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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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  • 10 March 2021 11:02 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Gatwick publishes 2020 annual results, with renewed optimism for international travel to return in Summer 2021 whilst maintaining its financial resilience

    • The year 2020 was heavily impacted by significant global drop in passenger and air traffic numbers due to COVID-19
    • Swift action was taken to reduce operational costs and capital expenditure as well as to secure additional liquidity whilst the airport continues to remain open throughout the pandemic
    • Renewed optimism as a result of the UK Government’s COVID-19 response road map – in anticipation of international travel starting again in May 2021
    • Focus remains on safety and wellbeing of passengers and staff

    Despite an encouraging start to 2020 passenger numbers at Gatwick fell 78% in the year ended 31 December, 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19. The airport remained open throughout the pandemic, however all revenue streams were impacted and the collapse in passenger demand led to a £465.5m loss for the twelve-month period and negative EBITDA at -£25.1m.

    Decisive and swift action was taken to protect the financial strength of the business.  A strategic reduction in capital expenditure resulted in the deferral of over £380m from the investment originally planned in 2020 and 2021. Operating costs were reduced by over £140m in 2020 through a variety of actions including restructuring and reducing staffing levels by over 40%, renegotiating contracts and consolidating all air traffic and passengers into one terminal. 

    To improve liquidity, in April 2020 Gatwick secured a £300m loan with a consortium of banks and the company has drawn £250m under the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility. The group has been granted a waiver to address breaches in Financial Covenants at 31 December, 2020.  As of December 2020 Gatwick had available liquidity of £573m to meet its operating cashflows, planned investment levels and interest payments for 2021.

    A priority continues to be protecting the health and wellbeing of employees and passengers with new staff COVID-19 testing measures being implemented alongside one of the UK’s first airport NHS testing sites in 2020 and walk-in and drive-through private testing facilities also being made available at Gatwick for staff and the public.

    Gatwick Airport, Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Wingate said:

    “It will come as no surprise that, like any other international airport, the negative impact of COVID-19 resulted in a financial loss for the business last year which sadly also saw us need to reduce our workforce by over 40%.   I would like to thank all our staff, including those that have left us, for all their hard work and determination throughout these difficult times.

    “Despite the immediate challenges I remain optimistic that Gatwick will recover and retain its position as one of Europe’s leading international gateways and an economic driver for the UK’s south east region.  Due to our swift actions the business remains resilient and robust with our focus on ensuring we are best placed to take advantage of a return to international travel this summer.

    “We are heartened by the UK Government’s COVID-19 response plan and look forward to working with the Global Travel Taskforce to develop a framework that can facilitate greater international travel as soon as possible.  This will require the UK Government working with other Governments, to ease the current crippling travel restrictions and ensure a consistent, reciprocal approach for all travellers in time for this summer.  Restoring passenger confidence and offering COVID-19 safe air travel while minimizing the need for cost prohibitive testing and disruptive quarantine measures is vital.  Before air travel recovery begins, and in order for the industry to continue to protect as many jobs as possible, we also need the UK Government to provide further support by extending the furlough scheme for a few more months and providing business rate relief, as airports in Scotland have been afforded,  for the current financial year.”


  • 10 March 2021 11:00 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Worthing council approves 2021/22 budget

    A balanced budget to help Worthing continue to grow and thrive post-COVID has been agreed by councillors.

    Worthing Borough Council approved spending plans for the next financial year last night (February 23, 2021), pledging to maintain services, support residents in need and invest in the town.

    The budget will also help deliver a series of long-term ambitions, including the regeneration of the town centre, the rollout of gigabit broadband and sustainability measures to respond to the climate emergency.

    To ensure a balanced budget and ensure the Council can support communities bounce back from the pandemic, a 2% rise in council tax - which equates to an extra 9p a week for a Band D household - was agreed.

    The spending plans include providing a range of services to support those impacted by COVID, such as wellbeing MOTs, council tax support, homelessness outreach, home adaptations and employment coaching.

    Parks and open spaces will receive major investment, funding will support leisure provision and culture, and plans to create a new NHS health hub on the civic centre car park will progress.

    To increase revenue and improve efficiencies, the authority will continue its digital transformation programme, expand its commercial activity and make prudent commercial property investments.

