Surrey Business Magazine - Issue 35

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CYBER SECURITY Time to get serious The Art of Remote Leadership The Future of Home Working MOTORING Vintage Voltage Mother Nature’s Revenge







01483 735540



F E B R U A R Y 2021



36 The future of home working 38 Shining a light on Surrey’s STEM star 54 The art of effective remote leadership 63 Digital agency brings local businesses and council together through innovative app


Hail the 46th President of the United States



32 NatWest South East PMI®


16 Our new future trading agreement with the EU


28 (Supply) chain reaction


30 Action planning for the tax year end 47 Time to rethink talent practices 58 Indirect Tax changes post Brexit




40 Necessity is the mother of invention


42 Cyber security then and now


48 Mother nature’s revenge


60 The value of telling stories


67 Maintenance contracts are vital where bird netting is used say experts


69 Off the beaten track laid back Halkidiki




74 Back to the future 76 Brand new car retailer set to put Crawley community in pole position

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KEEP CALM & CARRY ON What a start to 2021. One month in and vaccines are being delivered at a great pace, which is crucial as we remain in a full lockdown, a new President of the USA has been inaugurated and we have left the EU. Last week marked the 100,000th death from Covid, affecting so many families locally and reminding us how important it is to keep safe and protect the NHS. It seems incredible that we are approaching the one-year marker from the beginning of the pandemic crisis and the devastating effects on the economy. Will there be a double-dip recession? A key measure of this damage is seen in the latest published economic results. The decline of 2.6% in output in November was largely driven by the drag on activity from the second lockdown, with consumer-focused services firms, who are most exposed to lockdown restrictions, enduring a particularly difficult month. With any post-lockdown rally in output in December constrained by the tougher tiered restrictions, the UK economy is likely to have contracted in the final

❛❛ As part of the British Chambers

network we are urging government to deliver a clear and comprehensive plan to support the economy throughout this year, rather than the short term fixes we keep witnessing ❜❜


quarter of 2020. The third lockdown means that a double-dip recession in the first quarter of this year may be inevitable, particularly if the current post-Brexit disruption persists through the quarter. As part of the British Chambers network we are urging government to deliver a clear and comprehensive plan to support the economy throughout this year, rather than the short term fixes we keep witnessing.


We are delighted to be working with Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver the best possible advice to businesses as they grapple with changes caused by our exit from the EU. There will be webinars, clinics and a helpline to make sure we are reaching as many businesses as possible. Preparing our workforces for the future Eventually we will come out of all the restrictions and we need to be even more focussed on the skills businesses will need to thrive. The government has released a white paper putting the skills needs of businesses at the heart of the Further Education system. Chambers

of Commerce can play a leading role in developing the local skills plans that reflect the needs of employers in the area. In Surrey we already have great relationships with local training providers. We look forward to working with them, the Department for Education, businesses and other stakeholders across the FE sector to further develop these proposals. This is to make sure more people can train and retrain for new and emerging jobs in their local communities.


Surrey Chambers has been a Gateway for Kickstart from the beginning, supporting employers who only have a few placements to offer. We have been very disappointed to hear that

some Gateways have not entered into the scheme with the right ethos and retained the £1,500 training grant available for employers. The Chamber has always accepted that this scheme is designed to tackle what will be a growing issue of youth unemployment over the next few years as we recover from the economic crisis and it is paramount that the needs of the employer and the young person are at the heart of any Gateway offer. We will continue to support local businesses and build on the 300 placements we have already had approved by Department for Work & Pensions. Surrey Chambers of Commerce can be reached on 01483 735540,, @surreychambers

Louise Punter CEO Surrey Chamber of Commerce

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JOIN THE CHAMBER “Surrey Chamb is the co ers of Commer indepen unty’s largest ce busines dent, not-for-p s r that help support organ o�it isation s busine sses to c locally, n onn atio in order nally and glob ect ally to gain c u supplier s and kn stomers, owledge .”

CAN YOUR BUSINESS AFFORD NOT TO BE A MEMBER OF SURREY CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE? Sitting at the heart of the business community, Surrey Chambers of Commerce connects you to opportunities, skills, knowledge and valuable contacts. We can help you grow and develop, by promoting your business, introducing you to new customers, keeping you informed and representing you locally, regionally and nationally With a membership representing businesses of all sizes across every sector of the economy, the Chamber works hard to ensure that the continued prosperity of Surrey takes into account the needs of business, as well as providing a range of high quality services to help businesses to grow and meet new potential customers, including making introductions into over 40 countries. Surrey Chambers of Commerce is an integral part of the Surrey business support network and alongside its partners offers specialist advice, knowledge and information on a wide range of issues facing local businesses.


■ Help you to find new customers – raise your profile, increase your brand awareness and generate new business by using our website, publications and database to communicate with thousands of business people. ■ Connect you to other businesses – we run over 100 events a year that give you the chance to enhance your


business network, find new customers and meet like-minded and other successful business people.

British Chambers of Commerce who talk directly to government, influencing policy and strategic decisions.

■ Expand your network overseas – we provide friendly, professional advice and assistance and help you obtain necessary export documentation. Our relationship with 28 accredited overseas British Chambers means we can introduce you to our global network of experts to make your journey much easier.

■ Support your local community – we are passionate about contributing to the wider community and encourage you to work with us. We support a variety of local initiatives, providing you with the chance to give something back, whilst raising your company profile.

■ Develop you and your workforce’s knowledge and skills – we run a range of training events throughout the year and can introduce you to a variety of training providers. ■ Represent you – we believe it is important that you and your business are fairly represented locally, regionally, nationally and, where appropriate, internationally on issues affecting business. We work closely with Surrey County Council, the eleven local borough councils, district and two Local Enterprise Partnerships and we feedback and provide input to the

■ Save you money – we can provide you with a variety of discounts designed to save your company money. As well as national deals you will benefit from exclusive discounts offered by other Chamber members. You too can offer a special member to member deal. Email: sarah.butcher@ Visit: Call: 01483 735540




IWD 2021

Wednesday February 10th, 14:00 - 15:30 We welcome four keynote speakers who will share their knowledge on the importance of ensuring your workforce, whether on site or remote, is properly set up to continue working efficiently and productively.

Monday March 8th, 14:00 - 15:30 An opportunity to reect on progress made, to call for change and celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.



Thursday March 25th, 13:00 - 14:00 Charles Russell Speechlys, one of the top law firms in the UK, will be advising businesses on how to future proof their business and what re-structuring the business could achieve in the current climate.

Wednesday April 4th, 14:30 - 16:30 An afternoon of networking at Lythe Hill Hotel, Haselmere and opportunities to grow business connections by meeting a wide range of companies from across Surrey and Hampshire.

CHAMBERS NE WS TEDx Global phenomenon TEDx is returning to Woking on Friday May 21st 2021, under the theme of Resilience, and almost 80 local people have applied to speak at this year’s exciting event. TED talks give charismatic speakers the opportunity to expose new ideas to a broad, international audience. Originally based on Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) ideas only, today the event welcomes all disciplines and topics, and the more diverse the better. All talks are recorded and, following adjudication by TED, available online after the ticketed livestreamed event. This is the fifth time that Woking will have hosted TEDx, and interest in speaking has grown year on year. To maintain the excellent quality of the talks delivered to date, strict selection criteria are applied to create a shortlist for the compulsory audition, followed by a rehearsal stage, both of which were introduced to the process in 2019.

For 2021, TEDxWoking will again be working with award-winning local IT support and managed-services company – ramsac – to bring together another exciting combination of engaging speakers and TED videos. As this year’s event will be held remotely, tickets will be available to buy in the coming months for the live-streamed talks, which will be recorded at a private corporate location in Woking. Rob May is ramsac’s MD, and his own

Jarmila Yu from Lightwater in Surrey Heath has been named as one of the UK’s most 100 inspirational female entrepreneurs by Small Business Britain’s f:Entrepreneur ‘#ialso 100’ campaign. Jarmila, who founded YUnique Marketing Ltd in 2016, is being showcased alongside 100 female entrepreneurs from across the UK, as part of the campaign’s recognition of the multi-achievements of women that have proved critical to society during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now in its fourth year, f:Entrepreneur was launched in 2017 to highlight amazing female role models to help and inspire all small businesses, through content, stories and


TEDxWoking Talk in 2017 has received more than 195,000 online views to date. As part of his event sponsorship, Rob is on the steering group to help select possible speakers. He also offers advice and coaching to applicants who are successfully shortlisted for the programme, to guide them in how best to engage with a TED audience. ■ To find out more about the event, visit

events. It particularly aims to showcase trailblazing female entrepreneurs that lead small businesses alongside a roster of other responsibilities, such as volunteering, mentoring and community support, activities. Indeed, Jarmila was also called out for her tireless commitment to raising standards of professionalism in marketing through her client work and mentoring marketeers, as well as supporting a wide range of not-forprofits and educational organisations. On being listed in the #ialso 100, Jarmila said: “I’m delighted and incredibly honoured to be included in the 2021 list. It’s humbling, yet gratifying, to be recognised amongst such enterprising female entrepreneurs. Thank you.”


CURCHOD & CO 2020 was a year like no other. Like every business, ramsac went through many changes to move its operations to be fully remote. As the workforce dashed to to help its clients do the same, ramsac logged thee months’ worth of support tickets in the first two weeks following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first lockdown announcement, ramsac has also enjoyed much growth and success. As its team continues to grow, it is delighted to be starting 2021 with the awarding of new fewer than four Gold Awards from Microsoft. 15 years since is first became a Gold partner, ramsac is pleased to announce it now holds the prestigious Gold partner status in the the following four areas ■ Gold Cloud ■ Gold Datacenter ■ Gold Cloud Productivity ■ Gold Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions.

Curchod & Co has been experiencing strong demand for industrial/warehouse buildings in the Surrey region, which is mirrored throughout the South East and beyond. This is due to a variety of factors including the rapid growth of online retail and the focus on ‘last mile delivery’ exacerbated by the pandemic and the take up of trade counter units. In the past three years, there has been significant freehold and rental growth across the region and rents are now at record levels.

One of the units in the Egham Business Village comprised a modern end of terrace industrial/ warehouse building of 5,243 sq ft with a front car parking area and single loading door. The selfcontained property was sold in October 2020 to Greythorne Services. Curchod & Co were quoting a sale price of £1 million.

As evidence of strong demand in the Surrey Industrial market, a private landlord, advised by Gary Whitaker at Curchod & Co’s Weybridge office, has recently disposed of two storage and distribution units at Egham

Towards the end of last year, Curchod & Co placed under offer another warehouse comprising of c4,600 sq ft, located nearby at Trade City, Brookwood Close, Sunbury-on-Thames at close to the quoting price of £1.1m.

In addition to its Gold Awards, ramsac also has Silver partner status for Collaboration and Content for delivering SharePoint solutions.


Paul Mew, Technical Director at ramsac commented: “We are so pleased our efforts to deliver excellent Microsoft solutions to our customers is being recognised. We believe in technology being strategically led, jargon-free and people-focussed and we have seen Microsoft solutions especially Microsoft 365 being a real game changer for our customers.

Surrey Choices nationally recognised employment support service, EmployAbility, helps to find work placements, volunteer opportunities and paid work for the people it supports.

“We repeatedly look at how to innovate and refine our delivery model to deliver real benefits to our customers, to meet their objectives in terms of improved efficiency, ROI and investment protection”.

Business Village last year and sold and leased two additional warehouse/industrial units close by on the Thorpe Park Industrial Estate.

Lucy joined the service through an Employment Works programme. The programme starts off with a matching process that will find a work placement that is suited to the young person’s needs, interest and skills. The aim is for individuals to experience teamwork in a work-ing environment, build self-con-fidence and develop working skills. Lucy completed a placement at the University of Surrey catering hall, where she learnt valuable skills which helped her get a paid job at Sodexo, a national catering company, in July 2015. The British Citizen Award honours

individuals and organisations who are positively impacting society and those community heroes who may otherwise be overlooked. Just under 6,000 Sodexo employees have received a British Citizen Award in recognition of their efforts during the Covid-19 pan-demic and one of those employee’s was Lucy. The impact of winning this award has been huge for Lucy. She is now more confident than ever and eager to get back to work. Congratulations Lucy!



ZERO WASTE SOLUTION 1TcA (One Thought Changes All), a fully recyclable and sustainable British manufactured mask brand and trusted member of the PCIAW (the Professional Clothing Industry Association Worldwide), launched its face coverings enhanced with HeiQ Viroblock, and now is a brand partner with HeiQ.

snoods are made from ethically sourced recycled plastic bottles and can be recycled back into the original constituent parts to enable the whole process of manufacturing to restart, otherwise known as a closed loop system.

Founded by social entrepreneurs and mums at the start of the nation’s lockdown, 1TcA provides comfortable, lightweight masks and snoods to help prevent cross-contamination. HeiQ Viroblock is an intelligent Swiss technology that is added to the fabric during the final stage of the textile manufacturing process. HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 technology has been tested effective within minutes against SarsCov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

HeiQ Viroblock is the creation of HeiQ, the global leader in textile innovation. It’s among the first textile finishing technologies worldwide that have been successfully tested against


You yearn to be confident in performing to that camera, in engaging with your audience, your clients, compelling them with the value that you deliver. You want to perform at your best. To deliver without being cancelled, or stanned….


Further, HeiQ Viroblock is certified as safe and sustainable as all its ingredients are cosmetic grade, bio-based and recycled, so both the technology and fabric used for the face coverings are environmentally friendly.

■ To find out more, visit

YOU ARE ALONE Presenting virtually is a lonely business

And the last thing you want is to be boring or beige. ‘Blanding in’ is not an option but is your fear. It doesn’t have to be like that.


To help with the current spread of the virus, ITcA are donating 20,000 face coverings across the UK to frontline and key workers to help protect them to keep the vulnerable safe. 1TcA would welcome support to help support surrey charity partners like Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, Crossroads Care Surrey and Woking & Sam Beare Hospice.

