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Chichester Chamber Blog

In My View...The Living Wage and Business

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, August 13, 2015

The recent Budget Review signposted the introduction of the national living wage (£7.20 in 2016 rising to £9.35 in 2020). The introduction of the living wage is foremost a reflection of the core values of a business and there is little to criticise.

Introducing it from the first day of starting a business in high salaried sectors such as finance and technology may be easy or even academic. But realistically, these sectors are unlikely to need it. However the lower salaried sectors in our area such as hospitality, care, horticulture and retail may find even the gradual introduction challenging. The direct financial cost to business is undeniable. Benefits of the living wage that should be considered include reductions in staff turnover, improvements in staff morale, recruitment opportunities and reputation. However, the cost increases will be direct in terms of those below living wage gaining an immediate increase and indirect in the form of  pressure from employees above the living wage rate seeking to maintain wage rate differentials. Pay scales at the lower end of the spectrum will need to be adjusted to maintain incentives and progression and mitigation strategies of these cost increases, if viewed simplistically, will likely be through price increases and possible job cuts. Not a good state of affairs for business... Or the economy. In addition, one of the big conundrums of the British economy is the high employment levels, lower investment levels and relatively low productivity, which is approximately 30% lower when compared our major overseas competitor nations (France, Germany and USA). Considerable debate about the reasons for this is currently taking place in Government and among economists. The reasons suggested are numerous but, in my view, two factors linked to the living wage debate could be considered. These are, that adequately paid workers tend to work harder as poor pay does not create a motivated workforce and if labour costs you more, management will make more efficient use of it through investment in technology, new equipment  and improved ways of working. Food for thought for the next couple of years…

Alan Edmonds - Deputy Chair, Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Director, IMPROBIZ   

In My View...The Living Wage and Business

Thursday, August 13, 2015
The recent Budget Review signposted the introduction of the national living wage (£7.20 in 2016 rising to £9.35 in 2020). The introduction of the living wage is foremost a reflection of the core values of a business and there is little to criticise. Introducing it from the first ..

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In my view...Good candidates cannot afford Chichester

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, July 16, 2015

I have to say that I have been surprised by our recent recruitment process at the Chamber of Commerce to appoint a Business Development Director. If, you believe all you read in the media you might think that an advertisement for a well-paid strategic role such as ours would result in ‘Full Monty’ style lines of applicants up and down North Street.

But whilst we have received applications from really strong, high calibre candidates it has highlighted to me that the continuing affordability issue of living in and around Chichester has probably led to a dramatic reduction in the number of potential candidates.

The reality is because of housing prices, the demographic of Chichester is ageing with more people choosing to retire here or finish their working careers locally. The impact is that there appears to be less career minded people of working age. Our role, anywhere else, would represent a good salary, but in Chichester you would still need to borrow 12 times the salary to afford the average house price – and that is based on 2013 figures! 

I am aware that there are more affordable settlements outside of the City, but then you have to factor in travel costs or parking which can swipe £500-£1,000 out of your net pay. There comes a point whereby it is easier to turn the opposite way out of your drive and go to Portsmouth or Worthing for work – and maybe even property, where the salary to house price ratio is more palatable.

If I am right and we are pricing good people out of the area, I wonder what our location’s economic offerings will look like by 2025? We could embrace the opportunity of our location and elements to become a world leader in green energy innovation, science, manufacturing and agriculture or, if we carry on as we are, just be a collection of one-man-band businesses in the service sector.

I know which I would prefer to see.

Nicki Paddy, Treasurer, Chichester Chamber of Commerce, Director, Nicki Paddy & Co

In my view...Good candidates cannot afford Chichester

Thursday, July 16, 2015
I have to say that I have been surprised by our recent recruitment process at the Chamber of Commerce to appoint a Business Development Director. If, you believe all you read in the media you might think that an advertisement for a well-paid strategic role such as ours would result in ‘Ful ..

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In my view....Chambers of Commerce could be supported better…

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, June 18, 2015

Since starting as Business Development Manager at Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry 11 years ago, there have been some incredible changes.

