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If you’re travelling up to London from the 22nd December than Southeastern is urging passengers to check before they travel over the festive period as alterations to train services come into effect next week.

With thousands of visitors expected to travel to London for last minute Christmas shopping and to join in with the festive fun this New Year, the company has made changes to its timetable during the period.southeastern-CharingX1-trains

From Monday 22 December until Christmas Eve some of the company’s Charing Cross services will not stop at the station between 07:54 and 09:01 and other trains will be diverted to Blackfriars and Cannon Street. This is to accommodate work to continue the rebuild of London Bridge station as part of the £6.5 billion Thameslink Programme.

On Christmas Eve the company’s train service will begin to shut down from 19.00, with no trains running after 22.00. There will be no Christmas Day services.

A half hourly high speed service will be provided on Boxing Day, running from Ashford International to Ebbsfleet, Stratford and St Pancras International between 08.00 and 20.00. No other services will run on that day.

An amended timetable will run from Monday 29 December until Friday 2 January, with additional services provided in the early hours of New Year’s Day to help passengers to get home after seeing in 2015.

Full details of the changes to services, including a tool to check final trains on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, are available at here.

 

On Tuesday 16th December, members of the cabinet at East Sussex County Council voted unanimously to remove subsidies from a variety of bus services in Hastings and Rother. bus cuts

Despite this, many of the proposed cuts to routes have been dropped as a result of pressure from the Don’t Stop Our Bus campaign led by Labour parliamentary candidate Sarah Owen and local residents. However, there are still some major cuts that will impact on the lives of local bus users.

Of the 101 subsidised routes, 90 will continue to operate with bus operators agreeing to take on 23 evening and weekend routes on a commercial basis.

Sarah Owen said,

“We may have not got everything we wanted, but, on the whole, this is a victory for us.  We mustn’t forget that for those affected by the remaining cuts as this is still a massive impact on their lives.  I want those people to know that I will continue to fight for a bus service that serves local people, and not the bus companies, and look forward to a Labour Government reversing the deregulation that has caused this.”

Cllr John Hodges spoke at the cabinet and proposed alternatives as to how savings could be made by stripping back departments and cutting out inefficiencies.

“The public said no. The full council said no. I implore the cabinet to renegotiate and don’t just cut and slash. Leave our public services intact for those that depend on them.”

 

 

 

With just over a week left until Christmas, some of you may also be stressing out about how to celebrate the end of 2014 as New Year’s Eve approaches.

We’ve put together this guide to help you decide where you can celebrate in style and see in 2015 with a bang.nye2014

Azur

The Azur is an extremely popular place to celebrate your New Year’s Eve celebrations.

This year you can enjoy a five course sit down meal, a glass of bubbly at the stroke of midnight followed by fireworks on the beach.

Their New Year’s Eve menu is £65 per person.

For more details or to book tickets you can visit their website here

Bannatyne

New Year’s Eve Candlelit Dinner

The evening starts with a Prosecco and Canapé reception from 7pm, followed by a six course candlelit dinner.  Music will be played throughout the evening from their pianist until 11.30pm before moving into the bar and counting down the hours until 2015.

Tickets cost £69 per person.

New Year’s Extravaganza

Start your evening with a sparkling wine reception followed by a three course meal.  They will be music throughout the meal follwed by a disco after.

Tickets for this event cost £49 per person.

For more details or to book tickets you can visit their website here

Cooden Beach Hotel.

New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner and Disco

Cooden Beach Hotel will be holding a New Years Eve Gala Dinner and Disco.  The evening will start with a Champagne reception at 7pm followed by a five course meal.

The evening will be taking place in either the Strand room which includes a disco or in the Beachside Restaurant.

Tickets for this event cost £95 The Strand/£75 Beachside Restaurant.

For my details or to book  tickets you can visit their website here

Royal Victoria Hotel

The Royal Victoria will be hosting New Years Eve Black and White Ball and Gala Buffet.  You will receive a welcome drink on arrival and then enjoy the delights of the Gala Buffet and enjoy the entertainment into the New Year.

Tickets for the evening cost £60.

For more Details or to book tickets you can visit their website here

So there you have it, our guide to the best places to celebrate with your loved ones the end of 2015 and the start of a brand new year.

 

As the countdown to the festive season gets underway, ensure lone working in your business is subject to risk assessment and that lone workers are not placed at more risk by the nature of their role.lone-worker

Convenience store operator McColl was recently fined £150,000 for failing to protect its staff during a series of store robberies in Merseyside. At the hearing, the court heard that shop staff had raised concerns about the lack of lockable doors into back room areas and the need for CCTV. One manager with concussion, another member of staff was threatened with a knife, and some of the staff said they were so traumatised, they did not feel they could work in a shop again.

In finding the company guilty of the charges, the judge pointed to the “systemic failings both on and before the date of the actual robberies” and “The absence of proper and adequate risk assessments is where things started to go fundamentally wrong”.

