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CammellLaird saviourwinstop awardatRBA


Taxing times Is Peel paying its fair share to the Chancellor?

‘Alackof faith’holds backSMEs


Profitsgrow atMatalan Bottom Line8

Expansion forIxis


P4 &5


post business news

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chairman defends commercial district BID THE chairman of the Liverpool BID company has issued a robust response to comments made today by Post Business columnist Alex Turner. Writing in his column on page 13 of this week’s edition, Alex questions whether the Liverpool Commercial District Business Improvement District (BID) is offering its

members value for money. All business in the commercial district pay a levy on top of their business rates to fund the BID. The organisation still has hundreds of thousands of pounds unspent and Alex asks what that is going to be spent on and ponders whether it would be better back in the pockets of its members.

But BID company chairman Ed Oliver defended the organisation, adding it would not be legally possible to return money. Mr Oliver told Post Business: “There was always going to be an initial underspend because we need to have discussions with bodies like the city council and Liverpool Vision about what kinds of projects we can get

involved in and help fund. “These projects take time to put together. “We have now put together a new action plan and are now starting work to spend the money – any BID member is welcome to see that plan. “Over the coming months people will see how we are assisting in projects to improve the public realm.”

Clarke in biogas deal in UK and Kenya Ed Oliver

Small businesses need more confidence, says RBS leader by Helen Davies


THE Accelerate 2013 festival being held in Liverpool later this month is key to improving small business confidence, RBS’ Chairman for Small Businesses has told Post Business. Speaking ahead of the event, taking place on June 27, Peter Ibbetson said a lack of faith in the economy was holding small businesses back from investing. He said: “Research last month showed three quarters of businesses have got no confidence. “It’s important to rebuild confidence and that’s what Accelerate is all about.” RBS is one of the sponsors of Accelerate, a festival dedicated to the country’s high-growth firms, and will also have a senior representative delivering a speech on the day. Mr Ibbetson said: “I think confidence is the main problem facing small businesses at the moment. “They’re questioning if now is the right time for them to invest to grow their business or if it’s the right time to start a new business. “At Accelerate they can get evidence from people who have done just that , they can have help from role models.” Accelerate 2013, described as a ‘step-up’ event to the International Business Festival being held in Liverpool next year, will feature a range of well-known speakers including Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia and Martha Lane Fox, co-founder of “The whole event is built around support for businesses,” said Mr Ibbetson. “I think now is quite a good time to start a business but you need the confidence to do so.” At the heart of the festival will be the inaugural meeting of the Accelerate 250, a community of business leaders chosen as the UK’s ‘vital six per cent’ of businesses which have the greatest growth potential. The event will also feature information on schemes such as Funding for

The ACC, where the Accelerate 2013 festival is being held, and (inset) Peter Ibbetson from RBS Lending, competitions and discussions. The RBS Chairman for Small Businesses said networking was one of the largest benefits Accelerate had to offer. He said: “ It’s about how you get people talking to each other about what the issues are for businesses. “There’s a whole raft of issues facing businesses and things they need to understand such as VAT.” He added that as well as small busi-

ness needing more confidence in the economy, there also needed to be improved trust between small businesses and banks. “I think the message we’re trying to get through is banks are absolutely open for business,” he said. “We have given a lot of attention to confidence building to get people’s trust in banks back again.” RBS is organising three free fringe events as part of Accelerate.

EMS delivers latest student finance drive EVENT Marketing Solutions (EMS), from Ellesmere Port, is launching the third Government Student Finance campaign after attracting a record number of students and par-

ents to the last tour. Almost 227,000 people attended over five months, marking a 41% participation increase on the previous year. The Student Finance Tour will visit schools

and colleges throughout England, on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The tour will educate pupils and parents about the financial sup-

port available for going to university. Between June and November this year, 40 presenters working with EMS will manage 280 parent and 2,050 student events.

A Starting Your Own Business seminar will be held at Liverpool Marina on June 24 between 8am and 12pm. The same day an Access to Finance breakfast seminar will take place at The Racquet Club between 8am and 9.45am and on June 25, a Women in Healthcare event will be held at Liverpool Novotel Hotel, starting at 5pm. ■ Accelerate prizes up for grabs – see Networker, page 21

Yorks success YORKSHIRE Building Society has been named Most Trusted Financial Services provider and Most Trusted Savings Provider in the 2013 Moneywise Awards. Yorkshire, which has three Liverpool branches, was also highly commended in three categories.

LIVERPOOL-based Clarke Energy has helped deliver renewable fuel projects in Oxford and as far away as Kenya. The firm worked with Agrivert to produce renewable energy from Oxfordshire council’s waste. Their anaerobic digester processes food waste to produce biogas which is used in a combined heat and power (CHP) plant, installed by Clarke, achieving fuel efficiency in excess of 84% and creating enough renewable electricity to power 6,000 average UK homes. Clarke Energy director Alan Fletcher said: “We are delighted to be expanding our relationship with Agrivert, one of the UK’s leading anaerobic digestion companies.” Meanwhile, Tropical Power, a developer of biogas and solar plants in Africa, has signed a deal with Clarke Energy to supply the first two Jenbacher biogas engines in subSaharan Africa. The units will be supplied to an agricultural biogas plant located at a farm near Lake Naivasha, in Kenya. The anaerobic digestion facility will produce biogas, originating from the digestion of food processing wastes coming from the surrounding farms. Clarke will supply, engineer and install the CHP generators.

Chamber hails MBE THE chairman and board of St Helens Chamber of Commerce have offered their congratulations to chief executive Kath Boullen for her MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Ms Boullen has been chief executive of St Helens Chamber since 1998 and has worked at the chamber for 22 years. Chamber chair, Steve Gange, said: “It is with great pleasure that I announce that Kath Boullen has received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to business in the North West. “This is a huge honour for her and St Helens Chamber and well deserved.”

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Win an iPad and enjoy the Post Business Daily TO CELEBRATE the launch of the Liverpool Post Business Daily, we are offering readers the chance to win a stylish 16GB iPad 2 in black, featuring a 9.7-inch screen with wi-fi and 3G access, worth £429. For more information on the new Business Daily app, log onto To be in with a chance of winning this great prize, log onto iPad 2 specifications ■ 16GB Wifi + 3G model ■ 9.7-inch display ■ 1024x768 resolution ■ 241.2mm x 185.7mm ■ Front & back video-record-

ing cameras ■ 25-watt hour rechargeable battery ■ Access to 300,000+ apps ■ One year limited warranty TERMS & CONDITIONS: Competition closes at 9am Thursday 27 June 2013. One winner will be selected from all correct entries. The winner will receive an iPad 2 in black, 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G. Prize not transferable, no whole/part cash alternatives. Standard Liverpool Post terms and conditions apply, visit rules

Keep up to date with Post Business Daily

ISP delivers 1,000 lifejackets to Royal Netherlands Navy by Tony McDonough POST BUSINESS STAFF

MERSEYSIDE marine firm International Safety Products (ISP) is set to dispatch 1,000 specially-designed lifejackets to the Royal Netherlands Navy. Bootle-based ISP is a marine safety equipment specialist. It has already delivered 900 of the custom-made life preservers to the Dutch force and is now due to issue 1,000 more as part of a three-year, 3,000 lifejacket contract. The jackets are inflatable collar-style life preservers. ISP sales director Geoff Billington said the contract required a bespoke design as there were a number of detailed requirements requested. He added: “We delivered a tailor-made design to ensure the jackets met the needs of the Royal Netherlands Navy. “This involved detailed work to allow the jackets to function when worn with military kit. “The jackets also had to meet all the necessary safety standards and pass rigorous testing so it demanded that our technical team come up with some clever designs to bring everything together.

“The finished article is a bespoke product that meets all the requirements of the Dutch Navy and which is now being used widely within the force.” ISP secured the Navy deal in cooperation with Dutch lifesaving equipment manufacturer Besto. Besto has more than 85 years’ knowledge and experience in the field of personal life-saving equipment for watersports and shipping. Besto managing director Jos Martens said: We are delighted with the co-partnership on this development. “Besto and ISP have managed to develop a special garment which fully meets the customers’ demands.” He added that the jackets have been tested and approved according to rigorous safety standards. The lifejackets attach to existing military vests. Alternatively they can be worn alone due to a removable waist belt. Each jacket is fitted with two hydrostatic operating heads which automatically inflate the twin-chamber jacket when the wearer hits the water. Other features include a spray hood, which protects the wearer from drowning by protecting their face from sea water as they breathe and a twist lock valve on the oral tube.

The campaign is asking the general public for their thoughts on taking legal action against the health service through a poll conducted on the solicitors’ Facebook page. Results from the survey will


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Firm launches social media debate SOUTHPORT medical negligence and serious injury law firm, Fletchers Solicitors, has unveiled a new social media campaign which debates whether it is ethical to sue the NHS and private health services.

post business

then be published via the law firm’s social media channels. Chief executive Ed Fletcher said: “It breaks my heart to see first-hand the kind of lapses and failings in care that we’ve seen highlighted in the news recently.”

Sickness summit THE Government has been urged to call a summit of employers and the medical profession to tackle sickness absence after claims that employers have lost faith in the “fit note” programme. A survey by the EEF manufacturers organisation revealed that improvements in sickness absence levels in recent years had levelled out.

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post business big feature

Bill Gleeson The best examples of regeneration renew people, too AM I imagining it, or are people generally becoming more tactile? I ask only because I was hugged half a dozen times by some very unlikely sorts during The Liverpool Post’s Regional Business Awards last week. The ceremony was by and large a triumph. There were many good winners, John Syvret and Edward Billington & Son among others. Ariadne Capital’s Julie Meyer gave an inspiring speech about how you should become an entrepreneur to make a difference to the world, rather than merely chasing money. Yes, I agree, Julie, but then why don’t I do it? Nor am I the only one. What holds some of us back? I think I worked out why Ms Meyer chose the life of enterprise. She had no choice. Like me, she studied English as her first degree and found that it wasn’t much use when it came to getting a job. If she was going to make a living, she had to find a way of doing it by herself. So she started her own small business teaching English as a foreign language. Another way the world might be changing might be discerned from the sheer number of young, middle-aged and older people to be found at the newly refurbished Liverpool Central Library last weekend. The place was a marvellous blend of the traditional and new. It was light and airy with the welcome addition of a coffee shop. The Picton Room however has acquired a strange echo. Don’t say anything private in there. Don’t even whisper as whatever you say will instantly resound round the place for all to hear. The library is magnificent. It reminded me of my student days when I would use it during the university holidays. The collection of literary criticism books was, and still is, every bit as good as the university’s library. I spent an hour there with my wife and we walked out of the building with a dozen books about literature and philosophy tucked under our arms. I felt young again. The redevel-

opment of the library is the best example of regeneration and renewal in action. It’s not just the building that gets a new lease of life, its the people who use it, too. I may have a few grey hairs, but my mind is still young. EASYJET is to buy 135 new aircraft from Airbus. This is a good sign. The airline’s order represents an about-turn. Easyjet has previously bowed to pressure from its founder and largest shareholder Stelios Haji-Ioannnou to hold back from expanding the fleet. Now, however, the time is right. At least that’s what the board appears to think. Not only will the order mean even more work for the already very busy people at Airbus’s wing factory at Broughton, but it could mean more flights from Liverpool John Lennon Airport, one of Easyjet’s principal hubs. It comes on top of a big order for new planes placed earlier this year by EasyJet’s arch rival, Irish airline Ryanair. It would seem the two airlines share the view that normal service is about to be resumed with an upturn in the economy and leisure travel. SHALE gas has been credited for powering America’s recovery and cutting the country’s gas prices in half. Could we be on the brink of a similar boom in Britain, indeed in this region? According to Cuadrilla and IGas, both of which have shale gas licenses in this part of the world, there is enough of the stuff under our feet to keep Britain going for decades to come. The Government is reported to be thinking of incentivising local residents to drop any objections to shale gas operations. Many fear fracking might cause earthquakes and, therefore, damage to houses. The Government is likely to promise that some of the tax revenues will find their way to the communities affected by drilling. If I were living in an area directly affected, I would want to see that signed in triplicate before I would believe it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Company tax

One of the North West’s largest firms has been dragged into the row over tax. Bill Gleeson reports


