The PUNCHLINE Annual 2020










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Punchline’s next issue, GLOUCESTERSHIRE'S 100 BIGGEST EMPLOYERS will be published in April

Want to be part of it? email or telephone 01452 308781

Like the fair wind that follows a storm, many businesses are talking to us in 2020 about momentum returning, about direction and about opportunity. Those who experienced the unpredictable squalls and eddies of 2019 will probably share the view that this is a year for making progress. Which is a great feeling to have after the uncertainty of Brexit and another general election, and fits nicely with the theme of this, The Annual edition – which is ‘looking ahead’. But before we write 2019 off completely as lost time, there was plenty of business done and Gloucestershire businesses continued to make it easy for us to fill these pages and those of our news-led website. Otherwise how could we have possibly made so much ground ourselves? Last month (January) the Gloucestershire business news website clocked 170,000-plus unique visitors. Find another regional or local specialist business news website that draws that much attention and we would love to hear about it. And the reason it draws so much attention is not (as we might like to tell ourselves) because of its daily free emails newsletter to a database of 7,000-plus. It’s because of what you, the Gloucestershire business community, are doing here in our wonderful county. Your efforts and the pleasure we get reporting on them make our jobs easy. They also help fill our Welcome to 2020

bi-monthly magazine – a product which aims to champion those efforts and spread the word about some of the very best companies you could wish to do business with, work for or learn from. Punchline magazine is now able to boast a perfect bound spine and more than 130 pages, put together beautifully for us by our trusted county printers.

If you want to be part of the journey, a general plan of action for forthcoming themes and editions can be found on page 124/125. We hope you enjoy this edition. Which just remains for us to say one more thing - ‘good luck in 2020. We’ll be right there with you’ l

Mark Owen

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Punchline Magazine is published by Moose Partnership Limited, based at The Old Fire Station, Barbican Road, Gloucester, GL1 2JF. Reproduction of any material, in the whole or part, is strictly forbidden without the prior written consent of the publishers.All material is sent at the owners risk and whilst every care is taken, Moose Partnership Limited will not accept liability for loss or damage. Dates, information and prices quoted are believed to be correct at the time of going to press but are subject to change and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. Moose Partnership Limited does not accept responsibility for any material submitted, whether photographic or otherwise.All rights reserved ©2020

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Gloucestershire firms represented by the FSB’s ‘Region of theYear’

Small businesses in Gloucestershire have the best organisation in the country lobbying for them. The Federation of Small Businesses has chosen its South West region as the most effective branch at lobbying and for member engagement and named it as ‘Region of the Year.’ The FSB’s South West region stretches from Tewkesbury in the north of Gloucestershire down to Penzance in the tip of Cornwall, and is one of 11 regions across the country. FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry presented the award to the regional team, who represent nearly 24,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs, at the FSB Members Volunteer Conference in London. Mr Cherry said: “It’s only through dedicated FSB volunteers at the UK’s grassroots, like the South West team, that the small business voice can be

harnessed and heard as we step into an exciting – yet challenging – new decade. “My personal thank you to the SouthWest team and to all the volunteers who do so much.” The FSB in the South West recently elected a new chairman, Bristol-based Lee Nathan, and he collected the award on the night, alongside outgoing chairman Roger Tarrant, from Cornwall, who now sits on the FSB’s National Council. Mr Nathan said: “I am delighted that the FSB South West has managed to win the prestigious FSB Region of the Year title, in recognition of the great work our team of volunteers and staff do on behalf of our members. “All across the SouthWest, we see examples of the passion and enthusiasm our team has to support, involve and represent our members and the small business community as a whole. This award will really encourage everyone to keep on fighting for the voice of SMEs to be heard.” The South West team emerged as winners in recognition of their policy work in areas such as the environment, education and skills, plus their successful council ‘Small Business Friendly’ awards. Their work with MPs and other stakeholders and their extensive range of events including very successful FSB Connect networking meetings also drew high praise l

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20 for the 2020s The major developments that will transform Gloucestershire in the next decade

The 2020s are set to be a decade of great development in Gloucestershire. So many significant things are in planning, development or being built that will change the county. From tourist destinations by the River Severn to landmark infrastructure developments and the creation of new villages and a cyber business park that will transform industry, it’s all happening. The Gloucestershire we wake up to on January 1, 2030 is likely to be significantly different to that which we know today, but how will it change and where will the changes take place? The Punchline masterminds delved deep into their knowledge of Gloucestershire to find the 20 developments that will transform our county.

