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Chamber News & Blog

Important announcements from the Chamber, our members, local Councils and other relevant business news will be posted regularly here.
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  • 17 January 2018 12:55 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Now is the time to get your finances in order, recommends MHA Carpenter Box

    Between the start of a new year and before the end of the financial year is a great time to review business and personal finances and to make plans for the year ahead. To help you along the way, MHA Carpenter Box is holding a Tax & Investment Seminar which will cover some recent changes that might affect the decisions you make. The aim is to give you some pointers whether you’re thinking about your business or your own finances. 

    The seminar will be held at the South Lodge Hotel near Horsham, where Stuart Noakes, Partner and Head of the Tax Services Group at MHA Carpenter Box, will give some useful tips on planning for the end of the tax year. These will include a basic tax checklist, tax relief through investment schemes such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme and thinking about Inheritance Tax planning, to minimise liability when the final curtain falls.

    Roy Thompson, Departmental Director at Carpenter Box Wealth Management, will discuss wealth management strategies for you and your family, outlining the different types of opportunities available and how to make the most of pension and ISA investments.

    The Sussex-based chartered accountants and chartered tax advisers are looking forward to 2018 after an exceptional year in 2017, which saw the headcount at the firm rise to almost 160.

    Chris Coopey, Partner and Practice Director at the firm, commented: “We are really looking forward to this first event of the year, which has already attracted a great deal of interest from both business and personal clients. There will be something for everyone and guests will have the opportunity to raise any issues directly with the presenters and to network with other like-minded individuals in the beautiful setting of the South Lodge Hotel.”

    The seminar will be held between 8am and 10am on Thursday 8th February and all attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the firm’s Year End Tax Planning Guide. For more information and to register for the event, please visit

  • 15 January 2018 4:15 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Investment Solutions Wealth Management Economic Review January 2018

    It is not intended that individual investment decisions should be taken based on this information; we are always ready to discuss your individual requirements. We hope you will find this review to be of interest.

    Inflation hits highest level in almost 6 years

    The rate of inflation in the UK has risen to its highest level in nearly six years, although the consensus amongst economists is that it may now be reaching a peak. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the Consumer Prices Index 12-month rate – which compares prices in the current month with the same month a year earlier – rose to 3.1% in November 2017. This was up from 3.0% in October and the highest level since March 2012. The main contributor to the rise in this month’s rate was air fares, which remained unseasonably high in November. An increase in the cost of computer games also had a significant upward impact. With the inflation rate now sitting more than a percentage point above the 2% Bank of England (BoE) target, Governor Mark Carney will be obliged to write a letter to the Chancellor explaining what the BoE is doing in response. His letter will be published in February, when the BoE will also release its next quarterly Inflation Report. Inflation has been rising steadily since the EU referendum in June 2016. This has largely been due to the depreciation in sterling since the vote, which has significantly pushed up the cost of imports. In recent months, however, sterling has been relatively stable and the inflationary impact of the falling pound now appears to have pretty much run its course. Indeed, Carney has previously commented that inflation was likely to peak in Autumn 2017. While there may certainly be a blip along the way, the overall path of inflation over the coming months is expected to be on a downward trend.

    UK economic growth forecast downgraded

     The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut its growth forecast for the UK economy, citing Brexit uncertainty for the downgrade. While presenting the organisation’s first full assessment of the UK economy since the EU referendum, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde suggested that UK growth was “a bit of a disappointment” compared to the relative strength seen across the rest of the world. Lagarde also offered a robust defence of her organisation’s gloomy forecasts in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, suggesting that pre-referendum warnings of slower growth were now coming true. She added that uncertainty over Brexit was causing UK firms to delay investment plans until they received greater clarity regarding future trade rules. In an apparent rebuttal to Brexiteer Michael Gove’s claim that British people have “had enough of experts”, Lagarde suggested that the experts were right after all: Brexit is already badly damaging the UK economy. She continued: “We feared that if Britain decided to leave, it would most likely entail a depreciation of sterling, higher inflation leading to a squeeze on disposable income and a reduction in investment. “People said ‘Oh those experts’, but we are seeing the narrative we identified as a potential risk being rolled out as we speak. This is not the experts speaking; it’s what the economy is demonstrating.” The IMF is now predicting that the UK economy will grow by 1.6% in 2017, down slightly from its previous forecast of 1.7%, with growth expected to slow to 1.5% in 2018. This prediction is largely in line with the Office for Budget Responsibility’s growth forecasts that were published alongside the Autumn Budget, and which suggest that the UK economy will grow by 1.5% in 2017 and 1.4% in 2018.


