Quality is the key to success in care home provision

Ensuring the provision of quality care for the UK’s ageing demographic is a significant priority for society.

We are living for longer but that does not mean that we will live our later lives independently of the support of others. Care homes, or support enabling people to live independently in their own homes, will become increasingly vital.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the body charged with ensuring the highest possible standards among care home operators and care providers.

It sets standards that must be adhered to and encourages providers to strive for continuous improvement.

For that, we should all be grateful. But recent events have proven how difficult care provision is, with many large care companies experiencing operating difficulties due, in part, to the cost of providing what is an inherently expensive service if done properly.

Care homes exist within a complicated funding environment; residential care could be paid for by a local authority or by a private individual.

Whatever the funding model, the fact remains that care homes are generally privately-owned businesses with the same powers at play as any other enterprise.

However, the vulnerable nature of their customer base makes them unlike any other business.

The UK is blessed with many exemplary care homes, but the latest research from the CQC  shows room for improvement.

“It appears to be increasingly difficult for some providers to deliver the safe, high-quality and compassionate care people deserve and have every right to expect,” Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the CQC, told the Daily Telegraph.

But there are examples of “good” and “outstanding” care homes across Lancashire and the North West, a number of them operated by Pierce clients, including Springhill Care Home in Accrington, and Altham Care Home in Clayton-le-Moors, Accrington.

Supporting companies operating in the care sector requires special expertise and Pierce is proud of its experience in that regard, supporting care providers in seeking development capital, merger and acquisition advice or succession planning.

The values of those care providers who will support society in future reflect our own.

Providing a quality service now and in future will be key in satisfying both the business needs of a care home and the exacting standards set by the CQC, loved ones and local authorities alike.

Providing care for our elderly is perhaps one of the most important investments any of us will make. We would be only too happy to share the wealth of our experience with people already operating within the sector, or considering it as a business opportunity.

R&D Tax Credits – Are you missing out?

By: Tom Wilkinson   Research and Development Tax Specialist



R&D Tax Credits

….. Are You Missing Out?


Many trading businesses often do not realise they are or have previously undertaken Research & Development (‘’R&D’’) activities in their business.  We are successfully securing R&D tax credit claims for clients.  The credits are generous and allow small and medium sized businesses to claim 230% (from April 2015) of actual R&D costs incurred for up to the past 2 financial years.

So, if you have incurred R&D expenditure of say £100,000 on a project then you can claim £230,000 as a credit against profits in the particular year(s) incurred.  This could generate a refund or tax saving of £46,000.

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Our fees are entirely success based and we will be happy to discuss these further.  Pierce have a good working relationship with HMRC’s specialist R&D tax units and have a 100% track record with all claims.
We have helped our clients claim over £2 million of qualifying Research & Development relief and we could help yours.

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The definition of R&D is quite wide and it is worth considering if you have….

  • Made bespoke products or customised products
  • Developed any new products or involved with introducing them
  • Made any environmental improvements to your processes
  • Consistently made manufacturing processes improvements
  • Carried out design work in-house or sub-contracted design
  • Carried out prototyping or made models, patterns or tooling
  • Developed or improved any in-house software
  • Changed the composition of your products in response to changes in legislation
  • Consider yourself to be a market leader in a product, process or technology
  • Regularly problem solving to meet your customers’ needs

Many companies are unaware of the activities that can qualify for R&D relief.  Pierce C. A. Limited have specialist skills and knowledge of the R&D tax system and are able to help you identify qualifying projects and formulate a successful claim.

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Client Testimonials

From David Baxendale at Promedics Orthapaedic Limited

Tom Wilkinson from Pierce proactively found and recommended corporation tax savings for our company that resulted in a 2 year corporation tax refund. He worked under his own initiative and ensured that HMRC agreed with his calculations. Tom’s drive and professionalism was first class and we would highly recommend his and Pierce’s services.”

From Richard Mottram at Hills Panel Products Limited

Pierce compiled an extremely detailed and comprehensive Research and Development Tax claim on the company’s behalf which lead to a significant corporation tax saving.

