Human Error Leads to £500million Pension Mistake

Telecommunications giant BT says its external consultant is to blame for the latest in a string of accounting errors and scandals.

It seems that barely a week goes by without another big employer announcing a major hole in its pension provisions. The latest to do so has been BT, but the news comes with a twist in the tail, as the deficit of £3.4 billion reported at the end of June has been found to have been understated by half a billion pounds.

Every organisation relies on a solid relationship with its business accountants and auditors, and this is as much the case for the nation’s giants as it is for small businesses. Failing to pick up on an accounting scandal in Italy led to BT ending its 34 year relationship with PWC and appointing KPMG on a new deal worth £14.8 million earlier this year. After completing their final BT audit for the 2017/18 fiscal year, PWC officially handed over to KPMG, a move formally approved by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting in 2018.

The latest in a sequence of financial scandals

In October 2016, BT acknowledged that a preliminary internal investigation into accounting practices in its Italian division revealed certain accounting errors requiring reassessment. According to some reports, these violations amounted to a misstatement of around £145 million. However, an independent investigation led by KPMG and law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer revealed that the losses stemming from these errors actually amounted to £530 million.

The KPMG study also highlighted instances of collusion, circumvention of claims and other aspects of mismanagement within the Italian division of BT, which had not been identified by the lead auditor. These had resulted in the distortion of financial results for a number of years.

The audit report became a guide for corrective action, and BT management committed to improving its management systems, not just in Italy, but also in other countries. The scandal led to a number of senior employees being removed from their posts as part of the clean-up. With the scandal so fresh in everyone’s memory, this latest crisis could not have come at a worse time.

What went wrong?

According to reports in both The Times and The Daily Telegraph, BT’s Chief Financial Officer, Simon Lowth, said the latest incident was a result of “an isolated human error” in calculations made by independent actuary Willis Towers Watson (WTW). Lowth said the error represents less than one percent of BT’s total pension liabilities, which stand at about £57 billion.

BT went on to confirm that this error will not affect its income, cashflow or dividend payouts this year – this will come as a relief in some quarters, given that the Italian debacle of two years ago cost the CEO of the time some £4million in bonus payments.

A representative from Willis Towers Watson said only that it employs the most stringent of controls to ensure the accuracy of its calculations, and that this was a one-off error that has now been corrected.

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Corporate Team Building Brings Out The True Personalities Of Your Staff

Let The Individuals Shine Within A Fun Team Setting

Understanding the personality types that make up your workforce, and using team bonding activities to get the most of their unique character traits.

The teams in your workplace are made up of a wide variety of personalities. Coming from all walks of life, with different religions, genders and backgrounds, your employees may not naturally choose to spend time together in any setting other than the workplace. Yet, together they must work as a team, all striving to produce results for your organisation. The difficulty is that personalities can clash and cause conflict, which may spell disaster for your bottom line. So how can you help your team to bond effectively, whilst allowing the individual personalities of your team to shine? The answer is with corporate team building.

Identifying Personality Types In The Workplace

Many of the personalities that you come across in the office can be grouped into the following categories:

Ambitious – keen to be a leader, with a view to promotion in the near future, this personality wants to shine by being the ‘best’ at every task. Whilst their aims are often in line with the vision of the company, it can be tricky to manage an ambitious employee if they’re happy to step on the toes of their colleagues.

Introverts – often the people to shy away from after-work drinks, the quieter members of your team may actually be some of the most hard-working and pillars of your organisation.

Ego – similar to the ambitious type, those with an ego love to stand out, but you may find that they take credit for work and ideas that were generated by their fellow team-members.

The Ticking Time-Bomb – many organisations have a red-faced employee who is always close to boiling point. Whilst it is important that staff have passion towards achieving company goals, it’s essential that angry employees are dealt with carefully so that they don’t affect the reputation of your business or the mood of your other employees.

Negative Ninny – some people are natural worriers, but unfortunately their anxiety can spread and lower staff morale across your organisation. Positive communication is key here.

