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The Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce, Trade and Industry Magazine

October 2006

Beware the IT criminal Green energy


Property news


Andrew Wildsmith


The Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce Magazine Editor Ann Morris 01524 381331 Associate Editor Rachel Gibson 01524 39955 Publisher & Advertising Manager Michael Gibson 01524 541280 Creative Director Isaac Allison 01524 590586 Editorial Board Ann Morris, Chamber Manager, Lancaster Chamber, Vicky Lofthouse, Events Organiser, Lancaster Chamber, Michael Gibson, Managing Director, Fat Media, Rachel Gibson, Director, Quay Creative, Janie Ash, Managing Director, Rehab, Guy Cookson, PR Manager, Intec (UK) Ltd, Judith Coyle, Judith Coyle - Copywriting : PR : Editorial, Gill Haigh, Communications Manager, Lancaster City Council, Sheena Marsden, Director, Askam Construction

Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce Commerce House, Fenton Street, Lancaster LA1 1AB Tel: 01524 381331 Chamber Manager Ann Morris Executive Officer, Finance & International Trade Janet Askew Admin Officer, Events and Membership Vicky Lofthouse Membership Officer Mary Renshaw Business Liaison Officer Mike Ashton President John Regan Company Secretary Gill Gardner Published by: Fat Media Ltd 21 Castle Hill, Lancaster LA1 1YN Tel: 01524 541280 Managing Director Michael Gibson Edited by: Quay Creative 3 River Street, St George’s Quay, Lancaster LA1 1AD Tel: 01524 39955 Director Rachel Gibson Designed by: The Rehab Agency Ltd CityLab, 4-6 Dalton Square, Lancaster LA1 1PP Tel: 01524 590580 Managing Director Janie Ash Creative Director Isaac Allison Printed by Absolute Digital Print 4 Riverside Business Park Natland Road, Kendal LA9 7LR Tel: 01539 738441

Chamber Views

By Ann Morris, Chamber Manager


urther changes to employment regulations came in at the beginning of October, and as well as an increase in the National Minimum wage, employers are faced with new rules concerning maternity/adoption leave. In this issue of Business Matters, Malcolm Martin, of Employer Solutions, gives us some advice on dealing with these changes on page 18. Whatever the size of business, we all rely on our computer systems, and when things go wrong the consequences can at best be frustrating, and at worst have a critical impact on our business operations. Dealing with technical failure is something we might expect from time to time, but what steps do we take with regard to securing the information we hold and preventing that information being exploited, possibly by our own staff? On page 22 John Hepworth, of Intec UK, gives us his views on network security and highlights some of the areas where we could all be at risk. Just like any other business, the Chamber has to generate sufficient income to cover its costs. For us anything else is a “bonus” and helps us to introduce new initiatives or support activities which will benefit our business community. It was, therefore, good news when the Chamber Affinity Group Savings Scheme with the Furness Building Society, recently provided a welcome fillip with a cheque for £1,681. For more information about the benefits of the scheme see the news story on page 12. For a reminder about other services provided by the Chamber, including networking events, briefings, discounted commercial services and international trade, please visit our website. Your contributions to this publication are always welcome, so if you want to share some expertise on a particular topic, comment on a business issue, or tell us about your own business success story, do get in touch.

You can contact Ann on 01524 381331 or email



Funding available for small businesses Small and medium sized businesses in many parts of Lancashire can now take advantage of free business advice and consultancy services, courtesy of a new EU funded project managed by North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. Available to both members and non-members of the Chamber, the CBAN project has been operating in certain parts of the county since 2004, but owing to a successful application made by the Chamber and its partners, the programme has been extended to cover many other wards, including those to the south of Lancaster. Through the project, manufacturers, professional service providers and many other types of business can call upon project staff to provide many different forms of support and advice. The funding exists to help businesses to develop and create new employment in the

area, and support services can include anything from financial advice to active support with marketing and website design. The Chamber and its partners can also undertake customised grant searches to help companies discover whether they may be entitled to other forms of public funding assistance. The CBAN project will run until December 2006 but it is only able to assist registered charities and companies that are recognised as small or medium sized enterprises. To conform to this definition, businesses must employ fewer than 250 staff, their turnover must not exceed 50 million Euros (equivalent) and they cannot be more than 25% owned by a larger company that exceeds any of these criteria. Companies wishing to check whether they are based in an eligible area should visit or telephone Dawn Chadwick on 01925 273273.

Quay Creative UK-US manufacturers delivers for summit Infolab21 A three-day UK/US Manufacturers Summit is being held at Manchester United Football Club from 31st October to 2nd November 2006, to show how companies on both sides of the Atlantic can learn from one another to improve productivity and competitive advantage. The event will include workshops, seminars and presentations by business chiefs from Siemens, Jaguar, LINPAC Plastics, Bentley Motors, CocaCola, New Balance, the RAC, James Walker, Spirit Aerosystems, Caterpillar and Flexco. It will focus on the four key drivers of growth and productivity – innovation, leadership, skills development and customer orientation – pointing the way forward for the shift to high value manufacturing. The Summit will end with a gala dinner and awards ceremony to mark the North West’s top manufacturing stars of the year. As well as the award of Business of the Year, which last year went to Hitachi Automotive Systems Europe Ltd, there are special trophies for the Small Business of the Year and the Young Manufacturer of 2006 for those aged 19 to 24. Places at the Summit can be booked by calling Jon Tudor on 0161 872 0393, or by visiting


Former Five Coats Director, Rachel Gibson, has just completed six DVDs for InfoLab21 under her new company Quay Creative. As reported previously in Business Matters, Rachel set up Quay Creative in July following the acquisition of Five Coats by Fat Media. The main DVD is an introduction to the services offered by the Knowledge Business Centre and two research projects currently being undertaken by the University have been covered in separate programmes. The University required two versions of each programme, one suitable for school children going to InfoLab21 and another incorporating more technical information for adults who visit the facility. The programmes will play a key part in a new demonstrator being set up at InfoLab21 to illustrate the knowledge transfer undertaken between businesses and the University.