The report and associated computations were a significant improvement from our previous R&D tax advisers and was also undertaken in a very timely manner”


The Budget 2015 in full

The Budget 2015 in Full

Chancellors red box

Read the Budget document in full.

Download our detailed budget report as a pdf.

UPDATE: Download the presentation slides from our budget breakfast review.

The Chancellor has presented his Budget to Parliament – here’s a summary of what was announced.

1. The UK had the fastest growth in the G7 in 2014

The UK economy had the fastest annual growth among G7 economies in 2014, and the strongest annual growth since 2007. At the end of 2014, employment had reached its highest ever level, unemployment has been falling in every region across the UK, and inflation is at a record low.

But risks still remain and there is still more to do to support businesses and boost p

Read the Budget document in full.

2. Debt will be falling as a share of GDP in 2015-16

Debt will be falling as a share of GDP from 2015-16. This is a year earlier than forecast at Autumn Statement.

By 2014-15, the deficit is forecast to have fallen by half, from 10.2% at its peak in 2009-10, to 5% in 2014-15.

In 2018-19, the government will have a surplus (will raise more in taxes than is being spent) of £5.2 billion.

Access the Treasury’s set of Budget infographics, explaining some of the key announcements.

3. The tax-free personal allowance is being increased in April 2017, to £11,000

To make work pay and ensure families keep more of the money they earn, the tax-free personal allowance – the amount people earn before they have to start paying tax – will rise to £10,800 in 2016-17, and £11,000 the year after.

The increases to the personal allowance from £6475 in 2010, to £11,000 in 2017-18 will save a typical taxpayer £905.

To make sure the full benefits of the personal allowance increase are passed on to higher rate taxpayers, the government will also increase above inflation the point above at which higher earners start paying 40% tax. It will increase by £315 in 2016-17, and by £600 in 2017-18 – taking it to £43,300 in 2017-18.

4. A new Personal Savings Allowance will take 95% of taxpayers out of savings tax altogether

From April 2016, a tax-free allowance of £1,000 (or £500 for higher rate taxpayers) will be introduced for the interest that people earn on savings.

If they are a basic rate taxpayer and have a total income up to £42,700 a year, they will be eligible for the £1,000 tax-free savings allowance.

If they are a higher rate taxpayer and earn from £42,701 to £150,000, they’ll be eligible for a £500 tax-free savings allowance.

Access the Treasury Personal Savings Allowance one page explainer factsheet.

5. Introducing the Help to Buy ISA – every £200 people save towards their first home, the government will put in an extra £50, up to a maximum bonus of £3000

The government has already helped people to buy a home with Help to Buy, which allows people to purchase a home with just a 5% deposit.

The government is now going further. To help first time buyers save for a deposit, it is introducing a Help to Buy ISA.

People will be able to open an ISA, save up to £200 a month towards their first home, and the government will boost it by 25%. That’s a £50 bonus for every £200 people save, up to £3000.

Access the Treasury’s Help to Buy: ISA one page explainer factsheet.

6. People will have complete freedom to take money out of an ISA and put it back in later in the year

ISAs are being reformed so that instead of being able to put up to £15,240 in the 2015-16 tax year into an ISA in total, people can take out their money and put it back in within the same year, without losing their ISA tax benefits – as long as the repayment is made in the same financial year as the withdrawal.

7. £1.25 billion for children’s’ mental health services

An extra £1.25 billion will be spent on mental health services for children and new mums – helping more than 110,000 people.

8. Cancelling the fuel duty increase scheduled for September

Fuel duty will be frozen again; since 2011, the government has cut and frozen fuel duty, saving a typical motorist a total of £675 by the end of 2015-16.

By the end of 2015-16 fuel duty will have been frozen for five years, resulting in the longest duty freeze in over 20 years.

9. Cutting beer duty for the third year in a row

There will be another penny off a pint, a 2% cut for spirits and most ciders, and a freeze on duty on wine.

10. Up to five million pensioners will be given the freedom to sell their annuity for a cash lump sum

From April 2016, people who already have an annuity will be able to now effectively sell it on, so that they too can benefit from the pension freedoms announced at last year’s Budget.

