Budget paves way for future pension upheaval

Future pensions upheaval remains a strong possibility following the Budget, according to a leading chartered financial planner.

Alan Mellor, Managing Director of Cheshire-based Phillip Bates & Co Financial Services, believes Chancellor George Osborne may delayed further changes until the Europe referendum is out of the way.

Alan, whose offices are in Neston, said: “Radical pension changes were threatened leading up to this Budget but with political priorities to the fore, major changes have been put off until a future date, possibly once the Brexit vote is decided.”

Alan says the Chancellor’s announcement of a new Lifetime ISA may hint at future pension reforms.

The Lifetime ISA is the biggest change affecting family finances and will be introduced from April 2017. Savers aged between 18 and 40 can save up to £4,000 a year and receive a Government bonus of 25% – up to £1,000 a year up to the age of 50 provided they keep the money in the ISA until they are 60 or use it before then to purchase a first home.

Alan said: “This measure will prove popular for those saving to buy a house and the ability to borrow from this fund will be attractive to many. The worry is that both of these features detract from the reason we save into pensions – for retirement.

“There will be widespread concern if this announcement is part of a longer term strategy around pensions. The 25% bonus only equates to tax relief at 20% and it would also take away the principle of a pension being deferred income and tax similarly deferred until later.

“The move would be attractive to the Chancellor because it would bring in a huge tax take today of £6-10billion rather than waiting 20-30 years for a tax take.”

Alan highlighted a small number of other key announcements in the Budget including:

  • The reduction in Capital Gains Tax to 10% for basic rate taxpayers and 20% for higher rate payers. The previous higher rate will still apply to the sale of residential property that is not your main home;
  • The regular ISA will increase to £20,000 from April 2017, reinforcing its importance as a planning tool for all savers;
  • Around 600,000 small businesses to be exempt from business rates – saving them on average £6,000 a year. A further 250,000 will pay reduced rate from April 2017;
  • Corporation tax to be cut to 17% by 2020 providing a further boost to small businesses.

Alan concluded: “The Budget should provide a timely boost to small business owners, but there remain questions as to whether the Chancellor will be able to meet his long-term financial targets for the UK economy.”

Founders boost Neston & District Community Fund

** Read about this on the Liverpool Echo site **

The four founders of the Neston and District Community Fund have made a further “substantial” donation to support vital social projects in the area.

The Fund particularly wants to hear from charities and community groups helping to tackle issues including social deprivation, social isolation and alcohol and drug abuse.

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

The founding partners are Phillip Bates, Clive Watkin Partnership, Rightway and G Tilby Engineering.

Among the projects to be supported in the first year of the Fund were the Family Fun Day in West Vale Park, Little Neston, and the Grade II English Heritage listed station at Hadlow Road, Willaston, which was in need of urgent improvements.

Phil Bates, Principal at Phillip Bates & Co accountants, said: “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.

“We would like people involved in tackling deep-seated issues of this nature to come forward and make applications for grants.”

David Clarke, Managing Director of Rightway, said: “The Neston & District Community Fund ensures local money goes to local causes. There are some important social issues facing communities like ours and this Fund has been created specifically to play a part in combating them.”

The fund is administered by Cheshire Community Foundation, which matches philanthropic business owners and private individuals with deserving causes.

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.

Since Cheshire Community Foundation was founded in 2012, more than £1.6million has been given in grants with in excess of £250,000 going to causes in Cheshire West and Chester.

  • If you would like to apply for a grant, please call Cheshire Community Foundation on 01606 330607 or speak to one of the four founders of the Neston & District Community Fund:
  • Phillip Bates: 0151 353 0003
  • Clive Watkin Partnership: 0151 336 7070
  • Rightway: 0151 353 1500
  • G Tilby Engineering: 0151 336 2339

Please also contact any of the founders if you are interested in becoming a business or individual donor to the Fund.

** Read about this on the Liverpool Echo site **

Accountant advises North West estate agents on sale to PLC

A leading North West accountant played a key role in the sale of a North West estate agents to PLC Countrywide.

Phillip Bates & Co worked closely with Clive Watkin Partnership to put in place the deal which saw the UK’s largest estate agent and property services group take control of the 23-year old estate agents.

Clive Watkin Partnership grew from a single office in Heswall in 1992 to nine residential sales offices, seven lettings and management offices and a land and new homes department covering Wirral, Liverpool and Sefton. The firm employs more than 90 people.

