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BUSINESSNEWS


FPB LAUNCHES ONLINE LEGAL SERVICE


Entrepreneurs who risk expensive legal battles after being tempted to trust in handshakes rather than pay lawyers to draw up business contracts are set to benefit from a new 24/7 online service launched by the Forum of Private Business and Legal365.com.


In the present economic climate,


struggling owner-managers often seek to sidestep lawyers’ steep contract-writing fees – which can run into the thousands of pounds – but leave themselves open to expensive disputes if they do not put in place proper legal documentation in important areas such as partnership agreements, payment terms, powers of attorney and intellectual copyright.


The FPB, a leading not-for profit business support and lobbying organisation, has joined forces with legal specialist Legal365.com to give businesses access to a vast range of binding contracts and other documents which are updated in line with legislative changes.


DON’T TRUST IN HANDSHAKES


“It’s all too common for small-business owners to agree deals without any sort of written


contract,” said Forum chief executive Phil Orford.


“While steep lawyers’ fees can be a costly headache, entrepreneurs should not cut corners when it comes to putting in place professional business contracts. Failing to do so can be even more damaging in the long-run – handshake agreements are just not enough.


“The forthcoming deregulation


of legal services means there will be significantly more affordable alternative to using legal firms to gain the peace of mind that comes with drawing up proper contracts.


“By joining forces, the Forum of


Private Business and Legal365.com are providing small-business owners with easily-accessible, cost-effective legal protection and expertise whenever they need it.”


Legal365.com was set up by established law firm, Last Cawthra Feather LLP, which offers legal advice to businesses and private individuals.


Further details from: www.fpb.org/LEGAL365 or telephone 0845 612 6266.


BUSINESS GROUPS


URGE A CUT INVAT AHEAD OF ‘GREEN DEAL’


The rate of VAT for energy efficient improvements needs to be cut if the Government’s ‘Green Deal’ retrofit programme to upgrade the country’s building stock to make it more energy efficient is to be successful.


This is the warning from 27 different organisations in the construction, property and business industries as well as environmental groups who are worried that unless VAT is reduced, consumers will be reluctant to take up the Green Deal when it is launched next year.


As MPs prepare to debate the final stages of the Energy Bill, the legislation that will introduce the Green Deal, the Cut the VAT campaign supporters have signed a joint statement urging MPs from all parties to ask the Government to reduce the rate of VAT to 5% for all Green Deal approved measures in order to begin to stimulate demand.


Brian Berry, Director of External Affairs at the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said: “At a time when energy prices are soaring, the need to make our homes more energy efficient has never been so urgent. It is critical that the Green Deal is a success but it needs to be attractive to consumers who may be reluctant to have a ‘charge’ attached to their property. Other incentives are needed to support the Green Deal which is why a cut in VAT for Green Deal energy efficient work makes sense.”


“Our homes contribute 27% of the UK’s total carbon emissions and 85% of our existing homes will still be standing in 2050 so it is imperative that homeowners are encouraged to make their homes more energy efficient if the UK is to achieve its legal target to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.”


Businesses also need to be reassured that there is demand for Green Deal work if they are to invest in new energy efficient work because in the in the current economic climate many firms can’t afford to start training their workforce until they know there is a growing demand for energy efficient home improvements. With little more than a year to go before the Green Deal, the energy saving market has to expand fast and wide. A targeted VAT cut would be a great start to stimulate demand and raise awareness of the Green Deal.”


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John Walker, National Chairman at Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) added: “Confidence among small business owners fell dramatically in the second quarter of the year with businesses in the construction sector not overly confident about their prospects for the third quarter. The FSB is calling for a cut in VAT for Green Deal improvements to help to restore growth in the construction sector and to help the Government achieve its carbon reduction targets. With just over a year until the Green Deal kicks in and as business and household budgets remain squeezed it is vital that the Government begins to incentivise energy efficiency improvements to ensure that the Green Deal is a success.”


Darren Shirley, Sustainable Homes Campaign Manager at WWF-UK commented: “The Green Deal will be the only game in town from the end of 2012 and its success is critical to insulating consumers from rising household energy bills and to meeting the UK's carbon budgets. With current energy efficiency programmes under-delivering and with the Green Deal not yet looking to be an attractive offer for households the Government must introduce measures that will help drive the market to ensure the Green Deal is taken up. Cutting VAT on energy efficiency improvements as part of a package of incentives is one such measure that will be needed.”


Clearview NMS « September/October 2011 « www.clearview-uk.com » 83


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