Currently, people who have bought an annuity are unable to sell it without having to pay at least 55% tax on it. From April 2016, the tax rules will change so that people who already have income from an annuity can sell that when they choose and will pay their usual rate of tax they pay on income, instead of 55%.

11. Charities will be able to claim more gift aid on small donations

The amount of small donations charities can get an extra 25% top up payment on in gift aid without needing any paperwork is increasing from £5,000 to £8,000 a year.

The government expects 6,500 charities to claim in full the higher new cash boost of £2,000 a year – nearly double the current amount.

12. Farmers will have more time to average their profits for income tax

This extends the period from two to five years, and will give farmers additional security as they typically have volatile profits due to uncontrollable factors such as the weather.

13. We will abolish the annual tax return

Millions of individuals will have the information HMRC needs automatically uploaded into new digital tax accounts. Businesses will feel like they are paying a simple, single business tax – and again, for most, the information needed will be automatically received.

14. Support for all regions across the UK

Working with Transport for the North, the government will look at rolling out better roads, quicker journeys and improved rail connections between the major cities of the north, as part of the government’s plan to build a Northern powerhouse.

The government is also giving even more powers to local areas, with a new devolution deal for things like transport, business support and skills for West Yorkshire, and more planning powers for London.

Ten Enterprise Zones across the country are also being supported to go further to create growth and jobs.

The government is also working on a Cardiff city deal and opening negotiations on the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.

15. Making sure banks pay their fair share

The government is increasing the rate of the bank levy (one of the taxes that banks pay) from 1 April 2015.

This will raise an additional £900 million a year.

16. Increased support for the oil and gas sector

The oil and gas sector provides highly-skilled jobs, energy security and makes a significant contribution to the UK economy.

To encourage further investment in the North Sea, the government will introduce a new Investment Allowance and reduce the supplementary tax charge on oil and gas companies further, from 30% to 20%, from 1 January 2015.

The rate of Petroleum Revenue Tax paid on older oil and gas fields will also be reduced from 50% to 35%.

These changes are expected to increase oil production by around 15% by 2019, and drive £4 billion of new investment over the next five years.

17. Faster broadband and better mobile networks

The government is investing up to £600 million to deliver better mobile networks, and is announcing a new ambition that ultrafast broadband of at least 100 megabits per second should become available to nearly all UK premises in the country.

18. Introducing postgraduate research loans

Loans up to £25,000 will be available for postgraduate PHD and masters research students.

The government will also conduct a review into how the government can strengthen its funding for postgraduate research.

19. Further investment in science and innovation

Future economic success depends on future science success. The government is investing £140 million in world class research on the infrastructure and cities of the future, and £40 million in research into what is known as the Internet of Things. This is the next stage of the information revolution, connecting up everything from urban transport to medical devices to household appliances.

The government is also launching a new UK research initiative into the future potential of digital currency technology, supported by a £10 million increase in funding in this area.

20. The government will consult on a tax relief for local newspapers

Local newspapers are a vital part of community life, but they’ve had a tough time – so the government is announcing a consultation on how to can provide them with tax support.


Seminar Series – 2015 the year to make a difference

Make 2015 the year to make a difference!

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From Nadeem Hussain – Head of Tax at Pierce


As part of our ongoing series of seminars for clients and professional introducers, we are pleased to announce details of a new seminar series in 2015.


We want you to be able to look back in years to come on 2015 and be able to say that it was the year you decided to make a change, make a difference and started to make plans that have now come to fruition and success. This involves considering a cohesive wealth maximisation strategy, in respect of all of your affairs and planning.

Through a detailed case-study, the three seminars will be delivered under the following headings:


Seminar 1 –     Review-it!

Thursday 26th February   8.30am – 10.30am – at Pierce CA Ltd – Blackburn

Tuesday 3rd March          8.30am – 10.30am – at Taylor Patterson – Preston

Click here to download a copy of the presentation slides.