Pic - Senior Partner Geoff Rowlinson with branch manager Barbara Harrison and lettings partner Kathryn Brownsord

Fisher Wrathall branches out

Estate agents, Fisher Wrathall, are opening a new office in Bentham later this month. The company will take over the former Bairstow Eves premises on Main Street, offering a wide range of property services as general practice Chartered Surveyors.

Lancaster conferences Susanne Grady has been appointed Sales and Marketing Manager for Lancaster Conferences, based at Lancaster University. Susanne previously managed the University’s conference facilities at Lancaster House Hotel and has more than 15 years experience in Hospitality Management.

Changes to minimum wage With effect from 1st October, the national minimum wage will increase from £5.05 to £5.35 per hour for main rate workers aged 22 and over. The rate for 18 to 21 year olds increases to £4.45 and for 16 to 17 year olds to £3.30 per hour.

Workspace update In the July/August edition we included a short story about the valuable service being offered by Workspace Lancaster. The company provides support and training activities for people suffering from mental health problems. The new contact number for companies wishing to outsource simple packing and collation work is 01524 847937.


Train to Gain Business Training Services, the commercial training arm of Lancaster and Morecambe College, has been awarded a contract to provide the Government’s Train to Gain programme, delivering fully funded NVQs in the workplace for employed adults in Lancashire. By funding NVQ Level 2 qualifications and essential skills, employers have seen the benefit of fully funded training, such as a more confident and better motivated workforce, higher retention rates and increased productivity which leads to increased profitability. As the NVQ is delivered substantially at work, it ensures that there is less productivity loss and staff absent at inappropriate times. Arrangements for off the job training can be made between the employer, assessor and employee, allowing the flexible management of learning. Discrete essential skills training is also available.

companies could also benefit from wage compensation. Employers with fewer than 50 full time equivalent employees may be eligible for a contribution to wage costs incurred when releasing employees for training during their normal working hours. The programme is being led by George Stannard, Senior Training Adviser, and Julie Thompson, Project Coordinator. Further information and eligibility criteria can be discussed with the specialist training adviser by contacting Business Training Services on 01524 521211 or visiting their website at

The new programme not only provides employers with access to free training and qualifications for their employees, but

The following NVQ2s are currently being offered, but Business Training Services would welcome additional suggestions. • Health and Social Care • Multiskilled Hospitality • Food and Drink Manufacturing Operations • Business and Administration • ITQ • Customer Service • Retail • Team Leading • Distribution, Warehousing and Storage • Housekeeping • Cleaning and Support Services • Essential Skills in Numeracy and Literacy 2

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Editorial board vacancy The Business Matters editorial board is comprised of a number of volunteers who meet once a quarter to discuss feedback about previous issues and generate ideas for future editions. Several board members also provide editorial and stories for the magazine. We currently have a vacancy on the board following the resignation of Laura Mashiter who has recently left Cannon Hygiene to take up a new position with a PR agency in Cheshire. We would like to hear from Chamber members who are interested in joining the team and feel they have some exciting ideas to contribute to the magazine. Please contact either Ann Morris at the Chamber or Rachel Gibson at Quay Creative


No plaice for a fire C H Materials Ltd, has been hired to provide passive fire protection for a fishing lodge near Melton Mowbray. Martyn Thomas, who operates the fishery at Eye Kettleby Lakes, wanted to disperse with curledup sandwiches and flasks of lukewarm tea and introduce a log cabin clubhouse and leisure facility for anglers including a tackle shop, function room, restaurant and bar. As the lodge

was built of wood and had a kitchen area, strict fire prevention measures were needed. The facility was built by Rural Accommodations, Preston who approached C H Materials for advice on fire protection. Based in Morecambe, C H Materials were able to supply an Envirograf fire protection coating for the wood, which reduced the fire risk significantly and was fully acceptable to Building Control.

News News Pic - Mark Sykes

Lancaster firm’s Thai mission Accountant appoints new partner Established more than 150 years ago, CLB Cooper is one of the UK’s top forty independent accountancy firms and employs over 110 professionals in Lancaster, Manchester, Bolton and Sheffield.

Situated in mountainous terrain between Chiang Mai and the Burmese border, Na–Du has a population of less than 100 people living in cane huts and tents without any of the services that are taken for granted in the developed world. The team of ten worked throughout August to provide the village with safe drinking water and fresh running water for cooking, cleaning and general domestic use. Neil said: “It was physically demanding for all of us. The weather was very hot and humid during the day whilst we worked, but the temperature dropped sharply at night. There was nowhere to shower or shave until the trenches and storage tanks were completed and the showers installed.”

The vast majority of work was done by hand as the village has only primitive tools to aid construction. The villagers also assisted, giving a sense of achievement and ownership for the community. As an experienced engineer, Neil was an important asset to the multi-disciplinary team and his in-depth knowledge was invaluable when the water storage tanks were erected. Based at White Cross, NW Structural Consultants deals with private and commercial surveys, design work and calculations. Despite Neil’s absence, the Lancaster office remained operational following a very successful recruitment drive in conjunction with Reed Employment.







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Pic - Remote Thailand

CLB Coopers has appointed Mark Sykes as its twelfth partner. Based in their Lancaster office, Mark is the firm’s youngest partner and specialises in due diligence, financial modelling and contract negotiations.

Director of NW Structural Consultants, Neil Wakeman, recently visited a small village in Thailand as part of a multi-national team organised by the Baptist Missionary Society to improve the water supply of the people who live there.


The disposal of IT equipment

New Workplace Cycling Officer Beverley Harding has joined Lancaster City Council’s Cycling Development Team as Workplace Cycling Officer to advise and assist people wanting to cycle to work.

before any can be collected. The HW producer registration is valid for 12 months from the date of registration. For more information visit, to find out whether or not you need to register.

The aim of the Directive is to encourage reuse and recycling of IT equipment, and help minimise the negative environmental aspects of waste disposal. A target has been set by the Directive which states that in future 65% of IT equipment must be recycled before disposal.

Offices with no other business process, shops and health surgeries are exempt if less than 200kg of Hazardous Waste is generated within any 12 month period.

