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Spraying new life into our kitchens PAGES2&3

Start Survive Thrive

Taking care to run great homes PAGES4&5

A FREE seminar highlighting the opportunities for Liverpool businesses in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland is being staged at Liverpool FC’s Anfield stadium next Tuesday, June 28. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council event starts at 1pm and features speakers from DLA Piper, Invest HK and Liverpool FC. To register contact karen. or phone 0207-616 9503.

Crosby in link with Elixir CROSBY Construction enhanced its corporate social responsibility credentials by taking part in Groundwork Merseyside’s free Enworks environmental support and advice programme. The Crosby-based firm is now working with housing companies such as One Vision Housing, One Vision Property Services and Liverpool Mutual Homes on recycling PVC-U window frames and doors that would normally be sent to land-fill. Its recycling work is in tandem with Bootlebased social enterprise Elixir Foundation which offers opportunities to the long-term unemployed and socially excluded groups, such as recovering drug and alcohol addicts.

HM REVENUE and ● Customs said it is targeting VAT defaulters

private tutors and e-marketplaces in a new campaign using cuttingedge tools like web robot software to search the internet and find targeted information about specific people and companies who have failed to pay the right tax. The web robot also helps find people who are trading without telling HMRC.

WINDOW ON THE WORLD: Elixir founder Ben Donnelly, left, and Crosby Construction managing director Tony Dolan


By NEIL HODGSON Industry Reporter

LIVERPOOL John Moores University has developed a degree course aimed at creating the next generation of small business owners. Its Liverpool Business School has offered a business and management degree for several years, but principal lecturer in small business and enterprise, Séamus O’Brien, has updated it to focus on small business and entrepreneurship, management and financial perspectives. What is believed to be the first degree

Degree targets next generation of SME owners

of its kind has now been validated and commended by the Institute of Leadership and Management and courses will commence in September. A final year module in researching and developing a business plan for a small firm has replaced dissertations

and guest lecturers will include speakers from banks, the chambers of commerce and former students who have set up their own businesses. Mr O’Brien said: “We have spoken to local and national businesses who have fully endorsed the scheme which is looking at Prime Minister David Cameron’s call to instil entrepreneurship.” Over the next couple of years he hopes to extend the course to day and evening sessions to help small business owners in areas like accounts and finding finance. The university has already received interest in the course from institutions in Malaysia and Northern Ireland and Mr O’Brien is planning to introduce a

Masters in entrepreneurship. He added: “Our applications have gone through the roof. We used to take 80 students in the first year and that has gone up to 140. “We have had students transferring from other courses in their second and third year because they like the idea.” He said he wanted a unique course to distinguish JMU when university fees rise next year: “I wanted it to be sexy and wanted it to be applicable. Companies have told us they want students who can write a business plan and bring everything together in terms of marketing, finance, management, HR and e-commerce. We wanted something different for when the fees kick in.”

JUST days remain for three north west businesses to drum up votes to reach the final of the Barclays Take One Small Step awards which offer a share of £450,000 for winners. BSpoke Fundraising Solutions is based in Liverpool; health food firm SaladBowl is in Hoylake; and Green Street Media is a Chester advertising service. To vote go to www.takeonesmallstep. before 9am next Monday, June 27.

HALEWOOD ● transmissions maker Getrag Ford has

won the Cultural Improvement Award for its commitment to improving production efficiency at the recent Yorkshire Productivity Awards in Leeds. The awards recognise outstanding productivity improvements among manufacturing companies and individual employees.

FASHION boutique Each To Their Own has adopted Knowsleybased Cybertill’s electronic tills system across its business.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011



A SPEKE-based social enterprise can help towards the funding of university-accredited training courses. Unique Improvements specialises in commissioning training and engagement training courses. It has launched Uni Bursaries, which are funding packages to support groups of staff who would not normally attract training funding or where there is a limited training budget. The bursaries are available to health and social care staff, primary care practice staff and lay people and are offered on the basis of one free place for every bought place on one of five university-accredited courses covering engagement and involvement, and commissioning. Managing director Linda Henry said: “This is a unique opportunity to share the benefits of social enterprise working at grass roots level and to bring all the strands of our training packages together to help those who normally don’t get help to go on university-accredited courses.” The five courses are accredited by Unique’s academic partner Teesside University. For more information phone 0151-486 6737 or visit http://unique


A FREE bank holiday and weekend emergency advice line has been set up for Merseyside residential landlords. The Merseyside Landlord Property Support Group, based in Wirral, has set up the line to help landlords with issues such as problem tenants. Landlords can call either 0151 639 6253 or 07761 813260, between 10am and 9pm on bank holidays and weekends.


