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Take Part In The BCC Business Survey February 17, 2009

Posted by liverpoolchamber in British Chambers of Commerce, Surveys.
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bcc-smallThe British Chambers of Commerce are running monthly business surveys.

These are vital to listen to the views and gathering figures on the current recession to inform policy maker’s decisions.

Please take a moment to fill in this month’s survey. It will only take a minute.

You can see the results of Results from December’s survey were featured in the Bank of England’s recent Quarterly Inflation Report (PDF).

Tax On Parking Could Cost Business £3.4 Billion February 6, 2009

Posted by liverpoolchamber in British Chambers of Commerce, Policy, Travel.
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parked_carsBusinesses across England could face an eye-watering £3.4 billion bill for simply using their own car parking spaces.

This monumental cost could become a reality if councils decide to apply for the controversial Workplace Parking Levy (WPL).

Nottingham City Council has already applied to slap businesses with the stealth tax and a final decision from the Secretary of State for Transport, Geoff Hoon, is imminent.

More worryingly, a Department for Transport consultation into the WPL heightens the risk of the scheme’s national roll out as it helps councils across England to apply for take up of the scheme.

The WPL will require all businesses to register workplace parking spaces, which will prove burdensome enough. However, businesses with ten spaces or more, will also suffer a financial strain because each parking space will have to be paid for. The levy will start at £185 in 2010, but will rise to £350 by 2014 (using the blueprint from Nottingham).

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has calculated that if every eligible council covered by the consultation adopted the WPL, then businesses will be left with huge costs amounting to £3.4 billion.

The BCC is calling for the Secretary of State to reject Nottingham City Council’s application and to abolish the blueprint for this stealth tax nationally.

With the economy now in recession and firms struggling with cash-flow, the tax will be detrimental for companies, towns and local economies.

(more…)

Say NO To Workplace Parking Levy February 3, 2009

Posted by liverpoolchamber in British Chambers of Commerce, Policy.
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parking_mThe British Chambers of Commerce has launched a campaign petition on its website to demand that the Secretary of State rejects the Workplace Parking Levy.

We believe this levy is a stealth tax on businesses that could cost British business billions of pounds. In its current incarnation it will require businesses to pay £350 per car parking space to the local authority.

This seems a ridiculous policy in a time of recession especially if you combine it with the Government’s attempt to legislate for additional rates on businesses in its Business Rate Supplements bill.

An application to introduce a workplace parking levy has been submitted to the Secretary of State by Nottingham City Council. We are urging the Secretary of State to reject this application and to abolish the tax altogether.

Our fear is that with the rejection of the Transport Innovation Fund in Greater Manchester local councils will be looking at alternative measures to raise funds for infrastructure. The noises that we are receiving is that many councils are watching Nottingham City Council with bated breath to introduce their own workplace parking levy schemes.

To register your opposition to this dangerous policy, please sign the petition on the BCC’s website.

You can aslo get into the debate on this special Facebook page.

Tell Us How The Downturn Is Affecting You January 15, 2009

Posted by liverpoolchamber in British Chambers of Commerce, Policy, Surveys.
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bustAnd help us do something about it!

British Chambers of Commerce have launched a very short survey on current business conditions.

They will be using the results to accurately assess business experience during the economic downturn and to campaign for actions which will support businesses.

Help us make the change. Take the survey here.

British Chambers Meets The PM December 9, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in British Chambers of Commerce, Policy.
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gordon_brown_pmLast week British Chambers of Commerce were invited to take a small group to meet with the Prime Minister at No.10.

Led by the President, also participating were the Presidents of London, Manchester, the North East and the Director General.

They used the opportunity to give an overview of the current state of the economy, both from the national perspective of our Quarterly Economic Survey and also local conditions as represented by the individual Chambers.

We then discussed our response to the PBR.  The PM said he did not think that we were being positive enough about the measures in the announcement.