All 1TcA products are produced in the UK supporting British manufacturing and the British economy. All profits are donated to charitable causes and community projects. The masks and

In this moment of terror, it’s just you. Alone. Facing that gorgon eye of a camera atop the looking glass of your laptop as you gather your notes and draw a deep breath, preparing to present to your clients…

the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease, in the laboratory, using the Viral Stability and Persistence test method with the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, Australia. HeiQ Viroblock-treated fabrics showed over 99.99% reduction of SARSCoV-2 viruses.

Building your SPEAK PERFORMANCE is not about taking classes in Am Dram. It is sculpting the persona of yourself, infused with the value that you deliver, that sits between you and your audience. You are invited to SPEAK PERFORMANCE: POLARIS. POWERFUL PRESENTING ONLINE where you will build the skills to always aim YOUR performance to specific objectives. To perform with a persona has your audience engaged, compelled, haunted and obsessed. Grabbing their attention and holding it. ■ This is YOUR Speak Performance. or talk with Ges Ray on 07941083722 email:

er charges may be payable. 2. Payable if you exercise the option to purchase the car. 3. Includes optional purchase payment, purchase activation fee and retailer deposit contribution (where applicable). *Orders/ credit approvals on selected E-Class Saloon models between 1 July and 30 September 2019, registered by 31 December excluding Mercedes-AMG models. Guarantees may be required. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Some combinations of features/options may not be available. Subject to availability. Over 18s only. Finance is subject to status and provided by Mercedes-Benz Finance, MK15 8BA. Sandown Group is a credit broker and not a lender. Sandown Group is authorised and regulated by he Financial Conduct Authority in respect of regulated consumer credit activity. All New and Approved Used cars sold by any Sandown Mercedes-Benz Retailer is subject to a purchase fee of £129 inc VAT. Prices correct at time of going to press 07/19. Images for illustrative purposes.ww

The Sandown Group Here at Sandown, our customers are our main priority. We have over 35 years experience in the Mercedes-Benz brand, so we’re proud to call ourselves experts in the field. Our dedicated team are here to assist with your every need. Whether you’re looking for your next new model, or need a little help maintaining your current pride and joy, we are committed to providing you with the best service possible. We are just as passionate about your vehicle as you are, so when you choose to visit a Sandown retailer, you can rest assured that your experience will be nothing short of first-class. We have seven retailers throughout Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire located in Basingstoke, Dorchester, Farnborough, Guildford, Hindhead, Salisbury and Poole, each equipped with a friendly and knowledgeable team. So if you’re in need of a service, are searching for your latest vehicle upgrade, or are on the hunt for a fleet of business cars, we’re the people to visit. We look forward to welcoming you with a smile at your local Sandown Mercedes-Benz retailer soon!

0330 1780038 Mercedes-Benz of Basingstoke Mercedes-Benz of Dorchester Mercedes-Benz of Farnborough Mercedes-Benz of Guildford Mercedes-Benz of Hindhead Mercedes-Benz of Poole Mercedes-Benz of Salisbury


23rd March Foxhills Golf Club

7th July West Surrey Golf Club

4th November Swinley Forest Golf Club

19th April Tandridge Golf Club

5th August Camberley Heath Golf Club

14th December Woking Golf Club

5th May Coombe Hill Golf Club

15th September New Zealand Golf Club

To learn more about the SCGS, please contact

10th June Hindhead Golf Club

5th October Hayling Island Golf Club


SURREY POLICE POLICING SURREY By Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro One of my key roles as Police and Crime Commissioner is to set the Surrey Police budget which includes deciding what I think the public should pay in council tax each year for policing in this county. And I have to say this year it is one of the hardest decisions I have faced since I was elected in 2016. There is no doubt we are living through an incredibly difficult time and I know that the Covid-19 pandemic has led to hardship for a lot of people. It is never easy asking residents to pay more for their policing, particularly in the current circumstances. The dilemma I face is to try and strike a fair balance between providing an efficient policing service and the burden on the public. Over the last year our police officers and staff have faced unprecedented challenges in dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak, putting themselves and their loved ones at risk to keep us safe. They deserve our continued thanks and support for their dedication and hard work during this incredibly tough period for us all. I know from talking to residents across the county that they really value their local police service and would like to see more of them on our streets which remains a key priority for me. I believe the role our police play in our communities is more important now than ever during these uncertain days.

That is why I am asking residents whether they would be prepared to pay a bit more in council tax to boost policing numbers and support officers and staff in the county over the coming year. I am proposing a 5.5% increase which would mean we could bolster the number of crucial roles that are needed to increase visibility, improve our public contact and provide that essential operational support to our frontline officers. Together with Surrey’s next share of the 20,000 officer uplift promised by government nationally this year’s precept would allow the police to able to strengthen their establishment by 150 officers and staff during 2021/22.

❛❛ And I have to say this year it is one of the hardest decisions I have faced since I was elected in 2016 ❜❜

This would match the number of extra posts we were able to add to the establishment last year which I’m pleased to say the Force are well on track to fill, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. I have had the pleasure of meeting many of those new faces over the last year and I have no doubt they will do the county proud. It is really important to me to get the views and opinions of our residents so I would ask everyone to take a minute to fill out our brief survey and let me know their views which can help me make this decision. But you will need to be quick – our short online survey closes at 9.00am on February 5th and can be found here: I will keep you updated on the outcome of our survey next month but if you want to know more about my proposal – there is lots more detail on our website here: www. council-tax-consultation-2021-22




Surrey Chambers of Commerce welcomes its latest member companies When you join Surrey Chambers of Commerce, your company details automatically get listed on this page alongside fellow new members. What a fantastic way to let the Surrey Business community know you are out there and ready to get those all-important connections.




Tel: 01494 558323 Contact: Antonis Pazourou

Tel: 01428 654992 Contact: Anna Webb

Tel: 07710 742347 ww Contact: Graham Hales



Tel: 01428 776160 Contact: Dominic Rea Long

Tel: 07515 353341 Contact: Dan Caruso

All new Chamber members are entitled to a one-off 50% discount for a company proďŹ le within this magazine. Contact for more details If you are looking to join Surrey Chambers, then please do get in touch with either: or or call 01483 735540. We look forward to hearing from you!





@Surrey Chambers of Commerce

Surrey Chambers of Commerce

SURREY CHAMBERS EXECUTIVE PARTNERS Caxton Business Contact: Curt Brooker Tel: 02070 427617

Projectfive Contact: Steve Coburn Tel: 01276 455455

Charles Russell Speechlys Contact: Rebecca White Tel: 01483 252525

Haines Watts Contact: Daniel Morgan Tel: 0208 5495137

Royal Automobile Club

Taylor Wimpey

Contact: Emily Goodyer

Contact: Antonis Pazourou

Tel: 01372276311

Tel:01494 558323


OUR NEW FUTURE TRADING AGREEMENT WITH THE EU Since the announcement of the new UK-EU trade agreement on Christmas Eve, businesses have been busy trying to understand what this might mean for their business and their EU customers The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) details the future trading arrangements between the UK and the EU and whilst it is good news that a deal has been done, so that there can


be trade with no tariffs or quotas, it is important to remember that this will not be the final position. There will be further negotiations, compromises, and latenight negotiations on many topics. For

example, the current deal does little for the service industry and this is a topic that will be subject to further discussions in the future. One of the difficulties that faces businesses is that many government web pages are being re-written and/or removed following the late agreement of the deal. Furthermore, some web pages contain incorrect information (such as saying that you may need to pay duty on imports of goods from the EU to the


UK). This can make it difficult to find the necessary information. Another challenge for business is to understand how these new rules impact their business. There is lots of talk about no tariffs or quotas but when you read between the lines, you find that goods must meet qualifying criteria and the origin rules stated within the TCA. In essence, anything from a third country that does not undergo a substantial transformation in the UK/EU is liable for duties and taxes. It is important that businesses still consults the website (https:// to use the Brexit Checker, for the latest information and to sign up to the regular updates for areas that concern their business, but below are some useful links should you need them A summary about the trade agreement between the UK and EU can be found here – https://assets.publishing.service. uploads/attachment_data/file/948093/ TCA_SUMMARY_PDF.pdf

❛❛ Another challenge for business

is to understand how these new rules impact their business ❜❜ The list of countries agreements have been made with including links to the agreements can be found here – w w w. g o v. u k /g u i d a n c e /u k - t r a d e agreements-with-non-eu-countries There is also an update on the Rules of Origin that needs to be applied to these FTAs including the UK-EU Trade agreement. Details can be found here rules - of- origin -for- goods - moving b e t w e e n - t h e - u k - a n d - e u - f r o m -1january-2021

If you need to contact HMRC for clarification on the guidance you can do so by email or chat via the links below: The helpline/webchat g o v e r n m e n t /o r g a n i s a t i o n s / h m revenue-customs/contact/customsinternational-trade-and-excise-enquiries which has huge numbers of HMRC people manning it. Or the Online forums HMRC forums/customerforums/tp or Cross Departmental https://transition-forum.

If you do have any other questions, please do contact us at Surrey Chambers of Commerce by e-mailing


NEWS JAEGER RESCUED Marks & Spencer has announced that it has bought the Jaeger fashion brand, which fell into administration last November. M&S is taking on the brand, but not Jaeger’s scores of shops and concessions. It is now in the process of finalising a deal to buy its products and “supporting marketing assets”. M&S announced in May 2020 that it planned to stock other complementary brands to boost sales. Since then, it has started to sell products online from the Early Learning Centre, as well as from two designers, Nobody’s Child and Ghost London. Jaeger had 244 staff and some 63 stores and concessions. In addition, 13 stores closed after administrators were appointed, with the loss of more than 120 posts across stores, head office and distribution.

NEWS BULLETIN CARILLION CRASH The government has launched a legal bid to ban former Carillion directors from holding senior boardroom positions in the UK. Action brought by the new business secretary could see eight ex-directors banned from taking up senior management roles for up to 15 years. Kwasi Kwarteng launched the legal proceedings “in the public interest”, the Insolvency Service said. The move comes three years after Carillion crashed into administration. Carillion was wound up in January 2018, and the Official Receiver submitted a report about the conduct of each director. Thousands of jobs were lost following the collapse of the construction giant, which was one of the biggest corporate failures in the UK. The court proceedings name eight individuals, including former chairman Philip Green, former chief executive Richard Howson and excompany director Keith Cochrane, who led the firm in the final months before its collapse.

❛❛ Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory ❜❜ Albert Schweitzer 18

£175M PASSWORD NIGHTMARE We’ve all been there – brain fog makes us forget our password and after eight frantic attempts, we have just two left.That’s the situation for programmer Stefan Thomas but the stakes are higher than most – the forgotten password will let him unlock a hard drive containing $240m (£175m) worth of Bitcoin. His plight, reported in the New York Times, has gone viral. Ex-Facebook security head Alex Stamos has offered to help – for a 10% cut.

NEWS MENTAL HEALTH On January 18th, Sussex Cricket became the first bespoke mental health and wellbeing platform for its community. At its heart is a searchable library of thousands of short videos featuring people from the Sussex Cricket community and beyond sharing their experiences from an A to Z of topics that impact or can help with our mental health and wellbeing. Every video viewed also provides links to relevant trusted local resources and further help. The Sussex Cricket Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub is backed by the NHS, is completely free, requires no registration and is available to everyone with an internet connection.

LINKEDIN BOOST LinkedIn has launched a new service aimed at freelancers and small businesses, seeking to capitalise on its burgeoning membership. The social media giant recently reached 660 million users worldwide. Co-founder Allen Blue said the new set of features allows SMEs and freelancers to represent the services they offer on their profiles and allows other people to find them easily.

❛❛ Never trade a secret, you’ll always get the short end of the bargain ❜❜ John le Carré, author

He said: “We were thinking about where we would launch it worldwide. And we decided that Dubai, where we had talked to these professionals, and where the entire city is focused on the development of small and medium enterprise, would be a great place to go.”

CABS FOR JABS Brighton-based City Cabs has once again stepped up to the plate and are offering free taxi rides to all over 80s who cannot make their own way to the vaccination centre. The vax centre for the city is at Brighton Racecourse and as that can be quite a journey from much of the city, cab boss Andrew Cheesman has put his fleet at the disposal of all vulnerable over 80s. The pandemic has been a nightmare but it is actions like this that remind us that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Brett Mendoza, landlord

ALL BLACKS BUST US private equity firm Silver Lake is in talks to acquire a stake in New Zealand’s All Blacks, according to reports. of the Caxton Arms pub has set up a gofundme page to raise funds to increase the coverage of this scheme. Bravo Andy Cheesman and Steve Darby for this brilliant initiative. n /f/citycabs4jabs

The transaction would be for a stake of up to 15% in the three-time winners of the Rugby World Cup. New Zealand’s national treasure burned through nearly half of its cash reserves last year during Covid-19 lockdowns. New Zealand Rugby has since been looking at other sources of funding. The All Blacks are New Zealand’s most recognisable sporting team and are one of the best-known brands in international Rugby. The talks with Silver Lake were first reported by Sky News, which said the deal for a 15% stake would value the team at about $2bn (£1.5bn).



HAIL THE 46TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES The former vice-president, now the 46th President of the United States, says he can build on the Obama legacy and unite the country in a challenging time. Biden has tried to become president for three decades. That dream is now a reality. He had what it takes to win – but does he have the stamina for four years in the White House? By Maarten Hoffmann




BIG STORY Biden with his first wife Neilia and family

He is America’s oldest president, aged 78 and his life has been dogged by personal tragedy. In 1972, shortly after he won his first Senate race, he lost his first wife, Neilia, and baby daughter, Naomi, in a car accident. He famously took the oath of office for his first Senate term from the hospital room of his toddler sons Beau and Hunter, who both survived the accident. In 2015, Beau died of brain cancer at the age of 46. The younger Biden was seen as a rising star of US politics and had intended to run for Delaware state governor in 2016.

