Supporting staff through Ramadan and Eid

Employers are encouraged to think about how they can support staff through Ramadan and Eid, says ‘Personnel Today’.

The former starts on 6 June, meaning many Muslims will continue working while fasting between sunrise and sunset – that will be around 18 hours.

A PT article here suggests advice and tips for employers, and even the creation of a ‘Ramadan policy’ setting out expected standards of all staff.

Eid will commence at the end of Ramadan on 6 July for three days.

New regulations on employing illegal workers

Changes to illegal working offences introduced by the Immigration Act 2016 come into effect on 12 July 2016, under new Regulations.

The Immigration Act 2016 brings in various changes to the rules on employing illegal migrants, including the criminal offence of employing an illegal worker.

The definition of what constitutes the offence is changing. Under the Act, the employer “must have reasonable cause to believe that the employee is disqualified from employment”.

Read more on ‘Personnel Today’ here.

Headscarf ban allowed, says top lawyer

An employer can prevent a Muslim employee from wearing an Islamic headscarf if the ban is based on a general rule prohibiting political or religious symbols at work, according to a top European lawyer’s opinion.

This Belgian case, referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), involves a Muslim receptionist who was permanently contracted out to work for a third party.

Read more on ‘Personnel Today’ here.

QES Q1 results

Softening in the pace of growth but confidence remains strong

That’s the initial finding of the latest survey of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce as the pace of growth in domestic markets slowed, continuing a trend which started 12 months ago. Manufacturing exports improved in the last three months back into positive territory following a turbulent second half of 2015. Confidence remains strong by historic standards, especially amongst service sector businesses but with the impending EU referendum companies have indicated a slowing in the pace of investment.

Mark Goldstone, head of policy at the Chamber, said:

“If there is one lesson we learned from the 2008 recession, it is the importance of cash in the bank. Businesses like certainty before they will invest with confidence and clearly this region is not immune from the effect of global events which in turn is delaying spending decisions. That said we must not lose sight of the fact all measures remain positive and the economy continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace.”

Simon Pilling, Corporate Partner at Bond Dickinson said: “Business confidence across our region remains high despite concerns around the introduction of the national living wage, the ongoing roll out of auto-enrolment pensions and the uncertainty around exchange rates in the event of an EU exit. Export figures are encouraging, providing evidence that businesses are looking further afield to fulfil their business growth ambitions. It is clear that 2016 will be a key year for Yorkshire businesses and exporting.”

View the full report here.

Businesses invited to Powerhouse session

Businesses are being invited to attend a session of an upcoming conference on the Northern Powerhouse.

The afternoon session at AQL in Leeds on Friday 17 June is aimed at building links and improving communications between business and government in relation to the Northern Powerhouse agenda and how to determine the next steps in realising the concept.

Government minister James Wharton and KPMG’s Chris Hearld are among the guests.

Click on EventBrite’s web-page here for more information (inc. registration details).

Chamber Leadership Groups

Are you a business leader who wants to influence decisions affecting your area and business?  Have you thought about standing for election to the Chamber’s three Leadership Groups? View important dates below:

York Annual & Election Leadership Group meeting

Meeting Date: Wed 4 July

Venue: York Racecourse, Tadcaster Road, York YO23 1EX

Time: 11.30am

Role of the YLG

2018 Nomination Form

York President’s Lunch



Leeds Annual & Election Leadership Group meeting

Meeting date: Thurs, 12 July

Venue: Oulton Hall

Time: 11.45am


Members are welcome to attend the election meetings and lunches in any location but can only stand for election and vote in their respective geographical areas.

Role of LLG

2018 Nomination Form


Bradford Annual & Election Leadership Group meeting

Meeting date: Tues, 24 July

Venue: Midland Hotel, Bradford

Time: 11.45am

Members are welcome to attend the election meetings and lunches in any location but can only stand for election and vote in their respective geographical areas.


Role of BLG

2018 Nomination form

Bradford President’s Lunch


For details of the role and an application form please email If you want to know more please call 08455 240 240.

Advisor celebrates prestigious qualification

A business advisor has earned the Institute of Export’s flagship Diploma in International Trade.

Paul Wright joined eight other UK Export Finance (UKEF) staff at a vibrant graduation ceremony held at Mansion House in London, attended by high-profile figures from the world of international trade.

UKEF’s Export Finance Advisors work directly with businesses and intermediaries, guiding them to the wealth of export support available from the Government and from the private sector. The Diploma in International Trade awarded by the Institute of Export – the only professional body in the UK offering recognised, formal qualifications in international trade – reinforces the detailed understanding they need to help their customers realise the opportunities of the global marketplace.

Paul commented: “I am delighted to receive my Diploma in International Trade from the Institute of Export. I look forward to using the knowledge and contacts I have gained through this course, and continuing to support exporters in Yorkshire and the Humber.”

Louis Taylor, chief executive of UK Export Finance, commented “I would like to offer my congratulations to all the students graduating this year with Institute of Export qualifications, and I am delighted to see so many UK Export Finance colleagues among them. Graduating from an Institute of Export programme is a huge personal achievement. It is also of great benefit to employers, and I am delighted that we are one of the many employers investing in their people by supporting them through these qualifications.”

