Neston Barbers is a cut above the rest

Neston barbers ‘Style’ is marking a new era as the next generation steps in to run the family business.

Style, founded by Tony Collins in 1980, has been transferred to daughter Emma Parry as her Dad retires from the business.

Originating in Chester in 1980, Style relocated to Neston 3 years later, taking up residence first on Liverpool Road before moving to Bridge Street in 1990.

Tony became known as the trusted village barber, attracting both men and women from the local area to his traditional salon.

Now, Tony’s daughter Emma, whose career to date has seen her work in a number of office management roles, has taken the reins of the family business and has big plans for the company, including offering extended opening hours (Style is now open late-night Thursdays and on Sundays) and an enhanced social media presence.

“We’re a well-known family business and many of our customers have been coming here for years,” Emma said. “But I am also looking to shake things up a little bit!

“Customer experience remains the focus. Getting a haircut should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience. At Style, we have high standards for our staff, who still come to work in smart dress, and we provide today’s newspapers and free wi-fi for our customers. We also stock a fridge-full of beer as well as soft drinks and lollipops for children.”

Since relocating to Neston some 33 years ago, Style has been a client of local Chartered Accountants Phillip Bates & Co. In fact, they were one of owner Phil Bates’ very first clients when he came to Neston in the summer of 1983.

Style founder, Tony Collins, said: “The support of Phil and his team has really been invaluable to us over the years.

“Choosing an accountant is a very personal thing. We love that Bates & Co is a family business with values very similar to ours.

“In transferring the business over to Emma, I have felt reassured that Phil and his team were, and continue to be with us every step of the way.”

Emma also credits Phil and his team for their support in welcoming her into the role.

“I’m very much learning and the team at Bates & Co have been a massive support.

“The accounts in previous roles I’ve held have been very different. I feel happier and more confident knowing that the team at Bates are always there. I can pick up the phone and call whenever I need them.

“We also love welcoming Phil when he comes in to get his hair cut!”

Phil Bates said: “We have a great relationship with Tony and Emma at Style and over the years have really enjoyed seeing the business go from strength to strength.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • For interviews or more information, please contact Sarah Lowe at Mason Media on 0151 239 5050 or email: sarah@masonmedia.co.uk
  • Pictured L>R Tony Collins and Phil Bates

Bates welcomes delay on tax rises for self-employed workers

March 13, 2017
Press Release

A chartered accountant has welcomed the Government’s decision to delay a vote on tax rises for self-employed workers until later this year.

Phil Bates, Principal at Cheshire and Wirral accountants Phillip Bates & Co, says the announcement made in last week’s Budget came as a shock to many of his clients who run small and medium sized businesses in the region.

Key announcements by Chancellor Philip Hammond affecting business owners and the self-employed included:

  • The main rate of Class 4 National Insurance contributions to increase from 9% to 10% in April 2018 and 11% in April 2019;
  • Reduction in the tax-free allowance on share dividends from £5,000 to £2,000;
  • £435million set aside for businesses affected by the increase in Business Rates including £300million hardship fund for worst hit;
  • Privately owned SMEs and landlords below the VAT threshold to get an extra year to prepare for Making Tax Digital and quarterly reporting.

Phil, whose office is in Neston, said: “Small business owners must feel like they are being hit from all sides at the moment. Before the Budget they were facing the prospect of increases in business rates and the looming requirement for them to digitise their businesses by filing tax returns online each quarter.

“Then, in this week’s Budget, they hear that the tax-free allowance on their share dividends is being reduced, while the self-employed will see their NI contributions rise.

“All of this at a time when we are just a couple of weeks away from Brexit being triggered and the continuing uncertainty over the future direction of the UK economy. It is made even more unsettling by the fact the Government has clearly reneged on its manifesto promise not to increase NI contributions.

“Business owners and the self-employed need the support of Government, not to feel as if they are being punished to help the Chancellor plug holes elsewhere in the public finances.