How Corporate Team Building Can Help

If you’re looking for activities to bring all of your varying office personality types together, aiming to reach the same goal, whilst having barrels of fun along the way – then corporate team building is an excellent investment. If you’re looking for corporate team building ideas in London for example, then you won’t be disappointed. Whether you’re looking to host a team day at your offices, in one of London’s spacious parks, or hit the streets for a challenge, there are countless ways to bring your team together. Choose from activities such as Urban Art for a creative exercise, an indoor Crystal Maze challenge to work on logic and time-challenges, or a Trading Floor experience to hone those investor skills.

The key to this type of corporate bonding experience is to break up your staff into teams that allow each member to offer their individual skills to the group. If you’re looking to uplift the mood of a negative ninny, then put them in charge of PR for the day and express the need to convey a positive message. Alternatively, an ego-driven employee should be encouraged to cheer on their fellow teammates.

Give corporate team-building a go, and you’ll be amazed at how it brings together the various personalities within your organisation.

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Why Your Fleet Needs 3M Graphics

Give your brand a boost with high quality vehicle branding

Branding your vehicle with quality 3M graphics can help you to improve your visibility, increase your reach and win new business.

Marketing and promotion can sometimes be a challenge for small businesses, particularly if there is not much budget available for this type of activity. However, there are some great cost-effective marketing tools out there which companies can harness to build their business, from email marketing and social media to direct mail and good old-fashioned word of mouth. One such tool is fleet vehicle branding, and an increasing number of companies are waking up to the potential of this promotional method to get their name in front of new customers.

Applying branded graphics to your company vehicle essentially turns them into moving billboards, and it is a low cost, high impact way to grab people’s attention and boost your brand visibility.

Choose 3M for quality

However, while fleet vehicle branding can be a really effective marketing tool, it’s important to remember that not all van graphics are created equal.

Branded vehicles can receive up to 3,000 views in an hour and for many people this will be the first and only contact they have had with your organisation. As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so it’s vital to ensure that your graphics are professional and good quality. A poor-quality finish will reflect negatively on your brand and could cause you to lose business so, to avoid this, always opt for high quality graphics that have been specifically designed and formulated for this purpose – such as those supplied by 3M graphics.

Science-based technology company, 3M, is a market leader in signage and vehicle graphics, and its clients can benefit from quality, durable materials, quick installation using adhesive technologies, and minimal removal and installation costs. Visually, the graphics themselves offer a striking, high quality and long-lasting finish, and will help to ensure that your company vehicles present your brand in the best possible light.

A network of suppliers

Finding the right supplier is also key to ensuring that your graphics look as good as they possibly can. 3M has a network of approved suppliers across the country, made up of companies who have a proven record in the graphics industry, have a thorough understanding of 3M graphic films and their application, and who have signed up to a high standard of graphic production.

By using an approved 3M partner you can also feel safe in the knowledge that you are putting your brand in safe hands. In order to be selected as a 3M Select Graphic Partner, companies have to meet rigorous standards when it comes to staff training, hardware and software components, the production environment, storage facilities and – most importantly – quality control. What’s more, with a 3M partner your graphics are manufactured under a 3M warranty, so you can be sure that your marketing investment is built to last.

Done well, fleet vehicle branding is one of the most effective ways of increasing your reach and winning new business. And with 3M graphics you can be sure that you are projecting a professional image that inspires confidence in both new and existing customers.

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5 Reasons To Move To Collier Row

A Guide To This Buzzing Romford Suburb

One of Essex’s best-kept secrets is Collier Row. Find out why you should look to move here before the Elizabeth line opens next year.

Collier Row may not be the most famous area of Essex, but it has much to offer prospective buyers. Located just north of Romford, the hub of the area centres around a large housing development, lying next to a crossroads with plenty of local amenities such as shops and restaurants. If you’re interested in moving to the Collier Row area, these five reasons will help persuade you to take a look at this up-and-coming Essex suburb.

Community Spirit

When you’re moving somewhere new, you want to know that there’s a fantastic local vibe – and that’s certainly present in Collier Row. The annual carnival took place for the 7th year in a row, and it’s really helped to put the area on the map. As well as the parade, residents enjoyed plenty of stalls as well as activities such as zorbing, face painting, a pet show and a Pimms tent. The carnival is a great way to get to know local faces in the community.