HE issue of fair tax has been driven to the top of the national and international political agenda in recent months. It has been seized upon by campaigners during these times of austerity and weak economic growth at home and abroad. Fair tax, particularly corporation tax, was close to the top of the agenda when the heads of the world’s eight biggest economies met in Northern Ireland this week. It has also been top of concerns for politicians at home. Last week saw Margaret Hodge, chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, criticise one of the North West’s biggest companies, claiming it did not pay its fair share of tax. She used a select committee hearing to assert that Peel paid the equivalent of 10% corporation tax on its profits. Peel strenuously denies that it does not pay the tax it owes. The MP’s attack on Peel, which owns the Port of Liverpool, was just the latest salvo in the growing public campaign to pressurise business to pay more tax. Google, Starbucks and Amazon have also been in the firing line of Ms Hodge and other British parliamentarians in recent months. She was speaking during a select committee hearing into the BBC’s move to Peel’s MediaCity development in Salford. Questioning BBC executives, Ms Hodge asserted that the broadcaster should have been more careful about its choice of a landlord, saying that Peel companies paid at most an average of just 10% corporation tax. Peel is one of the North West’s biggest businesses. As well as MediaCity, it owns the Manchester Ship Canal and the Port of Liverpool. It has huge plans to develop derelict docks on the Liverpool and Wirral side of the Mersey. It was the developer behind Liverpool John Lennon Airport and built the Trafford Centre shopping mall. Peel owns the Media City development at Salford through its subsidiary Peel Media Holdings. Peel Media Holdings accounts for the year to March 2012 show it had turnover of £17.1m, which was mostly rental income from its 780,000 sq ft of shops, offices and television and radio studios for the BBC and ITV. However, the development hasn’t been profitable. Over the past two years Peel Media Holdings has written down the value of the development by £37m. The write downs and interest payments have combined to cause the company to accrue losses on ordinary activities before tax of £29.8m and £35.4m in 2012 and 2011 respectively. Far from paying tax, these losses mean Peel Media Holdings has received tax credits of £3.6m and £5.6m in the past two years, cutting the venture’s loss for the last two financial years by a cumulative £9.1m. Peel has been keeping its head down in the face of the recent political flak. The firm did issue a statement saying: “Following comments made at the Public Accounts Committee meeting on Monday, The Peel Group would like to make it clear that it rejects any assertion that it is not paying its fair share of corporation

tax. All Peel operating businesses, including Peel Media (the developers and owners of MediaCityUK), are UK domiciled for taxation purposes and pay the appropriate level of UK tax. “Peel was not invited to provide any information to the PAC prior to Monday’s hearing and would be more than happy to do so on request.” In its defence, the MediaCity development is new and was always likely to incur losses in its early years. Nor is it any surprise that company directors seek to minimise the tax their businesses pay. Indeed, they have obligation to shareholders to do so within the law. It’s a view echoed by Des Veney, a tax partner at accountancy firm Haines Watts. Mr Veney said: “The Government were making it a moral issue, but a lot of these companies do have other head offices in more tax-efficient countries. “People obviously are unhappy they don’t pay a lot of corporation tax, but they do pay hundreds of millions of PAYE and national insurance. They employ a lot of people, so its not as if they are not

“We have to tell them all of the options”

contributing to the pot. They are. “It’s really up to the Government to change the rules. “I saw an article about how an accountant was successfully sued for £1.4m for not advising a client to avoid tax. “And judges in court cases have criticised the Revenue for being too harsh on people. They (HMRC) should stay in the letter of the law. “You (tax accountants) have a duty to minimise clients’ tax as much as you possibly can, and if you don’t and get it wrong you can be sued. “So if somebody comes to me for advice we have to tell them all of the options.” Responding to the fact that corporation tax has risen to the top of the political agenda, Britain’s prime minister David Cameron pledged to negotiate fresh international deals to limit the ability of corporations to avoid tax in the UK by channelling their profits offshore. The Republic of Ireland has long operated a benign corporation tax regime to attract inward investment, but its neighbours fear it has cost jobs in their countries. The row exploded this week when Northern Ireland’s Finance Minister Sammy Wilson accused the Irish Govern-

Thursday, June 20, 2013

big feature post business

tops political agenda Peel owner John Whittaker and Chancellor George Osborne at the Port of Liverpool earlier this month

Margaret Hodge, chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee

British and EU territories responsible for the majority of money held in offshore havens

ment of “stealing” UK tax revenue. The Democratic Unionist said he was concerned that companies were using the Republic of Ireland to pay tax which he alleged should be paid in the UK. The Irish government has defended its tax laws. Mr Wilson said: “My view is that the British government does have some leverage on the Irish government there, because they have a £7.5bn loan, that is a lot of leverage,” he said. “They should be saying to the government in the Republic, you cannot steal tax revenue from us in this way and that is in fact what has been happening.” David Cameron has put tax and transparency at the heart of this week’s G8 agenda and wanted the meeting to include country-by-country reporting of where companies pay their tax. Irish junior finance minister Brian Hayes rejected claims Ireland was a tax haven. “It is wrong and it is put out there by countries I suspect who are looking to the success we are making of this country in terms of inward investment,” he said.

“It is not Irish tax law that is at stake here, it is other jurisdictions with their tax law.” Ms Hodge has also this week claimed internet giant Google operated contrived tax arrangements to avoid UK corporation tax. Google’s claim that its Irish operation, (where lower rates apply) is responsible for hundreds of millions of pounds in advertising sales in the United Kingdom are “deeply unconvincing”, an influential House of Commons committee found. Following complaints about the tax paid by multinationals operating in Britain, Google, which has enjoyed UK revenues of £12bn since 2006, claimed its British-based staff were not responsible for selling. The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee this month said the company’s defence has been undermined by whistleblowers and reporters. Separately, Ireland has rejected claims by two US senators that the country was a tax haven and had handed technology giant Apple a special deal, as two US senators have claimed.

“You can not steal tax revenue from us”

TAX havens are depriving the world of more than £100bn in lost revenue. According to a study by international development charity Oxfam, the sum is enough to end extreme poverty twice over. The charity says a high proportion of this tax avoidance is taking place in British territories. Of the £12trillion that Oxfam estimates is being held by individuals in tax havens around the globe, more than a third is sitting in accounts in British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. The international agency said it is a moral outrage and a scandal that this is taking desperately needed cash from poor countries as well as from citizens who are being hit by austerity measures closer to home. Emma Seery, Oxfam's head of development finance and public services, said: "These figures put the UK at the centre of a global tax system that is a colossal betrayal of people here and in the poorest

countries who are struggling to get by, and put the Government on the side of the privileged few. “If they want to get on the right side of this debate, now is the time to take action. "Britain's credibility is on the line; talking tough on tax, whilst continuing to usher a third of the world's wealth into UK tax havens, risks making a mockery of David Cameron's leadership at the G8 Summit." Oxfam argues that the European Union also needs to take serious action because two thirds of offshore wealth (more than £8 trillion) – is sitting untaxed in European-linked tax havens (including those linked to the UK). Oxfam is calling for a blacklist of tax havens, and agreement that EU member states will impose countermeasures and sanctions against tax havens and those using them. Ms Seery said: "David Cameron and George Osborne continue to tour the world making promises to clamp down on tax havens,

but so far they've done absolutely nothing to make tax deals work for poor countries. "The UK and Europe cannot stand by and watch more people fall victim to the bite of austerity whilst billions is lost from the public purse on their watch. “Unless the EU agrees a tax havens black list and clear sanctions, we'll get little more than hot air from leaders." The £102bn of lost tax revenue estimated by Oxfam is just a fraction of total tax loss, as it only reflects the amount of tax individuals are neglecting to pay and doesn't include the tax dodged by companies that costs poor countries more than £105bn a year. Oxfam is part of the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign, which is calling on the G8 to make all tax havens join a multilateral agreement to share tax information, so that every country – especially the poorest – can tax companies and individuals fairly, and for an end to secrecy that hides the ultimate owner of assets held offshore.



Thursday, June 20, 2013

post business wealth management IN ASSOCIATION WITH


Safety prioritised amid few low-risk investment options

A SCHEME that will allow bank and building society customers to switch their current accounts within seven days has moved a step closer after a customer guarantee was published. The pledge, together with a kitemark which will be used by all participants when the £750m scheme is launched in September, was made public by the Payments Council. All major providers have signed up to the Current Account Switch Guarantee and Trustmark, designed to improve on the current account switching process which at present can take between 18 and 30 days. The Payments Council, which is responsible for ensuring that payment services work for all those that use them in the UK, will monitor the service. It said the new system aimed to increase competition in banking by making it simpler and hassle-free for customers to switch their current accounts.

market analysis

by Mike Taylor

LIVERPOOL OFFICE OF CHARLES STANLEY LET’S get one thing straight, outside cash there are no low-risk investment options right now. Even government bonds look shaky in respect to some heavily indebted European countries and the bonds of nations with sounder finances offer scant returns, often significantly below the rate of inflation. Since the start of the global financial crisis six years ago, investors’ perception of risk has changed. They have prioritised safety over growth – hence the high price and low yields of ‘safe-haven’ government bonds. The Cypriot crisis has been a further wake-up call: even cash held in some banks is no longer sacrosanct. Yet there are a variety of investments that are still capable of long term returns ahead of inflation – the goal of most investors which highlight why we believe that a balanced portfolio remains the key for diversity and risk reduction. Running around the various asset classes we remain convinced that equities remain the sensible, albeit more volatile, investment choice for those looking to maximise returns over the long term. They are not the bargains they were a couple of years ago, but with generous dividend yields of up to 5% there is still good reason to suppose equities will perform well against a backdrop of moderate inflation and ultra-low interest rates as many direct holdings can offer a healthy starting level of income that haves the potential to rise significantly over time. This theme of inflation protection has seen a growth in infrastructure companies whose investment provides the backbone of many countries: roads, airports, mobile phone masts, electricity networks and water distribution. High-profile investments by sovereign wealth funds have highlighted the attraction of infrastructure, and whilst

The Cypriot financial crisis was a wake-up call for investors. Inset, Mike Taylor of Charles Stanley the wind farms in Morecambe Bay and off the North Wales Coast are not exactly pretty they do provide inflation proofed cash flow from essential assets. Index Linked Bonds should be the obvious answer for inflation proofing a portfolio, after all their value is linked to the RPI but even here there is very little real value with any profits and income being eaten way by various taxes and whilst inflation proof they provide little in the way of growth. Historically, the other recession proof product has been property, yet we saw several years ago how the rising tide of ever higher property prices collapsed as the wheels fell off the bus, partially because of the banking crisis and the sudden deterioration

in the asset price in general. But money has even started to flow back into prime residential and commercial London real estate in recent years, bucking the general property downturn. Commodities have fared little better with gold experiencing its worst sell off for 30 years leaving many investors scratching their heads as it seems at odds with its perceived image of a safe haven asset an environment of low interest rates and quantitative easing. In theory, gold, whose supply is finite, should appreciate as more paper currency is printed but the price dip has served to highlight the complexity of the gold market. Gold though is not the only commodity and whilst other hard commod-

First-time buyers running out of options THE choice of mortgages for struggling first-time buyers has shrunk in the last year despite Government efforts to unblock the housing market, a financial information website has found. One year ago, there were 62 deals available for people with a 5% deposit, many of whom would be first-time buyers, making up 2.7% of the market, Moneyfacts said. But one year on that number has dropped to 54 products, equating to 1.9% of all the mortgages on offer. However, the average interest rate charged on such deals has edged

down, from 5.48% in July 2012 to 5.32% this month. Across all loans-to-value (LTVs), the number of mortgages on the market has increased by almost one quarter year-on-year, with 2,872 deals now available. But even when the choice of mortgages for people with a 5% deposit is combined with the selection of mortgages for those with a 10% deposit, these still make up just 14% of the market, which is unchanged from a year ago, Moneyfacts said. Mortgages for people with a “medium-sized” deposit of 15% or

20% now make up 37% of the market, which is up on a year ago. Someone with a 20% deposit will now be typically offered a cheaper rate of 3.73%, compared with 4.36% last July. Mortgages on offer for people with bigger deposits of around 25% to 40% now make up 48% of the market, which is slightly down on a year ago in terms of market share. Mortgage availability has increased sharply and lenders have been slashing their rates since the Government launched a scheme called Funding for Lending.

ities, especially base metals seem intrinsically linked to Chinese growth, which as their growth has slowed, they have taken a tumble, showing extreme levels of volatility in some cases. Soft commodities (wheat, corn, sugar and so on) move to a different beat, and as the world’s population has gone through 7bn demand continues to increase. However, each has its own unique supply and demand dynamics including fickle factors such as the weather. Interestingly, it is entirely possible in the near future that water will become a tradable commodity, like oil is today, as it becomes scarcer, though given the rain we have had here recently maybe this is one product that we will not have to worry about.

