Positive despite concerns
IFA member Robin Murray is Leeds branch ambassador. Cities such as Leeds and York are busy, but quieter places are suffering and worries about Brexit persist, he says.
Tell us about your role and responsibilities
I run a general practice in partnership with my wife, covering bookkeeping, tax and year-end accounts. I sometimes advise on QuickBooks – which has seen me seconded to Iraq to train business owners, through a UK charity.
What’s the current business and economic climate like in Yorkshire?
There’s some buoyancy and good things going on – but there are still worries about what Brexit will mean. On the Brexit front, imports and exports are a concern, while cash ﬂow could be a problem if VAT payment schedules are brought forward.
We’re seeing people still going out, eating and spending. Leeds seems busy, while York is doing ﬁne in terms of hotels, restaurants, cafés and bars. However, I wouldn’t really expect them to suﬀer, it’s more when you go out to the quieter places. Life goes on, but there are underlying worries.
We talk to our clients about setting their business’s path. We run some payroll, do HR thanks to IFA partner Net Lawman, and work with Mattioli Woods.
How does the IFA work with business, people and the community in Yorkshire?
We have a vibrant group who attend our meetings, but we’d like more. We have a plan for next year’s meetings, but are happy to be inﬂuenced.
Our ﬁrst aim is to help our members with continuing professional development, and give them a place to talk. Building relationships is important, because it can get lonely as a sole practitioner.
They’re wondering where the profession’s heading, and how they should act. We have members across Leeds and Bradford, Brighouse and York, as well as a WhatsApp group they can join. We want our members to be able to provide the best service to clients, improving their practice and reputation, and their own lifestyle.
Region in focus: Yorkshire
As Robin Murray said, businesses can’t stand still and wait for Brexit to happen. A range of positive news is coming out of Yorkshire businesses at the moment, including Airship Services gaining a £500,000 investment from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance. Its CRM tech platform is used by more than 50 customers, including retailer brands Leon and Revolution.
- Dymag is considering setting up a production facility in Sheffield. The carbon-fibre wheel manufacturer is looking to raise an additional £5 million in capital to invest in producing thousands more wheels. “It is an attractive proposition, as a result of its growing advanced manufacturing cluster and the investment that the city is putting in to attracting new industry,” said Dymag chief executive Chris Shelley.
- Hull-based Hotham’s is expanding its ‘gin school’ (pictured) experience to Leeds. The school teaches guests about gin and lets them distil their own bottle.
- The Rural Commission has called on farmers to influence long-term plans for agriculture, and to help countryside communities thrive. The commission, set up by North Yorkshire County Council, will spend eight months gathering evidence.
- Sheffield-based Benchmark Holdings is to take control of a salmon-breeding operation in Chile, following a £7 million payment from its former venture partner. The Los Lagos region of Chile has good access to spring water at the bio-secure hatchery. Benchmark develops vaccines to keep fish healthy.
- CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn has called on Yorkshire to be handed devolved powers and allow it to improve growth. “It is a significant, self-contained economy here in Yorkshire. If we leave it much longer, you will start seeing Greater Manchester pulling ahead,” she said – reported The Yorkshire Post.