Our response was that collectively and individually Chambers had acknowledged the support measures, not least the HMRC Business Payment Support Service, Small Business Finance Scheme, the extra EIB funds and the introduction of a foreign dividend exemption for large and medium-sized businesses.

However, we did have concerns about Empty Property.  The threshold should have been scrapped completely rather than being restricted to a £15,000 RV; Fuel Duty increases; and importantly the raising of National Insurance Contributions (NIC’s).

He responded by saying that the fall of commodity prices would help businesses and that the increases in NIC’s would only happen if it were necessary for public finances. The Government “has to show that it has sustainable public finances”.

A considerable part of the meeting was spent discussing the relationship between the Banks and Business. Our team pointed out the failings at the present time and the way that business was being impacted. We did point out that the Banks were in a difficult position as they clearly needed to raise their own capital. This is clearly an issue that is exercising the Prime Minister, the Treasury and BERR, and our role in the Small Business Finance Forum was acknowledged.

Finally, we highlighted the good work that Chambers across the country are doing to help business get through the current difficulties and the real efforts that were being made to secure the future of local economies.

The PM said that he wanted to ensure that Public Sector Procurement benefited local business. It was clear from the response that Chambers were involved in a variety of initiatives to promote this. However, we still believed that the Government need to exert more pressure on local public agencies.

HR In Hard Times November 27, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in British Chambers of Commerce, Chamber HR, Chamber Services, Services.
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scrapheapDuring these testing times, it’s almost inevitable that some companies will have to resort to redundancies.

So it’s vital to handle these issues responsibly from the start.

Don’t forget, your Chamber membership gets you free HR support and advice from Chamber HR

No employer should consider this measure before taking professional advice at the outset, indeed it should be before the outset.

In many cases professional advisors can help long before a redundancy situation has to be considered. Remember that in tough times although employees are a major cost burden, good motivated employees are also a positive asset to have on board to help you steer through the changing climate of the economic downturn. A well handled re-evaluation programme can help you focus on the profitable parts of your business, assist you with retaining essential staff and in a final resort look at measures to cut costs which can include restrictions on recruitment, reduced use of agency staff, short time working, lay off and maybe redundancy.

However, redundancy should be one of a range of options considered and usually only considered when all else has failed. Redundancy can lead to loss of skills and abilities within the workplace. It will almost certainly lead to loss of morale and faith and that in turn will lead to even more employees leaving, sometimes your best. So a well handled redundancy situation is not about just shedding jobs but about handling it in a sensible manner dealing with the challenges of keeping the workforce focused, retaining the best and shedding jobs as a last resort.

It is also about ensuring that when it is done it is carried out properly and avoids the high cost in terms of time and money that Tribunal claims can bring upon any employer, large or small.

One of the best ways to ensure that you handle the position properly is to take advantage of a specially prepared Redundancy handling consultancy provision that the advice service can offer. You can receive on site help as well as that all too crucial training for your managers. Training in, not only how to handle a redundancy, but how to avoid it where possible and if it becomes inevitable how to negotiate the shark ridden waters and emerge relatively unscathed at the other end with a sound group of rowers left in the boat with you.

Find out more about Chamber HR here.

Email our membership team if you can’t find you Chamber HR log-in details.

Banking Issues For SMEs – We Need Your Views November 12, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in British Chambers of Commerce, Policy.
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Piggy BankAs the British Chambers Of Commerce call for the finance issues facing small businesses to be a top priority, we want to hear from local businesses about their experiences (read the press release here).

Has your bank been helpful or understanding during these troubled times? Could they have done more? Do you think they have acted enough to meet your needs.

Your stories will help us lobby the banks and government to ensure small businesses are not forgotten.

Either leave a comment on this blog or email Maresa Molloy, Head of Policy at Liverpool Chamber.

UK ‘Now In A Worsening Recession’ October 7, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in British Chambers of Commerce, Business, Policy.
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The publication of the British Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey for Q3 2008 paints an increasingly gloomy picture of Britain’s business.