Although there are no general restrictions on working alone, Health and Safety legislation requires employers to take care of the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees, as far as reasonably practicable and to assess the health and safety risks to which employees are exposed whilst at work. It’s important to have a clear policy in play, and to make sure that everyone in the company knows, understands and implements it.

A useful guide to lone working is published by the Health and Safety Executive and can be downloaded from their website here.

International charity, the Galapagos Conservation Trust selected Hastings based design co-operative, wave to design and build three new online educational resources following a competitive pitch.bih3

The English and Spanish sites allow teachers around the world to use real case studies from Galapagos to teach students about the islands, their history and the conservation triumphs and challenges involved.

DiscoveringGalapagos.org.uk was the first site to be completed and is aimed at students between 7 and 14 and is linked to the schools curriculum. Following developments will see the site evolve to also include GCSE and A-Level resources.

Wave were invited to the sold out launch of the sites at a prestigious event at the Royal Geographical Society in London, along with conservationists, researchers, students and teachers. As part of the event, some of the attendees had the chance to pit their wits against the interactive quizzes and games as well as explore the teaching resources and educational animations.

Having previously worked on educational sites for clients including the British Antarctic Survey, wave were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Galapagos Conservation Trust. Felix Lozano, digital project manager at wave said “our focus is to work with organisations that do good in the world, so working with a charity who is trying to conserve a really unique place on our planet was very rewarding for us. We were able to optimise their amazing images for use on all mobile devices and sites. You can view some of these images at GalapagosConservation.org.uk, the charities fundraising site that has seen an increase in donations received since its launch.”

 

 

 

 

There was moving Prince’s Trust Team One presentation at Sussex Coast College Hastings on Thursday 11th December.

Young people who had been placed on the 12 week programme saw the end of their time on the Prince’s Trust Team Programme being celebrated by members of the audience, including the Deputy Lord-Lieutenant, Mr Julian Avery, the Mayor of Hastings, Councillor Bruce Dowling, and other distinguished guests, friends and family.

Students took part in many experiences including a week away trying new things and learning how to work with others. For many, this was their first time away from home.princes-trust

The course also included work experience, CV writing, interview practice and helping out in the community. One student, Robin, commented, ‘I did things I didn’t think I would be able to do.’

Another student, Grace added, ‘I am proud of myself and my team for giving everything a go.’

Team leader Andy Dukes, added, ‘For these youngsters, the presentation today was the hardest part, but they have done it and I hope they are as proud of themselves as I am of them.’

Many team members had been passed on from ‘opt into’ courses or referred through the job centre with many planning to continue education at the college or go onto offered work placements.

Grace continued, ‘I never knew what I wanted to do with my life, but now I know I want to be a fire-fighter and I am going to join the Uniform Public Services course at SCCH, and focus on my maths and English.’

One student, Jake, who has gained a job from the experience, commented, ‘ During my time with the Prince’s Trust I have gained a lot more confidence and I have now gained myself a job in the place where I did my work experience part of the programme.’

Vice Principal Dan Shelley commented, ‘The presentation was amazing – really moving to hear the students stories. There were few dry eyes in the room.’

Every month, Peter Watters, ACA, shares some useful financial tips especially for Business in Hastings readers. This month, he looks at Self Assessment.

All Self Assessment taxpayers have to meet several important deadlines throughout the tax year or they could incur penalty charges. Here is our useful guide to this year’s Self Assessment deadlines.

Filing Your Tax Return

McPhersons, Chartered AccountantsEast Sussex

Peter Watter from Mcphersons sheds some light on tax returns

 There are generally three deadlines for filing your Self Assessment Tax return. Which of the three you should use depends on the filing type of tax collection you choose.

You must ensure HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) receives your completed return by midnight on 31 October 2014, if you choose a paper return. However, if you decide to file your tax return online, you gain more time than paper filing, it must reach HMRC by midnight on 31 January 2015. Remember that you will need a Government Gateway username and password in order to file online, and this could take around a week to arrive in the mail. So be sure to leave yourself enough time before the deadline.

If you owe less than £2,000, and you want HMRC to collect your tax through your Tax Code, you will need to submit your tax return online by 30 December 2014. If however, HMRC is unable to alter your tax code, you may still be required to file again by 31 January 2015.

Making a Payment

As with filing there are several payment deadlines throughout the year. The most common is 31 January 2015, on which you may need to make several different payments. The first being the balancing payment, this is the tax you owe for the previous tax year. If you made payments on account in the previous year, it is likely you have paid some of this tax. You may also have to make the first payment on account.  This will normally be 50 per cent of your previous tax bill; excluding student loan repayments and Capital Gains Tax.

The second payment deadline is 31 July 2015. On this date you will be required to make your second payment on account, which is normally the second 50 per cent of your previous tax bill.