HARD-HIT savers have been dealt another blow with Treasury-backed National Savings & Investments announcing cuts to interest rates on three products. The rate on NS&I’s popular tax-free direct ISA savings account, which had more than 300,000 customers in March last year, will reduce by 0.5% to 1.75% in September, having been cut from 2.5% in November last year. There will also be a half a percentage point cut in the rate on NS&I income bonds to 1.25% and a 0.4% reduction in its direct saver rate to 1.1%.

Savers turn to P2P lending MORE savers are turning to online firms such as RateSetter and Zopa in the search for better returns on their cash, a consumer group has found. A survey of 4,500 Which? subscribers in April found that 9% had used a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending website such as these in the last two years, rocketing from 2% when similar research was carried out a year ago. The majority of savers (81%) who had used a website put their main reason down to the poor

returnsP on offer generally. P2P lenders act as “middle men” who match savers who have some cash they are willing to lend with borrowers, including individual consumers and small businesses. The interest savers receive comes from the rate paid by a borrower, with the online middle man taking a cut. The fledgling industry is hoping to grow as a stronger alternative to high street banks from next spring, when it comes under tougher regulation.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Heightsafe wins new contracts WORKING at height safety specialist Heightsafe Systems has announced a raft of new client wins. The Wirral-based company – which was last Thursday named as the Judges’ Choice Award winner at the Liverpool Post Regional Business Awards – has won contracts with Manchester United, Selfridges, British Aerospace and Downing Construction, together with a number of Ministry of Defence contracts. They involve a range of services, from the supply and installation of Guardrail and Fall Protection systems to annual compliance testing, and bespoke metalwork solutions. Managing director Ken Diable said: “These new contracts are another great step forward for the company and demonstrate our capability to work with some of the biggest brands and businesses in the UK. “We are continuing to build up our portfolio of both public and private sector clients.”


post business


Software firm secures funds to bring product to market by Tony McDonough POST BUSINESS STAFF

Brian Bishop, founder of DPC, with Chris Walters of MSIF

A SPECIALIST software firm can now bring a new product to market after securing backing from Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF). Data Performance Consultancy (DPC) produces software that helps public bodies better manage their network of suppliers and can even help them choose those suppliers. It has developed what it calls a “collaborative management system” centred around a new British Standard, BS 11000, which provides a variety of functions including a legal framework that has been designed in conjunction with Liverpool law firm DWF. It also includes asset management, performance management, financial management and a variety of other operational management functions. Managing director Brian Bishop has spent the last three years researching and developing the product called WAHSP (Workflow Analysis and Health and Safety Protection) which is now ready to bring to market. The company, which is based at Liverpool Science Park and employs three people, is currently in talks with several local authorities and primary care trusts about trialling the software

and is about to embark on a PHD study with LJMU to evaluate potential cost savings. DPC has developed a platform aimed at the energy sector – the Energy Portal Software System – which is currently being trialled by NPower. The firm has secured a £50,000 loan from MSIF to help with the set-up costs and manage the first phase of the operation. Mr Bishop said: “Organisations such as PCTs and local authorities may have numerous contractors working for them at any one time. “This system has been developed to simplify the processes needed to oversee suppliers, which in turn will cut costs. It also helps the user to make an informed decision on choosing the right firm for the job and control the quality of the work delivered. “The system has also been designed to promote local contractors. “We struggled for over two years to raise finance from a bank. It was a welcome relief to find in MSIF a funding body that understands the needs of small businesses” MSIF investment director Chris Walters added: “DPC’s managing director has an impressive track record in developing software and he has invested a lot of time and money in researching and developing his latest product.”

Advertising Feature KKA Architecture

Local practice designs stadium


LTERNATIVE plans have been unveiled to redevelop the spiritual home of Bristol City FC, Ashton Gate, in order to create a £40m multi-purpose 26,000seat stadium hosting football and rugby matches. The new stadium is to be shared with Bristol Rugby Club. Liverpool practice KKA Architecture has been appointed to design the scheme by Bristol Sport, a company set up to oversee the financial and business management of the football and rugby clubs. A consultation exercise has been launched, with a full planning application expected to be submitted in July. If planning permission is granted, then the new ground could be finished in time for the 2016/17 season. The club’s historic home would be redeveloped in stages to incorporate new stands where the existing Wedlock and Williams stands are currently sited, together with major renovation works to the Dolman Stand. Plans also include space for a club shop and museum, as well as a large sports bar incorporated into the site. The existing pitch is to be widened to accommodate rugby

matches and relayed with a new ‘Desso’ reinforced grass playing surface, capable of withstanding the wear resulting from the additional fixtures through the playing season. Bristol’s mayor George Ferguson has welcomed the new plan for Ashton Gate, saying it has the potential to “bring the community and the fans together.” Mr Ferguson, former President of the RIBA, also said he was very impressed with the design of the new stadium and reassured the club that the city council would be as helpful as it could be in making the plans a reality. A priority for KKA has been to retain the identity and culture of the individual stands in terms of the current football fan base. Bristol Sport’s ambition to develop a state-of-the-art media and technology-driven venue with the emphasis on flexibility and accessibility has been instrumental in formulating design opportunities. The proposals seek to bring together a complex and challenging set of requirements into a contemporary building, which draws strongly on other equivalent stadia and event venues. The resultant design creates

Liverpool practice KKA Architecture has created designs for a new stadium in Bristol a strong identity that delivers a new ‘signature’ building which is not overtly brash and overwhelming, but captures a spirit, context and atmosphere which will be cherished by supporters. KKA is an award-winning practice based in purposedesigned offices at Highpoint

in Liverpool city centre. KKA undertakes projects nationwide and across a wide spectrum of sectors on projects which range in size and complexity. The practice has recently completed successful sports/leisure projects at Heywood, Rochdale and

Rossendale. However, the Ashton Gate project provides a major boost to the practice’s reputation and experience in this expanding sector. Tony Swindells is one of KKA’s directors and is keen to expand the company’s success. He said: “The feedback

we have already received has been very positive. “We very much hope that the Ashton Gate project provides an exemplary example of how a football club and now rugby club can cement its place in its traditional home in the heart of the community.”


Thursday, June 20, 2013

post business the bottom line

Out of town retailer Matalan reports 10% surge in profits by Bill Gleeson


SKELMERSDALE-based discount retailer Matalan published audited results for the year to February last week. The out-of-town fashion and homeware club retailer, announces its full-year audited results for the 52 weeks ended February 23 said underlying profits excluding interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were £100.4m, up 10% on the £91.1m reported last year. Liverpool born John Hargreaves’ firm enjoyed total revenue of £1.1bn, which was almost unchanged on the figure for the previous year. The company said it had a strong closing cash position of £120.7m, up on the £96.2m balance at the end of its 2012 year. However, the firm warned the outlook remained cautious Filing the figures on the regulatory news service, the privately-owned business said its focus on improving margins and quality of earnings has helped deliver the improved performance.. It said successes during the period included a 45% revenue growth within the online channel and the enhancement of multi-channel capability through the roll out of click and collect service. Management focus will remain on continuing to grow the customer base, further exploiting multi-channel opportunities and enhancing the quality of earnings. In its statement, Matalan said the start of the new financial year has been challenging in the first quarter, however this is broadly in line with expectations. Commenting on the year’s performance Matalan chief executive Darren Blackhurst said: "In a difficult retail climate we grew our earnings by 10%. “Our customer base continues to grow, as does our multichannel capability, leaving us well positioned for the coming 12 months. “Our focus remains the delivery of outstanding value to our customers through the development of our offer and a tight control of costs and cash given the prevailing economic backdrop.” Just this week, Mr Hargreaves confirmed that he was diversifying his retail interests away from his traditional reliance on the discount end of the market into designer labels. He has taken a stake in fashion label Damsel in a Dress. Mr Hargreaves, one of Britain’s richest men, earned his fortune after

Matalan founder John Hargreaves and, inset, a Matalan store

founding Matalan and before that Jaymax. Damsel in a Dress is a fast-growing womenswear label loved by celebrities such as Nigella Lawson, It specialises in the over-30s market. It was set up three years ago by Marshall Doctors and designers Amanda Seaborne and Alison Mansell. Most of its clothes are sold on line and in concessions at stores such as John Lewis, but it is planning to open

its first shop next year. The son of a Liverpool docker, Mr Hargreaves left school at 14 and started his retail career selling Marks & Spencer seconds from a Great Homer Street market stall before opening his first Matalan store in 1985. He had spotted the potential for edge-of-town discount stores during a visit to the US. Matalan was floated on the stock market in 1998, but it was challenged

by rivals including Asda’s George clothing range, Peacocks and Primark. Mr Hargreaves took Matalan private in 2006 and then less than a year later resigned as chairman. In March this year he acquired British womenswear retailer Fenn Wright Manson for an undisclosed sum. Matalan is planning to move its headquarters from Skelmersdale to Knowsley as it gears up for growth. The company has submitted a planning application to move from its base in Gillibrands Road, Skelmersdale, to a new site in Knowsley Industrial Park. The company says the move is “in line with growth plans over the next few years and our ongoing strategy”. The company’s 1,200 staff in Skelmersdale have been informed and discussions are now underway on how the move could affect them. The company hopes all staff will be able to move to Knowsley. If planning permission is granted, any move would not take place before late 2014.

Easyjet places huge Airbus neo order to fuel future growth BUDGET airline Easyjet is to upgrade and expand its aircraft fleet under a deal to buy 135 Airbus planes over the next nine years. The no-frills carrier said the new 180-seater A320 planes will allow it to boost the number of passengers it can carry from 60m a year to around 90m. Its new aircraft will also be more fuel-efficient, which means they cost less to run and are more environmentally friendly.

The move will allow Easyjet to replace around 85 of its current 211-strong fleet of 156-seater planes, as well as giving it the room to expand and add routes. It also has the option to buy a further 100 Airbus planes as part of the deal. But the scale of the fleet acquisition means Easyjet must get shareholder approval, with the backing of 50% of investors required, and is likely to

reignite the long-running row with founder and largest shareholder Sir Stelios Haji-Iaonnou. Sir Stelios, who with his family controls a near-37% stake in Easyjet, has been a vocal opponent of the group’s plans to increase its fleet. He said earlier this year that he believes the new planes are not necessary and will be acquired at the detriment of shareholders. Easyjet has recently reported robust

results after benefiting from rivals cutting capacity. It carried 26.6m people in the six months to the end of March, a rise of 5.3% on a year earlier as revenues surged 9.3% to £1.6bn and losses narrowed 46% to £61m. The group expects more growth in its second half because this when the airline traditionally makes the bulk of its profits from Mediterranean holidaymakers.

notes ■

DRUG group AstraZeneca said plans for a new research base in Cambridge will boost the chances of Britain discovering the next generation of medicines. The group revealed today it will build a new £330m research and development (R&D) site on Cambridge Biomedical Campus in the south of the city by 2016, employing about 2,000 staff. The group will merge its small molecule and biologics R&D at the site under plans aimed to make AstraZeneca a “global leader in biopharmacuetical innovation”. The drug group will also move its corporate headquarters to the site from London. The new 11-acre site will become AstraZeneca’s biggest centre for cancer research, as well as hosting scientists focusing on cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation and autoimmune diseases. The company has also announced plans to cease R&D at Alderley Park in Cheshire, with about 1,600 roles moving from the site over the next three years.

CONTRACT printing firm Communisis said cheque production at its Trafford Wharf site in Manchester will cease by the end of the year, subject to consultation. The work will be transferred to Leeds, where a substantial amount of direct-mail printing will also be outsourced as part of the £4m cost savings plan. More specialist, higher margin direct mail and other production will remain in Leeds.

CARILLION has been awarded a £130m contract by the Oman Tourism & Development Company to construct exhibition halls, an energy centre and a three-storey car park. The contract forms part of a project with an estimated construction value in the region of £1bn.