To avoid any arguments about which is biggest or most significant, we’ve simply gone from west to east starting on the banks of the River Severn and ending up in the Cotswolds. Destination Lydney Harbour One of the best views in Gloucestershire can be found from the western banks of the River Severn and the plan is to help more and more people take advantage of it. A team is in place to help deliver a plan to revitalise the docks and harbour and make it a tourist destination and means to drive economic growth in the Forest of Dean. More than £2 million has been secured from the government’s Coastal Communities Fund and work is already underway to turn the harbour into a 21st century tourist destination.

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Third Crossing, River Severn Up until the 1960s, Lydney and Sharpness were connected by a rail bridge and a plan to link the two again with either road or rail would be a catalyst for growth on both sides of the river. A plan put forward by the Gloucestershire 2050 vision, a new crossing would help maximise tourist potential from both the Forest of Dean and Severn Vale. It would help connect the Forest of Dean and those areas of Gloucestershire to the west of the Severn to the M5 and the significant developments around Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Eco Park, Forest Green Rovers’ new stadium Like him or not, Forest Green chairman Dale Vince knows how to create headlines and further the cause of what he believes in – and football is just one of those vehicles. The landmark development by junction 13 of the M5 motorway will see a 5,000 seater wooden stadium, designed by world-renowned architects Zada Hadid become the club’s new home. Mr Vince hopes it will be the vehicle to take the club, that was once playing in the ninth tier of football, as high as the division below the untold riches – and exposure – of the Premier League.

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Malthouse is completely transformed. Unique and individual apartments will transform the building while the next-door Transit Shed will become 3,500 square feet of restaurant space overlooking canal side moorings. Gloucester Prison The site of what was once Gloucester Castle and then became the city’s gaol, Gloucester Prison has been empty, but for a few tours, since the last convict left in 2013. Plans to transform the 18th and 19th century prison buildings have been approved for two years and further land with development approval on the site is currently up for sale. When completed, it will house 202 city-centre homes across new-build and listed buildings while the remainder of the site will be – ironically – open space which anyone is free to roam in.

Bakers Quay, Gloucester Development work has been ongoing since initial planning permission was granted in 2016 and people are already living in the luxury waterside apartments. However, the next stage of development that will sit alongside the homes and hotel is set to be a landmark for the area as the biggest building in the Quay, The

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Hotel, Gloucester Docks Gloucester City Council moved its staff out of the historic Grade II-Listed Herbert, Kimberley and Phillpotts Warehouses on the city’s Docks and into Shire Hall in 2018. Later that same year, the properties were put out to tender and applications were sought for a new occupier. In total, 50 interested parties came forward each pressing a claim for the prime city centre space. In the first week of 2020, it was revealed that the council had entered into negotiations to turn the buildings into a luxury hotel. Further developments One of Gloucester’s oldest buildings can trace its history back to the 15th century, although the stone undercroft ‘monks retreat’ in the current basement is believed to be 300 years older. It has been something of an eyesore in recent years, having fallen into a state of complete disrepair, and following a fire in 2017, it faced an uncertain future. But news of a restoration partnership involving Gloucester City Council and Dowdeswell Estates will see the venue transformed and once again become a hub for the city centre. are expected in the coming months. Fleece Hotel,Westgate Street

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King’s Quarter redevelopment

One of the final pieces of the jigsaw in terms of Gloucester’s regeneration, the King’s Quarter Redevelopment will transform King’s Square and the area between it and the new bus station. The square will become a focal point for the city’s leisure offering, with a new Severn Bore-themed statue and a huge outdoor screen for televising significant events. And new buildings nearby will see housing, office and shared working space be built alongside new restaurants, bars and food courts, in a development that will be a focal point for the city.

Innsworth Gateway Project Spades are already in the ground on a huge chunks of land to the north of Gloucester, around Innsworth, as hundreds of new homes are constructed. With new homes, comes more people and more cars and a need to increase and improve the infrastructure, so a new roundabout is planned for the A40 between Elmbridge and Longford. That will become the gateway to the new estates beyond, in theory relieving some of the pressure on the surrounding roads.

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A Cheltenham and Gloucester ‘Super City’ A part of the revolutionary Gloucestershire 2050 vision, the next decade could see the futuristic plans for the amalgamation of the county’s two main population centres take a step forward. It would “create a vibrant heart in the centre of the county, offering integrated, creative communities to live and work” according to the published Gloucestershire 2050 vision. The plan would basically see Staverton airport become a new town, creating a third centre between the existing two and put the new city within the top 10 UK cities by size.

