Thursday, 13 December 2012

Merry Christmas from Intervallum

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Let's hope 2013 proves to be a great year for business and a better year for the economy.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Chancellor George Osborne Praises ‘Fantastic’ Rolls-Royce Academy in Derby

I was delighted to accept an invitation from Rolls Royce to represent Mills CNC Limited at the official opening of their new training academy in Derby. Mills CNC Limited, the largest independently owned CNC machine tool supplier in the UK, have 2 machines on long term loan at the Rolls Royce Training Academy, a Lynx 220B and a DNM400.

George Osborne, the Chancellor, praised Derby for representing "everything that is right" about the British economy as he opened the Rolls-Royce Apprentice Academy, at the firm's Learning and Career Development Centre, in Wilmore Road, Sinfin.
The centre, which has cost around £6 million to create, will not only train Rolls-Royce apprentices but will also train young people who work for the firm's suppliers and other manufacturing companies across the region. Before the centre was created, Rolls-Royce trained around 200 apprentices a year. The academy, which has been funded jointly by Rolls-Royce and the Government, will double that number.

Mr Osborne hailed the centre as a "fantastic facility" and huge asset to the city and country. He said, "Derby is home to a number of great global companies like Rolls-Royce, Toyota and Bombardier that compete on the world stage. In many ways, Derby represents everything that is right with the British economy. It is a powerhouse for hi-tech engineering. So facilities like the Rolls-Royce Apprentice Academy are so important not only to Derby's future, but to the whole country."
The three-storey, 3,850 square metre academy includes a conference room, meeting rooms, classrooms and workshops, which have been filled with the same equipment found on Rolls-Royce's production line.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The UK Economy Returns to Growth

The UK economy emerged from recession in the three months from July to September, helped by the Olympic Games.

The economy grew by 1.0%, according to official gross domestic product figures (GDP), which measure the value of everything produced in the country.
The Office for National Statistics said that Olympic ticket sales had added 0.2 percentage points to the figures. 

All Olympic and Paralympic ticket sales counted towards July to September's GDP figure. 

The economy had been in recession for the previous nine months and has still not recovered the levels of output seen before the financial crisis in 2008. 

The ONS said that beyond the effect of ticket sales it was hard to put an exact figure on the Olympic effect, although it cited increased hotel and restaurant activity in London as well as strength from employment agencies. 

The GDP figures were also enhanced by comparison with the previous three months, because the second quarter had an extra public holiday as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June, as well as unusually bad weather, which reduced growth. 

"There is still a long way to go, but these figures show we are on the right track," said Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. 

"Yesterday's weak data from the eurozone were a reminder that we still face many economic challenges at home and abroad."

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

CIMA ‘Habits For a More Productive Finance Team’ Event at Cannock on Thursday 29th November

‘The most important figures in finance - habits for a more productive finance team’ 

Have you ever thought?

        is it hard to pin down that one single thing that will help you be more productive?

        are you tempted into overtime every time you are overstretched?

        do your team struggle to stay motivated beyond month end?

        Are feedback and atmosphere negative expressions when co-operation, collaboration and celebration wouldn’t go amiss?

If so, then this session is for you, whether you are a manager or team player. Your team are the most important figures in finance so here is the fuel to redress the balance.   

Clare Haynes will introduce you to strategies to address some common issues in – but not exclusive to - the finance function.  

These tactics offer significant yet small changes to kick off more output more easily from your finance team.  

The session will cover:

        practical management – how to manage and be managed better

        productivity – ripping through your email and prioritising to produce results

        positive politics – creating a constructive, fast-flowing communication culture. 

