Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

Business In Hastings has an exclusive report from Sarah Owen, Labour candidate for MP in Hastings & Rye regarding her recent trip to China to exchange ideas and promote the local Vacuum Technology and other high tech manufacturing industries that the Hastings & Rother area becoming world famous for. Here in her own words is an overview of the trip.

We also have a small gallery of images from here trip which you can go to here.

Hastings: The South East manufacturing hub.


Sarah arriving at Songshun Lake high tech park

When I talk to people outside of Hastings they normally say to me; ‘Oh, arrow in the eye, tapestry, invasion by Normans.’ They’re far less likely to know about building components for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, high-powered lasers or high vacuum technology. Still less likely are people to mention that Hastings is the high tech hub of South-East England.

Hastings, which is my home town is the birth place of innovations including the first television broadcast to teaching Turing, but Hastings doesn’t just deserve that recognition, our future as a town depends on it. It isn’t enough to just be a high-tech hub, Hastings needs to be known as a high-tech hub.

Global influence

The investment that our businesses need to grow, thrive, and create the well-paid, high skilled jobs that our town needs, depend on our town’s reputation. However, in today’s world, our competitors, clients, and supply chains are not just limited to the UK, they’re global.

They’re in cities like Guangzhou and Shenzhen in southern China, where I visited earlier this month.

These two cities, both in the province of Guangdong, are China’s high tech pioneers. Guangdong’s open, outward-looking economic policies stand greatly at odds with the lagging social and political development in the rest of China – the world’s second largest economy whilst still being a developing nation. However, there is still plenty that we could learn, gain and offer this industrial powerhouse – with particular regard to high tech manufacturing.

Growth & Investment

Since the late 80s, Guangdong area has seen phenomenal growth, seeing only a brief dip in GDP growth during the global recession to a still enviable 7.2% – putting the UK’s forecast (and overdue) 2.2% in the shade. As a province, it has consistently led China’s growth over the past 30 years and is predicted to grow at above 8% and contribute another $900 billion to China’s economy.

None of this happened by accident. It took a deliberate, conscious decision by the Chinese government to turn fields of crops and low grade industry into science parks, technology hubs and business clusters. It was only possible with investment from business, the state, academia and by attracting support from overseas.

One example is the Guangzhou Science City, which is home to almost every kind of science and high tech industry you can think of including high vacuum, bio-tech, IT and renewable technology to name just a few. From its inception, the science city hasn’t stood still and constantly looks to support and welcome the next big technological innovation.

Support and R&D

This is heavily supported by the state through the Guangzhou Development District. On my trip, I met the Director of the committee responsible for it, who explained not only how much they had financially supported businesses in the science city, with reduced rents and the highest grade facilities but also practical business support and R&D. There is now 24/7 support for new businesses – his phone was never switched off.

We need to ask ourselves what we can learn from how they encourage growth.  This is most evident when attracting foreign investment, where applications for foreign direct investment are completed by the authorities within 3 working days. Without this commitment, and the continued support of the local development departments, thriving companies like Rio Bio would not have been able to expand as quickly as they had.

Maintaining our position on the global stage

Next to the continued austerity and slow growth we’re faced with here, Guangdong’s example is enviable. When I told both the Chinese businesses and development committee that our own local council will face a 70% reduction in funding from central government by 2017, they asked how on earth we expected to support growth in Hastings? And that is, quite literally the million dollar question.

Whether this support is replicated in the UK by our calls for a dedicated British Investment Bank to support SMEs, a cut in business rates or freezing energy bills which will have a direct impact on particularly manufacturing business’s sky rocketing overheads – it is clear that Government must act now to provide practical support to our local industries if we not only want to maintain our position, but to continue being the birth place of innovation.

Hastings: Time to show the world we’re open for business


Sarah at the first Tec 66 event in summer with Maggie Aderin Pocock, Lord Bassam and Council leader Jeremy Birch and business leaders.

Hastings is home to established names with world-class reputations, General Dynamics, Torr Scientific and Photek among them. But we need some of the reputation of those brands and our excellent experienced service industry, to not only be located in our town, but associated with it as well.

Businesses in Guangdong are crying out for the quality that Hastings’ businesses can offer, as much as we are for high quality jobs. But Hastings’ reputation for high-tech manufacturing and services is barely known elsewhere in Britain, let alone on the other side of the world, in China.

Tec 66: Why its important

This is why events such as Tecc 66 are so important. We need to be prepared to shout about what we are good at, and sell to a global market, which is what I did at every opportunity that I was visiting businesses in China. Nothing less will do in today’s globalised world.

That is why I am working to bring more international exhibitors to the next Tec 66 event and other similar events for our creative industries. That will help build on existing trade links, support our businesses to join major international supply chains, create jobs and ultimately ensure that Hastings has an economic identity that is known worldwide.