Beau, Naomi and Hunter Biden

❛❛ He famously took the oath of office for

his first Senate term from the hospital room of his toddler sons Beau and Hunter, who both survived the accident ❜❜ The elder Biden has credited Beau with encouraging him to run again, and during the campaign has used both tragedies to explain why healthcare – one of his signature policy goals – is “personal” to him. Biden garnered considerable goodwill following Beau’s death, which served to highlight his central strengths: a reputation as a kind and relatable family man.

When others might have fallen apart, Mr Biden found the strength to carry on both then and when ill health and more tragedy struck later in his troubled life. He suffered multiple aneurysms in 1988, surviving one nine-hour operation to save his life.

His ability to rise above that tragedy is well known by Americans. He was determined to see his boys every night, taking the hour and a half train journey from Delaware to Washington at the start and end of each day to say goodnight to them.


Joe Biden at 18

He has said how his father frequently said: “Champ, the measure of a man is not how often he is knocked down, but how quickly he gets up.” But there is also a sense of fatalism about him. He is quoted as saying he believes that life balances out people’s suffering and fortune – “the bigger the highs, the deeper the troughs”. He had seemed to be heading for another trough at the start of 2020 as his campaign to become the Democratic presidential contender began to flounder. He had entered it the front-runner as a former vice-president, but by February the campaign’s wheels were spinning and the candidate was sometimes lost for words and almost doddery on the trail. But then his fortunes turned again. Having looked in serious trouble in Iowa, he seized victory a month later in South Carolina, setting himself on the path to victory.


Biden advising Jimmy Carter

The fiercely-contested primary season has tested Biden. He has been accused of “handsiness” or a tendency to invade women’s personal space and there is plenty of awkward footage making the point. His friends and supporters say his tactility springs from his warmth and empathy. But during the campaign he was forced to admit his behaviour was no longer appropriate. In a video statement he told voters, “I get it, the boundaries of personal space have been changed”. He has also denied accusations by former Senate staffer Tara Reade that he sexually assaulted her in 1993. The woman who is now his vice-president, Kamala Harris, criticised his support for segregationists early in his career when he joined them opposing school bussing to racially integrate schools.

Biden advising Bill Clinton

In the Senate with Teddy Kennedy

With Hunter Biden

And his drafting of the 1994 crime bill that led to mass incarcerations, lengthy jail sentences and the proliferation of more and more prisons has dogged his political career ever since. Mr Biden can have a clumsiness with words while at the same time being an accomplished debater. His gaffes or

❛❛ He may not be

known for soaring oratory but words to comfort and console a grieving nation will come to him more easily than most ❜❜

Sharing a laugh with Obama



about different countries that he’s got to know. He will be a man who understands that in many areas he needs to have young capable people to whom he can delegate rather than try to do it all himself. I don’t think he’ll have any illusion about that.”

His second wife, Jill Biden

“Bidenisms” are legendary and he has appeared at times decidedly out of touch. The jury is out as to whether they have weakened him among voters or endeared him in this election. He has borrowed words, too. Most notoriously in 1988 when he plagiarised a speech by Neil Kinnock word for word. To be fair he had credited the former British Labour leader on previous occasions but at least once seemed to present the words as his own. But he was able to play on the strengths of a lifetime in public service to rout his Democrat rivals and present himself as the competent alternative to Trump, a


seasoned steady hand on the wheel in a time of plague and chaos. Eight years as vice-president allows him to claim Barack Obama’s successes as his own both at home and abroad. Those who know him from those years say it’s his length of service and what he’s gained from it that makes him stand out as a president. Sir Peter Westmacott, who was British ambassador to the US during the Obama years, said: “He’s old for a presidential candidate, that’s for sure. But he’s hugely experienced. He’s got an extraordinary wide range of contacts around the world. He does know a great deal and cares a lot

The length of Mr Biden’s career has won him support in demographics that were the key to victory in this election. His close relationship with America’s first black president has further cemented


❛❛ Most notoriously in 1988

when he plagiarised a speech by Neil Kinnock word for word ❜❜

his support among African Americans. He sees himself as the champion of the blue-collar white voter and hopes that will give him an edge. He will need to maintain the suppor t of ardent Democrats and engage the backing of others who have drifted away from his party or even moderate Republicans disaffected by the Trump presidency. His pitch is to restore and build on Mr Obama’s legacy and unite a divided country after the turmoil of the Trump years.

At least he is used to the trappings of office



His first priority will be dealing with the pandemic. He has been sharply critical of Mr Trump’s handling of the virus. A Biden presidency will need to sort out the testing debacle and control the virus sufficiently to allow the US economy to break free from lockdown.

since World War II after the years of President Trump’s more isolationist economic nationalism. As a former vice-president and chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, he is a firm believer in the Pax Americana and has spoken out against the damage Trump has done to America’s standing in the world.

His supporters warn against assuming his presidency will be simply a restoration to the Obama era, just a correction from the Trumpian aberration. Those advising him on economic policy say it will be radical, almost Rooseveltian in terms of spending and investment both to overcome the impact of the pandemic and deal with climate change. He wants to spend $2trn putting America on the path to eliminating carbon emissions by mid-century.

His challenges on that world stage will be considerable. The world has moved on since he was vice-president. China has grown in power and tensions have increased between the two super powers. Europe is not the same since Brexit and the rise of populist parties.

Biden says he wants a return to co-operation across the aisle on Capitol Hill to solve America’s pressing problems. If anyone has the experience, charm and friends in both parties to dispel some of the bitter antagonisms of the last two presidencies it may be him.

Vladimir Putin has become increasingly meddlesome not least with regards to American democracy.

Given his family’s tragic history and his own brush with death, it is no surprise that he is placing a lot of emphasis on health.

❛❛ If we give Donald

But while Trump was born into wealth, Mr Biden started life in the blue-collar town of Scranton, northeast Pennsylvania, the son of a used car salesman. His low key beginnings and the challenges of a tragic life have given him a tough strength of character and sense of decency say those who know him well.

As he put it in an early TV ad, healthcare is “personal” to him. He hopes to reinforce Mr Obama’s reforms to healthcare but stops short of the “healthcare for all” proposals advocated by his former Democrat rival Bernie Sanders and others on the more progressive wing of his party. On the world stage a President Biden is likely to try and restore America’s place at the centre of the multilateral rulesbased world order that the US has led

Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are, and I cannot stand by and watch that happen❜❜

And the Middle East has changed under Trump. Trump has moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, discarded the Iranian nuclear deal and brokered a deal normalising relations between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain. How much of that will Mr Biden try and reverse? Mr Biden harks back to a possibly lost age at home too. He has talked of restoring the spirit of bipartisanship in American politics. The founding fathers designed a system of government that works only when there is some sense of compromise. That has been lost in the bitterly adversarial politics of both the Obama and Trump years.


He may not be known for soaring oratory but words to comfort and console a grieving nation will come to him more easily than most. His rival calls him sleepy and slow. His friends decent and full of humanity. There is none of the excitement offered by Mr Trump or the hope and change inspiration promised by Mr Obama. At the age of 78 President Biden will need all the strength of character he can muster if he wants to fulfil his dream. And in the eventuality that he does not or cannot complete his term in office, we will then have the first female president of the United States in Kamala Harris, and that will be a fascinating turn of events in world history.

ACT V MACBETH Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale, Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.



Debt recovery specialist Kelly Mills suggests that it’s time to test – and strengthen – the links in your supply chain to improve cash-flow

(SUPPLY) CHAIN REACTION The initial shock of Covid left people and businesses reeling; the impact was as rapid as it was immense, and overwhelming in some instances. Throughout 2020 we operated against a backdrop of uncertainty and constant change, supported to a degree by unprecedented financial support from the Government. We don’t yet know what the long term economic ramifications of the pandemic will be. In December the Bank of England estimated UK companies could face a cash-flow deficit in the 2020-21 financial year of up to £180billion; in October it estimated that up to £70billion of that deficit would sit with SMEs. And all that was before Lockdown 3.0 hit us. Across all market sectors, Covid presented its challenges – and exposed existing vulnerabilities. Now, surrounded by continuing economic uncertainty, maximising cash-flow has quite rightly made it back to centre stage for many businesses.



Most businesses will have experienced some degree of supply chain disruption, whether as a result of a surge in demand, or logistical difficulties in sourcing materials. So how does your supply chain stand up to scrutiny? n Look at your existing suppliers and try to assess their ability to meet your current and future needs. Are they reliant on others to fulfil your requirements? Might they face productivity issues or logistical difficulties in fulfilling orders? This may help you to identify potential challenges and to plan accordingly.

n Be alive to possible warning signs that your suppliers are in financial difficulty - a request for a change in payment terms, late delivery, or reduced communication for example. How you decide to respond will depend on the commercial importance of the relationship, but at the very least try to establish whether this a temporary “blip” or something more endemic. It may also give you an opportunity to re-negotiate a more favourable arrangement. n Ensure that you are familiar with the terms of your supplier contracts. Understanding the contractual rights and obligations of each party will enable you to ensure compliance, identify vulnerabilities and take action where necessary. n Consider your own terms of business – are they still fit for purpose? It may be, for example, that your business has evolved since the terms were drafted or that your terms no longer dove-tail effectively with those of your suppliers. This is an opportunity to consider your ongoing business needs, how best to meet those going forward and to try to address any risks you may have identified.



Cash-flow is critical to the success of any business, of course, but with limited resources under strain for obvious reasons in recent months, debtor management wasn’t necessarily at the top of the priority list. In fact there was understandably some reluctance to chase debt whilst we were all struggling to adapt. And who was actually ready to accept that the crisis would still be ongoing a year down the line? n Billing and collection is a key component of managing cash-flow. Sales do not guarantee money in the bank, so look at your billing processes – is there room for improvement? Are invoices being generated promptly and regularly? The sooner you invoice, the sooner you can expect to receive payment.

n S ending out regular statements of account or reminders to customers can often help identify potential issues before they become problematic, and it keeps your invoice front and centre – the squeaky wheel gets the most oil after all.

Surrounded by ❛❛ continuing economic

uncertainty, maximising cash-flow has quite rightly made it back to centre stage for many businesses ❜❜

}} COLLECTION THROUGH COVID A new client came to us at the height of the first national lockdown in June 2020. By the end of October, we had achieved a 91% pre-action recovery rate across almost 50 matters.

n Knowing when payment is due can be crucial to managing cash-flow and debt. Robust processes can identify problems early, and allow steps to be taken to address those. Ensure that you are familiar with the late-payment provisions of your terms of business – know what you can do and when. n T ime spent analysing the payment performance of your key customers may enable you to identify any changes to their payment practices, which could be an early indicator of financial problems. n Don’t forget the small debts – their cumulative value can be significant. Commercially there will be a point where it is no longer viable to chase payment, but try to avoid the temptation to simply write off small debts, whether due to embarrassment or the hassle factor – it may take nothing more than the cost of a phone call to recover payment.

Kelly Mills is a Partner and Head of Debt and Leasehold Recovery at DMH Stallard. She can be contacted on 01293 558554 or by email at




FOR THE TAX YEAR END Stuart Noakes, Head of Tax at MHA Carpenter Box, offers some food for thought as the end of tax year quickly approaches New Year’s Day may seem eons ago, but now is as good a time as ever to stop, reflect and ensure you’re taking full advantage of the tax opportunities around you. It’s certainly a good time to start planning your tax affairs so you can make the most of your money before the end of the tax year on April 5th (or March 31st for companies). We’ve outlined below a few ideas and action points to get you started.



The starting point in tax planning is to understand where your income is likely to fall relative to the tax thresholds. For 2020/21, the tax-free personal allowance is £12,500 and the next £37,500 is taxed at the basic rate of 20% (7.5% for dividend income). Higher rate tax of 40% (32.5% for dividends) is charged on income above £50,000 and additional rate tax of 45% (38.1% for dividends) is charged on

income above £150,000. Note that dividends are treated as the top slice of income, so the basic and higher rates are first allocated against other income. The personal allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 of income above £100,000. There is therefore no personal allowance at all where income exceeds £125,000. This also means that, over the income band £100,000 to £125,000 the effective rate of income tax is 60%. Action point: Personal pension contributions provide some of the highest rates of income tax relief, and with it being suggested that pensions tax relief could be restricted, this is an excellent time to make additional contributions if you are able to. For example, if your income is in the band £100,000 to £125,000 a gross pension contribution of £10,000 could cost as little as £4,000 after tax reliefs.



For most taxpayers, the maximum pension contribution is £40,000 each tax year, although this depends on your earnings. This limit covers both contributions by the individual and their employer. The unused allowance for a particular tax year may be carried forward for three years and can be added to the relief for the current, but then lapses if unused. Although funds invested within a pension can grow tax free, there is a limit (the lifetime allowance – LTA) on the total amount you can hold in a pension pot: funds in excess of the limit will suffer penalty tax charges when you start to take pension benefits. The LTA reduced from £1.25m to £1m from April 6th 2016. The Government announced that the LTA will increase in line with the consumer price index each year from April 6th 2018. Therefore, from April 6th 2020 for the tax year 2020/21, the LTA increased to £1,073,100. Action point: If the total of all your pension funds is likely to be at or near £1m by the time you retire, you should seek urgent advice.