Venue & Date

Roman Way Hotel, Watling Street, Hatherton, Cannock WS11 1SH – 

6.30 for 7.00pm 

No charge.   Buffet on arrival 

Speaker details

Clare Haynes from Wildfire ( ) is a popular CIMA speaker at CPD academies and branch events. Clare has a sparkling style which can enthuse the quietest audience and draw out contributions from all parts of the room.  Her use of practical exercises locks in the learning in a non-confrontational manner.  Clare is a refreshing and dynamic trainer and offers a wide range of areas of expertise.
To book your free place, contact Julie Witts at

Monday, 17 September 2012

Cricket Club Pavilion & Car Park Development Appeal

Keith Chambers has recently launched an appeal to raise £300,000 in order to build a new community club pavilion and car park at Rainham Cricket Club. This will assist the club to continue to develop young cricketers (6 to 17 year olds) and improve the facilities for all in the community. 

This project is dear to Keith who has had several members of his family from different generations (himself included) play for the cricket club. 

Rainham Cricket Club was originally formed in 1856 by two wealthy local farmers Richard Mansfield Wakeley and Thomas Dodd. Another farmer named James Miles allowed them to play in his meadow at Siloam Farm situated in the present Mierscourt Road. The players were mainly resident in Rainham from different backgrounds and were trained in the art of cricket by Messrs Wakeley and Dodd, who had previously played for Gore Court. 

The first match was played on July 2nd, 1856 at Siloam Farm against the Angel Club, Strood, which Strood won. However, from 1857 more fixtures were arranged against clubs like Selling, Milton, Gore Court and Throwley and under the captaincy of Richard Wakeley, Rainham progressed to become one of the strongest sides in the area during the late 1850s. 

So there you have it; lots of history and heritage associated with this cricket club – and you can help to preserve and extend this history by making a donation or by sending a message to Keith to show your support. 

Keith can be contacted on 07989 799945 and 01634 361690 or by email at - I know he’d be pleased to hear from you (and even more delighted if you were to make a donation).

Friday, 14 September 2012

CIMA ‘What the heck is social media: how can it help you grow your business?’ – Tuesday 13th November, Penkridge, Stafford


Social media has been the big story of the last couple of years but many business owners and executives are still mystified by its seeming complexity and how they can apply it to their business.

In this event, Adrian Swinscoe will be sharing his experience of social media which will include: -

-        stories from small businesses that are using it successfully

-        key questions to help you figure out how you could be applying it to your business to drive future growth

-        practical tips, pointers and strategies to help you get started.

Speaker details

Adrian runs RARE Business, a strategy and marketing consultancy, which focuses on helping both large and small clients deliver sustainable growth by developing their customer service, customer engagement, marketing strategy and their existing client base. Adrian also writes a popular blog at where he shares some of the ideas and techniques that he uses with clients.

Venue & Time

Mercure Stafford South Hatherton House Hotel, Pinfold Lane, Penkridge, Stafford ST19 5QP

6.30pm for 7.00pm

No charge.  Light refreshments on arrival

For more details or to book your free place, email Julie Witts at

CIMA/AAT ‘Charity Accounting’ Event – Tuesday 9th October, Stoke


During this event you will: -

-        be acquainted with recent developments in the area of charity law

-        ensure that you can apply these developments in daily practice

-        be able to discuss the changes with your clients in an informed way

Speaker details

Jenny Hampson is head of the charity unit at Knights Solicitors LLP and is recognised in the legal 500 in the area of charity law.
Venue & Time

Best Western Moat House Hotel, Etruria Hall, Festival Way, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 5BQ

6.30pm for 7.00pm

No charge.  Light refreshments on arrival

For more details or to book your free place, email Julie Witts at

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Support CIMA North West Midlands - Open Branch Committee Meeting on 7th August


Date:    Tues 7 Aug 2012
Time:    6.00 for 6.30pm.
Venue:  The Crown Hotel, 38 High St, Stone, Staffs ST15 8BS
Cost:    No charge

CIMA North West Midlands covers an area around Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford, Telford.

The branch is looking for enthusiastic CIMA members and students to join the local network to help them plan their programme of events and promote CIMA in the area. We are looking for new members with fresh new ideas for both member and student events.