Gone are the days that a local Chamber of Commerce is just involved in recruiting members, running events and dealing with local issues, (although this is still a fundamental part of our role).    Chambers have grown, our roles have expanded county-wide, we get involved in key decisions and projects, run joint ventures, deliver services and training, but we still work on limited resources and next to no funding.

In some countries, Chambers of Commerce have a statutory role in registering companies, similar to Companies House; in the Gulf, they actually perform a role similar to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and even issue the permits to trade.

What a pity that this is not the case in the UK. It is almost inconceivable that central government will change the relationship so as to empower UK Chambers of Commerce to act in the way that they act in other countries.  One suspects that this would be strongly resisted by the commercial sector as an unnecessary bureaucratic insertion into their normal commercial activities.  However, it would certainly help raise the profile of Chambers in general and make them a more respected and appreciated body if they did – it could even help to establish better governance and standards of practice in business.

Michael Heseltine’s recent white paper quoted:

It is important that local people are themselves satisfied that they have, in their areas, the quality of leadership needed for a real economic partnership with Whitehall. The LEPs and chambers are essential building blocks in our competitiveness agenda. Without such local empowerment we will not transform our national performance.

After 11 years of working at Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry, I have decided to move on to pastures new and will be leaving in the late summer.  I hope that businesses continue to join and appreciate how important it is to have a local Chamber of Commerce.  That they can be vital for influencing, delivering business support and training, networking and generally keeping the local economic wheels turning.  I would urge LEPs and Councils to recognise that a lot of work is done by very few – many of them volunteers - and that some sort of assistance would be welcomed to ensure that they remain in place for a long time to come.

Julie Harrison - Business Development Manager, Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry

In my view....Chambers of Commerce could be supported better…

Thursday, June 18, 2015
Since starting as Business Development Manager at Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry 11 years ago, there have been some incredible changes. Gone are the days that a local Chamber of Commerce is just involved in recruiting members, running events and dealing with local issues, (altho ..

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In my view… Zero Hours Contracts have some good points, too…

Office Chichester Chamber - Friday, May 15, 2015

The controversial zero-hours contracts headlined in the run up to the election, with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealing that around 1.4 million UK workers were on these employment agreements between late January and early February 2014.

With the elections highlighting their existence, these contracts have become a hot topic, but what positives and negatives do they offer?Why they’re a good thing Despite claims that the employment agreements are "exploitative" and create insecurity, job satisfaction among zero-hours workers is surprisingly higher than other employees. A Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) study found that zero-hours workers, when compared to average UK employees, are just as satisfied with their job (60% versus 59%), happier with work-life balance (65% vs 58%) and less likely to claim being treated unfairly by their organisation (27% vs 29%). The CIPD survey also found that two thirds of employers (66%) highlighted their need for flexibility in response to fluctuations in demand.

Why they’re not so good… The House of Commons' Scottish Affairs Committee believes the majority of zero-hours contracts should be abolished since "unscrupulous" businesses take advantage of such agreements.  The MP’s report found that 20% of zero hours terms workers are paid less than permanent equivalents doing the same job. One of the main criticisms of zero-hours contracts is the exclusivity clause, when an employee is not guaranteed hours and cannot work for a separate firm. The CIPD survey found that one in five zero-hours workers say they are occasionally penalised if not available for work.  The research also found that almost half of zero-hours workers say they receive no notice at all or find out at the beginning of an expected shift that work has been cancelled. Former Business Secretary Vince Cable suggested that exclusivity clauses should be banned and the ban is included in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill currently before Parliament. Whatever your opinion of zero-hours contracts, they have helped businesses cope with the slow climb back up to recruiting in the last couple of years and they are likely here to stay. But, it must be in the business interest, in terms of staff motivation and performance, to ensure that as far as possible, all employment agreements suit both parties.

Alan Edmonds, Vice-Chair - Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry and IMPROBIZ  

In my view… Zero Hours Contracts have some good points, too…

Friday, May 15, 2015
The controversial zero-hours contracts headlined in the run up to the election, with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealing that around 1.4 million UK workers were on these employment agreements between late January and early February 2014. With the elections highlighting their e ..

