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Mixed reactions to Osborne’s “Budget for growth”

first_imgA number of measures that should help both small and large bakery firms were announced in the 2011 Budget on Wednesday.Corporation tax is to be cut by 2% in April, rather than 1% as previously planned, while there will be no new regulations on firms with fewer than 10 staff for three years.Chancellor George Osborne also announced a number of measures to help halt the pressure of rising fuel prices. Fuel duty was to be cut by 1p per litre from 1800 GMT on Wednesday 23 March, and the planned 4p per litre rise due in April is to be delayed until 2012. Melanie Leech, Food and Drink Federation, director general said the Chancellor had made a number of important announcements that were positive for the food and drink industry, and its potential for further growth.“In particular we strongly support the decision to extend Climate Change Agreements to 2023 on which we have been lobbying the government in recent weeks. We also welcome the restoration of the Climate Change Levy discount on electricity to 80% from 2013.”She said the FDF was also pleased to see the planned increases in fuel duty scrapped. “Food manufacturing is heavily dependent on fuel and any increase imposes an enormous burden on our members. Earlier this month, together with partner organisations, we wrote to the Chancellor to express our concerns about the rising fuel cost situation, and we are pleased that an increase will not now happen.”The Chancellor, in what he called the “budget for growth”, downgraded the 2011 growth forecast from 2.1% to 1.7%, and the 2012 forecast from 2.6% to 2.5%. Inflation is set to remain between 4% and 5% in 2011, falling to 2.5% in 2012.The Forum of Private Businesses said the government’s small business growth strategy is just a first step, and argued that tax and red tape plans should have gone further. It welcomed the short-term measures to boost enterprise, but said more must be done in the long-term if small businesses are to truly drive growth and job creation.“It was important a Budget heralded as being pro-enterprise focused on easing the dual burdens of tax and red tape – two of the biggest barriers to business growth and job creation facing small businesses. In that sense, we weren’t disappointed and this was certainly more than just a nod in the direction of UK SMEs,” said the Forum’s chief executive, Phil Orford.“However, while there have been some definite steps in the right direction the government could have gone further in reducing taxes and making the tax and regulatory systems more proportional to all small businesses so that they incentivise to entrepreneurship rather than act as a barrier to it.”The Federation of Small Businesses echoed this view, stating that although it welcomed announcements in the Budget which will help provide stability, it didn’t go far enough to incentivise job creation. “The biggest opportunity missing from this Budget is by not extending the NICs holiday nationwide to existing businesses, which would really have provided incentives for small firms to take on more staff,” commented national chairman, John Walker.last_img read more

Fernando hopes to build momentum

first_img City did not look like surrendering their superiority after that although Enner Valencia and Kevin Nolan had late chances after City had been disrupted by injury to playmaker David Silva. Silva required eight minutes of treatment after being caught by an elbow from Cheikhou Kouyate and was taken to hospital but the Spaniard did not suffer any fractures and City are optimistic the problem is not serious. Relief was the overriding emotion for City at the final whistle following their recent problems and Fernando, who has struggled to impress this term, was happy with his display. The 27-year-old, a £12million signing from Porto last summer, said: “The team had a good performance and good ball possession as well. In terms of my own performance I was happy as well, but we know that we can always improve our performance. I am just happy the team managed to get a victory.” City’s campaign is destined to end in under-achievement following the collapse of their Barclays Premier League title defence. In recent months they have slipped from challenging for top spot in January to lagging behind leaders Chelsea in a distant fourth place. Press Association Midfielder Fernando hopes Manchester City will remind everyone of their true abilities in the remaining weeks of the season. Their form has even raised the prospect of a battle to hold onto a Champions League spot but Sunday’s comfortable 2-0 victory over West Ham has at least eased some of the pressure in that regard. Coming after heavy criticism of the team and manager Manuel Pellegrini – and reports of a possible summer clear-out – Fernando now hopes that win can at least provide the springboard for a late season rally. The Brazilian said: “We went through really tough moments but now we are back to winning. It was really important to get a victory and now we want to keep form and make sure we try to win the next five matches. “We know the season has not gone as well as we would have liked but now it is important for us to focus on the last five matches and make sure we get good results from them.” City went into the game without momentum after a wretched run of six defeats in eight games in all competitions, culminating in a demoralising 4-2 derby defeat at rivals Manchester United. They and under-fire Pellegrini badly needed a result and they got just what they needed as they ran into a West Ham side struggling to break out of their own indifferent spell. They went ahead through a comical own goal from the luckless James Collins. The Welsh defender somehow contrived to lob his own goalkeeper, Adrian, attempting to intercept a Jesus Navas cross, with the ball dropping in via the woodwork. Sergio Aguero doubled the advantage before the break as he exchanged passes with Navas to round off a swift counter-attack after Yaya Toure had cut out a loose Stewart Downing pass. last_img read more