You are therefore invited to their next branch meeting to meet the committee, and to get an idea of what takes place.

Committee members attend around 4 meetings a year, help with the planning process of the branch, and take it in turns to help run the branch events. Being part of the branch network is an excellent opportunity to network with other CIMA members, students and other professionals in the area.

If you feel you would like to be part of the CIMA North West Midlands committee or have any questions, please contact Julie Witts - email or Tel 02476 849380.

We look forward to meeting you.

Monday, 16 July 2012

CIMA West Midlands Prestige Event with Ruth Badger

CIMA West Midlands held a very entertaining 'Prestige Event' at Wolves FC's conference centre on 12th June where the key note speaker was Ruth Badger of 'The Apprentice'.

The first picture shows Paul Hooper-Keeley, Paul Totty and John Hindson of the CIMA West Midlands Board with Ruth.
Our second photo shows Ruth in action - great anecdotal stories from her time on 'The Apprentice', including why she applied to go on the show (and her career beforehand), along with her experiences of helping business in crisis to turn around from the brink of administration/liquidation. Ruth then spent quite a lot of time at the subsequent reception networking with the guests in attendance.
This was a very lively evening that left the sizeable crowd with plenty to think about, and we thank Ruth for presenting at this excellent CIMA Prestige Event for the West Midlands Area (North West Midlands, Birmingham & Coventry branches).

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Ruth Badger of The Apprentice at CIMA Midlands Prestige Event

How to do business the Badger way!

Date: Tues 12 June

Time: 6.30 for 7.00pm

Venue: Molineux Suite, Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club, Molineux Stadium, Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton WV1 4QR

Cost: £15 CIMA members, £5 CIMA students, £20 guests

Come along to meet and listen to Ruth Badger, from ‘The Apprentice’ fame. Ruth’s upbeat and entertaining presentation will look at business turnaround issues with anecdotes, sales skills and humorous stories from her time on ‘The Apprentice’.

Ruth’s talk will look at:

 - her key rules and business ethos

 - how to successfully turnaround a business and what makes them fail

 - how to differ from your competitor

 - how Ruth sells

 - Ruth’s key secrets to her success.

Following Ruth’s talk, drinks and refreshments will be served with an opportunity to network with Ruth and other CIMA members and guests.

To book a place, please go to or contact

Julie Witts on Tel 02476 849380 or Email

Monday, 9 April 2012

Mills CNC Ltd at MACH 2012, Stand 5448 NEC, 16-20 April

Join me & the Mills CNC Ltd team (exclusive distributor of Doosan CNC Machine Tools UK/IRE) on Stand No.5448 at the MACH 2012 show from 16-20 April at the NEC in Birmingham.

Mills CNC is the exclusive distributor of Doosan CNC Machine Tools in the UK and Ireland. The Doosan range has over 150 models spanning lathes, turning centres, vertical turning lathes, mill-turn centres, horizontal, vertical and 5 axis machining centres, horizontal borers and double column milling machines.

New at Mach: -

Doosan VTS1620M
This vertical ram type lathes is designed to handle large, heavy workpieces, and provides manufacturers with a reliable high-performance solution for heavy-duty applications. The 2...

Doosan Puma 700LY and XLY
New at Mach the Puma 700LY has a chuck size up to 32", bar capacity of 164mm and spindle power is 45kW. With a +/-100mm...

Doosan MX2600ST
The MX 2600ST machine has a 10/12"chuck/76mm bar capacity and has 2 x 26kW 4,000rpm spindles, an integrated B-axis and a Y-axis (+/-115mm), and lower...

Doosan Lynx 220LS/ LMS
New at Mach 2012 is the subspindle model of the popular Lynx 220 range. Available with or within milling capability, 51 or 65mm bar capacity,...

Doosan DNM750(L)
New to the DNM vertical line up the DNM750 is being launched at Mach 2012 and expands this popular range of machines. 12000rpm, 30 tools,...