BUSINESS of the Week


UMS are a constant source of inspiration, and Laura Walton’s provided the spark she and her partner Neil Elias needed to strike out and start their own business venture together. Laura, 26, explained that the family had just moved to a new house in St Helens and found the kitchen “a bit dark”. Her mum made inquiries to several manufacturers and was staggered by quotes of around £7,000 for a new kitchen. So, resorting to good old ingenuity, she asked whether car sprayer Neil, 29, could brighten things up by painting her existing kitchen. He set to work, carefully treating all the surfaces with a couple of coats of wood primer before using car paint to give a gleaming, gloss finish, and the result was spectacular. Laura’s mum got a “new kitchen” for just over £100 for the cost of materials, and must be one of a very few houseproud housewives who polishes her units with car wax, said Laura. But the exercise got Laura and Neil to thinking that there could be the gem of a business idea there. So late last year they started working up a business plan and this January launched kitchen refurbishment company The Paint House aimed at reinvigorating old kitchens with a coat of matt or gloss paint. At first they prepared and painted kitchen units in an Anfield base, but Neil said: “We had a leak and drips of water were ruining my painting, so I had to strip them back and put primer on again.” Laura added: “Our first premises weren’t brilliant. We had so many sleepless nights starting this business.” But a move to a new site on Nelson Business Park, off Long Lane, provided the ideal base for Laura to generate business and Neil to prepare and paint the units. She said: “This is more for me. I had worked in offices, which is why I wanted to start my own business.” Multi-talented Laura was also self-employed as a singer and has just been signed to Red Admiral records, in Kent, as a songwriter. But her focus is firmly on The Paint House and building up enough business for Neil to eventually quit his job as a car sprayer and go full time. He explained: “At the moment I work and come here of a night and paint.” The two have already worked as a team when Neil previously ran his own car repair business and Laura would look after the admin work. At the moment word of mouth is

That’s the spray to do it – bringing new life to old kitchens Neil Hodgson talks to a couple who can transform a kitchen with a lick of paint generating enough work for the couple and Neil had started to train Laura how to paint, but now she is expecting she may have to stop and concentrate on office duties. But they said if the workload increases they can easily draft in another painter. Laura said: “The work doesn’t take that long, we can get a full kitchen done and sprayed in two to three days, it’s the preparation that takes the time.” The couple can also work their magic with smaller items, like furniture, tables, mirrors, and even musical instruments.

“Because of my musical connections we have done guitars and also pianos,” said Laura. A recent client asked Neil to spray an old upright piano to give it a black lacquered look to match his home decor, which has generated similar business after family and friends saw the result. They get the same reaction from their kitchen refurbishments, said Laura: “We have customers who are happy for other customers to go into their houses to see our work.” She said they were wary and cautious about setting up in the wake

of a recession, but in some ways the current conditions could be a driver, with many householders unable to afford a brand new kitchen. Ironically, Laura revealed, the more well off customers can be the most testing: “People who haven’t got that much money are great, but people with huge houses and massive kitchens try and knock us down on price. “We’re definitely in the market of people who can’t afford to buy a huge kitchen – we are the alternative kitchen.” Neil added: “We’re a good option to have instead of a brand new kitchen.” Apart from a £1,000 start-up loan from St Helens Chamber of Commerce, the pair financed their venture entirely from their own savings, but Laura said the support the chamber gave them was probably more valuable than the funding. “The chamber advised us on our business plan, and without their help I would not have set up the business.”

FPB warns cookies could leave nasty taste for firms SMALL firms have been warned that their websites could fall foul of new EU rules governing the use of cookies. Currently many websites use cookies to allow users to navigate their pages efficiently, performing tasks

such as remembering log-in details, browsing history and ordering information. Cookies work by installing a small piece of code on to a site user’s computer that allows the site to remember and recognise visitors.