“I am pleased that the Government has announced that the proposed tax rises will not go before MPs until the Autumn and that Ministers will take the opportunity to talk more widely with those most likely to be affected.”

Phil also welcomed the latest concession on the implementation of the Making Tax Digital policy, which will force SMEs to use digital tools, such as software or apps, to keep records of their income and expenditure.

The announcement follows previous concessions at the end of January. These included allowing businesses to continue using spreadsheets to record receipts and expenditure, which they can link to software to automatically generate and send updates to HMRC.

The Government further announced that free software will be available to the smallest businesses and that businesses “that cannot go digital will not be required to do so”.

Phil added: “There remains a lot of ambiguity around the Making Tax Digital implementation. For example, they talk about businesses “that cannot go digital” being exempt, but what criteria will be applied to make this assessment?

“Ministers keep telling us that under the current system over £8billion a year is not collected due to avoidable taxpayer errors and carelessness, but it has never explained how it has arrived at this figure.

“We are also told that the average cost to businesses to make the transition will be £280 but this will only apply to the very smallest businesses. For others, the costs will be considerably greater.”

Any business wanting advice on changes announced in the Budget should contact Phillip Bates & Co on 0151 353 0003.

NOTES TO EDITORS
For an interview with Phil Bates or more information, please contact Nick Mason at Mason Media on 0151 239 5050 or email: nick@masonmedia.co.uk

www.pbates.co.uk

Deadline looms for Business Premises Renovation Allowance

The end is in sight for Business Premises Renovation Allowance (BPRA), which has assisted people looking to bring unused or derelict property back into use.

BPRA can provide 100% relief for expenditure on converting or renovating unused commercial property for business use.

The relief comes to an end on March 31, 2017, for companies and April 5, 2017, for companies.

In order to qualify for the relief, a number of conditions had to be met including the area the property is situated, the person doing the work, and the subsequent use of the property.

The types of expenditure that qualify for the relief are generous, including building work, professional fees and management fees as well as some plant and machinery.

For further information, contact Phil Bates at Phillip Bates & Co, a Cheshire and Wirral firm of chartered accountants.

Neston & District Community Fund makes New Year appeal for social projects

The Neston and District Community Fund wants to hear from charities and community groups leading vital social projects.

The Fund, which was launched in 2015, particularly wants to hear from organisations tackling social issues such as youth crime, drug rehabilitation and elderly isolation.

It was set up to specifically support the work of community and voluntary groups in Neston, Little Neston, Parkgate, Burton, Ness, Willaston and Puddington.

Four businesses – Phillip Bates, Clive Watkin Partnership, Rightway and G Tilby Engineering – launched the fund with an initial substantial donation. They followed this up with a further donation in 2016.

A number of grants have so far been given, the most recent one to Healthbox CIC, a not-for-profit organisation committed to delivering lifestyle change programmes in the community.

The grant from the Fund will support the Neston Healthy Families project which works with families with multiple and complex needs. The six-month project supports families who have been identified by primary schools, Plus Dane Housing and Neston Children’s Centre.

Phil Bates, Principal at Phillip Bates & Co chartered accountants, said: “We are proud of the projects we have been able to support since we launched the Neston and District Community Fund almost two years ago, but we know there is so much more to do.

“We particularly want to hear from any group which is helping to tackle deep-seated social issues within our community.”

The fund is administered by Cheshire Community Foundation, which works to match charitable donors with the causes that matter most in Cheshire and Warrington.

Applicants can apply for funding from the Neston & District Community Fund but, if additional funding is needed, other CCF-managed funds may also be able to assist.

Phil Bates added: “One of the big advantages of the Neston & District Community Fund being under the CCF umbrella is that applicants have the potential to tap into funds other than our own, something that may be useful in the case of larger grant applications.”

If you would like to apply for a grant, please email angela@cheshirecommunityfoundation.org.uk or call Phil Bates on 0151 353 0003.