Under the Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005, some IT equipment has now been reclassified and there is a legal ‘duty of care’ for all who produce Hazardous Waste. All premises that generate Hazardous Waste need to register with the Environment Agency

Last year Lancaster with Morecambe was named one of six cycling demonstration towns in the country. With £1.5 m funding over the next 3 years, Cycling England aims to show how increased investment can encourage more people to get on their bikes and enjoy cycling in the district. Pic - Beverley Harding

The introduction of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive is imminent with the current consultation due to close on 17th October and new regulations expected to come into force on 1st January 2007.

The CDT has also launched the Bike Buddy scheme which helps new and returning cyclists undertake a journey to work by pairing up novice and experienced cyclists.

2nd-bite, established by the environmental trust Groundwork Ltd, is a recycling service which takes donated IT equipment. Having received written notification of the items being donated, 2nd-bite will collect redundant IT equipment with a minimum specification of Pentium II. For more information contact Pam Hetherington on 01254 682288 or email

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Broadband providers get tough Lancashire Digital Development Agency is warning companies to be wary of using domestic broadband accounts for business purposes in the wake of internet service providers toughening up their restrictions. Telecommunications companies are clamping down on users who exceed their agreed restrictions and the LDDA, which is charged with promoting the use of broadband within businesses, is helping to ensure that local businesses don’t fall foul.

Switch on to energy efficiency With energy bills having doubled over the past twelve months, there is both a powerful financial and environmental need to switch on to energy efficiency and drive down those harmful carbon emissions.

3. Heating costs rise by about 8% for each degree Celsius of overheating. Check thermostat settings regularly. The recommended heating level for shops, restaurants and offices is 19 degrees Celsius.

UK workplaces generate over 66 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year from the energy and resources they consume, yet there is plenty employees and employers can do.

4. Measure how much energy you’re using so that you can see what impact any energy saving measures have on your business. ‘Smart metering’ is now highly affordable to all sizes of business, giving you instant access to quality, timely data that will give you a full picture of your energy consumption.

The government states that businesses which implement energy efficiency improvements are typically cutting their emissions – and therefore cutting their bills – by one fifth. Getting started on reducing your energy consumption can cost you nothing and here are six simple steps you could take to reduce your overall energy costs.

5. Switch off equipment when it’s not in use. According to the Carbon Trust, an average office wastes £6,000 each year by leaving equipment on over weekends and bank holidays. Just getting your employees to turn off their monitors when they go home can make a big difference.

1. Government research shows that up to 20% of business energy is wasted. Companies spending in excess of £50,000 per year will 6. Make the most of natural light. It’s free and qualify for a free energy efficiency survey from won’t damage the environment. Keep your the Carbon Trust. windows clear and utililise the daylight. 2. Lighting in a typical office costs about £3 per square metre annually. Energy efficiency could help you cut your annual lighting bills by two thirds. Energy efficient lighting solutions combined with timers, sensors and controls can help you make dramatic bottom line savings.


The Chamber Utilities™ service can offer organisations all the help they need to become more energy efficient through smart metering monitoring solutions and Carbon Trust services. Contact Chamber Utilities™ on 0845 120 2423, of visit www.utilityauditing. for further details.

Earlier this year, one company disconnected thousands of its worst offenders, and others have recently started imposing fines on users who download more information than their accounts allow. This could leave many companies in dangerous situations, without vital internet connections and facing legal action, which is why the LDDA has stepped in. Jane Law, lead envoy for West Lancashire, said: “There are some companies that think they will get a better deal financially if they sign up to a home-users account. But this isn’t fair to other people on the network, and soon they will find themselves out of favour with their providers. “Not everyone breaks the rules intentionally, but it is definitely vital to know where you stand.” Kevin Morley, NWDA Head of ICT Policy, said: “Broadband and ICT adoption can deliver significant benefits to businesses, but we have to make sure we use the system fairly. It not only hurts our providers to break these rules, it hurts other users of the service and that isn’t what promoting business in Lancashire is about.” Lancashire Digital Development Agency provides free and impartial advice about broadband. They can be contacted on 0845 6009006 or visit


Promoting careers in manufacturing Pic - L to R, Ian Mist, David Whittaker and John Regan

High scores for Chamber golfers Winner of the Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce annual golf challenge competition, held on 6th September at Heysham Golf Club, was David Whittaker of Yorkshire Bank.

This year’s competition and first prize of a £100 golf voucher, was sponsored by Yorkshire Bank and the presentations made by Ian Mist, Partner, Yorkshire Bank, Lancaster and Chamber President, John Regan of TIC (UK) Ltd. Runner-up was Gary Lane of David Kneale Financial Management and Roy Illingworth of W Illingworth and Sons came in third place. Tony Johnson of The Bay took fourth prize. Prizes were generously sponsored by Yorkshire Bank, The Bay, Picture Framing Gallery, Middletons, A R Hyslop, C & G Recycling, Harrison Willis & Moore, Shabby Chic, Orrion and CH Materials. Folly has organised the first festival of digital culture in Lancaster and online. The festival runs until 21st October and involves exhibitions, events and activities that bring some of the best technology-driven creative practice to the city. The programme of innovative and ambitious events spans media arts, music, video, performance and participation, linking with the community, education and commercial sectors. For more information visit


The Manufacturing Institute is aiming to attract talented teenagers into the profession. Pushing manufacturing further up the agenda in schools is one of the starting points and the Institute is developing an exciting, interactive online resource that will help teachers interest young people in manufacturing. Course content will be developed in partnership with teachers over the summer, with a view to piloting the product in North West England early next year. On a wider level, the Manufacturing Institute is acting as a bridge between schools and manufacturing employers to promote awareness

and encourage involvement on both sides. Two major events are being programmed for National Enterprise Week from 13th to 19th November. Manufacturing and Engineering Zone, a 3-day careers event at Skills Northwest, is expected to attract 30,000 young people. Participating organisations include Jaguar, Smiths Aerospace, MBDA, McBrides, Chemicals Northwest, Victoria Foods and Unibox. The second event takes place on November 14th, Manufacturing Day. The Manufacturing and Enterprise Challenge will allow teams of young people to become a manufacturing business for the day, competing against each other to make the most profit and generate the best productivity. Students will be assigned to specific job roles within the business, from production and finance to sales and marketing, to get a feel for what a manufacturing career is really like.

