Tag Archive | "Workshop"

GARAGE CUSTOMER £70K FINE FOR FALSE CLAIM

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GARAGE CUSTOMER £70K FINE FOR FALSE CLAIM


A JUDGE has ordered a woman to pay £70,000 in costs and damages following the ‘implausible’ claim that an independent garage deliberately tripped her up.

In a story that first appeared in the Mail Online, Yvette Thomas had lodged a £200,000 compensation claim against the workshop, saying that an alleged fall had left her injured and unable to work.

She also claimed she had been forced to cancel an overseas holiday, quit dancing lessons and could no longer go to the gym.

Southwick Service Centre in Trowbridge, Wiltshire denied that she tripped and said a hosepipe in a valeting bay had only brushed against her leg.

Hospital records show that Thomas had been examined at A&E by medical staff but X-rays showed no signs of trauma.

District Judge Francis Goddard told Bath County Court: “In my judgment the case that Mrs Thomas puts forward simply does not add up.

“I do not find her story in any way believable notwithstanding that she may well have by now convinced herself that what she said happened did happen.

“Something happened on that day that caused Mrs Thomas to come up with a version of events that, on a hearing of the evidence, is quite implausible.

“It was not a pre-thought out plan.

“The story put to the court germinated on that day and was elaborated upon over the months and years that followed.”

Thomas had said the alleged incident took place when she dropped her daughter’s Mini Cooper at the garage for an MOT, saying that a someone cleaning a car had deliberately tripped her up with an industrial pressure washer hose.

Car valeter, Edward Slow said: “I was rather angry when I heard what she was saying. “I remember her coming in.

“She was walking around and she said the hosepipe rubbed against her leg and that it was an accident waiting to happen.

“Then suddenly it became this whole story that I had deliberately tripped her up – something I would never do.”

Solicitor Tim Marshal of DFE Law who acted on behalf of the garage told the Mail: “Mrs Thomas painted a picture of being a very disabled woman as a result of this. She said she couldn’t leave the house without a walking stick, drink a cup of tea or clean her teeth”.

“But a surveillance firm hired to follow her found that she was walking fine and there was no sign of any physical impairment – no walking stick, nothing”.

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THE INTRODUCTION OF THE APPRENTICESHIP LEVY

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THE INTRODUCTION OF THE APPRENTICESHIP LEVY


The long-awaited Apprenticeship Levy for UK employers came into effect from 6 April 2017. While it’s been widely heralded, few seem to fully understand what it is, how it will operate and what effect it will have on businesses.

WHAT IS IT?
When the present government was elected in 2015, it revealed ambitious targets to significantly increase the number of apprenticeships in the UK. The plan was that these apprenticeships would be funded in large part by employers and that in turn, they would be able to access the benefits of the new system.

The government then put forward more detailed proposals for a new levy on large employers, with the aim of supporting three million new apprenticeships for people over the age of 16 by 2020. In essence, the levy will be an obligation on all qualifying UK employers in both the public and private sectors to fund new apprenticeships from May 2017.

Although skills training is a devolved policy issue in the UK, the levy will apply equally to employers in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. The government has plans to work with those devolved administrations to understand how they intend the levy to operate in their particular areas, but it appears that they plan to utilise the additional funds as a supplement to existing funding arrangements, rather than operate any centralised digital system comparable to that being set up in England.

HOW WILL IT OPERATE?
The purpose of the levy is to encourage employers to invest in apprenticeship programmes and to raise additional funds to improve the quality and quantity of apprenticeships. The levy paid by employers can then be accessed by those same employers to fund apprenticeship training in their business.

In England, control of apprenticeship funding will be put into the hands of employers through the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS), an online service that:

  • allows employers to access funding for apprenticeship training;
  • choose the type of apprenticeships they want to run;
  • choose the number of apprentices they take on;
  • choose the training provider that suits their needs.

The levy will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s pay bill and will only be paid on annual pay bills in excess of £3 million. In reality, this affects less than 2% of UK employers. The levy will be collected by HMRC through PAYE, alongside income tax and National Insurance Contributions. The pay bill will be calculated with reference to total employee earnings (not additional payments, such as benefits in kind) and will be payable by the employer on a monthly basis. It will be up to employers to notify HMRC each month as to whether they are eligible to pay the levy.

