Month: December 2015

Bathrooms and Showers for Every Home

Bathrooms and Showers for Every Home

Designer Bathrooms and Showers for Every Home
It’s no secret that kitchen and bathroom upgrades do more than almost any other cosmetic home improvement project to increase its attractiveness to prospective buyers, effectively allowing the house to sell itself.

If you live in a decades-old house with a relatively small bathroom, you might be thinking that there is little that can be done to make such a small space more attractive to potential buyers. If so, think again: interior designers are experts at making small spaces seem bigger, and bathroom furniture and supply companies carry products for bathrooms of all sizes and are typically able to assist homeowners with both small-scale and large-scale bathroom upgrades.

If you consider your bathroom to be small and cramped, let a professional work with you to figure out what would be the best possible use of the space. If a bathtub you never use takes up a substantial amount of floor space, then one of the first things you should consider doing is ripping out the bathtub and replacing it with a more compact shower cubicle. A shower cubicle with glass walls and door show whoever walks in the size of the bathroom, thus opening up the space.

You might also find, even if you don’t have immediate plans to sell, that the shower cubicle makes for a warmer shower since it retains steam within a smaller space for the duration of the shower. There’s nothing more dreadful than feeling the warmth of your shower going straight up and away, or out through the spaces between the shower curtain and the wall, before you’re even done showering!

Planning your Bathroom Remodel
P.T. Ranson carries a wide range of products for luxury bathroom upgrades, including Matki showers, Hansgrohe showers and much more. No matter the size of the space you’re working with, our consultants can help you with a design that includes fixtures and features to suit the current dimensions of your bathroom.

A bathroom remodel is a major investment in your home, after all, and we want you to be certain that the sum you invest today will result in a new look for your bathroom that you will love for years to come and that will leave you in a good position to sell if you ever decide to do so.

For more information or to request an initial consultation, call us today on 0191 4696999 or visit the PT Ranson Designer Bathrooms website.

Apple Agrees to Pay €318m to Settle Italy Tax Fraud Case

Apple Agrees to Pay €318m to Settle Italy Tax Fraud Case

Apple Agrees to Pay €318m to Settle Italy Tax Fraud Case
Apple’s Italian subsidiary has agreed to pay €318m (£235m; $348m) following an investigation into tax fraud allegations, Italy’s tax office says. Italy’s tax authorities say the company failed to pay €880m in tax between 2008 and 2013, according to La Repubblica.

The settlement follows an investigation by prosecutors in Milan.

The US tech giant has not commented on the deal. It has previously denied attempting to escape paying tax owed on profits made around the world.

Apple Italia is part of the company’s European operation which is headquartered in Ireland, a country with one of the lowest levels of corporation tax in the EU.

Investigators in Italy say they found a huge gap between the company’s revenues in Italy of over €1bn between 2008 and 2013 and the €30m that was paid in tax in Italy.

Apple has agreed to pay the amount requested by Italy’s tax office, according to reports. The company’s chief executive, Tim Cook, has rejected accusations that the firm has been sidestepping US taxes by stashing cash overseas, insisting: “We pay every tax dollar we owe.”

Business Warns of Growing Economic Burden

Business Warns of Growing Economic Burden

Business Warns of Growing Economic Burden
Government policies are placing a “cumulative burden” on businesses, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned. It said policies including the National Living Wage, the apprenticeship levy and pension auto-enrolment. had placed “a number of strains” on businesses. It warned such strains were “adding up” and could put UK economic growth and job losses at risk.

The CBI also attacked the government’s “wrong-headed” visa policies.

Business have repeatedly warned that the National Living Wage, which the government says will rise to £9 per hour by 2020, will place a significant burden on small businesses, in particular in the hospitality sector.

They have also raised concerns about the government’s proposals to increase the number of apprenticeships to three million but expect industry to bear much of the cost of providing training.

Meanwhile, pensions auto-enrolment is still being rolled out with some small businesses still not expected to provide work place pensions until 2018.

