Archive for March, 2015

Save today. Safe Tomorrow.

Global Money Week (GMW) aims to educate young children about money and saving through interactive activities.

GMW’s theme for 2015 is ‘Save today. Safe Tomorrow.’ This is something which the Group strives to communicate to customers and during our work with schools, colleges and the community.

Whilst on the topic of education you may want to see some of the work we did last year, in keeping with teaching young adults about money and saving, with Manchester Health Academy. As part of a wellbeing day we helped to deliver a session which asked students to consider affordable spending and lending. Working with staff from the academy we explore the story of Bob, who borrows money but can’t pay it back.

You can watch that video on our Community page

GMW is initiated and co-ordinated by Child and Youth Finance International. If you want to learn more about Global Money Week 2015 you can find out more on their website.

2015 Budget beamed out live from Manchester

Whilst some sceptics could argue a budget address on the eve of an election could be a platform for garnering votes and massaging the electorate for positive reaction, it seems that the Chancellor’s words do strike a welcoming resonance for savers.

In a packed House of Commons, with a number of predecessors including Alistair Darling in attendance, George Osborne started by addressing the state of the economy with ‘recovery’ being one of many buzzwords of choice.

Numbers of those employed are at a record high and living standards are set to be higher now compared to May 2010 where, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility, families will be “around £900 better off”.  That’s great news for our customer base, many of which have to make every penny count.

From a personal finance point of view, the raising of the tax threshold to £11,000 from 2016/7 will see benefits in take home pay for most, although this is going up from £10,000 to £10,600 in April this year.

Encouragingly, the reforms on savings provide further incentive for the nation to save. One of the messages that we convey to customers within the Group is that of saving and having a financial buffer to cope with the unexpected.

“Around 9.24m households have no savings, while a further 3.43m have under £1,500”.
Source: The Money Statistics October 2014, from the Money Charity.

Among the main changes for savers were shifts in the personal savings allowance, meaning the first £1,000 of interest earned on savings would be tax-free. ‘Fully flexible ISAs’ would also allow customers to withdraw money and put it back without losing any of their tax-free allowance.

The Northern Powerhouse powers on

Following announcements earlier this year regarding controls of NHS budgets, Greater Manchester councils will be allowed to keep 100% of the growth in additional business rates. The plan on paper of becoming a devolved region is looking a step closer.

The budget address also pointed to the North West being the area where employment is growing the fastest. With the introduction of an elected Mayor it seems the writing could be on the wall and only a matter of time.

Other regions, not only Greater Manchester, also featured within the sphere of the Northern Powerhouse with Yorkshire also being name checked on the basis that it created more jobs than the whole of France.

The initial talk where the notion of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ was outlined was attended by the One Advice Group.

View full budget speech.

The blueprint for devolution starts here

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With just two months left before the political parties begin their election campaigns the topic of  devolution, especially in the north, is being given serious consideration from various parts of the country.

Last week saw a historic moment in the history of Greater Manchester as Chancellor George Osborne signed the deal which will see local authorities take control of a £6 billion NHS budget.

The move adds further momentum towards the devolution debate in the region. 2017 will also see a newly elected Mayor for Greater Manchester in what is being widely reported as a ‘trailblazing’ scheme that other regions are looking towards as a potential blueprint.

The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC), of which the One Advice Group is an active member, produced a document entitled ‘Campaign for Business 2015’, following detailed engagement with its members.

This reflects the views and ambitions for the next government that comes in to power, based on opinions and the collective outlook of businesses in the area. A key one being that of regional power versus centralised power:

“Whilst on a number of issues there are mixed opinions, on some there is clarity. One of these being the desire to see a greater shift in powers away from Whitehall”

Clive Memmott, Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.

The notion of creating a ‘Northern Powerhouse’, which was discussed by George Osborne and David Cameron during a visit earlier this year, certainly seems to be a common thread which is recognised  by the government as well as businesses in the region.

In a poll by GMCC, 44% want a city region Mayor (which will come in to force in 2017) and 36% want an enhanced combined authority. The move earlier this week to give control to NHS budgets is certainly a move in this direction.

You can view the Campaign for Business 2015 report here.

New pro bono initiative signals another year of giving at One Advice Group

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The One Advice Group today announced an exciting new initiative with  Thrive Trafford’s Pro Bono Bank, a volunteer scheme for local Manchester-based businesses.

The Thrive Trafford Pro Bono Bank is a pool of responsible professionals and business leaders with varied skills, knowledge and experience. The bank was set up by Thrive last year in response to the demand from the local voluntary sector for professional advice and skills. The bank creates a network of responsible business professionals who work and live in Trafford, who can share their expertise with the voluntary sector, as well as each other.

Dominic Timmons and Kerry Blackhurst (pictured), directors of the One Advice Group subsidiary Castle Keep Law, have offered their considerable expertise to the Bank, where they will provide local SMEs with free, in depth legal advice.

The partnership with Thrive is one of a number of charitable initiatives that the One Advice Group is already involved with in 2015. Staff from across the Group, including Harrington Brooks (its debt management subsidiary), have already raised more than £5,700 pounds for charity since September 2014. Moreover, staff members have also volunteered an incredible £680 a month in their time supporting local organisations.

Separately, the One Advice Group has also been nominated for the Corporate Supporter of the Year as part of local charity Forever Manchester’s 25th birthday celebrations. They have been supporting the charity for the last year via a range of initiatives such as office bake days and the annual ‘Movember’ fundraiser.

“Charity is at the very heart of the One Advice Group’s ethos. We are a community focused company that employs local people in and around the Manchester area. The Pro Bono Bank is an excellent example of the work that we do to support the community that we are extremely proud to be a part of.”

Dominic Timmons, Director, Castle Keep Law

Mark Cottam, CSR Advisor for the Thrive Trafford Pro Bono Bank added: “We are delighted to welcome the One Advice Group into our ever growing list of corporate partners that have kindly agreed to provide advice to the businesses that support our local communities. Such guidance, from respected experts such as Dominic and Kerry, is absolutely essential for the development of small businesses that may otherwise struggle in the minefield of legality and regulation that often besets start-ups.”