Our national tax ❛❛ team at MHA has worked together to create a handy Year End Tax Planning Guide ❜❜


Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are an excellent investment for higher rate taxpayers. The maximum annual allowance is £20,000. You must save or invest by April 5th for it to count for that year and if you don’t use the allowance it is lost. The ISA family has grown considerably since its inauguration in 1999, with a further five ISAs to consider: n Help to Buy (HTB): First-time buyers get a 25% cash bonus from the Government on savings made into a HTB ISA. HTB ISAs are now closed to new accounts, although already opened accounts can continue until November 2029. n Inheritance ISA: This allows a spouse or civil partner to inherit the savings in an ISA belonging to their deceased loved one without triggering income tax. n L ifetime ISA (LISA): UK residents aged 18-39 can contribute up to £4,000 per tax year, and the Government will add a 25% bonus at the end of each tax year in respect to contributions paid. n Flexible ISA: This is a basic ISA which allows you to withdraw and replace money from your ISA. n Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA): An IFISA lets you put your savings with peer-to-peer lenders or invest in companies through crowd funding websites.


Our national tax team at MHA has worked together to create a handy Year End Tax Planning Guide. It applies to both individuals and companies, and summarises key tax and financial planning tips, including more information on the points above. You can download your free copy at: tax-planning-guide As always, each individual’s circumstances will be different, so a personal review should always be undertaken to ensure that the most suitable strategy is followed. For further advice on any of these topics, our tax advisory service can help you. Please call Stuart Noakes on 01903 234094 or visit

Action point: Prudent utilisation of the reliefs associated with tax favoured investments as part of a balanced portfolio can make a big difference to future investments’ returns, but it is important to consider the risks associated with them and it is essential that professional advice is sought.


ECONOMY Business activity growth eases to the slowest in six months


SOUTH ® EAST PMI Latest UK regional PMI ® data from NatWest indicated another improvement in the South East’s private sector activity. The headline NatWest South East Business Activity Index – a seasonally adjusted index that measures the month - on - month change in the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – was at 51.3 in December, down from 52.3 in November. The figure remained above the 50.0 no-change mark and signalled a marginal expansion in business activity across the South East’s private sector. The rise was the softest in the current six-month sequence of growth, but stronger than the UK average. Private sector firms in the South East recorded a rise in order book volumes

for the sixth successive month in December. According to panel members, stockpiling ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period and improving underlying demand conditions drove the latest uptick. New orders rose slightly from that seen in November, and at a pace that was relatively subdued when compared against the long-run average. At the sector level, sharp increases in new business at manufacturers contrasted with a decline at service providers. As has been the case since the question was added to the survey in July 2012, sentiment regarding output in the year ahead remained in positive territory.


sa, >50=growth since previous month 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 2001












› K E Y F I N DI NG S n Marginal increase in new orders n Job shedding softens to tenmonth low n Sharp increase in the rate of input price inflation

Panellists linked optimism to promising vaccine rollout plans and greater client demand in the year ahead. That said, the degree of positive sentiment eased from the previous survey period with Brexit uncertainty weighing slightly on output expectations in 2021. Sentiment in the region was stronger that the UK average.



Managing Director, London & South East, Corporate & Commercial Banking “December data was indicative of another expansion in private sector activity in the South East. Although marginal, the region compared well against the UK as whole, and recorded new order growth. At the same time, sentiment remained positive with vaccine rollouts and hopes of greater demand fuelling optimism. However, signs of fragility continued to emerge with job shedding and capacity pressures persisting in December. “The surge in COVID-19 case numbers, particularly in the South East and London, led to another round of tightening measures, placing the region into the most stringent form of restrictions. The start of the year therefore looks set to be another challenging period for local firms.”

Workforce numbers fell at private sector firms in the South East, as signalled by the respective seasonally adjusted index posting below the 50.0 no-change value. That said, the latest decline was only modest and the softest in ten months. Restructuring efforts were cited by some of those respondents who noted a decline.

Sector data indicated that service providers recorded a sharp contraction, while manufacturers added to workforces in December. December data highlighted a further increase in outstanding business at private sector firms in the South East. Adjusted for seasonal influences, the

Outstanding Business Index posted marginally above the 50.0 neutral value. Supplier delays, material shortages and ongoing restrictions were linked to the uptick. In contrast, backlogs fell moderately at the UK level. Private sector firms in the South East recorded a further rise in cost burdens during December, extending the current sequence of inflation to seven consecutive months. Respondents linked higher prices to rising material costs and the use of virus-related products (PPE). The rate of input price inflation was substantial, and the sharpest since February. That said, price pressures were sharper at the national level, with the UK average posting above that seen in the South East. December data signalled another rise in selling prices across private sector firms in the South East. Higher prices were linked to firms passing on cost burdens. That said, the rate of increase in prices charged was softer than the long-run series average, and modest overall. At the UK level, charge inflation was softer than that seen in the South East.


NEWS INSURERS SHAMED Tens of thousands of small businesses will receive insurance payouts covering losses from the first national lockdown, following a court ruling. The Supreme Court found largely in favour of small firms receiving payments from business interruption insurance policies. For some businesses it could provide a lifeline, allowing them to trade beyond the coronavirus crisis. The ruling could cost the insurance sector hundreds of millions of pounds. The City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), brought the test case, with eight insurers agreeing to take part in proceedings. One of the insurers set to make significant payouts is Hiscox, which was challenged by thousands of its policyholders as part of the case. Richard Leedham, who represented the Hiscox Action Group – on behalf of small businesses, said: “This is a landmark victory for a small group of businesses who took on a huge insurance player and have been fully vindicated.

NEWS BULLETIN CASHLESS SOCIETY LOOMS A refusal to accept cash is “creeping into the wider UK economy”, an expert has said, after a survey suggested coronavirus had hastened a shift towards a cashless society. Consumer group Which? said that 34% of people asked said they had been unable to pay with cash at least once since March when trying to buy something. Grocery stores, pubs and restaurants were most likely to refuse. Natalie Ceeney, who wrote a report on the issue, called for ministers to act. “The figures show that it’s not simply the odd coffee shop going cashless, but this is creeping into the wider economy,” said Ms Ceeney, who wrote the Access to Cash Review.

❛❛ Superhuman effort is not worth a damn unless it achieves results ❜❜

Ernest Shackleton, explorer, 1916


JAILED FOR BRIBERY Samsung heir Lee Jae Yong has been sentenced to two years and six months in prison by a high court in South Korea. The bribery case is a retrial of an earlier one involving the country’s former President Park Geun-hye, who was also jailed for bribery and corruption. Lee has been the de facto head of Samsung Electronics since 2014. The ruling is likely to have ramifications for the future of his role at the tech giant. News of the sentence sent Samsung electronics shares more than 4% lower before they began to claw back some ground.

NEWS RAPID CHARGE AT LAST New battery production means recharging could soon be as fast as filling up petrol or diesel vehicles. Batteries capable of fully charging in five minutes have been produced in a factory for the first time, marking a significant step towards electric cars becoming as fast to charge as filling up petrol or diesel vehicles. Electric vehicles are a vital part of action to tackle the climate crisis but running out of charge during a journey is a worry for drivers. The new lithium-ion batteries were developed by the Israeli company StoreDot and manufactured by Eve Energy in China on standard production lines.

❛❛ Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated ❜❜ Confucius CRISIS UPON CRISIS Audi is having to slow production because of a computerchip shortage it is calling a “crisis upon a crisis”. Boss Markus Duesmann said it was now aiming to make 10,000 fewer cars in the first quarter of the year and putting more than 10,000 workers on furlough. Its parent company, Volkswagen, announced its own go-slow due to a lack of chips last week, alongside rivals such as Honda. Mr Duesmann told the Financial Times carmakers had been caught by surprise. After a poor start to 2020 for new car sales, manufacturers cut their orders from the Chinese factories making computer chips. But then, at the end of the year, “everybody was quite surprised by the strength of the market”, Mr Duesmann said.

❛❛ A hero is the one who does what he can. The others don’t ❜❜ Romain Rolland, Nobel prizewinner, 1904

However, ordering new chips is not simple. CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber said: “Semiconductors have a broad range of applications but a very limited pool of companies capable of manufacturing the silicon. “Demand is high, and supply is tight” and any sudden needs “can prove very difficult to accommodate”.

BOOHOO FOR THE HIGH STREET Online retailer BooHoo has bought the Debenhams brand for £55m, in a deal which will see all 118 stores close for good. And now with another online retailer Asos set to buy out Arcadia, it further cements the trend of online firms taking over high street stores, closing them, firing the staff and using the brand to flog more gear. This is a very sad day for what is left of the British high street.

MAX TO FLY The head of Europe’s aviation safety agency, EASA, has said Boeing’s 737 Max plane will get final clearance to resume flying in Europe next week. The agency suspended all flights of the plane in March 2019, after two fatal crashes that have been attributed to flawed flight control software. A total of 346 people died in the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. The modified plane has already been cleared for the resumption of flights in the US and Brazil. EASA executive director Patrick Ky said a separate certification of the Max200 variant was likely to follow in “coming weeks”, allowing flights to resume before summer.





This is a subject we are all only too aware of over the course of 2020 and it looks little different for 2021 – and possibly this is a change that will never be reversed Although workers have benefitted from greater flexibility and respite from office distractions, economists are sceptical whether this has translated into material improvements in productivity. Businesses are also dubious. Six months into the first lockdown, only 12% of companies could identify any improvements, according to the Office of National Statistics. This does not mean that tasks cannot be completed efficiently at home. A spreadsheet, for example, can be filled out from anywhere in the world with a decent computer and internet connection. But


jobs are made up of more than one task and not all of these can be done as effectively from home. There are important by-products of office working that are lost at home. Workers are not bouncing ideas off each other as they used to or cementing relationships by chatting round the water cooler, lunching together and meeting up in the pub after work for some social bonding. This has an impact on the quality of collaboration, which can greatly inhibit innovation. Creativity is rarely nurtured in a single bubble. Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England, said: “Lack of distraction and noise is not always a good thing.

It is also well established that exposure to new and different experiences, sounds, smells, environments, ideas and people is the key source of the creative spark.” This may not be of immediate concern to businesses during the pandemic but it does carry long-term implications. If remote working becomes a permanent feature of working life, as many believe it will, businesses will have to find ways of repairing these lost channels of communication and collaboration. The chart opposite is fascinating and the one aspect that needs urgent attention if the UK is to survive outside of the EU is the productivity output list. The government will need to pay special attention as to why it takes the UK worker five days to complete what the Americans are doing in 3.65. Even Italy and France do it faster and they are not known as the ‘liveliest’ workers in the world!

BUSINESS 1 International comparisons of productivity How per worker productivity compares: days worked to deliver same output G7 nations (2016, ONS)

UK 5 days

Japan 5.3 days

Canada 4.95 days

Germany 4.5 days

France 4.4 days

Italy 4.3 days

US 3.65 days

3 Has remote working helped to improve productivity

Across all industries, of buinesses not permanently stopped trading and that reported more staff working from home

 12%  52% 24%     

2 Working from home has become much more widespread as a result of Covid Proportion of workers working at home

experienced an increase in productivity experienced no impact in productivity experienced a decrease in productivity

4 Greater productivity or longer hours

A report published by the National Bureau of Ecconomic Research found that people across the world were working longer hours during the pandemic 9hours 50 minutes to 10hours 40 minutes

❛❛ This may not be of immediate 40% 35%

concern to businesses during the pandemic but it does carry long-term implications ❜❜

30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5%

5 Creative cost Top struggles for remote workers


Top concerns for managers of remote teams


0% 1981

2015 ‘17 ‘19 Apr Jun Aug Oct

Source: ONS and Bank of England

Collaboration and communication

Productivity and team cohesiveness



SHINING A LIGHT ON SURREY’S STEM STAR The UK’s first lockdown forced Oxted resident, Chartered Engineer and Visiting Professor at Brunel University London, Alexandra Knight, to ask herself how she really wanted to spend her precious time. When the answer was inspiration and inclusion in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), she drew on her former experience as Technical Director at Amey and made her next move.

“I’ve always been a creative person, and someone who’s wanted to develop new ideas and experiment in order to fulfil that creativity”, explains Alexandra. “Yet, despite growing up with my engineer father and choosing maths, physics and chemistry at A-Level, as a girl I never really knew how to combine these subjects with a creative element.” Fast-forward two decades and Alexandra is now the founder of STEMAZING, an organisation that runs the Inspiration Academy – an initiative supported by Amey. On one hand the academy aims to support women in becoming visible STEM role models and, on the other, helps shape curious, creative and courageous children. “The Inspiration Academy is a two-tiered programme”, continues Alexandra. “There’s a four-month online course designed to empower women living in Surrey as STEM role models, enhance their public engagement skills and increase their confidence in delivering STEM sessions. This culminates in them running a six-week STEM course for 5 – 9 year-olds, which forms the second aspect of the academy. Once we’ve trained the women to be confident on camera and build their portfolio of simple STEM sessions, we then provide the platform for them to deliver STEMAZINGKids, a course made up of weekly 30 -minute live interactive


sessions that children across the UK can join in order to engage with STEM in a fun, creative way.”


From building jet-powered cars out of nothing but paper, a balloon, straw and wooden skewers, to making lava lamps using vegetable oil, water, food colouring and an Alka Seltzer tablet, STEMAZING really is – well, amazing. So too is the speed at which Alexandra has developed the programme from concept to reality. In less than 12 months, she has launched a national programme for putting STEM inspiration and inclusion at the top of the agenda for women and children simultaneously. Yet, even this time last year, things were very different. So, what changed? “I had a great career in industry as a Technical Director at Amey Strategic Consulting in a role that indulged my

passion for STEM and creativity”, she adds. “My last project involved turning Scotland’s Forth Road Bridge into an intelligent bridge using data from sensors that allowed us to monitor how the bridge was responding to loads and even predict how it was likely to react in the future based on weather forecast data. This really exciting field of digital asset management is the future of engineering and I loved being a part of it. It also made me realise what I wanted to do next.”