Doosan DNM 350-5AX
New to the Doosan range of 5 axis machines the DNM350-5AX presents an affordable 5 axis machine in the range. Available with Fanuc or Heidenhain...

Monday, 26 March 2012

A Budget for Millionaires, not Business or Granny? I Don’t Think So.

Last Wednesday, Chancellor George Osborne delivered his third budget to the House of Commons on behalf of the coalition government that was trailed as a budget for business, a budget for economic growth. Since then, there has been much media fall-out surrounding his “Granny Tax” and tax breaks for millionaires, but little about what this means for UK plc.

Not unexpectedly, the opposition jumped straight on the headline cut in the higher rate of income tax suggesting that this was unfair and had been enacted for the benefit of the Chancellor’s Christmas card list. I remember thinking at the time, had they really listened to the same budget speech the rest of us had? With selective hearing, they proceeded to ‘spin’ the message for their own purposes. They also, conveniently, forget to congratulate the Chancellor on taking many more people out of tax altogether with the further large increases he announced in the personal tax free limits.

Independent research shows that the 50% rate of income tax, a time bomb legacy from the final days of the Gordon Brown administration, collects no more tax for the treasury than if it had been set at 45% (which was Alistair Darling’s original intention when it was introduced). Indeed, let’s not forget that this is an additional level of higher tax in addition to the upper level tax of previous generations. How can this be fair? I hear the well-worn phrase, “Those with the broadest shoulders should carry more of the burden”, far too often these days – what about being equitable? If everyone paid the same flat rate of income tax, say 25% on every pound of income earnt, we would all be paying our ‘fair’ share, and those with the broadest shoulders would still be contributing considerably more into the coffers!

From a business perspective, with a tax rate the fourth highest in the G20, the 50p tax rate had to be tackled to show the world that the UK is a great place to invest and would be a fair regime for your executives to work from. Reducing this headline rate to 45p does this, although there is still the case for removing this very top rate banding altogether (or at least increasing the threshold to start paying the 45p to £250,000 – earning £150,000 pa does not make you a Millionaire). And in conjunction with the further reduction in Corporation Tax rates for large businesses (with the aim of bringing the CT rate down to 20%), it is a very powerful message to global business – and no surprise that GSK have already subsequently announced a £500m investment in its first UK facility build for 40 years.

One disappointment for business, particularly the manufacturing and engineering sectors, is that there has been no continuation of previous breaks in capital allowances. Surely this is an area that needs looking at during the green shoots of a recovery in order to get companies buying capital equipment again and gearing up for growth?

As for the so called “Granny Tax”, no one has been taxed more – a freezing in the increase of pensioner’s tax free allowance to bring it into line with the rest of the country will affect no one for the next year. But when it does kick in then it is equitable – after all, why should this class of citizen be given additional tax breaks to the rest of the population? Let’s not forget that the current generation of pensioners have had the good times of bull markets, property value increases and inflationary gains. Indeed a recent report suggests that the following generations have little or no hope of ever being as well off.

The message of this budget is that the Chancellor, with very little room to manoeuvre in these difficult economic times, has done quite a lot to encourage inward investment to the UK, to make this a place to do business, and to start the process of economic growth. He should be commended.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

BBC Radio 4's 'Any Questions' at Lichfield Cathedral

I was delighted to be invited to attend the recording of BBC Radio 4's political panel programme, 'Any Questions', last Friday (27th January) at the stunning location of Lichfield Cathedral.

The show, hosted by Jonathan Dimbleby, featured panellists David Blunkett MP, Danny Finkelstein (Executive Editor of The Times), Anna Soubry MP (PPS to the Minister of State for Health) and Sunder Kotwala (Director of British Future).

Although I wasn't selected to ask a question, a couple of my suggestions were asked by other guests and stimulated some excellent debate.

The forerunner of the TV version, 'Question Time', the 'Any Questions' radio show has been broadcast since 1948.