Colors: Purple Color

Trading standards are advising retailers to be vigilant and responsible when selling e-cigs and liquid nicotine, applying the same checks as to the sale of any other age-restricted products.  This is after an undercover intelligence gathering operation found 9 out of 10 shops sold nicotine-inhaling products (NIPS) to an underage volunteer. There has been a surge in the number of users of e-cigs and the change in the law is intended to protect children.

A national director has been appointed to take a new concept in business networking nationwide. Kasim Choudhry, aged 27, has been appointed as National Director of Pathway2grow, part of the Birmingham based Pathway Group. He was appointed shortly after organising the first ever highly successful Asian Apprenticeship Awards in Birmingham. Pathway2grow has successfully launched in Birmingham and London an afternoon event ‘Coffee and Natter’ and an evening group ‘Chutney and Chat.’

Leading UK value retailer Poundland is bringing in the new year by cutting the price of thousands of items in its core ranges to 50 pence in its first ever sales event. While Poundland has reduced prices in the past to clear stocks or welcome a competitor to town, today’s sale marks the first time the retailer has halved the price of core items in its ranges. From sauces to soup, toothpaste to toiletries, the new move - initially covering essential grocery and beauty items - will give customers amazing added value to kick off a new year of savings.

Renting out property on Airbnb or selling second-hand goods on sites like eBay and Gumtree could land people in hot water with the taxman, unless they check whether they need to register for Self Assessment - according to one of the UK’s leading online accounting software providers. FreeAgent - who provide innovative cloud accounting software to freelancers and micro-businesses - warns that many people across the UK could be risking being fined by HMRC due to not realising they should be paying income tax on money they earn “on the side”.  

Knowing where to go to find a professional, skilled plumber is vital, says UK Plumber of the Year Shaun Scott. The 25-year-old, who was named the UK’s top plumber earlier this year, warns that it is only too easy for people who aren’t qualified to cause thousands of pounds worth of damage and give the plumbing industry a bad name. Shaun is a member of WaterSafe, the UK accreditation scheme for qualified plumbers, which ensures all its members are trained to work safely with drinking water.

Businesses in Greater Birmingham have recorded a “remarkable” end-of-year performance in a post-Brexit bonanza, according to Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC). But the labour market in the service sector remains challenging, with all firms surveyed stating they were having difficult in recruitment.  However, according to overall figures published today (December 29), all sectors have contributed towards ensuring the West Midlands is out-performing the rest of the UK.

Sandwell Council leader Councillor Steve Eling visited the Oldbury Delivery Office to thank local postmen and women for their hard work during Royal Mail’s busiest period. This year, Royal Mail has been celebrating its 500th anniversary, with this festive period marking half a millennium of delivering Christmas cards and parcels. Councillor Eling, together with Councillor Paul Moore, the council's cabinet member for regeneration, toured the office.

Paul Thandi, CEO of the NEC Group, one of the World’s top venue management companies to give a keynote speech at the Signature Awards 2017. Since becoming CEO in October 2006 Paul has rebuilt the company’s brands and reputation, created a new senior management team and transformed the Group into a data-led organisation which has included the launch and evolution of The Ticket Factory, now a challenger brand to Ticketmaster.

Wolverhampton’s Civic Halls held their last event on Friday, December 23 before closing for full refurbishment works to get underway in the New Year. Enabling works on the multi-million pound refurbishment of the Grade II listed venue were completed earlier this year. The doors to the Civic Halls temporarily reopened in October for a host of big-name events, which wrapped up with Roy Chubby Brown on Friday. A contractor will be named in the New Year for the main works to start in January.

City of Wolverhampton Council has revealed the battle to win the Wolverhampton Interchange design competition is down to the final three contenders. The full brief was released last month and focuses on i9, the former Steam Mill site, and a refreshed masterplan for the remaining parcels of land within the city’s £132 million transport hub and commercial gateway. Ten of the UK’s leading architects and urban design practices put forward submissions.

Romania’s largest hybrid carrier, Blue Air, has launched three times weekly flights from Birmingham to Cluj-Napoca, the second largest city in Romania. The route launch follows in quick succession from the airline’s announcement of its new route between Birmingham and Larnaca starting in March 2017 and its inaugural Bucharest launch which was celebrated in March this year. Served by a 189 seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft, the carrier will fly to the city of Cluj-Napoca on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

New figures published in Haringey’s Annual Carbon report have shown per capita carbon emissions in the borough have fallen by 37% since 2005. The figures mean Haringey now has a lower carbon footprint (770.4 kt CO2) than six neighbouring boroughs: Camden: 1,355.8 kt CO2, Barnet: 1,125.5 kt CO2, Enfield: 1,108.1 kt CO2, Islington: 876.9 kt CO2, Hackney: 812.1 kt CO2, & Waltham Forest – 775.2 kt CO2.

Business leaders in Birmingham have called on the Government to provide a clear policy programme for businesses following the Bank of England’s decision to leave interest rates at a record low of 0.25 per cent. The last change was a rate cut in August, in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. The Bank warned that household budgets could be squeezed because of slower wage growth and higher inflation.  It still expects inflation to rise above the two per cent target, but not as quickly and by not as much as predicted last month. 

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce are calling for investment in infrastructure to support the announcements relating to making the UK as 5G ready as soon as possible. This follows the report from the National Infrastructure Commission that has been published on mobile connectivity. The UK is currently 54th in the world for 4G availability and in rural areas 3% of the population do not have any coverage outside their homes (complete not-spots), whilst 25% do not have coverage offered by all the main mobile networks (partial not-spots).