However, recent updates to the EU’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations mean that it is now technically illegal for UK websites to do this without first seeking the user’s consent.

Companies which are found to have fallen foul of the new law, introduced on May 26, face a fine of up to £500,000. The body policing the regulations – the Information Commissioners’ Office – said that if it receives a complaint

it will give the site’s owner ‘up to 12 months’ to make alterations before prosecuting. But lobby group the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has called on firms to make any necessary changes as soon as possible to avoid fines.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SPRAY FAN: Neil Elias, of the Paint House in Walton, spray paints kitchen units

Picture: Gavin Trafford



A SMALL business lobby group has welcomed plans by Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to disband the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme and allow local authorities to open up household waste and recycling centres to small businesses. Currently, small firms have to pay for the removal of even small amounts of waste. Neil Dutton, regional manager for The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “This is a very positive step forward and we welcome Defra recognising that one size does not fit all. “Small businesses, many of whom generate no more waste than the average family home, have been penalised for many years by the previous legislation.” He added: “Defra’s review of waste policy will help small businesses to recycle more.”

Most of their cash went towards buying equipment like spray guns and compressors, including a portable compressor which allows them to work in someone’s home. Neil said: “We have worked as far as Chorley and have had people from Essex and Glasgow and Northern Ireland making enquiries.” They said the business fluctuates some months: “Sometimes it is not on course according to the business plan, so we don’t take the wages we would normally,” said Laura. “We want to make a wage for each of us, and 33% profit for the first year. “We are not taking as much wages as we would like, but we are keeping our heads above water and haven’t made any loss since day one. But we are still unknown and hopefully next year it will get better.” They believe they have found a niche. Laura said: “We think there’s someone in London doing something similar, but they’re just putting vinyl covers on, not spray painting like us.” As the business model develops Neil hopes to offer more bespoke services, such as stencilled work, like football club crests. Laura said: “I have no qualifications, but I know I can run a business. I know I have the common sense and Neil has the skills.” And she is determined to give her all: “I will carry on getting jobs in – probably even when I am giving birth.”

City of Liverpool


by Ilan Sheady

Do you want to be our Business of the Week? Contact Neil Hodgson 0151 472 2451 or email neil.hodgson

for his crimes against journalism

NEW LOOK: The Paint House founder Laura Walton tested out the company’s services at her mother’s house in St Helens (above)


Wednesday, June 22, 2011



BIG Taking stock and C taking care at crucial time for the sector INTERVIEW Alex Turner talks to the managing director of Stocks Hall Care Homes, Sue Lace

ARE HOMES are always under scrutiny because of the emotional nature of the sector – the care of elderly or disabled people. That has increased in recent months with the financial crisis at Southern Cross, which has 31,000 residents in the UK, while there has been the care crisis highlighted by a documentary on BBC’s Panorama programme which alleged cruelty at a Bristol home. The nature of the sector means that it is the bad examples that make the headlines rather than the day-to-day good work that is done by tens of thousands of carers for hundreds of thousands of residents. Stocks Hall Care Homes was founded in 1987 and today operates five homes in the North West. Managing director Sue Lace said: “It’s because there’s so much bad publicity about the care sector, nobody wants to hear the good things going on. “We don’t want bad organisations operating because it lowers people’s perceptions of the rest of us.” Stocks Hall employs 480 people, which means it is a daily task to ensure staff remain both motivated and monitored – so the residents receive the highest quality care. Sue said: “We very much believe that our staff are the tools of our trade, a continual development is the only thing that keeps the quality of care up to scratch.” That includes an initiative called the Butterfly Project which has been underway for more than a year, with Stocks Hall working with care consultancy Dementia Care Matters to achieve a level three kitemark for its care of patients affected by dementia. Ms Lace said: “The Butterfly Project goes against task-oriented care. It’s spending time with the person to understand the emotion of that person. Although the cognitive skills aren’t there, they still have the emotions. “It’s understanding how to react – if they see a simple thing like ‘I want my mum’, ‘I want to go home’, it’s understanding it’s the comfort that those things bring, and giving them comfort. “It has been a culture change for a lot of people, but it’s about nurturing. We have to nurture ourselves and our staff for them to be able to connect with the people that live here. There’s a lot of support that goes on. “It’s very draining. You are filling those people with love and comfort and the staff can feel ‘who is there to do that with me?’.” Although a lot of that work is, by its nature, ad hoc and informal, the company has also completed formal processes to ensure it maintains