    Cllr Daniel Humphreys, Leader of Worthing Borough Council, said: “This budget provides certainty in a year of uncertainty. 

    “COVID has presented real challenges to all of our residents while hitting the Council’s finances hard. Despite this, we have worked with communities to respond to the pandemic, continued to provide all of our services and made real progress on delivering our long-term ambitions.

    “This balanced budget will help us continue down that path, supporting the regeneration of our town centre, deliver new high-quality NHS healthcare facilities and help us become net zero carbon by 2030.

    “We remain mindful of the financial pressures on residents which is why we have kept council tax as low as possible. 

    “The agreed budget will allow us to continue to deliver our ambitious programme ensuring that post-COVID our communities are healthier and more prosperous.”

    To view the budget papers and watch the meeting visit here.

  • 10 March 2021 10:56 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Business start-up support from West Sussex Library Service

    From Spring 2021 West Sussex Libraries will be part of the British Library Business and IP initiative

    We will be working with Brighton and Hove libraries to offer lots of new, free to access business resources from library computers, including company and market research databases.

    The range of business databases available through West Sussex Libraries now includes:

    • COBRA  - Complete Business Reference Advisor is a continually expanding business database with information about starting and running a wide range of small business types. It provides access to around 4,000 factsheets, market reports, contacts, funding resources and help and support.
    • EMIS - Emerging Market Information Service provides a unique blend of analysis, data and news on companies, industries and countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. EMIS licenses content from leading sources of company and industry intelligence, combined with a database of over 6.6 Million companies, M&A information, and country level research.
    • Kompass EasyBusiness contains information on over 43 million companies across 71 countries worldwide. You can use it to target prospects with precision, using over 100 search and selection criteria. Search locally or globally, expanding growth potential across the UK and 70 countries worldwide.
    • IBIS World provides industry market research for the UK, Ireland and general global reports featuring industry risk ratings and analysis of hundreds of industries including risk scores and revenue forecasts. It is searchable by UK Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes.
    • Grantfinder is a database for all types funding including loans, awards, and grants to help local companies succeed and grow. Local entrepreneurs can search independently through the thousands of funds available to them. These include government and regional schemes, local authority funds and prestigious business award competitions.

    During lockdown you can contact West Sussex Library Service to find out more about these databases, via:

    Email:   enquiriesteam@westsussex.gov.uk

    Web:     https://arena.westsussex.gov.uk/web/arena/currentoffer/business


  • 10 March 2021 10:49 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    The Business Hothouse support - Raising finance within your business

    It is a free, confidential, 1-2-1 (via phone, or Zoom) with any business owner across Coast to Capital region.  This session can be to discuss the questions related to business financing options, grants, support with the grant applications, support with business plan and cash flow, etc.  Event description and booking link is here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/raising-finance-within-your-business-1-2-1-sessions-tickets-108842855912


  • 10 March 2021 10:36 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    University of Chichester - Innovation South Virtual Campus

    These are free courses and cover key areas such as: 

    • Digital marketing 
    • Competitor analysis 
    • IT skills including software development and cyber security 
    • Collaborative working 
    • Web development 

    The curriculum was created by the University of Chichester’s Business School in collaboration between Sparsholt College in Hampshire, Basingstoke College of Technology, East Surrey College and Royal Holloway, University of London.

    Further information from the University of Chichester here: https://www.chi.ac.uk/news/university-launches-free-courses-help-businesses-fill-digital-skills-gap


  • 04 March 2021 3:21 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Budget 2021

    As part of the Budget, the UK Government has announced further support for you and your employees.

    Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

    The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of September 2021.

    The UK Government will continue to pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, up to the end of June 2021.

    For periods in July, CJRS grants will cover 70% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,187.50. In August and September, this will then reduce to 60% of employees’ usual wages up to a cap of £1,875.

    You will need to continue to pay your furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work during this time, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. This means, for periods between July and September, you will need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grants yourself. You can also top up wages above the 80% if you wish, but you are not required to do so.

    You must continue to pay the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions on subsidised furlough pay from your own funds.


    CJRS eligibility from May

    For periods from 1‌‌ ‌May 2021 onwards, you will be able to claim for eligible employees who were employed by you and on your PAYE payroll on 2 March 2021. This means you must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021, notifying us of earnings for that employee.

