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NEWS TOP STORY


Business Rates Review Good News For Independents


The Chancellor has received a round of applause from the retail trade, greeting card stockists included, for his decision to review the out-dated business rates system. He confirmed that an interim finding would be posted in December 2015 and decisions made by the Budget in March 2016. Trade association bira (British Independent Retail Association) welcomed an extension of small business rate relief and a 50% increase in the smaller property discount. “The relief, discount and review are all evidence that the government knows there is a real problem to be solved and we will contribute strongly to the process of solving it,” said bira’s ceo Alan Hawkins. However, he added that questions still


remain about exactly how radical any outcome might be, although Alan believes that engaging with the project is of vital importance to small businesses across the country. Bira was also disappointed that business rates will increase by 2% in April as per the continued cap, representing an increase when the association had argued for a freeze.


Below: Chancellor George Osborne. At the British Retail


Consortium, director Helen Dickinson, commented: "We want a system that brings investment and jobs to the high street without punishing retailers who trade online. The retail industry is the largest rates payer, contributing to over a


quarter of the total rates tax takes." Added the British Property Federation’s (BPF) chief executive, Liz Peace: "Undertaking a root and branch review of the system is a big decision which many politicians have shied away from, so the announcement is particularly welcome. We hope it is no-holds-barred and will deliver something fit for the 21st century." The Federation stressed that business


rates continue to be a burden on large and small businesses across the UK, with a fundamental reform of the system being the best way to restore fairness and to create a beneficial environment for investment and growth.


Views On The News l "I would very much like to see the government doing something about business rates,


particularly in Wells," says Kristan Miller, owner of Cadeaux in Wells, Castle Cary and Chipping Sodbury. "Wells is a lovely town, but business rates are crippling. I would also like to see the government doing something about creating a more level playing field. For example, charity shops don't pay business rates while we do. Although business rates go up, it doesn't necessarily mean that takings are going up." l At Rhubarb in Malvern, co-owner Sara Morris adds: "I think it's fantastic that the government is going to look into business rates. It's about time! l At Celebrations in Stourbridge, director Roger Eames agrees that it is encouraging to see the government acknowledging that something needs to be done about the rating system."However, it is a concern that the plans are due to be fiscally neutral as that does limit what can be done," he points out. "Obviously the final details are some way off and they can make all the difference either way, but it is essential that the review provides support for small businesses and also takes into account local and regional variances.”


PEOPLE


l Former Emma Ball office manager Lucy Howard has been appointed the company's business development manager, and takes over much of the responsibility left by the departure of commercial director Paul Roberts.


l Two members of Nigel Quiney’s sales force, and two from UKG’s salesforce, were named as the regional winners of the annual Cardgains’ Cyril service awards following nominations from its retail members. "Three of the four recipients of the awards are


previous winners, so they are obviously still providing an excellent service to our members on behalf of their companies," says Cardgains' joint managing director Chris Dyson. “Service is a key part of our industry and it’s always good to reward people who excel in this area. Congratulations and well done to them all!" The worthy winners were: Stephen Dickson of


Nigel Quiney, Scotland & North West; Sarah Smith of Nigel Quiney, South East; Pat Teasdale from UK Greetings, North & North East; and Allen Roberts, UK Greetings, South West.


Right: UKG's Pat Teasdale (left) receives her Cardgains 2014


Bigger And Better


Stationery Show Following four consecutive years of growth, the London Stationery Show 2015 is on course to be the biggest yet, a significant 25% bigger than the event held in 2014, say the organisers, with the show almost selling out. Taking place at the Business Design


Centre in London on Tuesday, April 28 and Wednesday, April 29, it is part of National Stationery Week (Monday April 27 to Sunday May 3). The event will showcase stationery of all types - children’s, social, gift and licensed items, as well as a wide range of desk accessories, storage, writing products, diaries, notebooks and organisers. Many new suppliers and brands will


All Things Bright And Beautiful Following two years of research and development, as well as the investment into a new system, envelope company Enveco is now able to produce greeting card envelopes in the same colours as per the Pantone system. "The advantage to our customers is we can now coat a much lower minimum quantity as opposed to the minimum required for a mill making of any new colour which demands high commitments from the publisher," explains the company's sales manager Julie Brightley. "The system is favourable to pastel colours, but we have progressed to produce deep shades. The paper will also be available with an embossed finish where we can produce 10 embossed designs." Inspired by this season's colour palette, the company has matched soft pastels with vivid brights. "Gunpowder grey is already proving to be a unisex essential for 2015’s new ranges," Julie confirms. "These unique colours are created and manufactured in-house at our factory in Milton Keynes, where we have the facility to coat our own paper colours which has enabled us to react to customers’ colour requests." She says that burnt orange, mustard and smokey French navy have all been popular colour proposals


be exhibiting, with one in three exhibitors exhibiting for the first time, and over 200 brands and exhibitors from around the world, Visit: www.stationeryshow.co.uk and www.nationalstationeryweek.com


from its customers. Above: Julie Brightley, sales manager at Enveco. Some 18 new colours will be launched at Spring Fair, although orders are already being taken. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 19


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