high standards. “We have had Investors in People since 1995 and we are now one of the homes in the country with a gold standard award,” she said. “I started the business because I was passionate about providing the highest standard of care available to those that needed it. “We believe that quality care can only be achieved through well motivated staff that are committed to our core philosophy and values. “Achieving the gold standard has

made me so proud of our staff, who are a dedicated team of professionals. “It confirmed to me we had managed to make that transition from one to five homes.” The company’s first home in Ormskirk was a step into the unknown. “It was a bit scary,” recalled Sue, who had worked as a secretary before studying for a business qualification in readiness for the residential home’s opening.

‘You are filling these people with love and comfort’

Very quickly Sue and Stocks Hall got into their stride, increasing capacity from 27 to 45 residents within a year, before opening a second home, in Burscough, in 1990. Sue said: “It was a massive learning curve, driven by a desire to give the best quality of care. It’s a constant learning curve really.” A third home was opened in 1993, with its Skelmersdale site specialising in caring for people with dementia. It has since added homes in Nelson, in 2002, and most recently St Helens in 2008. Changes to funding have brought a renewed focus on the ongoing challenge of providing the best-possible care while ensuring

the business is sustainable for the long term. “There’s always the financial balance,” said Sue. “It’s very difficult – with most services and commodities, you just put a margin on what it costs to make it. “We are dictated to by social services and primary care trusts and what they are prepared to pay. There are other costs that are out of our control. “This balancing act is becoming more and more difficult. The last thing we want to do is damage the standard of care we provide, we don’t want to stop training out staff or keeping the homes looking nice. “My concern is that the better quality homes are more vulnerable


Wednesday, June 22, 2011


ALWAYS UPBEAT: Sue Lace says there is plenty of good news in the care sector


OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES: Care assistant Shaun Jones, left, with resident Ronald Smith at the Gardening Club

than the homes that aren’t providing this. “We are concerned how funding is going, although we are financially sound.” Getting the balance right at Stocks Hall comes down to working with each of the homes’ managers to ensure they understand the position. “We work together with our managers to understand the financial restraints, said Sue. “Our approach has been it has to be right for the people we are looking after. But we have to be financially viable to achieve that for the staff and for the people that live here.” Sue is confident the company is

in a healthy position and plans are moving forward for more growth. It has acquired a second site in Ormskirk which is currently going through the planning process, while plans are well-progressed to convert an old hotel in Mawdesley, West Lancashire, into a home with a swimming pool and a gym that would act as a place for residents of other homes to go to for short stays. Sue said: “We have grown at a controlled rate. We have ploughed an awful lot of money back in and we are not heavily geared. “Where we are now – to develop those two will be sufficient. We will need to look at the transition up to seven and consolidate that before we look at anything else.”


SPECIALIST CARE: Stocks Hall Care Home in Dentons Green, St Helens

HI-TECH security systems firm Human Recognition Systems (HRS) will unveil its latest development at a national security conference in London next month. The Wavertree Technology Parkbased business has created a multimodal transportable device to check identity details using either finger, face, iris and DNA recognition. Its MForce device is designed for organisations that operate in remote, difficult or temporary locations and need to manage identities and gather intelligence. Lee Hannis, HRS business development manager, said July 5’s National Security 2011 at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre is the perfect platform to launch MForce to a target audience that has security and positive identification at the heart of what they need to achieve. “MForce is integrated with the latest portable and handheld components, which support clients whether they're on patrol, in a temporary camp or forward operating position,” said Lee. HRS has developed security systems for the military and other agencies.


UNHEALTHY staff cost employers, the NHS and themselves £17.7bn a year, says new research by health insurer Bupa. Liverpool-based Health@Work, which works to raise awareness of workplace health with employers, says businesses could save £3bn a year by 2025 by addressing the issue. Frances Molloy, chief executive of Health@Work, said: “These figures are shocking. It clearly shows the importance of the messages we are trying to communicate to firms. If they invest in the wellbeing of their employees, then the company will benefit as staff will be healthier, happier and more productive.”