    You and your employees do not need to have benefitted from the scheme before to make a claim, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.

    For more information on the extension to the scheme and the support available, search 'Job Retention Scheme' on GOV‌‌‌.UK.


    You can now make February CJRS claims

    You can now submit your claims for periods in February. These must be made by Monday‌‌ ‌15‌‌ ‌March.

    You can claim before, during or after you process your payroll. If you can, it’s best to make a claim once you’re sure of the exact number of hours your employees worked so you don’t have to amend your claim later.

    Check if you and your employees are eligible and work out how much you can claim using our CJRS calculator and examples, by searching 'Job Retention Scheme' on GOV‌‌‌‌‌.UK.

    What you need to do now

    1. If you haven’t submitted your claim for January but believe that you have a reasonable excuse for missing the deadline of 15 February, check if you can make a late claim by searching 'claim for wages' on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK.
    2. Submit any claims for February no later than Monday‌‌ 15‌‌ March.
    3. Keep records that support the amount of CJRS grants you claim, in case HMRC need to check them. 


    VAT deferral

    If you deferred VAT payments due between 20‌‌ ‌March and 30‌‌ ‌June 2020 and still have payments to make, you should pay by 31‌‌ ‌March 2021 if you can.

    If you cannot afford to pay by 31‌‌ ‌March this year, you can now use the online VAT deferral new payment scheme to spread your payment.

    The new scheme lets you pay your deferred VAT in equal monthly instalments, interest free. You can spread your payments across a number of months depending on when you join – the earlier you join, the more months you have to spread your payments across.

    • 11 instalments if you join by 19‌‌ ‌March
    • 10 instalments if you join by 21‌‌ ‌April
    • 9 instalments if you join by 19‌‌ ‌May
    • 8 instalments if you join by 21‌‌ ‌June.

    You can join the scheme quickly and simply online without the need to call HMRC. To find out more information, including the things you need to do before joining, go to GOV‌‌‌.UK and search 'VAT deferred'.

    The online service will close on 21‌‌ ‌June 2021 – if you want to join the scheme online, you must do so before this date.

    If you’re on the VAT Annual Accounting Scheme or the VAT Payment on Account Scheme, you’ll be able to join the new payment scheme later in March. We will share more information on this shortly.

    If you have a Time to Pay arrangement already in place for your deferred VAT, you cannot use the online scheme. If you need to amend your Time to Pay arrangement, contact HMRC to do this.


    Where can I get further support?

    Thousands of people have benefitted from our webinars which offer information on the CJRS and other support, and how they apply to you. To book online, or to view updated guidance, go to GOV‌‌‌.UK and search 'help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus'. If you’re booked on a webinar but can no longer attend, please cancel your place where possible to allow space for others to register.

    Our phone lines and webchat remain very busy, so the quickest way to find the support you need is on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK. This will leave our phone lines and webchat service open for those who need them most.


    Protect yourself from scams

    As part of the Budget, the Chancellor today announced a Taxpayer Protection Taskforce to tackle the minority who deliberately claim money they’re not entitled to. If you suspect fraud, please report it using our online form. Go to GOV‌‌.UK and search 'Report fraud to HMRC' for more information.

    Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic. Search 'scams' on GOV‌.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.

    Access the National Cyber Security Centre’s guide on how to stay secure online and protect yourself and your business against cyber crime by searching 'Cyber‌‌ Aware' on GOV‌‌‌.UK.


  • 04 March 2021 12:00 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Budget Summary - Ayres Bright Vickers

    Income tax and NIC

    As previously announced, the personal allowance will increase to £12,570 for 2021/22 (currently £12,500) and the basic rate limit will increase to £37,700 for 2021/22 (currently £37,500).

    The higher rate threshold will therefore increase to £50,270 for 2021/22 (currently £50,000). This means that, for the first time, some basic rate taxpayers will be subject to the high income child benefit charge that applies to incomes over £50,000.

    The personal allowance of £12,570 and the basic rate limit of £37,700 will then be frozen until 5 April 2026 rather than increasing annually in line with inflation.

    The secondary threshold for NIC has increased slightly so that the optimum salary for 2021/22 will be £736. If you were paying £732 per month for the last tax year you should increase the salary to £736 for the first payment made at the end of April 2021.