All-ways junction, M5 Junction 10 For years, it was felt that access to the northbound carriageway and an exit from the south would lead to Cheltenham becoming a rat-run for vehicles looking to link the A40 to the M5.

In truth, it has probably only ever annoyed Cheltonians who have been shunted off to the already-busy Golden Valley junction a few miles to the south. Having an all-ways access junction will help provide necessary infrastructure for two hugely significant developments nearby, it is the catalyst for how the town will grow.

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NorthWest Cheltenham (Elms Park) Urban Extension Of all the developments that were proposed as part of the Joint Core Strategy, plans to build 4,800 homes to the north of the A4019 received the most hostility. The villages of Uckington and Elmstone Hardwicke would be practically swallowed up as Cheltenham expands from the current Tewkesbury Road retail parks onto the green fields to the west. The site will include a new park and ride facility and up to 23 hectares of land set aside for employment use, in what the Joint Core Strategy itself calls a “comprehensive urban extension” to Cheltenham.

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Cyber Central, Cheltenham Cheltenham has been home to GCHQ since the 1950s and the current Donut has been in place for around two decades. It is next door where the next phase of development will occur. A £45 million land purchase at the end of the decade saw Cheltenham Borough Council find the land for what will be the home of the UK’s cyber technology sector. Add in a ‘garden community’ around the site, and the west of Cheltenham will be transformed, setting the town up as one of the places to do business in the 21st century.

Brimscombe Port Project

One of Stroud’s five valleys is set to be completely transformed, with a mixed-used development alongside the Thames and Severn Canal. When complete, 150 new homes, community facilities and business space would sit alongside a new canal basin, where once the thriving inland Brimscombe Port sat in its 19th century heyday. Plans for the first part of the development, which include a distillery, brewery, antique emporium, restaurant and – because it is in Stroud, after all – a wellbeing centre, have already been lodged.

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Designer Outlet Cotswolds, Ashchurch Forgive the fact that junction 9 of the M5 motorway is not necessarily on the slopes of the Cotswold Hills, that’s just a way of getting the crowds in. Because the owners have worked out that five million people live within an hour’s drive and 21 million cars drive past what will be Gloucestershire’s second outlet village after Gloucester Quays. Luxury shopping mixed with an on- tap clientelemeans the development designed by county architects Roberts Limbrick is expected to rake in £317million per every year.

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Healings Mill, Tewkesbury The riverside flour mills of Tewkesbury were mentioned in the Domesday Book and referred to as the town mills as far back as the 13th century. Milling continued until closure in 2006 and now there are plans to turn the historic Grade II-Listed buildings, named after their 19th century owner, in to a modern destination for the town. Apartments, cafes, restaurants and shops could all be housed within the historic Back of Avon buildings, transforming the waterside area of the town. Perrybrook housing development, Brockworth Land sandwiched between the A417 and Brockworth was identified as being a prime site for development in the Joint Core Strategy.

Where once there were fields, soon there will be 1,500 homes, care housing, 2,500 square metres of shops and restaurants. Add in a 22,000 square metre business park and the huge expansion of Brockworth over the past 20 or so years will be complete.

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The A417 ‘Missing Link’ “An accident has closed the A417 between the Air Balloon roundabout and Nettleton Bottom,” is the time-old announcement you hear on your car radio during the morning or evening commute. Well, that is about to change, as the vital link road

becomes a non-stop dual carriageway between Brockworth and Cowley, transforming access to the M4, London, the South and beyond. Travel to and from Gloucestershire will be easier, commerce will flow and radio travel presenters will have to brush up their scripts.

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The Steadings, Cirencester Until a rebranding at the end of 2019, this huge new town on the edge of Cirencester was known as the Chesterton Development, given it’s on the site of what once was Chesterton Farm. Land owned by Lord Bathurst and developed by a company in his name, will be transformed into 2,350 homes, student accommodation, homes for the elderly and 9.1 hectares of business parks. The landowner's machinery will help create a new primary school, community centre, playing fields and sports centres, as well as a new network of associated roads and infrastructure.

Waterloo Car Park, Cirencester

Multi-storey car parks aren’t necessarily the sexiest of developments, but they are absolutely necessary. Cirencester is a beautiful town full of history and charm, but it has struggled to attract visitors due to the difficulty of getting people there in the first place. The Waterloo car park project seeks to bring the people into the town, while the designs show that it will be something of a new landmark for what was once one of the largest settlements in Roman England l

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20 business people look ahead into 2020

Punchline could, of course, wax lyrical about what should be on the radar of business people in Gloucestershire in 2020. But in everyone’s best interests, we decided to ask those really in the know to provide us all with some food for thought.

