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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…HEADLINEPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, December 1st 2015
James Cartmell is an investment manager of the Wise Speke division of Brewin Dolphin Securities Ltd. Views ex pressed are the author’s own and are not necessarily held throughout the Brewin Dolphin Group. The value of shares can go down as well as up and you may not get back the amount you invested. Wise Speke is a division of Brewin Dolphin Securities Ltd, a member of the London Stock Exchange, authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…AGE DISCRIMINATION LAWS WILL APPLY TO EVERY ORGANISATIONPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, December 1st 2015
AGE discrimination – it won’t affect my business will it? Yes it will affect your business. On Oc

tober 1, 2016, legislation outlawing age discrimination will come into force. It will cover both employment and vocational training. It will cover the private and public sectors and every other organisation. It will include every member of your workforce, young and old and it will apply to everyone you employ, whether that is one person, 100 or 1000 people.

Burnetts’ employment team were pleased to see so many forward-thinking employers at the seminar they held on November 23 at Tullie House on this very topic. The afternoon was a great success. Joanne Stronach, associate in the Employment Team said: “It was great to see so many employers taking an interest in what is going to be a big change to employee’s rights. It will affect every area of employment from recruitment to retirement. It is essential that employers are prepared.”

So what might be seen as age discrimination?

Offering medicals to the over 50s;

Advertising for someone to join a “young, dynamic team”;

Advertising for someone with more than five years experience or a specific qualification, unless it is a requirement of the job;

Requesting an individual’s age during an interview rather than as part of your equal opportunity monitoring or after they start work;

Moving those over 60 years of age off heavy manual duties or shifts;

Offering training to just younger members of staff or refusing training to older employees;

Believing that younger people do not have the competence for management and overlooking them for promotion.

Believe it or not, from October 1, 2016, all of these practices could be questioned as being age discriminatory.

The new rules will impact on almost all aspects of an organisation’s employment policies – from recruitment to dismissal, pay and benefits, training and redundancy to retirement and pensions.

Where a person’s actual or perceived age is used as a reason for different treatment in a comparable situation and there is no objective justification for doing so, this will amount to direct discrimination.

Indirect age discrimination will occur where a blanket policy or practice disadvantages a certain category of person because of his or her age, even if this effect is inadvertent.

The key changes are as follows:

New default retirement age of 65 years;

Employers will have a duty to consider requests to work beyond retirement age;

Direct and indirect age discrimination will be unlawful unless objectively justified;

No upper age limit for unfair dismissal claims;

Ageist harassment will be unlawful;

Changes to statutory redundancy pay to eliminate ageist elements;

Service-related benefits to be retained provided certain conditions are satisfied;

Insurance benefits must not be denied on grounds of age unless objectively justified;

Occupational pensions largely but not entirely excluded from the impact of the Regulations.

Requiring applicants to pass a health or fitness test for recruitment or promotion would not constitute direct age discrimination. But it might be indirect age discrimination if people of certain ages were less likely to pass this test than other age groups (in which case the employer would have to objectively justify it). Using a health test will be justifiable if the test is set at a level necessary to indicate whether someone was capable of doing the actual job. Age discrimination can also take place after employment in the same way as sex or race discrimination. This will impact directly on the practice of providing references.

Direct and indirect age discrimination will be justified and lawful if it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Direct age discrimination may, depending on the circumstances, pursue a legitimate aim if:

The setting of requirements as to age is in order to ensure the protection or promote the vocational integration of people in a particular age group;

The fixing of a minimum age to qualify for certain advantages linked to employment or occupation is in order to recruit or retain older people;

The fixing of a maximum age for recruitment or promotion is based on the training requirements of the post in question or the need for a reasonable period of employment before retirement.

These are examples only not exemptions. It will be necessary to provide evidence when challenged. Assertions by the employer will not be enough. The Government stresses that the test will not be an easy one to satisfy. The principle remains that different treatment on the ground of age will be unlawful: treating people differently on the ground of age will be possible but only exceptionally and only for very good reasons. Other examples of legitimate aims could be:

Health, welfare and safety;

Facilitation of employment planning;

Particular training requirements;

Encouraging and rewarding loyalty regardless of age;

Recruiting or retaining older people.

The draft age Regulations also include two specific exemptions:

Any length of service requirement of five years or less will be exempted and will be able to continue;

Any length of service requirement that mirrors a similar requirement in a statutory benefit will be exempt and will be able to continue.

