As Theresa May suggests Britain will pull out of the EU’s single market and customs union as part of a “swift and clean” Brexit, the UK Freight Transport Association (FTA) has warned Parliament that exiting without first creating an arrangement for “frictionless trade” could lead to expensive customs delays for ports, hauliers and shippers.

The customs union provides a series of uniform tariffs on the import of foreign goods, and prohibits member states from charging tariffs for moving goods across borders within the EU. The worry is that renegotiating the UK’s customs arrangements with the rest of Europe could take years – and that additional clearances needed in the meantime could lead to containers being delayed in port for up to four days. On average, one hour’s delay in port adds £15,000 to the road haulage industry.

The FTA has warned that the UK’s customs authorities will need to carry out a plethora of additional checks to goods imported from the EU – which are currently waved through without significant clearances, but which would need to be treated in the same way as goods from the rest of the world – totalling around 300 million extra import declarations per year. This could create enormous disruption unless thousands of additional staff are hired, at significant cost to UK customs.

FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham said: “Shippers, forwarders and transport operators in the UK have been used to open borders in Europe for 24 years so it’s going to take time to adjust, it can’t just change overnight. …Hopefully, there will be ‘frictionless trade’ between the UK and EU, but if there isn’t, or a prospect there won’t be, then these are the key issues for FTA members.”

It was also warned that the port of Dover may not be big enough to cope with the extra lorries which would need to park, and the containers which would need to be stored whilst their contents are checked. Mr Hookham warned: “Dover doesn’t have the space. Absolutely categorically we should avoid physical checks on our lorries.”

The Government has been urged to start planning how it will fund the extra staff and facilities needed. In response to the FCA’s warnings, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee Yvette Cooper said: “I’m very concerned about the evidence we have heard and the way this could hit manufacturing.”




The number of people working from home has increased by a fifth in the last 10 years, reaching over 1.5million. With so many businesses offering the flexible option of remote working, and with the number of self-employed individuals bigger than ever, many are wondering what the secret to staying on-task – whilst surrounded by home comforts. Setting up a dedicated home workspace which will keep you focused and wanting to work. Here are our top tips…

  1. Sweetness and light

The right lighting is key to productivity and concentration. Natural light is best, with neuroscience research showing that exposure to natural light improves workplace performance, whereas windowless working can induce disrupted sleep patterns and daytime dysfunctions.

If you don’t have a suitable window to work by, you work later in the day, or live somewhere without much sunlight (we’re looking at you, Britain), consider investing in a daylight-mimicking lamp, or at the very least make sure you have enough light to avoid straining your eyes.


  1. To desk or not to desk?

You don’t have to have a ‘normal’ set-up if something different works for you. Depending on the kind of work you are doing, a traditional desk may not be for you. If you are working on a tablet or laptop, try different surfaces in the house – from the dining room table or kitchen island to simply sitting on the sofa – or take your work to the coffee shop. Different environments can encourage different thought processes, so keep moving until you find one that suits you.


  1. Keep distractions at the door

One of the biggest challenges of working at home is avoiding temptation to do the laundry, or walk the dog. This is why it may suit some people to create their dedicated workspace in a single room, where they can shut the door. If you prefer to wander around the house, try setting alarms at hour-long intervals, allowing yourself five minutes of down-time – and then get back to work.


  1. Bring the outside in

Plants can make us happy, both purifying the air and giving us something to tend to. Adding greenery to your workspace is a good way to boost productivity and concentration. Similarly, surrounding yourself with your favourite personal items from photos to scented candles makes the most of being in a home environment, reinforcing the positive elements of working from home – and which you couldn’t always get away with in the office.


  1. Get organised

Whether you’ve gone for a home office or unusual workspace, keep your paperwork as organised as you would in a traditional place of work. Investing in a small filing cabinet and a series of ringbinders and dividers will allow you to file important work documents separately from home-related paperwork. Tidy desk, tidy mind…

If you’re self-employed, why not consult one of our advisors today to ensure you have all the business insurance you need in place?




The price of renting in the UK is expected to rise at a faster rate than house prices over the next five years, says a new survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Rents are predicted to increase by just over 25%, whilst property values will rise by less than 20%.