Wednesday, June 22, 2011




Neil Hodgson on the case for MBOs to revitalise small businesses

FOCUS G . . . on buyouts

OVERNMENT and business are eager to find the magical measures to kick-start the economy. Pumping in cash via the Bank of England and a range of small business-friendly initiatives in Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget have helped stabilise conditions. But among a range of remedies to nurse the nation back to strength is one that has been neglected over the past few tumultuous years as the credit crunch took its toll. Venture capital to support management buyouts (MBOs) and buyins (MBIs) dwindled to almost nothing, and the small business sector has suffered accordingly. Information from the British Venture Capital Association reveals the extent of the problem. The most recently published figures for the north west show the number of MBOs/MBIs in 2009 fell by 82% from the previous year, with £140m being invested in 2008 compared with just £31m in 2009. Across the country the trend was the same, with UK figures showing MBOs/MBIs down by 60% in 2009. Anecdotal evidence suggests 2010 is unlikely to see a significant improvement. Yet, there is clear evidence that businesses that go through a MBO are likely to prosper. A study by the European Private Equity & Venture Capital Association gathered data from companies across Europe which had undergone a venture capital-backed buyout. It showed that 84% of respondents said that without the buyout they would either have ceased to exist or have grown less strongly. They also generally held the view that the contribution of the venture capitalist in both financial and non-financial aspects had been crucial to the post-buyout success. The report went on to state that the economic and social impact of a buyout on investee companies could be seen in virtually every one of a wide variety of indicators, including increased sales and profits, higher levels of employment and employee earnings, a larger percentage of exports, better marketing and improved customer service. Many MBOs take place to facilitate the exit of business

FUNDING IS AVAILABLE: MSIF’s chief operating officer Lisa Greenhalgh founders, generally in retirement, and allow the next generation to take the business further on. An MBO is seen as the best option to aid the smooth continuation of a business because the management team already has a good understanding of the company and its potential, and have existing relationships with clients, suppliers, financial partners and, importantly, staff. In their new roles as ownermanagers they are driven to make the company succeed which, combined with their in-depth knowledge and experience, means that success is more often than not the reality. There is a perception that many potential MBOs have failed to happen over the past three years because of a lack of available finance. But Liverpool-based small business support agency Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF) is keen to promote more MBOs to stimulate the local economy, and has established a specific fund, the Merseyside Loan

& Equity Fund, to provide financial backing for such deals up to a total investment of £2m. It can also provide investment for development capital, expansion and acquisitions. Its team can take prospective buyers through the process and, if necessary, introduce additional members to the management team from their wide network of contacts if new skills are needed to help drive the new venture forward. MSIF’s chief operating officer Lisa Greenhalgh said: “We want businesses to know that MSIF has funding available to support buyouts and also want to encourage advisors to come and speak to us if they have clients that are looking at succession options. “MSIF has a good track record in supporting successful buyouts and, as well as finance, provide additional support to the companies we invest in. “We understand that most management teams don’t have experience of the process, and while the thought of becoming an owner-manager is attractive, it can

all be a bit daunting. “Our aim is to ensure that the management team feels supported both through the transaction process and after the deal is done.” Marion Savill, equity investment director for the Merseyside Loan & Equity Fund, added: “We are a hands-on investor without being overbearing. “The balance must be right – the management should be left to do what they do well, but we can strengthen the existing team to help the business grow. “Many of the non-executives we introduce to investee companies stay much longer than initially expected because we try to ensure that we match the needs of the business and the individuals we introduce very well.” Malcolm Jones, mezzanine investment director with the fund, said: “The beauty of this fund is that the different types of investment – loan, mezzanine and equity – can be mixed together to provide a cocktail of finance which is tailored to suit the individual needs of the business.”

Deal made dream real ONE client the MSIF’s Malcolm Jones worked with was personal injury and residential conveyancing firm Forster Dean, which has offices across the north west including Liverpool, Runcorn, Widnes, St Helens and Warrington. It was formed in 1992 and was the subject of a MBO in 2007 by managing partner Gregory Shields who led a seven-strong team in what was believed to be the first deal of its kind for a law firm in the north west, if not the country. Since the MBO the business has seen impressive growth and is now a Legal 200 ranked law firm with a

Wednesday, June 22, 2011



INVESTOR: Marion Savill of the Merseyside Loan & Equity Fund


BUYOUT TEAM: From left, Steve Stuart of Brabners Stuart, Malcolm Jones of MSIF, Greg Shields of Forster Dean and Bill Doherty of RBS turnover of £7m and 24 offices employing 120 staff, including more than 50 lawyers. Gregory Shields said: “Undertaking the MBO was a fantastic experience. MSIF helped us realise our dream.