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In My View… Nothing can sit still if it expects to thrive

Office Chichester Chamber - Friday, April 17, 2015

I have been a member of Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry too many years to count! During this time I have seen many changes, visited places in the area I might not have done and gained invaluable support and advice. But now, it is time to step down.

When I joined I didn’t know what to expect and it was difficult at first - as a small family business we didn’t have the opportunity to mix with other business people. But we were made very welcome and picked up some business tips and met other like-minded business people. During the recession, I was amazed by how much support there was among Chamber members; providing each other with advice and ideas.

The meetings have changed over time, now offering more networking, a practical business gem every month and everything has to be booked in advance now! But all of this is in response to our members and encourages us to check who is attending the meetings and decide whom you would like to meet.

As a Director on the Board and previously as an Executive Committee member, I have been involved with Chichester City Centre Partnership and the Business Improvement District (BID) since its inception.  I personally care passionately about Chichester, having lived here since 1957. Over this time there have been great changes in the city, as there have in every other town and city – most of the changes coming from us and how we use our city. The areas with BIDs are in a unique position, far more readily available to flex and change as demands requires. No town or city can sit still or it will go into decline as we have seen elsewhere in the country – and it’s been the same with the Chamber of Commerce; we all need to constantly evolve and be willing to accept change and challenge

During my time on the BID Board which is entirely made up of volunteers, the biggest challenge we’ve faced is other agencies not working together within this new and modern era. Very frustrating. If we want to continue enjoying a vibrant city we need to modernise and speed up the process – all the way from the idea, through planning, to completion.

It was only on reflection that I realised the parallels between the Chamber of Commerce and Chichester City Centre. Both fabulous entities which are embracing change, albeit one slightly more slowly than the other! However, I very much look forward to seeing the Chamber and our City move forward in a positive way to embrace the changing times we live in.

Gloria Robinson, CCCI Director, and Tawny Nursery

In My View… Nothing can sit still if it expects to thrive

Friday, April 17, 2015
I have been a member of Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry too many years to count! During this time I have seen many changes, visited places in the area I might not have done and gained invaluable support and advice. But now, it is time to step down. When I joined I didn’t know  ..

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In My View… District Council should be supporting the Business Improvement District more!

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, March 26, 2015

Businesses in Chichester, as everywhere else, pay Business Rates to the local authority.  The level of business rates is staggering – in many businesses it is the biggest overhead following rent and salaries.

So what do businesses get for their money?  Surely they get their bins emptied?  No.  Do they get subsidised parking? No.  Streamlined planning applications?  No.  In fact they get nothing directly – the money goes into both the local authorities’ and the Government’s general tax pot.  Business rates are no more than a tax on every business which occupies a property.

In Chichester, businesses within the City walls have to pay an additional levy for the Business Improvement District (BID), as more and more areas are seeing.  This is a percentage of the business rates which is charged on top and is paid to the City Centre Partnership for improvements within the City walls. In total they had an income in 2013/2014 of £273,000, of which 98% was collected from local businesses. 

So how did they spend all this money?  Well, £80,000 went on Marketing and Promoting Chichester, which included the delivery of events throughout the year and the installation of the City’s Christmas lights; £74,000 on Organising the City which included working with local authorities on improving signage and way finding in Chichester, £59,000 went on Environmental Improvements including tidying and refurbishing our streetscape and £35,000 on improving safety in Chichester with ChiBAC.

Aren’t these all things which should be done by the local authority?  In my view, yes – as a small business without high street frontage, we get little directly in return for our levy.  However, the reality is that in this age of austerity these things are not provided by the local authority and so the City Centre Partnership steps in.

Here’s my gripe. As the role of the City Centre Partnership is arguably to take on projects which the local authority should be providing, one would hope that the two work in harmony.  Not always, alas. The City Centre Partnership’s attempts to replace finger posts and A-board signage in the City are stuck in Chichester District Council’s (CDC) planning department. Chichester Market is under threat by CDC and the BID has had to shout very loudly to encourage a popular survey to be carried out to understand what Cicestrians and businesses really want.

