Changes to childcare – info here

Childcare

If you’re a working parent, you can apply now for two new government childcare schemes launching this year – Tax-Free Childcare which begins immediately and 30 hours free childcare which starts in September.

This video shows what parents think about the new 30 hours.

You can apply through the new digital childcare service if you have a child under 4 on 31 August 2017 or a disabled child who is under 17.

More info is available from Bradford Council online here.

To apply visit www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.

Any questions, please call HMRC direct on 0300 1234 097.

If eligible for Tax-Free Childcare you’ll receive a government top-up of £2 for every £8 that you pay into your Tax-Free Childcare account.

More information on the government’s childcare schemes is available here: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk. It also includes a childcare calculator to find out how much you could receive.

Employers concerned about return to the past on tribunals, says BCC

Commenting on the Supreme Court ruling on Employment Tribunal fees, Mike Spicer, Director of Research at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“A fair tribunal system must provide access to justice for all, while at the same time discouraging unmeritorious claims.

“Today’s ruling will leave employers concerned about a return to the past, when despite winning the majority of cases, companies would often settle to avoid a costly and protracted process even when their case was strong.

“There is now a need for the government to work with all interested parties, both to ensure the ruling is respected, and to ensure that employers and employees alike can have confidence in the tribunal system in future.”

Bradford South MP conducts business survey

JudithCummins

Bradford South MP Judith Cummins is seeking the views of businesses in her constituency.

The Chamber works with all the major political parties on behalf of our members and, as such, is encouraging participation from businesses in the following wards and/or postcodes:

Great Horton, Queensbury, Royds, Tong, Wibsey, and Wyke – roughly (but not exactly) equating with BD4, 6, 7, 12 & 13.

The survey asks for views on skills needs, business support, Brexit impact, devolution, crime, any expansion plans and other challenges you might be facing.

Chamber staff will meet with Judith and her team when the survey is complete to assess the results and determine what steps are necessary to boost business and job creation in Bradford South.  The survey will stay open until at least early September.

TAKE SURVEY HERE

Questions or comments?  Contact Judith’s office direct on 01274 924280 / 07917 838398 or cumminsm@parliament.uk. Or call the Chamber on 01274 230057.

Home Secretary right to take objective look at migration trends and needs

Commenting on the Home Secretary’s decision to ask the independent Migration Advisory Committee to evaluate the present and future impacts of migration on the UK economy, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“We welcome the Home Secretary’s decision to commission rigorous and independent analysis to inform the shape of our future immigration system. Business communities across the UK tell us that immigration rules need to be based on an objective look at economic trends and needs, which are better evaluated by the experts on the Migration Advisory Committee than by politicians or commentators.

“Over the coming years, changes to the UK immigration system should be based on firm evidence, input from employers, and a clear understanding of the different requirements facing each region and nation. While businesses are committed to filling vacancies locally wherever they can, they will still need access to both EU and global candidates with a range of skills in the future. We will work to ensure that the views of business communities all across the UK are heard loud and clear by the Migration Advisory Committee over the coming year.”

On EU nationals, Marshall added:

“Amber Rudd has given EU nationals and their employers some much-needed reassurance, by signalling that any significant changes to the immigration rules for EU citizens will take place in an orderly fashion over time. Businesses need clear information to support their existing employees – and to know, right now, who they can hire with confidence over the coming years.

“The Home Secretary has given some important reassurances for EU nationals working in UK businesses, and for those businesses considering hiring EU nationals in the immediate future. Her department now needs to work with employers to get the detail right, and ensure that EU nationals do not face complex administrative processes to confirm their status here in the UK.”

Economic Briefing – Friday 22 September

Bradford Property Forum and Bradford Professionals’ Network are once again to receive an economic briefing from Yorkshire Building Society’s Chief Economist, Andrew McPhillips.  See event details below, and book by clicking here.

Businesses are getting on with what they do best, despite political and economic uncertainty, nationally and internationally.  However, the need for information and expert commentary to help you prepare and plan for the future is as great as it ever was.  Make sure you’re ‘in the know’ by coming along to get the latest economic trends and future projections.

  • What will happen with exchange rates?
  • Are current growth rates sustainable?
  • Can the Government continue to reduce public sector borrowing?
  • Can productivity be raised and wage levels be kept in check?

