Help with the EU Settlement Scheme

The Government has issued an updated version of the employer tool-kit that helps EU citizens and their families applying to the EU Settlement Scheme.

The link below will take you to a government web page with link to the tool-kit.  That page also has links to other guidance, including how to communicate the facts of the Settlement Scheme with your employees.

Click here

Other Chamber information in relation to Brexit can be found here.

Monthly Economic Review: June 2018

The Beating Heart of the Economy

The latest monthly economic review (June 2018), produced by the British Chambers of Commerce, is available to download here.

This month’s headlines are as follows:

•             UK GDP growth in Q1 2018 unrevised as business investment declines.

•             UK labour market remains a bright spot but productivity falls in Q1.

•             GDP growth slows in the US and the Eurozone as Japan’s economy contracts.

The four-page document illustrates inflation predictions, growth forecasts, and labour market highlights.

Health & Well-being seminar – 6 June

The Beating Heart of the Economy

Local businesses are being made aware of an upcoming seminar to help promote occupational health.

The free event on 6 June is aimed at anyone involved in developing, implementing and managing health, safety and well-being; it is open to anyone but will be of particular interest to local employers.

The event has been organised by Bradford Area Occupational Health and Safety Forum (BAOHSF) and Bradford University and more information can be found on Eventbrite here.

It takes place at the university’s Norcroft Centre on Richmond Road.

Council procurement policy to boost local spend from 47% to 60%

Your business may be able to benefit from a new policy that will see Bradford Council spending on local suppliers rise from 47% to 60%.

This new policy aims to add an extra £45m into the local economy over the next five years – that means you and your business could gain more work.

Find out more about Bradford Council’s new policy on procurement services at this Bradford Chamber event, 7.30am on Wednesday 16 May.  See below for details.

To book: call 01274 206660 / email events@wnychamber.co.uk (apologies if you’ve already booked – this is a reminder)

Cost: £15 Chamber members / £30 non-members

When: 7.30-9am, Wednesday 16 May 2018

What: Council Procurement Services & Working with Business (aka Social Value & Inclusive Growth)

Who: Duncan Farr & Clare Wilkinson, Bradford Council

Why: To foster an inclusive growth ethos, giving more opportunities to feel the benefit of local public spending; provide assistance and advice for those interested in bidding for work.

Where: Bradford Chamber offices, Vicar Lane, BD1 5AH

The new policy was approved in December and came into force this month. It includes 31 Social Value, Inclusive Growth-orientated measures to choose from when preparing tenders.

  • Above £25,000, the application is discretionary
  • £25,000-£100,000, two measures are applied aimed at supporting the local economy
  • Above £100,000, four measures are applied to also include, for example, social care, community projects or environmental matters
  • Contracts over the EU threshold and more than 2 years in duration should include opportunities for employment, apprenticeships or skills enhancement
  • Social Value equates to 10% of the evaluation decision.

The policy can be found to the top right hand corner of the Council website page here.

Chambers call for action as growth slows

The Beating Heart of the Economy

New figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the UK’s economy grew at its slowest rate since 2012 in the first quarter of the year.

Sterling fell sharply as the possibility of an interest rate rise next month decreased. GDP growth was 0.1%, down from 0.4% in the previous quarter, driven by a dip in construction output and a slow manufacturing output (these are national figures – the Chamber’s recent economic survey results tell us that West & North Yorkshire is out-performing the national average). The poor weather of February and March, the so-called ‘Beast of the East’, had a “relatively small” impact, said the ONS. Many economists had forecast first-quarter growth of 0.3%.

A spokesman at the ONS said: “Our initial estimate shows the UK economy growing at its slowest pace in more than five years with weaker manufacturing growth, subdued consumer-facing industries and construction output falling significantly.

“While the snow had some impact on the economy, particularly in construction and some areas of retail, its overall effect was limited with the bad weather actually boosting energy supply and online sales.”

Construction contributed to the drag on GDP, falling 3.3% in early 2018, while manufacturing growth slowed to 0.2%. Consumer-facing industries, including retail, fell sharply amid an on-going spending squeeze caused by higher inflation and slow wage growth.

Adam Marshall of the British Chambers of Commerce has called on the Government to step in and take action.

“Sadly, the latest GDP figures confirm what we have been saying for some time: the UK is stuck in the global growth slow lane, while other countries race ahead. Westminster politicians need to start focusing their attention on a much stronger, more proactive drive to boost growth and investment.

“While the ‘Beast from the East’ clearly had an impact in the first quarter, the underlying slow-growth trend is real cause for concern. Instead of a constant focus on Brexit, business seeks vision and a clear direction from government on UK economic growth. Businesses across the country want the Prime Minister to make a ‘Mansion House Speech’ on the domestic business environment, and what her government will do to improve it.

“All the firms I speak to want to see far more focus on fixing the fundamentals here at home. No country with faltering infrastructure, a training system in chaos and patchy digital connectivity is going to win in the global growth sweepstakes. A back-to-basics approach that delivers concrete improvements would do more to boost productivity and competitiveness than flashy new initiatives, and matters as much as any eventual Brexit deal.”

 

Digital skills coaching session – Scarborough, 2 May

A Google Digital Garage event is set to be held at CU Scarborough, part of the Coventry University Group, on Wednesday May 2. The event, which is the only one in the county, has been organised by Yorkshire in Business and will provide essential information to help businesses succeed online.

Training will be delivered by specialist business advisers who will provide digital skills coaching including how to build a digital marketing plan, an introduction to digital advertising and how to use Google analytics. Yorkshire in Business has been providing business start-up advice and support for more than 30 years along the Yorkshire coast. The event is part of Google Digital Garage on Tour, which has seen workshops held in major towns and cities across the UK including Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle.