When the money goes into the DAS, it gains a 10% top up from the government. This means that for every £1 that enters a business’ digital account, it gets an additional 10 pence. For example, if a company has a payroll of £3 million, they will pay £15,000 in levy payments throughout the year which will gradually appear in their digital apprenticeship account, and they will also gain an additional £1,500 (or 10%) from the government for the same period. Therefore, the company will have £16,500 in their digital account to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment.

A further aspect of the levy proposals will see each employer receive an annual allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment. If the employer has more than one payroll reference, it may apportion the allowance between them. The levy allowance is spread evenly throughout the year, so that the amount offset against each monthly levy liability is one-twelfth of the total allowance for the year to which the employer is entitled. Any unused allowance from one month is carried forward to offset against subsequent months. At the end of the tax year, the employer may reallocate any unused portion of the levy allowance for one payroll against the liability for another. If the levy has been overpaid, the employer must offset the overpayment against its other PAYE liabilities, before making a claim to HMRC for reimbursement of any remaining excess.

If an employer starts or stops trading during a tax year, the pro-rated share of its allowance for the earlier or later months (as appropriate) is added to that of the month of commencement or cessation (so the full annual allowance still applies). If an employer chooses to adjust a previous month’s pay bill, it should account for the change in its next employer payment summary (EPS). If, at the end of the year, it determines that the National Insurance Contributions reported to HMRC are incorrect, it must submit a correcting EPS.

In the case of a group of employers, only one annual allowance of £15,000 will be available and it will be for the employers themselves to determine how this is apportioned between them.

Each apprenticeship framework will have a maximum funding band and the government has set 15 different bands. Employers can then negotiate an appropriate price with their training provider – for many larger businesses which have a training department, they may be able to make the levy go further by offsetting some of their own training input.

HOW WILL IT AFFECT FIRMS?
Companies which qualify to pay the levy will need to consider the impact that it may have on their business, including:

  • any changes that need to be made to the payroll system;
  • dealing with associated payroll administration;
  • seeking advice on financial (re-)modelling; and
  • potentially mitigating the impact of the new costs incurred.

The government has announced that any unused levy funds (i.e. those that have gone beyond the 18-month expiry date) will be used to fund apprenticeship training for small and medium sized businesses, which do not reach the threshold to pay the levy in the first place. It is expected that the levy will raise approximately £2.5bn per year for training in England and that this will cover all employers who take on apprentices, regardless of their size, as there will be many employers who do not use all the money in their digital accounts. This means that non-qualifying businesses will not miss out.

Non-levy paying businesses with over 50 employees, or businesses that have used up their levy pot, will have to make a contribution of 10% towards the cost of apprenticeships. The remaining 90% will be paid for by the government. Smaller businesses will not have to make a contribution for apprentices up to the age of 23. For all employers who take on apprentices between the ages of 16-18, they will receive a £1,000 bonus payment from the government. However, it is also worth noting that the levy can be used to fund apprenticeships for new or existing employees of any age or position, as long as there is a genuine need for training. Employed adults can undertake apprenticeship training – they do not need to be in entry-level job roles and they can continue to be employed on their existing terms and conditions.

In light of these upcoming changes, therefore, it is important that businesses consider their strategy for dealing with the new levy. Although it may focus primarily on lower-level staff, it should also reach up to include leadership and management programmes and in some cases might also include professional pathways.

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KEEPING CUSTOMERS AT THE HEART OF THE OPERATION


Nikos Germanou shows us around the Brunswick Garage in North London

Nikos

After businessman (and CAT columnist) Andy Savva sold north-London’s Brunswick Garage last December, we were keen to see the operation in new hands. Nikos Germanou, Managing Director worked with Savva for over 16 years; starting his career at the tender age of 17. Germanou explained: “I started with Andy in 1990 at his ‘then’ garage Motor Services in Muswell Hill before moving to the Shaftesbury Garage in Crouch End where we won the Independent Garage of the Year Award 2001”.

Savva eventually sold Shaftesbury Garage, East Barnet, in 2005, with Germanou moving on shortly after to manage an independent in Welham Green for eight years before rejoining Andy at Brunswick Garage in 2014. He elaborated: “I ran the Welham Garage for eight years, building up the business and making a good profit, but I wanted a little bit more from the company than just a wage, so I decided to look for my own garage”. Germanou was advised by Savva not to buy any of the garages he had viewed and instead, offered him a Manager’s position with bonus schemes at Brunswick Garage.