When: Fri 22 Sep; 7.30 – 9.30am

Where: Yorkshire Building Society, Rooley Lane, Bradford BD5 8LJ

Who: Andrew McPhillips, Yorkshire Building Society

What: The State of the Region – An Economic Outlook

Cost: £15 Chamber members; £30 non-members (includes VAT)

Sponsored by Yorkshire Building Society

YBS logo

 

BOOK HERE NOW

 

Urban living can aid growth, says BPF event

A better quality offer of city centre accommodation is needed if Bradford’s urban living is to take off – that was one of the conclusions from a recent meeting of business people in the city.

Bradford Property Forum, run by West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, focused on city centre living at its latest meeting, when a lively debate highlighted that a lack of general lifestyle facilities is holding back development.  As a consequence, families taking up residence in the centre is a rare occurrence.  While the number of city dwellers is now more than four times what it was at the turn of the last century, there is still a lack of diversity among those occupiers.  The majority are younger, single people, with a fairly even split between the sexes.

A history lesson of small-scale mill conversions from the 1980s/90s was followed by the experiences of city centre living from a resident’s viewpoint.  Finally, an aspirational presentation on what Bradford can achieve was given by a local architect/developer.

Issues around funding, grant incentives for developers and tenant management were all discussed, with lively interjections from delegates.  While it was agreed that the city centre is a far better place than it was ten years ago, it was noted that there is still scope for further improvements around health and well-being amenities, leisure facilities etc.

The breakfast event, held at Bradford City Football Club, was facilitated by the Property Forum chairman, Allan Booth of Rance Booth Smith architects.  Allan said afterwards:

“Questions around urban living in Bradford have been circulating among the property sector for some time now: who lives there? What jobs do they do? Who’s looking to invest? What are the good and bad examples of recent residential conversions and how do we raise values and returns on future schemes?  These were some of the areas that we tried to cover at this event; and, while we may not have been able to explore each of them to the extent that we would have liked, it did provide much food for thought.  There’s probably scope for a second event on this topic to delve further.”

Speakers at the meeting were:

  • Nav & Hass Mir, Locate Properties
  • Dave West, Little Germany Action
  • Amir Hussain, Yeme Architect

Photo caption: Amir Hussain of Yeme Architects speaking at Bradford Property Forum, 18 July 2017

Business Fraud – Be Aware!

Several recent high value frauds have targeted businesses in Leeds.

Goods have been purchased from a number of different companies by an unknown male with an Asian accent using a non-Asian sounding name ordering via telephone. These goods are paid for using a MasterCard. This card is authorised for use by the bank and the goods have been collected by another unknown male in a white Mercedes Sprinter van.

Some of the goods to the value of £22,000 have been obtained from one company using credit card payment over the phone. Payment has not been received in the company bank account from the transaction. The male will ring up numerous times using different MasterCard details but will provide the same personal details.

In the example provided, it was six transactions all close together not just one, keeping the value below the card limit each time.

Please be aware that when credit cards are accepted as payment over the phone, “customer not present”, they are not covered by the bank and they will not pay you out in the event of a fraudulent transaction. Check your company policy regarding over the phone transactions. We suggest that online payments are considered as these will be protected by the banks.

Should you receive any unusual or large one off orders for goods, please carry out due diligence for the transaction and try to secure payment prior to releasing any goods or services.

This message comes from West Yorkshire Police.

Low Pay Consultation response

magnifiying-glass-looking-at-graph-quarterly-economic-survey

In its response to the Low Pay Commission Consultation, the British Chambers of Commerce calls for a cautious approach to setting the National Living Wage (NLW) but one which will help low-paid workers deal with the consequences of inflation without pricing people out of jobs.

BCC has recommended an increase of 2.7% in the National Living Wage to compensate for the rise in inflation.  The cautious approach is to reflect the costs and pressures faced by employers and increasing uncertainty in the economy.

With firms facing mounting pressures from existing policies such as pensions auto-enrolment, the Apprenticeship Levy, and the Immigration Skills Charge, many are struggling to absorb the rising cost of employment. The latest rise in the NLW in April 2017 increased wage bills further for businesses across a range of sectors, with the need to maintain wage differentials multiplying costs for employers.

Jane Gratton, Head of Business Environment and Skills Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The BCC has recommended an increase in the National Living Wage to help low paid workers manage inflationary pressures which are eroding their spending power.

