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The Cumbria Chamber of Commerce Podcast

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What future for Cumbria in the digital age?

Speaking at a recent Chamber event, the Lancaster University academic Andrew Atherton speculated that Cumbria will benefit as the high cost of operating in London prompts businesses to move out of the capital. He explores the theme further in this podcast and considers what more Cumbria can do to attract inward investment, where future growth will come from and how we can encourage the businesses we have to scale up. Andrew Atherton is Professor of Enterprise and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of...


Helping your business to recruit staff

Around half of businesses in Cumbria that try to recruit staff struggle to do so. With the unemployment benefit claimant count rate as low as 0.7% in parts of the county, and thousands of workers due to retire over the next 10 years, it’s a problem that is expected to get worse. In this podcast Shane Byrne, Partnership Manager at JobCentre Plus in Cumbria, explains how they can help employers to recruit staff, and how the new Universal Credit is making it easier for claimants to get back...


The VAT threshold explained

The UK’s £85,000 VAT threshold is the highest in the EU and the OECD. It has been frozen until 2020 when, in all likelihood, it will be reduced. Ministers believe that having a high threshold discourages small businesses from growing and fuels the black economy. Are they right? In this podcast Pauline Jackson, a tax partner at chartered accountant Saint & Co, examines the arguments for and against cutting the registration threshold and looks at other VAT measures the Government might...


Why South Lakeland is Cumbria’s economic powerhouse

South Lakeland is the fastest-growing economy in Cumbria and North Lancashire and has the lowest unemployment rate in the North West. In this podcast Councillor Graham Vincent, the Economy and Assets Portfolio Holder at South Lakeland District Council, looks at why its economy is so successful and examines the challenges that success brings. He also explains the thinking behind the council’s revamped business website – – and discusses the impact of Brexit,...


Where next for tourism in Cumbria?

This is English Tourism Week (March 17-25), which aims to celebrate the industry and raise its profile. In this podcast, Nigel Wilkinson looks at the challenges and opportunities for the sector, which is worth £2.72bn a year to Cumbria. Nigel is Managing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises, one of the top 10 paid-for visitor attractions in England, and is a director of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership where he leads on tourism issues.


What the Spring Statement means for Cumbria

Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his first Spring Statement on Tuesday. He was upbeat about the economy, predicting stronger growth, falling government borrowing and falling inflation. In this podcast, Chamber Chief Executive Rob Johnston looks beyond the spin to assess the impact of the Chancellor’s statement in Cumbria. And he examines Donald Trump’s proposed steel and aluminium tariffs, which could provoke a damaging trade war.


Clear for take off at Carlisle Airport

The last scheduled passenger flight from Carlisle Lake District Airport was in 1993. Twenty-five years later they are about to resume. In this podcast, Kate Willard of Stobart Group outlines plans to begin daily services to London Southend, Belfast and Dublin from June 4, and looks at the prospects for new routes. Click here to register for updates about Carlisle Airport. Click here to find out how to subscribe to Chamber podcasts.


Is your business ready for GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on May 25, replacing the Data Protection Act. All businesses that handle personal data must comply – those that fail to do so face potentially crippling fines of up to four times’ annual turnover. In this podcast Tom Scaife, a partner in the commercial and corporate law firm Baines Wilson, explains the responsibilities and obligations that businesses have, and what they should do to stay compliant.


How food firms can supply the big players

Malcolm Laidlaw, of ML3 Technical Services, is an expert in food safety and labelling. In this podcast, he discusses the quality systems and accreditations that food and drink businesses need to supply national regional players such as Booths and industry giants such as Tesco and McDonald’s.


Have you made a will yet?

Most of us realise that it’s sensible and prudent to make a will, yet only three-in-10 people have made one by the time they die. In this podcast, Rachael Stephenson, a senior associate at Burnetts Solicitors who heads the firm’s wills, probate and trusts team, explains why it is particularly important for business owners to have a will and sets out what might happen to your assets if you don’t have one.


