Category: News

Action Fraud HMRC alert

What you need to know

• Action Fraud has experienced an increase in the reporting of malicious calls and voicemails, to members of the public purporting to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

• Fraudsters are spoofing genuine HMRC telephone numbers to deceive their victims over the phone. The fraudsters state that as a result of the victim’s non-payment of tax or other duty, the victim is liable for prosecution or other legal proceedings in order to settle the balance. The fraudsters suggest victims can avoid this, by arranging payment to be made immediately by methods such as bank transfer or by purchasing iTunes gift cards.

• If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, sending bailiffs to the victim’s address or, in some cases, deportation.

• Often, the period for which the tax is allegedly due is distant enough to guarantee the victim will have little, if any, paperwork or ability to verify the claims. Once the money is paid the suspects sever all contact with the victim.

• In genuine cases, HMRC will initially make direct contact with you via post/letter and potentially follow up that letter with a phone call at a later date.

• If HMRC contact you via telephone they will quote the reference number on the initial letter you should have received. HMRC will not discuss something you are not already aware of, like a tax investigation, and will NOT demand immediate payment.

It is vital that the public exercise caution when receiving messages or telephone calls of this nature.

What you need to do

• Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information. Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Instead, contact the company directly using trusted methods such as a known email address or phone number.

• Legitimate organisations wouldn’t ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using an iTunes gift card, or any other type of voucher. If you’re contacted by anyone that asks you to do this, you’re likely the target of a scam

• Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot.

• Report Phishing attempts. If you receive a call, text or email of this nature and have not lost money, you can report this as phishing to Action Fraud

Message Sent By
Action Fraud (Action Fraud, Administrator, National)

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Interested in the future of policing in your area?

Interested in the future of policing in your area?

Surrey Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey are teaming up to hold a series of public engagement events in every borough and district across the county.

The ‘Policing Your Community’ events are an opportunity for residents to come and speak to Surrey Police’s Temporary Chief Constable Gavin Stephens and Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro as well as hear from their local Borough Commander.

The Chief Constable will give an update on the current challenges for policing and future plans for the service in Surrey whilst local Borough Commanders will update on the policing priorities and community issues in your area.

This is your chance to ask questions, hear about, and comment on, the future of policing in Surrey including an outline of plans for the 100 extra officers, operational staff and Police Community Support Officers to come from additional council tax funding.

T/Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said: “We want to deliver the best possible policing service in Surrey and it is extremely important our residents are involved in understanding and shaping how we do this. These events are a great opportunity to get those conversations going and we really want to talk to as many people as possible so please do register for your local event and come along to see us.”

PCC David Munro said: “Residents regularly tell me how much they value policing in their local area and it is really important to me that we involve the Surrey public in our plans for the future through events like this. This year’s council tax increase has given Surrey Police the opportunity to employ an extra 100 officers and operational staff and I look forward to hearing the views of our local communities on the proposals for their deployment.”

The first event will take place in Waverley on Thursday 21st March at Rodborough School in Milford starting from 7pm.

Other confirmed dates are:
• 2nd April – Surrey Heath: Gordon’s School, West End, Bisley – 7pm
• 3rd April – Mole Valley: Dorking Halls, Reigate Road, Dorking – 7pm
• 8th April – Runnymede: Chertsey Hall, Heriot Road, Chertsey– 7pm
• 11th April – Spelthorne: The Greeno Centre, Glebeland Gardens, Shepperton -7pm
• 8th May – Guildford: The Ash Centre, Ash Hill Road, Ash – 7pm
• 9th May – Elmbridge: Xcel Leisure Centre, Waterside Drive, Walton-on-Thames – 7pm
• 14th May –Woking: Bishop David Brown School, Albert Drive, Woking – 6:30pm

Event dates for Reigate and Banstead, Tandridge and Epsom and Ewell will be confirmed in due course.

If you are unable to attend any of the events in person there will be an opportunity to participate in an Online Q&A session with the Chief Constable and PCC once all the events have been held.

All events are free but please book to reserve your place.

You can book for the Waverley event at:

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Cranleigh mobile phone coverage survey

Cranleigh mobile phone coverage survey

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce is working with local stakeholders to better understand how mobile phone coverage in the village impacts upon residents and businesses.

We are inviting people in and around Cranleigh to take part in a short survey, so we can collate data ahead of a meeting in May with Anne Milton MP and mobile phone service providers.

Please take a moment to answer the following questions.

You can answer this survey from different locations, when indoors or outside with your mobile phone.