NOTES TO EDITORS

For more information, please contact Nick Mason at Mason Media on 0151 239 5052 or 07903 237008 or email: nick@masonmedia.co.uk

www.ndcf.org.uk
www.cheshirecommunityfoundation.org.uk

‘Making Tax Digital’ legislation looms large for SMEs

Business owners need to take action now if they are to be ready for a revolution in the way they file their tax returns, according to a leading chartered accountant.

It is just over a year until the majority of businesses, self-employed people and landlords will be required to keep track of their tax affairs digitally and to update HMRC at least quarterly via their digital tax accounts.

The transformation, called ‘Making Tax Digital’, will force SMEs to use digital tools, such as software or apps, to keep records of their income and expenditure.

Phil Bates, Principal at Cheshire-based chartered accountants Phillip Bates & Co, said: “The legislation is due to begin taking effect from April 2018 which means the first digital tax return will be due in July of that year.

“The changes should significantly improve the way companies manage their accounts and tax affairs and improve their ability to plan ahead and react to issues within their business.

“For example, business owners will no longer have to wait until the end of the tax year to discover how much tax they need to pay.

“But in order to comply with the ‘Making Tax Digital’ legislation will require the vast majority of businesses to introduce new technology and ways of working.

“The team at Phillip Bates & Co has undergone training in many of the Cloud accounting software systems available to businesses.

“We have already begun the process of advising and supporting our clients as they move across to this new way of working and will continue to do so throughout 2017.

“Some businesses have already successfully integrated online software into the way they do their business, but many others depend on spreadsheets or, in certain cases, old-fashioned pen and paper.”

Phillip Bates & Co is based in Neston but works with SMEs across Cheshire, Wirral, Merseyside and North Wales.

It is one of only a small number of Chartered Partnerships in the region offering both a chartered accountants and chartered financial planners with its sister company Phillip Bates & Co Financial Services.

Phil added: “Businesses can ensure themselves a smooth transition to ‘Making Tax Digital’ if they start process sooner rather than later.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • For an interview with Phil Bates or more information, please contact Nick Mason at Mason Media on 0151 239 5050 or email: nick@masonmedia.co.uk/ www.pbates.co.uk

Neston and District Community Fund backs vital project for families

The Neston and District Community Fund is backing a vital project to improve the lives of families in need.

The Neston Healthy Families project is a 6 month initiative working alongside families with multiple and complex needs, identified by primary schools in the area, Plus Dane Housing and Neston Children’s Centre.

The project is led by Healthbox CIC, a not-for-profit organisation committed to delivering lifestyle change programmes in the community.

The Neston and District Community Fund supports community and voluntary groups in Neston and the immediate surrounding area. It was founded in January 2015 by Phillip Bates & Co Chartered Accountants, Clive Watkin Partnership, Rightway and G Tilby Engineering.

The fund is administered by Cheshire Community Foundation, which connects charitable donors, including business owners and private individuals, with the causes that matter in Cheshire and Warrington.

Phil Bates, Principal at Phillip Bates & Co Chartered Accountants, said: “As soon as we heard about the Neston Healthy Families project, we had no hesitation in agreeing to fund the initiative.

“It is a fantastic project and we are proud to support it.”

Speaking on behalf of Healthbox CIC, Georgie Charnley, Early Years & Research Manager, said: “The Neston Healthy Families project is something we are very passionate about delivering to the Neston community and we are so grateful to the Neston and District Community Fund for all of their support.”

The organisation is working closely with the Children’s Centre to deliver the programme. Georgie continued: “As part of the project we felt it was really important to include early years’ activities for parents and carers of under 5s alongside whole family activities.

“The project’s main aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of the participating families through interactive cookery, participant chosen workshops and ‘out and about with kids’ activities and community events.

“Healthbox CIC delivers a popular Babies and Toddlers nutrition package for Ellesmere Port families through Portside and Parklands Children’s Centres and we are keen to offer Neston families similar activities to encourage a love of healthy eating from an early age.

“Working closely with the Children’s Centre is a great way to reach families and the support of the Children’s centre staff is invaluable.”

Organisations can apply for funding from the Neston & District Community Fund but, if additional funding is needed, other CCF-managed funds may also be able to assist.

