Month: July 2014

Timeless Classic Designs for the New You

Timeless Classic Designs for the New You

Timeless Classic Designs for the New You
There comes a time in a young woman’s life when she realizes that she has, well, outgrown certain fashions. Loud and/or skimpy clothes are ridiculous enough on a girl young enough to wear them, but at a certain point they simply look tacky. Perhaps you just graduated university and are getting ready to start that fabulous new job you dreamed of all through your final term. If so, then chances are you need to begin building your work wardrobe and gradually replace those silly or tatty items that were good enough for class.

Dressing appropriately for work does not necessarily mean looking like an old lady before your time. Thankfully, a variety of ladies’ timeless classic clothing, including blouses, sweaters and blazers will allow you to look your best at work while retaining a youthful touch.

When selecting clothes for your new work wardrobe, consider not only the colour or print but also the cut of blouses and blazers. While a sharp-collared shirt has been de rigueur for decades among those wishing to “dress for battle” or project a certain amount of power, it is also acceptable in many professional settings to alter these with either a round collar or no collar at all.

Having a variety of classic prints will also keep things interesting as you dress and accessorize for work: a variety of floral print and checked blouses will pair nicely with basic dark blue, brown or black pants and skirts and leave your options open in terms of jewellery and other accessories. If you have patterned scarves that you simply cannot let go of, by all means work them into your work wardrobe – with a solid-colour top.

The Classic Boutique takes great pride in offering ladies’ clothing that combines timeless classic designs with contemporary style. Our huge selection ensures that we have something for every woman wishing to look her absolute best when she steps out in the morning.

All the items in our Salisbury and Brampton area shops and online come with a no-time-limit guarantee, and all returns are free. Try us today – we’re certain that you will love your new classic look! For more information, simply come into one of our shops, call us on 0844 573 1640 or visit the Classic Boutique website.

Business:             The Classic Boutique


Nationwide House Price Growth for July

Nationwide House Price Growth for July

Nationwide House Price Growth for July
The growth in house prices is starting to moderate, according to the UK’s biggest building society, the Nationwide. Prices increased by just 0.1% over the month of July, the smallest rise since April 2013. That compares with a 1% rise in June.

Monthly figures are notoriously volatile, but the annual figure has also moderated, from 11.8% to 10.6%.

The average house price across the UK is now £188,949, said Nationwide.

A similar slowdown in prices was noted earlier this week by the Land Registry, which said that house prices fell in seven out of 10 regions of England and Wales during July. “The slowdown was not entirely unexpected, given mounting evidence of a moderation in activity in recent months,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist. “And there has also been some softening in forward looking indicators, such as new buyer enquiries,” he added.

Earlier this week, the Bank of England said that mortgage approvals had jumped by 8% in June, suggesting that the prices are likely to continue rising for some time. “The modest rebound in mortgage approvals in June adds weight to the notion that the slowdown will prove temporary, though the underlying pace of demand remains unclear,” said Mr Gardner.

Nationwide also pointed out that the Treasury’s take from stamp duty is now close to the record levels achieved in 2007.

In the year to June it said stamp duty revenue had reached more than £10bn. It also estimates that London now accounts for 42% of all the duty paid in the UK, even though only 15% of transactions are in the capital.

There have been calls from a reform of stamp duty, which has hit many more home-buyers as prices have risen. Buyers pay 1% on homes worth more than £125,000, and 3% on homes worth between £250,000 and £500,000.

North East Based Vehicle Innovator Sevcon Set to Grow

North East Based Vehicle Innovator Sevcon Set to Grow

North East Based Vehicle Innovator Sevcon Set to Grow

Electric vehicle innovator Sevcon is on course to double in size as the market steps up a gear. Zero-emission vehicle innovator Sevcon is poised to double its North East engineering team and recruit additional worldwide sales staff as it seeks $10m from shareholders to support its growth.


The Gateshead-based business, which is listed on the Nasdaq in the US, has launched a rights issue in which it says some of the additional funds may be used for potential overseas acquisitions. Matt Boyle, President and Chief Executive Officer of the electric vehicle control manufacturer, believes the global on and off-road hybrid and electric vehicle market is set to move into a new gear.


The $10m (£6m) rights issue follows a strong lift in revenues and profits over the last few months. Revenues for the six months to March 31 were $18.2m (£10.7m) compared with $14.7m (£8.6m) in the first six months of 2013, while profits came in at $906,000, (£534,000) compared to an operating loss of $1.6 million (£940,000) in the first six months of last year.