In 2015, Savva was ready to sell up in order to pursue other business ventures leaving Germanou to continue working under new management. However, after completing a management buyout with a team of private investors, Germanou became one of the new owners who carried on the business. “It was a big step buying the garage because of the amount of money, but after getting a partner in, we managed to
buy the business within a month” he said.
“From day one, I have always followed in Andy’s footstep’s and the way I run the garage is exactly how he runs it by always putting the customers first”.

WORKSHOP
As we entered the workshop, it reminded us that this is larger than your standard independent with the 14,000 sq ft. space comprising 12 service ramps, one wheel ramp and two MOT bays catering to class four, five and seven vehicles. Germanou elaborated: “The core vehicles we work on are BMW, VAG and Land Rover. We also do other brands from Minis up to Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bentley, so we have quite a vast range of cars that we cater for”.

TOOLS AND PRODUCTS
With so many different models coming in for servicing, the team are equipped for the challenge thanks to the latest diagnostic tools and garage equipment on site. “The main diagnostic tool we use is the new Autologic Assist”, said Germanou. “We also use the Snap-on Verus Pro tool for fixing faults first time round”. He told CAT that Tecalemit is the firm’s core supplier for its braking, testing and lifting equipment.

TRAINING
It seems imperative whether you’re running an independent or franchised garage to invest in staff training to keep workforces updated with ongoing product developments. Brunswick Garage stays ahead of the game by sending its technicians on at least two courses each year. “We are part of the Royal Motoring Industry (RMI) so we try to do as many Bosch courses as we can”, Germanou added: “We are also doing a few BMW courses at the BMW Academy and some ZF training courses”.

Workshop has 12 service ramps

Workshop has 12 service ramps

Although it’s mandatory to get your staff fully trained, enrolling onto a course can get pricey, especially with the changes to MOT Tester Training as Germanou highlights: “The changes to MOT tester training has affected us in a way because I’m trying to get some of our guys trained up and the RMI training courses aren’t cheap anymore whereas before it was free through the government. This has left us funding the training ourselves which is a little hard along with the amount of time off for staff as well”. Funding issues aside, this doesn’t seem to have taken a toll on business with some exciting plans in the pipeline.

WINTER PREPARATION
While the team prepare for the winter months, Germanou discussed his business strategy for the New Year. “In 2017, I’d like to achieve one or two more staff from the Land Rover or VAG brands, which would benefit the company. There’s also going to be many more hybrids coming in the next couple of years so we’re trying to organise some courses for that”, he concluded: “My view is to progress with the training to try and become one of the first independent hybrid specialists. It’s all about electronics now and that’s what I’m aiming towards for the future”.

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SAVE £200 ON THE MINI DUCTOR HEATING TOOL


PROMOTIONAL ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF THE INDUCTOR

Mini_Ductor_IIThe Mini-Ductor II+ induction heating tool is now just £395 + VAT, save £200!

For a limited time only, you can order the award-winning Mini-Ductor II+ tool at a vastly reduced price from the UK’s official distributor.

The easy-to-use handheld tool uses invisible, high frequency magnetic fields, which create invisible heat to quickly release corroded and bonded hardware, frozen nuts and bolts, O2 sensors, track rod ends, bearings, pulleys and other hardware that are rusted/thread-locked into place.

This fantastic tool makes workshop and bodyshop life easier:

  • Increased safety – the heating process does not use a dangerous naked flame and the flameless heat is very localised, so only the part becomes hot, not the tool.
  • Saves time – because the products heat the problem fast and not the area around it, labour can be reduced by as much as 75%, with productivity increased.
  • User-friendly – the tool is very easy to use, with little training required.
  • Reliable – with a low return rate, the technology won’t let you down.
  • Energy efficient – less consumables used and the running costs are low.
  • Versatile – the range can be used in a number of different applications.
  • Insurance premiums – if you’re using Oxyacetylene gas you could save 30% off your insurance if you stop using it.

Don’t miss this opportunity to purchase your Mini-Ductor II + for just £395 + VAT, saving £200.

Call us to place your order on 01953 859138, Buy Online or email info@theinductor.co.uk

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