    As the NIC Class 1 upper earnings limit and the Class 4 upper profits limit are aligned with the income tax higher rate threshold, they too increase next year to an annualised level of £50,270 and will be caught up in the freeze.

    These thresholds and rates apply to the UK, save that those for non-savings and non-dividend income for Scottish taxpayers are set by the Scottish Parliament.

    Other personal taxes

    Also frozen to 5 April 2026 are the:

    • capital gains tax annual exempt amount of £12,300 for individuals, personal representatives and some types of trusts for disabled people, and £6,150 for trustees of most settlements.
    • pension lifetime allowance at £1,073,100; and
    • inheritance tax nil rate band (NRB) of £325,000 and the IHT residence NRB of £175,000. The tapering of the residence NRB will continue for estates worth more than £2m.

    Business taxes

    Frozen on the business front until 31 March 2024 are VAT registration and deregistration thresholds. This means:

    • the taxable turnover threshold which determines whether a person must be registered for VAT will remain at £85,000; and 
    • the taxable turnover threshold which determines whether a person may apply for deregistration will remain at £83,000.

    Corporate taxes

    The main rate of corporation tax will rise from 19% to 25% in April 2023.

    Only the largest 10% of companies will be affected by this increase as the existing 19% rate will be retained for small businesses with annual taxable profits of up to £50,000. Companies with profits between £50,000 and £250,000 will pay tax at the main rate reduced by a marginal relief providing a gradual increase in the effective corporation tax rate.

    In the short term (the two years from 1 April 2021), the Chancellor hopes to stimulate investment by providing a “super deduction” of 130% of eligible expenditure by companies on qualifying plant and machinery. This will generate a reduction in tax of 24.7p for every £1 spent. Expenditure on special rate assets (eg, hot and cold water systems and other “integral assets”) will attract a 50% rate and a 9.5p tax reduction.

    There is more good news for companies and unincorporated businesses making trading losses in 2020/21 and/or 2021/22. They will be able to carry back these losses for up to three years to offset against taxable profits (for companies) or net income (for individuals) in those years on a last in first out basis.

    Other

    Meanwhile, frozen until 5 April 2022 (throughout the UK) are the:

    • band of savings income that is subject to the 0% starting rate  – unchanged at £5,000;
    • adult ISA annual subscription limit - unchanged at £20,000;
    • annual subscription limit for Junior ISAs - unchanged at £9,000; and
    • annual subscription limit for Child Trust Funds - unchanged at £9,000.

    Finally, as announced by the Chancellor in his speech, there will once again be no increases in alcohol and fuel duties. 

    https://www.ayresbrightvickers.co.uk/


  • 26 February 2021 10:53 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Worthing Business Supports Local Mental Health Charity by Funding 250 Care Packages for Carers in Worthing

    Back in June 2020 Electronic Temperature Instruments Ltd (ETI), a Worthing based manufacturing business decided to join millions of others around the country to help raise money for the NHS, who have been, and still are under huge pressure since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Using their flagship product, the Thermapen digital food thermometer to promote their fundraising initiative, ETI were delighted to launch a limited number of ‘Rainbow’ Thermapens.  A donation of £10 from each sale since the launch has meant they have been able to raise £5,000 for their chosen NHS charity, Heads On.

    Heads On is the official charity of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides specialist NHS mental health and learning disability services and support for people of all ages across Sussex, and for children and young people in Hampshire. One in four people will be affected by mental health issues in their lifetime and the ongoing Covid pandemic is having a huge impact on many people.  For this reason, ETI have teamed up with Heads On who will work in partnership with Carers Support West Sussex, a local agency supporting carers in Worthing.  ETI’s donation has funded a well-deserved care package for over 250 local carers and these will be delivered by a team of incredible volunteers on Friday 26th February.  

    Jason Webb – Operations Director at ETI said “Even before the pandemic hit, the reasons for investing in this kind of support were obvious, however, Covid-19 has intensified the existing crisis in mental health.  As a business we wanted to do something to recognise the local carers and volunteers who continue to show such tremendous dedication during challenging times.  The care packages are a small gesture which we hope will convey our thanks and recognition for the work they do. Without the ongoing care and support of these carers, many in our local community would really suffer.”