Sevcon’s research and product development is conducted from its Team Valley headquarters, where it employs a team of 40 skilled hardware and software engineers.


Boyle said: “Realistically we are looking at doubling the size of the Gateshead engineering team to 80 staff to meet our projected demand and we also want to increase our global sales team from . “A number of significant new opportunities are currently presenting themselves and we are scaling the business to meet these growth projections.”


Almost all of Sevcon’s sales are overseas and the company has highlighted Asia, and specifically China, for major growth opportunities. Earlier this year it signed a joint-venture with a Chinese automotive supplier Risenbo Technology. Operating as Sevcon New Energy Technology, the new company will sell Sevcon products to tier one automotive suppliers in China.


Boyle said: “The Chinese are far ahead of the rest of the world in adoption of low carbon vehicles. Last month the Chinese government said it would remove six million older polluting vehicles from the road this year, and replace them with lower polluting gas or pure electric cars.


“The desire of Far East governments to reduce the number and type of polluters isn’t limited to passenger cars, but includes buses and trucks, although rather than producing pure electric vehicles they are trying to promote hybrid technologies as well. The far east in general and China especially, have reached an inflection point in the electric vehicle market.”


Further details of the rights issue were announced on the Nasdaq recently, with the company’s market statement saying: “The net proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes and growth, including funding Sevcon’s ongoing research and development and product commercialization initiatives and acquisitions of other businesses.”


Boyle added: “We believe that when we identify a possible acquisition, it would be desirable to have the resources at hand to complete any transaction quickly.”

Zurich Study – Thousands Of Small Firms On The Brink Of Shutting

Zurich Study – Thousands Of Small Firms On The Brink Of Shutting

Zurich Study – Thousands Of Small Firms On The Brink Of Shutting
Around one in eight smaller firms have considered closing down in the last few months despite the economic recovery, according to a new study. Given that there are around 4.9 million small firms in the UK, this shocking finding suggests that hundreds of thousands of small firms could be on the brink of shutting shop.

Research among 500 small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) found that one in four have had to lower their prices over the past three months, and 15% have laid off staff.

Insurance firm Zurich said its survey showed that, despite the improving economy, a sizeable number of firms were “teetering on the brink of shutting up shop”.

Richard Coleman of Zurich said: “Our research demonstrates that while concern about risk amongst SMEs is falling, the risks themselves are still very much there. That the number of companies considering closing down because of the economic climate has remained consistent over the past 12 months, suggests that serious financial difficulties are still on the agenda for many. “While it’s great to see that SMEs are feeling better about the risks their businesses face, the findings suggest that the recovery isn’t affecting all firms equally. It appears there remain at least two tiers of SMEs, with a reasonable number still struggling as the recovery gains pace.”

Bank of England to Unveil Bonus Claw Back Plan

Bank of England to Unveil Bonus Claw Back Plan

Bank of England to Unveil Bonus Claw Back Plan
The Bank of England is due to unveil a plan which may see rule-breaking bankers return bonuses up to seven years after being awarded them, the BBC understands. Losses, poor risk management or other bad behaviour could trigger claw backs.

Even if bonuses paid in shares have been cashed and spent, the move could mean money paid to bankers breaking the rules can still be demanded back. The BBC correspondent Simon Jack said the rules were among the world’s toughest. The move comes days after Lloyds Banking Group was fined £218m.

The company was condemned for “serious misconduct” over some key interest rates set in London.

Lloyds manipulated the London interbank offered rate (Libor) for yen and sterling and tried to rig the rate for yen, sterling and the US dollar, said the US legal order. It also manipulated submissions for another short-term rate linked to the value of UK government debt.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney called such misconduct “reprehensible”.

Many bankers receive a substantial chunk of their pay in the form of an annual bonus which can be up to double their basic salary. Under current rules that bonus is usually deferred for a period of three to five years during which time it can be clawed back if appropriate. But misconduct such as rigging interest rates or reckless risk taking can take longer to emerge so under the new policy bonuses may be clawed back up to seven years later. There will also be new proposals that could see negligent bankers sent to jail.

BBC business correspondent Simon Jack says that although not as punitive as first proposed, the measures amount to some of the toughest rules in the banking world.

The British Bankers’ Association maintains the rules will put UK banks at a disadvantage to their foreign competitors and could see top bankers and the tax they contribute go elsewhere, he adds.