Jennifer Crowther, Head of Operations at Yorkshire in Business, said: “It is a great achievement to bring Google to offer this analytics training in the area. This is a fantastic opportunity for all those who are self-employed and running local businesses to develop their marketing skills and knowledge provided by Google themselves. Yorkshire in Business couldn’t provide this without the support from CU Scarborough.”

Tina Steele, Employer Engagement & Business Development Manager at CU Scarborough, said: “It is excellent to welcome Yorkshire in Business to CU Scarborough to deliver a Google Digital Garage workshop providing free support and advice to businesses across the area. Being successful online is essential in today’s modern business world, and the session will help those attending gain new skills and make the most out of the technology available to them. It will also be a good opportunity to meet with likeminded businesspeople and entrepreneurs. CU Scarborough is committed to helping grow the local economy, and this is just one of the ways we are connecting with and supporting businesses in the area. I would urge anyone looking for digital support to come along.”

The session will be held from 10am to 1.30pm and places can be booked here. Further information can be found by emailing jenn@yorkshireinbusiness.org.uk

 

New procurement policy aims to boost Bradford businesses

Formal partnership agreements

Bradford Council has a new procurement policy aimed at providing more contracts for locally-based businesses.

The new policy was introduced in April 2018, although we may have to wait some time before we see the full benefits (*).  The major change in the policy is to award additional ‘credit’, above a certain contract price level, to bidders providing ‘social value’ within their communities of the Bradford District.

A range of social value measures are included for bidders to choose from (31 in total), and the number needed including in a bid increase as the value rises.  The policy follows Bradford Council’s intention to increase the level of spending with local suppliers from 47% to 60% within five years.

Details of the policy will be presented at a Chamber of Commerce meeting of Bradford Professionals’ Network on 16 May (7.30-9am), and steps are being taken to help and guide firms that have not bid for public sector contracts before, or been unsuccessful.  It is now hoped that exchange of good practices will take place with other ‘anchor institutions’ in the District, in order to boost economic growth and business support.

One local company has already benefitted from the policy, and more are expected to follow in due course.   The new social value policy is being implemented no contracts above £25,000. (The full name of the policy is ‘Social Value & Inclusive Growth’.)

For more details about the Chamber event on 16 May, call 01274 206660, or email events@wnychamber.co.uk

The new Council policy is online here

(* = The reason we may have to wait some time before recognising full benefits are as follows:  The Council has around 4,500 suppliers, of which 1,200 are paid more than £25,000 per year.  Around 300-350 contracts are provided each year, and therefore implementing social value into the majority of Council contracts may take 4-5 years.)

Brexit Checklist available

A ‘Brexit Checklist’ is now available for businesses thanks to the Chamber of Commerce.

In conjunction with the British Chambers of Commerce, we have produced a handy document that should serve businesses well as the Government continues to negotiate its way towards Brexit.

The document is available here.

Also, BCC has commented on the latest progress to be made on the matter – see below.

Commenting on the agreement of a ‘status quo’ transition period by UK and EU27 Brexit negotiators, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“This is a milestone that many businesses across the UK have been waiting for. The agreement of a status quo transition period is great news for trading firms on both sides of the Channel, as it means that they will face little or no change in day-to-day business in the short term.

“While some companies would have liked to see copper-bottomed legal guarantees around the transition, the political agreement reached in Brussels is sufficient for most businesses to plan ahead with a greater degree of confidence. Many companies will now have the clarity they require to proceed with investment and hiring strategies that would otherwise have remained in question.

“In the interests of business across Europe, both sides must now do everything in their power to ensure that the transition does not become a political football later in the negotiation process.”

On citizens’ rights, Marshall said:

“Businesses across the UK will be particularly relieved that they will be able to hire and retain European nationals on similar terms over the next two years, given the significant skills gaps they continue to contend with.”

On trade agreements, he added:

“A priority for both the UK and the EU must now be to secure agreement from our shared trading partners to keeping the status quo on existing EU free trade agreements. Any loss of market access would hurt UK exporters and European supply chains alike. It is excellent that the UK and the EU agree on the need for continuity in existing trade agreements; together, we must now seek confirmation from our trading partners.

“While businesses are interested in the prospect of the UK being able to sign new trade agreements during the transition period, the top priority must be to retain market access on the same terms with existing trading partners.”

On the future UK/EU trading relationship, Marshall concluded:

“Over the next few days, securing assent from the European Council must be the top priority. Over the coming weeks and months, the UK government and the European Commission must adopt a laser-like focus on the future trading relationship – and swiftly conclude a deal that minimises further adjustment costs and that answers the many practical questions that trading businesses still face.

“A zero-tariff agreement is a no-brainer for both sides. However, businesses need to see more pragmatic positions from both sides on customs and cooperation in services.”

Practical help improving business-education links

Lobbying and campaigning

A booklet has been produced to help businesses and young people in Bradford come closer together and understand each others’ needs in relation to work.

As well as championing how and why the nurturing of better business-education links is important, the booklet also gives plenty of examples of activities and programmes by which this can happen.

The booklet (known as the Prospectus of the Education Covenant) highlights ways of bridging the gap between school and building a career.  With many businesses saying that job candidates and interviewees are un-ready for work or simply unsuitable, attempts to address this problem are long over-due (though acknowledged, hence the production of this Prospectus).

The Prospectus provides information on:

  • who a particular programme will benefit (pupil, parent, teacher, for example)
  • what core knowledge/skills will be developed
  • what stage of the learner journey is supported (e.g. career awareness, exploration or preparation)
  • what sector is involved
  • how a programme is delivered, and other details.

The Prospectus, produced by Bradford Council, can be found online here, or if you wish to speak to someone from Bradford Council about it, call 01274 439554 or email here.