IOE director general, Lesley Batchelor, said: “It’s tremendous that UK Export Finance is investing in equipping their employees with the skills to maximise the wealth of opportunities in international trade for their clients, and we wish our graduates continued success. The breadth of courses we offer reinforces our ongoing commitment to embed professionalism in international trade.”

Phone scam

One of our members has reported a new scam, by which they call and ask to type a number into your card machines, if you feel like you may have been defrauded or scammed please report it to this link


Bradford is bidding to host the Great Exhibition of the North, a two-month spectacular to showcase the best of art, culture and design in the North of England to national and international audiences.

Towns and cities across the North East, North West and Yorkshire have been invited to submit proposals to stage the show in summer 2018.

The Great Exhibition is closely aligned to the Government’s flagship Northern Powerhouse initiative to help rebalance the UK economy.

The Bradford team will be promoting the city to the bid committee as an ambitious, confident and forward-looking place with a young and diverse population, strong business community, vibrant arts and cultural scene, great transport connections and excellent quality of life.

The city is home to many hundreds of innovative digital and advanced technology companies*, which benefit from some of the fastest broadband in the UK.

Susan Hinchliffe, leader of Bradford Council, said: “The renaissance underway in our proud city makes Bradford the perfect place to host the Great Exhibition of the North.”

The Government has promised to contribute £5 million towards the exhibition itself and a further £15 million into a legacy fund to attract further cultural investment in the Northern Powerhouse.

The exhibition will celebrate the great creative and cultural sectors across the North to help boost the economy in the region.

Kersten England, chief executive of Bradford Council since summer 2015, said: “Bradford has extraordinary strengths and these deserve more recognition.

“The city is at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse and Bradford’s many successes in recent years should inspire everyone to be bold and confident about the future of the North of England.”

Clare Morrow, the former chairwoman of tourist agency Welcome to Yorkshire, is advising the bid team, which is led by Shelagh O’Neill, who was project director for the multi-award winning City Park water feature.

Arup, the global engineering consultancy, is providing input on venues and logistics and creative direction.

Jim Johnson, Leeds office leader at Arup, said: “Arup is very pleased to support Bradford’s bid for such an important exhibition for the whole of the North.

“We’re very excited at the prospect of contributing our skills to showcase creativity and innovation from across the region in this youthful, diverse and vibrant city.”

The bid team has sought the advice of a group of creative thinkers from the arts, technology and design fields.

It also wants as many as ideas as possible from Bradford schools, residents and workers.

Anyone can show their support on social media channels using the hashtag #bradfordGXn

The bid team is drafting a programme of exhibition events that will inspire, educate and inform and build on the strong sense of community in the North of England.

More details will be released in coming weeks ahead of the bid deadline on June 30.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The Great Exhibition of the North is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the very best of northern art, culture and design.

“Not only will it showcase the innovation and imagination of the region but also give a real boost to local tourism and provide an important creative legacy.

“Bradford is a vibrant and diverse city, with a thriving arts and culture scene, and I am sure they will enter a strong bid.”

Chancellor George Osborne has asked Sir Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, to over the project and chair the board for the Great Exhibition of the North.

Sir Gary, knighted for his services to tourism after bringing the Tour de France Grand Depart to Yorkshire in 2014, said: “The Great Exhibition of the North will showcase the best of our art, design and culture to the world in 2018 and will help bring the whole region together.

“I look forward to seeing the high quality bids from towns and cities across the North.”

Property sector in fine fettle

Confidence in the region’s property sector remains in good shape, despite the external distractions facing many.

Speculative development continues to take place and investment is planned to bring sites on stream across the patch. Leeds, in particular, leads the way although Bradford, York and North Yorkshire have also got reason to be confident.

More than 800,000 sq ft of new office build is underway in Leeds centre alone, with 4m sq ft of floorspace granted outline planning consent in the city’s Enterprise Zone. Schemes such as Victoria Gate are on schedule and Thorpe Park business park adjacent to the M1 at Colton is due to see almost one million sq ft of new space utilised in the next few years.  A 31,000 sq ft office building will be completed there by November.

In York, schemes such as the long-awaited Central development have been greeted with much enthusiasm. This is complemented by smaller developments such as new housing planned for Walmgate on the former Lord Nelson pub site.  A number of bar and restaurant chains are also planning to move into the city, including Joe’s Kitchen (former Café Rouge, Coney Street), The Botanist and Gusto restaurants (both Mulberry Hall) and Cosy Club (Fossgate).

Bradford’s confidence has been on the up since the city’s shopping centre opened eight months ago, and has created more speculative investment enquiries. The former post office delivery site between Broadway and Forster Square Retail Park is an exciting new scheme for the city.  British Land recently received planning consent to build a cinema, restaurants, a gym, and improved enhanced public realm. More than 200 new jobs will be created.

Newhall Business Park is a speculative industrial scheme close to the M606 of 38,000 sq ft, expected to create around 100 jobs. The scheme, by Frank Marshall Estates, will comprise eight self-contained units.

More information about commercial and residential property progress in the region is available in our Quarterly Economic Report, available from our website –