Judges announced for the Barclays Yorkshire Women in Business Awards

Lucy Thornycroft profileBarclays today announces the judging panel for their inaugural Celebrating Women in Business Awards launched last week.

Launched by Lee Collinson, Barclays Corporate Managing Director for Yorkshire and the North East, the awards are aimed at senior business women operating in mid to large companies in any sector across Yorkshire.

The judges will be looking for women who have made a real difference in business over the past twelve months and the panel includes Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, Lucy Thornycroft (pictured) Yorkshire Regional Director, CBI and Garry Wilson, Managing Partner, Endless LLP.

Entrants can self-nominate or be nominated by a work colleague, customer, supplier or other associate and the application closing date is Monday 9th February.

Award categories include: Women of the Year Large Business (turnover over £40million); Women of the Year Medium Business (turnover over £10million); Rising Star (Under 35 years of age) and Outstanding Contribution to Diversity to be awarded to the project, campaign, company or individual that has excelled in this field over the past twelve months.

Lee Collinson, Barclays Corporate Managing Director for Yorkshire and the North East said; “Women from all sectors across Yorkshire are securing key roles in larger companies and we want to recognise exceptional achievements for the contribution they are making. We are seeking entries from women at director level in any sector or industry and this is a fantastic opportunity to bring together business ladies from across the region to share knowledge and ideas, helping to grow the Yorkshire economy.

The awards ceremony will take place at an exclusive awards lunch on Thursday 5th March at Bowcliffe Hall, Bramham, Wetherby, in the newly opened Blackburn Wing with guest speaker Lindsey Rix, Chief Operating Officer at Aviva UK GI as key note speaker.

Please contact pamela.delaney@barclays.com for more information or how to enter the awards.

Yorkshire construction sector shows signs of rallying

William BallmannAfter a tough few years for the construction industry, there are signs that in Yorkshire and the Humber, the sector may finally be starting to recover.  According to the latest research by R3, the insolvency trade body, construction is performing better in the region than in many other parts of the UK.

In January, Yorkshire and the Humber had the third lowest level of construction firms with a higher than normal risk of insolvency with just 24.3% (4,219 firms) in this position compared with a national figure of 26%.  While the percentage of construction firms in the region at higher than normal risk saw a slight rise of 1% since last month, in the previous two months it experienced slight falls of around 0.3%.

Yorkshire and the Humber was also among the top performing regions in the manufacturing sector with only 17.4% of businesses at higher than normal risk compared with the national figure of 20%.  The hotel sector in the region also experienced a continuing decrease in businesses at risk, falling by 2.7% to 16.4% compared with 18.5% across the UK.

R3 uses research compiled from Bureau van Dijk’s ‘Fame’ database of company information to track the number of businesses in key regional  sectors that have a heightened risk of entering insolvency in the next year.

“The construction industry was amongst those hardest hit by the recession and has proved slow to recover,” comments William Ballmann, chair of R3 in Yorkshire and partner at Gateley LLP.  “While it is too early to talk of a sustained improvement, any positive signs are encouraging.  As one of the prime drivers for economic recovery, it is good to see that construction in our region is performing relatively well compared with many other parts of the UK.”

He continues: “Other sectors in Yorkshire, particularly manufacturing and hotels, are continuing to put in a strong performance and it is hoped that the recovery will prove less patchy as we build on last year’s economic growth.”

Photo shows: William Ballmann

Cycling legends launch Yorkshire Bank bike libraries

l-r Gary Verity Chief Executive WTY  Bob Howden President British Cycli    (2) smThe country’s first ever network of bike libraries is being officially launched in Yorkshire.

Legendary Tour de France five-time winner Bernard Hinault was joined by Yorkshire Tour legend Brian Robinson, the first Brit to win a stage of the Tour de France, and Leeds pro cyclist and Commonwealth medallist Scott Thwaites to officially set the new Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries’ wheels in motion today. (December 12).

Following the county’s hugely successful hosting of the Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2014 in July, people across Yorkshire are now being asked to donate their old or unwanted bikes at one of many donation stations across the county.

The New Year will see a second stage of the project get underway when community and not-for-profit groups will be able to bid for funding to run bike libraries, which will see donated bikes fixed and ready for people to borrow. The hope is that everyone, regardless of their circumstances will have access to a bike, particularly children.

Yorkshire Bank has teamed up with Welcome to Yorkshire to support the Cycle Yorkshire initiative to turn the ambitious and ground-breaking scheme into a reality. The three-year deal follows on from the hosting of what has been described as the grandest of all Grand Départs of the Tour de France and epitomises Yorkshire Bank’s ‘We care about here’ ethos.

Helen Page, Yorkshire Bank Customer Experience & Marketing Director, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Cycle Yorkshire to launch the new Bike Libraries initiative. At Yorkshire Bank we’re committed to supporting the local community and we hope, through this wonderful scheme, more people will be able to enjoy the benefits of cycling.”

Bernard Hinault said: “The Tour in Yorkshire was incredible. I have never seen so many people out supporting the riders and it shows the passion for cycling here. That’s why this project is so important, as it can give our next generation the chance to experience cycling. I’d encourage anyone who can help to do so.”

Scott Thwaites, who rides for one of the top cycling teams, Netapp-Endura, said: “I think people always remember their first bike or the first time they hopped on a saddle. For many it’s the start of lifelong enjoyment but not everyone’s fortunate enough to have access to a bike – hopefully this project will change that.”

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, who came up with the idea said: “I’m delighted that Yorkshire Bank shares our passion for helping everyone in Yorkshire to have access to a bike. They’re turning this dream into a reality and we need the public to help us do the same by donating bikes that perhaps have been sat in a garage gathering dust.”