Surely, if we have to have yet another body to administer our hard earned money, we have a right to expect it to work together with the myriad of other authorities for our benefit? You helped to put it there, CDC, so let’s see you supporting it! 

Peter Stevens CCCI Director, Director and co-founder of Pure Employment Law

In My View… District Council should be supporting the Business Improvement District more!

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Businesses in Chichester, as everywhere else, pay Business Rates to the local authority. The level of business rates is staggering – in many businesses it is the biggest overhead following rent and salaries. So what do businesses get for their money? Surely they get their bins empti ..

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Chichester business is playing to win with the help of the Business Navigator Scheme

Office Chichester Chamber - Friday, February 27, 2015

The Business Navigator scheme is helping businesses across the area, and it’s not just for start-ups. Established family business Game Set and Match has also found invaluable guidance and support. Run by Rebecca Stemp, her brother and father, the company specialises in the manufacture and sale of sports clothing and equipment for hockey, cricket, bowls, rugby and racquet sports, as well as providing training space for hire. 

Chichester Chamber of Commerce has joined forces with Worthing & Adur and Brighton & Hove Chambers to offer the Business Navigator service, which signposts local businesses towards grants, funding and guidance available locally or nationally. The project is supported by the Regional Growth Fund and managed by Coast to Capital and the new Greater Brighton City Region. Since the project launched in July 2014, Chichester area Business Support Navigator Kerry Kyriacou has been helping local businesses to find the right support for them.

Kerry supported Rebecca and the team in completing a Be The Business funding application, earmarked for computer and staff training systems, embroidery software and support for taking on apprentices. Rebecca says, ‘If we’re successful, it will have a major impact on our business. We’ll be able to do some of the things we’ve been talking about implementing for ages, such as taking on an apprentice.’

She adds, ‘It’s really exciting, as going through the application process with Kerry’s support has made my brother and me realise just how hands-on we are. With the potential systems and training we could take on through this funding, we can then focus on our overall business plan and direction. We’re not just a retail outlet anymore, and this funding could help us do so much more.’

Score some points for your business, and get in touch with Kerry today.

Kerry Kyriacou can be contacted at Kerry.kyriacou@c2cbusiness.org.uk or on 07823 411323

Chichester business is playing to win with the help of the Business Navigator Scheme

Friday, February 27, 2015
The Business Navigator scheme is helping businesses across the area, and it’s not just for start-ups. Established family business Game Set and Match has also found invaluable guidance and support. Run by Rebecca Stemp, her brother and father, the company specialises in the manufacture and  ..

Read More

In My View… Everyone should be entering the business awards

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, February 19, 2015

Do you want free PR for your business?  Do you want to raise your company profile?  Do you want to recognise the brilliant contribution made by your staff?  Do you want to tell the world how great your company is?  If your answer is ‘yes’ (and of course it is), then I have a simple answer for you: enter the Observer Business Awards.  It really is a fantastic way to boost your company.

Having been a judge for the awards four times in recent years, I have been able to see first-hand how businesses have benefitted not just from winning the awards, but also just by entering the competition.  The process of submitting an entry, when done properly, really brings focus and makes you think clearly and deeply about what you do well in your business, what makes you stand out, how you are perceived by your customers and the difference made by your staff when they are engaged, enthusiastic and committed.

We are very lucky that the Chichester area can boast some exceptional enterprises, large and small, which does mean that you will face competition, but do you feel strongly enough about your business to believe it is the best in its class?  Getting a call from the team at the Observer to advise that you’ve been nominated by someone is a nice compliment, but to win you need to put in a submission; just being nominated doesn’t guarantee you’re in the running!

Certainly include testimonials and laurels from your customers, but back them up with your own information describing your business, how and why you do what you do so well and what makes your company outstanding.  Just sending in a thick tome of printouts from your website and brochures isn’t going to convince the judges you are anything other than lazy!  You need to sell it to them, so don’t be backwards in coming forwards and sing your own praises in your own words.  Think about whom you might be up against and explain why you are outstanding in your category.