Financial Penalties

Legally you have to meet the Self Assessment deadlines. If you fail, you will receive the following financial penalties:

  • 1 day late – A £100 penalty charge.
  • 3 months late – A £10 charge for each following day, up to a 90 days (maximum of £900).
  • 6 months late – A charge of £300 or  5 per cent of the tax due, whichever
  • is the higher.
  • 12 months late – A charge of £300 or 5 per cent of the  tax due, whichever is the higher. In serious cases, you may have to pay up to 100 per cent  of the tax due instead.

However, you may not have to pay a penalty if you have a supportive reason for missing the deadline. These could be:

  •  You have a life-threatening illness that has prevented you from completing your Self Assessment Tax return.
  •  You have experienced technical problems with the online service.
  •  Your documents have been lost in a fire, flood or theft.
  •  Your partner has died shortly before the deadline.

Should HMRC accept your reasoning for late filing, they may reduce or decide not to pursue the fine.

Need more help?

This feature on Business in Hastings aims to give some informal hints and tips.  Mcphersons are offering businesses free advice so get in touch now to arrange your meeting. Simply email Peter Watters p.watters@mcphersons.co.uk  or call our Head Office on 01424 730000 for a free consultation at mcphersons’ London, Bexhill or Hastings offices. www.mcphersons.co.uk

If you’ve been hibernating over the past few weeks then you might not have heard of Small Business Saturday which is happening on Saturday 6th December. Its getting a lot of coverage and support and rightly so.

The premise behind it is for people to support, inspire and promote local businesses. Small Business Saturday encourages businesses to promote themselves and other small businesses and to get more people to shop locally.shopping

So if you haven’t ordered your Christmas Turkey yet, why not order it at your local butcher? Or if you’re looking for something unique to buy someone this Christmas then pop in to one of Hastings boutique shops and see what’s on offer, you’ll be surprised!

Small businesses give customers more choice and work incredibly hard keeping their businesses going and we should support them especially in our region as we have great independent shops for every occasion.

So pop along this weekend and help your local businesses because without them our towns and high streets would be very boring and identical looking places.

Southeastern today announced a freeze on super off peak fares for 2015 that will cut the cost of more than one million off peak journeys for passengers in Kent and East Sussex. The company is also making the special fares available on more routes, including Britain’s only high speed service, which runs from Kent into London.

The train operator also announced it will offer Advance fares for the first time in 2015 – allowing customers a discount by pre-booking off peak fares via the Southeastern website.

The news follows the Chancellor’s announcement that regulated rail fares for 2015 will increase by 2.5 percent. The overall average increase in regulated (season ticket) and unregulated (off peak) fares on the Southeastern network will be below inflation and limited to 2.2 percent.hastings-train-station

The fares passengers pay help to fund a huge programme of investment, in addition to paying for the day-to-day running of the rail network. Southeastern has already announced that it will invest more than £70 million in improving its trains, stations and information provision over the next three years.

Planned improvements include:

·         A new timetable delivering more Highspeed services, and new journey opportunities designed to help passengers during the three year rebuild of London Bridge station as part of the £6.5bn Thameslink Programme

·         More than 95,000 extra seats on off-peak services, including 1,000 extra seats on Southeastern’s High Speed services every day and 2,000 extra seats in the afternoon peak from January 2015

·         Up to 75 extra staff will be hired and deployed to gatelines at key stations

·         170 more customer service staff at key stations throughout each major timetable change to help passengers with information and provide advice on alternative travel options

·         The opening hours of Cannon Street station will be extended so that staff are available between 04.30 and 01.30 and to accommodate services running into the station later in the day

·         Train crew and  station gateline staff will be given tablet devices to ensure better access to train service information (by 31 July 2015)

·         20 new information screens will be installed at key stations to enhance the way information is shared during disruption (by 1 April 2015)

·         Investing a further £4.8 million in station improvements

·         A deep clean of all stations (by 30 September 2015)

·         Installing 63 more self service ticket machines at stations

Since October, Southeastern has offered a series of discounts to cut the cost of travel for its passengers. Its GroupSave fares offer a 34 per cent discount for passengers travelling in a group of three to nine compared with the price of individual adult tickets. Throughout December, the company is also running a Christmas sale with 25 per cent off the cost of many standard off-peak train tickets, including the high speed service, when tickets are bought online at www.southeasternrailway.co.uk.

David Statham, managing director of Southeastern, said: “We know that customers want more value for money and an improvement to their service – and we’re committed to providing just that. More than 250,000 people rely on our trains for their journeys every day and we’re investing fares directly in schemes that will make those journeys easier for our passengers. These include extra seats on some services, providing more staff to help passengers at stations and on trains, refreshing the look of our fleet of trains and improving stations right across our network.”

Check out the new Colour Inspiration video for Carphone Warehouse, adding a touch of colour to Hastings and reminding us just how wonderful our Old Town is.