To get in touch with Sarah or to follow her via Twitter please see below

Email: Sarah@sarahowen.org.uk

Twitter: @sarahowen_

You can also find out more about Sarah at her website here.

The University of Brighton Hastings would like to invite the business community to their Business Enterprise Seminar.

 Business Enterprise Seminar 2013

  •  9 December, 5-9pm, Priory Square Building, University of Brighton in Hastings TN34 1EA
Business enterprise seminar 2013 at brighton university hastings campus

Business enterprise seminar 2013 at University of Brighton’s Hastings campus

This free public Business Enterprise seminar for local business owners and entrepreneurs is part of a series of events to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the University of Brighton presence in Hastings. Speakers include faculty from Brighton Business School and business students studying at Hastings campus.

Come and listen to the latest thinking about how to overcome challenges faced by small businesses locally in the current climate: challenges concerning finance availability and how to develop and grow businesses beyond start-up. Our students need your support as business owners of the future.

Refreshments provided along with opportunities to discuss and network with other local business entrepreneurs. To book your free space(s) for this seminar please email Chris Matthews at C.R.Matthews@brighton.ac.uk, or call 01273 642135. Booking will be open until 8th December 2013.

Speakers include Professor Aidan Berry, Dean of Brighton Business School, Dr George Tsekouras, Principal Research Fellow at CENTRIM, Brighton Business School (founder and Lead academic of the ProfitNet network) and local entrepreneur Sonia Blizzard of Beaming Ltd, part of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 list for 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Further information can be found here

An opportunity has arisen for the Hastings and Bexhill area to potentially have assisted status. Assisted status means that business in the area may be eligible for extra funding which can aid capital purchases or to take on additional staff or help with training. Basically its good for the area so its worth trying to get.

assisted status

Help Hastings & Bexhill get assisted status.

This will need the support of the local business community (including Business In Hastings visitors).

All that is required is a letter of support needs to be sent to Government Minister Michael Fallon backing our bid for Assisted Area Status for Hastings & Bexhill area.

The area meets most of the criteria for assisted status but the bid will be strengthened considerably by businesses writing in with support letters.

Below is a draft letter to Michael Fallon for you to adapt on your company letterhead and we at Business In Hastings would be really grateful for your help to achieve this important recognition, to attract funding and investment for the town longer term.

Here is the PDF version of the letter: Assisted area letter to Michael Fallon. You can use this, however you may need to highlight the text and copy to a word or open office document

If you would like a Microsoft  Word version (.doc or .docx) then please send an email to Jim Christy here.

Any extra funding and help to improve the local economy for both businesses and for the everyone who lives in the area is a good thing and the request will more likely be considered if the local business community is behind it.

We’ll keep everyone updated via the site and our newsletters. If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter yet then you can do so here.

Its well worth doing and only take a few seconds to sign up and gets you a summary of all the important business and developement news that’s happening in Hastings & Rother.


You can now simply sign up at Amber Rudd MP’s website, the letter is already ready and all you need to do is add your name and email address and it will be sent immediately. Here’s the link.



We were fortunate enough to be at the huge Business Start-Up and Innovation show last week. It was a very busy exhibition with numerous seminars, workshops, speed networking  and hundreds of exhibitors to see, however we managed to get a few shots of the event and here they are. The next event is in the new year so if you are thinking of starting a business or need ideas or just want to see what other services and help there is out there for the business you already have then this event is well worth going to.

Thanks to i-Jam Media for the images.

The Directors at McPhersons Chartered Accountants are pleased to keep Business in Hastings members up to date with regular, useful financial information. In this months edition, their Financial Services business partner, Daron Beacroft, talks about Auto-Enrolment.


Auto-Enrolment. What you need to know

As you will be aware, all employers will have to provide workers with a workplace pension scheme by law over the next few years. This is called ‘automatic enrolment’.


This depends on how many people you employ and is called your staging date. You can check your staging date by visiting the Pensions Regulator website.


If you already have a company pension scheme, we can review this for free to see if it meets the requirements.


All workers who:

  • Are aged between 22 and the State Pension age
  • Earn at least £9,440 a year
  • Work in the UK


Besides avoiding the last minute rush and motivating employees the costs were lower than expected. For example, one of Mcperson’s clients with 25 employees was surprised to learn that enrolling would only cost an additional £250 per month.

A new recruitment service launches today that is aimed at providing flat fee recruitment to companies in the 1066 Hastings and Rother region.

1066 Shortlist, based in the Creative Media Centre in Hastings town centre provide cost effective recruitment solution designed to give local companies coverage across multiple premium job boards. Their partners include Jobsite, Monster, Reed, LinkedIn and many more. Their fixed price packages save thousands of pounds in recruitment costs compared to advertising directly through job boards or using recruitment agencies.