“Overall, UK policymakers need to deliver regulatory stability and predictability. Businesses struggle to invest when the rules repeatedly change – as we have seen in the energy sector where policy shifts have chilled investment,” CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn said highlighting the recent withdrawal of subsidies for green energy schemes.

While she acknowledged public concerns about immigration and pressures on some public services, Ms Fairbarn called on the government to “reform the UK’s wrong-headed visa policies that are keeping global talent from our growing firms and global student from our world class universities”. Ms Fairbarn added that while the economy had recovered strongly from the financial crisis it could be “all too easily undermined by the short-termism of modern politics. We need to avoid this pattern in 2016, and keep a sharp eye on the long-term”.

The CBI director-general also called the delay in the government’s decision over airport expansion in southern England an “abject failure of leadership”.

She said the government must “take the big decisions on infrastructure, especially in aviation and energy, and get building roads, rail and more homes”. “Good business needs good infrastructure – yet the UK currently ranks 24th in the world, according to the World Economic Forum. We have fallen badly behind over many decades – we must catch up and then pull away,” she added.

Growing Your New Business with SEO

Growing Your New Business with SEO

Growing Your New Business with SEO
Newcastle’s thriving business community is both a positive and a negative for new business owners. On the one hand, it seems like a better time than ever to be in the retail or service industries. On the other hand, so many businesses are already established that any newcomers might worry about how to bring customers to their doors.

If you are a new business owner in the Newcastle area or in the North East of England, you may be wondering how to set your business apart from the vast competition. You might have begun a word-of-mouth campaign among friends or considered how you might use social media to spread the word about your new business. You might have even considered a pay-per-click advertising campaign.

While these are all worthwhile endeavours depending on the type of business you are running, one must keep in mind that not every potential client will be searching for your business by name.

Let’s say you’ve recently opened, or will soon be opening, a vegetarian restaurant near Eldon Square and would like to attract customers who have just been shopping nearby. How would you begin to make your restaurant type and location known to hungry shoppers who don’t want to drive home and cook or stop somewhere for a burger? Since they are likely searching for “vegetarian restaurants Newcastle city centre” on their smartphones as you reflect upon this, it stands to reason that the key to drawing them into your restaurant lies in keyword-specific content on your website or elsewhere in cyberspace that will raise your profile in online search results.

This is exactly what search engine optimisation, or SEO – specifically local SEO, can do for your business. By publishing keyword-rich content that will draw more traffic to your website, you will gain market share simply by growing your online presence. SEO is a very effective part of a comprehensive Internet marketing campaign and will do more than any other form of advertising to increase your visibility to potential clients searching by business type, product or service.

Direct Submit Internet Marketing Services
Direct Submit Internet Marketing Services is dedicated to helping businesses of any size and in all sectors to reach and exceed their profit goals through effective and ethical SEO marketing. Whether yours is an established business with a website in need of more traffic or you’re just now venturing into cyberspace, Direct Submit will develop the ideal SEO marketing campaign to bring in new clients so that you can focus on the core business while watching revenues soar.

As a leading Internet Marketing business, we specialise in SEO and other Internet marketing strategies for UK businesses, both large and small – local and National. No matter your advertising budget, we will work with you to develop a campaign to help your clients find you right when they need you.  To learn more about how we can help you maximise profits, call us today on 0845 272 2350 or visit our Internet Marketing Services website today.

Savers Warned About 1 January Compensation Changes

Savers Warned About 1 January Compensation Changes

Savers Warned About 1 January Compensation Changes
Millions of savers are being reminded that they may need to move some of their cash, to guarantee it will be fully protected in the event of their bank going bust.

New rules come in on 1 January, which will reduce compensation to £75,000 per account, per institution. Previously the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protected savings of up to £85,000 per account. Joint accounts will see protection cut from £170,000 to £150,000.

The maximum compensation across the European Union is set at €100,000, and the British level was reduced as a result of the pound gaining strength against the euro. The precise rate was set on 3 July 2015. At the time, one senior Tory MP described the change as “defective”.