Zoe Sheppard, CEO of Cheshire Community Foundation, said: “This is a fantastic example of a charitable fund making a very real difference in their immediate locality.

“The Neston Healthy Families project is an extremely important programme which will significantly improve the lives of the families most in need in the local area.”

Pictured L>R: Phil Bates, Founder, Neston and District Community Fund; Georgie Charnley, Early Years & Research Manager, Healthbox CIC; Lisa Blundell, Early Years Worker, The Children’s Centre; Simon Sandford, Director, Healthbox CIC

SMEs “massively cautious” as they rule out borrowing

The vast majority of SMEs in Wirral and Cheshire have no appetite for lending, according to a leading accountant.

Phil Bates, Principal of Neston-based chartered accountants Phillip Bates & Co, said the current economic uncertainty was to blame.

Phil said: “Even though money is cheap to borrow at the moment, entrepreneurs have got little desire to go to the banks.

“Given the continuing uncertainty following the Brexit vote, business owners do not have the confidence to invest as much as many would like to.

“If anything, they are going the other way, either building cash in their businesses or taking the opportunity to put more money into their personal pension schemes.”

Phil added: “If entrepreneurs are not willing to invest in their businesses, the implications are severe for the wider economy. The current safety first strategy means companies are not investing in new machinery and equipment, recruitment, skills training and all sorts of other essentials in growing the economy.

“Some of my clients are considering exiting from their businesses five years earlier than would have previously been the case. In the case of family businesses, this means trying to bring through the next generation sooner than perhaps was planned.

“The single biggest factor in making businesses reluctant to borrow is Brexit and the lack of a clear plan as to the direction the UK is heading.

“This combined with still strong memories of the recession of a few years ago has made the majority of SME business owners massively cautious.”

The latest SME Finance Monitor report revealed that just under half of businesses considered themselves to be “permanent non-borrowers”.

Phillip Bates & Co and its sister firm, Phillip Bates & Co Financial Services, are one of only a small number of Chartered Partnerships in the region.

Business owners brace themselves for digital tax revolution

Business owners should start planning now for sweeping changes to the way they file their tax returns, a leading accountant has warned.

By 2020, the vast majority of businesses, self-employed people and landlords will be required to keep track of their tax affairs digitally and to update HMRC at least quarterly via their digital tax accounts.

The Government initiative, called ‘Making Tax Digital’ will bring about the demise of the annual tax return.

In order to comply with the new legislation, businesses will be required to use digital tools, such as software or apps, to keep records of their income and expenditure.

The tools enable business owners to build a comprehensive view of their tax data, flagging up possible errors and offering prompts for information that may otherwise be overlooked.

Phil Bates, Principal of Cheshire-based chartered accountants Phillip Bates & Co, said: “The new digital system will be implemented from April 2018 to 2020, but business owners need to start preparing now.

“Some SMEs will already be using an online accounting system, but the majority will not and they need to start making the transition over the next 12-18 months.

“The ‘Making Tax Digital’ initiative will revolutionise the way businesses manage their accounts and tax affairs and, ultimately, has the potential to streamline and make the whole process more efficient. For example, you will no longer have to wait until the end of the tax year to discover how much tax you need to pay.

“But in order to get to that point, most businesses will have to go through a significant period of transition.”

Phil, whose www.pbates.co.uk office is in Neston but works with SMEs across Cheshire, Wirral and North Wales, said: “We have begun trials with a small number of clients, moving them across to online software and implementing best practice into their businesses.

“For some SMEs, the transition will be relatively smooth, while for others, including those still using pen and paper for their book-keeping, the process will take considerably longer.

“I have had conversations with a small number of clients who are reluctant to move to digital accounting with a few saying it may encourage them to shut up shop.

“The team at Phillip Bates & Co has undergone extensive training in the use of online software and, over the next couple of years, we will work with our clients to ensure they are able to comply with the changes well ahead of the 2018-2020 deadlines.”