AL Consulting celebrates Lancashire based management development specialist, AL Consulting, is marking its 20th birthday by offering a free business diagnostic report to businesses within the North West region. Established in 1986, AL Consulting is run by Dr Fred Ayres, Director, from offices in Aughton in northern Lancashire. The company is an accredited supplier to a variety of business support organisations and local authorities and, as a training provider, is approved by the Institute of Leadership and Management. To celebrate its success, the company is offering local companies the benefit of its expertise completely free of charge. To take advantage of the offer visit the company’s newly re-designed website and complete a simple on-line form. The results will be analysed by a member of the consulting team who will then compile a report that details key opportunities for improving performance and profitability. As another free service, AL Consulting also produces a quarterly digest that contains useful tips, advice and business news for firms operating in Lancashire and the North West region. To subscribe visit the website www. or send an e-mail headed ‘subscribe’ to

Premier savings account Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, together with Furness Building Society, is offering an exclusive savings account for employees of Member organisations. The Chamber Group Affinity Savings Scheme is currently attracting the highest level of interest rate and still gives instant access to your savings. Any employee of a Chamber member can save and benefit from the maximum rate applicable on the combined balance of all contributors. Each employee still gets their own personal passbook and individual account information remains private, as with any other savings account. More information is available from the Chamber and details of current interest rates can be found at or by e-mailing furness. quoting the Lancaster Chamber Premier Savings Account.

Pic: L to R Isobel Burns, Lancaster Branch Manager presents the Furness cheque to Mike Fisher, with Barry Fitzsimmons, Furness Regional Manager

Playing off a Handicap of 11, David had a superb score of 40 points in the individual Stableford competition. This is the second time in three years that David has picked up the Chamber trophy and beat off stiff competition from some excellent players representing local businesses.

Teenagers are choosing media studies over manufacturing in the classroom and turning their backs on careers in industry, according to the Manufacturing Institute. In 2005 just 4,319 students sat the manufacturing GCSE in England while nearly ten times as many pursued the media studies course. your website’s evolution starts here

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Advice Property News

Luneside East update Lancaster City Council is set to take possession of the Luneside East site on St George’s Quay by early November, following a public inquiry in February and a decision by the Secretary of State confirming the Compulsory Purchase Order in full in June. The Council is working with businesses affected to find them alternative premises.

New Science Park development Lancaster City Council and Lancaster University have drafted a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of a new Science Park on a 20 acre site adjacent to Lancaster University’s Bailrigg campus. The document sets out their respective roles in delivering this project. At the same time, a bid has been made to the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) to secure funding for the next stages of the project. Details have been set out in a report sent to the Cabinet, which, if approved, will see the City Council and University sign up to a formal agreement to work together on the project. The aim is to develop a science park co-located with Lancaster University that will become an internationally significant centre of excellence for knowledge and technology transfer, innovation, and commercialisation of intellectual property and know how. The objectives of the Science Park are to: • Facilitate economic development of the area around Lancaster – by providing an environment that encourages start-ups and nurtures existing companies to grow. • Provide an environment that helps provide businesses with a high quality image and reputation to their customers. • Provide a means through which business can gain speedy access to emerging technology. • Enable businesses to recruit and retain high quality staff. • Improve retention of graduates.


In August, the National Grid cut off and decommissioned the gas main feeding the gasholder and this will be emptied and dismantled this month before National Grid hands over the land to the Council.

The next stage is for the developer to carry out site investigations over the next few months to help prepare final proposals for cleaning up the site. The site clean up will make way for the • Create a market pull for university research redevelopment of 8,000sq m of new offices and and to raise the profile of Lancaster University as 350 new homes, as well as other facilities such an excellent partner for collaborative research. as hotels, small shops, cafes and bars. The project also aims to showcase low carbon/ environmentally sound build construction technology and techniques. A science park management board would be established, with representatives from the City Council, University and the NWDA to steer the development of the project. The City Council’s role would be to purchase and own the site and develop core infrastructure. The University’s role would be to provide research and development expertise to occupants of the science park, help attract occupants and stimulate spin-off business activity. The first stage of development, which is expected to commence in late 2007, would involve construction of access roads and infrastructure to open up the land for development, together with construction of a 3000 square metre Innovation Centre to house new and expanding technology based companies. SQW consultants are currently conducting a detailed market demand study for the project. The findings will be reported back to NWDA in November and will hopefully form the basis for a firm decision to go ahead with the project and release full funding in spring next year. Subject to approval by the NWDA, the next stage of work will involve a feasibility study, detailed design, and market testing, to gauge likely demand and the cost of building the Innovation Centre.

Property News

£15m redevelopment of Lune Business Park

said: “Councillors were prepared to override Lancashire County Council Highways concerns given the important regeneration benefits that will come from the early implementation of the proposals. That decision speaks volumes for their vision and desire to make a positive step towards regeneration.” A second application for the refurbishment of Thetis House to provide high quality and flexible office accommodation was passed by planners earlier this year.

Councillors have given the green light to The Hurstwood Group’s masterplan for the development of the Lune Business Park. Designed to boost employment in Lancaster, the 5-year masterplan involves the redevelopment of the 23-acre Lune Industrial Estate in a move that could attract around 400 jobs. In practical terms, this will involve the refurbishment of 45,000 sq ft of office space, as well as the provision of new industrial units. In total there will be 22 new units of various sizes, which will complement the existing buildings. Hurstwood’s aim is to transform Lune Business

Park into one of the area’s leading commercial developments. “This is excellent news for the region’s economy and for jobs,” said Group Chairman, Stephen J Ashworth. “Lune Business Park will become an attractive environment where businesses can flourish and grow. We feel the new, improved Lune Business Park will be able to attract even more inward investment to the region.” The application was granted despite concerns from Lancashire County Council Highways department. Daniel Hartley, Head of Planning at Hurstwood,

Sales and marketing tips # 1 Business Matters is the only dedicated business publication serving the needs of companies in North Lancashire. With a readership in excess of 2,000 local business people we can put your company in front of key decision-makers, generate awareness, get new sales leads and help grow your business. As we only serve local businesses our advertising rates are extremely competitive when compared to other media. If you want to do more business with local companies then give Michael Gibson a call now on 01524 541280 and let Business Matters work for you.