It will come as no surprise to seasoned tenants that demand for rental properties remains high, with the number of 25-to-34-year-olds who privately rent a property more than doubling between 2003-4 and 2014-15.

However the recent increase in stamp duty, and other tax changes which could discourage buy-to-let landlords, is expected to result in property-owners scaling back their rental portfolios over the next 12 months – RICS reports a lack of new listings for the fourth quarter in a row – leaving renters with limited choice and a competitive market, further driving up rental prices.

Jeremy Blackburn, head of UK policy at RICS, said: “We need to stop punitive measures against our bedrock small landlords. The detail on the ban on letting agent fees is yet to come, and along with any overt forcing of longer tenancies, [it] could dampen investment in buy to let overall.”

This new study is likely to be received with an air of despondency from ‘Generation Rent’, as buying a house becomes a far-fetched dream for more and more people. It comes as the Government admits home ownership is a “distant dream” for young families, and publishes a white paper entitled “Fixing our broken housing market”.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid told the House of Commons that low rates of house building, relative to the growing population, have pushed up prices. He said house building figures need to rise to 225,000 to 275,000 properties a year compared with 190,000 in 2016.

Contact us on 01737377250 or visit for all of your insurance needs.





If you’re one of the 671,000 people who have a second home which you don’t rent out as someone else’s residence, it’s important for you to know where your primary home insurance policy differs, and how it’s the same.

The similarities
Just as with your home insurance, you need to have an accurate figure for the buildings insurance.

This is the cost not just to rebuild the property from scratch, taking into account any listed status and particular materials, but the services you’re likely to enlist to do so, such as an architect, and the obligations you need to fulfil, including planning.

If you don’t want to shell out for all the contents of your second home or holiday home in the case of a fire, for example, then contents cover is another shared feature of the two.

However, don’t expect personal valuables left in the home to be covered if the property is left unoccupied for long periods. If you are taking valuables to the property, these can be covered under your main home insurance policy or travel insurance.

If you rent out your property to large parties, spillages, breakages and damage caused by pets are to be expected at some point, so accidental damage is an option which is equally useful for second home insurance.

While public liability is a feature of both policies, the likely hood of someone other than you staying in the property and claiming following an injury is much higher.

The differences
Most differences in a home insurance and second home insurance policy are down to conditions set out by insurers, rather than specific features.

Emptiness and storm damage are insurers’ primary concerns when it comes to covering second homes or holiday properties, as well as water damage caused by an undetected leak.

For these reasons alone, it’s important you specify the use of your property and don’t make the mistake of covering it with standard home insurance. Otherwise, if you do need to make a claim, you might not see the settlement.

Some insurers will ask that water systems are drained during prolonged periods of inoccupancy to avoid internal water damage, while others will insist that heating is left on a constant low level to prevent frozen pipes.

You may find that your lock requirements will be more specific to counter the increased risk of theft.

If you employ someone to take care of your property or run your holiday let business, it’s a legal requirement to have employers’ liability in place. This may be as a standalone policy as oppose to a feature within your cover, but different insurance providers will have different offerings so be sure to check.

Loss of rent and alternative accommodation are extras which are exclusive to holiday homes, as they can help you recuperate financially from a cancellation, or pay for your guests to stay somewhere else if your property is out of use due to unforeseen circumstances.

If you’re not sure about what’s covered on either policy, speak to the team at who will be happy to help.




Once you’ve factored in tax, car insurance and petrol, owning a car isn’t cheap – and eye-watering city centre parking prices don’t help.

But what if we told you there are a host of money-saving ways to pinch the pennies on parking?

  1. Parkopedia

Tell this invaluable website, launched in 2007, where you’re going and when and it overlays a map with car parks and street parking, along with prices – so you can scout out the best options before you arrive.

  1. Driveway parking

A growing trend in urban areas, pairs up driveway and garage owners with visitors needing a space. Owners set their own prices, but you’re likely to save a packet compared to airport, hospital and other high-traffic car parks.

  1. Free on-road parking

Going to a big venue? Avoid recommended car parks, and hiked prices, by examining if there is free street parking nearby. You may end up with an extra 5-minute walk, but that’s nothing compared to the hour it takes to exit the official car park.