    Equity investors eagerly anticipate the New Year as pockets of global economic growth helped power several major markets to double digit gains in 2017. The FTSE100 ended 2017 on a new record high, closing the year out at 7,687.77, a monthly rise of 4.93% and an impressive 7.63% increase over the year – the blue chip index reached a new intraday record of 7,697.62 on December 29. The FTSE250 did not disappoint, closing 3.88% higher over the month at 20,726.26 (14.65% over the year), whilst the junior AIM market managed a monthly gain of 2.25% to close at 1,049.63, an impressive 24.3% over the year. In the US, recent index gains have been fuelled by President Trump’s tax cuts, amid a backdrop of positive news of Fed interest rate hikes improving employment and a stronger economy. The technology-based NASDAQ index closed the year on 6,903.39, a monthly gain of 0.43%. The Dow Jones closed the month at 24,719.22, an annual rise of 25.1%, its best performance since 2013. In mainland Europe, the Eurostoxx50 finished 2017 at 3,507.82, a fall of 1.74% in the month, closing the year 6.6% higher. European stocks have underperformed largely due to the strong euro. The Japanese Nikkei225 closed at 22,764.94, although up just 0.18% on the month, it finished the year up 19.1%. Asia’s biggest markets enjoyed gains over the past year driven by expectations the US would push through business-friendly measures. On the foreign exchanges, sterling closed the month at $1.35 against the US dollar. The euro closed at €1.12 against sterling and at $1.19 against the US dollar. The oil markets rose 6.07% in the month to close out at $66.61 a barrel, as measured by the Brent Crude benchmark. This represented an annual gain of 17.23%. Gold gained 2.18% in the month to end at $1,302.58 a Troy ounce, up 13.18% since the start of 2017.

    Earnings growth continues to lag inflation

    The average increase in wages is still lagging behind the prevailing rate of inflation, leaving UK households struggling to cope with a squeeze on their incomes. Data from the latest ONS labour market statistics showed that average weekly earnings, excluding bonuses, rose by an annual rate of 2.3% in the three months to October. Whilst this was slightly higher than the 2.2% figure reported in the previous three-month period, it does mean that pay growth is still running at a significantly lower level than inflation. Indeed, in real terms, regular pay actually fell by 0.4% in the three months to October compared to the same period a year earlier. And this was the eighth consecutive month that this measure of earnings growth has declined when inflation is taken into account. Other data recently released by ONS suggests that this squeeze on incomes has resulted in consumers becoming more cautious, with household spending rising by just 1% in the third quarter of 2017 – the weakest rate of increase for over five years. The data also showed that household spending exceeded household incomes for the fourth successive quarter, the first time this has happened since records began in 1987. This suggests that people are dipping into their savings to fund current spending. Although a decline in inflation may provide some respite for real pay levels over the coming months, analysis undertaken by the Resolution Foundation suggests that any meaningful pay rises are some way off and that real wage growth is likely to be flat in 2018. Director of the influential think tank, Torsten Bell, said: “The good news is that things will get better in 2018. The bad news is we may only go from backwards to standing still, with prospects for a meaningful pay recovery still out of sight.” 