Commenting on the plans, Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays, said: “I believe that banks have to regulate themselves and that’s why culture is so important, so that banks do the right business in the right way. “I would say that in principle I support the idea that where there is wrong doing, there should be appropriate punishment.  “If that’s criminal wrongdoing it should be criminal, if it’s recklessness that should be punished also, so I’m not against the concept of claw back, ” he continued.

The Bank of England warned in March that bankers may have to return their bonuses up to six years after receiving them. Speaking earlier in the year, Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr bank bonuses should be deferred for a “very long time” to ensure bad practice is not rewarded.

He said the structure of compensation should change to allow banks to take back bonuses if senior staff are found to have taken “risks that were not fully understood” and if there are “conduct issues”. He said new rules already in place would prevent banks from paying increased bonuses if their capital levels fall below a certain level.

In February, the Bank of England set out tougher proposals for non-EU banks to try to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.

Non-EU banks wanting to take deposits would have to set up subsidiaries in the UK and face stricter rules, it said. These would then be directly regulated by the UK’s Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA).

Lloyds Fined £218m over Libor Rate Rigging Scandal

Lloyds Fined £218m over Libor Rate Rigging Scandal

Lloyds Fined £218m over Libor Rate Rigging Scandal
Lloyds Banking Group has been fined £218m for “serious misconduct” over some key interest rates set in London. Lloyds manipulated the London interbank offered rate (Libor) for yen and sterling and tried to rig the rate for yen, sterling and the US dollar, said the US legal order. It also manipulated submissions for another short-term rate linked to the value of UK government debt.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney called such misconduct “reprehensible”.

Lloyds said it “condemns the actions of the individuals responsible”.

The fines were issued by the UK-based Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and a US-based trading commission.

A “novel” development, setting the bank aside from competitors that have already been fined for Libor-rigging, was its abuse of the government-backed Special Liquidity Scheme, said the FCA. “It’s another step in the cleanup,” said Christopher Wheeler, a banking analyst at Mediobanca. It is “embarrassing” for Lloyds, however, as it shows the bank “is not as clean as people thought,” he added.

The FCA fined Lloyds £105m. It said the fine was the “joint third-highest ever imposed” by the organisation or its predecessor, the Financial Services Authority.

Bank of England Governor Mr Carney said in a letter dated 15 July to Lloyds’ chairman Lord Blackwell that the attempted manipulation could lead to criminal action against those involved. “Such manipulation is highly reprehensible, clearly unlawful and may amount to criminal conduct on the part of the individuals involved,” Mr Carney wrote.

Lord Blackwell replied on 16 July: “This was truly shocking conduct, undertaken when the bank was on a lifeline of public support.”

In the US, the Commodity and Futures Trading Commission fined the group, which is responsible for Lloyds Bank and the Bank of Scotland, $105m (£61.7m), while the US Department of Justice fined it $86m.

The agreement is the seventh joint penalty handed out by US and UK regulators in connection with Libor and other benchmarks, used to price around $450trn of financial products around the world.

Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland have previously paid $453m and $612m in fines related to the scandal.

Part of the FCA’s fine for Lloyds, was for serious misconduct over a programme introduced during the financial crisis to help the banks. The Special Liquidity Scheme (SLS) was set up in 2008 by the Bank of England to let banks temporarily swap assets that were difficult to trade.

In a statement, the watchdog said the “manipulation of the repo rate benchmark in order to reduce the firms’ SLS fees” was misconduct of a type “not seen in previous Libor cases”.

The lower the repo rate of a bank, the lower the fees for using the SLS programme. Lloyds was also by far the biggest user of the scheme, said the BBC’s Business correspondent Simon Jack.

Tracey McDermott, the FCA’s director of enforcement and financial crime, said that Lloyds and Bank of Scotland were a “significant beneficiary” of financial assistance from the Bank of England through the SLS. “Colluding to benefit the firms at the expense, ultimately, of the UK taxpayer was unacceptable. “This falls well short of the standards the FCA and the market is entitled to expect from regulated firms,” she said. She said other banks needed to learn lessons from and avoid the mistakes of their peers for trust to be restored in financial services.

The US trading commission said the “unlawful conduct” of Lloyds “undermined the integrity” of Libor, which it said was a critical global benchmark.

It said Lloyds had acted to benefit its trading positions and protect its reputation by manipulating the rate when it was in the process of buying HBOS during the crisis.

The commission released a transcript detailing examples of requests to manipulate the sterling and US dollar Libor rate. They include an employee from Lloyds telling their counterpart at HBOS: “Oh mate, I always have loads of loans going out at the end of the month so I always try to fix it higher”.