CATERING and hospitality company Westbury Street Holdings, which operates restaurants and front of house services for the BBC, Goldman Sachs and The British Museum, has reported a 14% rise in turnover to £465m for 2012. Its Benugo brand had a record year, increasing its turnover 35%.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

small business post business



business of the week

MORE than 1.4m employer PAYE schemes are now reporting to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in real time since the launch of new tax reporting requirements in April. This means that more than 83% of small- to medium-sized firms and more than 1m (77%) micro employers have already started to report PAYE in real time, and that information about 44.5m payments made to employees between April 6, and May 5, was successfully reported online to HMRC. After listening to stakeholders, HMRC has also announced that it will be seeking to extend the temporary relaxation of the new reporting rules for businesses with fewer than 50 employees from October 2013 until April 2014, and that this relaxation will come to an end at this point. The extension means that businesses will not be required to change their approach halfway through the tax year. The relaxation has meant that these businesses are still required to report through the new system, but are able to do so once a month, rather than each time they pay their employees. This gives small businesses that pay weekly, or more frequently, but who only run their payroll at the end of the month, some extra time to adjust to the new requirements. From April 2014, all employers need to plan to be reporting in real time.

by Neil Hodgson



OHN TAGUE has already climbed the mountain of making a business a success – now he’s doing it all over again to leave as a legacy for his Calderstones family. Mr Tague, 48, is former managing director of Seabrook Crisps, a brand he took from £11m turnover to more £30m. Before that he was sales and marketing Director (UK) for the Walt Disney Company. But he has now created his own snack food brand, TAGS Tasty Crisps – derived from his childhood nickname – which he claims can claim a 10% share of the £2.5bn crisp market within 10 years. It’s a real family affair, with wife Clare and their four children, Patrick, 25, Joe, 24, Dominic, 16, and Cecilia, 14, all involved in the company run from the family home. Mrs Tague helps with most things, Patrick works on the business finances, Joseph is in marketing, Dominic made the business’s first sale – 84 packets to raise money for his school – and Cecilia looks after social media. The launch range features premium hand-cooked potato chips in three flavours – malt vinegar and sea salt, sweet chilli and mature cheddar and red onion – and potato crisps which come in multipacks of six and three flavours – salt and vinegar, cheese and onion and ready salted. Mr Tague’s vision is for a business that will emulate his own family’s experience and help change the lives of young people by giving them business and entrepreneurial skills. He said: “We have created a unique new brand to challenge the more established brands in the market. Our branding is deliberately aimed at capturing both today’s and tomorrow’s consumers. “Our crisps are produced using the finest ingredients to ensure you always experience products that are bursting with great flavour and taste. “The products we have launched so far are only the start of our journey as a family business. “Over the coming months we intend to introduce further flavours and also extend into other snack products.” He explained: “We do premium crisps, and everyday crisps and next year we want to move into children’s snacks, and then into the healthy side of snacking, using cassava-based products.” Listings have already been secured with Poundland and Speke-based B&M stores and Mr Tague is currently talking with a number of the multiples about further listings for his range of crisps, which are made in Ireland, where, fittingly, he was encouraged by his wife during a family holiday to follow his dream and run his own crisp brand. He said: “Crisps are the great passion in my working life and I can’t eat a sandwich without a bag of crisps as well.” Mr Tague, who was born in Old Swan, believes there is room for a new operator: “The crisp market is dominated by two major manufacturers, Walkers and United Biscuits, so we’ve been warmly welcomed by retailers wanting an alternative. They want another mainstream brand so the big players are not so dominant.” He said progress is ahead of the business plan: “We are well on sched-


John Tague hopes to grab a 10% share of the £2.5bn crisp market within 10 years

John finally indulges his passion for crisps ule. We’re quoting to two potential big retailers and have another big supermarket interested for next year, so if that comes in we will be well ahead of the plan.” He has budgeted for £1m turnover in the first year, £4m-6m by year three, and £10m by the fifth year. Although it is a family business he said they will employ more people if they hit £5m sales by year three. The venture is entirely self-funded and Mr Tague said: “I haven’t had a requirement to go near a bank, although they have been very helpful. “I have had an offer of outside investment, but the whole idea of the business is as a family business, so I hope I won’t have to take any outside investment. “I want to leave it as a legacy.”

Mr Tague with wife Clare and children Joseph, Dominic and Cecilia

BIRKENHEADbased affordable housing developer and regeneration specialist Lovell has received a Gold Medal from national charity RoSPA – the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents – for its safety performance. The accolade for the company, based in John Street, recognises its continuing commitment to health and safety at its construction sites and offices across the North West and North Wales. The RoSPA Gold Medal is for the company’s achievement of consecutive Gold RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety awards over the past five years for its accident record and overall health and safety management systems. Current Lovell schemes in the North West include, a £2.44m affordable housing development of 26 homes for affordable rent for Knowsley Housing Trust in Huyton, and a £1.98m new-build housing scheme in Barlow Street, Liverpool.

10 post business creative & digital

Thursday, June 20, 2013 IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Third tour for mobile marketers MOBILE marketing specialist Event Marketing Solutions (EMS) is running its third Student Finance Tour after attracting a record number of students and parents to the last campaign. Ellesmere Port-based EMS, which operates the tour on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, says 226,919 people attended tour events over five months last year – 41% up on the previous year. The tour sees finance specialists visit schools and colleges throughout England to talk to pupils and parents about financial support available for university students. Between June and November, 40 presenters will manage 280 parent events and 2,050 student events. EMS client services director, Justin Isles, said: “Parent, student and teacher surveys, as well as insight from the field in the first tour, shaped our strategy for 2012. “The results speak for themselves – we have exceeded targets and are delighted with the outcome. “Insight from this campaign will now be used to better engage audiences in the third tour.”

IT specialist opens doors to new team by Alistair Houghton


WEB specialist Ixis has reported record turnover and recruited four members of staff after it won a series of contracts and secured vital Government approval. Ixis, based in the former Greenall’s Brewery complex in Warrington, reported sales of £1.2m in the financial year 2012/2013 – the highest in its nine-year history. The company, which specialises in open-source software Drupal, has secured several new clients including international development charity VSO, watchdog The Care Quality Commission and Bristol City Council. The company was also recently appointed to the Government’s G-Cloud III procurement framework, putting it on a pre-approved list of vendors from which public sector bodies can pick. Mike Carter, co-founder of Ixis, said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for the business to see continued growth and expansion and we’re delighted to welcome our new members of staff who will play an integral part in the company’s future. “We will also be joined by two additional Linux system administrators in

the summer who will strengthen the hosting and support services. “Becoming part of the G Cloud III procurement framework has opened the door to new public sector work which has given us the opportunity to grow rapidly. The total value of contracts we have won via the G Cloud now exceeds £500,000.” Barry Standen has been recruited as operations director to develop processes and oversee quality assurance as the business continues to expand. Mr Standen, from Chester, has been a technical director and developer for Mando Group and not-for-profit organisation Girlguiding. He has previously worked with both Ixis co-founder, Chris Haslam, and Ixis’s sales and newly-promoted marketing director Stephanie Hosny. Adam Thomason has been recruited as Drupal website technician to take responsibility for maintenance and security updates. Mr Thomason, who lives in Warrington, previously worked as a web developer for a Manchester based technology company and is a graduate of the University of Salford’s computer science programme. Matthew Proffitt, of Bury, joins Ixis from Resulting IT in a Drupal support role. Both Mr Proffitt and Mr Thomason discovered Ixis at the Drupal Camp

Ixis’s new recruits: Back row , Nicola Ellis and Adam Thomason. Front, Barry Standen and Matthew Proffitt North West 2012 conference organised by the North West Drupal User Group, in which Ixis staff play key roles. Nicola Ellis, of Sale, has also joined Ixis as business administrator and will be responsible for general office and client support. Drupal software is maintained and developed by a community of almost 1m users and developers worldwide. Under the terms of the GNU General Public License, anyone is free to download it and share it with others.

Ixis co-founder, Mike Carter

Branding agency works with Philips to make hospital visits less intimidating for children

A free 2-day workshop designed to help you to prepare for success when developing business ideas and starting a new enterprise. When: Thu 4th & Fri 5th July Where: Blackburne House, Blackburne Place, Liverpool, Merseyside L8 7PE Facilitators: Emma Bispham & Craig Ryder Guest speakers: Jon-Paul Hevey & Ian ‘H’ Watkins Main themes include: • What do you want? • How to craft your message and present yourself • Entrepreneurs as ‘Opportunists’ • Networking and confidence building • ‘Dragons Den’ style pitching competition with prizes This event is fully catered. This activity is part of the NW HE Enterprise Champions ERDF project To attend this event you must meet all of the following criteria: • resident in greater Merseyside • student/graduate of Higher Education • nationality of a country within the EU (or with visa permissions to set up in business in the UK) • Interested in setting up a business in greater Merseyside…which isn’t already trading. Register: To register for your place at this event or for a more detailed agenda just email You can also contact us this way with queries regarding the event, your eligibility, or with special requirements.

A CT scanner for children at Alder Hey hospital has been given a colourful new look thanks to a partnership between manufacturer Philips Healthcare and Liverpool branding agency USP Creative. The scanner, the first of its kind to be issued by Philips, has been covered in graphics designed by USP to help to distract children while the scanner is in use. The images include a “Where’s Oli” game using the Oli mascot previously created by USP for Alder Hey. Children entering the scanning room are given a checklist and asked to find Oli and his friends taking part in different activities across the graphic. Gillian Hughes, superintendent radiographer at Alder Hey, said; “We have had lots of compliments about the CT Scanner that Philips and USP Creative installed. “The ‘Where’s Oli?’ graphics have taken away the clinical feel of the room, making it much more child-friendly and

Liverpool’s USP Creative worked with Philips on this colourful CT scanner less intimidating to our patients. It gives the child something interesting to focus on and distracts them from the procedures taking place.” Jan Peters, managing director of USP Creative, said: “We are strong believers in the positive benefits of environmental graphics and this project demonstrates the versatil-

ity of the medium. “The graphics have brightened what is often a sterile and intimidating environment and can be applied across a variety of medical equipment.” Derek Tarrant, CT business manager for Philips Healthcare, added: “In developing this childfriendly Philips Ingenuity CT scanner, we aim to cre-

ate a less stressful environment, making it easier to get a good scan as patients who are calm don’t move around as much. “If they aren’t afraid they may not require as much sedation and as a result exams proceed faster, retakes are minimised and productivity is increased.”

creative & digital post business 11

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Scenery specialist helps artist with Venice Biennale vision by Alistair Houghton


A TEAM of designers from an unassuming brick warehouse in Bootle have helped a Welsh artist bring his astronomy-themed visions to life at a world-famous contemporary arts festival. Scenic Workshops worked with Welsh artist Bedwyr Williams to create his installation The Starry Messenger, which is on show at the Venice Biennale until November. And Scenic, which specialises in buildings sets, stage, props and backdrops for theatre companies, even had to ensure the installation could be flat-packed so it could be shipped through the “side-canals” of Venice by barge. Williams’ Venice work is an homage to Galileo and Britain’s modern-day amateur astronomers. Visitors wander in the dark, while listening to birdsong and ambient noise evoking the sounds of a suburban garden. The view of the observatory itself is obscured by curtains depicting terrazzo, a composite material often used for kitchen floors that itself originated in Venice. Beyond, there is a koi carp pond with polyurethane terrazzo floating on top. And in the next room is a giant coffee table which visitors walk beneath. Looking up they can see 101 household objects, from vases to vacium cleaners, representing their own solar system. Scenic’s technical production manager, Bob Kirkpatrick said: “He recruited us because his remit was theatrical and he wanted our theatrical input and experience.” Managing director Gary Bates added: “Some of the work could have been made with fibreglass, but he wanted it made with wood, as it would be in the theatre. He wanted that theatrical feel to it.” The pavilion’s seating areas have also been carefully designed. Mr Kirkpatrick added: “At the end of the exhibition where he has his film, he wanted to build bleachers the audience could sit on. He designed that as well so it became part of the exhibition. “Whether the audience knows they’re sitting on something designed by the artist is hard to tell. “Similarly, there’s a bench near the entrance that was fake marbled. It was quite interesting that his take was doing fake marble and sending it to Italy among all that real marble. It’s theatricality against the reality.” Mr Bates, who also runs MMB Building Services, bought the decade-old business last year. Scenic is at heart a joinery business, but it brings in skilled workers when needed in fields from metalwork to carpet-making. Mr Bates said: “We work with theatres, exhibitions and artists – basically anything quirky that anyone wants us to do. We’ve done some weird and wonderful stuff.” Its recent productions have included Opera North’s double-bill of Dido and Aeneas and La Voix Humaine, starring Lesley Garrett. That production, with its Bootle-built set, is now touring Europe. It may be unusual for Scenic sets to be transported by barge, as in Venice,

Part of Bedwyr Williams’ piece, The Starry Messenger, at the Venice Biennale

but the company is used to building flat-pack sets. Mr Bates said: “The stuff we make is temporary, but it has to be taken down and put up again and again. We’re creating a façade – it might be a brick wall, but it’s built of wood. “It’s looking at it all from a different perspective. It looks like a solid heavy wall but it has to be moved. It’s a bit different from ordinary joinery.” The company has also worked on corporate awards ceremonies and on other art installations. Scenic’s specialists work closely with artists and theatre designers to help them bring their visions to life. Mr Kirkpatrick said: “Designers bring in their concepts and ask us to execute them. Some designers have a very clear idea of how they want it to work. Some are very vague. But we help them in the right direction.” Mr Bates said the company would like to form partnerships with local theatres to ensure it has a more steady stream of work.