We will plot responses on a map to better understand which parts of the village are well served and poorly served by mobile phone coverage.

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HCLG report on high streets and town centres in 2030

HCLG report on high streets and town centres in 2030

Dated policies and an unfair tax regime must be reformed to create an environment that will allow high streets and town centres to flourish in the future, a report published by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has found.

With online sales currently at 20%, and changing consumer behaviour meaning this is likely to continue growing, the future for high streets and town centres will become increasingly bleak.

Some formerly thriving shopping areas are likely to become ghost towns and effectively close down altogether unless the Government, councils, retailers, landlords and the local community act together to implement the Committee’s recommendations.

The report sets out a bold vision for the high street based on locally led strategies, developed with local communities and businesses at the centre, and reflective of evolving commercial and economic patterns.

The Committee calls on the Government to initiate reform in key planning and taxation areas, including the options of an online sales tax and reforms to business rates, to allow high streets to adapt to changing demand, and compete with online retailers such as Amazon on a level playing field.

The Committee finds that:

  • High streets and town centres must adapt, transform and find a new focus in order to survive
  • Business rates are stacking the odds against high street retailers. The Government must initiate reforms to provide meaningful relief to high street retailers, including giving consideration to proposals for an online sales tax to level the playing field
  • Achieving large-scale structural change will require intervention led by the local authority, in collaboration with business and local communities, backed by funding and new powers from central government
  • Local Plans are a key element of this. They must consider green space, leisure, arts and culture, health and social care services to create space that is the “intersection of human life and activity”
  • Retailers must accept the need to adapt and do more to offer what online cannot, focusing more on personal interactions and convenience
  • Landlords need to recognise the retail property market has changed and be more receptive to negotiating lease terms with retailers in financial difficulty – The Government should consider providing a conciliation service to facilitate negotiations between the parties.

Chair of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, Clive Betts MP commented:

“In recent years, high streets and town centres have faced extremely challenging times. We have seen the collapse of a number of well-known, national high street chains, with many more undergoing restructuring or being bought out. The growth of online shopping has profoundly changed retail in the UK, and the knock-on impact on high streets has been stark.

“It is likely that the heyday of the high street primarily as a retail hub is at an end. However, this need not be its death knell. Local authorities must get to grips with the fact that their town centres need to change; they need to innovate, setting out a long-term strategy for renewal, reconfiguring the town centre and finding new ways of using buildings and encouraging new independent retailers.

“Dated planning policy must be reformed to reflect the needs of modern high streets and town centres. Business rates must be made fair. They are currently stacking the odds against businesses with a high street presence and this must end. Tax reforms are needed to level the playing field between online and high street retailers, and we urge the Government to investigate all the options in this area, including an Online Sales Tax.

“We must begin a period of renewal and regeneration, establishing high streets as focal points of our communities comprising green space and health, education and leisure services, as well as a core of retail. At a local and national level, government must create a framework that allows high streets and town centres to thrive. Local authorities must have the foresight to develop evolving strategies tailored to the needs of their local communities and drive the large-scale transformation needed. Central government must give them the powers, and back them financially, to allow them to put this into practice.”

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Retailers need to protect cash flow amidst falling sales

As consumer spending continues to fall, it is vital companies doing business in the retail sector take steps to protect their own position, according to a specialist lawyer.

The warning comes after December 2018 was named one of the worst on record due to like-for-like in-store sales dropping 1.9% year-on-year, according to the High Street Tracker produced by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO.

Boxing Day footfall also dropped 3.1 per cent for the third consecutive year, retail performance measurement company Springboard reported.

Simon Key, associate in Nelsons’ commercial dispute resolution team and head of its debt recovery service, said:

“The festive retail reports show that consumers are being more cautious when it comes to retail spending, particularly in-store. And naturally, the lack of spending is having an impact on the cash available to the retail sector.

“It is therefore important that anyone doing business in the retail sector takes steps to protect their own position.”

The UK high street looks set for a slow start to 2019, with little evidence of an increase in in-store spending, or in confidence returning to previous levels.

Simon added: “With retail, as with most sectors, cash flow is the key to businesses surviving. We have seen success for a number of our clients in ensuring that they are ‘at the front of the queue’ where securing payment is concerned. The steps businesses need to take to help guard their position will depend on where they are in the chain, however, there are similar, basic things companies can start by doing.

“Having tight contractual terms and conditions from the outset is also important, as is setting and sticking to defined credit limits. Each business will be different so it’s vital specialist advice is always sought so it can be tailored to your specific circumstances – what might be relevant for one company, may not apply to yours.”