Adrian Goodall, a director of Rokeby Merchants, a key player in the redevelopment of Bakers Quay at Gloucester Quays “This promises to be the year we take forward phase two of the project to regenerate Baker’s Quay. It will mean a further £20 million investment in the water side site and bringing forward 70 apartments. “We have had a successful phase one. The biggest challenges are still to come. The biggest is Downings warehouse. “We feel the whole ethos of Rokeby Merchants is the heritage. By going the extra mile to keep the structure and a new building inside, it will be worth doing.” MartijnVos, managing director of Hydro Components UK “With Brexit, we needed a decision one way or the other, so people know the future. Then investments will be made, because everything has been on hold. Related to that, is what is the future for the Japanese car industry in the UK. “Will Nissan and Toyota continue to build cars in the UK? That is extremely important to my business. “Manufacturing industry is really important for the UK car industry and aluminium production in the UK is very important for building and construction. At the moment there is no investment being done because of the uncertainty as a result of Brexit.” Dale Vince, the founder of Ecotricity and chairman of Forest Green Rovers “I think UK affairs will continue to be dominated by Brexit this year – what kind of deal we strike with the EU, or whether we end up with the No Deal favoured by Johnson and other hard Brexiters. “Then there’s what kind of deal we can do with the USA. We’ll find out what negotiating power we really have as a standalone country - chlorinated chicken seems certain to be a price we’ll have to pay for a deal

Ian Renton, regional director of Cheltenham Racecourse “The biggest challenge we face is to maintain and enhance The Festival as a world class sporting event, whilst maintaining a lid on costs.

“The expectation of our customers quite rightly increases every year and meeting these expectations in a challenging economic environment and competitive marketplace is never an easy task. “However, we plan to put on four days of extraordinary racing from 10 to 13 March.”

Chris Creed is chief executive of Staverton headquartered family firm Creed Foodservice “From our point of view, the A417 is still very much unresolved. That continues to be a major issue. Brexit

is also a big concern. We bring in food stuff daily from Europe. We still need guidance in terms of potential blockages to our traffic.That will be an issue. “Moving forward, the issue will be about staff.We want to be a company potential employees would choose. That is why we do so much staff engagement. “If people want a job in a warehouse, etc, for which there can be a lot of competition, we want them to come to us.We have invested in these areas.”

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Darren Sherborne, director of Sherbornes Solicitors Ltd “Two things seem clear for 2020, and none to do with Brexit. Changes

with the USA, which is a travesty, not just of animal welfare, but of human health too. “While all of this is going on, we’ll be hosting COP26, the latest UN climate conference in October, and early signs are not good for a decent outcome. The UK seems unprepared to host – probably due to our singular focus on Brexit for the last four years.” Sam Holliday, FSB development manager for Gloucestershire

to IR35 (IR35 comes in April) mean that medium sized companies will now be on the hook for tax and National Insurance, where workers who purport to be self employed by working through a limited company are not really self-employed according to IR35. “The test will be the same,but instead of the contractor having to pay the tax, it will be the company using the sub-contractor that will have to pay the tax if they fall foul.This could be a big expense where sub-contractors are part of the business model. It's already keeping us very busy. “Equal pay. Since a few high profile ladies at the BBC have shown that the law demands they are paid the same as men, women are starting to realise that having a pay shortfall made up that has gone on for years can run into six figure sums. “This is not just for doing the same job, but also for doing a job of the same value, like dinner lady and bin man, office manager and site manager, finance director and operations director. Women have fought for decades to get to the top, and now they are there, they want the same money.” Simon Mckeag, of Ash Chartered Surveyors “Last year was dominated by a general election and ongoing Brexit discussions. This led to uncertainty in the marketplace, but with both now resolved, hopefully business will proceed with some confidence. “There have been several developments in the county, the most notable being Cheltenham Borough Council’s acquisition of 45 hectares of land being promoted for the development of a cyber park adjacent to GHCQ. “Gloucester City Council announced in early 2020 that they had purchased the Eastgate Shopping Centre, following on from their acquisition in 2019 of St Oswalds Retail Park. “The council is aiming to transform the city centre's offering of being traditionally retail to ‘one with a variety of experiences throughout the day and night for residents, workers and visitors’ and the redevelopment

“After years of confidence-damaging toxicity caused by repetitive political and Brexit arguments, my hope for this new year and indeed this new decade, is that we can all just get ‘back to business’.

