Colors: Purple Color

The LawWorks Not-For-Profits Programme is expanding to provide free legal advice and support to more small organisations who give invaluable support to communities across England and Wales.  Last year over 140 not-for-profit organisations’ cases were placed with volunteer lawyers through LawWorks.The pro bono charity is keen to make more charities, community groups and social enterprises aware of the free legal help they make available.

Over half of smaller business owners (55 per cent) say their company’s growth is being held back by the amount of time they have to dedicate to business administration, according to new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).  The findings show that a small business owner spends over 33 hours every month on internal business administration – that represents almost a quarter of an individual’s working hours.

Turkey’s growing automotive sector is the subject of a special event aimed at manufacturers and distributors in the Midlands. The B2B matchmaking event is being organised by Enterprise Europe Network at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce on 7 June, and will see local firms meeting face-to-face with a group of leading Turkish vehicle component suppliers.

"Todays Queen's Speech reinforces the need for the UK to continue investing, both financially and logistically, in order to remain at the cutting edge of new vehicle technology - from propulsion systems to autonomous vehicles." commented Phil Harrold, automotive partner at PwC, about the Queen's speech, which focussed heavily on the digital economy and technology.

City of Wolverhampton Council has officially secured a landmark development site to boost its city regeneration plans. A £13.1 million deal was completed to purchase St George’s Parade on the eastern side of the city centre. It is a key strategic gateway that forms part of the City Centre Area Action Plan (AAP), occupying a highly prominent position next to the ring road, 250 metres from the city’s main shopping centre and railway station.

The head of West Midlands UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is urging businesses from across the region to set Latin America and the Caribbean in their sights as hundreds of export opportunities come to the fore. Christine Hamilton, interim director of UKTI West Midlands, said now was the ideal time for businesses in the healthcare, education, oil and gas, marine, infrastructure, financial services, automotive or mining sectors to grow and expand their reach in countries such as Dominican Republic, Argentina, Mexico and Chile.

A report on housing need in the UK published by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) calls for urgent Government action to deliver the homes needed in the UK. In Homes for all: Ensuring councils can deliver the homes we need, 72% of councils think that the viability test laid out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has hindered their ability to build social and affordable housing.

Plans to make nearly every vehicle in the country zero-emission by 2050 have taken a further step forward with the launch of a £2million government fund to encourage more businesses to switch to hydrogen-fuelled vehicles.  The Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Fleet Support Scheme will allow local authorities, health trusts, police forces, fire brigades and private companies to bid for funding to add hydrogen-powered vehicles to their fleets.

A Birmingham-based charity that is dedicated to improving the safety of children on the roads is seeking £5,000 in crowdfunding to help produce an animated video series for primary schools. DriveSafe and StaySafe introduced ‘The Conies’ as a family of traffic cones that deliver road and personal safety messages through their comic adventures at a road safety song contest in Solihull last autumn.

A bumper Exporting is GREAT Week has resulted in more businesses from the West Midlands region signalling their intention to explore export opportunities. Figures reveal that 194 companies from across the area attended seven events over the Exporting is GREAT Week (April 18-22). Of these, 71 sought support from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) for the first time – up almost a third from last year when Export Week in May 2015 attracted 131 companies from the area, which comprises the West Midlands, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire.

Brexit would be difficult for the UK but not “apocalyptic” and  Boris Johnson could become a Prime Minster grappling with an economy with a “significantly weakened” pound, a key Birmingham business event was told. And the UK’s renegotiating process could drag on for a decade amid a huge period of uncertainty, a special Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce think-tank addressed by top legal and financial experts heard.

The West Midlands is the UK’s most euro-sceptic region, according to a major new survey published by British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) on the EU referendum. According to the survey, if the EU referendum was held tomorrow, 45.2 per cent of West Midlands businesses would vote to stay in the EU, whilst almost as many (44.8 per cent) would vote to leave. A number of respondents, 9.7 per cent, were undecided.