Ben Hatton

Experiment with social media use SOCIAL MEDIA is ever-evolving. New platforms, programmes and apps are developed and released every week. And in this wave of new and interesting ways to communicate, some will prove more popular than others. Snapchat, the real-time photo-sharing app, has rocketed in popularity over the past year – allegedly 150m Snapchats are sent each day – ahead of Flickr and Instagram to become the third most popular site for uploads. The app is receiving a lot of hype at present – in part down to “inappropriate” pictures being sent by the app’s users. But this is commonplace with all social media platforms and brands should not be put off using them as marketing tools. The idea that an image can be accessible to a user for one to 10 seconds provides the notion of scarcity and this induces excitement about the subject matter. An app that offers people sneak peeks of new products or limited offers of voucher codes should be explored and embraced by companies. Whilst most brands embrace social media in one form or another, many stick to what they consider the “safe” platforms. The most established which offer the widest audience share – for instance Facebook and Twitter. But brands shouldn’t be so timid when it comes to embracing social media. Being cautious and careful about the content they post is sensible. But too much rigidity can mean that new opportunities to reach target markets are often overlooked. Brands must be prepared to go with the flow. This does not necessarily mean jumping on a band wagon, but recognising changing trends in social media and using them as marketing tools.

Gary Bates, left, and Bob Kirkpatrick, of Scenic Workshops in Bootle

■ INTERNET entrepreneur Ben Hatton is founder and managing director of digital agency Rippleffect. Follow Rippleffect on Twitter @rippleffected

12 post business big feature

Tony McDonough meets STEVE PARK, chief executive of Warrington & Co


HEN you look at the North West economic picture it is tempting to see Liverpool and Manchester as the dominant drivers – however, Warrington may have something to say about that perception. With a population of 200,000 people, the town is the largest urban centre in the Cheshire & Warrington sub-region. In the UK it is in the top five for business investment, top 10 for business and enterprise and has the seventh-highest employment rate. Impressive statistics and Steve Park is one of the key people tasked with raising the bar even higher. The 42-year-old is chief executive of Warrington & Co, an arm of the borough council charged with driving forward the town’s economic development. Park is certainly a big-hitter, having worked in the UK and around the world for blue-chip firms as well as central and local government. The married father-of-two, who took on the role in November last year, said: “My role is to provide strategic leadership and delivery focus. The council has some very ambitious plans when it comes to regeneration. “It has a policy document – Warrington Means Business – and that sets out the plans in detail. “It covers a broad agenda of economic regeneration through urban regeneration projects, business support, the skills agenda – matching the skills to business needs. “We have recognised that private sector businesses want to do business with other private sector businesses and in that respect we have been quite successful in projecting a private sector image and persona. “Independent analysis in 2012 ranked Warrington as the second-best place in the UK to invest. “We lost out only to Milton Keynes, and it was a very close call. “That is quite a statement when you are sandwiched between two big cities such as Liverpool and Manchester to be recognised as such an asset to invest in. “We have a public sector to private sector ratio that is incredibly healthy, we have the lowest ratio in the North and the second-lowest in the UK. “That means Warrington doesn’t suffer anywhere near as much when it comes to Government austerity measures as other places.” One of Warrington’s key strategic advantages is its close proximity to the motorway network. Benefiting from this is the £1bn Omega project on the former Burtonwood air base which has now started to become a reality after more than a decade of planning. Over the next few years, around 2m sq ft of mixed-use commercial space will be created. Initial emphasis is on large logistics facilities with several deals signed over the past few months with one alone seeing the construction of a 600,000 sq ft warehouse. Warrington & Co is one of the partners involved in the project and Park believes Omega can be a major economic driver for the sub-region over the coming decades. He said: “This is by far the biggest investment site in Western Europe at this time. “Already this year we have already announced over £400m worth investment. “Many places would be proud of

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Regeneration leader who can talk fluent private and public

Steve Park, inset, is certain to play a key role in the ongoing development of Warrington’s £1bn Omega regeneration project having that statistic. “Omega aligns with Liverpool’s growth agenda and in particular Liverpool2 (the new deep-berth facility at the Port of Liverpool). “There is a perception by building 400,000 sq ft sheds that all you are doing is attracting low-end jobs – but that is not the case. “These days around 50% of jobs in warehousing are IT-based. It is really

good news that Warrington is able to build out such a strategic site.” As mentioned earlier, Warrington is sandwich between two of the UK’s biggest cities and Chester is also a significant economic entity. Park insists that the different sub-regions needn’t be in competition with each other and can enjoy mutual benefits that come from co-operation.

q&a Age: 42 Highest educational qualification: BA(Hons) Accountancy Biggest achievement in business: Having to quickly learn two very diverse business cultures in Hong Kong and Japan, in leading the successful delivery of major projects in that region of Asia

Biggest regret: Not starting up my own business change consultancy Best advice received: While you may be inspired by others, emulate their success and not their personality – be yourself. Still to achieve: To complete my Yacht Master qualifications and go sailing in the Caribbean.

Much of that co-operation is now being co-ordinated through the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) who have replaced the North West Development Agency that was scrapped by the coalition Government. “Warrington has a very stable engineering base and it has specialist clusters around energy and nuclear so in that respect it is never going to compete with Liverpool or Manchester,” added Park. “There is a knowledge economy, I think, where we complement each other. “The universities of both cities, and of Chester, have synergies with our knowledge economy. “I don’t think there is a sense of being in competition – I think it is about working in partnership where there is a mutual benefit. “As we see the growth of the LEPs it is very much about working together as a region to attract inward investment. “Warrington is a key cog in the

Atlantic Gateway engine and that brings together Liverpool, Manchester and Cheshire & Warrington LEPs so we are not just aligned to one particular LEP. “The success of Warrington lies in that knowledge corridor and we need to make sure we have good relationships with Liverpool and Manchester.”


ARK was born and bred in St Helens and from an early age was keen to work in a business environment. After discussions with his family he decided that chartered accountancy would be a suitable choice of career and at the tender age of 16 he wasted no time in pushing forward looking for opportunities.. He explained: “I walked around the town knocking on doors and asking for a job. “I came across an accountancy firm called Martindale Beaumont and asked for a job for the summer

big feature post business 13

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Steve Park is tasked with helping to deliver Warrington’s ambitious growth targets


Turner What is the BID giving in return? IT’S THAT time of year where the Commercial District BID team demonstrate they know where to find you by sending one of two annual communications. Unfortunately we’ve already had the invitation to the AGM, so this time it was the demand for money. Also, unfortunately, the accompanying information is infuriating and makes the demand for money a real imposition. The highlights are a scattergun selection of what is mostly “supporting” other people’s events, including Merseytravel, Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Vision and Downtown Liverpool in Business – all organisations which don’t require any assistance in getting to the businesses which live in the Old Hall Street/Dale Street bubble. It’s all inward looking and small, and does not even hint at being part of work that has encouraged businesses from outside of the city or region to relocate – the clearest way in which the area will “improve”. If that isn’t happening, then we’re just paying lots of money to pat ourselves on the back and say how nice everywhere is looking. But my real misgivings come from the details provided in the accounts summary. The BID levy generated £717,000, which was added to by £194,000 of unspent BID levy from the first year of operation. Of that just £327,000 was spent, with £250,000 carried forward for capital projects and £335,000 carried forward for “future expenditure”. This really is unacceptable – if the money is not being spent it should be returned to the companies. There may be differing views as to the efficacy of the BID as a concept, but we can all agree that money kept in a bank account is not going to benefit anyone. The forecasts for the year ahead are also derisory, and are just a straight lift from the business plan which was produced in 2011 and bears no relation to reality. It is based on levy income of £550,000 (is a 23% fall expected?) and makes no reference to the £585,000 carried forward, while the forecast expenditure is also pie-in-the-sky. It has £70,000 in for marketing yet £122,000 was spent last year, and £92,000 the year before, which suggests they don’t expect anyone to invigilate their plans. It isn’t good enough. The BID company must start their improvements with themselves.

‘Forecasts for the year ahead are derisory’

and they took me on. They sponsored me through university at Huddersfield. “I did most of the chartered accountancy training and then realised I didn’t want to be a chartered accountant any more.” So Park left Martindale Beaumont and went to work as an audior for the then up-and-coming discount retailer Matalan, founded by Liverpool-born entrepreneur, John Hargreaves, “I worked closely with John,” he said, “and he was an absolute pleasure to work for – a real gentleman. He was the best buyer that you will ever find in the world.” At 27, Park went to work for Kellog, overseeing its Europe-wide millennium bug programme. By this point he was developing a speciality in future-proofing – preparing organisations for major change. He worked for Toronto-Dominion Bank and was the first person to do a stock trade by mobile phone in the

UK. He then worked for the Home Office helping to set up the Criminal Records Bureau in Liverpool. He then went to work for Mastercard out of Hong Kong and Tokyo and later joined Barclays Bank on a project to roll out chip and pin machines at cash desks. From there he joined Manchester City Council and became head of transformation and eventually on to Warrington where he transformed its customer services before taking on his current role.


NE of the big issues that Park is tackling in Warrington is the provision of skills. In common with other sub-regions, Warrington has realised that if it wants to achieve its economic growth targets then it has to have a readily-available and skilled workforce. Last year, the council set up a skills review. It discovered that training agen-

cies in the area were not delivering the right skills. Council leader Terry O’Neill claimed they were producing “too many nail technicians”. Park said: “Warrington produces results that outrank the North West averages. “Having said that, the skills from the 14-19 age group is not quite as successful. “There is a connectivity issue between skills providers and businesses that we needed to fix. “The council recognised this. “It initiated a skills review and came up with six recommendations that looked to establish a more sustainable skills strategy for the town. “We need to make sure there is a dialogue between businesses and providers and that the skills provision meets the requirements – that dialogue just wasn’t there. “Nuclear engineering courses are incredibly expensive but that is what we have a need for.

“One of my roles is to oversee the delivery of the recommendations and we set off on that journey about a month ago.” Park sees himself as someone who can bridge the traditional gap that exists between the public and private sectors. He added: “The public and the private sector both want success – the trouble is they talk a different language. “That is the heart of it. If there was a common language then they could have a much better understanding of each other. “I see my role to straddle both sectors. I can talk both languages – I am a commercial linguist. “We recently pushed through a planning application for a 400,000 sq ft logistics unit in four-and-a-half weeks without breaking any rules. “It was an example of how we recognised what the private sector needs. “That now exemplifies what Warrington is all about.”