The domestic economy is under immense pressure for the second quarter in a row, with the survey results showing that the UK is now in a worsening recession.

Key results from the survey show:

  • Domestic balances, sales as well as orders, have moved deeper into negative territory, for both manufacturing and services
  • All firm sizes, in both sectors, show negative Q3 domestic balances, a disturbing and unusual situation
  • Manufacturing export balances plummeted in Q3
  • Collapse in confidence across sectors
  • All confidence balances, turnover as well as profitability, fell to record lows in Q3, for both manufacturing and services
  • Cashflow balances remain negative in this quarter
  • Recruitment dip across sectors
  • Investment balances in plant and machinery moved into negative territory for both sectors

BCC Director-General David Frost said:

“We are clearly in a very difficult economic period but it is important that we retain a sense of proportion. Many parts of the business community continue to perform well.

“Confidence is critical and it is vital that businesses are shown leadership. The BCC will be showing such leadership in the coming months.

“The Government needs to say that business taxes will be cut. The Bank of England need to cut interest rates immediately and politicians need to get behind our businesses in these challenging times. “

Read more on the BCC website.

Read a summary of the QES Q3 on the BCC site [PDF]

This story on the BBC

What do you think needs to happen? Let us know in the comments.

Business Question Time September 2, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in British Chambers of Commerce, Business, Policy.
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A limited number of places are available for businesses, budding entrepreneurs and journalists to join a handpicked audience at a unique Business Question Time.

The event, taking place on Thursday 23 October 2008, at the Reebok, Bolton, is organised by Chambers of Commerce North West and promises an honest and lively discussion a range of issues affecting our business community

The panel members will all be prominent figures from the world of business, renowned for expressing their hard hitting and frank opinions on a whole range of issues affecting business in our region. Whatever your political opinion or whatever type of business you own or manage we’re sure that you’ll find the event stimulating and entertaining.

This free event will start at 6.30pm and finish at 8.30pm with a buffet supper. We hope that you will be able to join us at the event and look forward to meeting you on the day.

A coach will depart Liverpool at 5pm.

If you wish to attend, please email Esther Sumner with your details.

Can Liverpool Do Better Than The UK Economy? August 19, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in 2008, British Chambers of Commerce, Business, Capital of Culture 2008, Chamber Services, Culture, Legislation, Liverpool, Media, Policy, Services.
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Liverpool Chamber of Commerce is hopeful that Merseyside may be less affected by the threat of recession than the country as a whole. The quarterly UK economic forecast released by British Chambers highlights a significant worsening in UK economic prospects and predicts an increase in unemployment across the country of 250,000 to 300,000 people although the organisation remains hopeful that a major recession can be avoided.

Jack Stopforth, Chief Executive of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce says: “While these latest figures are worrying they do not confirm a trend. All businesses will feel some impact from the worsening position in the wider economy, we remain cautiously optimistic that Merseyside businesses are doing better than most.

“In our survey of members for the second quarter of this year there was clear evidence that the trading environment was very tough with half of the companies who responded having to face rising raw material and overhead costs and a general slowdown in new orders and sales. Despite this, 33% of companies reported growing employment compared to only 13% reducing jobs with the majority of new posts being full time.”

“We have seen some high profile failures in recent months, and there has been a predictable downturn in construction but most sectors have performed well, including local retail, which is bucking the national trend by exhibiting growth. There is also anecdotal evidence that the hospitality sector is doing well with record numbers of visitors coming to the city and our growing base of technology and innovation based businesses are expected to be less affected by the general trend.

“We believe that there are local factors that provide at least some short term insulation against the worst of the credit crunch. But our national body, British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) has warned of a “serious risk” of recession, nationally, following its business confidence survey and so this is no time for complacency in any sector”.

Liverpool Chamber’s latest economic survey has just been circulated to members and the results will be released along with the results of the national survey in early October.

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