“Setting the National Living Wage must be done cautiously, comprehensively taking into account economic circumstances, so that people are not priced out of jobs.  The Government’s current policy was set before the EU referendum and so does not reflect the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

“Businesses are already facing high costs when it comes to employing staff – including the Apprenticeship Levy, pensions auto-enrolment and skills charges. The rise in the National Living Wage in April this year, brought a further increase in wage bills for business across a wide range of sectors, with the need to retain wage differentials multiplying their costs further.”

Ends

New President for Bradford Chamber of Commerce

Bradford’s business community has a new leader.

Nick Garthwaite is the new president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce.  Nick, the managing director of Christeyns, was unanimously elected at the Chamber’s annual meeting today (Tuesday 18 July).   He succeeds Andy Caton, who has held the post for the last two years.

Nick has already been involved with the Chamber’s policy development and lobbying activities for several years, and says he is looking forward to supporting local firms and helping to make Bradford an even better place in which to do business.  He will now chair regular policy development meetings of the Chamber, represent the local business community at external meetings, and act as general business ambassador for the wider District.  Nick will be supported in his role by the new incoming vice-president, Suzanne Watson.  The head of Approach PR was also elected at the Chamber annual meeting.

Nick said of his appointment:

“I’m delighted to have been elected to head up Bradford Chamber for the next two years.  Andy has been a wonderful ambassador for Bradford, so I’ve got big boots to fill; but these are both exciting and challenging times for Bradford and the wider region of West & North Yorkshire, which our organisation represents, and I’m up for the job.  We’ve already carried out a scoping exercise among our key policy group to look at what we need to focus on in months and years to come; but I’m also keen on hearing from other members on what their issues are going to be in the future.”

Christeyns produces oils, soaps and detergents for the professional cleaning and laundry sector and is based on Rutland Street off Wakefield Road, in Bowling.  The Belgian-owned firm bought out Bradford-based Oils & Soaps in 1998 as part of a series of mergers and acquisitions that has put the business on the international stage.  It also has a presence in the USA, Brazil and the Middle East, and originated in Ghent, Belgium in 1946.

Suzanne added:

“We’ve been involved with the Chamber for several years now, in various ways, and so I think I’ve got a good understanding of what’s required in helping Nick in my role as Vice-President.  However, it’s still a privilege to be asked to take on a leading role in this way.  I’ve already been working with the Producer City Board on the marketing of the District and I hope to be able to expand upon that over the next two years.”

Pic Caption (L-R): Past President Andy Caton; Vice-President Suzanne Watson; New President Nick Garthwaite

Chamber welcomes HS2 announcement

Responding to news that HS2 phase 2b is to proceed, Leeds Chamber President Gerald Jennings said, “This announcement provides a degree of certainty for the Eastern leg of HS2, bringing the service to Leeds but we must continue to lobby for route confirmation. As we enter what might be an extended period of uncertainty in the run up to Brexit we must ensure, as much as possible, that this important investment is secured for future generations.
There is already a lot of work going on to ensure the city is ‘HS2 ready’ and the Chamber is working with Leeds City Council, Network Rail, Department for Transport and HS2 to ensure the business voice is heard as plans evolve and that economic benefit is maximised. HS2 will benefit the wider city region but this can only be achieved through regional improvements to the rail network. As part of these improvements, there is a fantastic opportunity to redevelop Leeds Station, creating an iconic and functional piece of nationally significant infrastructure. Regional rail improvements should also take in the need for future development of York Station, to ensure it can readily cope with the HS2 services.
“The Government’s commitment to the ‘full high speed network’ is welcomed and should also include commitment for the improved east-west connectivity being offered by HS3 or Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR); we have always seen these two developments as complementary. As part of this proposition, the Chamber would like to see the creation of a city centre station in Bradford, ensuring this fast growing city is at last on the main inter-city rail network rather than stuck at the end of a branch line. York Station would also need further investment if it is to maximise the benefits provided by NPR.
“This morning’s announcement about the bidders who have won contracts to design and construct bridges, tunnels, embankments and viaducts for HS2 Phase One, will provide significant business opportunities. It is expected that construction of Stage 1 and Stage 2 will generate 7,000 contract opportunities in the supply chain, of which around 60% are expected to go to SME’s and businesses in this region can benefit from this. HS2 will support around 16,000 jobs through construction and related contract opportunities over the next six years. The economic impact on cities like Leeds will also be significant, with development opportunities already starting to happen a decade before HS2 is likely to arrive in the city.”