■ Alex Turner is the general manager of financial training firm Ambitious Minds

14 post business regional business awards

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Business awards honours

Jaguar Land Rover Corporate Social Responsibility Award winner was Shop Direct. From left, Richard Else, JLR, and James Evans, Shop Direct

John Syvret addresses the audience after picking up the Business Person of the Year Award while host Peter Sissons looks on

United Utilities Green Business of the Year winner was Typhoo. From left, Neil Coleman, United Utilities, Keith Packer, Typhoo Liverpool Chamber of Commerce Export Business of the Year winner was Jaguar Land Rover. From left, John Sutcliffe, Liverpool Chamber and Richard Else, Jaguar Land Rover

University of Liverpool Knowledge Business of the Year Award winner was Redx Pharma. From left, John Flamson, University of Liverpoo,l and Dr Neil Murray, Redx

SHIPYARD entrepreneur John Syvret was last week named DLA Piper Businessperson of the Year at The Liverpool Post’s Regional Business Awards. Mr Syvret won the award in recognition of his work to grow the Birkenhead shipyard’s shipbuilding and shiprepair activities and its successful diversification into wind power and nuclear engineering. A total of 11 awards were handed out at the ceremony held at St George’s Hall. Attended by 500 guests, the black-tie event was hosted by former BBC broadcaster Peter Sissons. The keynote speech was given by internet entrepreneur Julie Meyer.

Liverpool Post Judges’ Choice Award winner was Heightsafe Systems. From left, Bill Gleeson, Liverpool Post, and Ken Diable, Heightsafe

Presenting Mr Syvret with his award, DLA Piper’s office managing partner in Liverpool, Philip Rooney, said: “Shiprepair activities have gone from strength to strength and it was a matter of great pride for our winner when shipbuilding returned to the shipyard in 2012. “With annual turnover of over £100m, compared to £9m in 2002, the financial performance of the business is strong, providing a solid foundation for the future. “But that is not an end of

the matter, our winner has ensured that the business has diversified, taking advantage of the expanding areas of offshore wind and nuclear to complement its more traditional activities.” Other award winners included Edward Billington & Son. The firm won the KPMG Business of the Year (Over 250 Employees) category. Developer Capital & Centric was the winner of the Liverpool Vision Investment of the Year Award.


regional business awards post business 15

Thursday, June 20, 2013

saviour of Cammell Laird

Internet entrepreneur Julie Meyer delivers the keynote speech

Ingeus Employer of the Year Award winner was International Travel Connec tions (ITC). From left, Barry Fletcher, Ingeus, and Karl Lloyd, ITC

Barclays Business of the Year (51-250 employees) winner was Secured Mail. From left, Michael Owen, Secured Mail, and John Pitchford, Barclays

O2 Business of the year (up to 50 employees) winner was Bootle Containers. From left, Steve Fairhurst, O2, Les Richards and Paul Thompson, Bootle Containers

KPMG Business of the Year (over 250 employees) winner was Edward Billington and Son. From left, Chris Fry, KPMG, David Marshall and Lloyd Whiteley, Edward Billington


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Freehold Development/ Investment Opportunity On the instruction of J Gershinson FRICS and A Packman MRICS of Allsop LLP as Joint Fixed Charged Receivers

Tower Building, 22 Water Street, Liverpool, L3 1BH Freehold grade II* listed mixed use investment/development comprising 41,329 sq.ft of commercial space and 73 apartments with basement car parking



Commercial 41,329 sq.ft of commercial space over ground, first and second floors, of which 27,432 sq.ft is vacant Current income of £126,421 per annum

9 unsold residential apartments totalling 8,918 sq.ft

8 vacant and 1 let

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Estimated rental value £313,973 per annum

Opportunity to convert the office space into alternate use, such as residential apartments (C3) or hotel (C1) (subject to necessary consents)

Sample lounge

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Thursday, June 20, 2013


St Hugh’s doubles occupancy after securing two lettings by Tony McDonough

St Hugh’s in Bootle was formerly home to the Health & Safety Executive and now has several tenants including local MP, Joe Benton, inset


A REFURBISHED office building in Bootle has secured two lettings and has now doubled its occupancy in the past year. Bruntwood, owner of St Hugh’s House, has struck deals with national security and monitoring specialist Securitas and Willow Solutions NW. Securitas will take 2,500 sq ft of space after relocating from Brunswick Business Park. Willow, which provides outsourced contact centre services, has also taken more than 1,700 sq ft at the Stanley Road site, which has undergone a major £3.6m redevelopment since being purchased by Bruntwood. The pair join other recent arrivals including Bootle Labour MP Joe Benton, Donoghue Solicitors and nationwide care provider, Hamilton Mann at the building. St Hugh’s comprises more than 45,000 sq ft and was formerly the home of the Health and Safety Executive. Matt Lee, sales surveyor at Bruntwood, said: “The past 12 months at St Hugh’s have been incredibly successful despite fairly challenging conditions elsewhere. “Customers have responded very positively to our flexible terms and innovative small suite scheme, which effectively allows them to choose the exact amount of space they require, rather than making their needs fit to a pre-designated space. “Bootle is gaining a reputation as a dynamic and up-and-coming place to do business and St Hugh’s rightly stands out as one of the most attractive properties in the area. “We have several other exciting deals in the pipeline and we are looking forward to another strong year as we head towards full occupancy.”

Since being purchased by Bruntwood in 2006, St Hugh’s has been transformed with new external paving, street furniture and planted trees, as well as a revamped reception area. Bruntwood is a family-owned and

Auction house raises more than £6m at Liverpool sale SUTTON KERSH sold 90% of the 119 properties offered at its Liverpool June auction. Kersh sold 107 properties and generated total proceeds of more than £6.65m at the sale which took place at the Liverpool Hilton Hotel. Director James Kersh said high pre-auction activity resulted in 25 lots being sold prior to the event. A further 70 lots then sold in the room and the remainder of the deals have completed afterwards. Many of the lots offered realised more than expected, including two vacant residential properties which sold for more than double their guide prices – Lot 80 and Lot 108. Lot 80, a Grade II-listed building comprising five self-contained apartments and one studio apartment in in Fairfield, was guided at £100,000+ and sold in the room for £212,000. Lot 108 was a five-bedroom three-storey building in Greenbank Road in Mossley Hill which was guided at £90,000+ and sold in the room for £193,000.

run property company and is one of Merseyside’s biggest operators of office space. It has a number of properties in Liverpool city centre including The Plaza and the Cotton Exchange complex in

Old Hall Street in the hear of the commercial district. It owns more than 110 properties across four cities and provides office space, serviced and virtual offices, meeting rooms and retail premises.

post business 17

Industry optimistic about recovery PROPERTY experts in the UK believe there are signs of an upturn in the commercial market as the country slowly emerges from recession. Speakers at the British Property Federation’s (BPF) annual conference said that the improvement was not just happening in London, but also in the regions. The financial crisis has been characterised by large-scale interest in property in the capital – particularly from overseas investors – while the regions suffered credit drought as lending organisations shied away from property outside London. But now there is a growing sense of optimism. Chris Grigg, chief executive of British Land and president of the BPF, said: “A week may not seem a long time in property, but in this market, a few months certainly does. “We have seen a real thawing in market conditions of late, and not just in London. “The UK economy has done better than the pessimists predicted, and there is undoubtedly more bank finance out there now. On the other hand, we are by no means out of the woods yet.”

BUSINESS to BUSINESS INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY INDUSTRIAL UNITS 3,000− 20,000 sqft, flexible terms. 0151 486 0004

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Freestanding Chester City Centre Office Building 14,000 sq ft with car parking Potential for Re-Development



11,754 Sq Ft (1,092 Sq M) James Kersh Also included in the catalogue was a substantial vacant commercial building in Fleet Street in Liverpool city centre. The premises, which have a total floor area of approximately 4,162 sq ft were guided at £200,000-£225,000 and sold prior to the auction for an undisclosed amount.

UNIT 11A, WILSON ROAD HUYTON BUSINESS PARK LIVERPOOL, L36 6AN For further information contact Robert Deacon

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Further information please contact Neil Dryburgh or Euan Ross at

18 post business economic development

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Trust centre helping tackle focus on jobs

by Alistair Houghton POST BUSINESS STAFF


HE old Rapid Hardware store in Renshaw Street, Liverpool, used to help people transform their homes. Now, it is helping young people transform their lives. The Prince’s Trust last week officially opened its centre in Renshaw Street, which acts as the hub for its Fairbridge programme to help disadvantaged 13-to-25-year-olds find their way into employment. Where once shoppers weaved their way through the mazy corridors of Rapid, today young people pass inspirational slogans on their way to meet the mentors and advisers who will help them turn their lives around. Fairbridge launched in the city in 1982 in the wake of the Toxteth riots. It helps young people to rebuild their confidence, and offers them the chance to train aboard its own schooner, the Spirit of Fairbridge. The new centre, which won the backing of more than 25 organisations in the city region from Grosvenor to construction giant Wates, will allow the trust to help twice as many young people. The charity’s work is of huge importance to the region, which has seen youth unemployment rise sharply as the recession bites. The number of 18 to 24-year-olds claiming jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) in the city region has fallen from its peak of 18,675 in February last year, but still stands at more than 14,000. And long-term youth unemployment remains worryingly high. The number of under-24s claiming JSA for more than a year peaked at 3,245 last September, and last month stood at 2,850. The trust itself says: “Around one in five young people in the UK are not in work, education or training. “Youth unemployment costs the UK economy £10m a day in lost productivity, while youth crime costs £1bn every year.” The trust aims to help those long-term unemployed into work, education or training, and then help them to find jobs or even found their own businesses. Its work does therefore help solve social problems, and helps effect grassroots change in some of the UK’s most deprived communities. But Sir Michael Bibby, managing director of Bibby Line Group, says it’s not those “lofty ideals” that get people involved with the trust. “Most people get involved from a sense of community,” he said. “It’s really incredible to work with these young people. “If you can make a difference to one young person’s life, that’s worthwhile. “I agree with all those lofty ambitions. But that’s not what’s going to attract most people. It’s about making a difference to your community.” One such young person helped by the trust was Dominic Byrne, 23, from Liverpool, who fell into a life of crime as a teenager and spent time in prison and in hostels.

Phil Thompson, centre, opens the Prince’s Trust centre in Renshaw Street with trust graduates Maggie Taylor, left, and Jez Goffey He was eventually referred to the Prince’s Trust and trained on its schooner, the Spirit of Fairbridge – where he gained the training he need to take his current job on a fishing boat in the Isle of Man. “The trust gave me the first step qualification-wise,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to afford it otherwise.”


chairman of The Prince’s Trust in Merseyside, said the project could not have happened without those bodies’ enthusiastic backing. He added: “To raise the money without having an official fundraising drive is really phenomenal. “I find the trust’s work remarkable. “I come from a well-off background in this area. Through Fairbridge and the Prince’s Trust I’ve met a lot of young people who have had no role models, no support in their lives, and have been in incredibly hard environments. To see what these young people are doing to turn their lives around, with the support of Fairbridge and the Prince’s Trust, is fantastic. I’m not sure I could have done it. “I have tremendous respect for those individuals.” Jonathan Townsend, North of England director for the Prince’s Trust,

‘It’s about making a difference to your community’