  1. Residential zones

Nobody wants to find a yellow ticket on their car – or heaven forbid anger a local – but the fear of residential zones may be driving motorists to miss parking opportunities. Examine those blue and white signs closely – streets are often ‘permit-only’ between certain hours, offering plentiful parking the rest of the time.

  1. Get a season ticket

If you use the same car park regularly, find out whether it has a season ticket option. NCP car parks sell quarterly and annual tickets which could save you up to 70%, with Q-Park also offering a season ticket option. You could also book a space online before you travel for discounts and savings.

Every little helps, but if scrimping on car parks just isn’t saving you enough money, why not talk to our friendly brokers to see if they could find you a more competitive deal on your car insurance?




Shocking though it may sound, our average attention span is down to just 9 seconds. That’s according to Sally Hogshead, author of Fascinate: Your Seven Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation.

Compared to 100 years ago, when it was closer to 20 minutes, it would seem we all have forgotten how to focus.

9 seconds… really?

Generally, people will give you 9 seconds of attention when it comes to facts and figures, but according to Yamini Naidu, author of Power Play, engaging with emotions gives you a much wider window.

How can businesses engage emotions to motivate employees?

  • Business storytelling

According to Naidu, business storytelling is storytelling for a purpose, and for results. The art of business storytelling allows leaders to create a connection with their clients, teams and stakeholders.

“I think spreadsheets and data can help leaders create a context for change. But story power can succeed in engaging the emotions of people we are seeking to influence,” Naidu told L&D Professional.

“Storytelling is a simple, yet powerful way to engage people better. Leaders can use personal and everyday stories to impact people, create a mandate for change and connect with stakeholders to really transform business outcomes.”

  • Encourage breaks

People need breaks, whether it’s a walk to the kitchen to stretch their legs or simply flicking onto a non-work related browser tab for a few minutes. Time-wasting happens when a person poorly judges their work-break ratio.

Encouraging positive feelings about work can also improve employee engagement. Rather than giving staff a single long break, why not encourage staff to take shorter breaks when they need them to encourage productivity on ‘work time’?

  • Create a unique office environment

If boredom is a large factor in short attention spans, then steer your office environment away from the dimly-lit cubicles and uninspiring layouts most people think of as ‘office life’.

Offering interactive meeting spaces and opportunities to engage with your surroundings means staff may be more likely to listen when it comes to a task which requires maximum focus.




We’re spoiled by the phenomenal speeds the internet can now provide, except rural businesses who are twice as likely to have bad broadband than their urban counterparts, according to research by the British Chambers of Commerce.While your location may have a bearing, there are other factors which can put your connective capabilities on the back foot. Here we list three of them and show you how to address them.

While your location may have a bearing, there are other factors which can put your connective capabilities on the back foot. Here we list three of them and show you how to address them.

Actual speed
Websites including SPEEDOF.ME and allow you to test the speed of your connectivity to make sure you’re getting the service you’ve actually been promised by your provider. Test this at different times of the day throughout the week to get an average.

If it’s wildly off what you’re supposed to be getting, then it’s time to assess your internet package. You could check to see if there are any downtime issues in your area by speaking to your provider or switch altogether.

A different package or fibre optic connection may make a world of difference, and most big internet providers have this option.

As irksome as constant messages to upgrade can be, ignoring them may be the source of your slow browsing. Out of sight, wireless routers can be easy to forget, but they have regular firmware updates and often all it takes to bring them up to par is a few simple steps. Internet browsers often prompt an update, otherwise, do this themselves every few days. Wi-fi enabled devices that are lagging behind can also slow down when denied the latest revisions.

Routers placed near competing frequencies can have an impact on its effectiveness. If this sounds familiar, try moving your router to a more open space, rather than hiding it behind the TV unit. If the problem is that you lose connection the further away you are, then a signal booster could help you stay connected throughout the house and beyond.
New routers offer vast improvements on reception, so buying a new one is another option.
If you’re using your wi-fi in your home office, be mindful that loss of connection can severely impact your business. Get in touch with InsureEasy to find out about how Business Insurance for home office work can feature business interruption insurance