Although 95% of savers will still be protected, as many as 2.5m people may not be, according to the FSCS. It is advising savers who have more than £75,000 in one account, or in one institution, to move their money if necessary.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that some registered banks and building societies operate under more than one brand. So it you had £75,000 savings with HSBC, for example, any additional savings in First Direct would not be protected, as both banks have a joint licence.

Savers using Bank of Scotland and Halifax are in the same position. But Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and NatWest – although they are sister banks – are both registered separately. So savers could safely have up to £75,000 in accounts with both banks.

“While this should be quite simple to navigate, it’s made complicated by the fact that FSCS cover is shared between banks that operate under the same licence,” said Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) publishes a full list of registered banks, and which brands come under the same umbrella.

Train Delays to Major Airports Expected because of Engineering Work

Train Delays to Major Airports Expected because of Engineering Work

Train Delays to Major Airports Expected because of Engineering Work
Passengers going by train to the UK’s two biggest airports are set to face long delays over the festive period as engineering work begins. Gatwick Express train services will stop for the next 10 days, while the Heathrow rail links will stop for four. Network Rail said 20,000 of its workers would be carrying out almost 500 improvement projects across the whole of the UK during the festive season.

Its chief executive Mark Carne has thanked passengers for their patience. He also said that passengers had in the past “shown themselves to be incredibly understanding of planned improvement work”.

Gatwick Express trains will be suspended from 24 December to 4 January, while work is undertaken to replace a major railway junction at Purley, south London. Southern Railway services to Sussex will also be affected. Neither Heathrow Express nor Heathrow Connect services will run for four days after Christmas Eve, due to a line closure between Paddington and Slough.

Services to the South West and south Wales will also take longer as some trains are diverted to London Waterloo or Marylebone stations.

The West Coast Main Line will be closed between Crewe and Stafford between Friday and Tuesday, while there is also a closure on the lines from London Liverpool Street to Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich.

The BBC transport correspondent Richard Westcott said, “Network Rail always plans its biggest engineering jobs over the holidays because the trains are much quieter. The company has promised there will not be a repeat of last year’s chaos, when 115,000 people were left stranded by a catalogue of errors. The boss was on holiday in Cornwall when it all kicked off last Christmas. He’s not going away this year. It’s the fast services to the two biggest airports, Gatwick and Heathrow, that will be hit the hardest by engineering works this year. The last Gatwick Express of the year leaves London at 21:15 GMT on Christmas Eve, although slower services do start again on 27 December. The best advice is to check online before you set off if you’re planning a rail journey over Christmas and the new yea”.

The Independent’s travel correspondent Simon Calder said that while train services were thin, for the first time ever there was “something resembling a proper inter-city coach network” on Christmas Day, with National Express and Megabus both putting on extra services. Meanwhile, it was likely to be the busiest Christmas Day ever at the UK’s airports, with an estimated 200,000 people flying in and out – although it would still be the quietest day of the year by some distance, he said. About 300 people due to fly to Seychelles have been disappointed after a technical failure grounded their British Airways plane – also leaving about 300 people due to return from the islands stranded until Christmas Day, Mr Calder added.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said Britain’s “over-stretched” railways had suffered from signal failures, staff shortages and overcrowding in recent weeks.

Last year there was severe train disruption when engineering work on the lines from King’s Cross and Paddington overran, delaying travellers on the first Saturday after Christmas.

William Hague Warns EU Exit Could Lead to Break Up of UK

William Hague Warns EU Exit Could Lead to Break Up of UK

William Hague Warns EU Exit Could Lead to Break Up of UK
Leaving the EU could lead to the break up of the UK, former Foreign Secretary William Hague has warned. Lord Hague also said a UK exit would weaken Europe at a time of political turbulence and volatility. In the Daily Telegraph, he said he was “unlikely” to join former cabinet colleagues Liam Fox and Owen Paterson in voting to leave in the referendum which he suggested would be in 2016.

The prime minister has promised to hold an in/out vote before the end of 2017.

