In today’s spending review it has been announced that £900million has been allocated to HMRC in an attempt to attack tax evasion. It is anticipated that this will generate an additional £7billion in tax. Invariably, VAT evasion will be a key area of the investigations which will be funded by this additional spending. It is to be hoped that businesses which do fraudulently evade VAT are caught and dealt with. However, experience has proved that entirely innocent parties may become involved in such investigations, so it is important that everyone is very careful. The consequences of getting it wrong range from heavy financial penalties to a prison term.
Now is the perfect time for a business to have its VAT procedures reviewed for peace of mind. Spotting errors before the VAT man does is increasingly important.
Additionally, should you be the subject of a VAT inspection or investigation, I cannot urge you enough to contact a VAT specialist as soon as possible. Experience insists that the early involvement of an adviser can avoid or mitigate very unwanted attention. The best defence is to ensure that a business accounts for VAT correctly. “Right Tax, Right Time” has never been so important.
Marcus Ward, VAT Director - Price Bailey Accountants.
Stansted Airport has added the Carbon Trust Standard to its impressive environmental credentials thanks to the successful introduction of a wide range of energy saving initiatives.
The airport gained the prized certification after reducing carbon emissions from its buildings and vehicles by nearly 2% percent from January 2007 until December 2009* . Initiatives undertaken at Stansted in recent years include:
- biomass technology installed as part of £50million terminal extension, making the development carbon neutral
- single engine taxiing trials to reduce emissions from aircraft manoeuvring on the ground between runway and terminal buildings
- 'don't stand-by, switch-off' campaign encouraging staff to turn off electrical items overnight
- low energy lighting installed on the airfield and sensor lighting in offices
- motion sensors built into escalators and travelators to improve efficiency
The UK's third largest airport is now the proud holder of three highly acclaimed accreditations, as the Carbon Trust Standard joins ISO14001 for environmental management and OHSAS18001 for health and safety systems. Stansted is the first BAA airport to achieve all three credentials.
"We're extremely proud to add the Carbon Trust Standard to our portfolio of environmental credentials" said Dr Andy Jefferson, Stansted's Head of Health, Safety and Environment.
"Carbon Trust Standard is an independent assessment of how we report, manage and reduce carbon emissions. This presented us with a complex challenge as Stansted is the biggest single site employer in the region, and home to nearly 200 companies. However, assessors were particularly impressed by our collaborative approach to working alongside stakeholders to improve overall site performance.
"While celebrating this success, we also know there is more we can and must do. Around 92% of emissions from our buildings are generated by electricity use, so we've set a challenging target to reduce 2010 levels by 5% compared to 2009.
"Thanks to the launch of our 'switch off' campaign at the end of 2009, I'm delighted to report we're making fantastic progress and are well on track to achieve this goal.
"Gaining Carbon Trust Standard sets the benchmark for managing our carbon footprint and we'll continue to review procedures and explore new technologies to identify initiatives that will help us reduce our footprint even further."
Harry Morrison, General Manager at the Carbon Trust Standard Company, said: "We congratulate Stansted Airport on their certification. Carbon is a complex issue so most people need a recognised benchmark as to whether a company is doing the right thing. Achieving the Carbon Trust Standard allows Stansted Airport to talk with integrity about the serious and credible steps it has taken to reduce its carbon emissions."
Between 2008 and 2009 total airport energy consumption at Stansted reduced by over 3%, and through its annual Carbon Footprint the airport will continue to report performance, outline strategy and set targets to improve energy efficiency.
For further information on how Stansted manages its carbon footprint, visit: www.stanstedairport.com/corporateresponsibility
Last month for the seventh annual Responsible business Action Month (RBAM) our Maintenance Team spent 30 hours helping to re-decorating the main stairwell and canteen areas of the St. Clair’s Hospice.
Rezidor Hotels this year’s theme was Take ACTION in the Community, and the main goal was to be good neighbours and responsible citizens in our local community, working with other businesses residents as well as charities, parks, schools, hospitals, shelters, orphanages, care homes and other worthy institutions.
Julie Hewlett, Facilities Manager of the St Clair’s Hospice said: “I would like to thank the Maintenance Team from the Radisson Blu Hotel London Stansted Airport for all the hard work, and for getting the hard to reach areas decorated to such a high standard, enables us to keep the Hospice looking in good condition as well solving a major problem for me. The work that the team did was carried out with such good humour and care that it was a pleasure to have the team here. Thanks once again.”
The Essex tourism industry was under the spotlight recently, crowning the jewels of the county at the annual Visit Essex Tourism Awards. Radisson Blu Hotel London Stansted Airport was nominated in two categories and won the award in both, being named ‘Best Large Hotel’ and ‘Best Business Tourism Hotel’ on the night.
First launched in 2009, the Visit Essex Tourism Awards were designed to showcase the professionalism and popularity of the county's attractions and amenities. Visit Essex, the official tourism body for the county, has been working in partnership with Archant to deliver the Awards and to provide businesses and organisations with the opportunity to promote themselves as quality establishments giving excellent service and great experiences to their visitors.
The 500 bedroom hotel, which also offers 26 flexible meeting spaces, three restaurants and the 13 metre Angel’s Wine Tower, had to provide justification of why it should receive these awards and in return the judges visited the hotel to determine its unique attributes that put it in the running for these two awards. Judges were clearly impressed by the product and training processes in place at the hotel.
“We are delighted to win these two awards. This is fantastic recognition for our hotel and an excellent motivation for our team”, remarked Jens Hallman, General Manager. “The awards recognise the Radisson Blu as the hotel of reference in our county for all kind of business and in particular business tourism which is key to the development and success of our hotel”.
33 of 34