Colors: Purple Color

A stream of new client wins, coupled with its recent merger with West Midlands accountants Clement Keys, has made it an exciting first quarter of 2016 for the pensions audit team at PKF Cooper Parry. After merging with the established Birmingham-based practice at the turn of the year, the team has doubled in size and now comprises of 16 experience sector specialists with a broad range skills and expertise.

Thousands of low-income households across England and Wales are being urged by the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) not to miss out on a raft of schemes which could stop water bills from draining their finances. Eighteen out of 21 water companies will have social tariffs in place from April 1, with the potential over time to significantly reduce water bills for almost half a million customers who are struggling to pay.

Manufacturers across the West Midlands have enjoyed a sales surge in the first three months of 2016 – with nearly half reporting turnover on the rise. Figures in the first quarterly business report for 2016 published today by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) show that 46 per cent of manufacturers saw sales jump in the first quarter compared with 31 per cent in the last three months of 2015.

The news that Tata Steel has confirmed it intends to sell its entire steel operations in the UK is another reminder of how the government’s ‘laissez-faire’ approach to manufacturing in the UK undermines our international competitiveness according to Black Country Chamber of Commerce CEO, Keith Bryan.

Travellers across the Midlands will soon be able to book flights to Orlando – thanks to a new codeshare agreement between Virgin Atlantic and Europe’s leading regional airline, Flybe. From April 2 customers will be able to book tickets through Virgin Atlantic to travel from 18 UK and European airports served by Flybe, and connect onto their Virgin Atlantic flight at Manchester, Glasgow and London Gatwick airport.

MedicAnimal has announced a new partnership with Cats Protection, the UK’s leading feline welfare charity. MedicAnimal will be donating a percentage of orders on pet care products to Cats Protection when customers use the relevant code at checkout. Donation options start at 1 per cent on a first order and increase up to 5 per cent for customers who order 6 or more times.

A Digbeth-based motorcycle manufacturing start-up is the latest business to benefit from investment by Birmingham City Council. Mutt Motorcycles has received the financial boost from the council’s £5 million Creative Fund, which is managed by Finance Birmingham. Alongside investment from Ascension Ventures and two angel investors, the funding will be used to regenerate an underused warehouse and archway space at the Custard Factory, where Mutt Motorcycles has secured a leasing agreement.

A staggering 67% of people in the West Midlands fear it will be impossible for future generations to have a home to settle down in, new research by housing and homelessness charity Shelter reveals. The Ipsos MORI survey, commissioned by Shelter and British Gas as part of a new study into the meaning of home in Great Britain today, exposes alarming social trends caused by the current housing shortage.

Ovivo has become the first business to sign up for the top grade office space on offer at i10. The worldwide expert in water treatment will soon occupy the 11,000 sq ft second floor of the £10.6 million city centre development, which was only completed in December. Ovivo opted for i10 as opposed to a number of other options in Telford, Staffordshire and elsewhere in the Midlands, after deciding to relocate its UK headquarters from Wednesfield as part of expansion plans.

Birmingham business leaders have accused the Chancellor of shunning the West Midlands in his Budget – and warned the region would not be relegated to ‘second best.’ Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce went on the attack after George Osborne made no mention of the Midlands Engine in his Budget Day speech – despite announcing significant investment in the Northern Powerhouse.

Leading Midlands Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm, Cooper Parry Wealth has expanded its service offering in the West Midlands with the launch of a new wealth management team. This follows the merger of PKF Cooper Parry with established West Midlands accountants Clement Keys at the turn of the year. The new team, which will be headed-up by chief executive Stephen Jones, will be based at the firm’s Edgbaston offices.

The parliamentary committee for the Policing and Crime Bill heard from the leader of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) that there is no appetite among firefighters or the public for a police takeover of the fire and rescue service. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, told the committee: “It’s no secret that we don’t support this shift….there is no appetite among firefighters and there is no public appetite for it."