The trader added: “They keep calling it lower… I can’t work out why it is going down all the time… I will leave it at 67 and I won’t go any lower, right?” A sterling submitter at HBOS responded with: “Yeah”. And a Lloyds TSB junior trader asked a sterling submitter at HBOS: “Do you want us to keep the Libor higher?” The submitter answered: “Yeah, I have a big liability fix, so as low as possible please.”

Alloy Wheel Repairs in Glasgow

Alloy Wheel Repairs in Glasgow

Diamond Cut Alloy Wheel Repairs & Refurbishment Services in Glasgow
With its base in Glasgow, diamond cut alloy wheel repairs offers top notch solutions in wheel refurbishment with a reliable and dependable refurbishment services on the entire diamond cut alloys. No matter what the problem is be it just a general torn out or some technical fault, we carefully manages all your alloy wheel repair refurbishment needs.

To rejuvenate the look of your car, you need the specialized services of Diamond cut alloy wheels. It’s important because the dented or scratched alloy will spoil the whole look of your car but with specialized team of trained technicians we employ you don’t need to worry about your wheel because they are in hands of experts. We assure you quality as well stress free and high quality solutions.

Due to the fact that diamond cut alloys experience corrosion faster than random painted alloys and that is why it is essential to keep it up to date with maintenance. Therefore, get your wheels to us as soon as you can because the sooner you come the sooner we will be able to treat the alloy wheels.

Our wide range of alloy wheel repairs & refurbishment services are avialable throughout the Glasgow and Lanarkshire region of Scotland and includes powder coating and diamond cut face turning. With our services, you can keep your alloys brand new with our expert wheel refurbishment services. To know more about our products and services, get in touch with us at 07824 565280. We will be glad to assist you.

Providing Dealership Services
Diamond cut alloy wheel repairs offer our expert knowledge and experience to car dealerships that require frequent attention to regular alloys, diamond cut alloys and wheel repairs on a range of cars. We can fit alloys onto most automobiles and refurbish wheels and alloys back to mint condition.

As well as working in partnership with new car dealers, we can also team up with second hand car dealers to bring worn out wheels back to peak condition. Our wheel and alloy experts can check and repair wheels, tyres, regular alloys and even diamond cut a lloys. We guarantee quality assured wheels and great looking trims that will stand out on your forecourt to fetch an excellent price.

Contact us at today on 07824 565280 to see what we can do for you and your business.

Company:           Diamond Cut Alloy Wheel Services Glasgow


Metro Car Valeting in the North East

Metro Car Valeting in the North East

Superior Car Valeting in the North East
When it comes to having you car or vehicle valeted, Metro Valeting offer a service that combines high quality cleaning materials, plus valeting technicians who are passionate about automobiles and helping keep our clients cars in immaculate condition. Operating throughout the Gateshead, Newcastle and wider North East region, our service is well established and we have a reputation for high quality valet cleaning.

Benefits of Valeting your vehicle
There are many reasons you might be considering having your vehicle valeted. You may be considering selling or part exchange your car, and it is well known that those cars which have been consistently well cared for will almost always achieve the best price. Whichever level of car valet you choose, you can be assured of a service which is second to none.

  • Return the cars or vehicle to its original look and condition
  • To help achieve the highest possible price when selling the car
  • Appearance and pride
  • Valeting the car allows you to maximise the enjoyment you get back from your investment.
  • Applying a paint sealant to a car body will protect the paintwork

A Valet Service for all Types of Vehicles
From 4×4′s to luxury sports cars, caravans, taxi’s and more, our customers come from far and wide with their cars for one reason – quality of service.  At Metro we provide superior car cleaning and valeting services, and located close to Newcastle airport and city centre, we are fully mobile – meaning, we can come get your car from you at work or at home. We now cover Gateshead, Newcastle and the wider North East.

Located close to Newcastle city centre, we offer a range of car valet levels, starting with the standard car wash, which is sometimes all your pride and joy needs to restore its shine, through to a full luxury car valet service.

We pride ourselves on the amount of clients we return to us for further valeting work. Also, a significant proportion of our work comes from clients who have used us before and have referred their friends, family and work colleagues.

With an unrivaled standard of customer care and attention to detail, at Metro Valeting you can be sure that whether you have the smallest car or the largest luxury model you will always receive the best possible service whether you need the basic valet or one of our more comprehensive valeting packages.

Metro Valeting have become one of the most successful and reliable mobile valeting service companies operating in the Gateshead / Newcastle areas. We are a business offering a friendly and professional service to our valued customers our focus is on customer satisfaction, convenience and most importantly ‘value for money’.