Mr Hague’s comments came as Poland’s new President, Andrzej Duda, warned in an interview with the BBC that the EU would face a “very serious crisis” if the UK were to leave.

Mr Duda said the EU had “many weaknesses” and warned a so-called “Brexit” from the bloc could cause further havoc. “The EU has been shaken time and time again with crises – whether it’s the financial crisis, or the refugees crisis,” he said. “Let’s not pretend, a UK exit from the EU will be a very serious crisis for the EU. Of that I have no doubt.”

In Mr Hague’s article he warned that if the UK did vote to leave the EU he believed Scottish nationalists would “jump at the chance” to re-open the independence debate, and “the result of it could well be too close to call”.

He also said a UK departure would see the 28-member bloc lose one of its “respected military powers” and leave it weakened.

“To end up destroying the UK and gravely weakening the European Union would not be a very clever day’s work,” he wrote. “So, even as a long-standing critic of so much of that struggling organisation, I am unlikely in 2016 to vote to leave it,” he said. “We will have to ask, disliking so many aspects of it as we do, whether we really want to weaken it, and at the same time increase the chances, if the UK left the EU, of Scotland leaving the UK.”

UK Growth Estimate Revised Down for Third Quarter

UK Growth Estimate Revised Down for Third Quarter

UK Growth Estimate Revised Down for Third Quarter
The UK economy grew by 0.4% in the third quarter of the year, figures show, less than previously estimated. The rate was revised down from 0.5% because the key services sector, which accounts for most of UK economic activity, grew more slowly than had been thought.

It is the third estimate for the quarter from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS also cut its estimate of second quarter GDP growth from 0.7% to 0.5%. In annual terms, growth in the third quarter of the year was revised down to 2.1% from the previous estimate of 2.3%.

Tips for Updating a Large Bathroom

Tips for Updating a Large Bathroom

Tips for Updating a Large Bathroom
The New Year is soon to be upon us and now is a fantastic time to take on a bathroom remodelling project for your home. If you are fortunate enough to have a fairly large, open space to work with, then your options are many. Following are just a couple of ideas for transforming your existing bathroom into a virtual spa which any current or future dwellers will enjoy to the fullest:

Bold block colours
There is no guidance on which colours are best suited to a bathroom, although light colours tend to give the space a brighter, cleaner feel. That said, there is no better way to capture one’s attention than by contrasting plain white walls, perhaps with one or two other accent colours such as silver or gold, with a bold, black free-standing bathtub. Victoria and Albert Bathrooms offer an exquisite line of free-standing baths produced from ground volcanic limestone.

Art-deco-inspired bathroom furniture
As with the free-standing bathtub, raised wash basins, such as those available from Burgbad Bathrooms, are a beautiful and stylish way to bring some turn-of-last-century charm with a modern twist into your bathroom. They’re practical, too: for taller individuals in particular, having a raised basin makes it more user-friendly for washing one’s hands or face.

Likewise, retro-chic bathroom cabinets with doors are an attractive and tidier-looking alternative to shelving which exposes bath towels, some of which are bound to be mismatched with the overall colour scheme and take away from the elegant simplicity of your block-colour bathroom design. Making the switch from shelving to cabinets will allow you to keep all the towels you have collected over the years and store them where they belong while still enjoying the sleek, sophisticated look that you have achieved for your bathroom!

When remodelling a large bathroom, one often finds oneself in the rather fortunate position of having seemingly endless options since one is not dealing with space limitations. No matter the design or individual bathroom components you wish to install, be sure to seek out the services of a firm that specialises in luxury bathroom upgrades and which will work with you from the initial planning stages to final installation to ensure that your bathroom upgrade meets your exact requirements. By doing so, you can rest assured that you and your family will enjoy your new luxury bathroom for many years to come.

P.T. Ranson Bathrooms
P.T. Ranson has been providing branded bathroom supplies and service for bathroom remodelling projects for years. With more than 30 years of collective experience and a commitment to providing the best possible products and service for each individual bathroom remodelling project.  For more information, call today on 0191 4696999 or visit the P.T. Ranson website today.