Alexandra had already set up STEMAZING as a hobby in 2019, so when she decided to take the leap and focus her energy on it full-time, the hardest thing to do was leave a job and an organisation she loved. Whilst she has now left her role as Technical Director, Amey has become the first organisation to sponsor the Inspiration Academy, helping Alexandra realise her nationwide vision and play a role in shaping the STEM role models of tomorrow. Two women from Amey’s Surrey waste collection team even have a place on the next course. On completion, they will deliver the six-week STEMAZINGKids course to children at two schools in Surrey and help inspire our next generation of innovators and problem solvers.

BUSINESS names in business and academia, Alexandra aims to run nationwide programmes that can be accessed by hundreds of budding women in STEM role models and thousands of young children at a time. Given the primary focus of STEMAZING, which is to engage people who are underrepresented in STEM, the Inspiration Academy prioritises places for schools that have a high percentage of families who qualify for school meals. Thanks to the sponsors, all women and schools participate for free and STEMAZING can also offer the key resources for the six-week course free to a number of schools that need the support the most. The planned intake for this round of the Inspiration Academy is 40 women in STEM and up to 1,200 pupils for STEMA ZINGKids, which includes classes of 30 pupils from 40 schools. Alexandra’s ambition is to scale this in future and make STEMAZING a global initiative. Considering that the county remains in the midst of a pandemic, inspiring young people whilst they are at home, possibly with less access to resources and role models, has arguably never been so important. “Having worked alongside Alexandra during her time at Amey, her passion for STEM came through in everything she undertook”, says Sunita Dulai, Account Director for Transport Infrastructure at Amey. “I was thrilled when she approached us to support and be part of her Inspiration Academy. Amey is a huge advocate of STEM, which is evidenced by our STEM Ambassadors programme and the home-learning resource for kids that we launched shortly after the UK went into lockdown. So to be involved with STEMAZING, enabling us to also develop our people to deliver these school programmes in Surrey, we hope to cultivate and share Alexandra’s STEM passion locally in Surrey.” In addition to Amey ’s suppor t, STEMAZING has also received sponsorship from the World Refrigeration Day organisers, Brunel University London and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, all of which are committed to giving women in STEM a voice to engage children and ensure that STEM remains at the forefront of young people’s minds. Now, with backing from well-known


Even global ambitions tend to begin at home, and what could be closer to home than Alexandra’s two children, who relish the opportunity to work alongside their mum. “My five and seven-year-olds are the perfect guinea pigs”, says Alexandra with a playful smile that only reinforces her passion for what she does. “Although I

should add that they’re willing participants. My daughter regularly asks if she can help me develop my experiments to the point whereby sometimes I have to say no so that she can get on with her schoolwork! I think the message of doing something to make a difference in the World is rubbing off on them – when I asked my son what he wanted to do for his birthday as it’s likely to still be in lockdown, he chose to go litter picking to help clear up our local little part of Surrey!” Through working with so many enquiring minds, could she have discovered the world’s next big inventor? Or has she discovered any women with a passion for STEM that equals hers? “There is one that comes to mind, whilst judging a competition for Primary Engineer. This little girl came up with the idea of a renewable energy-heated park bench to make it more comfortable for homeless people to sleep on. This idea displayed innovation and empathy in equal measure and really illustrated how STEM can be harnessed to engage the next generation and benefit society.” Alexandra’s energy and dedication is extraordinary. However, in order to secure the programme’s longevity and catapult STEMAZING into a global environment , there are thre e key requirements. “STEMAZING is calling for women interested in becoming more confident, visible STEM role models and schools with underrepresented children to sign up to the Inspiration Academy. Moreover, we’re looking for sponsorship from businesses that have an interest in investing in their local communities in order to fund the programme’s deliver y”, concludes Alexandra. “Given the current interest in STEM, and how businesses such as Amey are increasingly committed to delivering social value, I’m confident that there’s a bright future ahead, not only for the programme but for all those who contribute to it.”

Women in STEM and primary schools interested in taking part in the STEMAZING Inspiration Academy can register their interest at For more information on STEMAZING visit For more information on Amey’s STEM initiatives visit




Has Plato come into his own in this pandemic? This is how MDHUB members proved him right PVL (UK) LTD PVL manufacture high visibility brand and safety markings for vehicle fleets across the UK, Europe and the Middle East. In 2019 PVL grew to 50 staff and our best trading year, continuing our year on year growth. They say that fortune favours the brave; in the last nine months of 2020 we invested more in the business than ever before, our team has adapted and we have been repaid for the time and effort spent on our core company values – we’ve pressure-tested them and emerged stronger, more efficient and more determined to continue our growth. With a new, second factory facility


opened in December 2019, additional equipment, and building our own training facility, we’ve doubled our capacity and used that to produce PPE visors for the NHS (15,000 in our first week) as well as diversifying into social distancing signage. After furloughing some staff to make adjustments for space and safety, we are now back up to our full team and growing again. A couple of fantastic project examples completed recently are the impressive 14-storey (33 metre) high DAMAC London tower branding, and the successful concept work and roll out of the first of the new St John Ambulance fleet.

BUSINESS RECOVERY BILL TAYLOR Managing Director – Design Specific Design Specific regularly export around the world with the US being our biggest market’ accounting for over 20% of sales in 2019. A focused marketing plan in the US saw a 60% increase in volumes and accounted for 32% of all sales in 2020. Our financial plan for the year ending March 2021 was to continue this growth but with lockdown our exports stopped.

wheelchairs, in the reclined position providing access to all parts of the foot. The first prototype machine was completed in September and sold to a medical clinic in October. Alongside this, a major redesign of the Compact Wheelchair Recliner was undertaken to make the machine simpler and cheaper to manufacture and a prototype is in development.

Our staff are all excellent engineers, we decided to invest this freed-up resource to work on new product development and improvements to our existing machines. The development of a new Bariatric Bench began. This would allow Podiatrists to treat patients, in their

This period has taught me that during these difficult times it is often easier to stop and not make the effort to push on, but pushing on pays off. And, of course,that our most important assets are our people.


Our market research clients switched to help with Government projects to focus on Covid testing. This required extra IT and extra staff. Within two months of the business dropping by 75%, we were back up to full strength requiring additional staff. We beat our year-to-date target by 17% and last year by 23%. We have seen our clients looking at alternative ways of working and we have helped them to achieve their goals by innovating their technology.

When the way of working changed almost overnight back in March 2020, we were, along with our clients, able to instantly work remotely without any hassle or problems occurring, however, others were not so prepared. We were told that the majority of IT providers were telling their clients that total cloud solutions were either unsafe or could not be done. In our view, this is either because the existing part-server / part-cloud model is more profitable for them or they have no expertise to deliver this total solution, or a combination of both.

Managing Director of TEK Express and TEKrefresh A large proportion of our client base is market research and when Covid hit, their face-to-face research ground to a halt as did 75% of our daily activity. Our clients were prepared ahead of the Government, so we were prepared. We negotiated a minimum monthly retainer with our clients to ensure our survival.


Managing Director – Extech Cloud

We responded to increased demand for second hand IT technology by setting up a sister company called TEKrefresh, focussing on green IT recycling with an option to donate to charities who support underprivileged children. With every challenge we faced we knew that it would bring us opportunities and by being positive and communicating with our great little team, we have proved it. and

We’ve always found that the most efficient, reliable, safe and cost-effective IT solutions are delivered through the full use of the solutions of mainstream IT cloud providers, such as Microsoft. That’s why throughout the pandemic, we’ve been kept busy as we continue our committment to offering full cloud solutions and enabling people to work smarter. The pandemic has shown me that what we provide is about much more than “ just” IT. In today’s world of modern working, everyone should have access to an IT system that not only makes their business grow faster but be more efficient too and I’m delighted that our team deliver exactly that!

If you are interested in finding out more about the MDHUB, please visit Email MDHUB Directors: Fiona Shafer: or Phil Green:




Don’t be an ostrich. Cyber has evolved. Has your cyber security? By Scott Nursten, ITHQ Your chance of being hit by an impactful cyberattack is nearly 50%. Most business heads look away when it comes to security, assuming IT has it covered. It’s time to put cyber resilience on the board agenda to avoid serious damage.


Recovery and reputational costs can be high and often come with GDPR or other regulatory fines and business is still heavily disrupted.


Remember the good old days, when a virus only created an annoying disruption? Now a host of cyber threats are everyday occurrences: and they all carry a cost.

In the past, attack vectors were few: predominantly basic network trojans / worms and viruses. These were clumsy, blundering through an open port or arriving via email.

No business is too small. Stories of Microsoft and Tesla employees offered millions for access to corporate data can lull SMEs into the false assumption that they couldn’t possibly be a viable target. Bad actors expertly monetise any corporate data and are ingenious at grabbing it. Even savvy users are fooled. A client came to us having lost £300,000 through a phishing invoice hijack.

Threats today cleverly exploit every opportunity: stolen or weak credentials,


disgruntled insiders, poor configuration, poor encryption, ransomware, phishing zero-day attacks or vulnerabilities that haven’t been patched, brute force SQL injection, Distributed Denial of Service, trojans, cross-site scripting, session hijacking, man-in-the-middle, crypto-jacking, cloud-jacking and supply chain attacks. The recent Solar Winds supply chain hack targeted its 18,000 customers worldwide. The attack deployed four malware strains across 250 US federal agencies amongst other high-profile victims.

❛❛ Recovery and reputational costs can be high

and often come with GDPR or other regulatory fines and business is still heavily disrupted ❜❜



How large is your attack surface? A few years ago, it averaged five to ten entry points. That average is now between 60 and 100 points, without considering remote workers. In reality, 1,000 staff now represent several thousand potential points of compromise. Your firewall only protects the network perimeter and corporate LAN. Once representing a significant part of your threat protection, when your business operated within the firewall, it now only protects a fraction of your data because conceptually the LAN is dead. Your business operates in the cloud, your staff are remote, your data is everywhere, flowing through Salesforce, Office 365, Xero or Sage for instance. Every cloud application is now part of your attack surface and requires some protection. They all hold credentials and sensitive data; and they all carry potential weaknesses.


80% of UK businesses say cybersecurity should be a high priority. The same 80%, however, review their cybersecurity approach ‘somewhere between monthly and never’. A good half discuss cybersecurity on less than a quarterly basis*. Only 20% receive the recommended daily or weekly updates on cybersecurity strategy and tasks. If your water supply sprung a leak or your electricity went off, you’d deal with it immediately. Your data flow is equally critical, and a disruption costs a great deal more to fix than a broken pipe.

Cyberattacks and data theft have featured on the ten global risks faced by businesses for five years, according to the World Economic Forum. Proving the reality of this threat, 46% of UK businesses reported breaches last year, with 39% suffering significant impact. This demonstrates a massive disconnect between understanding the need and addressing it. Is it fear? Lack of knowledge or understanding? Whatever the reason, cyber is not making the board agenda.


What is your security budget? If you don’t have one, you’re going to need a recovery budget because the odds are, you’ll pay for one or the other. Recovering your data when you’re breached will probably be much more expensive, and you will have to deal with disruption, potential fines and reputational damage as well. Prevention is always better than cure. Think of cyber security like locks and alarms on your house: a few hundred pounds to deploy versus time, money and heartache to replace stolen goods. It should be a no-brainer.

❛❛ Every cloud

application is now part of your attack surface and requires some protection ❜❜

Questions for IT n Are we following security frameworks or best practices? What are they? n Are we covering the SANS 20 critical controls? n How are we actively enforcing ISO 27001 or ISO 9001? n How do we plan to anticipate an attack, withstand it, recover from it and evolve, as laid out in the cyber resilience engineering framework? n What is our incident response process? (When Travelex was hacked it took them two days to tell customers and a week for official PR. The attack left customers stranded abroad without money, cost the business $2.3m in bitcoin ransom and put the £1.3b business into administration.) n What does our cyber insurance cover? Are there specific tools and protocols we need to have in place for the insurance to pay out? As always, the answers require evidence and documentation. * 2020 UK Cyber Security Breaches Survey conducted by Gov.UK. I’ll be covering the 2021 findings in a future article.


For more information, feel free to get in touch with me at


BUSINESS UNLUCKY A 72-year-old who had just received his vaccine shot in the USA, jogged out of the vaccine centre in joy only to be struck by a lightning bolt. Doctors have now declared he is free of any virus but now suffers from arrhythmia. You really couldn’t make it up.

BIZARRE NEWS YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT UP (anything to make us smile)

SANDWICHGATE Due to the Brexit deal, ham and cheese are two of the items that are banned from being taken into the EU. This resulted in a lorry driver being stopped and having his innocent lunch, a ham and cheese sandwich, confiscated from his cab. The smirking border guard remarked “Welcome to Brexit, Sir”

LADIES LOOK AWAY The Seoul city government in South Korea has sparked anger over their advice to pregnant women. On the government run website, they advise all pregnant women within weeks of giving birth to ensure that before they go to hospital, they have cleaned all their husband’s clothes and laid out enough outfits to cover the time of hospitalisation, cleared out the fridge, cleaned the house and left enough cooked food in the fridge to ensure he does not go hungry. Oh, and they also mention that women should take make-up and a hairband into hospital so they do not look ‘dishevelled’ after having the baby! Amazingly, the content was approved by the Korean Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.



HOLY COMICBOOK BATMAN A copy of the first Batman comic, published in 1939 and in private hands for 38 years, has been put up for auction. It is expected to sell for an eye-watering £800,000 against an original sale price of 10 cents.

THE COST OF PORN A Michigan man who sued his parents for throwing out his prized pornography collection is now in line to collect a hefty reimbursement from them. In a ruling handed down recently by a U.S. Judge, Beth and Paul Werking will have to pay their son David, 42, as much as $75,000 for destroying the porn. In his lawsuit the younger Werking valued the property at an estimated $25,000, but his attorney, Miles Greengard, told the outlet that “we have asked the court for treble damages, which we believe are warranted given the wanton destruction of the property.” After he left home and moved to Indiana, Werking discovered he was missing 12 boxes of pornographic films and magazines. His father confessed to destroying the collection in an email: “Frankly, David, I did you a big favour by getting rid of all this stuff.”