Schools

If you have children, or are planning to start a family in the future, then you’ll be pleased to hear that there are some excellent schools within easy reach of Collier Row. Kantor King Solomon is considered to be a ‘good’ school in terms of Ofsted’s ratings, whilst both Chadwell Heath Academy and Oaks Park School have both achieved an ‘outstanding’ score.

Open Spaces

Those moving here from the London area, are often in search of greener spaces than they’ve been used to within the capital, and Collier Row doesn’t disappoint! Hainault Forest Country Park covers 300 acres and offers nature trails, fishing lakes, a small zoo for kids and bridleways for those who like horse riding. To the west of the pretty River Rom lies the Recreation Ground, which is a great space to let off some steam – families will love the variety of play equipment available.

Transport

Perhaps one of the reasons why Collier Row isn’t fantastically well-known compared to neighbouring Essex suburbs, is the lack of transport links in the area. Until now! When the Crossrail project is finally complete in autumn of 2019, the Elizabeth line will have a station opened at neighbouring Romford. This will slash time off commutes into central and west London. For example, it will take 28 minutes to travel between Romford and Canary Wharf, 35 minutes to Bond Street, and just 64 minutes to Heathrow.

Affordable Properties

Likely the fact that Collier Row hasn’t previously had excellent transport links has left the area with a stock of affordable properties that still represent quite a deal in today’s market. This is unlikely to stay the case once the Elizabeth line opens next year. But for now, you could expect to pay around £325,000 for a 3-bed terraced house, whilst a 2-bed flat might set you back around £250,000, but you should contact a reputable Collier Row estate agent for the latest prices and availability in the area.

Collier Row is one of those hidden gems in Essex that offers everything you could possibly need – a great vibe, with local amenities and a sociable and family-friendly community. Come check it out, you won’t be disappointed!

 

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Why An SLR Will Always Beat A Cameraphone

Bringing Back A Love Of Photography

The digital age is doing nothing for young photographers who are embracing classic SLR cameras to explore their art.

The compact camera market has been in decline for the past decade, but new figures reveal that sales are now rising once again. Since the advent of cameraphones, it’s understandable that consumers have been less willing to carry around both a camera as well as their mobile, when in many situations their phone acts well as a two-in-one device. So, it may come as something of a surprise that taking photos with an SLR camera is emerging as a favoured option, particularly by younger photographers. Here’s why they’re falling in love with film!

Convenience Isn’t Everything

The cameraphone is the epitome of the instant, on-demand digital world that we live in. It’s convenient of course, and we all love being able to reach into our pocket to capture a cute shot of our kids, a cheeky pic of a celeb sitting in our favourite coffee shop, or Friday night drinks with friends. But much has been lost with this type of photography. Where once, people would get excited about printing off their photos, going to pick them up and then proudly displaying them in an album, the cameraphone is all about taking digital photos in bulk in the hope of finding one in ten shots that’s good enough to share around on social media or a Whatsapp group.

It may sound like an efficient process; after all, it doesn’t cost anything to take all those extra shots, so long as you delete the rubbish images and don’t clog up your memory. But SLRs have much to offer over the efficiency of the digital cameraphone.

Bringing Back The Soul Of Film Photography

Young photographers are becoming increasingly bored with digital photography. Reflex is a crowdfunded project that has created a manual 35mm SLR with 5 lens mounts. It’s based on a traditional model from the 60s and 70s but includes a removable film back enabling the user to shift films in daylight. The process of printing these images in a darkroom, is part of why young photographers feel so connected to this style of photography – it’s about slowing down and understanding the relationship between you and the subject of your shoot. A digital photographer can become distracted, particularly when shooting with a cameraphone, where they can adjust the images either onscreen or in Photoshop later on. But the SLR photographer has a better understanding of composition and being able to line up all those crucial elements of the perfect picture before taking the shot.

The Future Of SLR

But SLR isn’t purely about art and nostalgia. Whilst there’s constant news about the development of phone technology, that’s not to say that other camera tech has ceased. UK-based Kodak Alaris is looking into bringing back two of its most popular colour reversal films – both Ektachrome and Kodachrome are synonymous with 20th century images and were particularly popular in Hollywood. Nikon and Leica are also still making SLR cameras, so if you’ve fallen in love with film, then they’re a great brand to start with. You can even sell your old camera as a way to afford a new SLR model.

