasing prices across its model range was already helping sales in January. However, despite the Mercedes price cuts, Ireland prices are still higher than that of the UK, which can be explained by higher tax rates in Ireland. But this isn’t putting anyone off!


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Gemini Print and Brighton Fringe in partnership for the fourth year running GEMINI PRINT GROUP are proud to confirm they have been chosen to be the official print partner to the Brighton Fringe 2017 for the fourth consecutive year. Brighton Fringe is England’s largest arts festival and one of the biggest Fringe festivals in the world taking place from Friday 5th May – Sunday 4th June 2017. The Fringe comprises of acts from all over the world performing in a selection of venues in the Brighton region. Brighton’s well known vibrant city culture fits the performing arts theme perfectly making the city one of most popular places to visit in the UK over the Fringe month. The partnership works extremely well for both parties with one main focus – to remain eco-friendly. Gemini is one of the leading ecofriendly printers in the UK using only vegetable inks, processor less plate technology and currently recycles 93% of all materials used. Managing director of Gemini Print, Steve Cropper comments “This is a fantastic opportunity for Gemini to yet again support the Fringe and has enabled us to create a trustworthy working relationship with them. Members of the Gemini team hosted ‘Print Marketing Workshops’ for both venue holders and participants advising them on how to create ‘print that sticks’. This was received very well and for the first time the participants evening was streamed ‘live’ on-line. This was a great chance for us to share our expertise with a much wider audience.’’ Gemini has reduced printing prices in place especially for all Fringe participants and venue holders to help them promote their shows and venues at a small cost (please see right). 60 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk

BRIGHTON FRINGE SPECIAL OFFERS The Gemini Print Group is pleased to support all those involved with Brighton Fringe. To help you promote your shows, events and venues we have discounted our printing costs especially for you – the venue managers and participants. Costs are based on ready to print PDF supplied artwork. Alternatively we are happy to offer a design and artwork service at £20 per hour (over 50% off the usual rate).

A4 8 Page Brochure (297mm x 210mm) – Printed on 170gsm silk – Matt laminated on outer only – Saddle stitched 50 = £123.00 100 = £150.00 200 = £203.00 500 = £356.00

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A6 Flyers (148mm x 105mm) – Printed both sides on 170gsm silk 500 = £31.00 1000 = £44.00 1500 = £57.00 2000 = £70.00 2500 = £83.00 3000 = £92.00 4000 = £110.00 5000 = £128.00

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(210mm x 148mm) – Printed both sides on 170gsm silk 500 = £44.00 1000 = £67.00 1500 = £90.00 2000 = £113.00 2500 = £136.00 3000 = £181.00 4000 = £221.00 5000 = £261.00 * A3 Posters (420mm x 297mm) – Printed one side on 170gsm silk 10 = £14.00 20 = £15.00 30 = £17.00 50 = £21.00 75 = £26.00 100 = £30.00 200 = £48.00 500 = £92.00 * Posters will be subject to vat at 20%

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BEST DESIGN FOR PRINT AWARD Not only does Gemini ‘print’ all marketing material for the Fringe but Gemini will also be hosting and awarding a £500 print

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For free advice on your next print project call us today on (01273) 464 884 or visit www.gemini-print.co.uk for more information on the products and services available at Gemini. Written by Alicia Condon.

www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 61


SBT

ASK THE

SBT Ask the Experts is sponsored by

EXPERTS

WE ASK THE EXPERTS TO GIVE YOU THE ANSWERS YOU NEED

EXPERT

Jeremy Wootton, Commercial Property Team, Bennett Griffin Solicitors the legal terms in their favour before they market their property. Taking professional advice to balance positions at the outset, before Heads of Terms are issued, reduces the risk of costly renegotiation later on.

I’m relocating, when should I speak to my lawyers? Relocation is disrupting for businesses, however involving your lawyer at an early stage in negotiations can help to smooth the way to a less stressful and expensive move. Why so soon? Landlords selling or leasing their business space may have considered how to tilt

EXPERT

What is ‘Customer Experience’? Customer Experience (CX) can be defined as ‘the product of an interaction between an organisation and a customer over the duration of their relationship’. Why does good Customer Experience matter? Today’s customers have more choice and are more demanding (and less forgiving!)

info@checkaprofessional.com 62 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk

What will my lawyer do? If you’re renting they’ll review your “full repairing and insuring lease”, since a new tenant could find themselves taking on the responsibility for renovating a building that’s already in a poor state of repair. Your lawyer will ensure that any limitations are properly qualified in the legal documentation and they’ll also ensure your liability is clear for when you vacate the building. Your lawyer will work through the technical terms of what happens if you need to break the lease to ensure your obligations are clear and the terms fair. They’ll also consider how you would

reassign the lease, should you want to move on, and will ensure clarity on subletting. If you are buying then your lawyer can help with negotiating the terms. Having a clear understanding at the negotiating stage on whether service charges apply to service roads or common areas can save time and money at a later date. Finally… Dealing with buying, selling or renting property is what your lawyers do every day. Utilising their expertise early on in the process will help to make your relocation as pain free as possible. For more information please contact Jeremy on jcw@bennett-griffin.co.uk or telephone 01903 706986. www. bennettgriffin.co.uk

Jim McCall, MD of Brighton-based digital agency, The Unit than ever. They’re typically less ‘brand loyal’, and competing for their time, attention and love is increasingly challenging. However, if managed well, a good customer experience can positively influence behaviour, from purchase decisions to retention and advocacy. It can be the key to setting a brand apart from its competitors and, crucially, it can deliver significant business results. How to understand your customer’s ‘journey’ Firstly, listen to your customer and find out what they really think by asking these questions: how do they use your product? what are they trying to achieve? and are they successful? Armed with this information, on a timeline, map out your customer’s

journey with your brand/company across channels, identifying where expectations are met and where interactions fall short of expectations. Then interpret and action the information. Look at the low points identified – maybe the point where a claim is made for an insurance company, or where a call to your customer service team falls short of the customers’ expectations. These are the key areas to improve and therefore prioritise. Touch-points where expectations are already met can often be improved too to ‘delight’ customers, and exceed expectations, through innovation. To find out how The Unit could help you increase business value through improved Customer Experience visit: http://www.theunit.co.uk/

0808 901 9042


SBT

ASK THE

SBT Ask the Experts is sponsored by

EXPERTS

WE ASK THE EXPERTS TO GIVE YOU THE ANSWERS YOU NEED

EXPERT

Michael Ogilvie, Business Advisor and Accountant OBC The Accountants It only needs a spark from one of the following - the Brexit negotiations to start badly, a “Trumpism” to backfire, or Angela Merkel not to be re-elected in Germany, and we could be witnessing the worst world financial crash since the 1930s. So here are 10 steps to help you protect your business in 2017:

Should I be doing anything to protect my business in 2017? We are all faced with a major period of uncertainty in 2017, where all manner of issues could explode and affect our businesses.

EXPERT Who will have mastery of the new Mastertrust requirements under the Pension Schemes Bill? The Bill addresses the risk of a mastertrust failing and members’ pension savings being used to pay for the costs of winding up the scheme. Mastertrusts, multi-employer schemes where each employer has its own sub-scheme within the trust, have increased in popularity but legislation has lagged behind until now. Under the Bill, Mastertrusts must meet 5 tough new requirements:

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1. Reduce your exposure to borrowing, if at all possible 2. Convert overdraft borrowing into more manageable repayment loans 3. Sell any assets you do not need to create as much additional liquidity as you can 4. Take as much “non-productive” cost out of your system as possible 5. Check your insurance policy – does it cover political unrest? 6. Get even closer to your customers/

clients – you will need them more than ever 7. Plan, plan, plan for the various “what if” scenarios that might affect your business 8. Prepare your team for tough times – it is hard to imagine this scenario at a time like now with relatively full employment, but it could happen 9. Let’s pray that my concerns are over the top, and I am just a “worry guts” 10. Take action and keep smiling – worrying never improves anything – only taking action can! Good luck everyone!

Contact Michael on 01323 720555 or mo@obcaccountants.com for further information and advice.

Penny Cogher, Partner at Irwin Mitchell 1. Persons involved in the scheme are fit and proper. 2. Sufficient financial sustainability. 3. The scheme funder (its sponsor) provides adequate assurance about its financial position and only carries out activities that relate directly to the Mastertrust scheme. 4. Have sufficient governance and administration systems. 5. Have an adequate continuity strategy. As not all Mastertrusts currently comply, work is needed to bring all existing Mastertrusts up to scratch. We expect some Mastertrust providers to pull out of the market or change their offerings because of the Bill. There is also the potential of a PPF type rescue fund being established for failing Mastertrusts. A cap on exit charges will also be introduced.