Hurstwood’s Senior Development Surveyor, Geoff Lever, says: “We have worked in partnership with Lancaster City Council’s regeneration team to develop this five-year masterplan for Lune Industrial Estate. There is a desperate shortage of quality industrial units in the Lancaster area and this plan will help address this problem by bringing out the true potential of the site. When complete, Lune Business Park will contain a vibrant mix of businesses. “Hurstwood has already made substantial investment into Lune Industrial Estate and we aim to improve the good work we have already started.” Based in Rossendale, Preston, Lancaster and Exeter, The Hurstwood Group is an awardwinning property company with development, investment and construction projects across the country. The group has 15 companies under its umbrella with over 300 employees and property in more than 100 locations across the region.

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Advice Property News

Canal Corridor North masterplan In response to Lancaster City Council’s brief to regenerate the Canal Corridor North site with a retail-led extension of the city centre, Centros Miller has spent eight months consulting local groups and preparing a masterplan for the development. Centros Miller’s development team will now undertake the detailed design work and extensive transport, retail and environmental studies required for the planning application over the next six months.

Further consultation will take place until the New Year, and Centros Miller expects to submit its main planning application in spring 2007. If the scheme is then given planning permission, completion is expected to be in 2011. The proposed masterplan incorporates a wide mix of uses, including; • A department store with supporting shops, cafés and restaurants • Town houses and apartments including a proportion ‘affordable’

• Additional facilities and linkages to enhance the ‘cultural quarter’ • Parking • A variety of public spaces • Offices and small workshops • A hotel As the scheme moves forward there will be further consultation, including meetings and workshops with all the local interest groups, a city-wide leaflet drop and a public exhibition in the city centre.


Centros Millers’ proposed plan for the Canal Corridor

Shops, cafés and restaurants – some with residential apartments above – will face onto the new central thoroughfare and public piazza.

A new foyer, improved access and better backstage facilities will enhance The Grand Theatre.

New premises for the Musicians’ Co-operative (underneath shops above) will include a shop window facing onto this new public square next to The Grand.

Small workshops for local businesses, and a new leisure space above for the Dance Studio and other users.

LANCAST New townhouses and apartments along Alfred Street and up to the canal will create a quiet residential area.

A new multi-level car park, accessed via a new road link direct from Caton Road will be partly underground and hidden behind the new housing. Delivery access will also be underground.

A new park leading up to the canal will add to the residential setting of this part of the scheme.

A new pedestrian footbridge over Stonewell and through St Nicholas Arcades will ensure that the development is wellintegrated with the city centre. A Debenhams department store, trading on three levels (basement, ground and first) will ‘anchor’ the development and provide the retail attraction to balance M&S on Penny Street.



The lower part of Moor Lane will be landscaped to create a sunny public space with cafés and restaurants.

The Dukes Theatre will benefit from direct access from the central thoroughfare, a new foyer and more useable internal space.

A new public piazza the size of Market Square will form a central focus for activity. A new pedestrian thoroughfare – the width of Penny Street – will lead through to the existing city centre.

New offices for Mitchell’s will free up their existing space for leisure use.

A new hotel will give Lancaster much needed visitor accommodation in the city centre.

Residential apartments above retail space will bring more people to live in the city centre, improving its security and vitality in the evenings.

Pic - Jenny Gemmell

Commercial property expert Jenny Gemmell has joined the team of lawyers at OSG, formerly known as Oglethorpe, Sturton and Gillibrand, at their head office in Castle Park.


Commenting on her new position, Jenny said: “OSG’s commercial property team has a good

In response to Lanc City Council’s brief regenerate the Can Corridor North site w a retail-led extensio the city centre, Cen Miller has spent eig months consulting l groups and preparin a masterplan for the development.

The proposed mast incorporates a wide of uses, including: • a department stor supporting shops, and restaurants • town houses and apartments includ proportion ‘afforda • additional facilities linkages to enhan ‘cultural quarter’ • parking • a variety of public spaces • offices and small workshops • a hotel As the scheme mov forward into the det design stage, Centr Miller will commissi the extensive trans retail and environm studies required for planning application spring. There will be much further consultation including meetings workshops with all local interest group city-wide leaflet dro a public exhibition i city centre.

The canal towpath will be widened and moorings provided for narrowboats. Cafés and restaurants around a new public space will make the canal a more attractive feature of the city centre.

Commercial property department expansion OSG Partner Gill Gardner, responsible for the commercial property department, said: “Having achieved a 20% year-on-year growth in this area of the business and, having completed five major deals for clients in the last two months, we want to expand the expertise and breadth of knowledge of this department. We are therefore delighted to have someone of Jenny’s calibre joining the OSG team. She has a huge amount of experience in deal-making, development and investment work.”


reputation in the North West and we will be looking to build on that success. OSG is a strong brand name which will help us flag up the message that developers and property entrepreneurs can secure expert commercial property advice without having to go to Manchester or Liverpool. OSG was established over 150 years ago and employs 48 people in Lancaster, Kirkby Lonsdale and Bentham. OSG also welcomed senior solicitor Simon Noble, to the team this month. Simon will work from the Kirkby Lonsdale office.



Hipping Hall, near Kirkby Lonsdale, is a country house hotel and restaurant which received four stars in a recent review by Thomas Sutcliffe in The Independent and declared as “the almost perfect hotel” by Stephen McClarence of The Times. Judith Coyle talks to Proprietor Andrew Wildsmith about the hotel and becoming an hotelier whilst still in his 20s.