The focus of this seminar will be on remuneration and tax year end planning as well as understanding the new pension freedoms that start in April 2015.


Seminar 2 –     Protect-it & Build-it!

Thursday 28th May      8.30am – 10.30am – at Pierce CA Ltd – Blackburn  – BOOK

Tuesday 2nd June        8.30am – 10.30am – at Taylor Patterson – Preston  – BOOK

This seminar will particularly focus on tax planning around the right structure for a business. This will include whether it is appropriate for protecting assets, support future growth and incentivise key personnel.


Seminar 3 –     Maximise it!

Thursday 1st October   8.30am – 10.30am – at Pierce CA Ltd – Blackburn – BOOK

Tuesday 6th October    8.30am – 10.30am – at Taylor Paterson –  Preston  – BOOK

The final seminar will consider the process of grooming a business for sale, alongside corporate finance and succession planning. The natural follow-on from this will be how to structure Estate planning, Trust and Wealth Management, to meet your objectives.
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We are pleased to bring you these seminars in conjunction with Taylor Patterson in Preston, providing detailed expertise across these important planning areas.


All of the seminars will include breakfast refreshments.


The Pierce seminars will be held at the Pierce offices in Blackburn. The Taylor Patterson seminars will be held at Taylor Patterson’s offices in the centre of Preston.


To reserve a place at Pierce, please hit the BOOK button, or contact Mary-Lou Duggan on 01254 688100 or email events@pierce.co.uk

To reserve a place at Taylor Patterson, please hit the BOOK button or contact Jason Street on 01772 555073 or email Jason.street@taypat.co.uk


Dragons Den seeks Local Entrepreneurs

BBC Dragons Den Looking for Local Entrepreneurs


East Lancs Chamber of Commerce news 

Do you need cash for your business idea?

Dragons Den gives you the chance to pitch your business to five of the most successful and commercial brains in the UK.

If you are an entrepreneur, with a fantastic business idea or product, and looking for investment and ready to enter the Den then we want to hear from you.

Meet the Dragons

From the left: Duncan Bannatyne, Kelly Hoppen, Deborah Meaden, Piers Linney and Peter Jones are looking to invest their own cash in ideas pitched in the Den. Find out more about the multi-millionaire investors.

Apply to enter the Den

If you’ve got a great business idea to put to our venture capitalists, here’s where you can apply to take your place in the Den.

There are two ways to apply:

1. You can either fill in the online application form here, which gets directly to the Dragons’ Den production team.


2. If you experience problems with the online application form through your browser, you can download the form here (111KB) and either email or post it as directed in the download.

As part of normal selection process we may approach entrepreneurs, or they may apply direct. In each case all applications are processed in the same way. To be considered all candidates need to submit an application form and these are then subject to the same casting criteria. Final selection for participation in the programme will be decided on a number of factors including the strength of idea, a robust business plan and projected turnover.

Please note: Your information will be treated in the strictest confidence by the BBC and individual data will not be provided to any other party. For further information, please read the BBC’s privacy policy. Unfortunately, due to the high number of applicants, only those people who are shortlisted will be contacted. However, we do consider all applications carefully. All information provided is subject to and will be treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, and will not be used for any purpose other than assessing applicants to take part in the named BBC programme. We regret that BBC members of staff and their immediate families are not eligible to apply. All applicants must be aged 18 or over.

Video: Interview in The Telegraph

From: Mark Maden-Wilkinson

Congratulations to Keith Ashworth-Lord

Keith Ashworth-Lord

on his interview with Kyle Caldwell in The Telegraph today.

Interview in The Telegraph

11:35AM BST 04 Jul 2014

Kyle Caldwell of the Daily Telegraph

British savers who want to tuck some money away with legendary investor Warren Buffett need deep pockets. The “A” shares in Berkshire Hathaway, which carry voting rights, cost £111,000.

But there is an alternative – the ConBrio Sanford DeLand UK Buffettology fund. It sounds like a gimmick, but this fund, which unashamedly aims to mimic Mr Buffett’s investment philosophy, buying firms with big brands and pricing power, has delivered the goods over the past three years. It has returned 55pc, almost double the 29pc return of the FTSE All Share.