“I had a clear vision for the future of the business and the team at MSIF understood and believed in that vision from day one.” He added: “Because the business had a strong cash flow we obtained finance

from MSIF without relinquishing equity, which is crucial for many would-be owners.” “I do not believe that this deal would have happened without the support from MSIF.”

IT’S often claimed that the solution to society’s ills has been discovered – the empowerment of the individual. By giving people skills and knowledge, they can transform their lives for the better. As a recovered drug addict and alcoholic, Ben Donnelly, founder and CEO of Merseyside-based Elixir Group, knows better than most the struggle that is involved in escaping poverty and deprivation and the difference empowerment can make. It was this struggle that motivated Ben, and his business partner Jennifer Kelly, to establish Elixir Group, a hugely successful social enterprise which has won local and national recognition for its work to help people of all backgrounds turn their lives around. In a little over three years, Ben, Jennifer and the rest of the team at Elixir have made a tremendous contribution

towards the Merseyside economy. Ben is keen to demonstrate the potential for social enterprise as a means of boosting the economic recovery: “Already we have injected £1.5m into the local economy, created over 800 jobs for the long-term unemployed, delivered 3,500 training courses and provided ongoing coaching and mentoring for 600 people.” Not only is Elixir creating




LIVERPOOL has more coffee shops and pubs and bars on its high streets than the national average. However, it suffers from a shortage of restaurants, new research has shown. A survey by business insurance provider Simply Business found that hospitality operations, like pubs and restaurants, now outnumber traditional retailers, such as fashion stores. The figures showed pub and bars had a 13% presence on the high street in Liverpool compared with 11% nationally, 8% in Birmingham, 6% in Manchester and 5% in London. Coffee shops account for 12% in the city against 11% nationally, and hairdressers take up 7% in Liverpool against 5% overall. However, restaurants only make up 4%, compared with 6% across the UK. Simply Business chief executive Jason Stockwood said: “The business climate has clearly been more favourable for some retail businesses than others and this has influenced the make-up of high streets across the UK.” with Jo McGrath, chair of the Social Enterprise Network a hugely positive social and economic impact, but by the very nature of the business, is also creating a positive environmental impact. Ben is keen to emphasise the efforts that Elixir makes towards environmental sustainability. “The environmental situation for this world is serious and by recycling PVCu , glass, metals, and other plastics Elixir has not only provided important employment opportunities for local people, but also diverted over 5,000 tonnes of waste from landfill and saved over 12,000 tons of CO2 emissions,” he said. But at the end of the day, the main, motivating factor for Elixir (and the same can be said for many other social enterprises) is the empowerment of people. I’ll leave the last word with Jennifer: “I absolutely love what I do. There is no better feeling for me than to see someone turn their life around, and making it a success.”


Wednesday, June 22, 2011


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by NEIL HODGSON Industry Reporter period of activity this year, and I know the HomesHub team will rise to the challenge once again.” HomesHub, which acts as a customer portal for all government-assisted first time buyer options in Merseyside and Cheshire, is due now to begin work on delivering FirstBuy, the latest government initiative to stimulate the housing market. Using cash from the banking levy, FirstBuy will help about 10,000 people nationally to purchase a new property. FirstBuy is a shared equity arrangement where the government and the housing developer provide a loan – interest free for five years – to cover a proportion of the value of the property.

Under the FirstBuy scheme this proportion is 20% of the purchase price. The buyer will be expected to contribute a minimum cash deposit of just 5% themselves. The final details of the new scheme and the number of houses that it will help fund in Merseyside and Cheshire will be announced this summer, following the conclusion of negotiations between HomesHub and the government’s Homes and Communities Agency which awarded the contract. Geoff Scotton, 40, is one of Plus Dane’s rent-to-HomeBuy customers. After a divorce and its financial fallout he was able to find a home in Netherton that he thought was beyond his reach. He has the option of paying rent, at around 20% less than the going rate, for five years while he decides whether buying is the right option for him.