“There are of course still a lot of hurdles for businesses ahead and it remains as hard as ever to run and maintain a great business, but I do detect signs of belief starting to return and we now need a business- friendly Budget and a business-friendly Brexit deal to help seal that. “Gloucestershire has so much to be proud of and so much to look forward to and I am convinced that, with a record amount of people now running or working in small businesses in the county, that SMEs will lead the way in ensuring a bright future.” Anthony Poeton, chairman of Poeton Industries

“The biggest issue we're facing is Boeing's progress with the 737Max. There are two major aircraft companies the world and both have a foothold in Gloucestershire.

“Airbus has a rolling future order book of 7,000 aircraft and Boeing has the same, but has produced a plan in a year and that leads to massive cash flow concerns with suppliers. “If Boeing were to go bust - and it seems inconceivable that they would, but Rolls Royce did - it will have a massive knock-on effect the world over."

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of the King's Quarter in Gloucester continues. “The industrial sector continues to perform well with strong occupier demand and a continuing under supply of units and the local office market remains buoyant. “2020 has potential to be an exciting time for the county, however we will no doubt face similar challenges to the rest of the UK, with some political and economic matters still unresolved.” Kevan Blackadder, director of Cheltenham BID “While the retail market is under significant pressure, Cheltenham BID is working with a range of public and private partners to try to ensure that premises can be adapted to attract new tenants. This may be through working with landlords on change-of-use to residential or offices. "It is important, at the same time, that there are a range of experiences available that attract people to the town throughout the year. That is why we have become The Festival Town and are planning events big and small throughout 2020.” Steve Dechan is chairman of the business group set up to champion the Five Valleys, Stroud Voice, and managing director and founder of Platform-14 “One word for 2020 is ‘pivot’. The ability to adapt to regulation and market changes. Get Exporting! Small or big companies should join official chambers of commerce/ trade bodies. “These bodies will guide you on how to sell abroad. Stroud district council elections in May. What are councillors doing about our brain drain, promoting the district as a business location?” Qing Lin, chief executive officer of Cirencester-headquartered Join in China “Looking beyond 2020 and post-Brexit, it’s even more vital for UK SMEs to trade more on a global scale, to increase exporting to support the need for growth. “Going into a new year and into the 2020s, town centres face significant challenges, which I believe can become opportunities.

“The challenge for local businesses facing international trade usually lies in how and where to find a trustworthy source of information, and how to prepare for the export journey, as well as protecting themselves along the way. “One is the first things when preparing for international trade is to do the homework by understanding your targeted markets as much as possible and plan at least three visits before committing.” David Owen is chief executive officer of GFirst LEP challenges through 2020 for all businesses, large and small. Our best advice is to follow the website and to speak to your local Growth Hub to make sure your business is as prepared as it can be. “For GFirst LEP, Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, for the first time we will be looking to appoint a new chair. In July, after nine years at the helm, Dr Diane Savory will be stepping down in her role as chair. “She will have completed nine full years in the role, and that is the maximum period a chair can stay in the role as outlined in our governance arrangements. “Diane has done an amazing job as chair, she has been an ambitious and inspiring leader and her passion for Gloucestershire is second to none. She has ensured that Gloucestershire is well and truly on the map across all government departments. She will be an incredibly tough act to follow. “And so, from next month, the search will be on for a new chair for GFirst LEP. Keep an eye on our website for further details.” Will Abbott, a partner, chartered accountant and business growth adviser at Randall & Payne "As Boris said about Brexit, 2020 is the year to get things done! A common challenge for business leaders is the feeling that there seems to be less time and more plate spinning. "Now that we have entered the ‘transition period’ with the European Union, there will be opportunities and

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“It’s vital for any business leader to be able to make a plan and implement it swiftly. This is exactly what I’ll be focusing on for my next workshop on 25 February, in which I will help leaders to devise a 90-day plan to implement within their business straight away." Rob Lister, managing director of Stonehouse- based Lister Unified Communications “We are hugely optimistic about 2020. With more certainty on the political landscape, we are seeing companies being able to re-start making positive decisions again. Superfast broadband and 5G mobile broadband are becoming a reality and giving all kinds of options to change the way companies do business. “We all need to get ready for this, so we don't get left behind, so the start point is to get the connectivity in place, our networks are ready and security is in place for the ever increasing cyber-risks. “There are still a limited time left to take advantage of the government-funded £67m Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, with grants up to £2500 available. Expected to run out in Q1, this year.” Anthony Pilkington, Managing Director of Stroud based BookCheck “Clearly we can now concentrate on our businesses rather than worry about Brexit, although we’ve still to see the trade deal outcome. Now’s a great time to concentrate on exports, as the government will be very keen to support. It’s also the time to concentrate on improving business profitability, starting with quality management information.” Gary Jones, managing director at Glevum, the windows, doors and conservatory specialist