Why not call Metro Valeting today to discuss your exact requirements. Call us now on 0191 460 3434 or email via our website form. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Business:         Metro Valeting


The Perfect Gift from The Home and Gift Shop

The Perfect Gift from The Home and Gift Shop

The Perfect Gift from The Home and Gift Shop
In today’s fast-paced, highly connected world, circles of friends and family connections are becoming ever wider, and you’re more likely than ever to have birthdays, holidays and other milestones to celebrate in the lives of friends and family.

Whether for a wedding, housewarming party or any other major event in your friend or relative’s life, you can find just the right gift at The Home and Gift Shop. By logging on to, you will find a vast selection of gifts for every person and every home.

Appropriate gifts for the home depend largely on the tastes and interests of the recipient. If you’re looking for a gift for someone with an appreciation for creature comforts, consider a Yardley toiletry set, cashmere socks for those cold winter days when only cashmere will do or a beautiful rose fleece blanket or bedspread set. For someone who appreciates nature and enjoys spending time outdoors, consider a set of Wild Birds china mugs, a book on gardening, leather gardening gloves or a suet feeder or flip-top peanut and seed feeder set to enhance their enjoyment of backyard birds.

Clothing and accessories for any season always make very thoughtful gifts and the range on offer includes beautiful cashmere turtlenecks, Bronte jackets and alpaca jackets. You might also consider our highly attractive silky cotton V neck and square neck tops are available in a variety of colours.

For the men on your list, what man doesn’t love to receive a sharp-looking pair of cuff links? Attractive and practical gifts for men to enjoy at home include dressing gowns in fleece, cotton and velour as well as slippers that are sturdy yet fashionable. Plus, a variety of Argyll and Shetland sweaters are also available in cashmere, lamb’s wool and alpaca.

Gifts for different hobbies and interests are also attractive and useful. The Home and Gift Shop offers numerous kitchen gadgets and related items which make great gifts for the home cooks in your life.  An item as simple as the Good Grips kitchen chopper can cut dinner preparation time in half, and a beautiful chenille or damask tablecloth will make the evening meal even more enjoyable once it is ready to be served.

Gifts are also available for your friends and family who travel regularly: inflatable neck pillows, jewellery rolls and even worldwide adapters all make very practical gifts for which you will be profusely thanked once they have been put to use.

And let’s not forget about pets! For your four-legged friends, consider one of many gifts that your dog is certain to enjoy such as a new toy, treat or bed.

If you are like most people, you often find that finding the right gift can be a challenge. With the wide variety of gifts for the home available at The Home and Gift Shop, you’re sure to find exactly the right gift for every occasion.

Business:             The Home and Gift Shop


Bankers Must Swear Oath after Banking Scandals

Bankers Must Swear Oath after Banking Scandals

Bankers Must Swear Oath after Banking Scandals
An oath for bankers should be introduced to raise accountability and standards in banking, said the think tank ResPublica. It said the lack of public trust in banking after numerous scandals was an “ongoing concern” for the industry and the government.

In a new report, ResPublica called for an oath for bankers to “fulfil their proper moral and economic purpose”.  Small businesses should also be treated as consumers, said the report.

The think tank said this could ensure banks treated struggling firms fairly. Director at ResPublica, Philip Blond, said: “As countless scandals demonstrate, virtue is distinctly absent from our banking institutions. “Britain’s bankers lack a sense of ethos and the institutions they work for lack a clearly defined social purpose.” He said an oath would “finally place bankers on the road to absolution”.

The think tank said the British Bankers’ Association, Building Societies Association and the new Banking Standards Review Council should adopt the oath for their members.

An extract from the oath says: “I will do my utmost to behave in a manner that prioritises the needs of customers.  “It is my first duty to provide an exemplary quality of service to my customers and to exhibit a duty of care above and beyond what is required by law.”

Another part adds: “I will confront profligacy and impropriety wherever I encounter it, for the conduct of bankers can have dramatic consequence for society.”

BBA executive director for financial policy and operations, Paul Chisnall, said: “Restoring trust and confidence is the banking industry’s number one priority. “But meaningful cultural change in an industry as complex and diverse as banking takes time.” He said a banking oath “very well could be part of the answer”.

ResPublica also said bank shareholders should have more responsibility to make sure banks are held to account.

Its full report, Virtuous Banking: Placing ethos and purpose at the heart of banking, will be launched on Tuesday by the chairman of the Banking Standards Review Council, Sir Richard Lambert.