Managed by Keith Ashworth-Lord, the fund aims to buy shares on the cheap and then hold them for several years.

“The glue that holds the philosophy together is that I want to buy firms whose management behaves like an owner of the business,” Mr Ashworth-Lord said.

Where is he finding value in the UK market, which has delivered stellar performance over the past five years?


Keith R Ashworth-Lord  Director

Sanford Deland tree

Sanford DeLand Asset Management Ltd

9th Floor, 111 Piccadilly


M1 2HY


Tel: 0161 233 8696

Email: kal@sanford-deland.com

W: www.sanford-deland.com

Budget Breakfast Invitation – Striking a Balance

Budget Breakfast Invitation – Striking a Balance

from: Nadeem Hussain


Striking a Balance

presented by Pierce Accountancy and Business Advisory Group.

On Wednesday 19 March the Chancellor will make his Budget Speech, on Friday 21 March our free breakfast event will cover the issues raised and highlight business and personal planning opportunities.

  • George Osborne has promised a budget of “hard truths” about Britain’s unbalanced economic recovery, emphasising a need for more manufacturing exports.
  • He has also said that Britain is too reliant on consumer spending and on the finance industry in London.
  • He has stressed the need to keep pursuing an austerity agenda and this budget will be his final chance to meaningfully alter fiscal policy before the next General Election due on 7 May 2015.

Join us for this free event, a delicious cooked breakfast and some serious analysis and advice followed by an excellent networking opportunity, you can’t afford to miss it.

On Friday 21 March at Mercure Dunkenhalgh Hotel & Spa


07.30am:         Registration, networking  and cooked breakfast (served until 8.10 am)

08.15am:          Presentation will commence

09.15am:          Presentation ends followed by question time

09.30am:          Networking opportunity

10.00am:         Seminar ends

To reserve your place and for directions, book online

or contact Mary-Lou on events@pierce.co.uk

or 01254 688100. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Family Finance Seminar – May 2014 – Atlantic Towers

Family Finance Seminar – May 2014 – Atlantic Towers

From: John Green

‘For the Love of Money’

An Invitation to join Ashley Murray of Ashley Murray Chambers and his guest speakers.

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at:    The Atlantic Towers Hotel, Chapel Street, Liverpool, L3 9RE

on:   Thursday 8th May 2014

for:   A Morning in Seminar followed by lunch.


9.00 am – 9.25 am    Coffee/Tea and Welcome


9.25 am – 10.15 am   “Litigation Misconduct – is this a Misnomer”

Ashley Murray – Barrister at Law


10.15 am – 11.05 am   “Pensions – Ignore Them at Your Peril”

Ann Pettifor – Actuary – Collins Actuaries


11.05 am – 11.25 am   Coffee/Tea


11.25 am – 12.15 am   “It’s not under the floorboards anymore!”

John Green – Managing Director – Pierce Forensic Ltd


12.15 pm – 12.45 pm   Recent Case Update

Ashley Murray – Barrister at Law


12.45 pm                       Lunch

Information: 3 CPD points:

£45 per attendee includes lunch with wine and refreshments throughout the morning.

Advanced Booking is required.

To reserve a place please contact Ashley Murray

Before 7 April 2014

t 07707 643479

e surfinether@yahoo.co.uk

Post 7 April 2014 – Ashley Murray Chambers – www.ashleymurraychambers.co.uk

t 0151 559 3285

e Ashley@amchambers.co.uk

Or print this page and send to:

Ashley Murray, 7 the Oaklands, Brookside Farm, Old Lane, Pulford, Chester, CH4 9EW


Ashley Murray Chambers: Family Finance Seminar May 2014 – Atlantic Towers

Please reserve me_____place(s) on Thursday 8 May 2014

I enclose my cheque payable to “Ashley Murray” for the sum of £________






GOV.UK Business Growth Vouchers up to £2k

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Growth Vouchers programme


From: Andrew Stephenson
This government programme helps small businesses get expert advice on:
  • finance and cash flow
  • recruiting and developing staff
  • improving leadership and management skills
  • marketing, attracting and keeping customers
  • making the most of digital technology
Some businesses will be randomly chosen to get a voucher for up to £2,000 to help finance specialist business support. You’ll have to match the amount with your own funds.
You’ll be asked to take part in surveys to find out how the programme has helped you.


