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Archive for March, 2011

Budget 2011 – PRimage Comment: Not bad, given the circumstances!

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Spent time this afternoon trying to assess the Budget announcements …. And overall, our view at PRimage is: ‘not too bad, considering the circumstances’. The eye-catching Budget headlines are, of course, on fuel and corporation tax. Nice to finally see a little bit of light relief for the motorists of this country!

As the owner of a small business, Judy Viitanen was especially interested in the announcements relating to business – noted George Osborne signalling his desire to merge National Insurance and income tax. Osborne is ideologically a fiscal conservative, and this move paves the way for a low-tax future, by convincing Brits they pay too much tax!

Osborne also announced the Government’s Plan for Growthhttp://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/ukecon_growth_index.htm?dm_i=3QN,E7KN,K8LG6,14ROS,1 – a package of measures aimed at supporting private sector investment, enterprise and innovation. This includes measures to increase the competitiveness of the UK tax system; reduce the burden of regulation; and increase incentives for business investment.

Key measures in the Budget for businesses include:

  • A reduction in the main rate of corporation tax by a further one per cent. From April 2011, the rate will be reduced to 26 per cent with further yearly reductions of one per cent until 2014 when it will reach 23 per cent;
  • New Controlled Foreign Company rules to allow groups based in the UK to compete more effectively with those based overseas;
  • The abolition of 43 tax reliefs whose rationale is no longer valid – following recommendations from the Office of Tax Simplification;
  • Dropping existing proposals for specific regulations which would have cost business over £350m a year;
  • £100m for local authorities to repair potholes caused by the cold winter weather;
  • Increase the rate of R&D tax credits for small and medium-sized enterprises from 175 per cent to 225 per cent by April 2012;
  • 21 new Enterprise Zones, to focus growth in specific parts of the UK;
  • Fuel duty will be cut by one penny per litre from 6pm on March 23. The April 2011 inflation-only increase in fuel duty will be deferred to 1 January 2012; the April 2012 increase will be implemented on 1 August 2012;
  • A further increase to the income tax personal allowance for under 65s of £630 to £8,105 in April 2012;
  • Additional work experience placements and additional apprenticeships for young people;
     
  • Help for homeowners facing difficulties by extending the temporary changes to the Support for Mortgage Interest Scheme for an additional year and providing £250m to support first time buyers to purchase a new-build property.

OTC MARKETING AWARDS

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Judy Viitanen enjoyed a great evening of business and networking (and lots of fun) last night at the Park Lane Hotel – celebrating OTC Bulletin’s prestigious OTC Marketing Awards, which recognise the achievements of the British OTC industry.  

These unique Awards focus exclusively and entirely on suppliers of OTC products – non-prescription medicines, food supplements and selected unlicensed healthcare products – in both pharmacy and grocery. Judy was on the judging panel for the Best PR Campaign for a Non-Medicine.

It’s always a pleasure to join clients, friends and colleagues in celebrating and recognising the achievements of excellent brands, campaigns and retailers. PRimage congratulate all the winners – and especially Boots, who won the CCA-sponsored award for the Best OTC Multiple Retailer of the Year.

The celebrity compere Dara O’Briain was brilliant!

Prescription charges in England increased – PRimage comment

Friday, March 4th, 2011

PRimage is not happy that as from April 1st the Government is to increase prescription charges for patients in England by 20 pence to £7.40 per item! This is in contrast to the decision this week by the Scottish Parliament to abolish charges for patients north of the border …

As a specialist healthcare lobbyist, with in-depth knowledge on the issues surrounding the system of prescription charges, Judy Viitanen has long believed that the current system in England is totally unfair and needs reviewing. PRimage have consistently lobbied and supported the well-argued case for a total abolition of prescription charges: it is an important issue that has growing public support. In our opinion, free prescriptions are a long term investment in improving health. Free prescriptions should be seen as a long term investment in improving health – and would be beneficial for those with poorer health and in particular those with long term conditions.

The business value of trade shows

Friday, March 4th, 2011

At PRimage we are great fans of trade shows: if used strategically they can prove to be great value for our healthcare clients in the UK and the US.  

Aside from the opportunities for selling, reinforcing existing business relationships, gaining new clients and contracts and launching new products; exhibitions and trade shows also offer companies the benefit of learning and understanding more about the latest trends in their industry, and crucially to gain knowledge about their competitors.

So, we are interested at the findings of a new piece of research from PricewaterhouseCoopers which shows that trade seminars, face to face business meetings and the like have pumped nearly $1 trillion into the American economy. Cumulatively, these events created 1.7m jobs!