The Pensions Regulator will authorise and supervise Mastertrusts and help if an orderly exit is needed - if a Mastertrust provider fails or withdraws from the market. It has already fined some Mastertrust providers this year for failing to have a chairman’s statement about the Mastertrust so seems prepared for this role. If, as an employer, you are thinking of transferring your DC pension benefits to a Mastertrust you may want to delay until all the new requirements are known as currently few, if any, Mastertrusts are state of the art. For more information, please contact Penny Cogher via email at penny. cogher@irwinmitchell.com or call 02074 008798

0808 901 9042 www.sussexbusinesstimes.co.uk 63


Networking in Sussex

SBT

Society Chestnut Tree House: Networking for a Cause in Hove

Photography by - Graham Franks ©

Over 70 people attended the Hove business networking breakfast hosted by Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice, which took place on Thursday 26 January at the 1st Central County Ground. Attendees from a large range of local businesses met to learn about the work of the hospice in the community. Guests included representatives from Barclays, Search, Kreston Reeves and Juice 107.2. The 1st Central County Ground, who provided a delicious full cooked breakfast, supported the event. Chestnut Tree House provides care and support to around 300 children with life shortening conditions and their families across Sussex. The vital service relies heavily on the support of the local business community and events like this to continue providing vital care to local children and families. Linda Perry, Director of Children’s Services at Chestnut Tree House said of the event: “It was great to see so many local businesses come along to show their support and find out more about Chestnut Tree House. It’s really important to us to spread the word about the specialist care services we offer, both at the hospice and in families’ own homes. We rely heavily on the support and generosity of local businesses and want to continue to reach out to more children and families across East and West Sussex, and within the Brighton and Hove area.”

The Chestnut Tree House team on the cricket 0pitch with large illuminated signage courtesy of Sussex County Cricket

Shilpa Dalsania of HSBC with Jo Smith and Alison Taylor of Chestnut Tree House

Chestnut Tree House Juliette MacPherson with Julie Beard of WSP Ltd

Claudia Gurr from Sussex County Cricket Ground, John Bellamy of Sussex Sign Company and Sarah Arnold of Chestnut Tree House

64 www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk

From Business Argus Peter Lindsey with Chestnut Tree House Mandi Hirsch

Terri Rayner and Marc Hancock of Sutton Winson

Sarah Donohoe of American Express Community Stadium


How to shop for antiques Advice from TV experts FABULOUS FABRIC

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Made in Sussex

Made in Sussex:

Your Friend with a Van! SBT gets in touch with Gavin Sandells, a Brighton entrepreneur who has launched the ‘Van Hailing’ Mobile App, Vanuse A local entrepreneur has launched a new Brand mobile app that Focus provides an ondemand van and driver service, intended to reduce the cost and hassle of using a van to move an items as and when you need to - similar to Uber, but for vans! Former Project Manager, Gavin Sandells hopes that his app, Vanuse, will solve a common frustration for people who need a van to transport items immediately. The platform simultaneously offers the ‘man with a van’ access to customers who need their help - filling gaps in the driver’s own schedule and providing an opportunity for van drivers and owners to earn some extra cash. “We have local van owners and drivers signed up already – they recognise that an on-demand service is something their customers often ask for, but calling around seeing if people are available for a quick pick-up and drop-off is a pain,” he said. “With our app, customers and businesses can call on a van and our drivers will be immediately notified if there’s someone nearby who needs their help. The drivers benefit from earning money rather than sitting and waiting for their next job to start.” One such driver is Boris, who has his own removals business. He was looking for a way to keep earning money when he is in between his own work: “I am excited to be part of Vanuse. When I am available, I log into the app and get notifications of any jobs near me. I have had a few now and it’s been a good experience. The app is easy to use, I get the name of the person I am going to help, along with a photo and details of the items they need help moving. Then once I am finished, both driver and customer get to rate their experience. I receive

66 www.sussexbusinessgroup.co.uk

QU confirmation of my earning. I can check the history of what I have earned on the app. Money is transferred directly into my bank account”. All of the drivers and vehicles that have signed up to use the platform have undergone a background check to ensure the safety and security of customers, businesses and their belongings. Vanuse simplifies payment and removes any need for bartering by acting as an intermediary between driver and customer. Customers receive the cost of the trip before confirming the trip request. The app securely debits the fare from the customers debit/credit card, which is based on a standing fee and the distance travelled. An estimate is provided during the booking process, with a 20-minute journey from Brighton to Peacehaven typically costing around £25. The app has been developed in partnership with local app developers, Agile App Co, based at the Sussex Innovation Centre: “Its been a great

experience working with Agile App to design and build the app, I highly recommend them,” said Gavin. The Vanuse app is available to download for free from the App Store and Google Apps. The app is currently only available in Sussex. Plans are in place to roll out Vanuse across the UK in 2017. “We’re ready to spread the word to people across Sussex that the solution is here for businesses and customers to use,” said Gavin. “Say that you’ve got a sofa that you need to get home, are moving all your files into storage, or have to get a drum kit over to the other side of town – Vanuse can connect you with a driver immediately, without all the hassle of needing to hire a vehicle or calling around to see who’s available and how much it will cost, its all done on the app. Now we all have a friend with a van!”


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Sussex Business Times - Issue 409 2017  

Sussex Business Times - Issue 409 - February 2017

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