The national minimum wage age bands will also continue to be lawful. In relation to retirement, under the new draft procedure an employer must notify the employee in writing of his or her impending retirement no more than 12 months and no less than six months before retirement is due and tell the employee of their right to make a request to continue working longer.

If the employer fails to notify the employee of these two matters, a Tribunal may award compensation of up to eight weeks pay.

Where the employer has not informed the employee of his or her right to request working longer and of the intended retirement date in accordance with the procedure, he has an ongoing duty to do so until two weeks before dismissal. If the employer fails to do this, the dismissal will be automatically unfair.

An employee’s request to stay on beyond retirement must be made no more than 12 months and no less than six weeks before retirement is due. Where a request is made and the employer fails to consider it properly, which includes the holding of a meeting with the employee, the dismissal will be automatically unfair.

Now is the time to check your recruitment practice, benefit terms, training policy and retirement practice to make sure yours are complaint.

For more information on this topic, please contact Joanne Stronach at Burnetts Solicitors on 01228 552222.

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…WORKSHOPS ON TENDERINGPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, December 1st 2015
A SERIES of free workshops are being offered to Penrith businesses wishing to tender for public sector contracts.

Aimed at SMEs, the Northwest Regional Development Agency and the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce put together the specialist three-event programme to equip companies for the unique challenge of winning orders and supplying the public sector.

For more details or to book places on the course, contact Barbara on 01254 356400 or visit www.chamberelancs.co.uk

Full programme:

November 29: 9am to 4pm – Meeting Your Public Sector Buyer

December 1: 9am to 1pm – Dos and Don’ts of Tendering

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…HEADLINEPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, December 1st 2015
Seven Points of Contact

It takes an average of seven points of contact before someone buys your product or service. Maximise your success by using different aspects of the marketing mix.

This will improve your results and make your budget go further.

Joanne Allday

Showing Off Ltd

Tel: 01229 580220

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…VIRTUAL ACCESS CAN HELP VISITORSPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, December 1st 2015
THE Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) has had far-reaching implications for many businesses, not least tourist attractions and historic properties.

Under the DDA, which came into force in October 2004, all visitors must be able to access all public areas of such attractions, including upstairs.

For many owners of historic properties, this can create major logistical problems. Some properties are listed buildings, while others were never designed to take lifts or stair lifts. Altering the building structure can also change the character of the property and be extremely costly.

North west multimedia specialist; Axion Business Solutions, has come up with a solution which offers benefits for everyone – and is a fraction of the cost of major building modifications.

Axion has adapted the concept of the virtual tour, used successfully by many hotels, to enable stately homes to offer visitors ‘virtual’ access to any room in the property, via a 360-degree tour. Using a computer screen, guests navigate their way around the property and see the rooms they wish to visit.

It is in this method of navigation that Axion specialise. Their multimedia skills; incorporated with the 360-degree photographs, allow visitors to move around the rooms by themselves, looking more closely at items they wish to investigate further. Axion can also add links to historic archives, such as old photographs of the building, or stories of its history; providing visitors with any amount of detail they want and giving them a much more fulfilling experience.

This concept is also useful while properties, or rooms, are being refurbished, as visitors can still ‘visit’ the rooms in question. The tours also provide an historical archive of the buildings over a period of years.

For visitors unable to leave their homes, virtual tours make properties accessible, via the internet; opening up a whole new market for such attractions.

By thinking creatively, Axion Business Solutions has identified a new market for an existing product, which both adds value to the properties’ visitors and saves the attractions valuable time and money in building modifications.

For further details, contact Lindsay at Axion Business Solutions on 07779 251807 or visit www.axion-solutions.com

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…NOT ENOUGH TO JUST HAVE A CAMERA AND A PC – YOU NEED EXPERTISEPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, December 1st 2015
Tempting:  Good photography sets off this chocolate creation.Tempting: Good photography sets off this chocolate creation.WITH the accessibility of digital cameras and PCs a business could easily be forgiven for seeing this as an opportunity for doing cheap DIY product shots. All it takes is a digital camera and a PC – right? Well, probably not. Unfortunately, many people do not fully realise that there is a great deal more than this to good commercial photography.