BLEEDING HEART The richest man on the planet is not so rich. Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla, lost $14 billion in one day ensuring that he dropped to the second richest man on the planet. Due to a sudden drop in the Tesla share price, his fortune is now ‘only’ $176 billion ensuring that Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos regains the top spot with a net worth of $182 billion. Our hearts bleed and the starving children of the world cry yet another tear.

THE COPS HAVE A LEAD Canada has the same lockdown rules as the UK, and walking a dog is permitted. An enterprising woman who does not have a dog put the lead on her husband and made him walk on all fours for the duration of the stroll. The cops did not have much of a sense of humour and fined her £839 for breaching the rules. The husband refused to comment.


Budget question time webinar

Join us for our ‘Budget question time webinar’ on Friday 5 March 2021. Register here. Our panel of tax, financial planning, legal and funding experts will be on hand to answer your Budget related questions, highlight the key implications for businesses, their shareholders, directors, and for personal wealth, and provide insight and guidance for the next steps you will need to take. In the wake of this highly anticipated Budget and in the midst of COVID-19 and Brexit, our panel of experts will be on hand to guide you through the outcomes and answer any questions that you may have. You can submit your questions prior to the webinar by emailing or alternatively, pose them to our panel during the event via the ‘Questions’ box.

Date: Friday 5 March Timings: 9:00am - 10:00am This is a complimentary webinar

To book your place: Please click here to register For more information please contact Rachael Merritt: Email: Phone: +44 (0)330 124 1399


By Dan Morgan, Managing Partner, Haines Watts Esher

TIME TO RETHINK TALENT PRACTICES Attracting talent will always be a key challenge for business owners. The pandemic has created a shift in how we work and required us to make some tough decisions about our people. As we’ve progressed through the crisis, it has also shone a spotlight on the skills and roles that deliver the biggest impact or value within a business. We’re constantly re-evaluating how we acquire, manage and deploy talent as are many of the business owners I speak to. Below are the key areas to focus on when developing your talent planning.


When we look at high performing businesses, their ability to attract and get the most out of their talent delivers a real competitive advantage. As our business evolves, we’ve recognised that the way we look at talent must be a board level strategic priority. Understanding the capabilities we need in order to achieve our strategic objectives means we can be more creative and flexible with the people we employ.


We want our people to be part of building the long-term value of our business. We expect them to be ambassadors for our

brand and nurture our relationships with customers. It’s therefore imperative that we understand what a good employee looks like so we can better assess applicants not just for technical skills but ideal traits and fit.


Technical skills can be taught, but attitude, creativity and different perspectives are the qualities that enable us to reinvent. It is also important to recognise that sometimes it takes deliberate effort to ensure that you create an environment that is inclusive for all – particularly where you have a workforce that attracts applicants from a history that may previously have been stigmatised. In a commercial environment that requires adaptability, flexibility and problem-solving capabilities, drawing on talent from diverse demographics enriches our business. It also allows us

to open up our talent pool, making sure we find someone with the right skillset from a wider group of people. This allows us to service our clients far more effectively with teams able to present a more varied set of solutions to specific problems. The combination of different experiences, working styles, and backgrounds allows for new ideas and collaboration.


As well as looking at how to bring in new talent, many businesses will be looking at developing the talent they already have. A study by LinkedIn found that a third of employers are focussing on giving employees the opportunity to move into different roles internally in the next six months. 32% said that reskilling and upskilling employees is a top priority for 2021. With business needs changing rapidly at present, having a creative approach to how you utilise your existing talent is what will give you a competitive edge. Prioritising training and development will allow you to plug gaps in skills while keeping your workforce engaged. People who can see their opportunities for growth within a company are far less likely to leave and being able to achieve a low staff turnover is greatly beneficial in continuity of service for your customers. Whether you are planning on bringing in new talent or developing the teams you already have in place, your people will be your greatest asset in the future of your business. Ensure you remain adaptable and creative in your approach to recruitment.

For more information: T: 020 8549 5137 E:





By Maarten Hoffmann

There are various ways to look at how our current pandemic situation occurred: n It could be that someone stored a virus is a lab and it got out. n It could be that someone in China ate an infected bat. n It could be China unleashed it on the world intentionally. Or could it be that the planet has a way of protecting itself and, tired of the havoc we humans have created, by logging, chemical use, overfishing, plastic production, sedimentary runoff, intensive farming and over population,


Mother Nature has decided to strike back and get rid of the problem – humans. Let’s face it, we are the only species on the planet that cause such harm and we have ample evidence of the planet being able to self-regulate and protect itself.

❛❛ The Earth has a skin and

that skin has diseases, one of its diseases is called man ❜❜

Friedrich Nietzsche

The most shameful aspect is that we have been warned about this for decades. The environments, of course, but also from just watching what is happening to our planet. More and more children have asthma and other breathing problems, fish catches are down year-on-year to the point that a single blue fin tuna is now worth over £4million. Coral reefs have been disappearing dramatically year on year, carcinogenic plastics are found in the gut of over 90% of marine life, the extinction of animal species grows year on year and the advent of rising sea levels, floods, heatwaves, hurricanes, typhoons and landslides due to deforestation, is glaringly plain for all to see.

ENVIRONMENT And what do we do about it? We ask questions of government and then set up another totally useless committee which spends years thinking about it, only to return with some harebrained scheme that achieves a sum total of nothing. So if you were Mother Nature, what would be the best way to deal with these stupid, destructive humans? My answer would be to either kill them off or to make them hide away from nature thus giving it time to recover – and hiding away is exactly what we are being forced to do – coincidence? I think not.

❛❛ Mankind has done

more damage to the Earth in the 20th century than in all of previous human history ❜❜

Jacques Yves Cousteau

It might be that we will find the vaccine that protects us all and, if we have not learnt any lessons and continue as before, nature will bring along another virus that will wipe a bunch of us out to see if that teaches us the lesson. If not, then the next one will erase us all. But our lack of involvement in nature due to the lockdowns has other far -reaching consequences that just exacerbate the problems. In the Amazon rainforest, environmental authorities are reining in monitoring and protection operations. In the Masai Mara and Serengeti, nature reserves are taking less tourist revenue, which means they are struggling to pay rangers.

❛❛ Look after the land and

the land will look after you. Destroy the land the it will destroy you ❜❜

Aboriginal Proverb

Conservation groups fear this will open the door to more illegal poaching, mining and logging, especially now that local people are losing income and need new ways to feed their families. “In the short term it would be dangerous to think that a downturn in economic activity is a benefit to nature,” said Matt Walpole of Fauna and Flora International. “There are significant risks.”

But the global lockdown has other far reaching affects. Citizens in Northern India are seeing the view of the Himalayan mountain range for the first time in their lives, due to the drop in air pollution caused by the country’s lockdown. Those living in Jalandhar in northern Punjab have shared pictures of the mountains from rooftops and empty streets, amazed by the view which has been hidden by pollution for 30 years. In Northern America, orcas have also seemingly been encouraged to explore by humans’ momentary lack of presence, with locals reporting spotting the majestic whales in parts of a Vancouver fjord for the first time in decades.



Even run-off-the-mill creatures are benefiting – roadkill has seen a huge reduction as we kill on average in the UK each year 100,000 hedgehogs, 30,000 deer, 50,000 badgers and 100,00 foxes. The pandemic has also shown that pollution lowers our resistance to disease. More exposure to traffic fumes means weaker lungs and greater risk of dying from Covid, according to scientists at Harvard University. As the UN’s environment chief, Inger Andersen, put it, nature is sending us a message that if we neglect the planet, we put our own wellbeing at risk.

❛❛ The ultimate test of

man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard ❜❜

Gaylord Nelson


This is presented as the comedy in our tragedy. Cartoonists have depicted throngs of tourist animals gawping through city windows at humans under lockdown. Commentators are even talking of the “post-human” era – a mocking rejoinder to the idea that we live in Anthropocene, a period of human domination that is reshaping the planet. Humour does not get much blacker. We are laughing at our own decline – and assuming that nature will be the beneficiary. The coronavirus pandemic has brought chaos to lives and economies around

Plastic strewn Lake Potpec in Serbia

the world. But efforts to curb the spread of the virus might mean that the planet itself is moving a little less. Researchers who study Earth’s movement are reporting a drop in seismic noise — the hum of vibrations in the planet’s crust — that could be the result of transport networks and other human activities being shut down. They say this could allow detectors to spot smaller earthquakes and boost efforts to monitor volcanic activity and other seismic events. If anything, this should be a moment to reconsider human relationships with animals and understand that the pandemic “emerges out of an increasingly dysfunctional relationship between human communities, other animals, and the broader environment”. The real story of this pandemic, especially when viewed in relationship to animals, is that we humans are the beasts who have caused this particular zoonotic disease as with several in the past and – in all probability – others lying ahead in the future.

The “animals are flourishing in the absence of humans” also has a deeply troubling history, one that has played out – with not a small amount of violence – in much of the world. Implicit, if not explicit, in these narratives of animals enjoying spaces devoid of human presence is the long shadow of a still-strong tenet of conservationism –

that humans and animals cannot co-exist. In order to preserve animals and birds we need to carve out spaces of pure wilderness in which no humans can continue to live. The impact of the American wilderness movement and Northern brands of environmentalism on the global South are by now well-documented and critiqued.

❛❛ A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people ❜❜

Franklin D. Roosevelt

❛❛ I want you to panic

as if your house was on fire. Because it is ❜❜ Great Thunberg



In the first place, the drop in air pollution doesn’t mean carbon emissions are globally down. The latest figures note that there has been a 17% drop in daily emission of the greenhouse gas. While this is unprecedented in recent times, we need to note that 83% remain on and that we are still very far off from reaching the Paris agreement figures. If there was one mitigating circumstance about the coronavirus pandemic that first hit Britain in January 2020 it was that the virus struck in the early part of the year, when the northern hemisphere was entering into springtime. The coronavirus spring that followed turned out, in fact, to be a remarkable event, not only because it unfolded against the background of the calamitous disease, but also because it was in Britain the loveliest spring in living memory. It had more hours of sunshine, by a very substantial margin, than any

❛❛ Either we reduce

the world’s population voluntarily or nature will do it for us. Brutally ❜❜

Maurice Strong


previous recorded spring; indeed, it was sunnier than any previously recorded British summer. It meant that life in the natural world flourished as never before, just as life in the human world was hitting the buffers. In summary, we can latch onto the good news if we so choose but there is only one honest result of all this - humans have raped the planet, eaten most of the animals or shot them for fun, and polluted the rivers and seas. If it took us 100 years to cause this damage, it is surely right to assume it will take at least 100 years to correct it. Trouble is we do

not have 100 years. Experts generally agree that we have 20-30 years before it is too late. And in that time, it would only show an effect if we immediately ceased all burning of fossil fuel, halved the global human population, ceased all use of chemicals and plastic production, stopped eating fish, planted millions of trees and felled none and so on. I would dearly love to end this on a note of optimism but alas, there is none. We have fatally wounded the planet and now we will spend the next generation paying for it - and in all likelihood, our children will pay the ultimate price.

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Remote working is gaining momentum against a backdrop of unprecedented change, health concerns, technology, globalisation and economic uncertainty. By Desiree Anderson

THE ART OF EFFECTIVE REMOTE LEADERSHIP Leaders now manage dispersed teams across multiple locations. A hybrid working model (part remote, part office) may become the norm. In this scenario, home rather than work becomes central, with employees juggling multiple demands. Leader control is diluted as employees can’t be closely monitored in a physical space. Employees have more influence as remote representatives of the Company, their commitment contributing greatly to its survival. Therefore, distanced employee discretion and effort needs alignment with company strategies.

The spotlight on fairness, inclusivity and diversity requires remote leaders to have emotional intelligence, self-awareness and ethics ❜❜



The spotlight on fairness, inclusivity and diversity requires remote leaders to have emotional intelligence, self-awareness and ethics. Remote and hybrid leaders become empowering agents whilst facilitating employee bonds with colleagues, customers, suppliers and the company. They need to help Gig workers with induction, encourage older generations to harness technology whilst ensuring freedom of expression and community focus for Generations X and Y. Going forward, self-directed and even selfforming teams across functionalities will increase the need for influencing skills rather than authority. Remote leadership is therefore more multi-faceted than Office leadership. The Crest Hybrid Leadership model depicts key roles for Remote/Hybrid leaders.


Remote Leaders are HR Implementers in that daily management practices should incorporate some knowledge of HR priorities. This is relevant even if specialist HR teams assist. Appropriate flexibility clauses (especially if employees move between office and home) should exist and flexibility requests should be appropriately considered. Correct equipment, insurance and a working knowledge of company policies and procedures is vital. Processes for safeguarding privacy especially for contractual and employment law purposes need attention. Actions n Do you have a Remote Working policy and a Diversity and Inclusion Policy? n Are risk assessments in place to identify and mitigate risks? n How do you ensure a fair Disciplinary, Grievance and Appeals process?

The Commitment Engager recognises that employees need to be encouraged to feel emotionally committed to the company. This results in engaged employees and avoids labour turnover, legal fees, absenteeism and customer dissatisfaction. A vital contributor of employee engagement is leader visibility and fairness, leading to a feeling of psychological safety in teams. Providing opportunities for collaboration with colleagues and mentors can also enhance commitment. Lengthy meetings without agenda and engagement are a key destabiliser for remote teams. The Culture Cultivator embeds company culture into everyday remote routines and practices, in order to define company identity, differentiate from competition and attract the best talent. A leader that strongly links individual and company purpose, will connect and unify efforts.

Actions n E xamine current scorecards i.e. Productivity, Attendance, Vacancies to measure commitment. n Encourage two-way feedback in one -to-ones and meetings. n Provide clear work standards and a reasonable tolerance of mistakes.