“Our side of the business that installs windows, doors and conservatories for new build developers is also seeing a similar uplift, with developers pushing ahead with developments at a faster rate than before." Ian Mean, Gloucestershire director of BusinessWest “I am very optimistic about the economy over the next year, provided that the new Johnson government lives up to its promises on developing our infrastructure. “The forthcoming budget will be so important to this big spending. “I believe the new Western Gateway consortium, including Gloucestershire, is a great opportunity to give this region a real focus on growing our economy.” Ian Sloan, of Bankier Sloan Chartered Surveyors “We have started the year very positively and the prospects look good. Demand has been good for industrial property. Understandably in retail there is limited number of people looking for space, especially in town centres. “But there is demand for offices and I think generally we are in a much better place. I think the general election is out of the way, Brexit is out of the way, and people want to get on and do business.” Supriya Ray, managing director of Bovis Homes' Western region

"We're looking forward to a busy and exciting 2020.Along with Linden Homes and Vistry Partnerships, we are now part of the newly- formed Vistry Group - one of the top five housebuilders in the UK by

“We are very optimistic about the prospects for our business in 2020. There is no doubt that, since the election, consumers have a new- found level of confidence that simply wasn’t there beforehand.

volume. This followed the successful acquisition by Bovis Homes Group PLC from Galliford Try PLC of Linden Homes and their Partnerships & Regeneration businesses. “That creates fantastic opportunities for our people and our contractors across Gloucestershire – and a wider choice for house hunters looking to enjoy a new- build home, from first-time buyers and step-uppers, to downsizers" l

“Big ticket purchases are back on the agenda, we are currently seeing, for example, conservatory enquiries running at twice the level we were seeing last year.

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20 FOR 2020

Why you should use an expert not the internet for legal advice

If you believe the papers, each new year brings a deluge of people consulting solicitors and wanting to bring divorce proceedings. The reality is often far less dramatic - there are rarely queues of people at the divorce solicitors – but each new year does bring about a chance to take stock of where you are and what you want to do. That can lead to thoughts about whether your marriage or relationship is working, with the changing of the calendar supressing the urge to sweep things aside. It’s often the case that those thoughts have been a long time coming, but have been swept aside due to fears of ‘what if?’ in terms of what happens to assets, liabilities and – increasingly – their business. Chris Price from Tayntons Solicitors said: “The key is always to talk to an expert as soon as you can, to understand the implications and the processes involved. “In an age where people use an internet search engine to diagnose medical conditions, there is a temptation to do the same for legal advice. “However, in family law matters, each case is different and there is always a bespoke solution. Talking directly to an expert can direct you to this to sooner rather than later. “If you believe some of what is on the internet, there is a standard flow chart process that you follow from A-B and end up with a standard solution for divorce, finances and children. “That really could not be further from the truth. “While the actual divorce process is becoming streamlined, that only deals with ending the marriage. “The agreements reached or orders made for finances and children have some of the widest discretion in the legal system and will be specific to your case. “Just because Mr or Mrs Smith on the internet got a 50/50 deal, it does not mean that will apply to you.” Mr Price has also highlighted Tayntons’ increasingly common advice to all clients to think about the ‘what ifs’ when they are planning ahead. “We would not go on holiday without getting insurance or own a home without protecting the

building,” he said. “The hope is that we will never need to call on them, but it would be wrong for us to not have protection in

place.” Clients

regularly consult with Tayntons’ expert team about the measures that can be put in place to provide certainty and protect assets within a marriage in case of a marriage breaking down. This includes discussions about pre-nuptial agreements, or cohabiting agreements for property. Another key area however, is the protection of a business. “It is not unusual to see scenarios in small or even regional companies, for spouses and/ or partners to be included as directors or shareholders,” Mr Price said. “Equally, they can often have a limited or non- existent role in the day-to-day running of the company. “This can be a tax-efficient method while the relationship is going well. However, it can present a key issue in the event of that relationship breaking down. “Questions will then arise over the value of the shareholding that the spouse holds and if a payment should be made for that. “Add to that, the complications of removing a director can even give rise to threats of employment claims and questions to what, if any, remuneration is due. “Together, with protection and indemnities being demanded after they have resigned. “The key is to ensure that before you put an individual as a shareholder or director, you take appropriate professional advice from both your accountant and also your solicitor. “Careful consideration needs to be given to the benefits in comparison to the potential problems in the future in the event of a relationship breakdown. Chris Price