Brizzly Adds Facebook – Aims to be The Blogger.com of Social Media (2000 Invites Below!)

first_imgRelated Posts The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Brizzly in 2009 = Blogger in 2003 Brizzly shares much of the same philosophy as Blogger. It’s simple to use and aims to make microblogging easy to understand and use by a mainstream audience. This seems like a great strategy. Back in 2003, blogging was at a similar stage in its adoption as microblogging is today – passionately used by early Internet adopters, but not fully understood by a wider audience. The popular Twitter clients circa 2009 include TweetDeck, Seesmic and PeopleBrowsr. Those are great apps and no self-respecting Web geek would be caught without at least one of them. However it’s unlikely that your brother or sister, let alone Mom or Pop, is using those products. Brizzly wants to be the service that introduces your family and friends to the world of microblogging and social media.Jason Shellen, who RWW readers may also recognize as a creator of Google Reader, was at The ReadWrite Real-Time Web Summit in October. Jolie O’Dell interviewed him about about filtration and discovery on the real-time web. Shellen mentioned that mainstream users probably won’t use hashtags to tag their tweets. He noted (at about the 3 minute mark in the video) that “most people are not going to do that [hashtags], so it needs to evolve into a different type of filtration.” One of Brizzly’s goals is to make hashtags and other “geeky” social media concepts simple for mainstream users to understand. Less NoiseRegular people often struggle to see the value in Twitter and other social media apps. Web app developers need to find ways to convince people that behind the noise of social media, there is tremendous value. So how does Brizzly compare to the now Facebook-owned FriendFeed, an aggregation service that early adopters love but most others think is information overload? I spoke to Jason Shellen at the RWW Summit about that. He told me that Brizzly won’t blend services together like FriendFeed. It will keep them separate (Twitter, Facebook, other services that are added over time), in order to maintain simplicity.ConclusionAll in all, we’re impressed by the vision of Brizzly and we think it has a good chance of hitting the same wide user base that Blogger.com so successfully tapped. It’s fair to say that power users will probably be a little disappointed by Brizzly – but you’re not the target audience.INVITE CODE: ReadWriteWeb readers can access the private beta of Brizzly by signing up using the code “rwwsentme” or clicking here. There are 2000 invites available. richard macmanus Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…center_img A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Tags:#Facebook#Features#Product Reviews#Social Web#twitter#web Brizzly wants to be to microblogging what Blogger.com was to blogging five years ago. Currently, Brizzly offers a user-friendly browser-based interface for Twitter and Facebook. The Facebook integration went live today and more social media applications will be added as the product evolves. Brizzly was founded by Jason Shellen, one of the original developers of Blogger (acquired by Google in 2003). Currently Brizzly is in private beta, but ReadWriteWeb has scored 2000 invites for our readers to test it out! (see the bottom of this post for the code). Features, Including New Facebook SupportBrizzly is a self-described “social media reader.” It’s a browser-based service, like Blogger.com. Today Brizzly added Facebook as the second service it supports, after Twitter. Facebook users will be able to view and update their status, wall posts, comments and likes using Brizzly.Brizzly is similar to Twitter clients such as TweetDeck, Seesmic and PeopleBrowsr (not all of them currently support Facebook though). However power users won’t see much reason to switch, as Brizzly doesn’t have the advanced features of those products. And that’s the point.The feature set of Brizzly aims to make microblogging a simple and seamless experience for users. For example instead of having to click links to view media such as photos and videos, Brizzly puts those items inline in the user’s stream. Another example: Direct Messaging via Twitter has a UI (user interface) very similar to Instant Messaging, which many mainstream users will be familiar with. Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verificationlast_img read more

Can Facebook Capitalize on the Social Discovery Trend?