    Brexit talks move on to second phase 

    EU leaders have agreed to move Brexit negotiations on to the second phase, although they have warned that this stage will be significantly harder than the first. After months of political wrangling, sufficient progress was deemed to have been made on issues relating to the Irish border, the ‘divorce bill’ and the rights of EU and UK citizens. And, following a Brussels summit meeting on 15 December, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, announced that the 27 EU leaders were happy to move on to phase two. However, he did warn that the next stage will be: “more challenging and more demanding.” The EU has also published a set of guidelines relating to the second phase of talks which are due to start early in the New Year. The first issue up for discussion will be agreement over the precise terms of the transition period following the UK’s departure in March 2019. Brussels has recommended that this transition phase should not continue beyond 31 December 2020. This contrasts slightly with the UK government’s position which sets out a period of about two years, and some business groups who have called for a much longer transition period. Talks relating to future economic cooperation, security, and the UK and EU’s long-term future relationship are then expected to begin in the spring. Theresa May hailed the moment as: “An important step on the road to delivering the smooth and orderly Brexit that people voted for in June 2016.” However, while it may represent a key milestone along the Brexit road there will certainly be many more hurdles to clear if the Prime Minister is to deliver an amicable EU exit.

  • 15 January 2018 4:10 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    New Electric Vehicle Charging Points get the Green Light

    Eight electric vehicle charging posts are to be installed across Adur and Worthing as Councils step up efforts to encourage sustainable transport systems.

    The posts in four publicly-owned car parks are expected to be installed in the first half of this year as the first step to an area-wide network of posts that can be added to by businesses and other organisations.

    The sale of petrol and diesel cars will be banned in Britain by 2040 meaning everyone will have to switch to electric vehicles. Hybrid are not included in the ban.

    The move is aimed at reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and to cut air polluting  quantities of nitrogen oxide being pumped into the air affecting public health.

    The government has said poor air quality is “the greatest risk to public health in the UK”.

    As part of the Councils’ response to the move the authorities have decided to authorise eight charging posts; Two in the High Street multi-storey car park in Worthing, two in Brooklands Western Road car park, two in Worthing Civic Centre car park and two at the Pond Road car park at the the Shoreham Centre.

    The network will be open so that anyone with an electric car can plug in, there will be no car park charges and the charge session will only costs £1.50 an hour.

    Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Cllr Diane Guest, said; “This is a small step along the right road. We need to move to cleaner air vehicles but we need to give people and businesses the infrastructure to have confidence to take the next step towards electric transportation.”

    Adur District Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Cllr Emma Evans, said, “We support the government’s move to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles and will do what we can over the next few years to support the development of cleaner air technologies.”

    The existence of a charging post network is also thought to be vital in the coming decades to aid tourism as more visitors with electric cars seek out destinations that have proper networks.

    It is expected the first charging post will be in place before the Spring. 

  • 15 January 2018 3:45 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Worthing’s Teville Gate site to close to the public

    Worthing’s Teville Gate will soon be closed to all as work to demolish the multi-storey car park gathers pace.

    To ensure public safety, contractors from Worthing Borough Council have been erecting hoardings around the high-profile town centre plot in recent weeks.

    From Monday (January 15) the site off Teville Road will be shut to pedestrians which will allow detailed surveying work to take place ahead of the planned demolition in March.

    The closure includes the walkway through the centre of the Teville site and the underpass, which links the station and car park to the Morrisons superstore.

    Notices informing members of the public of the closure are being placed around the site with alternative routes clearly signposted.

    The local authority believes the demolition of the car park will act as a catalyst for the private company which owns the site to carry out a wider regeneration of the area.

    Councillor Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “While we acknowledge that there will be some disruption for local residents, we hope they understand that this is all about bringing real change to an area which has been derelict for far too long.

    “The council regularly receives complaints about antisocial behaviour in the area. By demolishing the site we want to inject some much-needed impetus into the redevelopment of this eyesore site.

    “Meanwhile we will continue to keep working with Mosaique, who own the site, to bring forward the long overdue renaissance of this area of Worthing.”