1066 Shortlist launches its flat fee recruitment service to business within the 1066 area.

What is flat fee recruitment?

Flat fee recruitment (also known as fixed fee recruitment) is the process in which a company charges an agreed price up front for a recruitment service. No extra charges are incurred, even if you hire more than one candidate from the campaign. 1066 Shortlist provide a number of services to suit your needs and budget.

With their advertising service 1066 Shortlist will optimise your adverts to maximise applications and then shortlist the most relevant candidates for you to interview.

They also have a  CV searching service which allows you to tap into millions of active job seekers, previously only available to recruitment agencies and large companies.

They can even provide a telephone screening service to better assess candidate’s suitability and provide you with key employment information on CV Cover Sheets. Further details of all the options are available here.


1066 Shortlist’s Flat fee recruitment service can get your job advert on all these sites and more.

Mike Sherwood, managing director of M-Connect and co-founder of 1066 Shortlist explains the reasons for launching;

“Being in the Creative Media Centre we have had many conversations with business owners and the problems they’ve been facing in finding the right staff in a reasonable time frame. We helped one business find the perfect candidate for a specialist role within a week. They had previously spent 3 months using every local advertising avenue without finding anyone suitable. They now use us for every role as it saves them time and money and lets them get on with running their business.”

This result quickly resulted in repeat business for 1066 Shortlist. Mike continues;

“The results were so positive and we saw how quickly it helped our client fill roles they had traditionally struggled with. We realised that other businesses in the area might want to have access to a similar service that saves money, time and hassle.

“We offer a chance to be seen on multiple premium job boards viewed by millions of active job hunters and utilise our recruitment expertise at a fraction of the usual cost. 1066 Shortlist was started so that we could help business in the area find the perfect shortlist of candidates for the roles they are recruiting for.”

For more details on the service they provide please visit their website here or alternatively call them on 01424 400090

Some more good news has recently come out from both the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and from the Bank of England (BoE). Both are predicting rapid growth in the next year and both have revised 2013’s growth as well. Here’s what they are saying:

  • From the OECD: 2013’s economic growth in the UK has been upgraded to 1.4% from 0.8% and 2014 UK growth is set to rise to 2.4%.
  • From the BoE: 2013’s economic growth in the UK has been upgraded to 1.6% from 1.4% and 2014 UK growth is set to accelerate to 2.8%.

OECD revises 2014 UK growth to 2.4%

According the BoE, inflation has not been as high with a surprise drop in consumer prices brings it to 2.2%.

The announcements made yesterday at an OECD and BoE press conference confirms that the UK might be out of the worst of it regarding the fallout from the 2009 economic crash and subsequent back to back recessions and whilst most of Europe struggles to get in to positive growth territory the UK is rapidly climbing onwards and upwards.

Whilst this is great news for the UK as a whole, the growth may bring forward interest rate rises which will effect both businesses and consumers with mortgages holders in particular at potential risk.

The BoE’s forward guidance policy, introduced this August states that the Bank has pledged not to raise interest rates until the jobless rate comes down at least to 7%. Hitting 7% sooner could mean an earlier rise in interest rates. That would, in turn, mean higher repayments on loans and mortgages for many businesses and households.


The Bank Of England predicts that the 2014 UK growth could be as high as 2.8%

The new Bank of England chief, Mark Carney has tagged any interest rate rises to unemployment has bought forward the predicted deadline of the 7% unemplyment threshold from 2016 to the third quarter of 2015.

The revision has come as the official figures show the jobless rate declined to 7.6% in the three months to September, down from 7.8% in the previous quarter which is the lowest rate for three years.

The 2014 UK growth figures of between 2.4-2.8% means that 2014 should be a great year for businesses in Hastings and Rother and  it should be an interesting year ahead.

Let us know your views on this. Has your business seen a general pick up in the past year. Are you feeling more confident going in to 2014 then you were in 2013? Are you preparing for any interest rate rise?  We ‘d love to hear from you so leave your comments in the below.

The Directors at McPhersons Chartered Accountants are pleased to keep Business in Hastings members up to date with regular, useful financial information. In the first of a new series of exclusive columns, Ainsley Gill focuses on Payroll and how smaller businesses are impacted by recent HMRC changes.


McPhersons, Chartered Accountants East Sussex

Ainsley Gill from McPhersons Chartered Accountants tells us about the HMRC RTI changes for PAYE which come in to effect next year.

On 6th April 2013, HMRC changed the way nearly all UK businesses report Pay as you Earn (PAYE).