first_imgTags:#Social Web#web Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification dave copeland As Facebook released its earnings last week, pundits focused on the company’s troubled mobile strategy. But Facebook may face an even bigger problem: The social networking behemoth must compete with the nimble startups poised to capitalize on the trend toward social discovery. (This is Part 3 in a series of articles about social discovery. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 here.)The people at Powerhouse Factories, a brand strategy consultancy, point to recent statistics that show people are spending less time on Facebook. The change isn’t massive – yet – but Powerhouse social media expert Taylor Wiegert believes that the trend reflects people splitting Facebook time with more specialized social networks like Pinterest, Tumblr and Deviant Art. All these sites focus on social discovery: finding new connections, ideas and products through social media.The concept behind social discovery is nothing new, but it erupted at the South By Southwest Festival in March 2012. If this is the first time you’ve heard the term, it certainly won’t be the last. Web companies are trying to figure out how best to integrate social discovery  and help people easily find what they want based not only on their own preferences, but the preferences of their social-network contacts.“It’s not in place of Facebook – it’s in addition to,” Wiegert said. “People are still spending time on Facebook, but they’re also going on these niche social networks where they can connect around their passions.” Wiegert and his colleague, Emily Worstell, say the niche social networks help marketers find the early adopters and influencers. Reaching those people with targeted messages via social discovery is much easier than wading through the masses on Facebook. Worstell said, “We’re tapping into the very potent numbers. It can give a brand a very good idea about who their influencers are.”Adding Local to Social DiscoverySometimes those influencers aren’t on Facebook but just down the street. Nextdoor, a social network for people who live in the same neighborhood, is an engine of social discovery based on household problem-solving. (For more on Nextdoor, see our earlier profile). With Nextdoor, neighbors (who may not want to share personal information among each other the way they do with Facebook friends), ask questions ranging from “Know a good electrician?” to “Why are there fire trucks down the block?”“Has Facebook dropped the ball by not integrating local social discovery?” Nextdoor CEO and founder Nirav Tolia asked. “I don’t think so. Different social networks have different uses. Facebook and Nextdoor are miles apart.”But maybe not for long. Following last week’s earnings release, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg hinted that Facebook may be contemplating a local push into a potentially lucrative market segment. “The problem is local businesses are not very tech savvy,” Sandberg told earnings analysts. “Something like 40% don’t have any Web presence.” If Facebook can entice them to set up shop on the social network – which, after all, is easier than setting up a custom URL and homepage – the company will have a good shot at covering the local end of social discovery.Social Discovery Is Not PrivateSocial discovery is most effective if it can draw on large volumes of personal information, which increasingly includes physical location. Especially as people use mobile devices to discover who and what is around them, they may start to wonder whether they’re sharing too much. “Consumers have to think about what they are comfortable with sharing and if they want people around them to know about them,” said Jeff Tinsley, CEO of MyLife, a service that unifies messaging from various social networks. We’re “living in a world where people are a lot more comfortable sharing information, but [social discovery] can certainly test the limits.” And given that Facebook has repeatedly tested those limits with frequent and often intrusive changes to its user agreement, it may not be the leading candidate to make users feel secure as social discovery comes to play a larger role in their choices.“People have started to become increasingly dissatisfied with Facebook because of the ads and because of privacy concerns,” Wiegert said. “These niche platforms are starting to chip away at Facebook as people reevaluate what they’re getting out of Facebook.”ReadWriteWeb’s Dave Copeland will be speaking at the SocialDiscovery.org’s next Social Discovery Conference on Aug. 6-7 at the Fairmont San Francisco. ReadWriteWeb readers can get a discount of more than $1,000 if they register by August 3.To read more about social discovery, see Social Discovery is Pushing Search & Social Closer Together and Hooked Media Group Uses Social Discovery to Fine-Tune Game Recommendations. Related Posts center_img The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

