Making Tax Digital – what is it ?

Making Tax Digital (MTD) is an initiative designed by HMRC to make sure the UK tax system is effective, efficient and easier for taxpayers. 

All UK businesses that are VAT registered and above the £85,000 VAT threshold will be required to keep their records digitally and submit VAT returns to HMRC using MTD-compatible software.  This means that many businesses will need to decide about their accounting software soon to avoid facing the complication of changing part way through their accounting year. 

When does it start? MTD for VAT is due to commence for VAT periods starting on or after 1 April 2019. So, all businesses will need to comply with the new process from this date onwards.  

Am I compliant? If MTD applies to you, then you will need to ensure that your accounting software is compliant.  HMRC have released a list of compliant software at 

Next steps? Shorts offer a free MTD Ready Check to help you understand how it affects your business. If you would like an MTD Ready Check contact us by email on or by phone on 0114 2671617. 

Source: Tim Baum-Dixon, SHORTS

Efficient and sustainable agriculture: apply for funding

Up to £20 million available to increase productivity and sustainability in crop and ruminant agriculture systems through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

There is up to £20 million in this competition as part of the transforming food production challenge.

UK organisations can apply for a share of up to £20 million for projects to transform how the agrifood sector works with crop and animal-based agricultural systems.

The funding is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s transforming food production challenge. It is provided by UK Research and Innovation and delivered through Innovate UK.

Why agriculture systems need to change

Due to the continued growth in global population, the UK, alongside many other countries, needs to produce more food. However, agricultural production issues such as costs and environmental factors mean we must do so in ways that are significantly more efficient, resilient and sustainable.

To support businesses to create disruptive technologies and embed precision approaches that meet these goals, the government is offering grants through its Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

This competition opens on 20 August 2018, and the deadline for applications is midday on 24 October 2018

Source: See further detailed information HERE

Polypipe ‘performs well despite mixed conditions’

The chief executive of Polypipe has said the Doncaster-based plastic pipes manufacturer “performed well” in the first half of 2018, despite “mixed market conditions and adverse weather “.

The listed company reported revenue of £210.2m in the six months ended 30 June 2018, up from a restated £210m in the same period of 2017.

However, profit before tax dipped to £30.1m from £30.5m the year before.

During the period, the group completed the sale of its French operations, Polypipe France Holding, to Ryb for €16.5m.

Polypipe’s UK Residential Systems business reported organic growth of 5.9 per cent, but revenue from its Commercial and Infrastructure Systems division was down 6.6 per cent due to delays in road and other commercial projects.

Martin Payne, chief executive of Polypipe, said: “Against a backdrop of mixed market conditions and adverse weather the group has performed well in the first half.

“With the group’s balanced business model, underpinned by the long-term growth drivers of legacy material substitution and continuing legislative tailwinds in water management and climate change, I am confident the group will make good progress in the second half of the year.”

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 14th August 2018

Year of “Significant Development” for ITM Power

Sheffield-headquartered energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power has reported a year of “significant development” in its latest financial results, with a focus on expanding staff numbers and its facilities.

The listed company has reported total revenue and grant funding of £14.1m for the year to 30 April 2018, up 53 per cent from £9.2m in 2017.

However, pre-tax losses widened to £6.5m from £3.6m the year before.

During the year, ITM raised £29.4m through a placing and open offer. It also secured funding to support the expansion of hydrogen refuelling station infrastructure in the UK.

The company agreed head of terms on new factory premises, with space planning now underway, and invested in the expansion of its manufacturing and after sales support teams.

ITM has a total pipeline of more than £30m, with £24.1m under contract and a further £6.5m in the final stages of negotiation.

Following the year end, it signed a strategic partnership agreement with Sumitomo Corporation for product sales in Japan and other territories.

Graham Cooley, chief executive of ITM Power, said: “This financial year has been a period of significant development for ITM Power. With revenue increasing by 53 per cent, the company has been focussed on the expansion of staff and the planning of the new, larger production facilities. We’ve also been learning how to maximise a growing portfolio of revenue generating assets in the shape of the first real hydrogen refuelling network in the UK.