Chartered Partnership Phillip Bates & Co unveils new look

A leading firm of chartered accountants and financial planners has unveiled a new look.

Phillip Bates & Co has undergone a rebranding programme as it aims to further build its profile across Cheshire, Wirral, Merseyside and North Wales.

Phillip Bates & Co chartered accountants was established over 100 years ago with Phillip Bates & Co Financial Services being set up in 1998. They are unique in the area for both disciplines having the prestigious Chartered status.

The new branding, which has been carried out by PR and Marketing specialist Mason Media, is being rolled out across the firm’s Neston offices as well as business stationery and all other marketing and advertising materials.

Phil Bates, Principal of Phillip Bates & Co Chartered Accountants, said: “We decided the time was right to give ourselves a fresh new look.

“We are constantly advising our clients to ensure they continue to evolve and develop as businesses and we are no different.

“We have established a very loyal client base across both the accountancy and financial planning businesses, but we also know there are many more SMEs and private clients who would benefit from the comprehensive range of services we offer.”

Alan Mellor, Managing Director of Phillip Bates & Co Financial Services, said: “The current team at Phillip Bates & Co has worked incredibly hard over the last 30 years to build a successful, highly regarded business.

“We are proud to be the only firm in the area to have Chartered status for both accountancy and financial planning.”

Phillip Bates & Co Ltd provides its clients with a full range of accountancy and taxation services including company formation, business planning, payroll, VAT and finance raising. Phil also provides a number of clients with a bespoke business development programme.

Phillip Bates & Co Financial Services provides clients with independent financial planning to help them achieve their personal or commercial goals. This includes planning for retirement, savings and investments, pensions, taxation, inheritance tax, life assurance and health insurance.

Neston & District Community Fund backs Close to Home project

The Neston and District Community Fund is backing a vital project to improve the lives of vulnerable older people.

The Fund is giving a grant of £2,100 to support the Neston element of the Close to Home initiative which is run by Ellesmere Port and Neston Association of Voluntary and Community Organisations (EPNAVCO).

Around 20 older people within the Neston area will benefit from the funding of the volunteer befriending programme.

The project is a crucial lifeline for vulnerable older adults – often the volunteer is the only person they see all week.

Volunteers are also trained to identify issues such as failing health, confusion or environmental problems such as their home being too cold or in need of urgent repairs.

The grant provided by the Fund will help to reduce the length of time between a referral being made and a volunteer befriender being matched with the service user.

Phil Bates, Principal at Phillip Bates & Co Chartered Accountants, one of the founders of the Neston and District Community Fund, said: “As soon as we heard about the Close to Home project, we had no hesitation in agreeing to fund the initiative.

“It is a fantastic example of why we decided to launch the Neston and District Community Fund. Hopefully, other similar projects committed to tackling social isolation and deprivation will come forward and tell us about their work and funding requirements.”

Set up in January last year, the Fund supports community and voluntary groups in Neston, Little Neston, Parkgate, Burton, Ness, Willaston and Puddington.

The other three founding partners are Clive Watkin Partnership, Rightway and G Tilby Engineering.

Phil Bates added: “We will consider all community projects but are particularly keen to hear from groups who are tackling some of the biggest issues facing our community including social deprivation, social isolation, drug avoidance and drug rehabilitation.”

David Clarke, Managing Director of Rightway, said: “The Neston & District Community Fund ensures local money goes towards tackling some of the deep-seated social issues in our community.”

The fund is administered by Cheshire Community Foundation, which connects charitable donors, including business owners and private individuals, with the causes that matter in Cheshire and Warrington.

Applicants can apply for funding from the Neston & District Community Fund but, if additional funding is needed, other CCF-managed funds may also be able to assist.

Zoe Sheppard, CEO of Cheshire Community Foundation, said: “This is a terrific example of a charitable fund making a very real difference in their immediate local area. The Close to Home project is an extremely important programme which significantly improves the lives of vulnerable older people.”

  • If you would like to apply for a grant, please visit www.cheshirecommunityfoundation.org,uk or call 01606 330607.