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“Clients must understand the implications and consider steps such as a carefully worded shareholders agreement. “Once again for a client, looking at the internet for a solution rather than speaking to an expert can be misleading and disastrous. “There is a huge difference between the type of settlement or plan that might be reached or adopted where an individual is a shareholder in a multinational, listed company. "That case is very different to one where the company is simply an income stream, perhaps a sole trader or quasi-partnership benefitting from the protections and options of a limited company.” The need for clients to get early and expert advice has been recognised at Tayntons, by offering a reduced

initial interview fee of £75 plus VAT for up to 45 minutes. During that time, a lot of the myths and concerns about the process can be dismissed and appropriate advice provided. The aim being that the client knows what the plan could and would be as soon as possible. “We are increasingly in a world where transactions and advice are undertaken at arms-length or with individuals based outside of Gloucester and the county,” Mr Price added. “Tayntons, however, are leading the charge in reinforcing that national expertise and face-to-face contact and advice is on the doorstep” l For more information visit or call 0800 158 4147

February 2020 | www. punchline-gloucester .com | 23

The digital revolution is here 20 FOR 2020

In all his years working in telecommunications, Rob Lister has never known a time like it. The managing director of Lister Unified Communications believes a revolution is here and if we thought technology was dominating our lives already, then we haven’t seen anything yet. Superfast broadband and 5G are not just evolutions to what has come before, they mark a revolution in what is possible from technology, at home, in the office or on the move. The way we work and play in the coming years will be shaped by mobile technology, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality and the Internet of Things. With 87 per cent of UK homes served by the internet and 79 per cent of adults using a smartphone, the nation is already relying on communications technology. But we aren’t settling for old download and streaming speeds. The rise of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime means data consumption is increasing exponentially – the average person is using 240GB online and 3GB on mobile every month. But it’s only just the beginning, according to Rob Lister. “In all my years in the industry, I have never known a time where there has been so much opportunity,” he said. "We haveAI,VR andAR all enabled by 5G and superfast internet.We are in an era of the 'art of the possible'. “This change is fundamental and far-reaching, it will never stop. It's going to accelerate and it can be a daunting question to a business about how best to adapt to the changes.” Using their knowledge, experience and the feedback they receive, Lister have ensured they are at the head of the queue in offering the right service to their customers. As technology is improved and communication becomes easier – and vitally quicker – the stranglehold on what is possible will be released. “Longer-term, success will depend on more than just

the product,” Rob Lister said. “Customers want and expect businesses to be contactable 24/7, 365 days a year, and for a business to survive, their technology must be up to scratch. “This means understanding and defining how ICT solutions will improve the experience at each point – for the user, the team, businesses and customers. “And it’s not a matter of choosing to change.

The nation’s copper network will soon be obsolete and that next generation infrastructure will be split between pure fibre and 5G.

“The government has been crystal clear saying just that and its target is to roll out full fibre infrastructure nationwide by 2025. “We are in an era of ultra HD streaming, and developments are accelerating at a rapid rate. “Take a cloud-assisted car, for example. It’s a vehicle talking

to the one behind using an onboard computer – soon that computer can be removed from the car and put in the cloud. “At present, data can be transferred between the two on 4G in around 90 milliseconds, but that’s not good enough when you’re travelling at 70mph. “On 5G that will take just nine milliseconds, and suddenly the technology is usable and realistic.” Such is the speed of the revolution; it is estimated that there will be 20 billion IP devices – three for every one person alive on the planet – connected to the internet by 2025. With every connection comes a need for devices to manage the connection and associated data and for it to be moved securely, quickly and with a full complement of latency requirements. New industries and digital economies will spring up as a result as we all become accustomed to a new fully-digital era and ultimately there will be money to made in providing the skills and service.