Actions n Conduct a team values exercise and link to company values. n Team recognition of those that demonstrate agreed values and behaviour. n Define formal and informal remote routines that make the company unique, mixing fun and formality.



Remote leaders need to be Productivity Enhancers to encourage working smarter not harder. Home-based employees should have freedom and discretion to how and when they work to achieve required results. Sketching the output required and providing employees with creative problem solving tools should be a daily leadership priority. Regular supportive checking in to help teams reach milestones and encouragement of an asynchronous workflow is critical. Productivity requires recognition of team strengths, acknowledgement of individual differences in ways of working and encouraging fair contributions from all. Actions n Agree required outputs and provide tools and training n Match technology platforms to team requirements. n Display a Dashboard denoting team/ individual contribution.

Remote leaders need to be compassionate in their dealings with employees. Ask “How are you really?”; using open questions to tactfully probe should something appear amiss. This means that you need to know your team members very well and vice versa. This may require sharing some of your struggles with them to move towards being a role model of humility and that of an ‘enabler’ rather than someone who knows it all. Being a Wellbeing protector for both yourself and your team is essential to prevent burnout.

Actions n Incorporate a Coaching Model e.g. GROW to deepen relationships n Get to know your people by opening up yourself n Provide access to trained and confi dential Mental Health Resources To master the art of effective Remote Leadership, you don’t need to paint the perfect picture, but rather be the canvas for teams to create a better version of themselves.

❛❛ Regular supportive

checking-in to help teams reach milestones and encouragement of an asynchronous workflow is critical ❜❜

Re m ote l e ad e r s a re C r e a t i ve Communicators. To deal with differing employee preferences, a mix of telephone, text, online, and face to face interactions should be used. A mix of visual, kinaesthetic and auditory methods will cater for differing learning styles. Actions n How often will you talk to each of your team members? n Show empathy and curiosity by understanding others’ viewpoints. n Use a friendly tone of voice and facial expression to compensate for partial body language. For Remote Coaching and Leadership programmes write to or telephone 07702 298363.



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The news, as we paused work to enjoy a Christmas lockdown, was that the UK had agreed a zero import taxes deal with the EU. Businesses that had taken the view to await the outcome of the deal breathed a huge sigh of relief and settled down for a quiet Christmas in the knowledge that all would return to normal. By Rupert Moyle

INDIRECT TAX CHANGES POST BREXIT But were they right? Has the “Trade and Cooperation Agreement” (TCA) brought normality back to the UK? Are there zero import taxes? The simple answer to each question is no. So, what are the main changes?


The major change for movements of goods between the UK and EU is that there are customs border controls. Goods no longer move freely. Export and import declarations are required and import VAT (and perhaps duty) needs to be paid. n T he UK has allowed approved importers the option of delaying declarations from January 1st to June 30th 2021 by between three and six months. They will still have to file declarations and pay the taxes though after the deadline. n The EU offers no simplified procedures for imports.



PVA allows a UK VAT registered impor ter to elect on its impor t declaration to pay and claim (subject to the normal rules) its import VAT via its UK VAT return rather than at the port. This can be used for all UK imports, not just from the EU, helping with cashflow.


Shipping terms, or “Incoterms”, are yet more impor tant. They determine whether the supplier or customer is responsible for the import declaration and for paying the VAT and any duty.


UK businesses may need more than just a UK “EORI” number to clear goods through customs. A UK EORI only works for UK imports or exports, not for EU and Northern Ireland customs clearances. A further EORI and also VAT registrations may be required if UK suppliers are responsible for imports into the EU for example. Another issue which is already giving problems at EU ports concerns the EU’s Union Customs Code (UCC), which determines who can be the

❛❛ But were they right? Has the

‘Trade and Cooperation Agreement’ (TCA) brought normality back to the UK? Are there zero import taxes? ❜❜



UK businesses are already experiencing issues with the loss of two EU simplifications. n T he ‘call-off stock’ simplification allowed UK suppliers not to have to register for VAT in the customer’s country where goods were moved to the customer’s warehouse but only sold when utilised, or ‘called-off’. n ‘Triangulation’ negated a VAT registration obligation for a UK entity buying goods from one EU country supplier and selling to a customer in another EU country, but where the goods move direct from the supplier to the end customer. Now the normal rules prevail and require VAT registrations.


declarant on import and export declarations. This can lead to a UK business having to set up an establishment in the EU. The UK has similar rules. The UCC requires an EU import/export declarant to be established in the EU. A UK B2B supplier responsible for an EU import would either have to find a customs agent prepared to act ‘indirectly’, i.e. in its own name, accepting the risk of joint liability for import taxes, or the supplier would be the declarant, giving it an EU establishment issue.


There are few changes to international services rules, although B2C digital service suppliers are perhaps impacted the most. Previously, suppliers paid EU VAT due via HMRC’s MOSS system. This is no longer available and, instead, such suppliers need to register for a non-EU VAT MOSS scheme in an EU member state of their choice.

From January 1st overseas sellers will have to VAT register for UK-bound consignments of under £135 unless sold via a marketplace, in which case the marketplace will pay VAT at the point of sale. The EU will have similar rules in July 2021. Supplies over £135 will be subject to import procedures, VAT and any duty, and subject to the normal rules.

All in all, there is a lot to consider and new obligations to learn with new EU rules to consider from July 2021 as well. There will inevitably be unusual scenarios and challenges to overcome, as we are already experiencing. If you trade internationally, we would be delighted to discuss what you do and consider solutions to any issues we identify.


The “deal” heralded a no tariff position however. An EU or UK import of goods may fall under the preferential zero duty rate, but only where the goods are of UK/EU origin. A zero tariff is not a given. The rules add complexity for anyone trading internationally.

If you need support, guidance or a Brexit health check, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Rupert Moyle, Partner and Head of VAT and Duty. T: 0330 124 13990 E:



Joseph Bradfield, PR and Communications Advisor at Sussex Innovation, explains why some of our most respected business leaders are often intuitive storytellers, and how you can learn to become one too


TELLING STORIES The nature of a founder’s role involves being a person of many talents – even when they have a crack leadership team around them, it’s their job to ensure that all those moving parts are pulling in the same direction. Not only do they need to grasp the finer points of their company’s finances and operations, they’re also its public face. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but if you can’t communicate it


properly, it’s very rare that it will get off the ground. As a figurehead for the business, you need to be the one doing the convincing – enabling your team to share one vision, and helping everyone from customers to partners and influencers understand why it deserves to be a reality. Human beings are social animals, we are hardwired to share stories. A well-structured narrative can hold

our attention, shape our opinion, and stick long in our memory. Social, political and religious movements throughout the ages have succeeded or failed because of this factor; a compelling foundational stor y and people who are adept at telling it. Successful businesses are no different, and in today’s attention-driven economy, the value of a powerful and incisive story has never been more apparent.


❛❛ You can have the greatest idea

in the world, but if you can’t communicate it properly, it’s very rare that it will get off the ground ❜❜

At Sussex Innovation, one of the foundational pieces of work we do for growing businesses involves understanding the story they have to tell. It’s a critical factor in informing everything else that makes a strong business – its culture, values, raison d’etrê. Our starting point for a strong foundational story is the ‘Golden Circle’, a concept developed by the author Simon Sinek in his book Find Your Why. The most important takeaway from Sinek’s work is that far too many businesses frame their offering in purely functional, rather than emotive terms; “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” The golden circle is a simple tool for shifting your language from ‘what’ to ‘why’. Every organisation on the planet knows what they do, the products and services that they package up and sell to their customers.

By starting with ‘why’ – at the centre of the golden circle – and building out, you can establish which of your strengths are most valuable to maintain, and which of your products are most critical to your success. Just as a good screenplay or novel is built around character motivation, a business narrative that starts with ‘why’ is always going to be more compelling. There are a few other narrative tricks that you can use to help engage people in your story and build on this strong start: Every journey begins with a call to adventure, the ‘lightbulb moment’ that sets our hero off on their path. Think about the time you first began to under-

stand your ‘why’ – what led you to notice the problem that your business addresses? Stories thrive on conflict. Without conflict there’s no momentum, the story never goes anywhere. One big error that many entrepreneurs make, whether they’re pitching for investment or being interviewed in the media, is to never acknowledge their mistakes or failures. When we recognise that things sometimes don’t go as planned, how we’ve learned and grown as a result of our failures, it gives our story real weight and emotional stakes. It makes the success at the end of the journey hit home harder. The ultimate source of conflict is a clear antagonist. Who or what stands in your way? Is it the bigger business in your sector that you’re trying to knock off their perch? Or is there a person, organisation or system that embodies the problem you’re setting out to solve? Be bold about calling out the ‘big bad’ and explaining what sets you apart in opposition to them.

Some of these organisations also communicate how they do it. These are the strengths that make them special and set them apart from the competition, often described as their ‘unique selling point’ or ‘competitive advantage’. Very few organisations express, or even truly know why they do what they do. ‘Why’ isn’t about making money, that’s just the result. Why is a purpose, cause or belief that underpins the whole reason your business exists – a problem it sets out to solve, or a world view it seeks to challenge.

If you’re an East Sussex based entrepreneur with a growing business and could benefit from a better understanding of its founding insights, you can apply to join one of our powerful peer-to-peer founders’ networks. The Bamboo Club brings together the county’s business leaders for facilitated workshops to share experience and expertise – to be considered for a place, please contact us by email at

This programme is part of the national Peer Networks initiative, overseen by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The scheme is managed in East Sussex by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and East Sussex Growth Hub, and has received funding from East Sussex County Council.



TIME FOR EVENT 10:00am - 12:00pm EVENT DESTINATION Virtual Exhibition on Remo Hosted by: Network My Club

200 Exclusive Event Guests Great Opportunity to Network Digital Marketing Keynote Talks The Tiger’s Pen with Basepoint Game Themed Conference Centrally Located Online Prizes for Crazy Golf








“Be quick, the first 200 gain access to this exclusive event online.”


10.30am – 11.00am Director, Shake it Up Creative


DATE Thursday 13th May 2021

11.25am – 11.55am Director, Ditzy Media

Print Partner Face Media Group


DIGITAL AGENCY BRINGS LOCAL BUSINESSES AND COUNCIL TOGETHER THROUGH INNOVATIVE APP As a town, Guildford is well known for its great sense of community. Businesses and residents alike love to come together to support each other when times get tough, and celebrate together when things go well. It’s also a town that fosters innovation. Just taking a short walk around the town centre will show you the huge range of independent businesses on offer, from clothing to coffee shops. Guildford really has something for everyone! But, what Jonathan Bird, founder of local digital marketing agency Delivered Social, thought the town was lacking was a centralised place that showcases everything it has to offer. So, he created The Guildford App, in partnership with Guildford Borough Council, to do just that! Here, Jonathan talks a bit more about this innovative new app and what it means for the town.

❛❛ The main focus

of the app is the town’s many businesses and the amazing things they all have to offer ❜❜

“I absolutely love Guildford. It’s an amazing place to live and work. And, probably the number one reason why I love it is because it has so much to offer. There’s always something going on, a new business opening up, or a community initiative to share. The frustrating thing is that not everybody knows about all of this! So I wanted to develop an app in partnership with the council to help spread the word and make Guildford an even better place to be.

“Developing the app was a first for Delivered Social. We all had to work together to come up with something that was not only creative, but also delivered real value for the residents and visitors of Guildford. But I think we’ve achieved it! “The main focus of the app is the town’s many businesses and the amazing things they all have to offer. Businesses can feature their information and products on the app, completely free of charge. From there, customers can actually order products from their phone! This helps local businesses to gain more exposure after a year that’s been one of the worst for businesses in living memory. But, there’s also a space to showcase events, groups, reviews, accommodation, and so much more! You can also have conversations on the app, helping to keep Guildford’s community spirit alive, even virtually.

“We’re developing the app to be a real community initiative, where businesses and residents can actually access it themselves to upload their own listings, products and events. I’m so proud of what myself and the Delivered Social team have developed and can’t wait to see it blossom into a real centrepoint for everything that’s happening in Guildford.” You can download the app and get stuck in by visiting your phone’s app store, or visiting The Guildford App


Diversified Portfolios

Contact us to arrange a complimentary consultation Visit or call 01372 471550. Copyright Š 2021 Partridge Muir & Warren Ltd, All rights reserved. The value of your investments can fall as well as rise and you might not get back the full amount invested. Partridge Muir & Warren Ltd. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England. Company number 952508. Registered office: Aissela, 46 High Street, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9QY. Tel: 01372 471550 Telephone calls may be recorded.

That Are Just Right

PEST CONTROL Cleankill pest controllers are horrified to be regularly coming across large buildings where bird netting is installed but no one is maintaining it.

MAINTENANCE CONTRACTS ARE VITAL WHERE BIRD NETTING IS USED SAY EXPERTS The result is that when the netting gets damaged, birds can get tangled and trapped resulting in them getting injured or starving to death. Cleankill Managing Director, Paul Bates explains: “There are many different solutions for discouraging pest birds, and using netting is one of them. We can’t stress enough how important it is for the netting to be maintained. “There was a recent example of birds getting trapped in netting on a supermarket. It was not only distressing for the birds themselves but horrific for shoppers. In addition, the supermarket faced the risk of prosecution.” On its website the RSPCA echoes Cleankill’s concerns saying “Bird deterrent netting can be an effective means of keeping birds off structures as it can prevent problems without needing to resort to other measures such as killing birds. However, it’s vitally important that any netting is properly installed and maintained. “We recommend that anyone with netting installed on their property sets up a system to check regularly for trapped birds and to ensure any netting is in good repair. All wild birds, including pigeons and gulls, and their nests are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). It is an offence, except under licence, to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird.” There is also the consideration that if they are under the control of man (for example as a result of having been captured or confined – such as becoming trapped in netting), then an offence could be committed under the Animal Welfare Act which specifies the

Correctly installed netting

Damaged netting

duty of care conditions that must be applied to any trapped animal. With Spring on the way, now is the time to make sure your property is protected from nesting birds and make sure you have a contract with pest control experts such as Cleankill. As the days get warmer, birds will start to look for places to settle such as outside ledges and exposed pipework. Their droppings will then collect on the floor below causing an unsightly, dangerously slippery mess. As well as netting there are many techniques available such as: bird free gel; sprung wire systems and bird spike repellents. Or, for natural bird control, Harris Hawks are the ideal solution.