“Finally, Power-to-Gas is now demonstrating real traction around the world and we remain very well placed to benefit from this development with our long-running reference plant in Germany.”

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 13th August 2018

£126m Funding for Yorkshire Catapult Centres

Two ‘catapult centres’ in South Yorkshire are set to benefit from an additional £126m in government funding to help develop new technology.

The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham and Sheffield will receive £82m while £45m will go to the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced £780m of additional funding for ‘catapult centres’ across the UK, which are designed to fuel innovation across the country as part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy.

The centres have so far helped create hundreds of new products, services and inventions, including a portable pollution sensor that parents can attach to a child’s buggy, cellular therapies to fight cancer and improve recovery of stroke victims, LED treatment for blindness, and more-efficient wings for aeroplanes.

Hammond said: “It is by backing innovative British companies to grow and create jobs that we will continue this progress and build an economy fit for the future. Today’s £780m investment will support innovators across the country to create the technologies of the future, and the better, highly-paid jobs we urgently need.”

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 13th August 2018

The Far East is not too far for Gripple

Already with established bases in the USA, France, India, Poland and Canada, the Sheffield-based manufacturer of iconic wire fasteners, Gripple has now appointed a Japanese managing director to lead Gripple’s expansion within the Japanese construction market.

Takahiro Makino will complete the process of creating Gripple Japan by building on the opportunities which arise from the country hosting the Rugby World Cup and the Olympic Games in coming years.

Later this year 46-year-old Taka will be joined by Tomohiro Seki, who was appointed by Gripple as a sales graduate in 2017 since when he has had nine months’ training with the company in the UK. They will be charged with building thriving business in Japan by establishing Gripple Japan in the world’s third largest economy.

Taka joins the employee-owned company after spending ten years with one of the Japan’s largest suppliers to construction industry. Taka’s work in Japan began after extensive training in Sheffield.

Eric Laroche, Gripple’s director of international markets, said: “Doing business in Japan is very different from our traditional methods. It was only a question of time before we invested directly in the country to further our developments globally. Now is the time!

“Taka has an excellent professional track record and his personality, experience, drive and enthusiasm will be a major asset for Gripple. The board and I are convinced that Gripple Japan will become a significant part of the company’s overseas operations. We welcome him to the family!”

Taka commented: “I did not make my decision to join Gripple until I had met some of its people and had a feel of its culture. When I visited The Old West Gun Works I was welcomed by many members of the Gripple family who were supportive and approachable – my decision was made. I feel there is huge potential for Gripple in my country which is extremely exciting for me and for the company.”


South African Shipment for Xeros’ Washing Machines

Xeros Technology Group, based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, is set to supply a shipment of its near-waterless washing machines to the drought-affected Cape Province region of South Africa.

Cape Town is a region where drought has led to a permanent change in water consumption being legislated.

The 16 machines, supplied through Xeros’ commercial laundry division, recently-renamed Hydrofinity, replace water with its reusable and recyclable polymer XOrb technology.

The agreement is the first of several large shipments expected to be sent in the next two months to Hydrofinity-approved distribution partners in countries with high water stress and high water cost.

The technology will be supplied to the South African market by fanute, the sole distributor for Hydrofinity near-waterless laundry systems in South Africa.

Mike Ferrand, managing director of Hydrofinity, said: “Our near-waterless technology will bring huge sustainability benefits as climate change and a rapidly growing population place enormous stress on South Africa’s water resources.

“We are now starting to make significant shipments of Xeros machines around the world. As businesses struggle with stringent restrictions on water use, our award-winning solution offers a sustainable alternative with significant competitive advantages.”

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 1st August 2018

UK New Car Market reports stable July

The UK’s new car market remained stable in July with a growth in demand of 1.2 per cent, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A total of 163,898 new cars were registered in the month as the market stabilised following a “turbulent” first six months.