HE transformation of a chunk of the former Rapid store into a modern Prince’s Trust hub was only possible thanks to the support of firms and grant-making trusts. Liverpool One developer Grosvenor, which owns the building, was an enthusiastic supporter, as was Liverpool One’s estates director Chris Bliss. Other supporters included Liverpool’s K2 Architects, Land Aid, The Clothworkers’ Foundation and Bibby Line Group. Sir Michael Bibby, who is also

said: “We have a number of locations where our work makes most impact. Liverpool is one of those. “This centre is right in the centre of Liverpool. It’s a great location, very accessible. Anything that increases the number of young people we can work with is great. “It puts the Prince’s Trust much more at the centre of this area. “We are not political. We are about helping young people. “But there are 1m young people unemployed, and it’s a significant issue in Liverpool. “We can help create positive outcomes, getting people into education, training or employment for their benefit and for the benefit of society.” The centre was opened by Liverpool FC legend Phil Thompson in front of an audience of local leaders, including Lord Mayor Gary Millar. Mr Thompson was introduced to the trust by entrepreneur Steve Sealey and has since become an ambassador for its work in Merseyside. “The things the Trust does here

are astonishing,” he said. “It’s getting young people through the door that’s the biggest challenge. “I said to Chris, the mentor who showed me around, ‘I bet if you put a camera outside you’d see a lot of young people at the door saying ‘should I go in?’ That’s part of the battle, getting them to take the first step and come through the door. “I come from Kirkby. It’s a tough area, but it’s my town. I know how hard it is to break the mould. “Peer pressure used to come from adults. Now it’s coming from kids – 14 to 16-year-olds putting each other under pressure to go a different way, with drugs, drink and crime. “It’s a tough life. That’s why this programme is an absolute godsend for them.” Mr Thompson was particularly impressed with the way the trust helps young people to get involved in sports and outdoor pursuits – and he urged local organisations to show their support for its work by letting its young people use their sports facilities for free.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Sir Michael Bibby at the helm of the Prince’s Trust’s ship, the Spirit of Fairbridge

economic development post business 19

diary of an entrepreneur MY WIFE Emma and I set up our company, Andy Bounds Ltd in 2003. Earlier this year we celebrated our 10th anniversary – something we’re very proud of. We’re based in Liverpool, but work across the globe (31 countries and counting…). We help companies communicate better, both with their employees and their customers. We have worked with hundreds of top-level executives at prestigious businesses and organisations such as RBS and Barclays banks, Microsoft, Virgin and Baker Tilly International. An important part of my job is writing. I’ve recently launched my second book The Snowball Effect. It provides lots of easy-to-apply communication tips and techniques. It was a best-seller within just a couple of weeks of going on sale. In fact, it was Amazon’s best-selling book on our launch day – very exciting stuff. So it has already beaten my first book, The Jelly Effect, which reached number two – it was only beaten by the last Harry Potter book and I’ve got the screenshot, which I enjoy showing to people. I originally started out as a chartered accountant, working in the Liverpool offices of global company Grant Thornton. After that, I worked for a company that specialised in training accountants how to pass their professional exams. I’m really proud that my students had a phenomenally high success rate, with three of them winning national prizes. Although I love having my own business, being a business owner

was never a key driver for me. I just wanted to help people communicate better. I enjoy analysing businesses and helping them to recognise their communication problems – and identify where they may not be working to full capability. I then show them how to put this right, increasing their productivity, staff morale and turnover There’s a huge demand for what we do. After all, people often say “Communication is crucial. But in my organisation, it isn’t very good.” Fortunately, there are certain steps that can be put in place to correct this, not just immediately but also in the long-term. My parents have been major influences throughout my life. My dad had a successful career in business and was chief executive of Liverpool City Council for almost 10 years. My mum lost her sight at the age of eight but didn’t let it stand her way – she was the second British blind woman to become a qualified lawyer. In fact, I still sit and watch films with mum and give audio descriptions when she needs them. I can relate this back to business communications – people cannot always see the easy way of doing things; I help point this out and then let them implement the change. Thankfully I’ve got a great team alongside me to look after all the critical behind-the-scenes work. They do a wonderful job, which means can go out and do what I do best. ■ Andy Bounds is a consultant, speaker and author who is director of Andy Bounds Ltd

Dominic Byrne turned his life around after signing up to the Prince’s Trust

Trust marks 37 years of helping UK’s young people THE Prince’s Trust was founded by the Prince of Wales in 1976 to “improve the lives of disadvantaged young people in the UK”. Since then it has helped more than 700,000 young people, with three quarters of those it works with move into work, education or training. Its work includes the Enterprise Programme, which provides grants

and support to help young people start businesses, and the XL Clubs to help 13-19 year olds who are at risk of truanting and exclusion. In 2011 the trust merged with fellow charity Fairbridge. Its programmes include a five-day access course at an outdoor residential centre, designed to support young people who may have struggled in conventional education.

The Prince of Wales launched his trust in 1976

Andy Bounds set up in business a decade ago

20 post business professionals

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Northern executives warned as shareholder spring returns by Joshua Taylor


THE so-called “shareholder spring” has returned to more than one in eight companies headquartered in the north of England, according to analysis. Investigation by accountancy firm KPMG has found there are significant levels of shareholder dissent at 13% of the North’s public limited companies (PLCs). This is higher than the national average of 11%. The shareholder spring began last year when investors began expressing unease at levels of executive pay. A number of high-profile chief executives stepped down or were ousted after shareholders voted against their remuneration packages. Speaking half way through this year’s annual general meeting (AGM) season, Jonathan Hurst, northern chairman at KPMG, said: “With over half of the voting season done, it seems fair to say that we’ve seen something of a resurgence of the shareholder spring amongst the North’s listed businesses. “Where we have seen shareholders objecting, it’s been similar to last year in that the dissent relates to specific circumstances and issues. These are usually not solely pay related, but instead driven by a combination of dissatisfaction around corporate performance and the leadership of the business.” KPMG says that a company is encountering significant shareholder dissent if more than a fifth of its investors vote against the business’s remuneration report, which outlines proposed levels of executive pay. This has been found to be the case at 13% of northern-based companies so far this AMG season. Shareholder votes on remuneration reports are currently only advisory so can be ignored by executives, although they will become legally binding following a change in the law that comes into effect next year. Many companies are attempting to improve communications between boardrooms and rank-and-file investors ahead of this. Mr Hurst said: “Perhaps there is an element of catching up to be done by some northern PLCs with the very largest blue chip companies, which tend to spend more time and resources on shareholder communications. “So it is reassuring to find that a higher than average proportion of listed businesses in the North (23%) are addressing this by preparing for adoption of the main elements of new regulations next year.”

Jonathan Hurst, northern chairman at KPMG, has spoken of the levels of shareholder dissent in firms

Law firm’s specialist team wins two deals WEIGHTMANS’ public sector group has secured two national tenders. The Liverpool law firm’s healthcare team has been appointed to all three lots of the NHS Litigation Authority’s (NHS LA) new panel following an extensive review and procurement process. The firm has been undertaking NHS LA clinical negligence work since 1998 and has been on the previous panels since 2001. The new panel will provide legal advice to 15 Department of Health agencies over the next four years as well as to the NHS LA. Vicky Morris, client liaison partner for the NHS LA, said: “The authority is a valued and key client for the firm. “Our clinical negligence and wider healthcare practices represent some of the firm’s strongest areas, and we are pleased to have secured a place on all three lots. “We are looking forward to working on the new panels, and to providing a comprehensive range of legal services to the NHS LA and other NHS bodies as well as contributing to the authority’s risk management and learning programmes.” The success of the healthcare team follows that of Weightmans’ education team. It has secured wins in all six lots in the North and North Wales area on the APUC (Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges) legal services tender. The firm has also been appointed to all lots in the Central, Eastern and Southern areas, an achievement that has only been matched by one other firm.

on the move ■

BUILT environment recruitment and training consultancy Bromak, which has recruitment offices and training facilities in Liverpool, Bolton, Sheffield, Durham and Lichfield, has promoted three of its key staff to director level to help oversee the company’s growth plans. The promotions come as the company announced increased turnover for the past 12

months, passing the £10m milestone for the first time. Hannah Lever, 31, has been promoted to the position of business development director, while Cameron Berry, 30, and Mathew Bewley, 32, will take on the roles of operations director and training director, respectively.

PACKAGING supplier Weir & Carmichael has announced

three new appointments. Julia Pemberton is promoted to commercial director and Barrie Williams to production director. Martin Ellioth will move alongside Barrie Williams snr to become joint managing director. Weir & Carmichael was founded in 1955 and the original business sold hessian sacks to local businesses in Liverpool. Now operating throughout the UK with

more than 1,200 customers, the product portfolio includes industrial packaging, recycling solutions and re-usable protective packaging. Ms Pemberton has worked for Weir & Carmichael for 21 years and will be the first female director in the business. Mr Williams has worked for Weir & Carmichael for 25 years and is the third generation of the Williams family.

Mathew Bewley – new Bromak director

Julia Pemberton – first female director

Martin Ellioth – joint managing director

style post business 21

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mentoring from experts on offer at enterprise festival

Joshua Taylor takes a look at some of the prizes up for grabs at Accelerate 2013 next week

Lord Bilimoria, founder and chairman of Cobra Beer, will attend Accelerate 2013


IVERPOOL’S upcoming Accelerate 2013 festival to celebrate the nation’s fastest growing and most successful companies will undoubtedly feature a great deal that will inspire and educate the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Organisers, however, have gone one step further than most seminars to cultivate future talent. Two lucky attendees will have the chance to win personal mentoring from two of Britain’s top businessmen. Lord Bilimoria, founder and chairman of Cobra Beer, will offer advice to one lucky start-up company over a pint. Meanwhile Charles Morgan, chairman of the Morgan Motor Company, will take one lucky winner for a spin around Liverpool in one of his company’s iconic luxury cars. Lord Bilimoria said: “I’m delighted to be coming to Liverpool for Accelerate 2013, a festival by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, which will bring together the best in British business to show how good business can become great. Accelerate will be a hub for innovative, fast-growth businesses and I look forward to meeting the competition winner over a bottle of Cobra and doing what I love best – talking business with a fellow entrepreneur.” Mr Morgan added: “Accelerate 2013 is a festival that will put hundreds of Britain’s most exciting businesses in the fast lane to growth. “I’m greatly looking forward to meeting one of the festival’s delegates for a spin around the great city of Liverpool in a Morgan car.”

Max Steinberg, chief executive of Liverpool Vision, the city’s regeneration company that has been involved in organising Accelerate 2013, said: “The prizes are an outstanding opportunity for an intense tutorial in growing your business from some of the UK’s leading experts.” Other business leaders due to attend the festival include Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. The winners of the two prizes will chosen at random. Entries can be made by tweeting @Accelerate2013 and using either #motormentoring or #beerwithbilimoria. Alternatively, those wishing to enter the competition before the June 26 deadline can email

Accelerate line-up ■

ACCELERATE 2013, due to be held at Liverpool’s Arena and Convention Centre on June 27, will see the inaugural meeting of the Accelerate 250 – a group of the nation’s fastest growing companies handpicked for their impressive rates of expansion and job creation. The following Merseyside-based companies have been chosen as members of the Accelerate 250 by Lord Young, the Prime Minister’s enterprise advisor, and Sir Terry Leahy, the former chief executive of Tesco: Aimes Apposing Bibby Line Group Human Recognition Sys -tems LILA Lucid Games Mando Group PPL Group Rippleffect Ripstone Sentric Music Service Source Sound City Uniform Leaf Cafe

Morgan chair Charles Morgan

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales

MORE than 1,000 delegates are expected to attend Accelerate 2013. Headline guests will include General Sir Mike Jackson, former chief of the General Staff, who will share the secret of building successful teams to run businesses; Lord Young, who will discuss what the Government is doing to encourage enterprise; and Ajaz Ahmed, founder of international advertising agency AKQA, who will examine the impact of the digital age on British business.

past business – nostalgia

Inspiring message from the trainee who rose to the top at Woolworth IT’S not often that you see a besuited late middle-aged man used as an example to “teenagers wanting to go places” – but that was the wonder of Woolworths. In December 1979, the ECHO published an advertising supplement announcing “A great Woolworth Christmas on Merseyside”. As you’d expect it’s packed with adverts for products from Bontempi organs to Denivit toothcream and “bristle-look dartboards”. And most articles promote Woolies goods, including “toys from programmes like Charlie’s Angels, Starsky and Hutch and Kojak” and music centres in “attractive cabinets”. But this supplement also had an educational bent, including articles about the history of F&W Woolworth – whose first UK store opened 70 years earlier in Liverpool. And then there was a page called “Men at the top”, in which Woolworth supremo Geoffrey Rodgers was hailed as a great example for local youth. It said: “Authentic instances of starting right at the bottom of a major organisation and working one’s way to the top aren’t

quite as thick and fast on the ground as business folklore and careers officers would have us believe. “But there are a number of well-documented examples and that of the chairman of Woolworth – Mr Geoffrey Rodgers – represents a classic case”. Rodgers joined Woolworth as a management trainee in 1940 and, after wartime service in the RAF, returned to the chain to rise through the ranks. Along the way, he trained at the group’s Liverpool store and later served as assistant regional manager at the chain’s northern office in Lord Street. The piece added: “He has no magic formula for success. Asked what you need to make it to the top, he will tell you: ‘Hard work, ability and a bit of luck’.” One wonders if Tesco, whose chief executive Philip Clarke and his predecessor Sir Terry Leahy both started their working lives stacking shelves, will produce similarly inspirational marketing material this festive season.

ALISTAIR HOUGHTON The Woolworth store in Church Street, Liverpool, in 1982. Inset, the inspiring tale of Geoff Rodgers

22 post business end piece

Thursday, June 20, 2013

trading gossip


Call the brasserie 0151 299 5000 to book and quote ‘The Daily Post’.