    The Council has a long-term lease on the car park, which means it is the only part of the site it controls. This has enabled it to move for demolition using funding secured through the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.

    To help keep everyone informed about the demolition, two large banners have been placed on the side of the car park informing people passing that the project is undertaken by Worthing Borough Council supported by Coast to Capital, ECE Architecture and RLF consultants.

    The closure of the whole site has been supported by West Sussex County Council, which is responsible for highways, and in consultation with Morrisons.

    Mosaique continues to draw up plans to build houses and lifestyle space on the site which it now calls Station Square.

  • 15 January 2018 3:42 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    IT Support Desk Technician job advert

    Salary: £21,000

    Contract: 12 Month Fixed Term Contract

    Hours: 37 Hours per week   


    Join Worthing Homes as an IT Support Desk Technician and you will play a key role in assisting internal users; supporting the IT facilities and BAU, ensuring operational issues are quickly resolved. This is an ideal role for a motivated, adaptable professional who has a passion for IT. You will be responsible for:

    User Support

    • ·         Provide help and guidance to desktop users
    • ·         Plan, manage and maintain IT Infrastructure & Application Support
    • ·         Contribute to production of standard configurations, documentation and procedures
    • ·         Provide assistance and technical knowledge to aid implementation of projects

    Project Design

    • ·         Assist in implementing the company’s digital strategy

    Systems Administration

    • ·         Assist in ensuring the smooth running and monitoring of all IT systems
    • ·         Develop appropriate manuals for users and support procedures
    • ·         Assist in ensuring daily network checks for business critical services.  Ensuring backups (MS Azure) have completed and servers are well resourced
    • ·         Assist in installing software, patching and schedule upgrades

    Hardware, Maintenance and Installation

    • ·         To provide in house maintenance assistance


    • ·         Assist in arranging appropriate IT training for staff
    • ·         Provide hands on training to staff on window based projects


    This is an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic IT professional to join the Worthing Homes team, based in our refurbished office and having the benefit of an up to date IT infrastructure, helping us drive our business forward with new and exciting digital working methods.  The successful candidate will have experience in providing technical support, good knowledge of Microsoft Office 2010/2013, Windows 7 and 10 in a domain environment.  Knowledge of Hyper-V, Azure backup, MS Office 365, mobile devices and tablets, good working knowledge of AD, DNS, DHCP, TCP/IP.


    In return we offer 26 days holiday (pro rata, private medical insurance (after qualifying period), stakeholder pension, childcare vouchers. To apply please send your CV with a supporting statement (maximum of 3 pages) to date for the receipt of CVs is 9am on Monday 29 January 2018. 

  • 15 January 2018 3:28 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Job Advert: Income Recovery Officer

    Worthing homes are looking for an Income Recovery Officer for 12 months (Maternity cover) 

    Being a customer focused and having the right attitude, drive and enthusiasm are key ingredients for this role. You will be a qualified and an experiences professional with drive, organisational ability and vision. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do. We strive to obtain a high level of commitment and excellence in the delivery of our customer service. We have invested in the latest technology to enable us to work almost completely electronically and we encourage flexible and agile working.

    The ideal candidate will have:

    • Experience of income recovery managment
    • Evidence of and commitment to the delivery of high quality customer service
    • Experience of liaising with other internal departments and external agencies including local authority's housing benefit departments and the DWP to resolve payment queries, maximise income and minimise arrears.
    • Experience of working with people with complex needs to provide guidance and support.
    Main responsibilities:
    • To manage a quota of arrears cases by geographical area
    • To regularly monitor rent accounts, initiate appropriate action where necessary and apply a consistent approach to arrears management in line with our policies and procedures.
    • To provide advice and information to residents on benefits, debt management and arrears, referring residents to the Financial Inclusion Co-ordinator or external agencies where appropriate.
    • With the authorisation of the Neighbourhood Manager, take enforcement action through the County Court, attending hearings and evictions where necessary, ensuring the pre-action protocol is complied with before issuing proceedings.
    In return we offer:
    • 26 days holiday (pro rata)
    • Private medical insurance (after qualifying period)
    • Stakeholder pension scheme
    • Child care vouchers
    To apply please send your CV and covering letter (max 3 pages each) to
    Closing date is 22nd January 
  • 15 January 2018 2:57 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    The First Worthing podcast of 2018 is now live!

