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Issue:- 07/08 October 2009


A surprising 60%* of small businesses in the North West feel the recession has made their business more efficient, and experience other positives including a greater focus on customer service (37%) according to new research conducted as part of the Barclays Take One Small Step Campaign.

The research reveals the unexpectedly mixed impact of the recession. While a perhaps unsurprising 46% of North West businesses have seen their working hours increase, and 19% have seen recession-related redundancies, 21% of local businesses are reporting improvements to their business strategy.

Steve Cooper, Managing Director for Barclays Local Business said:- "This research gives us the clearest understanding yet as to how small businesses are coping with the recession and, clearly, businesses are finding the upside of adversity wherever they can.

North West firms have taken a pragmatic approach by tackling head-on the big challenges such as improving their business strategy, increasing innovation and focusing on their employees. Lessons have been learnt and I am sure in some cases the hard way."

Encouragingly, more than a quarter of local businesses surveyed (27%) believe they have not been affected by the recession.

When asked to rank the potential impact of a raft of changes on their business rather than consider wage reductions or job losses, there was a clear focus on recovering debts and receiving prompt payment of invoices. A drop in fuel duty was actually seen as the change which would have the single biggest impact on businesses in the North West.

Cooper said:- "Almost a third of businesses (32%) claim the recession has made them chase late payments more vigorously, or prevented them from allowing suppliers to pay late. This chimes with what we know through the popularity of our CreditFocus service. Since we launched our service last year, it's been used for hundreds of thousands of credit checks, which is one of the key ways that businesses prevent late payments."

When asked how they would spend a hypothetical £100K cash injection:-

· 34% of business owners said they would move or expand to new facilities, possibly taking advantage of low property prices

· 31% would focus on clearing debts

· 27% would love to increase their marketing spend

Regional figures reveal attitudes towards the recession in some of the UK's largest towns and cities. Liverpool and Bolton overall felt least negatively impacted. In fact, 38 per cent claim either no ill effects or a positive experience of the recession. This is compared to Swansea and Cardiff where the figure drops to 14 and 18 per cent respectively.

The full figures per city that felt no impact or a positive effect of the recession are as follows:-

City Percentage
Bolton 38%
Liverpool 38%
Bristol 36%
Cambridge 36%
Norwich 36%
Bournemouth 34%
Peterborough 34%
Wrexham 32%
Coventry 28%
Manchester 28%
Sheffield 28%
Newcastle 26%
Birmingham 26%
Brighton 24%
Nottingham 22%
Southampton 22%
Cardiff 18%
Leeds 18%
Portsmouth 18%
Swansea 14%

Background information:-

- * The research sample was drawn at random from a business database with quotas set for location (50) and sector (7)

- 1000 respondents participated in the research between 26th August and 9th September 2009

- Respondents were qualified as being owners, directors and decision-makers. Businesses were qualified as having fewer than 250 staff


MERSEYSIDE Police are asking to the public to exercise caution following the theft of a van on Tuesday, 6 October 2009, containing a large quantity of prescription drugs.

The van, which was a white Renault Kangoo van, registered CK56 XZC, was stolen from Heydale Road in Mossley Hill at 11.45am this morning.

On board were two prescriptions due to be delivered containing the following:-

168 Metformin 500mg tablets. These are for diabetes and are large and round and white in colour

28 Doxasin 4mg Heart tablets (small white oblong tablets)

28 Ramipril 10mg Blood pressure tablets (white/Blue capsule's)

28 Aspirin 75mg tablets (white round tablets)

28 Atordastatin Cholesterol tablets (large white oval tablets)

28 Furosemide 40mg water tablets (small white round tablets)

50 Cocodamol 500mg tablets (large white round tablets)

40 Felodipine 10 mg Blood Pressure tablets (red/brown round tablets)

28 Balfartan 80 mg Blood Pressure tablets (peach/White capsules)

84 Dosulbpin 75mg anti depressant tablets (red and round tablets)

112 Sandok 600mg tablets for potassium levels (soluble tablets in 5 x tubes of 20)

If these drugs are taken inappropriately they could prove very dangerous and Merseyside Police would like to remind members of the public of the dangers of taking drugs prescribed for someone else. Anyone finding any of the medication is urged to contact their nearest police station.

Merseyside Police would also like anyone who has information about the theft of the van to contact officers at Admiral Street Police Station on:- 0151 777 5394.


THE illustrious Russian State Ballet Academy of Perm will embark upon its first-ever national tour of the UK, enchanting audiences with the enduring and ever-popular ballet, The Nutcracker, presented by Amande Concerts UK.

A Yule-tide favourite amongst audiences, Tchaikovsky’s ballet, The Nutcracker is based on the story ‘The Nutcracker and the King of Mice’ written by E.T.A Hoffman. It tells the tale of a young and rather dejected little girl named Marie, who is given the gift of a Nutcracker doll by her Uncle Drosslemeyer. In an eccentric dreamscape, little Marie adventures with the Nutcracker – now a Prince – in the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets; battling with a mouse king, dancing with snow flakes and falling in love along the way.

Choreographed by Tolstukhin Vladimir, this spellbinding ballet is vividly brought to life on stage by 40 talented young dancers of the Russian State Ballet Academy of Perm, in a performance that captures the refinement and charm of this classical Russian ballet.

Also home to ballet’s pre-eminent geniuses, Peter I. Tchaikovsky and Serge Diaghlev, Perm itself is a beautiful city (population; one million) situated on the banks of the Kama River, beneath the Ural Mountains. The Russian Ballet Academy of Perm is one of the most prestigious of Russian ballet schools, basking in a worldwide reputation for excellence; its graduates having spread across the globe captivating audiences from America and Australia, to Ireland and Japan with their high level of artistic skill. Many of the ballerinas trained in Perm continue to dance in Moscow theatres, the Bolshoi and Kreml Theatre. Famous names born of training through the Academy include the legendary Nadezhda Pavlova, Galina Ragoshina-Panova, Lyubov Kunakova, Galina Shlyapina, Olga Tchentchikova, Marat Daukayev, Svetlana Smirnova and Ludmila Vasilyeva. Particularly gifted Perm students are invited by renowned ballet masters of the capital to strengthen their own dancing teams, even before they have finished school.

The Nutcracker score features the ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ and many other familiar favourites, certain to delight both ballet and classical enthusiasts alike and is an absolute must for those looking for something to brighten those dreary winter evening’s.

The Nutcracker will be performing at the Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, on Friday, 6 November 2009 – to book tickets, contact the Box Office on:- 0151 666 0000 or, for more details, visit:-

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