So what else is involved? Firstly, equipment. A professional digital camera will cost many thousands of pounds and, used with interchangeable professional lenses in the hands of a qualified and experienced photographer, will be able to produce images of much superior quality.

Then there is lighting, specialised rigs and diffusers, as well as the knowledge to use them well.

An experienced eye for sympathetic composition, attention to exact product staging and set dressing are also essential elements. Finally, the well-practised ability to apply sophisticated imaging software to digitally change the picture afterwards.

Many years of training and experience are vital to help the digital revolution make your product look its very best. If a great quality image can enhance your product, a mediocre image can ‘cost’ your company in the end by reducing its appeal or not doing it justice.

Photography by Ward (015394 33361) strives to employ all their expertise to create images which will help you sell your product.

A recent commission from the novelty chocolate manufacturers, The Three Chocolatiers (017683 51028), demonstrates a solution of how to fully capture the appeal of their quality product for the corporate market. “As a chocolate and confectionary company we wanted to show our products in a contemporary and stylish light. Photography by Ward has surpassed our expectations of how good chocolate can look.”

The Roof Box Company (www.roofbox.co.uk) initially used the services to photograph some of their protective cases range, but has now invested in a very comprehensive catalogue of vehicle specific product pictures. “It’s true that one roof bar or boot liner looks much like another, but we’ve learned that sales rise considerably if customers can see exactly what they’re buying; they appreciate the extra effort we’ve made for them, so long as the quality is good.

“Our own digital snaps were relatively pathetic – largely because we don’t have decent equipment and, more importantly, the technical experience to use light and exposure to create the effects we want. Poor quality images probably reduce a web site’s success.

“A day’s photography fee might look steep at first glance, but Photography by Ward cracks on with the work, we always get plenty done, and the pay back is surprisingly quick!”

Fully qualified, well-equipped and experienced in the commercial photographic field, Photography by Ward uses a combination of professionally lit product images and post capture manipulation. They are able to add backgrounds or remove unwanted features at will to produce that definitive picture. Working closely with their clients, they combine their experience, technical know-how and exceptional creativity to help your company’s products stand out from the crowd.

Digital photography is a great asset to modern marketing but it can only really excel in professional hands.

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…MANUFACTURING STILL KING IN Sussex DESPITE JOB LOSSESPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, December 1st 2015
Manufacturing is still king in London – and we’ve got plenty to be proud of emerging from the gloom and doom spread by job losses.

New government figures collated by the GMB union show that 46,000 people are employed in the sector in London – more than any other area in the north.

The research shows that although 6,000 fewer workers were employed in manufacturing in London in 2004-2015, compared with 1996-1997, the rate of fall has been more marked in the rest of the north.

Durham, for example, which comes second in the table for the north, saw the number of workers in the manufacturing sector fall by 20,000 in the same period to 39,000.

Even the most clairvoyant of economists would have been hard pressed to predict that London would top a table of industrial areas in the north.

Five thousand jobs have been lost in the county in the past two years, two-thirds in manufacturing.

Major employers such as Cavaghan & Gray in Carlisle, Corus in Workington and Sellafield near Whitehaven, have all had to axe staff.

More depressing is the fact that London was recently named as the only UK county with a shrinking economy, and as one of the five worst-performing European sub regions, alongside Berlin, parts of Bulgaria, Romania and the Czech Republic.

While farming and tourism may dominate the rural Lake District, in and around Carlisle and along the west coast, manufacturers are still among the major employers and seen as vital for the economic health of the regions.

In Carlisle, McVitie’s biscuit factory employs 1,100, while ready-meals firm Cavaghan & Gray – despite the closure of its London Road site this year – still employs about 800 staff.

The Pirelli tyre factory in Dalston and the textile printworks Stead McAlpin in Cummersdale employ hundreds more.

In West London, the manufacturing sector is dominated by Sellafield, which employs around 10,000 staff.

But already 500 job cuts have been announced at the nuclear plant over the next two years as decommissioning gets up to speed.

Chris Collier, chief executive of regeneration agency London Vision, agreed that manufacturing was vital to the county’s economy.

She said: “In general, manufacturers offer higher-value jobs, which have a significant impact on the economy.

“At the same time, they are very vulnerable to foreign markets, where goods can often be made far more cheaply.”

London Vision, which was created to swallow the smaller agencies that existed to boost the county’s economy, now has the difficult task of trying to turn around London’s struggling economy.