    Listen to the most recent Worthing Podcast which showcases the upcoming shows at the Connaught Theatre.

    Hear it at

  • 15 January 2018 2:40 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Press Release: Councils' Delivering on Platforms Promises

    Piloting ultrafast broadband, demolishing eyesore buildings, creating partnerships to improve health and building offices to create jobs are just some of the projects under way at Adur and Worthing Councils, a new report reveals.

    The Councils are a third of the way through their three-year programme of activities, Platforms for our Places, with the amount of work completed or well underway exceeding expectations.

    In a progress report to the Joint Strategic Committee (JSC) of the Councils Chief Executive Alex Bailey spelt out the scale of the progress made. Platforms for our Places uses a colour coded system to illustrate who its commitments have progressed.

    Of the 135 commitments in all 14 are blue (completed) 69 green (well under way) 48 amber (minor delays) 1 red (significant difficulties) and 3 grey (yet to start).

    “If you bear in mind that the Councils deliberately set demanding agendas, my suggestion would be that we’re slightly ahead of where I anticipated we would be 12 months into the programme,” he told the JSC.

    Highlights include

    ·        Ultra Fast broadband project, working with West Sussex County Council, has begun with procurement of a supplier under way and significant government backing including £4.6m capital investment in the bag

    ·        Adur Local Plan has been adopted which will see multi-million pound investments in housing and jobs while protecting green spaces and bringing in infrastructure spending from the private sector.The northern part of the old Adur civic centre now has planning permission for a new office block.

    ·        Teville Gate multi-storey car park is about to be demolished to help kick start the development of the whole privately-owned site.

    ·        A target of 600 people have been diverted from the doctor’s surgery and into programmes better suited to their needs by the Going Local social prescribing programme

    ·        Work on Brooklands Lake has begun and is progressing well with the full support of a Friends group of local residents and supporters of the landmark

    ·        A successful £600,000 bid to the Big Lottery Fund has seen the launch of a Growing Places scheme in both areas with work in community-based parks, open spaces and growing schemes helping volunteers improve their physical and mental health.

    ·        Work continues to progress on plans to create a state-of-the-art healthcare hub on Worthing's civic centre car park. The Borough Council has committed the land and some financing towards the £18.5 million proposal which could see brand new facilities providing primary care, such as GP surgeries, alongside community care services, which includes mental health provision, social care and clinical nurses.

    With June being the halfway point of the programme Mr Bailey suggests that rather than rest on their laurels the Councils should use the midpoint to bring in new commitments or revisions to existing ones.

    The only “red mark” in the programme is the plan to develop the Stagecoach depot at Marine Parade, Worthing which is being held up trying to find a suitable alternative site for the bus company.

    Today the Leaders of Adur District and Worthing Borough Councils welcomed the progress report.

    Leader of Adur District Council, Cllr Neil Parkin, said; “We have made these commitments public so there’s no hiding place. As local tax payers can see we are building momentum and delivering real change.

    “ I am so pleased that we have taken a lead on things like demolishing the civic centre to create jobs and building on the Ham Road car park to create more.

    “Our Local Plan is a document that gives us growth with protection of our natural resources but also gives us protection, it puts development power in our locally elected hands.”

    Leader of Worthing Borough Council, Cllr Dan Humphreys, said, “ We are rightly held to account on this programme of activities and that is the way we wanted it. It gives a real sense of purpose to our work.