It’s all in the detail Name and Job Title Andrew Wildsmith, Proprietor Company Hipping Hall, Cowan Bridge, just within the Lancashire border

in December 2004. Meanwhile, I worked at the Fayrer Garden in the kitchen, on reception and undertaking housekeeping duties. I learned about marketing too.

Tell us about your business What sets Hipping Hall apart from other hotels in the area is the décor - an upmarket, modern take on traditional in the dining areas and the bedrooms, refurbished by Mackies of Lancaster, and the gourmet food, produced by Jason ‘Bruno’ Birkbeck who’s spent much of his career in Michelin-starred establishments.

At 29 you are young to be an hotelier. Why are you the man who will make Hipping Hall grow and prosper? I’m passionate about it. It has all the elements that make a great hotel. The attention to detail is incredibly important to us. How the beds are made, the attitude of the staff, presentation of the food, the glass bottles of Hipping Hall water by every bedside, luxurious toiletries from The Bath House… every detail matters.

Guests say there’s something special about the house itself. The Great Hall, from the 15th century, is a magnificent balconied dining room with ships’ beams and there’s a wash house in the grounds dating from the 13th century.

How did you secure Bruno, a former Young Chef of the Year? Through an agency. Everyone we interviewed was great but Bruno brought something extra. He’s very focused. He interviewed me really!

How did you come to own Hipping Hall? I was born in Lancaster - we lived on Haverbreaks – and I attended Lancaster Royal Grammar School. Id obtained my MSc (Hons) in Chemistry from Imperial College, London, and then went up to Cambridge for my PhD in organic chemistry. My father, Eric, had owned two chemical companies in Morecambe and later in Heysham. He retired then bought the Fayrer Garden House Hotel overlooking Windermere.

He needed to know that we were serious about Hipping Hall and that we were right for him, as well as vice-versa. Bruno’s style is ‘modern British’. We’ve built up fantastic relationships with local suppliers. Our beef, pork and lamb come from Kitridding Farm and we get asparagus from Mansergh Hall. We’re about to plant our own vegetable garden too.

When I visited my parents I became fascinated with the hotel business. After completing my thesis I knew this was the industry for me so, with encouragement and financial support from my parents, I bought Hipping Hall. I took possession

What motivates you? An innate urge to succeed – to be recognised as producing something good and worthwhile. Why did you locate your business in Lancashire? While I was away my thoughts often turned towards home and the landscape. Hipping Hall

Pic - Above - Hipping Hall, Cowan Bridge Below - Andrew Wildsmith

is surrounded on four sides by the magnificent landscapes of the Eden Valley, Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and Trough of Bowland. What sorts of people come here? Hipping Hall is a treat – and a retreat - for many people while for others it’s a regular venue. We’re popular for weddings and, because we are only 10 minutes from the M6, business people come too. What is the best thing about your job? Meeting so many different people on a daily basis and seeing them enjoy what we’ve created here. And the worst? Dealing with telesales! How hard was it to recruit the right staff? I was extremely lucky to find the right staff at such an early stage that both shared and developed my vision of how Hipping should be. What do you like to do in your spare time? Sailing or walking in the Lake District – anything outdoors. Walking my dog, a golden Labrador called Couver. Where do you live? I’ve just bought a house in Windermere which is being refurbished by Mackies of Lancaster. What are your ambitions for Hipping Hall? We’d like to win some awards. We’re not chasing a Michelin star but wouldn’t say no to one!

Andrew Wildsmith - Out of Hours 1. Last book - Saturday by Ian McEwan 2. Last holiday - skiing with friends in Verbier, Switzerland 3. Last live show - Tom Sawyer in Williamson’s Park 4. Ideal dinner companion – James Mackie of Mackies of Lancaster. A great conversationalist who loves food and wine as much as I do!


Advice keep in touch then you will. The regulations provide for ‘keeping in touch days’ where employees can come in for up to ten days in total for just that purpose. You will be entitled to pay the employee for the day without it affecting their entitlement to statutory maternity or adoption pay. Such days are to be voluntary on the part of employer and employee. Should you tell your employees of these new rights? Strictly speaking you only need to tell them of the entitlement when you know that they have it. That is when they notify you that they are pregnant or when they have a placement date for adoption. These are statutory rights and employees are entitled to them whether you inform them of the fact or not.

“From next April, mothers or an adopting parent will be entitled to 39 weeks maternity or adoption pay.”


the next generation New rules came into force on 1st October in respect of statutory maternity and adoption leave payments. Business Matters asked Malcom Martin to give an overview of these new regulations and how they could affect your business.


f you are an employer under 50 then, before you retire, you could well be employing people conceived this month. We might assume that babies well-cared for in the first months of life eventually make better citizens and presumably better employees. In these circumstances you might like to regard the government’s latest regulations as something of a long-term investment. Clearly, though, you are not going to get a bank loan on that argument! From next April, mothers or an adopting parent will be entitled to 39 weeks maternity/adoption pay. This applies to pregnant women where the expected week of childbirth is on or after 1 April 2007. It also applies to adoption leave where the expected week of placement is on or after that date. Adoption leave and pay is available to one partner only, but paternity leave can be paid to the other in the partnership and that partner need not actually be male.