SLRs are to photography what vinyl records are to the music industry – timeless and nostalgic perfection. Something that the cameraphone won’t be able to offer for decades yet.

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What To Buy The Jet-Setter In Your Life

Gifts for Travellers

Stuck for present ideas again? If the recipient loves to travel then there are loads of tech, travel fashion or nostalgic gift ideas for you. Here are a few.

Who are the most difficult people to buy presents for in your life? The art of giving gifts has been the subject of a recent psychological study which looked at the amount of time people spend thinking up present ideas for recipients of either sex. This revealed that men took around 40 seconds to think up ideas for other men, but took up to 60 seconds when pondering what to buy for the women in their lives. Females involved in the study also took around 40 seconds when deciding on gifts, but there was very little difference in the amount of effort it took based on whether the recipient was male or female.

One of the best ways to come up with a present idea for your nearest and dearest is to consider how they spend their leisure time and what their favourite hobbies are. If you’re buying for someone with a love for travelling, then there are some fantastic options available to suit any budget.

Vim and Vigr Compression Socks

For those who travel long-haul, compression socks are a must to keep your blood circulating and prevent clots. But such items are not well-known for being attractive – until now. Gone are the rubbery accessories that are impossible to get into, and in their place are a full range of fashionable compression wear that will ensure your ankles remain the same size as they were before take-off. Your recipient will simply love strolling down the aisle in a pair of these.

Bespoke Personalised Maps

This gift is ideal for those who love to reminisce about their trips. The days of slideshows are long gone, but you can still proudly display memories of a favourite location in your home – they make a great conversation piece when you have guests over. Large wooden letters are a wonderful addition for the coffee table, bookshelves or sideboard and they’re incredibly thoughtful too. Have a map of your recipient’s preferred destination printed onto them – this might be a trek that they were particularly proud of completing, or a romantic spot where he or she got engaged. You could even give this gift as a mini-clue before revealing that you’ve also booked holiday tickets to visit this special place.

In-Ear Translation Technology

Who doesn’t love a bit of tech? And this gadget is the most useful of all for travellers who may be somewhat lacking linguistically. Google’s latest innovation is the Bluetooth Pixel buds headphones which pair with the Pixel smartphone.

By tapping the right ear, the recipient must say ‘Google, help me speak Dutch’, for example. They should then speak directly into the phone, where the app will translate your words into Dutch or another of up to 40 languages of your choice. If your recipient finds themselves in a situation where they’re unable to understand the person that is talking to them, the Dutch speaker can also speak into the phone where their words will be translated back into English, making the conversation complete.

The key to finding the right gift for your loved one, is to consider what they’re interested in with regards to travel. Are they passionate about the latest gadgetry, like to look fashionable on a trip or love feeling nostalgic about those special memories? Have a think about what makes them tick before you come up with some great travel gift ideas – and no-one will know if it took you longer than 40 seconds!

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Have Plans For The iPhone SE 2 Been Scrapped?

Why the Apple iPhone SE may not be replaced in the near future; rumours and counter rumours including possibility of new version with same design as iPhone X.

Apple’s ‘budget’ smartphone may not get a refresh unlike the rest of the range

It was widely expected that Apple would give its compact iPhone SE a significant refresh this year – possibly ahead of the launch of the next generation ‘main’ iPhone range slated for September 2018. More recent reports contradict this, however, and hint that Apple may leave the two-plus year old phone as it is for the foreseeable future.

What to believe?

The iPhone SE rumours

Since the SE has been on the market since March 2016 and is based on a body design dating back to the iPhone 4, a refresh or even full redesign seemed very much on the cards sooner rather than later.

