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Issue:- 10 March 2010

Public sector cuts could leave North West exposed

THE latest ICAEW/Grant Thornton UK Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) reveals the potential fallout from government cuts as business confidence in the region is shaken.  The North West recorded a confidence index score of 4.4 in Q1 of 2011, which is significantly down from last quarter when it stood at 18.1. This is against the backdrop of public sector cuts which estimate 10,000 jobs will be lost in the region over the next two years.  Firms supplying the public sector are already bracing themselves for reduced demand as government spending cuts hit. The North West is particularly exposed to the fallout from fiscal tightening, as government expenditure accounts for 56.9% of economic output in the region.

Jan McDermott, President of the Liverpool Society of Chartered Accountants, said:- “Employment growth has been negative for the ninth consecutive quarter signalling continued weakness in the region’s labour market. In light of public sector job losses measures must be taken to stimulate growth in the private sector to avoid increases in overall unemployment. The ICAEW will be doing everything it can to ensure a business led recovery and is lobbying the coalition government to ensure that when the budget is delivered later this month it is business friendly.”

David Grundy, managing partner for Grant Thornton in the North West, said:- “It is important not to generalise about the impact of public sector cuts or the economic landscape we are in now. Consumer demand is somewhat fragile and threats to jobs are bound to knock confidence, but key financial indicators for many businesses, not least turnover and profit, have actually continued to strengthen through 2010. Many businesses have already come through the worst and are in good shape to move forward. Like us, they will be keen for the Bank of England to keep interest rates low to maintain this growth.”

Encouragingly the rate of growth is expected to continue to improve over the coming 12 months in the North West, albeit at sluggish rates compared to those typically recorded before the financial crisis. Turnover is expected to increase by 3.5% over the coming 12 months, while gross profits and sales volumes are expected to rise by 3.5% and 4.0% respectively.  The latest results of the ICAEW/Grant Thornton BCM were revealed at a breakfast event held at Grant Thornton’s Manchester office on Wednesday, 9 March 2011. This included updates from Robin Fieth, ICAEW Executive Director for Finance and Operations, who outlined the latest BCM results; Simon Caunt, the Bank of England’s Deputy Agent for the North West, who gave a snapshot on the latest thinking on the economy and Paul Horan, a Senior Manager at Grant Thornton, who gave an update on pension reform.  Further information on the ICAEW/Grant Thornton BCM breakfast briefing is available on request.


UNISON is claiming a victory over the NHS “privatisation tax”, after the Government withdrew damaging plans to allow private companies to be paid more than NHS hospitals for delivering the same services.  

The plans would have allowed private companies to get a premium for delivering services to patients, as a way of expanding their share of the NHS.  Government documents suggested that this premium could have been as high as 14% more than the NHS gets. An amendment to the Government’s own Health & Social Care Bill will now end this move. 

This latest u-turn comes hot on the heels of health secretary Andrew Lansley’s announcement, that price competition will no longer a part of the government’s wholesale plans to break up the

NHS. Karen Jennings, UNISON’s Head of Health, said:- “These plans amounted to little more than a privatisation tax, with the taxpayer’s pound being used to line the pockets of company shareholders, as they bid to unravel our NHS.   Since the Health and Social Care Bill appeared in January 2011, UNISON had been demanding that this section is removed.  The government have finally seen sense on this issue, but now they must rid themselves of the rest of the market free for all set out in the Bill.”

Local therapist meets new national standards

A Rodney Street based sports therapist has achieved a new national standard for his therapy.  Marcus Croman has been registered by the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), the government backed UK regulatory body for complementary healthcare practitioners.   The recognition places him at the forefront of a national drive to provide a benchmark for standards and safety for the public. Practitioners registered with the CNHC meet national occupational standards and abide by a rigorous code of conduct, performance and ethics.   Marcus said:- “Achieving CNHC registration is not only great news for me and my clients, but a vital step for sports therapy.”

Sports therapy is a combination of advanced massage techniques, soft tissue manipulation, stretching and exercise. It is often used to reduce the recovery time from injury. It is also used in the effective treatment of some of the following conditions: carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injury, sciatic pain, joint and back pain as well as whiplash to name but a few. For more details please call Marcus or check out:-

Marcus added that:- “sports therapy is one of 11 disciplines now recognised by the CNHC. Members of the public can search the CNHC register to find practitioners in their local area. More than 40,000 searches have been carried out so far this year. By providing a verification of standards, the CNHC allows GPs, hospitals, private healthcare providers and insurance companies to refer patients, with confidence, to practitioners of sports therapy or to make the therapy more readily available in health centres, clinics, doctors’ surgeries and hospitals.”

For further information, please contact: Marcus at the Rodney St clinic on:- 0151 708 6325 or via:- email Also office and home appointments can bee booked via:- 07870382109.


It’s mentor be

BUSINESS leaders are being asked to share their expertise with budding entrepreneurs. Stepclever, which helps start up businesses and existing organisations in North Liverpool and South Sefton grow and develop, has set up the Business Mentoring Project and is on the hunt for existing businessmen and women to become mentors to people setting up their own company.  The mentors will work with individuals to shape their ideas and test it out with potential investors, customers and suppliers so they are ready to launch their business. They will also help to secure the required investment and give advice on how to maintain a successful company.   Essential support will be given to new entrepreneurs, or people who are looking to grow their organisation, throughout the process, with mentors using their existing contacts to help make the business a success.  A group of mentees have already taken part in the first phase of the project. This involved an 8 week course (3 hours a week) covering subjects such as problem solving and effective communication. As part of this, the group were matched with mentors who offered support which ranged from ad hoc support via email right through to weekly or monthly advice.   Following the sessions, there was a huge amount of positive feedback. Comments included:- “I have learnt to look at different business ideas and think about how if will help me succeed. The course has made me question myself and think about the things I want to do in the future and how to go about it. The sessions have allowed us to think and define our ideas for business.”

Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for employment and skills, Councillor Nick Small, said:- “This initiative is the perfect way for people starting out in business to learn from experts who will be on hand to give business advice which could be essential to the success of new organisations. We’ve already had a great response from people offering to become mentors, but we would like even more professionals to volunteer their services and give something back to the community. It will give people the confidence and the skills to succeed in the business and vital support to help their company survive during this difficult financial climate.”

The Stepclever team are looking for mentors who can offer advice on areas such as ICT, marketing, counselling, HR, law, procurement and self employment.  In return for the support, all companies involved in the project, will be promoted via the Stepclever website, and will be linked into a series of unique networking opportunities.  Anyone who is interested or would like to know more can contact Stepclever Project Manager Carly Phillips on:- 07581 569835.

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