Pension shake-up ‘will hit SMEs hardest’ SMALL firms will be hardest hit by the introduction of autoenrolment pensions next year, according to a survey of Institute of Directors (IoD) members. They claim the scheme will burden firms with significant costs relating to employer contributions and administration. Feedback from IoD members shows that 95%

of firms that do not have any pension arrangements for employees into which the employer contributes are SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). It is these firms that will have to implement and finance autoenrolment. The IoD says this is particularly concerning

since these businesses lack the specialist human resource functions that big firms can afford and are struggling to cope with their existing employment law obligations already. IoD director general Miles Templeman said: “The government shouldn’t underestimate the cost burden that auto-enrolment is going to place on small firms.

“Bigger businesses will mostly have pension arrangements for employees set up. Of course we need to improve retirement provision in the UK, but yet again it’s the small entrepreneur who is hit.” The survey revealed that 34% of bosses said they will have to dip into their profits in order to fund their 3% contribution.

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LIVERPOOL housing group Plus Dane Group has had its contract to deliver the government’s affordable home ownership scheme extended to 2013, in a deal which could be worth more than £1.5m to the group. The organisation, which is responsible for more than 15,000 homes in Merseyside and Cheshire, says the scheme is also likely to help safeguard jobs in the construction industry as the group presses ahead with new housing developments. Over the past two years more than 1,300 people – the majority of who are new to the housing market – have been helped to buy a new home through Plus Dane’s HomesHub wing. HomesHub director Ben Clay said: “This is a big vote of confidence in the work we have been doing and it is exciting that we will be able to continue to help people fulfil their home-owning dreams. “We are expecting an intense

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KITCHEN & BEDROOM FITTINGS from a hinge to a full kitchen/bedroom. 3D plans now available. Showroom & Trade Counter at 3 Rockley Street, Kirkdale, L4 0151−207 0008. FOR SALE Four, 8"x4" RSJ’s. Two 14ft long, two 8ft long. Worth £320 total. Will sell £200 ono.0151 226 5496

Accountancy / Bookkeeping ACCOUNTS & TAX. Problems with HMRC? Accounts & returns late? For help and advice from experienced chartered accountants call Barry or Gavin on Tel: 0151 493 9700.

BUSINESS TO BUSINESS Appears every day in your

COMMERCIAL UNIT/WORKSHOP Rainhill to let £65pw, £750sq ft 0161 980 1912 S H O P S T O L E T SpekeLiverpool, excellent deals. Call Michael. 07538 279150 WELLINGTON RD L15 Variety of Industrial units available now 0151 227 2875 L21 furn small office £55pw Secure yard 0792O 461551

Industrial Property INDUSTRIAL UNIT TO LET Strand Road, Bootle L20. Approx 3,000 sq ft unit with large yard. Rent £1000pcm. Call 0151 920 9999 or 07900 424441

Business For Sale

A-K TEL: 0151 472 2746 L-Z TEL: 0151 472 2573 HISTORIC SOUVENIR MAGAZINE


NORTH WEST base Hygiene Supply company for sale, suit 2 person team, specializing in care homes and schools, lots of potential, great opportunity. Call 07887 755882 for details.

Business For Rent THE GEORGE PUB TO LET Breck Road, Anfield, L4. Prime Location − Currently Trading Rent: £500 per week Call 0151 920 9999 or 07900 424441

CAFETERIA OR RETAIL SHOP FOR RENT In West derby. 07773 292063 BARBERS FOR RENT Est 10 yrs £75pw 07740 409355

Business Equipment STEEL TABLESChest Freezers, tables with chairs, and Double Lincat deep fat fryer Call 07983 331018

Loans / Finance / Mortgage CASH LOANS Secured against your car. Loans for any purpose. 0 1 5 1 2 2 0 4 4 8 8

ONLY £4.99

PLUS £1.00 P&P (UK)

PRE-ORDER NOW CALL: 0845 143 0001 VISIT: SEND: a cheque made payable to Mirror Collection to Trinity Mirror Media, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, L69 3EB Available from Newsagents 27/06/2011

Echo Business 29.06.11  

Weekly business supplement from the Liverpool Echo