Phil Bates, Principal of Neston-based Phillip Bates & Co, advised the firm on the sale, along with Sue Russell, a Partner with law firm Hill Dickinson who provided legal advice.

Phil, who has acted for Clive Watkin Partnership for over 15 years, said: “Selling a business can be a stressful and demanding time, not least when a company is being acquired by a PLC.

“We worked closely with the firm, guiding them through the preparation for sale, all negotiations and ensuring the deal worked for all of the partners. We also provided the specialist tax planning advice that is essential in any transaction.

“Perhaps the biggest single achievement was the speed with which the contractual side of the deal was completed – this took only a matter of weeks once the sale was agreed in principle.”

Ian Mellor, of Clive Watkin Partnership who led the sale on behalf of the firm, said: “Until earlier this year, we had no plans to sell the business but after we were approached we recognised that this was the logical next step for the firm.

“The speed and efficiency with which the sale was completed is a tribute to the skill and professionalism of our chosen advisers, Phillip Bates & Co and Hill Dickinson.”

Phillip Bates & Co looks to recruit

Leading Neston accountancy firm Phillip Bates & Co is looking to recruit a new member to its team.

The firm is searching for candidates interested in taking on a full-time role as receptionist and office junior.

Principal Phil Bates said he is keen to attract someone who is focused on career progression within the accountancy sector.

The successful applicant must have a positive personality and confident computer skills with Microsoft Windows, Outlook and Excel.

Phil said: “This is a rare opportunity for the right person to join our team, which is dedicated to providing our clients with the best possible professional services.

“We are a busy, well established accountancy practice with a growing client base and we need to ensure we have the right team to continue to exceed our clients’ expectations.”

The firm can offer excellent working conditions and package. Applicants should apply in writing with full C.V. to help@pbates.co.uk.

Last month, two long-serving Phillip Bates employees celebrated a combined 55 years of service.
Client service manager Paul McFarlane and tax manager Trish Brew have clocked up 30 and 25 years respectively.

Paul joined the firm from Neston High School at 16 as an office junior, while Trish had previously worked for HM Revenue & Customs in Liverpool.

In total, the firm’s 11-strong team, whose offices are in Neston, have a combined service of 265 years.

Phillip Bates & Co provides SMEs in Cheshire, Merseyside, Wirral, North Wales and elsewhere with a wide range of accountancy, taxation and financial services.

The firm’s sister company, Phillip Bates & Co Financial Services, provides clients with a comprehensive range of financial planning services.

They are one of the few in the region to have the status of chartered accountants and chartered financial planners.

Bates duo celebrate 55 years of service

Two long-serving employees at a leading North West accountancy firm are celebrating a combined 55 years of service.

Client service manager Paul McFarlane and tax manager Trish Brew have clocked up 30 and 25 years respectively at Cheshire-based Phillip Bates & Co.

Paul joined the firm from Neston High School at 16 as an office junior, while Trish had previously worked for HM Revenue & Customs in Liverpool.

In total, the firm’s 11-strong team, whose offices are in Neston, have a combined service of 265 years.

Phil Bates, Principal at Phillip Bates & Co, said: “We are very fortunate to have such a hard-working and loyal team, all of whom have been with us for a considerable period of time.

“Clients tell us that they like the continuity we are able to offer them. Our people really get to know their clients’ businesses. We pride ourselves on not only providing the best possible levels of service, but also on the strength of our client relationships.

“Paul and Trish have played hugely important roles in enabling me to grow the firm during the past 30 years.”

Phillip Bates & Co provides SMEs in Cheshire, Merseyside, Wirral, North Wales and elsewhere with a wide range of accountancy, taxation and financial services.

The firm’s sister company, Phillip Bates & Co Financial Services, provides clients with a comprehensive range of financial planning services.

They are one of the few in the region to have the status of chartered accountants and chartered financial planners.

Accountant sees “surge in enquiries” from landlords affected by tax relief changes

A leading accountant has seen a “surge in enquiries” from landlords affected by the Government’s decision to restrict tax relief on buy-to-let properties.

The Chancellor announced in his July Budget that the current 40 per cent tax relief for buy-to-let landlords will be phased out from April 2017. By 2020/21, tax relief will be restricted to the basic rate of 20 per cent.

Phil Bates, Principal at Cheshire-based Phillip Bates & Co, said the changes will cause “major upheaval” for landlords.