Your business must:
  • have 49 employees or less (including any employees of companies that own a stake in your business)
  • be registered in England
  • have been trading for at least one year
  • not have paid for business advice in the last 3 years
  • be independent (ie no more than 25% is owned by other businesses or organisations)
You’ll need the following things to complete your application:
  • Companies House registration number or unique tax reference
  • registered business address
  • business turnover details
  • VAT registration number (if you’re registered)
  • PAYE number (if you have one)
  • contact phone number
  • email address
Read the terms and conditions for the Growth Vouchers programme.
  • Available in England only
  • Email address required

Growth Vouchers programme


Support for small businesses to grow.

The Growth Vouchers research programme will test what works best when giving advice to business – helping small businesses to find strategic advice from private sector suppliers who can help their business to grow.
This joint programme between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Behavioural Insights Team in Cabinet Office was launched on 27 January 2014 and roll out over the next 15 months.
Growth Vouchers offer expert advice in areas such as:
  • raising finance and managing cash flow
  • recruiting and developing staff
  • improving leadership and management skills
  • marketing
  • attracting and keeping customers
  • making the most of digital technology


  1. Growth Vouchers programme: definition of business advice areas covered

  1. Growth Vouchers programme: terms and conditions

  1. Growth Vouchers programme: trial protocol

Growth Voucher programme: primary documents

The claim form, the de minimis declaration and the guidance for recruiting and managing consultants.

  1. Growth Vouchers programme: claim form

  2. Growth Vouchers programme: de minimis declaration form

  3. Growth Vouchers programme: a guide to choosing and managing a consultant


Hive Group – Finance for Business Free Workshops

Hive is delighted to announce the first in a series of  “Finance for Business” Free of charge workshops.

First event taking place on Friday 6th December 2013, starting at 10am. 


Accrol Papers, Roman Road, Blackburn BB1 2LD

This will be of particular interest and benefit to those organisations in need of funding for growth. 

To book at place at the event, please email Clare Kinsey at Napthens (Clare.Kinsey@napthens.co.uk), or call 01254 686207. 

Numbers for each event are limited so please book ASAP to avoid disappointment.

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The Hive is a new group of business leaders working together to inspire prosperity across Blackburn and Darwen.

The workshops are being organised by Hive’s Founder members:

David Sharpe of Pierce Chartered Accountants

Jamie Allison of Napthens Solicitors

Mark Gardiner of RBS.

The format, for all the planned events, will comprise a panel of finance providers and advisors, each with their own particular expertise and funding type. We want to make sure that businesses in our immediate area understand what is available in the market place and how to access those fund providers – our aim is part of the philosophy of making Blackburn with Darwen a more prosperous and successful area in which to trade and maintain business growth.

The panel members will represent organisations who provide a blend of different funding options: for example:

  • traditional bank lending
  • asset based lending
  • venture capital funding
  • grant based support.

The December event will include speakers from:

Royal Bank of Scotland

GE Commercial Finance

Enterprise Ventures

FW Capital

Regenerate Pennine Lancashire.

The audience will be invited to participate in a Q&A session following brief presentations from the invited guest speakers. Each event will be planned for a 2 hour period with the opportunity for 1-2-1 sessions after the presentations and Q&As.


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Members of the Hive Network or visitors to the site may find the following information useful. Whilst this is by no means a definitive list, please be aware that the links below will take you to external websites and all open in a new window.

Business support

Grants for business growth (new and existing companies)

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council (business support)

East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce

UK Trade and Investment (North West) 

Federation of Small Businesses

Local business news

Lancashire Telegraph

Lancashire Business View

Visit Blackburn with Darwen

Blackburn with Darwen Visitors Website