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Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 10/11/2016

Surge in consumer spending in the region but inflation a growing concern

Consumer spending in the East of England grew by 6.1 per cent in October compared to the month a year ago, the highest rate since Barclaycard began publishing data, although confidence has been weakened by concerns over inflation. Entertainment was a strong growth driver in the region with spending on cinema up by a record 16.5 per cent and on pubs and restaurants by 14.6 per cent. Petrol  spending  rose by 6.4 per cent and hotels up 10.8 per cent. However Barclaycard said consumer sentiment suffered a marked drop, with only a third of people feeling confident in the UK economy (compared to nearly one in two in September) and 81 per cent expecting prices to rise. Over a third of consumers say they plan to spend less on Christmas this year than they did in 2015. Paul Lockstone, managing director at Barclaycard, said: “The backdrop of ‘hard Brexit’ headlines, the weakening pound and high profile issues such as ‘Marmite-gate’ mean consumers are starting to worry about the impact of inflation on their everyday lives"....Read more

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Interest in speculative Ipswich scheme

Growing local companies and City-based firms have been showing interest in the first speculative office development to be built in Ipswich since 1990. Connexions 159 on Princes Street, the former Fisons hq, has been developed jointly by E Hobbs Farm and Reads Property Developments and provides 43,551 sq ft of Grade A office space over four storeys at a starting quoting rent of £18 per sq ft. As part of the Enterprise Zone, it will qualify for up to £55,000 rates relief pa for up to five years.  Chris Moody, director of business space at Savills Ipswich, said: “Princes Street is rapidly becoming the destination of choice for professional services in the town, with neighbouring facilities recently having been secured by Archant and Birketts. We have received preliminary interest from both expanding local companies and City based organisations, emphasising the growing attraction of Ipswich as a location for those looking to decentralise or relocate away from the capital.” Savills and Reader Commercial are the letting agents.

Norwich coffee business goes into liquidation

A coffee shop in Norwich which sponsored a stand at Norwich City FC has ceased trading. The Galway Roast (UK) Limited has gone into creditors’ voluntary liquidation. The company traded as a coffee shop in London Street Norwich until 18 October and was aiming to replicate the success of its brand in Ireland.  It sponsored the South Stand at Carrow Rd in return for being major coffee suppliers to the club. The coffee shop faced difficult trading conditions since it started up earlier this year and it has now run out of funds. Tony Harrison of insolvency firm McTear Williams & Wood said “The directors had ambitious plans to build the business but in the end were unable to attract the necessary investment and had to call it a day."

SMEs face finance barriers, says survey

Almost half of SMEs have faced barriers in accessing finance and a quarter have been turned down for funds and, says a survey of 1,000  business owners by Close Brothers Group. It says  only 28 per cent of SMEs plan their finance needs more than a year in advance and just 19 per cent say banks’ advice always meets their needs and. Adrian Sainsbury, CEO, Close Brothers commercial division, said: “Smaller businesses do not have the same access to and experience of the myriad of options that are available to them as larger companies. It’s clear that the traditional sources of advice for many are no longer sufficient.”

Consultants sign up for new private health clinic

A new private healthcare clinic in Peterborough, Avicenna Clinic, has appointed 35 consultants to its team ahead of its opening in December. The consultants will offer a range of specialisms such as general surgery, diagnostics and testing and spinal care. Dr Hany Elmadbouh (photo, right), lead consultant and radiologist, said: “It is an exciting time in private health care and I am delighted and encouraged with the response the consultants have shown.” It will also be offering the first Hitachi Open MRI facility in East Anglia, which is useful for patients who suffer from claustrophobia or obesity.

Lawyers singled out as 'associates to watch'

Law firm Prettys has again been ranked in the annual Chambers & Partners UK solicitors guide with two associates included in the ‘associates to watch’ category. Three practice areas were singled out; construction, employment and family law with additional recognition of the firms’ litigation services. Prettys CEO, Ian Carr said: "All our partners, associates and staff work incredibly hard to deliver the very best service to both our business and private clients.” Partners Peter Blake, Kelly Sayers, Matthew Cole and Georgie Hall were ranked for their expertise and exceptional client service. The associates to watch; Rebecca Palmer (photo, left) and Georgina Rayment (right) who work within the construction and family law team respectively were also commended.

Separately, Prettys' employment services team is running a webinar on tax, termination payments and self-employment. It will look at changes to the termination payment regime, how this will affect the cost of settlements for employers and the potential knock on effect on contracts of employment.  The free 30 minute webinar will be held on Thursday 17th November at 10am. To register visit www.prettys.co.uk

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Russian export event in Ipswich

Suffolk Chamber International is hosting a Doing Business in Russia event on 1 December in Ipswich for local companies interested in exporting to a market which it says is increasingly lucrative and open. Key areas for growth including mining, renewables, automotive, construction, power, consumer goods, food & drink, packaging, chemicals, aerospace, communications, oil and gas, engineering and leisure. David Cant from Albion Overseas will be joined by other specialists from Blackthorne International Transport, Suffolk Chamber International, RBCC and CTMS Travel at the event at Novotel, Grey Friars Rd. To book go to: https://www.suffolkchamber.co.uk/events-networking/suffolk-chamber-events/