Although there will still be ‘ordinary’ maternity leave and ‘additional’ maternity leave (26 weeks in each case) all pregnant employees expecting a child on or after 1 April 2007 will be entitled to twelve months maternity leave, irrespective of length of service. You will, as the employer, be entitled to eight weeks notice from the employee should they wish to return earlier (or later) than originally planned. Incidentally, the distinction between ‘ordinary’ and ‘additional’ leave will remain and has a few technical aspects. For example an employee keeps a company car during ordinary maternity leave but has no right to it during additional maternity leave. Given the lack of need for length of service, an employee could start with you one day and go on maternity leave the next day. So will you recognise them after twelve months? Yes, if you

There are some advantages in not providing family policies in your employee handbook. Family policies will need to change quite frequently and it is better to have no policy than one that is misleading because it has not been kept up to date. An option may be to simply refer employees to the DTI website at uk/files/file18061.pdf. The DTI guide is written for both employers and employees. In any event, it pays to check the current state of regulations each time you have a pregnant employee and in a small organisation this may be the most practical. Larger employers, and those who want to be seen among the better employers, should provide employees with policies in their handbook. This is regarded as good practice, but all policies should be accurate and kept up to date. Family policies add about 10% or more to the length of a handbook so paperless solutions offer significant advantages. They are also easier to change and can provide links to relevant websites, such as the DTI one above. In summary, where the expected week of childbirth is 1 April 2007 or later – the period of time for which maternity and adoption pay is payable will increase to 39 weeks. Such employees will be entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave (or adoption leave) and you will be entitled to eight weeks notice if employees want to change their date of return. You can invite them into work to keep in touch without affecting their rights to maternity or adoption pay. There is, of course, plenty of room for confusion with overlapping of pay, with different periods of leave and with some employees qualifying for the new rights and some not. If you have a query about the new regulations and how they will operate please contact Malcolm Martin at Employer Solutions –

Writing words that sell Quay Creative 3 River Street, St George's Quay, Lancaster LA1 1AD 01524 39955

Creative copywriting, editorial, DVD and video production

new members

Animal Care

JMP Architects Ltd

Blea Tarn Road Scotforth Lancaster LA2 0RD Contact: Vanessa Walling 01524 65495 Charity providing care and shelter for abused and unwanted animals

China Street Lancaster LA1 1EX Contact: Ian Nicholson 01524 60521 Architectural services

Ashton Hall Organ Restoration Project

13 Common Garden Street Lancaster LA1 1XD Contact: Sheena Forsythe 01524 34355 Building society

Greywalls Off Hest Bank Lane, Slyne Lancaster LA2 6AH Contact: Derek Matthews 01524 822428 Charity raising funds for the restoration of the Ashton Hall organ

CBH Training Ltd 30 Lowlands Road Morecambe LA4 5SB Contact: Brian Hopkins 01524 424678 IT business and project management training

Executive & Office Support Services 9 Yealand House Yealand Conyers Carnforth LA5 9SF Contact: Christine White 01524 730366 Freelance PA and office administration services

Freelance Marketing Solutions 1 - 3 - 6 The Barracks White Cross Lancaster LA1 4XQ Contact: Sophy Stewart 01524 840841 Marketing consultancy, support services and seminars

J & J Planting 3 Greystones Cottages Main Street, Wray Near Lancaster LA2 8QF Contact: Joyce Jones 015242 22584 Interior and exterior planting schemes/displays


Marsden Building Society

Newfields Catering Services Unit 12 Lansil Industrial Estate Caton Road Lancaster LA1 3PQ Contact: David Dunderdale 01524 843215 Outside catering

Pure Stone Unit 7 Buttle House Farm Hutton Roof Kirkby Lonsdale LA6 2PF Contact: Alexis Simons 015242 73610 Importer and distributor of natural stone tiles

The Clarendon Hotel Marine Road West Morecambe LA4 4EP Contact: Ian Stanton 01524 410180 Hotel

Tile Elements Ltd Buttle House Farm Hutton Roof Carnforth LA6 2PE Contact: Paul Rees 015242 73685 Ceramic tile distributors

Your views please The new look Business Matters has been in circulation for ten months now and we are keen to hear your feedback. By letting us know what you find especially interesting or applicable, we can make sure that we will continue to deliver a magazine that is current, useful and relevant. Is there a particular feature that you enjoy reading, or would you like to see more special review sections? If so, let us know which services you think we should be covering. Through Business Matters we aim to keep businesses in the Lancaster and Morecambe district up to date with issues that affect them, including funding and grant availability, workshops and training opportunities, plus news articles and features about other businesses in the area that may give you inspiration for your own business. Business Matters is a great way for people to find out more about your business. Our news sections, Business Profile and Viewpoint pages are open to all readers, so please get in touch. Contact either Rachel Gibson at Quay Creative on 01524 39955 or Ann Morris at the Chamber 01524 381331

events By Vicky Lofthouse, Events Organiser

New member spotlight

YOUR PERSONAL INVITATION to our ANNUAL DINNER 2006! Our most prestigious social event of the year, the Chamber’s Annual Dinner, will be an evening to remember. Taking place on Friday 20th October, from 8pm till late, members will dine in fine style enjoying the first class facilities offered by Lancaster House Hotel. This year’s Annual Dinner is one with a difference. Out go the traditional speeches and formalities, and instead guests can enjoy a relaxing and entertaining evening Las Vegas style with the King of Cabaret himself, “Old Blue Eyes”, one of the UK’s best Frank Sinatra tribute singers.

Company Glamour Gowns

¨ ¨ ¨

Contact: Suzanne Bridges

This annual event is always a sell out and a great opportunity for members to entertain partners and colleagues, suppliers or customers. There is no strict dress code but it’s the perfect chance to dress up, dust off your cocktail dress, and put on your DJ or lounge suit. Ticket prices are very reasonable at £30 plus VAT or why not treat your colleagues, friends or family and book a table of ten for only £270 plus VAT.

Contact Info: 5 Seaview Drive Hest Bank Lancaster LA1 5BW 01524 825452 Suzanne Bridges started Glamour Gowns five years ago when she was organising a ball to raise funds for Lancaster charity, Animal Care. “I couldn’t find any full-length gowns to hire anywhere and I realised there was a gap in the market locally so went into business.” A ball gown is a big investment so it makes sense to hire rather than buy. Suzanne now has 200 full-length dresses for hire which suit a wide variety of occasions. “Glamour Gowns is popular for big events like gala balls, anniversary or birthday celebrations, end-of-school proms and also for those going on cruises.” Suzanne runs the business from her home in Hest Bank. Ladies come to try on the dresses in the evenings, often bringing a friend along for a second opinion. Gown hire starts at just £35, rising to £65. The gowns usually leave Suzanne on Friday and return on Monday, though longer and shorter hire periods are available. Suzanne still organises fundraising balls for Animal Care and donates every penny of tickets sold to the cause. “I joined the Chamber because I am a sole trader. If I have a query or need moral support I have someone to turn to.”

