Colors: Purple Color

A number of factors - including cheaper mortgages, a rise in first-time buyers and more choice - have combined to create a positive outlook for the property market. The Bank of England’s recent decision to lower the base rate to 0.25 per cent has encouraged eight of the UK’s ten largest mortgage lenders to lower their standard variable rates, while figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show 68,200 loans were taken out by first-time buyers in June, an increase of 26 per cent on May and eight per cent on June 2015.

The Black Country Chamber Annual Exhibition will be taking place on 29th September at Wolverhampton Racecourse from 9am to 1pm. This is set to be a great event, with all of the stands selling out in record time and the number of delegates increasing each day. Proving itself to the one of the highlights of our annual events calendar, the exhibition will feature over 54 stands and usually attracts approximately 500 delegates, thereby serving as an ideal opportunity to network with a wide variety of local businesses.

Park Regis Birmingham – the new four-star luxury hotel in the heart of the city - has become Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s latest patron. The hotel, located at the former Auchinleck House at Five Ways, opened its doors in March following a £50m transformation. As well as offering 253 rooms, including a giant Presidential suite, Park Regis Birmingham boasts two restaurants, its 1565 Restaurant, Bar & Terrace, as well as its 16th floor Japanese eatery Rofuto.

The People Awards 2016 recently shortlisted The Belfry Hotel & Resort as one of the leading HR organisations in the country following their nomination in the HR Team category.The awards themselves, seek to recognise the initiatives that nominees develop and subsequently the hard work and dedication that goes into implementing them. Having already been nominated in the HR excellence awards in May 2016, this new shortlist adds to the impressive reputation the resort HR team is building within the HR industry.

From bloomers! Introducing Bread & Butter, the UK's first food and drink founders' festival for start-ups to scale-ups looking to grow their businesses - and make them earn their crust. The two-day festival will feature hands-on interactive content, workshops, six unique zones and a schedule of inspiring must-see speakers who have all been there, seen it and done it.

Fraudsters are targeting students’ first loan instalments just weeks before thousands of students start the new academic year. The new wave of phishing emails have been reported to the Student Loans Company, claiming that failure to respond with personal information updates will see students ‘lose or delay’ their September student finance payment. The Student Loans Company is warning students not to disclose any details or respond to the email, which purports to be from Student Finance England.

The number of people living in each household is set to fall, as one-person homes and smaller families become the norm. New statistics from the Department for Communities and Local Government show there is set to be a decline in the average household size from 2.35 to 2.21 people by 2039. While the number of people making up each home is predicted to fall, the total number of households is forecast to rise significantly from the current 22.7 million to 28 million.

Businesses and regional partners from the West Midlands are being encouraged to drive forward the Midlands Engine and take part in its inaugural market visit to the USA and Canada this autumn.The first in a series of market visits was announced by Government at the Midlands Engine Business Summit last month (July), and it will be the first time that businesses and organisations from across the entire region will come together as one to promote trade opportunities.

Helpful Holidays has been shortlisted for Best UK Accommodation (group) at the Family Traveller Awards 2016. Acknowledging and congratulating the best of the best in family travel, the Family Traveller Awards is the only event of its kind, with 25 categories ranging from Best Long Haul Accommodation to Best Kid's Club and everything in between. Bigger and better than ever for 2016, nominations have increased from 2015's inaugural year with a further seven categories bringing the total number of awards to 25.

Birmingham Airport has yet again welcomed over a million passengers in a single month through its terminal. In total 1,221,212 people were recorded travelling through the airport in July, up by 14% compared to the same month last year. This has meant the airport is continuing its record breaking run of month on month passenger growth, which now stands at seventeen consecutive months and means the airport is set to celebrate a record breaking summer season.   

Qatar Airways and Qatar Aircraft Catering Company (QACC) have launched a new waste reduction and recycling programme in Doha, further contributing towards local and international environmental solutions. As a world-leading airline Qatar Airways is continually improving how it manages its impact on the environment and has been working to introduce additional measures that will minimise packaging and increase recycling to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

Traders are being urged to get in touch and take up market stalls still available at three great Sandwell  summer events. Sandwell Valley Country Park is hosting two fantastic family fun weekends this month plus a big Bank Holiday Monday market. Traders, whether they are food concessions, vintage clothes and crafts or anything else, are being urged to get in touch if they want to take part in any of the events.

City of Wolverhampton Council has revealed its new housing company will be called WV Living.The detailed business case for the company is set to be approved by Full Council in September and it will start trading shortly after.Work on the first phase of homes to be built is then expected to begin in spring 2017. Wolverhampton currently has sufficient land identified to meet projected housing targets but the council is eager to increase the rate of delivery.

Mark Rogers, Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council said: “Dr Mashuq Ally is retiring from Birmingham City Council at the end of August. His leadership and contribution to tackle inequalities in the city leaves a positive and significant legacy in Birmingham. I would like to thank Dr Ally for all his hard work in the field of equalities.” In light of Dr Ally’s retirement, over the autumn there will be a review of the longer term organisational arrangements for equalities, cohesion and community safety in the city council.

A trade mission, organised by JAMPRO, the Jamaican government agency which promotes export business opportunities, brought six representatives for their MICAF Fresh Produce trade mission to visit Grace Foods UK's headquarters in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. The group heard about the growing demand for Caribbean food and drink in the UK, and how Grace Foods' authentic Jamaican products had helped them to establish a strong, market-leadership position.

A new law that came into force on August 1 will help people recover damages they are owed from a business that has become insolvent. Alex Jakubowski, Commercial Litigation Partner at solicitors Clarke Willmott LLP, says The Third Party (Rights against Insurers) Act 2010 will mean that many people will now find it easier to pursue a claim against a defendant’s insurers if the insured is or has become insolvent.