24 | February 2020 | www. punchline-gloucester .com

“Customers will need new skills, in fulfilling the technology and the integration into their service delivery – so embrace that change despite the bewildering rate of uncertainties,” Rob Lister said. “The start point is ensuring you have the right internet access for your business. “Whether that is ‘big boy’ Fibre Ethernet Circuits, Fibre to the Premises Broadband, Fibre to the Cabinet Broadband, 5G Mobile, or a combination of these for added resilience. “This enables Cloud Services for your IT, CRM, VoIP Telephony and ever-growing trend for video calling. “UCaaS, or Unified Communications as a Service, has become key as organisations seek to gain a competitive advantage. “The possibilities are exciting, but businesses should and must take steps now to make sure they are safeguarded against the threats that could result from increased broadband connectivity.” One of the end goals of the Digital Britain strategy is the planned rollout of a nationwide fibre broadband network, and businesses need to make sure they are prepared for the consequences. More connections will be needed so that employees can log-on remotely, all of which will start to stretch networks as laptops and mobile

devices with hundreds of apps need access. All the access points and hardware will need to be protected, managed, secured and controlled. While the possibilities are endless, the risks and challenges are too. Rob Lister added: “For example, if your teams work away from the office and are handling devices that contain sensitive data, these will need to be secured for both business and privacy reasons. “Previously we might have looked at something like perimeter security. A barrier that you can put around it.A firewall that you can put around the organisation. “You need more than that now. The walls have fallen down. You have to protect the streams and flows of information of the services themselves. That's another part of the challenge. “Changing legacy technology can be seen as a burden, as your workforce may not feel as though they are ready for a business communication overhaul. “By adopting a consultative approach for businesses and recognising the challenges they are facing, Lister Unified Communications can provide tailored solutions" l For more information about Lister Unified Communications, visit or call 01453 829 200

Rob and Tom Lister, Lister Unified Communications

February 2020 | www. punchline-gloucester .com | 25

20 FOR 2020

Completing the puzzle to ensure the success of your business

The picture of any business will be ever- changing due to political, environmental and competitor changes, and patterns emerge that, when pieced together, carry your business on the path to success - writes Vicky Link, partner and head of accounts at Randall & Payne. When completing a set of accounts at Randall & Payne, we will get to know the true strengths and weaknesses of a business and piece together a picture to help it reach its true heights. All companies, regardless of size, are required to submit statutory accounts to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), so being able to rely upon your accountant to recognise the potential risks, see ways to improve financially, as well as realising your business’ growth potential, makes this compliance requirement worthwhile. What makes us different? • We offer a service whereby at our monthly,

quarterly or annual client meetings we discuss results and highlight risk or contentious issues, provide an opportunity to talk through ideas and plans they have, so that we come up with practical solutions.We work together to make sure what they want to achieve becomes a reality. • Using the most up-to-date accountancy software we show clients a real-time picture of how their business can achieve its full potential.We aim to empower them to make better business decisions, using data analytics and performance improvement insights that will improve profits and drive growth. This software will also enable them to access the right kind of funding at the best time for their business. •We can use information such as estimated increased gross profit margin, market share, cashflow etc, so we can illustrate how the business could grow and offer expert business advice to our clients.

Piece together the puzzle to add insight to your business

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Building on strong foundations The profits should increase and, as they grow, it’s smart to have absolute control and visibility of your business. You need to make sure that the business is set up in a tax-efficient way and that you can make sound management decisions based on accurate, timely figures. The balance sheet and profit and loss statements created for a set of accounts identify the key areas of your business that, when evaluated, form the picture of whether your business is in a healthy state or whether there are areas for concern. We have an experienced team who work with information in the balance sheet and profit and loss statement, using the latest technology to detect trends. This analysis identifies any weaknesses that can affect the true strength and continued success of our clients’ businesses. This ‘detective’ work is like putting together a puzzle, that when completed is the picture of the best their business can, and should be. We identify patterns by looking at areas such as cash flow, gross profit margins, staff turnovers and gaps, customer

Why we do the detective work for you

Your skills and energy are better focused on making your business succeed and getting your products and services to market, so we piece together the puzzle based on your company financial information. Working together means no area of your business is neglected to the detriment of future growth. Why do we do it? Because we make your success our priority. Vicky Link is a partner and heads up the accounts team at Randall & Payne in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire l Find out more at

Vicky Link, partner and head of accounts at Randall & Payne LLP

vulnerabilities, etc. Using our team’s experience and knowledge we use this information and prioritise these areas of our client’s business and offer practical advice.

We make your success our priority – book a free advice clinic on 01242 776000 or email

February 2020 | www. punchline-gloucester .com | 27

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