    Rachael Duke, Head of Charity for Heads On commented “During this lockdown, and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, carers of people with mental health problems, learning disabilities or dementia have continuously put their loved ones before themselves, facing the challenges of disrupted support networks alongside the anxieties and loss of routine we have all faced. We are so grateful to ETI for recognising this and working with us to provide carers in Worthing with a care pack of goodies to encourage them to take some time for themselves and feel appreciated for everything they are doing.”

    Heads On rely on the generosity of the local community to continue with their Covid-19 response, supporting people who are most affected by the pandemic. If you would like to make a donation or get involved with fundraising please visit www.headsoncharity.org  


  • 25 February 2021 2:43 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Shoreham Port are hiring! - Operations Manager

    Shoreham Port is currently looking to recruit an engaging and proactive Operations Manager to join the Port’s busy operational team. The successful candidate will be responsible for ensuring the safe and efficient turnaround of vessels and terminal facilities. This role is an integral part of the management team and will lead the Port Supervisors and colleagues to continually improve and enhance our operation to ensure we meet and exceed our customer requirements.

    If you are a hands-on operations professional who enjoys variety and thrives in a fast-paced, rewarding environment this could be the role for you.

     Key tasks and responsibilities

    You will be good at organising as you will be planning the daily management of our ship’s operations, terminal activity as well as managing the roster and labour allocation.

    You will be able to demonstrate a proven track record of working safely in a busy, commercial environment

    You will enjoy coaching and leading the front-line Supervisors and Port Operatives to deliver great service

    You will be good with numbers as you will be managing costs, whilst optimising efficiency.

    You will be a role model focusing on making continuous improvements to our customer service, quality, and efficiency.

    You will be comfortable working with risk assessments, safe systems of working and Health & Safety best practice.

    You will be experienced in assessing training needs and implementing appropriate plans to bridge the gap.

    Click here to read the job advert. 

    Click here to read the job description.

    Click here for the application form. 


  • 18 February 2021 3:59 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Secure the future of Ropetackle Arts Centre

    Support Ropetackle’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and secure the future of Adur’s cultural and community hub.

    Since opening in 2007, Ropetackle Arts Centre has become a vibrant cultural space for the people of Adur and beyond. A registered charity staffed almost entirely by volunteers, we are an arts and community venue, working closely with local schools and colleges, theatre companies, businesses, and many other organisations to bring the widest range of arts activities to as many people as possible.

    Why are we crowdfunding?

    Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we have suffered substantial loss including 70% of our income and two thirds of our seated capacity. We are hugely grateful for the support we have already received – from the community, from government, Adur District Council, and from Arts Council England – but to survive this crisis and secure our future, we do still need your help.

    A safe space open against the odds.

    Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we reopened against the odds to successfully deliver a safe and socially distanced programme from August to December 2020. We partnered with local arts organisations, supported local artists, and provided vital work for our freelance workforce.

    We were one of just a handful of venues across the country to stage a Christmas pantomime, entertaining hundreds of families, and offering free tickets to NHS workers and vulnerable groups.

    Plus, our fantastic volunteers rose to the challenge of providing a safe and secure Ropetackle experience, with 95% of attendees feeling safe, and show capacities averaging 80-95%.

    “Everything had been thought of in relation to Covid safety measures. The staff/volunteers were well briefed and very friendly. The layout was excellent, and the surroundings were clean and comfortable. The pantomime itself was absolutely incredible.”

    “We felt so safe we went home and booked more events!”

    The latest lockdown forced us to cut short our Christmas pantomime and cancel/postpone many shows scheduled for 2021.

    We want to build on the work we started in 2020: reopening against the odds and serving the community with safe and uplifting arts experiences. We are also working on an accessible online digital programme.

    “I was so grateful [Ropetackle] was open. I didn’t mind wearing a mask. It meant a lot to be back in the theatre.”

    Your donation will help us get through this current period of closure, reopen as soon as we can, work with local artists, support local freelancers, and secure the future of arts and culture for the people of Adur and beyond.

    Please donate, share this page widely, and do what you can to help Ropetackle survive this crisis.

    https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/secure-the-future-of-ropetackle-arts-centre



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Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce is the trading name of Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce & Industry Ltd.
Company registered in England & Wales. Company number: 00345261.  
VAT No: 275 6477 60
Registered Office: Sphere Business Centre, Broadwater Road, Worthing,
West Sussex BN14 8HJ
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