How to raise finance for your business

Obtaining finance is a perennial issue for businesses. But there are more options than ever before, with specialist and peer-to-peer lenders offering alternatives to the high street banks. In this podcast Mike Robinson, an asset finance broker and partner in Mulberry Asset Finance in Burton-in-Kendal, explains what’s available. And we introduce the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, which offers loan and equity finance to Cumbrian SMEs. There’s more in the ‘Financing Your Business’...


A helping hand for business start-ups

Justine Douglas is one of 60 advisers working with the Chamber’s Cumbria Business Growth Hub. She specialises in providing one-to-one advice to new business on our Business Start-Up Support (BSUS) and New Enterprise Allowance programmes. In this podcast, she imparts some sound advice for start-ups, and outlines some of the most common pitfalls. To find out more about BSUS, click here and to find out more about New Enterprise Allowance click here. The BSUS project is receiving...


Don’t let mental health cost your business dear

Mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and unmanageable stress affect one-in-six British workers. Work-related mental ill health costs the UK economy between £33bn and £42bn a year through lost working days, staff turnover and lower productivity. Yet mental health is still a taboo subject with employers and employees unsure of how to confront the issue. In this podcast Caroline Robinson, of the mental health charity Mind, explains what employers can do to minimise the...


Podcast: What the Growth Hub can do for you

Cumbria Business Growth Hub has been a phenomenal success story. Since launch in 2012, it has delivered intensive support to 2,000 businesses, creating or safeguarding 6,824 jobs and generating £280m additional GVA for Cumbria. In this podcast, the Chamber's Deputy Chief Executive Suzanne Caldwell explains what the Growth Hub is, what it does, and how businesses can benefit.


Podcast: Company car tax made simple

The taxation of company cars can be in a minefield. In this podcast, Kathryn Brown, corporation tax manager with Dodd & Co, explains the basics in conversation with the Chamber’s Julian Whittle. Topics covered include the difference between company cars and pool cars, the hidden cost of providing second-hand company cars, and forthcoming tax changes affecting diesels, electric cars and the car fuel benefit charge.


Podcast: The Borderlands Growth Deal explained

A Borderlands Growth Deal could be hugely significant for Cumbria, unlocking major infrastructure schemes such as dualling the A69 and extending the new Borders Railway from Edinburgh to Tweedbank through to Carlisle. In this podcast, Colin Glover, leader of Carlisle City Council and one of the architects of the Borderlands project, explains the thinking behind the Growth Deal in conversation with Rob Johnston and Julian Whittle from the Chamber.


Food Supply Chain: From Field To Fork

Food and drink remains the biggest spending category in the UK. National survey data suggests a fall in number of smokers and a rise in the culture of eating out and recreational activities. Cumbria is home to some of the best food and drinks producers in the world. Cumbrian producers and suppliers are in a good position to benefit from some of the growing markets for food and drinks associated with this social trends. Consumer pressure for locally sourced products also gives...


How to win lucrative contracts

SMEs are sometimes reluctant to bid for contracts with large companies and public sector organisations such as the NHS. They needn't be. In this short podcast, Eva Foran, Cumbria Chamber's Supply Chain Development Manager, talks about the opportunities for SMEs in Cumbria and the help we can offer through our Supply Chain Gateway to steer them through the procurement process. To access the Supply Chain Gateway, click here. To listen to supply chain webinars, click here.


Are You Fit For Nuclear?

Do you have specialist engineering skills that can be adapted to fit the nuclear industry? It's not just about engineering. Don't forget there are also requirements for food & drink, commercial services and more - the list goes on!In this webinar replay, Alan Smithson, will share some hints and tips about what you need to get your business ready to win those contracts, drawing on his extensive experience in both the nuclear and manufacturing sectors. More info at:...


Can R&D tax reliefs save you money?

The Chamber’s finance manager Richard Condron explains a valuable cost-saving tool that is overlooked by many businesses.


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