Two predictions surfaced:

  • An all-new body design based on the current iPhone X to align with the likelihood that all iPhones will feature the X body style when the range is fully revised later in 2018
  • A similar body design to the present handset but with updated tech along the lines of existing models such as the 7 or 8 (the present SE features basically the internals of the 6S from 2016)

Possible ‘fade out’ of the SE altogether

Another theory was the possible natural ‘fade out’ of the SE as a phone model by leaving it unchanged before deleting it from the range at some stage. This is less likely as the SE is popular for one or both of the following reasons:

  • Its 4 inch screen makes for a compact body so appealing to those who prefer a smaller phone and don’t require a larger screen
  • The price point makes it more affordable compared to models further up the iPhone range – it starts at £349.00 so making it £200 cheaper than a 7 and half the price of an 8

On the question of price, while the SE gives users a ‘cheaper’ way into iPhone ownership, those who would like larger screens but find the buying new costs of Apple’s smartphone – especially the ‘Plus’ versions – prohibitive could take the refurbished iPhone 6 Plus route and save significantly.

Why might Apple not replace the SE?

It seems odd if Apple aren’t planning a refresh of the SE in view of how long it’s been on the market – bearing in mind the screen tech and body dates back even further.

The source of the rumour that there may not be a new SE is an accessory manufacturer, Olixar, who make cases for smartphones; they say they’ve had no word of a new SE model.

It makes sense that accessory makers would be in a good position to make predictions based on sound intelligence regarding forthcoming smartphone releases. They’re likely to get accurate industry information so equipment such as cases, chargers and the like can be designed and brought to the market in time for a new phone’s launch.

There again, the same company not so long ago thought a new SE was in the pipeline.

Other reliable sources such as industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks it more likely that Apple may not launch a new SE just yet simply because the company has enough on its plate with a fully redesigned iPhone range in the offing.

…But then again

Another theory is that, if the new SE (or whatever Apple may decide to rename it) does follow the slim bezel design of the iPhone X and the next generation of handsets, the company wouldn’t be keen to release it ahead of the rest of the range since it could steal their thunder.

It’s possible the entire range of iPhones, including a replacement for the SE, could be launched in one fell swoop in the autumn of 2018.

Replacing the current SE with a design based on the iPhone X body would be a canny move in that, while it could be the same compact size of the present model, it would effectively have a larger screen thanks to the very slim bezel design.

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Truckers are the Unsung Heroes of the Business World

Paying Tribute to The Men and Women Behind the Wheel of Commerce

The captains of industry who develop innovative products get all the plaudits. But it would all be for nothing without our transportation infrastructure.

The world is full of great innovators, who are credited with delivering products and services that have revolutionised our lives. Alan Sugar played a major role in bringing personal computing to the masses in the 1980s. Then at the turn of the millennium, Steve Jobs brought us the wonders of mobile technology and was largely responsible for the smartphone revolution.

Except that’s not entirely true. In Europe, and indeed across the globe, whether it is in the USA or the vastness of Australia, the economy really runs on wheels. Without road freight, these product innovations would never make it out of the warehouses and onto the shelves. Here, we take a look at the important role of the men and women who keep the economy rolling across the motorways, autoroutes and highways.

European road freight continues to rise

The latest available figures show that in 2016, European road freight transport went up by 4.5 percent over the previous year. This was the highest it had been in five years, and is the clearest signal yet of a continuing slow but steady recovery in the overall European economy since the dip experienced in 2012.

More than half of the freight we see being transported on Europe’s roads is travelling long distance. Much of this can be explained by the immense growth seen in emerging markets such as Lithuania, Romania and Poland. UK freight companies are seeing increasing trade with these markets and are offering regular groupage services, at least once per week.

Are there alternatives?

There are always alternatives, but as far as European transportation goes, none of them are compelling. Air freight is fast but expensive, sea freight is slow and inefficient, and as for the trains – the European rail network is at breaking point, and has suffered from so many delays and failures over recent months that shippers have lost all confidence in it. The entire infrastructure needs a major overhaul that will take years.

Meanwhile, road freight is cost effective and at the same time offers speed, flexibility, and reliability. And that is thanks to the unique individuals behind the wheel who often spend weeks on the road keeping the European economy flowing.

What does the future hold?

Technology plays an important role in every part of our lives, and across every industry. The road freight sector is no different. Already, freight companies are using technology to help shippers and receivers track their cargo in real time every step of the way. If there is a delay due to traffic congestion in the middle of Belgium, they will know about it, and be briefed on the revised delivery time.