Phil, who has more than 100 landlords as clients, said: “The Chancellor’s announcement is likely to make a buy-to-let investment a much less attractive proposition.

“There is a very real danger that we will see a shortage of rental properties or increases in the rents landlords need to charge.

“We have seen a surge in calls from clients since the Chancellor’s announcement in the Budget.
Because the restrictions in tax relief are being phased in between 2017/18 and 2020/21, there is time for landlords to do their long-term planning in conjunction with their advisers.”

The phasing out of the tax relief is expected to raise around £890million for the Treasury by 2020/21.

Earlier this year, Phil Bates issued a warning to landlords to get their tax affairs in order to avoid being caught in a crackdown by tax inspectors.

HM Revenue & Customs has been stepping up its campaign to bring to book any landlords who they believe are avoiding paying tax due on rental properties.

Fewer than 500,000 taxpayers are registered with HMRC as owning second properties, but officials believe the true number of landlords is far higher at around 1.5million.

Neston & District Community Fund backs Hadlow Road Station improvements

Improvements at Hadlow Road Station in Willaston will go ahead thanks to a grant from the Neston and District Community Fund.

The Fund has given the Grade II English Heritage listed station £1,000 to help preserve the site and promote it as a valuable tourist and educational attraction. Next year, the station celebrates its 150th anniversary.

The application for funding came from the recently formed Friends of Hadlow Road Station, a group run entirely by volunteers and created to work with Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) to enhance the historic buildings and surroundings.

CWaC owns the Hadlow Road site which it maintains according to statutory and legal requirements.

It is the second project to be supported by Neston and District Community Fund following the grant given to help ensure the Family Fun Day in West Vale Park, Little Neston, goes ahead later this year.

The Fund donated £600 to go with a second grant for the same amount from Neston Town Council to cover the total cost of £1,200.

The Fund was set up to support 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.

Phil Bates, Principal at Phillip Bates & Co accountants, said: “Hadlow Road Station is a much loved local landmark and attracts many visitors each year. We are pleased to be able to support the Friends of Hadlow Road Station in ensuring that the building and surrounding area is properly maintained.”

The Neston and District Community Fund is administered by Cheshire Community Foundation. 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.

Helen O’Donnell, Chief Executive of Cheshire Community Foundation, said: “Neston and District Community Fund is a fantastic example of local philanthropy in action. It has been set up specifically to support deserving local causes and since its creation earlier this year has received a number of applications and enquiries.”

If you would like to apply for a grant, please call Cheshire Community Foundation on 01606 330607 or speak to one of the four founders of the Neston & District Community Fund:

  • Phillip Bates: 0151 353 0003
  • Clive Watkin Partnership: 0151 336 7070
  • Rightway: 0151 353 1500
  • G Tilby Engineering: 0151 336 2339

Please also contact any of the founders if you are interested in becoming a business or individual donor to the Fund.

Accountant says Wirral and Cheshire economy is on the move

A leading accountant says there are “positive signs” that the Wirral and Cheshire economy is moving in the right direction.

Phil Bates, Principal at Neston-based Phillip Bates & Co, said clients in a number of sectors were reporting greater levels of confidence including those in construction and leisure and retail.

Phil said: “Construction normally leads the country out of recession and there is a definite increase in the amount of building work, whether new build or extensions to properties.

“Consumers are spending again, albeit cautiously, which is so important for the local economy.

Building work feeds other related industries including interior design and soft furnishings.

“Linked to this activity, towns such as Neston, Heswall and West Kirby are seeing an increase in new retail and restaurant openings, while local tourism attractions and holiday cottages are also seeing a pick-up in business.

“Businesses have had a tough time over recent years and although we aren’t completely out of the woods yet, these are undoubtedly promising signs for our local economy.”

Phil added: “A number of our clients are now actively talking about growing their businesses again rather than consolidating.

“Some businesses were definitely holding off until they knew the result of the General Election, particularly as there had been a lot of talk about a hung parliament and the possibility of a second election later in the year.

“Although we were not expecting it, it is good for business that we have political certainty irrespective of which party had gained the overall majority.”

Phillip Bates & Co works with SME clients across Cheshire, Wirral, Merseyside and North Wales, providing them with a full range of accountancy and tax services. Its sister firm, Phillip Bates & Co Financial Services, provides clients with independent financial advice. They are one of the few firms in the area to have both a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Financial Advisor.