    “We have brought real impetus to programmes like our vision for the seafront, already two new restaurants for the beachfront, our plan to demolish Teville Gate and bring Ultra Fast broadband here.

    “We are leading the way by bringing together health providers on the Town Hall car park to help create NHS services fit for the future but as a Council we are also getting so much sharper at bringing in new resources so that we can maintain vital services like our well being programmes, our green spaces work and our economic development programmes.”

  • 15 January 2018 2:31 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Proposed Sompting West Development - Public Meeting

    Local residents will have heard rumours about plans by Sompting Estates to develop 520 new houses with Persimmon Homes on the land they own on the west side of Sompting. At the time of writing, no formal proposal had been submitted to Adur Council and the developers are claiming they have already consulted local people, siting an exhibition at the Harriet Johnson Centre on October 10th, although trouble is most local residents knew nothing about it! You can read more about the proposals here:

    The proposals include a community farm and orchard, nature trail, holiday business and playing fields. But the major concern of local residents is, of course, how on earth are we going to deal with all the extra traffic, especially if it goes through the village.

    This is the largest development in Sompting for some time and follows hard on the heels of the controversial New Monks Farm proposals in Lancing, which have yet to go before the Planning Committee.It is vital therefore that local residents are fully engaged with what is being proposed and have their voices heard. If and when the plans are submitted and go live everyone needs to have their say by submitting your views to the Adur Planning Committee.

    From the start we have set out three criteria that would need to be satisfied before the development could be considered and this needs to be see in the context of the lack of building space in Adur outside of the National Park and the shortage of affordable housing.

    • The development should be able to show why it would benefit the existing residents – jobs, environmental impact, additional amenities etc.
    • How many of the proposed new homes will be genuinely affordable and how can local people and their families be given preferential allocation?
    • Can the current infrastructure and especially the transport infrastructure cope with the significant increase in traffic or will the village simply grind to a halt?
    There is a public meeting on Thursday 25th January 2018 at Sir Robert Woodard Academy from 18:30 until 21:00 to give local residents the opportunity to discuss the issue and ask questions. James Appleton, Head of Planning at the council, will be present and I am hopeful the developers will send a representative too.

  • 10 January 2018 9:29 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    New lifts just the start of multi-million pound investment in Worthing’s car parks

    Work on a major upgrade to improve access to Worthing’s car parks is well underway.

    As part of multi-million pound investment in it’s town centre multi-storeys, Worthing Borough Council’s contractors have begun installing new lifts in the Buckingham Road car park.

    Local authority leaders took the decision to replace the two 50-year-old elevators after a series of malfunctioning problems in recent months.

    The £211,000 work, which will also see the lift entrances widened to allow easy access for those in wheelchairs or with pushchairs, is expected to be complete by summer 2018.

    It is one of the first steps in a three year car park investment programme which is being paid for by a number of modest increases to tariffs at some of the council car parks expected to come into force on 18 January 2018.

    Councillor Diane Guest, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Environment, who recently visited the site to see how the installation was progressing, said: “I’m delighted to see our investment in the town’s multi-storeys is already having a positive impact.

    “Our car parks are quite often the first impression that visitors have of Worthing so it’s vital that they they are welcoming, modern, safe and accessible for all.

    “These new lifts are just the start of a much-needed investment programme which will have wide reaching benefits for the town centre. I’m looking forward to seeing it progress.”

    Work on the new lifts began just before Christmas. It will be phased so that one lift is operating at all times to ensure that those with mobility issues can continue to access the car park.

    The wider car park refurbishment programme has already seen new ‘smart’ lighting and replacement CCTV installed in Buckingham and High Street multi-storeys. This together with recently introduced night patrols will improve security at all sites.

    The new environmentally-friendly lighting cost £168,000 and will save an estimated £49,000 a year - meaning it will be have paid for itself in just over three years.

    Future works will include refurbishment of parking decks, entrances and public stairwells and new signage. In future it will be easier for customers to pay with online automatic billing and contactless payment options being pursued.

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