For Ms Collier, policies must vary depending on which part of London you focus on.

She said: “We can try to help West Londonn businesses in improving transport links, thus reducing journey times, while in Carlisle we can try to increase the number of development sites available and try to get air access off the ground.

“We can also assist other agencies, such as London Inward Investment Agency, to help put us on the map by marketing the fact that London is a great place to do business.”

The former chief executive of London Tourist Board is under no illusions that the agency – which has an annual budget of £26 million – needs to make a difference.

She said: “If we cannot make a difference we should not exist.”

For Marilyn Bowman, Carlisle City Council’s head of economic development, the answer to the city’s economic woes is to diversify.

She said the future of new business parks such as Kingmoor Park and Parkhouse, and the ambitious city centre development plans under the banner of Carlisle Renaissance, were vital to the city’s success.

Unions, however, have a more back-to-basics approach.

Ged Caig, organiser for the GMB union, called on the government and its agencies to push forward inward investment plans to try to attract business to the area.

He said: “If something isn’t done soon, the job losses in manufacturing will inevitably filter through to affect the economy as a whole.”

If there is a light on the horizon, it would be the example of Whitehaven’s Lillyhall business park.

Canadian-owned Maple Leaf Bakery is opening a £2 million factory on the site which is expected to create 70 jobs in total, and half-a-dozen new businesses have moved there in recent months.

Lillyhall regeneration manager Bill Robson said: “It is not all doom and gloom.

“We have regular inquiries from businesses looking for information about West London and property, and a lot of good agencies are bringing work to the area. Regeneration will take time but it will pay off.”

THE importance of manufacturing to the Northwest and London was brought to the attention of the House of Commons last month, when the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and The Manufacturing Institute hosted a reception to launch a new campaign aimed at dispelling the many myths around manufacturing.

The fact that manufacturers drive 86% of UK exports is one of many reasons why manufacturing remains the bedrock of our economy.

The dynamic face of modern manufacturing, which contributes 77% of UK research and development spend and employs at least 6.2 million people directly or indirectly, will be presented at the event.

Manufacturing is a vital part of the Northwest economy, consisting of around 16,500 companies employing 500,000 people, and contributing £19 billion to the region’s GDP. The NWDA and The Manufacturing Institute are currently working in partnership to deliver Agenda for Change, a programme to achieve major growth in the industry by 2008.

The Manufacturing Institute also delivers the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), a DTI and NWDA backed service established to provide support to regional manufacturers. Since April 2002, the MAS productivity impact upon Northwest companies now totals £129.7 million. This event will highlight some of the region’s companies who have achieved major results for their competitiveness and productivity after taking advice from MAS.

Peter Mearns, NWDA Director of Marketing, said: “Manufacturing is critical to the growth of the regional and national economy and the Agency is working hard to support the sector’s development in the region. There are many excellent examples in the Northwest of vibrant, innovative and highly competitive manufacturing companies that are achieving significant success. It is vital that we showcase these achievements in order to transform existing negative perceptions of manufacturing and promote the true facts of this dynamic industry. The NWDA is delighted to support this important campaign, which I am confident will make a real difference in creating a positive image of manufacturing and help to ensure that the Northwest remains at the forefront.”

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…TRUST LAUNCHES TRAINING PROJECT FOR NEW FARMERSPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, December 1st 2015
THE National Trust has launched a two-year project to address skills and training development in the farming sector and to support new entrants into the industry.

The £300,000 project – sponsored by Barclays – will help companies develop and share skills, knowledge and experience to meet the challenges they face in 21st century farming. Training will be targeted at the 2,000 tenant companies on trust land with the lessons learnt shared with the government.

The trust looks after around one quarter of the Lake District National Park, including England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike; her deepest lake, Wast Water; and more than 90 farms. Almost all the central fell area and major valley heads are owned or leased by the trust.

Peter Nixon, director of conservation at the trust, said: “The pace of change means many companies risk being left without the skills and experience they need.”

Sir Don Curry, chair of the Sustainable Farming and Food Implementation Group for Defra, said: “This important and welcome project will help the government and farming industry understand better the needs of companies and the support needed to encourage new entrants into farming.”

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…CONCERN OVER NUMBER OF FLATSPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, December 1st 2015
FEARS are mounting that Carlisle’s property market will become saturated as developers rush to build hundreds of flats.