Neston & District Community Fund appeals for new projects tackling social need

The Neston and District Community Fund wants to hear from charities and community groups targeting a number of vital social projects.

While the fund will potentially support any worthy project, it particularly wants to hear from those working in the areas of social deprivation, social isolation, drug avoidance and rehabilitation.

The Neston & District Community Fund was launched earlier this year to support 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.

It has already helped to ensure that the Family Fun Day in West Vale Park, Little Neston, will go ahead.

The Fund donated £600 to go with a second grant of £600 from Neston Town Council to cover the total cost of £1,200.

Further announcements on projects that have been supported will be announced over the coming weeks.

Phil Bates, Principal at Phillip Bates & Co accountants, said: “We are particularly keen to hear from groups who are tackling some of the biggest issues facing our community including social deprivation, drug avoidance and drug rehabilitation.

“The founders of the Neston & District Community Fund believe passionately about the need for the fund to help combat deep-seated issues of this nature.”

In addition to projects, the Fund is also looking for other businesses and individuals to become donors in order to grow the amount of money available to support deserving causes.

Ian Mellor, Partner at Clive Watkin in Neston, said: “The Neston & District Community Fund ensures local money goes to local causes. There are some big social issues facing communities like ours and this Fund has been created to play a part in tackling them.”

The fund is administered by Cheshire Community Foundation, which actively promotes philanthropic giving, enabling it to secure additional funding from other funds operating in Cheshire.

Since Cheshire Community Foundation was founded in 2012, more than £1.6million has been given in grants with in excess of £250,000 going to causes in Cheshire West and Chester.

  • If you would like to apply for a grant, please call Cheshire Community Foundation on 01606 330607.
  • If you are interested in becoming a business or individual donor, please contact any of the four founders of the Neston & District Community Fund:
  • Phillip Bates: 0151 353 0003
  • Clive Watkin Partnership: 0151 336 7070
  • Rightway: 0151 353 1500
  • G Tilby Engineering: 0151 336 2339

Historic Wirral vet practice begins new chapter

A leading Wirral veterinary practice is set for the next chapter in its history.

Long-time partner Bruce Marsden has sold his shareholding in Birch Veterinary Centre to Archie Kendall, who has been a vet at the practice since 2003.

Archie will now be responsible for taking the practice forward with fellow partner Phil Shepherd.

The original practice dates back more than 100 years to 1904 and for many years it was a mixed practice combining farm work with companion animals. These days the centre focusses entirely on companion animals and during the course of a typical year will see more than 12,000 animals including cats, dogs, rabbits and exotics.

The practice’s accountant Phil Bates, Principal of Neston-based accountants Phillip Bates & Co, advised on the sale of Bruce’s shares to Archie.

Archie said: “With Bruce approaching retirement, it made sense for me to purchase his shareholding.

“There were lots of issues to consider including the sale and purchase of Bruce’s shareholding and various property interests across the practice’s three surgeries in Oxton, Thingwall and Moreton.

“Phil helped to ensure that the sale went through smoothly, quickly and cost effectively.”
Phil had recently worked closely with Bruce and Phil on the £160,000 redevelopment and refurbishment of the practice in Oxton.

The investment in the redevelopment of the centre enabled the practice to create more consulting rooms in a part of the building that was not previously being used as well as separated dog and cat hospitalisation and modern surgical facilities.

Alan Mellor, MD of Phillip Bates & Co Financial Services, has also advised the practice on a range of financial matters for many years.

Archie said: “I am looking forward to working with Phil Shepherd in partnership. He and Bruce have built a very successful and well run practice and it is my job to help ensure it continues to go from strength to strength.

“Being locally owned and run means we can invest significantly in providing the best care and equipment for the animals we treat.”

Bruce said: “I am delighted that Archie has taken over from me as a partner in Birch Veterinary Centre. The practice has come a long way in the last 20 years and I look forward to watching it continue to flourish as it begins the next chapter in its history.

“Phil Bates and his team have played an invaluable part in the growth of the practice over many years, always giving sound advice on what is best for the business.”

Phil Bates said: “I am delighted to have been able to advise the practice on the transfer of Bruce’s shareholding to Archie.

“Our work included sale and purchase of Bruce’s shareholding, various property matters, financial and tax affairs and general business advice.”

Other advisers included Ian MacGregor, of Lees Solicitors, who acted for Bruce, and Jonathan Cobbold, of Rudlings Wakelam Solicitors, who acted for Archie.