Blog – Severn Valley Business Group
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Remember a Charity in your Will Week, 11th -17th September 2017

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Onions & Davies Solicitors supports a number of charities and are members of ‘Remember a Charity’, which is an organisation that promotes charitable giving in Wills.

Many people, during their lifetimes, support charities large and small. When we meet them to talk about their Wills, we always explain the benefits of leaving a legacy or a share of their estate to charity.

Charitable gifts are tax-free. Where someone’s estate may attract inheritance tax, a gift to charity would save tax and benefit their favourite charity instead. If a significant proportion of an estate is left to charity, this can also reduce the rate at which the rest of the estate is taxed.

A Will can be used to direct that, donations at the funeral are to be given to charity or that personal possessions of the deceased can be donated to charity. This can be of benefit, not only to the charity but also to the estate.

Writing a Will is very important. It gives you peace of mind, knowing exactly where your estate will end up and who will be responsible for dealing with it. It makes things quicker and more straightforward when you die. It can be used to save tax and care fees and it can help make things clear in difficult or unusual family situations.

Chris Milne is an experienced Will writer and estates administrator with the benefit of being a Solicitor and a full member of both The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and Solicitors for the Elderly. Chris is also a member of panels of succession-planning specialists for organisations such as Mencap and the National Autistic Society and a regular speaker to carers and other community groups. He is proud to support this year’s Remember a Charity in your Will Week.

For friendly and professional advice regarding your Will, Powers of Attorney and other estate and tax planning issues, please contact him on 01630 652405 or


Equity Insight

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We continue to live in volatile times and global equity markets are reflecting this.  We have seen geopolitical tensions rise as North Korea continues to ‘tease’ the Donald and the on-going drama of the Europeans and British negotiators speaking in foreign tongues making the perfect antidote for insomniacs.  Even mother nature is getting a little restless by sending a few ‘gusts’ around the world!

Given all of the above I thought it worthwhile to add another bit of useful information about shares and the rights of shareholders in the this link Equity Insight – Issue 656.  As always feel free to get in touch if there is anything that you might feel inclined to talk about.


Equity Insight

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It’s amazing as just when you think you have mastered the complications of using a new IT system and that you can put your feet up, relax and read articles or blogs from other members up pops another post.  Hopefully you will all find my latest offering Equity Insight – Issue 655 well worth a read.

This documents provides some thoughts on the on-going concept of Quantitative Easing particularly in United States as well as reviewing old and new thoughts on particular shares and markets.

This is the ideal reading material for those quieter moments over the bank holiday weekend!


Thoughts on investments and stock markets

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Please find the latest quarterly newsletter from Redmayne-Bentley that might be of interest.  Areas that are covered within the newsletter include:

  • The great unwind – US interest rates v US equities.
  • Top Trades.
  • Do you need help with your investments?
  • The future for oil.
  • The early bird catches the worm.
  • Important information for clients.
  • FTSE Reshuffle
  • Hot property.

I would be very happy to answer any questions that you might have arising from reading the newsletter.

The Quarterly – Summer 2017


As many young people get ready to head off to uni, and the latest batch of graduates enter the job market, it’s worth taking a look at what the apprenticeship system can offer individuals and businesses.

We all know that having a well trained workforce is essential. Just over half (54%) of small firms say being unable to recruit the right person has hit them financially. Well, why not create the right person?

We are seeing the benefits of that ourselves at Altus. Chloe Handy joined us almost a year ago now. She has spent 1 day a week studying at Stourbridge College, while learning with us in the ‘real world’. She has recently gained an excellent 87% merit pass in her AAT Level 2.

The apprenticeship has worked for Chloe, giving her the opportunity to study for a qualification while gaining practical experience in a ‘proper job’. It has also worked for us because we have gained an employee that we can train from the ground up in the ethos and culture of the way we do things here at Altus. From a financial perspective we enjoy a ‘discount’ from the minimum wage in the early stages when the apprentice is learning the role and we got a small grant towards all this too.

Chloe is not our first apprentice. Amy also joined us as an apprentice and has developed into a highly valued member of the team having moved from administration to payroll and now bookkeeping. Christian also developed his skills through the apprenticeship route, although not with us here at Altus.

Of course, as with all recruitment, getting the right person is vital and apprenticeships should certainly not be seen as a short-cut to the recruitment process. The difference is that you are looking for potential not the completed package.

In May there was a change to the way the apprenticeship scheme is funded. This included a new concession for firms with less than 50 employees taking on apprentices aged 16-18. While large employers will have to contribute 10% of training costs, this will not apply to those small firms. Instead the Government will pay 100% of the training costs.

Because 16-18 year-olds can incur additional costs to support in the workforce – such as needing more supervision and pastoral care – employers will be given £1,000 towards this.

There’s also cash help for taking on apprentices from deprived areas, who were in care or have an Education and Health Care plan. A flat rate of £471 for training will also be given if the apprentice still needs to reach minimum standards in English and Maths.

The changes are underpinned by the new apprenticeship levy paid by employers with a pay bill of over £3 million. The plan is to double investment in apprenticeships by 2020.

Taking on an apprentice can have lots of benefits for a business, allowing you to grow your business by training up a workforce to meet your specific needs.







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