The repaired and renovated bikes will be available for people of all ages to borrow free of charge and by next year there will be Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries across Yorkshire. Information on where they will be and when they will be open will be on www.cycle.yorkshire.com/bikelibraries.

*The first wave of donation stations are at:
Bike Rescue Project – York
Get Cycling -York
York Cycleworks – York
Pedallers Arms – Leeds
Meanwood Valley Urban Farm -Leeds
Cycle re Cycle – Bradford
M C Foundation – Bradford
Recycle Bikes – Sheffield
cycle:recycle – Hebden Bridge
Reverse The Cycle  – Pontefract
Barnardos Bikes – Keighley
The Bikery – Bradford

BCC Annual Conference: Senior politicians and business leaders set for ‘Business Plan for Britain’ pre-election debate

  • BCC Annual Conference: 10th February 2015 QEII Conference Centre, London
  • Speaker line-up including senior cabinet ministers, Ed Balls, William Hague and Sir Clive Woodward OBE
  • To register for a free press pass please contact the press team on 020 7654 5813 / 5817 or register via the website.

Just three months before the general election, the British Chambers of Commerce Annual Conference will bring together senior politicians and business leaders to debate a true ‘Business Plan for Britain’. The conference, sponsored by Lloyds Bank, BT Business, DHL Express, Heathrow Airport and AXA PPP healthcare, will feature speakers at the heart of the business growth agenda, and from across the political spectrum.

On Tuesday 10th February, BCC Director General John Longworth will be joined by senior cabinet ministers and a range of high-profile politicians, business leaders and commentators to examine how Britain’s next government can shape a pro-enterprise, pro-growth landscape for business. Discussions will centre on the critical issues of developing the talents of the next generation, growing UK exports, devolution to all regions of the UK and the Britain’s on-going relationship with the EU.

Speakers include:

  • Senior cabinet ministers
  • Ed Balls MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • William Hague MP, First Secretary of State and Leader of the House of Commons
  • John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister of Scotland
  • Sir Clive Woodward OBE, Rugby World Cup Winning Head Coach
  • Margaret Mountford, Chair, The Bright Ideas Trust
  • Angus Thirwell, CEO and Founder, Hotel Chocolate
  • Fraser Doherty MBE, Founder of SuperJam
  • Linda Yueh, BCC’s Chief Business Correspondent
  • Martin Wolf CBE, Financial Times
  • John Longworth, BCC Director General

Tickets are available by visiting the Annual Conference website: http://www.bccconference.co.uk/

Commenting ahead of the Annual Conference, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“This years’ general election is set to be the most unpredictable vote in decades. Our Annual Conference – set in the crucial run up to the polls – offers senior politicians the opportunity to clearly set out how they will deliver a more confident and more enterprising Britain. By setting out a true ‘Business Plan for Britain’, the political parties can instil confidence among British businesses across the country, so they can focus on delivering long –term growth and prosperity for the UK.”

BCC: Inflation set to remain low in 2015

  •  Annual CPI inflation in December 2014 was 0.5%, a historically low level, down from 1.0% in November 2014
  • The main contribution to the fall was the December 2013 increases in gas and electricity rises, which fell out of the annual calculation, and from the continuing fall in motor fuel prices
  • Goods price inflation in December 2014 was minus 1.0% while services inflation was 2.3%

Commenting on the CPI inflation figures for December 2014 published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce said:

“The historically low inflation figure in December 2014 confirms that inflationary pressures in the UK are very low. Although the fall between November and December was exaggerated by the increase in gas and electricity prices a year ago, it is likely that CPI inflation will remain below 1% in 2015.

“However concerns over deflation pressures are grossly exaggerated and risk undermining business confidence. These figures show that inflation in the services sector – which accounts for some 80% of the UK economy – remains persistently above 2%.

“The main factor which counts for the low level of goods inflation, the fall in energy and goods prices, is positive as it boosts consumers’ disposable income and makes it easier for businesses to devote resources to investment. On the basis of current trends we believe that the MPC can afford to wait until 2016 before considering a rate rise.”

Budget ticks the boxes – or some, at least

The Chancellor has gone some way to appeasing businesses in a Budget that surprised many people with a year still to go before the General Election.

It was widely anticipated that the next two big government set-pieces – the Autumn Statement and the 2015 Budget – rather than this one would be the ones to win over the doubters with big ‘giveaways’; but, as it turned out, George Osborne got a reasonable ‘thumbs-up’ from the business community.

The Chancellor delivered on a number of areas that the Chamber movement had been lobbying on for some time (even though our focus this year had been confined to youth employment, training and enterprise.  Energy costs, infrastructure and house-building and export support are all areas addressed yesterday, as well the headline-grabbing announcements on pensions and savings.

Mike Cartwright, the Chamber’s Policy & Representation Executive, said:  “We’re now moving from a period of caution to one of more optimism and confidence.  It’s still small steps, of course, but measures that give business more room to manoeuvre and to consider their options for growth are welcomed.  So, for example, it’s crucial that energy, say, does not contribute further to the rising cost of doing business and we’ve seen measures to help address that; and doubling the Annual Investment Allowance will give companies more confidence too.”

Key business measures include:

* £7bn package to cut energy bills for manufacturers and other businesses.
* Extension to enterprise zone benefits for a further 3 years.
* Double annual investment allowance to £500,000 and extend to end 2015.
* Corporation tax down from 23% to 21%, then 20% next year.
* Extended grants for small firms to recruit 100,000 more apprentices; new degree level apprenticeships.
* Incentives for house-building with £500m for small house-builders
* Extend Help to Buy for rest of decade.
* Changes to export finance system – double amount available to £3m and lower interest rates.
* Reform to Air Passenger Duty: all long-haul flights carry same lower band as US flights
* Action on tax evasion: more cash for HMRC and new powers to collect from bank accounts