Although registrations by businesses with fleets of 25 cars or fewer fell by 10.2 per cent, the SMMT said demand from private buyers was up by 0.1 per cent on the same month in 2017. Meanwhile, large fleets grew by 2.6 per cent.

In terms of fuel type, the market followed the trend of previous months, with diesel registrations falling 24.4 per cent as petrol demand increased 20.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, alternatively fuelled vehicles enjoyed an uplift of 21 per cent, with market share of hybrids and plug-ins reaching a record 6.5 per cent.

Growth was particularly strong for plug-in hybrids, up by a third (33.5 per cent), while hybrid registrations grew 17.5 per cent, followed by battery electric cars, up 2.4 per cent.

Year to date, the market remains down by 5.5 per cent, broadly in line with expectations as demand begins to level out.

In the first seven months of the year, almost 1.5 million new cars were registered by consumers and businesses in the UK.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The feel-good factor from a sun and sport-packed July, combined with some fantastic deals on a raft of exciting new models, clearly helped keep

showrooms relatively busy last month.

“It’s great to see alternatively fuelled vehicles benefiting from this growth, and government’s acknowledgement of the vital role new-tech diesel will play in its Road to Zero strategy should help more even more motorists benefit from the latest, safest and low emission technology over the coming months.”

Source: Jon Robinson, Insider Media, 7th August 2018

TOYOTA Motorsport Partnership for AMRC

The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) hs entered into a new partnership with TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG).

TMG, whose parent company is Toyota Motor Corporation, has built its reputation in motorsport via the World Rally Championship, Formula 1 and the FIA World Endurance Championship. It won the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours with its TS050 HYBRID race car.

Alongside its motorsport activities, the company also carries out on a range of automotive projects. It has now joined the AMRC as a Tier 2 partner with a focus on research and development of lightweight materials.

Professor Keith Ridgway, executive dean of the AMRC, said: “I’m extremely pleased the AMRC is working closely with TMG, which is part of the world’s number one endurance racing team – winners of the recent Le Mans 24 Hours event. This is further proof that the Sheffield City Region’s Global Innovation Corridor is the come-to-place for manufacturers who want to take on the world’s best and win.

“The AMRC now has a global reputation for its expertise not just in the development of new composites and processes but also within the increasingly important arena of lightweighting where we lead the way.

“It will be fascinating to work closely with a company involved in high-level motorsport. Like us, they want to make things faster, leaner and cleaner.”

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 25th July 2018

New Chief Executive for Pressure Technologies

Sheffield-headquartered engineering group Pressure Technologies has appointed a new chief executive with one of the company’s founding members, who has held the role since its flotation, stepping down.

John Hayward joined the business in 1997 when it was part of United Engineering Forgings. He led the management buyout in 2004 that created Chesterfield Special Cylinders and became chief executive of Pressure Technologies on its admission to AIM in 2007.

He will step down from the board on 1 October 2018 with Chris Walters becoming chief executive from 3 September.

Walters has more than 20 years of senior management experience, most recently as chief executive of TSC Inspection Systems, a private equity and VCT backed non-destructive testing technology and services business, where he led the growth and development of the group and achieved a successful sale for the investors.

He was previously worked for P&O Group and for Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, where he held positions as senior vice president of the oil and gas services division and operations director of the marine services division.

Alan Wilson, chairman of Pressure Technologies, said: “John was a founding member of Pressure Technologies plc and has served the business for 21 years. He originally joined Chesterfield Special Cylinders in 1997 as finance director and went on to lead the management buy-out of Chesterfield Special Cylinders in 2004 and the subsequent listing of the group on AIM in 2007.

“During his time, the company has seen substantial change; including several acquisitions, a divestment and, most recently, the prolonged severe down-turn in the global oil and gas industry which John managed to successfully navigate the company through.  The board would like to thank John for his hard work, dedication and stalwart leadership during his time with us and wish him well for the future.

“We are delighted to welcome Chris to the company, particularly as he has an enviable track record of leading change and driving global growth of businesses in the energy and marine industries.”