Going forward, this is an exciting time for the transport industry. Electric vehicles are certain to supersede diesel at some point in the coming years, while increased automation and smart safety technology, such as automatic braking will make the roads safer for everyone.

For those unsung heroes who literally deliver the conveniences of the modern age, that can only be good news.

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The Most Powerful Free Marketing For Businesses

Car wrapping and commercial vehicle branding is an effective and cost-efficient way of marketing businesses, and has proven to be an effective marketing tool for a variety of industries, including trade, retail and hospitality.

 

Cost efficient

Billboards, TV commercials and radio advertisements are all effective marketing tools but are needless to say, expensive. You would need to pay huge rent for billboard space and air time on TV and radio, and these would need to be renewed again, usually at a higher rate, once the contract ends.

Commercial vehicle wrapping on the other hand is both effective and cost-efficient. It’s an outdoor and mobile advertising tool in one. Car wraps draw attention from people at a minimal cost and are designed to be changed easily so you wouldn’t need to worry about the vehicles paint and body being damaged. It’s not only a fantastic advertising tool but it also keeps your vehicles in good shape, protective from any dents and scratches.

Maximises use of asset

Car wraps make good use of our company car or van investments. Instead of your business cars being used solely for transportation, you can now also use it as a marketing means. Every time your company car leaves the businesses premises to deliver goods or services, it’s also mobile advertising all at the same time!

It’s a clever strategy as business vehicles travel around frequently, usually around the local area and sometimes further afield. Even when the vehicles are parked in the office or along the streets, it’s still advertising for the business.

Increases consumer reach

For billboards and road side ads, consumer reach only goes as far as where the board is situated – you can’t expect people who don’t travel in that location to see your ad. TV and radio advertisements only cover the market who are tuned into these media platforms – not to mention you have to choose peak hour-airtime to receive the maximum attention: and that can get pricey!

Car wrapping can increase consumer reach with very little effort required. Even with your business cars just parked along the road, or caught in traffic, your car-wrap message already reaches your potential clients.

 

So, if you’re up for some marketing savings and optimising business cars, car wrap advertising really does increase your brand recognition and makes the best out of those traffic jams!

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Thinking Of Moving Back To South Africa?

Tips For A Stress-Free Relocation

Moving back home is a big step, but with the right planning and attitude, there’s no reason why it can’t be a success.

If you have settled in the UK but long to return to South Africa, then there is no reason why you can’t move back. With the right planning you can make your move home as stress free as possible. Still, some concerns may remain. What about job opportunities, or finding the right property? Many South Africans worry that moving back home will mean leaving the pets that they have grown to love in the UK as well. To put your mind at rest, here are some tips for making a success of your return home.

Think about your finances

Before you move back to South Africa, it’s important to think about your career prospects. If the reason you left the country in the first place was to find work that suited you, then really take the time to assess whether you’ll now find those opportunities at home. Look at whether you’ll need to make sacrifices in your salary, and don’t forget to plan for your work/life balance back home as well. If you work for an organisation with a presence in South Africa, then it could be worth enquiring about a transfer too.  If you come to the conclusion that you’ll be well off financially, it’s time to start planning the move.

Decide on a location

Think about where you want to re-establish your roots in South Africa. Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Johannesburg are some of the country’s major cities, and it’s here that you’ll find a wealth of employment and educational opportunities. Each part of the country offers something different for returning nationals, so think about the interests and skills that you have cultivated in the UK before deciding on somewhere to settle down. Of course, if you have family still living in the country, you may want to live near them and rely on them for support in your first months back home.

Bring your cat with you

If you have a cat here in the UK, you will of course be worried about taking it with you. After all, flying a pet out to another country is a nightmare, right? Wrong! By letting Fetchapet Ltd take care of your cat export to South Africa, you can have your beloved moggy join you back home with no hassle. Fetchapet is passionate about the health and happiness of the animals that they look after, and will inform you of everything that needs to be done to ensure that your furry friend’s journey goes off without a hitch. They’ll even provide a custom-made carrier so that your pet can travel in comfort.

Will you make the move in 2018?

Most importantly of all, remember that you have changed, and so has your home. Expecting to go back home and find everything just as you left it will only set you up for disappointment. Think of your move back to South Africa as a brand new chapter, and embrace all the changes and challenges that come with that. With your pet by your side, it won’t be long until you are fully settled back in the country that you know and love.

