KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
21st April 2011
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An Irish Small Firms Association delegation met Minister Richard Bruton, TD, yesterday, to discuss its jobs and small business proposals. It was an important meeting as the small business sector currently employs half the private sector workforce, some 700,000 people.
The EU-27 and 19 other European countries are preparing to launch intergovernmental talks that are expected to result in a legally-binding agreement on sustainable use of forests in 2013. In parallel, the European Commission is kicking off talks to revamp its forest policy. An agreement to open negotiations is expected to be reached by the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, which will take place in Oslo, Norway, from 14th - 16th June.
Welcome to the
Why is it that so many people are winding down for their Easter break this weekend, the Royal Wedding next Friday and all the other lovely public holidays that are coming up, while John and I are having to cram our full week's work into a much shorter space of time, over and over again?
Not wishing to sound too Scrooge-like, if you're managing to have a break, do enjoy it. And if, like us, you're going hell for leather in an attempt to make sure you actually get some time off... Best of luck!
Of course Spring - and Easter in particular - is a time for new beginnings. Let's hope we all come back to our desks next week feeling revitalised and more able to deal with the difficult economic climate in which we find ourselves.
And those of you who've lost jobs in the downturn and have struggled to find something new, I hope that something comes up soon.
Our first story today has nothing whatsoever to do with the KBB industry but it made me laugh out loud part way through a particularly stressful couple of days in which I flooded my office, set fire to my computer and lost all the files on my spare one, so I'm going to use it.
If the pernickety need a hook from which to hang the story, bear in mind that many of us travel overseas for business. Indeed, John and I are producing a 'Daily' from an exhibition towards the end next month and are both excited because we get to spend the week in Verona. I'm delighted that I had not thrown my passport out with the paper recycling after all and that I'll be able to join John as he goes through passport control.
Confused? Read on...
This Week's News
More than 10,000 people a year accidentally throw their passports out with the rubbish, according to new figures released today by the UK's Identity and Passport Service.
The research also shows a 60:40 split between genders when it comes to replacing lost and stolen passports, with more than 162,500 passports replaced each year by men compared to around 112,000 by women.
The owners of this large bungalow wanted the kitchen to be as clean and uncluttered as possible. With this in mind, kitchen designer Debbie Bowden created a kitchen with minimum distractions on the eye.
A Warrington plumber has been able to return to work despite landing on his neck when he fell through a fragile ceiling tile, close to where a colleague had fallen previously but had managed to excape injury.
Runcorn Magistrates' Court was told the 64-year-old, who asked not to be named, could have been paralysed or even killed when he fell three metres through a suspended ceiling at a workshop on Rivington Court in Woolston.
Carron Phoenix has agreed to be the official sponsor partner of the intriguingly named fundraiser, 'Everything But the Kitchen Sink' on its cycling mission in August to raise money for the Welsh charity MS Society Cymru.
As well as a corporate donation, Carron has given two of its Contessa stainless sinks which the fundraisers will strap to two of their bikes for the 500 mile trip from Cardiff to Amsterdam. The six fundraisers will divide into two teams and race against each other, drumming up money along the way to complement their online and offline campaigns to reach their target of £10,000.
KitchenAid has been evaluating its distribution strategy in recent months in an effort to provide the very best service for the company's retail partners and elevate the brand to the status it deserves.
The likelihood of small businesses creating jobs to drive economic growth is in jeopardy because fewer believe they will be able to employ new staff in the year ahead, a new survey suggests.
According to the latest quarterly Referendum research from the Forum of Private Business over a fifth of small business owners (22%) expect to recruit in 2011 - but confidence that they will be able to do so is dwindling compared to December 2010, when almost 30% of respondents said they planned to take on new staff.
Consumers use the information on appliance energy labels when deciding which appliance to purchase, but that information is only useful if it's accurate.
Unfortunately tests carried out recently under ATLETE (Appliance Testing for Energy Label Evaluation) - the project funded by the European Commission to test the compliance of 80 different models of refrigerators and freezers with EU energy labelling standards - showed that few manufacturers are complying with the regulations.
Three new technicians from Ireland have now joined FIRA Service Technicians and have been formally trained at FIRA's Stevenage training centre. This means that the service can provide an even better response in both the North and South of Ireland, for retailers and manufacturers alike.
An alarming statistic is that the average bed plays host to around 10,000 dust mites which feed on dead skin... Not a pleasant thought! Research also shows dust mites are often responsible for causing respiratory problems in asthma sufferers. Cleaning bed sheets, duvets and pillows regularly will help but it is advised that you change your mattress every 8 to 10 years.
Specialist bedroom furniture company, Raines & Willow, has a range of luxury divans and mattresses with sizes up to Super King to achieve a quality night's sleep.
Having earned its stripes in the specification market with designers and architects in the last three years, IDS is now widening the availability of its Hanex solid surfacing brand to the kitchen sector with its extensive choice of one hundred decors.
Says Andy Sutton, Commercial Director at IDS:
Businesses in the South East of England are under increasing pressure with the region suffering from an acceleration of administrations over the past year. The South East (excluding London) and East Anglia have seen an increase in administrations of 32% and 41% respectively, year on year (Q1 2010 to Q1 2011).
Sectors particularly hard hit are service sectors at 30% and construction at 22% increases. The last year has seen a specific squeeze on these sectors as contracts decline or cease altogether and more services are taken in house. Combine this with the harsh weather conditions of the winter of Q4 and tightening of consumer spend post Christmas it has been a tough market in which to operate.
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The Low Pay Commission has welcomed the Government's confirmation yesterday that from October 2011 the National Minimum Wage will increase in line with its recommendations.
The Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association was inundated with enquiries at the Homebuilding & Renovating Show 2011, making it the busiest ever for its resident expert Alan Stanford.
20 pioneering kitchen, bathroom and bedroom product concepts have been shortlisted for the kbb London Innovation Awards. The Awards recognise kbb design excellence and original thought and shortlisted products range from technologically advanced appliances and interactive storage solutions to space-saving concepts and architectural spaces, representing the whole scope of the industry's recent developments.
The companies shortlisted for the awards and whose products will be showcased in the Innovations Centre at the kbb London exhibition are:
The Thermostatic Mixing Valve Manufacturers' Association has successfully secured the inclusion of 'Severe Scalding of Patients' in the expanded list of 'Never Events' (increasing from 8 to 25) recently published by the Department of Health. The list is prefaced by: "The expanded never events list is, in the view of the Department of Health, a reasonable list of events that are unacceptable and eminently preventable in the National Health Service. It is the list that all organisations providing NHS care should work from."
Circle Living, part of Circle, one of the UK's largest providers of affordable housing, has won a First Time Buyer Award