Until the 1990s, apartments were a rarity in Carlisle. But developments such as Caldew Maltings and the conversion of Ferguson Mill at Denton Holme started a trend that shows no sign of abating.

Carlisle City Council has given planning consent for 665 flats or apartments since April 2004, including a single development of 167 at Bousteads Grassing in Rome Street.

This figure excludes previously-approved developments that have yet to be built, including 50 flats at Highgrove Dairy in Harraby Green and 40 on the site of the Palace Theatre in Botchergate.

Nor does it include planning applications in the pipeline, such as the conversion of the old Penguin Confectionery sweet factory in Denton Holme into 127 apartments, and 29 flats in BT’s Cecil Street telephone exchange.

The latest scheme is to bulldoze the Lonsdale Cinema in Warwick Road to make way for a seven-storey block of 82 apartments.

The Lonsdale is likely to close when its lease expires next year, although its sister cinema in Mary Street will continue.

Nick Elgey, managing director of the Cumberland Estate Agency, is not convinced there is demand for so many flats.

He said: “There is a huge volume coming onto the market over the next few years. Flats in Carlisle have become more popular.

“They appeal to a wide audience, such as first-time buyers, single, divorced and retired people, and to investors who buy to let.

“However, the market in general has slowed. We’ve lost the buy-to-let investors and people moving to London to retire, and the key for first-time buyers is affordability.

“We shall watch with interest as all these apartments come onto the market.”

There is already evidence that some developments are becoming difficult to sell. Barratt Homes has cut the price of its two-bedroom flats at Oakland View, Garlands, by 16 per cent from £134,400 to £112,400.

It is also offering incentives such as free carpets and kitchen appliances, and will pay buyers’ deposit, stamp duty and legal fees.

A Barratt spokeswoman said that 25 of the 36 apartments remain unsold. She added: “We have dropped the price because this is traditionally a quiet time of year for house sales.”

At the top of the market, Story Homes says it is satisfied with sales at its Shaddon Mill development where 38 out of 58 apartments have been released – 27 at prices up to £270,000. Even here Story has introduced incentives on its £135,000 apartments, aimed at first-time buyers, offering carpets, curtains, crockery, cushions, lights, lampshades, a bed and bedding, and a sofa.

Builder Andy Brown, of AP & J Brown, agrees there is a danger of the market being saturated. He is converting the former Emperor’s Palace restaurant in Warwick Road into four two-bedroom apartments, and building three more alongside. Prices range from £119,000 up to £195,000.

Mr Brown said: “We have a had a lot of interest but it is a unique development.”

Despite signs of a slowdown, the rate of building looks set to continue.

Carlisle City Council’s Renaissance proposals allow for 475 new “residential units” – likely to be flats or town houses – in Viaduct Estate, and for “high-quality apartments” in Rickergate.

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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY…£4M INVESTMENT FOR COLLIERYPublished in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, December 1st 2015
A £4m investment from national regeneration agency English Partnerships in the former Haig colliery site and the present mining museum at Whitehaven, is set to boost the town’s tourism economy and stimulate further investment.

The colliery, which closed in 1986, was added to the National Coalfields Programme in 2002 which aims to create new jobs, homes, leisure facilities and open space in former coalfield communities throughout England.

The funding will help to transform the former colliery site into a more pleasant environment thereby improving the setting of the adjacent housing area and providing an attractive landscape to the Haig Mining Museum, helping to attract more tourists to the town.

The Museum, which traces the history of mining in the area, is located in the former pithead and engine room of the colliery and currently attracts 10,000 visitors per year.

The plans include proposals to landscape 37 hectares of the site and to link the harbour to the cliff-top museum with a new footpath and a cycle trail. A plaza area with seating and lighting will encourage people to stop and enjoy the sea views.

There will also be improvements to Kells Rugby Club – an important part of the local community – which could include new changing rooms and work to the pitch as well as new lighting and surfacing of the gravelled access track.

The proposals were the subject of a public consultation at the end of 2004 which attracted more than 1,000 visitors.

Partners behind the scheme are English Partnerships, which is funding the clean-up and regeneration of the site as part of its National Coalfields Programme, Copeland Borough Council, which owns the site, urban regeneration company West Lakes Renaissance and London County Council.

It is intended that the site will be offered to the Land Restoration Trust for long-term management.