£10 full £10 full rodizio rodizio lunch lunch between 4pm, and4pm, noonand 12noon between 12 Monday Monday to to Friday. Friday.Terms Terms apply. Conditionsapply. and Conditions and

Malmaison Extra Extra! Find out what Sundays are really about with the delicious 4 course Sunday Brunch menu at Malmaison. Including our renowned hors d’oeuvre buffet, eggs and pancake station, the incredible Mal Roast and a delicious selection of desserts from £19.95 or £7.95 for children under 12. William Jessop Way Princes Dock, Liverpool, L3 0BG

Brazil Viva Brasil Viva Viva Brazil restaurant award-winning Viva Theaward-winning The restaurant situatedin in the the heart heart of the isissituated the business business districtin inLiverpool’s Liverpool’s Castle Castle Street. Street.ItIt district firmfavourite favourite for for business business lunches lunches isisaafirm and efficient efficient service. fast and providingfast With service.With providing menutotosuit suit all all tastes, tastes, including more includingmore aamenu than15 15cuts cuts of of meat meat and and 20 you salads, you 20 salads, than areguaranteed guaranteed not not to to go are go hungry. hungry. LiverpoolRestaurant: Restaurant: 36 Castle Castle Street, Street, Liverpool 0NR Tel: 0151 236 L2 0NR Liverpool.L2 Liverpool. 236 8080 8080 Radisson Blu Radisson Blu Hotel Liverpool launches brand new Lightning Lunch menu. Indulge in a main course and a drink for just £6.95. Best of all is the guarantee: if the meal has not been served within 15 minutes, it is completely free!

Lightning Lunch Offer £6.95 per person

Radisson Blu Hotel Liverpool Tel, 0151 966 1500 Email: 107 Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L3 9BD

CROWNE PLAZA Princes Dock Pier Head T: +44 (0) 151 243 8000

CROWN PLAZA BRASSERIE Our Chef and his team have a passion for food and offer a wide variety of dishes that draw on modern international flavours and ingredients. The Hotel Restaurant is very stylish and recently refurbished. Bar Lounge serving a mouth-watering range of food, speciality coffees and teas and a huge variety of cocktails, wines and beers, the lounge provides a stylish, comfortable environment in which to do business or simply to relax

Blakes Restaurant

Enquiries/Reservations, Calling please call: 151 +44 (0) 90252121. 376243 0871

Thistle Liverpool CitytoCentre Blakes Restaurant is open residents the ideal Bar & Restaurant Vista The and non-residents alike andiscreates the perfect setting for agathering. romantic dinner location for any for 2 or parties of up to 22 guests rightthe Displaying spectacular views over Liverpool. the centre River in Mersey andofLiver Building, Following our entry into the Good Food the restaurant offers a wide Guide 2010 as Liverpool’s top City Centre choice of dishes to suit all palates. restaurant, advance reservations are advisable Your experience here will be an to avoid disappointment and can be made by unforgettable one

marco pierre white please call call steakhouse 0111 559 0151 Tel:Tel: 0151 559 0111

Hotel Indigo Hotel Indigo in Minutes - Express Lunch Menu Marco Marco in Minutes - Express Lunch Menu Time may be of theessence essence Time may be of the butbut have youhave meanyou that thatshouldn’t shouldn’t mean to to new With compromise compromiseon on quality. quality. With thethe new Express youcan can feast ExpressLunch Lunch Menu, Menu, you feast on on freshest thefreshest usingthe finest thethe of of cuisine using finestcuisine ingredients, havetime time meet meet to to still have and still ingredients,and all all those Withtwo two courses thosedeadlines! deadlines! With courses forfor £10 mealand anda a drink £10ororaamain main meal drink for for - just with little menu with £10 £10 It’sIt’sa amenu littlefuss fuss - just who those for food simple honest, good, good, honest, simple food for those who little time very little havevery have timetotostop. stop.

To promote your location please email :

WE ARE a bit concerned that some of our colleagues in the world of PR are being a little overworked at times after seeing the second press release blooper in the past couple of weeks.

The wonderfully-named Bright Light PR sent us a press release this week revealing that Scouse tycoon John Hargreaves, founder of the Matalan chain, had bought a 50% stake in a womenswear brand called Damsel in a Dress. It plans to work with Hargreaves, who started his business empire with a stall on Great Homer Street Market, to grow its

brand internationally. The three directors of Damsel in a Dress are Alison Mansell, Amanda Seaborne and Marshall Doctors. However, the original release called Amanda Seaborne Amanda Marshall and a corrected version was hastily dispatched. Clearly three names were too many to handle. Not such Bright Lights, perhaps.

John Hargreaves

Darren has perfected the art of relaxation myday off Darren Farrell is a clerk at Liverpool’s Atlantic Chambers and in his spare time, a pop artist who has clients as diverse as Chambers itself and the Scissor Sisters


tlantic Chambers is one of the most dynamic sets of barristers in the North of England. From ground breaking employment tribunals to high profile criminal cases, the expertise of our barristers is called upon nationwide. Based in the heart of Liverpool city centre we have a well-won reputation for top class quality advice and advocacy in all main practice areas. I am a clerk specialising in family law, one of the largest disciplines in chambers. It’s a fast moving job and at times a real challenge, chasing briefs and assigning cases. Away from the office I like to relax with my pallet of paints. I’ve turned the spare room in my house into a studio, where I can lose myself for hours. It is a complete contrast from my day job and allows me to tear up the rule book after a day poring over legal papers. From an early age I was always interested in art. While other children were playing outside, I’d be inside drawing on any scrap of paper I could find round the house. It was at school where my interest really flourished. I had an inspirational art teacher who persuaded me to experiment, so I put down my paint brush and used a plastic spatula instead and I began to create images that were striking and different. My first commissioned pieces came after university when a friend asked me to paint two large scale pictures for a restaurant he was opening,

Darren Farrell with one of his pop art creations which gave me the encouragement to try and sell my work. Being a singer myself, I decided to have a go at the pop art market and really I’ve never looked back, selling regularly on eBay and by word of mouth. I travel every year to the US to see family and on one visit I met Jake Shears from the Scissor Sisters and we discovered we had a mutual friend in San Francisco who I had painted in the past. It wasn’t long before Jake had a portrait of himself which now hangs in his home. Over the years I have perfected my style which now includes mixing in a fine art style. I like bold images that come together when you take a step back – eye-catchers that make a statement. I love painting the great icons of our time, from Dalglish to Dylan, Beatles to Bowie as well as movies

and their stars, like Star Wars and Streisand – striking images, larger than life personalities. As word has spread, though, I am often asked for pictures of pets or people’s loved ones and I have sold my work across Europe and as far away as Australia. In 2012, I had my two biggest commissions to date, allowing me to paint on a much larger scale. The first was four controversial figures from history and my second was closer to home. When our office reception was given a lick of paint I was commissioned to add the finishing touch – a six foot-long semi-realist painting of the new Liverpool skyline. It was one the most challenging pieces I’ve painted, because it was crucial that the barristers liked it and my job is to keep them happy. I get a buzz every day when I come into work and see it.

‘It was crucial that the barristers liked it’

Thursday, June 20, 2013

end piece

23 post business


Eureka in Myrtle Street, Liverpool

Viva charity effort LIVERPOOL’S Viva Brazil restaurant held a charity night in aid of the Marina Dalglish appeal. Viva Brazil director, Andy Aldrich, said: “We felt we wanted to sup-

port this.” Pictured, above, Jonathan Jacobson, Paula Santos, Andy Aldrich and Angela Greer and, left, Andy Aldrich, Dianne Gillespie and Gary Gillespie.

A view to a thrill LAW firm Hill Dickinson was licensed to thrill at a special performance by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. In an event sponsored by the firm, the musicians performed well-known tunes

from the James Bond movies including Goldfinger, Dr No, From Russia with Love, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Right, Colin Lavelle, solicitor at Hill Dickinson with wife, Maria at the event.

my favourite lunch Dougal Paver, director of city PR firm, Paver Smith Q What is your facourite lunch venue? A Eureka in Myrtle Parade, behind the University of Liverpool Q Why is this your favourite venue? A Consistently cheerful staff and consistently delicious grub, with a nice buzz from the gathered academics and students. I stick out a bit amidst all the Hush Puppies and leather elbow pads, but no one bats an eye. Q What is your favourite dish and why? A The lamb’s liver, as a starter. It’s easily overcooked by indelicate hands, but these boys know how to make it shine.

Out on the streets BROUHAHA International Festival, in collaboration with drumming troupes La Bomba and Batala, have been out and about on the streets of Liverpool to publicise forthcoming events.

business diary THURSDAY, JUNE 20

LIVERPOOL Chamber of Commerce is introducing a new meetings format this month, with Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson. The new-look members’ meeting takes place at North John Street’s Hard Days Night Hotel and includes a two-course lunch and an opportunity to display merchandise on a marketing table. Chamber chief operating officer Jenny Stewart said: “This year has been really exciting for ourselves, and lots of our members, and we are looking forward to welcoming Mayor Anderson

to the Hard Days Night Hotel. This will be the first of a new series of members meetings to add to our portfolio.” Further details at www.liverpool events or 0151-227 1234.


‘NETWORKING in the City’, specialists in the property, finance and construction sectors, is holding its next Curry Club business lunch in Chester. George Ablett, principal sustainable development officer at Cheshire West and Chester Council, and Stuart Moore of MannPower Consulting

will discuss the plans for Chester's proposed hydro plant at the Old Dee Bridge, Lower Bridge Street. Chester Curry Club is the third Friday in the month at the Siam Thai and Teppan-Yaki Restaurant, 32 City Road, Chester at 12.30pm. The lunch costs £25 and places can be booked online at www.


PROFESSIONAL Liverpool is hosting a dinner with guest speaker Alistair McGeorge, executive chairman, New Look, on the theme of ‘Are the fundamentals of retailing really changing?’. The event is at the Victoria

Brouhaha is behind the Liverpool International Carnival on July 27. Pictured, left, from La Bomba, are Alison Cain, Anna McKenzie and Andrea Figeuroa.

Gallery and Museum, on Ashton Street in Liverpool, starting at 6.30pm for 7.15pm. Details are available from Marjorie Barrow on 0151-224 1855 or www.


THE Employability and Skills Group of companies is holding a series of open days at its Liverpool operation in Bold Street. It invites schools and pupils, parents, teachers, heads of departments and careers advisors, training providers, job centres, community agencies, and employers to its informal events, from 10am to 4pm, on the second floor of Link 19 in Bold Street’s Central

Q What is the best bit of business you have done over lunch? A That’s easy – getting my hands on four tickets for a certain match in Istanbul back in the day. I was one of a handful of Blues I know in the stadium that night who were delighted for Liverpool. After all, we weren’t in the competition and they run on to the field with the name of

Village. Refreshments are included. It says the open days provide a chance to find out how ESG staff can help individuals to obtain full time jobs via the apprenticeship programme. For further details contact Jules Westbrook or Pauline O’Brien on 0151-702 6111.


A WORKSHOP aimed at helping firms do business in Russia is taking place at the Old Hall Street offices of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, from 9.15am to 1pm, including breakfast. Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation last year will open markets further – tariffs are already

Dougal Paver my home town on their shirts. Q Who would you most like to have lunch with? A Margaret Thatcher – feisty, opinionated and been around the block a bit. Sadly it’s not to be, though I did chat to her once when she opened Mersey Ferries’ new Pier Head terminal. Q Where else do you like to go for lunch? A Lunya, to fuel my inner Spaniard.

being lowered for imported goods. This event will give an overview of the practical considerations to start exporting, or increase current exports to Russia. It costs £10 for chamber members and £15 for non-members. Visit liverpool/event/view/id/ 3252#book to book.


NORTH Liverpool Business Forum is staging a meeting at Anfield, the home of Liverpool FC looking at ‘Why North Liverpool?’ The business breakfast event takes place between 7.30am and 9.30am and is being held during the week of Accelerate 2013 when more

than 1,000 delegates will descend on Liverpool for a two-day festival dedicated to business growth. The keynote speakers for this event will include Elaine Bowker, Liverpool Community College chief executive, business leaders from the area and representatives from Liverpool Vision who will talk about the major developments taking place in the North of the city. A number of local business will join the panel of speakers for an interactive Q&A session. Visit http://whynorth liverpool-es2.eventbrite. to book. ■ Send your diary events to neil.hodgson


Thursday, June 20, 2013














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Post Business - 20th June 2013  

24 pages of business news from Liverpool Post