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Cold Food Transport Brings Supermarket Prices Down

Positive Knock-On Effect Of Germany’s Efficient Distributions

Ever wondered why German brands Aldi and Lidl are claiming a larger market share of the UK supermarkets year on year?

Germany has been ranked top of the World Bank’s Logistic Performance Index which analyses the efficiency of supply chain networks in both domestic and international markets. Attributes that are considered when determining Germany’s position as world leader of logistics include the quality of infrastructure available for trade and transport, shipment prices that are competitively priced, reliability of delivery times and the ability to track and trace consignments.

Success Of German Operations In The UK

Synonymous with efficiency, it is Germany’s ability to produce top class logistics that is partly responsible for the international success of the nation’s own supermarket brands such as Aldi and Lidl. Both companies are growing steadily within the UK and are rivalling the biggest names in the industry. Aldi has recently overtaken the Co-Op to become our fifth largest supermarket chain with a market share of 6.9%, whilst Lidl has also beaten luxury brand Waitrose into seventh place with a healthy industry portion of 5%. The combined share of both Aldi and Lidl has increased 80% since 2013, proving that our love of German brands doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down.

Brits Love Low Prices

One of the draws of both these German supermarket chains is the low cost of groceries, which is made possible by focusing on a limited range of goods as well as the low cost of cold food transportation that has brought the food to the UK. As cold food transporters such as Kuehl Speed expand out of Germany to bring more efficient and reliable courier methods to the supermarket industry, Aldi and Lidl are set to double the number of UK stores they hold. This in turn will continue the price war with bigwigs Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons, forcing their prices down lower to the delight of British shoppers.

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The Best North London Towns

The Growing Appeal of North London – it’s Not Just for Hipsters

Over the past 20 years, north London has become one of the most desirable areas to live in the UK. Which towns should be on your radar?

Go back to the 1980s, and places such as Hackney, Haringey and Camden were associated with crime, poverty and post war slums. Yet anyone who has not visited between then and now – perhaps one of those legendary gangsters who fell foul of the law and has been “away” – would literally be unable to recognise the north London of today.

It is easy to label it the Shoreditch Effect – but the shabby chic and pop up shop culture that brought the word hipster into the common vocabulary only tells a small part of the story. Despite challenges in the broader economy, Islington letting agents have seen a steady increase in demand for properties among people from all walks of life and demographics. Young and old, single professionals and growing families, all are flocking to north London.

Here, we lift the lid on some of the most popular communities, along with what makes them so tempting to those seeking a slice of north London life.

Islington

You can walk into the city from Islington in less than 30 minutes should you wish to do so, yet stroll down Camden Passage and explore the antique shops, clothing boutiques and street traders, and you will think you are in a small market town. Emerge into the air of Upper Street, and you are faced with a dizzying array of eateries. Food critics often call it “supper street,” and with good reason.

A community with a somewhat bohemian history, Islington still has a unique character, and plenty of cultural attractions, such as the Screen on the Green and the famous Almeida Theatre.

Finsbury Park

While Islington basks in its history, Finsbury Park, lying just to the east of Holloway Road, is writing its own story. This is exactly the sort of place you would have steered clear of 30 years ago. Today, a range of redevelopment and regeneration projects have given birth to a whole variety of modern homes, accompanied by no end of cafes, bars, restaurants and shops.

While the area is growing increasingly popular with wealthy professional couples and families, it is still home to plenty of second and third generation immigrant families. It all makes for a vibrant and cosmopolitan community.

Kentish Town

Kentish Town used to be seen as a great spot to live for those who like the hustle and bustle of Camden but want to live a little outside it. This is certainly true, but it misses the point in as much as Kentish Town has plenty going for it in its own right, and is more than just a “Camden overspill.” Kentish Town has a great range of pubs, clubs and nightlife, with something to suit every age and taste, from a quiet pint to a night of dancing.

The properties are largely of the traditional Victorian terrace variety, many of which have been converted to flats, although there are some exciting new developments appearing in converted industrial premises too. There really is something for everyone, so call Stadium Residential today to view your new home!

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