I have seen some companies absolutely flourish after being voted Winner or being Highly Commended, with much coverage before and especially after the awards, which is why I really do recommend entering.  There really is nothing to lose and so much to gain.

Farid Ahmed, Director Wolf Unique & Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry

In My View… Everyone should be entering the business awards

Thursday, February 19, 2015
Do you want free PR for your business? Do you want to raise your company profile? Do you want to recognise the brilliant contribution made by your staff? Do you want to tell the world how great your company is? If your answer is ‘yes’ (and of course it is), then I have a simple a ..

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Business Navigator offers signposting and mentoring to Sussex HR Hub

Office Chichester Chamber - Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Dianne Lambdin found support offered through the Business Navigator Scheme invaluable during the early months of starting up her new business, Sussex HR Hub.

Sussex HR Hub helps businesses look after their staff from recruitment to retirement and everything in between. The company helps clients dispel the myths of employment law, cut through red tape and get the most from their staff. Business Support Navigator Kerry Kyriacou signposted Dianne to mentoring support with Enterprise First which will help her develop her client base and take her business to the next level. 

Chichester Chamber of Commerce has joined forces with Worthing & Adur and Brighton & Hove Chambers to offer this free service, which signposts local businesses towards grants, funding and guidance available locally or nationally. The project is supported by the Regional Growth Fund, managed by Coast to Capital and delivered on behalf of the Greater Brighton City Region.

Dianne says, ‘Kerry has helped me realise what I need to focus on; teasing out the detail of where I need to be. His objectivity and positive approach is truly motivating - his own enthusiasm rubs off on the people he works with.’

If you’re a local business needing some support to grow and go further, call Kerry today.

Kerry Kyriacou can be contacted at Kerry.kyriacou@c2cbusiness.org.uk or on 07823 411323

Business Navigator offers signposting and mentoring to Sussex HR Hub

Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Dianne Lambdin found support offered through the Business Navigator Scheme invaluable during the early months of starting up her new business, Sussex HR Hub. Sussex HR Hub helps businesses look after their staff from recruitment to retirement and everything in between. The company helps clie ..

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In My View......

Office Chichester Chamber - Thursday, January 22, 2015

Moving to Chichester some 6 or so years ago, I found myself in a new city starting a new business. I joined the Chichester Chamber of Commerce and found myself in a supportive community of business people, helping me to feel more connected to the city and its people.

 

I discovered that the Chamber isn’t just a networking organisation. Although the networking opportunities that it does provide are excellent, including monthly members meetings, 'Speed Networking’, regular breakfast meetings and social events. The Chamber also provides a lot more than that and supports local businesses of all sizes in lots of different ways. Representing Chamber members is a vital part of their work. By liaising with Chichester District Council, West Sussex County Council and other bodies, the Chamber as an organisation can help influence key decisions that affect all of working lives. It promotes Chichester and attracts business and tourism. Furthermore, because of its standing and the esteem in which the Chamber is held, it is often a preferred partner for different initiatives, such as the Business Support Navigator which is a free service providing ‘search and support’ to help your business find funding to grow.


The Chamber of Commerce also provides training opportunities to both members and non-members; the latest being the Bite-sized Learning programme. The training sessions are a short, sharp introduction or refresher on topics such as ‘Marketing made easy’, Effective Selling’ and ‘Business Development – a pleasure not a chore’; with the current topic being run ‘Business Finance made easy’. The sessions are run by Chamber members who are recognised trainers and offer the most practical and relevant business training around, and are excellent value for money!

 

As both a member of the Chamber with my own business and being their administrator I’m lucky to have the benefit of experiencing the Chamber’s support from both sides.

 

For more information about the Chamber and how it can help your business, plus events taking place visit www.chichestercci.org.uk

 

Gayle Dixon, CCCI Administrator & Delegate for Success


 

In My View......

Thursday, January 22, 2015
Moving to Chichester some 6 or so years ago, I found myself in a new city starting a new business. I joined the Chichester Chamber of Commerce and found myself in a supportive community of business people, helping me to feel more connected to the city and its people. I discovered that  ..

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