Square small businesses aren’t so small anymore, here’s how the company is growing with them

first_imgBuilding a Workplace for the Next 100 Years Brad AndersonEditor In Chief at ReadWrite Why Your Company’s Tech Transformation Starts W… How to Avoid Being Part of 90% of Failed Companies Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com. center_img Related Posts Nine years ago Square launched it’s iconic white card reader that turned any cell phone into a credit card reader and solved a huge problem for America’s tiniest businesses. Fast forward almost a decade and many of those small businesses are not so small anymore. That taco truck start-up is now a fleet of ten and a quick serve restaurant, the once seemingly obscure tea pop-up catering to aficionados, Silk Road Teas, is now booming with wholesale clients and a direct to consumer model on their custom built eCommerce site. As these businesses have grown, they face new challenges and have new needs that Square is continually working to address. In comes Square’s latest launch, the Solutions Partner Program, to grow with them and meet these new demands.“Square sellers were asking for help building a specialized mobile checkout experience or a customized online store that connects to Square to streamline their online and offline sales. Until now, businesses were forced to turn to the abyss of an online search. We want to give them direct access to a  Square-approved partner that knows how to help clients grow all while keeping their payments secure and synced to Square,” said Pankaj Bengani, the Global Partnerships Lead at Square. “With this new program, we can continue to be a key partner in the next stage of growth for any business powered by Square.”The new partnership platform launched at the company’s annual Partners Squared Summit where hundreds of developers and channel partners from bespoke agencies around the world gathered to learn how Square can help power their clients’ business. One of them was Brett Spiegel, who flew in from Fuzz Productions in New York City. You may not know that name, but you’ll know their work if you ever checked out at Shake Shack’s innovation concept store in Manhattan. The self-ordering kiosk was customized by Brett’s team and powered by Square’s now ubiquitous and easy payment process.“The effortless payment flow was a component of success for this new ordering channel, which was well-received by Shake Shack employees and their hungry customer. With Square, we’ve been able to expand to several new restaurant brands, including Next Level Burger in San Francisco,” Brett said.The program also gives sellers access to channel partners like Vision33 who helped David Leadbetter Golf Academy connect Square across their 40 global locations to SAP Business One. The partnership resulted in a simplified data dashboard for the owner of Leadbetter Golf and simplified checkout anywhere on the green for their golf pros.The Solutions Partner Program comes on the heels of Square’s announcement that their flagship Square reader got a lightning port facelift to keep up with Apple’s iPhone technology. AsSquare goes upmarket to help the Shake Shack’s of the world scale their payments, it’s clear they haven’t lost sight on serving the small businesses who got them here. Why Your eCommerce Business Should Have a Pop-U…last_img read more

Nova Scotia not looking to open up adoption records minister says

first_imgHALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s community services minister says the province isn’t looking to open up adoption records, even as many other provinces ease access.Kelly Regan said the province took steps a few years ago to provide more information to adopted children, and also heard “loud and clear” from parents who had given up their children that they are opposed to opening up the records.“We make a lot of information available to adopted children if they want to learn about their families, but I think we need to respect the women who have decided to give up their children and who may not for very good reasons want to be contacted,” she said.“At this point it’s not something we are considering.”That doesn’t mean her department may not revisit the issue in the future, but the current priority is transforming its programs, she said.“I’m not saying not ever. I’m saying right now we have a lot of work underway and that’s what we are focusing on.”Prince Edward Island is holding public consultations on adoption records in the new year.Nova Scotia, Quebec, P.E.I., and New Brunswick are the only provinces to have closed adoption records, although birth records will be unsealed in New Brunswick beginning in April 2018.British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador have all changed their laws to make it easier for adoptees and birth parents to access adoption records.Manitoba decided to unseal 75 years of adoption records in June, resulting in a flood of applications that prompted the province to add more staff to deal with the backlog.last_img read more

James Bosh lift Heat over Trail Blazers 9391

first_imgMIAMI — Chris Bosh had another postgame scream. For the Miami Heat, that was outstanding news.LeBron James scored the last of his 32 points on a layup that put Miami up for good with 11.4 seconds left, Bosh capped his 30th birthday by blocking Damian Lillard’s layup on the final play, and the Heat blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead before beating the Portland Trail Blazers 93-91 on Monday night.“If you talk it, you back it up,” James said. “That’s what it’s about. We have guys in here that will deliver the words and then go back it up. That was big-time on his part.”Bosh ripped into Miami after a loss at New Orleans on Saturday, saying the Heat aren’t playing with passion, among other colorful sentiments.He screamed again Monday, this time in celebration as time expired.“This game’s about passion,” Bosh said. “As hard as it is during the dog days to muster it up, the spark has to come from somewhere.”Wednesday won’t be one of those dog days. Miami visits Indiana with a chance to close within one game in the Eastern Conference race. The Pacers lost in Chicago on Monday night.last_img read more

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