Businesses from across London heard of the key issues affecting the UK’s care home sector yesterday (February 26), at an event hosted by Clydesdale Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centre in the West End.

London companies joining the nationwide teleconference were provided with expert analysis of the current economic climate and its impact on the UK’s care home sector by Derek Breingan, National Lead for the Healthcare Sector, Clydesdale Bank, and Jock Waugh, Managing Director of VAT specialists Kieran Lynch and Co.

One of the main focuses of the event was the impact of the Kingscrest ruling at the High Court, which allows care home operators to recover VAT under certain conditions. Kingscrest operated Learning Difficulties Units and successfully argued that residential care fell outside of the legislation and should be able to recover VAT, which they had previously been barred from doing.

The Kingscrest ruling is significant with care home operators able to claim back around £3,000 per bed with average payments between £100,000 and £150,000 per home. The amount of work required to pull together the relevant information averages between two to three hours. Operators in business between 1993 and 2002 may be eligible to recover VAT.

Derek Breingan, National Lead for the Healthcare Sector, Clydesdale Bank said: “The focus on the Kingscrest ruling means we can offer practical guidance on an issue which may have real financial benefits for care homes at time when margins remain tight.

“We know that some operators in this sector are looking to expand in the coming year despite the ongoing challenges facing the economy. Any additional capital that can be made available to allow that to happen will be welcomed by operators.”

More than a dozen companies from across the capital joined George Eleftheriou, Head of Clydesdale Bank’s London Business and Private Banking Centre, to hear Derek and Jock’s advice.

George said the teleconference presented London businesses with a great opportunity to hear from a respected industry expert. George said: “The care home sector remains strong across the UK and is one of the Bank’s priority areas. Operators are faced with a growing number of challenges and most are having to take strategic decisions now which will affect their long-term futures. Practical advice which could make a real difference is crucial at this time.”

Today’s teleconference forms part of a nationwide series of events being hosted by Clydesdale Bank to allow business customers the chance to network and hear from some of the UK’s leading economists and professionals. Forthcoming events will cover a number of subjects including the upcoming UK budget, trade in emerging markets, and the use of market research.

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