Pigeons, or ‘flying rats’, carry diseases and nearly all pigeons carry bird mites tiny spider-like creatures that feed off the bird and makes humans itch and scratch. Pigeon fouling and nesting material also provide a home for many other insects such as clothes moths, carpet beetle, mealworm beetles and various flying species. When the fouling is dry it creates airborne bacteria affecting anybody that may be susceptible to asthma and other breathing difficulties. Cleankill offers a specialist bird control service, from the initial survey and specification through to the final proofing solution. As registered waste carriers, Cleankill can carry out fullscale removal of bird fouling, as well as contaminated goods and furniture, from infested properties.

Go to or call 0800 056 5477.


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Wondering where to book your holiday once leisure travel is on the agenda again? Perhaps looking for an easy-to-reach destination unlikely to be overrun by tourists? Look no further than the dazzling peninsula of Halkidiki By Tess de Klerk


LAID BACK HALKIDIKI Known for its three 'fingers', Halkidiki juts into the Aegean with endless sandy shores, crystal clear waters, abundant verdant hills, pine forests, picturesque villages and fascinating archaeological and religious sites. This region is so beautiful that it provides a great alternative to traditional Greek island hopping. Each peninsula has its own charm and characteristics with holiday resorts, buzzy bars and nightlife found in Kassandra while the central peninsula of Sithonia offers peaceful beaches ideal for nature lovers. Mount Athos is steeped in history and is home to an ancient monastic community, hermitages and retreats.

What I find most striking in Halkidiki though, are the numerous undeveloped beaches. Thanks to the Greek Orthodox Church still being the biggest landowner in the area, large swathes of this breathtaking land, heavy with the scent of pine and the sound of sun beetles, remains untouched and open to everyone. The biggest attractions are, of course, the beautiful beaches which are said to be among the best in the Med. With over 40 Blue Flag Beaches you'll be spoilt for choice but dare to veer off-map and you're sure to be rewarded with hidden coves and treasures.


TRAVEL THINGS TO DO V isi t th e u nto u c h e d a re a of Kavourotrypes (translated as crab holes) for perfect beaches and hidden coves, stretched over miles and miles of the Sithonia peninsula. Hike from beach to beach amongst the pine forests, dive from rocky outcrops and laze on soft golden sands. For the ultimate in understated hippy cool spend a day or two in the tiny seaside village of Kalamitsi in the south of Sithonia. Scuba dive, snorkel or simply sip frappes in the perfectly rustic beach bar. Soak up the sun on your choice of 62 + beaches across Halkidiki but be sure to include Portokali, Kalogria and Fava. Best to carry your own umbrella as some beaches are classified as non-organised, meaning you won’t find a sun lounger or beach chair to rent anywhere.


Paraglide over the sights of Halkidiki with Skeye, located in Pefkohori on the eastern side of Kassandra.

For a great mix of daytime dining, beautiful beachfront areas and music events, don’t miss Navagos Beach Bar located right at the tip of Kassandra.

Spend an afternoon sampling organic wines at the family run Tzikas Family Winery or the stunning Domaine Porto Carras.

Dock your yacht in the largest marina of Northern Greece, Porto Carras. Alternatively – if you are in the same boat as most of us – hire a yacht and spend the night at sea.

In the mood for a night out and a bit of a boogie? For renowned DJs and seafront views, make your way to Manassu Beach Bar in Sithonia or Cabana Beach Bar on the east coast of Kassandra.

History lovers will appreciate a trip to Mount Athos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest surviving monastic region in the world. The historical and ongoing religious importance of this region means it’s only possible to visit via prior arrangement with one of the monasteries, which can take six months or more to arrange. Instead, most visitors to Halkidiki take boat trips to view Mount Athos from the sea. Boats depart from across Halkidiki, but it’s most convenient to take a trip from Ouranoupolis.

Porto In theCarras Senate with Teddy Kennedy

Domaine Porto Carras



Aristotle Park sits at an incredible 500 metre altitude and is a must-visit in the region. Dedicated to the Greek philosopher, the park also showcases a number of the special instruments the great man used in his work on nature and physics. Enjoy a short stroll around the park while soaking up the views of the Gulf of Lerissos and beyond, or follow the longer 14km Aristotelian Route.

TRAVEL WHERE TO EAT Halkidiki offers a lot of options for dining out. For beachfront bars, exclusive club restaurants and a lively atmosphere, the Kassandra peninsula is recommended If you’re looking for cosy tavernas and authentic family-run restaurants with charm and character, explore Sithonia. In the village of Parthenonas, located a few kilometres from Neos Marmaras, enjoy a great view, great food and homemade wine at Paul’s Tavern. At Klimataria, in the traditional village of Metagitsi, succulent lamb and pork roast is on the menu from early evening.

5 Steps In The Sand in Sykia

Looking for a romantic atmosphere? Visit 5 Steps In The Sand in Sykia at dawn, after having spent the day on the glorious beaches of Sykia and Tigania. For the ultimate in beach hippy vibe and excellent food head to Taverna Zorbas in Kalamitsi.

Taverna Zorbas in Kalamitsi

Restaurants in Porto Koufo are widely known for their fresh fish and seafood specialities. All in all, you really can’t go wrong anywhere in Halkidiki if you’re looking for fantastic food.

Paul’s Tavern, Parthenonas


TRAVEL WHERE TO STAY Whilst the Kassandra peninsula is renowned for its resorts, Sithonia is the peninsula for peace and quiet. And then there’s the Athos peninsula, perfect for those who love the outdoors. Most of Halkidiki’s beach resorts are on the east coast of Kassandra with Sani being the largest centre. Guests can enjoy the vibrant beach and spectacular views over the Aegean Sea, along with a range of high-quality amenities. With lots of activities for the kids, Sani is a great choice for families. If you appreciate the comfort that larger all-inclusive type resorts offer, then look no further than Porto Carras. With its own marina, golf course, casino, wellness centre and impressive conference halls, it still manages to feel private and tucked away amongst lush pine forests and it’s own 9km stretch of beach. Danai Beach Resort and Villas on the Sithonia peninsula is the place to go to be pampered in quiet luxury. Villas and suites have their own private pools and the hotel has its own semi-private beach. Sip fantastic cocktails at Danai’s seaside bar and enjoy the best of Greek cuisine at their restaurant. Eagles Palace Hotel and Spa is another upmarket choice with understatedly luxurious accommodation. It features its own award-winning spa to relax and unwind. Choose from four terrific on-site

Eagles Palace Hotel and Spa


Sani, Kassandra

Danai Beach Resort and Villas on the Sithonia

restaurants and spend your days soaking up the sun on their private beach. Happy campers and glampers should head to Armenistis Camping on the east coast of Sithonia. This large camping site receives excellent reviews with its stunning beach, azure waters and superior camping facilities. Choose between pitching a tent, hiring a well-stocked safari tent or glamping in an array of accommodation choices. Armenistis is a great choice for an eco-holiday.

During my ‘hippy’ days I spent a couple of summers exploring Halkidiki by hiking, camping, glamping and even free camping, setting a tent wherever we fancied! Over the following years, I often found myself drawn back by its exquisite nature, laid-back spirit and welcoming locals. This part of Northern Greece really does offer something for everyone and it’s a great choice for your next getaway.

Our thinking starts with you “They are excellent in every respect and I am absolutely delighted with the service we receive. Everything has been done in a first-class manner. We know the next period is going to be uncertain, however, with MHA Carpenter Box’s help, I look to the future with confidence.”

Standing still is not an option In today’s environment you need an accountant that does more than just numbers. You need a trusted adviser that helps your business thrive. With our relationship led service, we look to understand the opportunities and challenges faced by you and your business. Our focus is always on client service, with open and honest relationships.

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BACK TO THE FUTURE Retrofitting electric powertrains to classic cars is becoming fashionable for the environmentally conscious and well-heeled By Maarten Hoffmann, Senior Motoring Editor

Classic car collecting has always had a certain cachet about it, and it seems those with deep pockets are now making the practice even more fashionable, by converting older cars into electric vehicles (EV).

converted by Aston Martin Works brought with it similar expected costs. Critics, meanwhile, hold that altering rare cars by installing EV powertrains is incompatible with preserving their heritage.

Following in the footsteps of Prince Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, who used an electrified Jaguar E-Type – the E-Type Zero – as their wedding car, classic car enthusiasts are increasingly taking older cars that originally ran on petrol, and replacing their engines and fuel tanks with batteries and motors.

Despite these issues, classic car fans are surging ahead with commissions, chasing both the appeal of owning a

This green conversion doesn’t come cheap and isn’t without its critics, though; the F-Type Zero had a projected price tag of around £300,000 before development was paused, while a similar project that saw a DB6 Volante


Harry and Megan’s Jag

classic car, and the knowledge that they can drive one around without being criticised for running what would likely be a car with relatively high emissions. “An entirely new breed of customer requires a clean-air powertrain”, David Lorenz, founder of conversion company Lunaz, says, adding: “The world is changing. Global legislation and shifting attitudes towards sustainability are driving demand for clean-air alternatives.” Lunaz considers that electric classic cars “represent the ultimate in up-cycling and sustainable mobility.” The green credentials and flowing lines of EV classics are backed up by serious performance, with Lunaz’s electric Jaguar XK120 producing 375bhp and 700Nm of torque thanks to its 80kWh battery pack and motor. The XK takes just five seconds to go from 0-60mph,



The principle of converting a classic car to run on electricity sees the engine and drivetrain replaced with a motor (or motors) and a battery pack, although approaches to how this is achieved vary. Some firms commission bespoke powertrains and ensure any conversion is fully reversible, allowing the engine and associated drivetrain to be reinstated if this is desired. Companies such as Electric Classic Cars, meanwhile, also carry out conversions, as well as selling off-theshelf motors and EV components with second - hand Tesla bat ter y modules in conversion kits, allowing confident home mechanics to convert their own cars.

and has a range of 250 miles plus. Lunaz is also making a limited production run of the 1955 - 65 Bentley Continental Coupe and Drophead, the Mulliner Flying Spur, and classic RollsRoyces.

Converting a classic car to run on electricity is no simple task, however. Even a conventional engine swap is an involved process, and installing a completely different drivetrain takes this to another level. Motor mounts will need to be fabricated, strengthening materials will be required so the chassis can take the extra weight of the batteries, while suspension and other components need to be changed to take into account

❛❛ This green

conversion doesn’t come cheap and isn’t without its critics ❜❜

the altered handling characteristics brought about by the shift in weight that removing an engine and installing a battery pack causes. Brakes, meanwhile, are likely to require uprating to facilitate regenerative braking and cope with the extra power and torque; auxiliary features such as lights, heating, air-conditioning and power steering, meanwhile, also need to be adapted so they draw power from the batteries, rather than the engine. And all this work needs to be carried out by someone who is confident in dealing with both involved engineering, and high-voltage electrical systems. Obviously, the more popular this becomes, the cheaper it will become to transform your ageing beauty into a useable modern day classic.

Prices for one of Lunaz’s cars start at £350,000, but despite this barrier to entry, Lunaz has seen a surge in demand of late, and is doubling its Silverstone workforce to meet this. And, while critics may claim converting classic cars into electric ones compromises their character or undermines their heritage, Lorenz sees things differently. “The world is changing, my daughter’s generation will not enjoy the same access to classic cars we have. We are engaged in the preservation of some of the most significant objects in history.”



People in Crawley will be able to get their cars serviced in style with the launch of a brand new Volvo retailer this February

BRAND NEW CAR RETAILER SET TO PUT CRAWLEY COMMUNITY IN POLE POSITION Volvo Cars Crawley, which will be situated on Gatwick Road, has been acquired by the Harwoods Group. The retailer will open its doors for repairs, MOTs and services in February, as well as ‘virtually’ opening for online sales appointments until restrictions allow customers to see the new showroom for themselves.

The showroom will display a range of petrol, fully electric and hybrid cars, as well as Volvo Selekt Approved Used models on the forecourt. Over 100 different checks ensure these Approved Used models are not just safe, but performing to a high standard with the latest Volvo parts and software.

The new-look showroom will feature Volvo’s signature lounge area, complete with Scandinavian furniture, free Wi-Fi and Swedish cakes and coffee. Customers will be invited to relax while their car is being looked after, or can carry on working with free Wi-Fi.

Nick Jones, Brand Director at Volvo Cars Crawley, said: “The team and I are really looking forward to opening our doors for the first time in February - albeit to a slightly smaller crowd than we would have hoped for! We cannot wait to welcome new customers for a cup of coffee and a chat about their car purchase and servicing needs in our new home when it is safe to do so.”

Large exterior and interior glazing allows customers to see all activity in the new workshops from – what feels like – the comfort of their living room. The retailer has also pledged that no refreshments will be served using single-use plastics – in fact, these have been remove from the showroom completely.


For more information about Volvo Cars Crawley, email or call 01293 308158. For general information, please visit

To feed the most vulnerable we needed great service from our bank Joshua Owens-Baigler Director, Angelina Restaurant

At NatWest, we approved a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan for Angelina Restaurant in Dalston. This not only enabled them to keep their staff on, but to provide around 500 meals a day to local vulnerable people. Search NatWest Business

Here to support you Security may be required. Over 18s only. Subject to status. Business use only. Any property or asset used as a security may be repossessed or forfeited if you do not keep up repayments on any debt secured on it.