Over the past few weeks, retailers have been releasing their Christmas trading reports, with the likes of Selfridges, Aldi, Morrisons, Hobbycraft and Dunelm recording strong festive trading results. However, Next reported in-store sales declines and HMV entered administration following “extremely weak” trading throughout Christmas due to a rapidly changing physical media market.

In 2018, nearly 150,000 jobs were lost after 20,000 outlets – including Maplin, Toys R Us, House of Fraser and Poundworld – closed. Retail job losses are expected to rise to around 160,000 in 2019 due to the high costs of running stores and continuing weak demand.

Simon added: “The stores that have reported rises in in-store sales over the Christmas season – aside from Selfridges, which won consumer business by offering experiences, as well as goods – were the more modest and more affordable stores. This demonstrates how customers are being savvier and avoiding excessive spending.

“While reports do show an increase of 11.9 per cent during December in online shopping, which is largely down to a change in consumer shopping habits, there is considerable nervousness in the market and consumer confidence remains low.”

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Business Improvement District workshops

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce has been working with Waverley Borough Council and the other three Chambers in Waverley to investigate the viability of a Business Improvement District (BID).

Business Improvement District (BID) is a partnership between a local authority and local businesses which is intended to provide improvements to the public sphere within a specified geographical area.

BIDs are funded in whole or in part by a levy on non- domestic ratepayers.

To find out more about this BID project and what it could deliver for Cranleigh, we invite all Cranleigh businesses to attend a workshop at Cranleigh Bandroom at 5.30pm on Thursday 24th January 2019.

Book your place today by email to or by calling 01483 523088.

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Dates for your diary in 2019

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce has made plans for a busy events calendar in 2019.

We are hosting a series of networking meetings, featuring three breakfasts and two lunches.

New on Cranleigh Chamber networking calendar next year is Network, Walk & Talk event in June, incorporating a social walk with a pub visit at the end.

Our annual dinner and AGM takes place in April at Cranleigh Golf & Country Club.

We’re also pleased to host our annual summer BBQ in July.

In terms of community events, the Chamber is hosting Spring into Cranleigh in April, Cranleigh Shops into Autumn in September, and the Cranleigh Christmas Lights Switch On event in November.

We’re also pleased next year to be involved in a brand new event; the Cranleigh Business Show in the Village Hall in February.

Details of all of these events, including links to book online, can be found now at

We are still looking for interesting speakers for some of these events, so please do email if you would like to speak on a topical business issue.

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Record turnout for Cranleigh Santa Dash

Cranleigh Santa Dash 2018

The 2nd annual Cranleigh Santa Dash saw fun runners of all ages tackle a 5km or 10km route around the village this morning.

Organised by Rotary Club of Cranleigh, Cranleigh Sunflowers and Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, and sponsored by Informed Choice Independent Financial Planners, the event raised more than £1,000 which will be distributed equally to Park Mead, Cuthbert Mayne, Cranleigh Infants and Ewhurst Infants primary schools.

Runners were treated to a very special warm up led by Lucy Bushnell from Cranleigh Sunflowers, doing their best to keep up with exercises linked to lines in the 12 Days of Christmas.

The event was officially started by Father Christmas himself, who (with help from Cranleigh Lions) made his way down from the North Pole especially for the Santa Dash.

Photo credit:

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Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust planning application

Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust is inviting statements of support for its planning application (WA/2018/1966) for the erection of a building to provide an 80 bed care home including 20 community beds together with a building to provide health workers accommodation. This proposal is for the Knowle Lane site, south of John Wiskar Drive.

You can review the plans at where it is possible comment on the application.

Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust (CVHT), in partnership with HC-One, NHS Guildford and Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group (G&W CCG), Surrey County Council (SCC) and the Royal Surrey County Hospital (RSCH), is proposing the return of free at the point of access community beds to Cranleigh.

The project will deliver 20 community beds for both NHS and SCC nursing care, prioritised for patients from Cranleigh and the surrounding villages, replacing the 14 beds in Cranleigh Village Hospital that were closed in 2006. In addition, the project will create affordable accommodation for healthcare workers employed locally.

The application is also being discussed by Cranleigh Parish Council at their Planning Committee meeting on Monday evening at 7pm, at Snoxhall Pavilion. You may wish to attend this meeting to find out more and share your views with our Parish Councillors.

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce is supportive of the plans, bringing back much needed community beds to the village along with affordable housing options for locally employed healthcare workers.

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