Real Time Information, or RTI, is a new system that HMRC has introduced to improve the operation of PAYE. RTI does not change the way you calculate PAYE, it simply means you need to make more regular submissions. Each time you pay your employees you will need to submit PAYE information to HMRC, rather than just once a year at the end of the Payroll Year.


Businesses with fewer than 50 employees can benefit from a temporary relaxation of the Real Time Information (RTI) reporting arrangements. Until April 2014, employers with fewer than 50 employees who pay their staff weekly or more regularly and find it difficult to report at the time of payment may now send information by the date of their regular payroll, but no later than the end of the tax month (which is the 5th of the month).

HMRC has confirmed that for 2012/13, penalties will not be applied for inaccuracies found within the in-year Full Payment Submission (FPS). However, they may be charged after the end of the tax year based on the final FPS for the year. Penalties may also apply for inaccuracies found within the in-year returns for the 2013/14 tax year, using existing criteria. From 6 April 2014 there will be new late filing and late payment penalties.


New Employees incorrect Tax Codes

RTI Money

RTI is coming soon. Make sure your business is ready for it.

For new employees, if the employee shows up on a later RTI submission, HMRC will treat them as a new worker and issue a tax code which may be incorrect as it won’t take into account their past employment record. If this happens, you should continue to use the previous code and call HMRC on 0845 300 0267 to correct the records.

What if an employee doesn’t have a National Insurance Number (NINO)?

You are allowed to submit a Full Payment Summary for employees without a known NI number. What is not allowed is to make up a number.

If an employee does not know their NI number they can submit a form CA5403 to HMRC.


What if there is nothing to report?

If there is nothing to report, you need to submit a nil Employer Payment Summary (EPS). This will avoid you being sent estimated demands.


This feature aims to give some informal hints and tips for small businesses. McPhersons Chartered Accountants will not be held responsible for any inaccuracies. For detailed advice, please contact McPhersons to arrange a consultation. on 01424 730000.

For additional information please visit the official RTI HMRC page here.

Thinking of starting a new business or looking for new services and ideas for your existing business? The Business Start-Up show is a good place to go to hear from some of the best entrepreneurs in the UK and see the latest products, services and innovations that are available to business both new and old.


Starting a business then the Business Start Up show will be a good place to get ideas and meet like minded people from all over the UK

The show is at London Olympia on the 28th – 29th November 2013 and along with 250 free seminars covering every aspect of business along with around 350 exhibitors. There are also 10 workshops where you can attend an interactive training session on various business topics.

There will be around 25,000 business owners attending the two day event and the organisers are putting on some networking features so that visitors can also meet each other and potentially partner up or swap services.

The event is completely free and its recommended that you register in advance which will save considerable time when you arrive. The link to register is here.

More details can be found on the shows website here which also includes an online showguide to help visitors plan their day in advance.



There is £350,000 funding remaining to create sustainable jobs in East Sussex. The East Sussex Invest or ESI fund can provide financial incentives for:

  • Companies relocating to East Sussex and creating local jobs
  • Local companies moving within the county to grow and create more local jobs
  • Start-up companies which will create local jobs.

East Sussex Invest Fund (ESI Fund)

There is scope within the ESI Fund to make a loan where insufficient jobs will be created within 12 months if continuing growth can be demonstrated.

The minimum grant available on the Economic Intervention Fund is £10,000.

Who can apply – eligibility criteria

The custodians of the ESI Fund will consider companies from all sectors, although normally this excludes retail. They particularly encourage applications from higher value manufacturing, engineering, scientific, bio-chemical, ICT and research and development companies.

Eligible companies must meet these minimum criteria.

  • Businesses must be one of these:
    • A company new to East Sussex that is looking to move into the County and create new jobs for local residents
    • Existing East Sussex company looking to move and expand within the county and create new local jobs
    • New start-up company setting up in East Sussex and creating new local jobs
  • Create sustainable new jobs in the county and be able to provide evidence of plans for further growth.Demonstrate the difference the grant or loan will make to the project or company.
    • If relocating, normally a minimum of five jobs is required within 12 months.
    • If a start-up, a minimum of three new jobs is required within the first six months.
  • Demonstrate what difference the grant or loan will have on the decision to relocate or start up in East Sussex.
  • Outline which capital elements the grant would support and what level of match funding is available.
  • Comply with State Aid regulations if applicable – see What is State Aid – Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

Guidance notes

East Sussex Invest (ESI) guidance notes (Adobe PDF)(opens new window)

When to apply

This fund is now open and will close when the funds are fully allocated. (The ESI Fund is currently about half way through its original allocation)


If you have any questions, please contact Vera Gajic in Economic Development and Skills.

Phone: 01273 482205
Email economicintervention.fund@eastsussex.gov.uk

How to apply

Register online and an application form will be emailed to you.

One way to complete this form

Do it online