No formalities No speeches Just a chance to be wined, dined and entertained



14th November

25th October

New Members Evening “Italian Style”

First Aid Appointed Persons Training Course

Sponsored by Verdes 46 - 48 Church Street Lancaster Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm Cost: new members free (max 2 per company) Others £15 + VAT 1st December

Christmas Business 2 Business Lunch Strathmore Hotel, Marine Road East Morecambe Time: 11.30am – 2.00pm Cost: members £25 + VAT Others £36 + VAT

social 20th October

Annual Dinner

Lancaster House Hotel, Ellel, Lancaster Time: 7.30pm until late Cost: members and guests £30 + VAT per person Others £50 + VAT per person Tables of ten £270 + VAT (non members £450 + VAT) 10th November

Annual Outstanding Business Achievement Awards Park Hall Hotel Charnock Richard, Chorley Time: 7.30pm until Late Cost: members £65 + VAT Others £85 + VAT Tables of ten £600 + VAT

For other business training visit

Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce, Fenton Street, Lancaster Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm Cost: members £60 + VAT Non-members £70 + VAT 5th December

First Aid Appointed Persons Training Course

Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce, Fenton Street, Lancaster Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm Cost: members £60 + VAT Non-members £70 + VAT

workshops&clinics 7th November

Tax Café - Inheritance Tax and Succession Planning Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce Fenton Street Lancaster Time: 4.00pm – 6.00pm Cost: members free Others £20 + VAT

what our members say: “I have found the Chamber a very relaxed and friendly way to network and promote my business. Through their events I have been introduced to other businesses that have become very good clients.” John Milne-Pollard, Auditel

For further details of any of these events please contact me on 01524 381331 or



Are you giving IT cowboys windows of opportunity? None of us would leave our homes unlocked when we go to work in the morning, or walk out of the office at the end of the day with all the windows left wide open, and yet so many otherwise security-conscious business owners fail to implement simple safeguards to protect their computer systems.


he consequences can range from the annoying to the catastrophic, from the theft of commercially sensitive data to the corruption of an entire network. John Hepworth, Managing Director of Intec (UK) Limited, recounts his company’s experience of rogue employee ‘John Wayne’ and how they stopped him in his tracks. In recent years we, like most companies, have become increasingly reliant upon IT hardware and software, from sales to payroll. As a result we decided to conduct a strategic overview of our computer systems to ensure we had appropriate systems in place. Under a consultancy project with Business Link we brought in Stuart Errington of Bowker IT and outlined our forward strategy and our concerns about security. Stuart helped us to crystallise our vision with a series of recommendations and then carried out a Risk Assessment, including an “ethical hack” into our systems. The results came as a surprise. There were several security anomalies, including a number of commercial websites hosted on our servers at our expense without our knowledge. After an internal investigation we discovered the culprit was ‘John Wayne’, a trusted member of staff, and he was dismissed for gross misconduct. A short time later an attempt was made by the ex-member of staff to gain unauthorised access to our servers which, if successful, could have been as disastrous. We informed the police immediately citing the Computer Misuse Act 1990, which identifies three specific offences: • Unauthorised access to computer material (that is, a program or data) • Unauthorised access to a computer system with intent to commit or facilitate the commission of a serious crime • Unauthorised modification of computer material The first offence carries a maximum sentence of six months and a fine of up to £2000; the latter two carry a sentence of up to five years and a fine which reflect the gravity of the offence.


protecting your business. Internally it is important that companies adopt an acceptable internet and email usage policy and have employees adhere to it. In addition to this formal documentation for all systems, including the way they are setup, change management records and who to contact for support should be maintained. This is the tip of the iceberg on this subject and most businesses work in different ways, however if you have sensitive data the cost of implementing a suitable security plan can only be judged most often when it is too late! ISO/IEC 27001:2005 is a standard, setting out the requirements for an Information Security Management System. It helps identify, manage and minimise the range of threats to which information is regularly subjected.

My advice today would be to follow the recommendations set out in ISO/IEC 27001:2005. And when you hire-in personnel to work in areas as business critical as IT ensure they have superb qualifications and at least three references because cowboys aren’t always as easy to spot as the real John Wayne. Stuart Errington explains how to protect yourself from IT Cowboys like ‘John Wayne’ The security risks that all businesses face in today’s technological climate are indeed great. There are threats from viruses, hackers, spam email and the one which I find most annoying spyware. More importantly, other than protecting sensitive data from these particular threats, there are the threats that come from within the business. These are mainly user driven, such as misuse of the Internet and email, misuse of computer hardware and also the removal of data from the network. This is to name but a few but it is important to highlight that there are risks both external and internal to a company and its data. It is hugely important that if a company uses the Internet regularly that they have adequate protection in the form of some type of firewall. This protects companies from inbound and outbound threats and more complex devices can deny times of the day that certain users can access the Internet. Also, these devices provide important logs that can be used in the event of a security breach. A good firewall coupled with a good anti-spam and anti-virus solution and updating policy provides a foundation for

ISO/IEC 27001:2005 covers the following topics: • Security policy - this provides management direction and support for information security • Organisation of assets and resources - to help you manage information security within the organisation • Asset classification and control - to help you identify your assets and appropriately protect them • Personnel security - to reduce the risks of human error, theft, fraud or misuse of facilities • Physical and environmental security - to prevent unauthorised access, damage and interference to business premises and information • Communications and operations management - to ensure the correct and secure operation of information processing facilities • Access control - to control access to information • Systems development and maintenance - to ensure that security is built into information systems • Business continuity management - to counteract interruptions to business activities and to protect critical business processes from the effects of major failures or disasters • Compliance - to avoid breaches of any criminal and civil law, statutory, regulatory or contractual obligations, and any security requirement

have your say This page is open to all Chamber members so please send an email to either or ann. and we will try to publish it in a future issue of Business Matters.

Business Matters OCT 2006  
Business Matters OCT 2006  

Please have a browse It contains lies and properganda When you lie it comes back and bites you on the ass