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Voyonic Grampian Forest Rally returns

The popular Voyonic Grampian Forest Rally makes a welcome return on 12 August, as the Banchory-based event gets ready to host some of the best drivers in the country in the nearby Kincardineshire forests.

Having recently launched the 2023 offering, organisers Stonehaven and District Motor Club have been inundated with entries as competitors in the KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship scramble to secure their slot at one of the most eagerly anticipated and largest motorsport events in the northeast of Scotland.

For the second successive year, the event is sponsored by global marine employment specialists, Voyonic Crew Management Group Limited. After forming a new partnership in 2022, the Guernsey-based firm re-affirms its commitment to the event, helping to ensure the rally remains one of the leading stage rallies in Scotland.

The Voyonic Group also has offices in Aberdeen, Newcastle, and the Isle of Man, as well as global locations in Malta and Manila and specialises in employment and seafarer management services to the commercial shipping, offshore energy, cruise, and yacht industries. They are also able to provide a wide range of back-office support services, including HR, payroll and bookkeeping and their involvement in the rally dates back over a decade.

Neil Carrington, CEO of the Voyonic Group commented “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Grampian Forest Rally for a second year. The quality of entrants should make for another exciting weekend of motorsport, and the Voyonic team are proud to be part of the occasion.”

To date, several leading Scottish Rally Championship protagonists have placed their entries, each with an eye on the coveted winner’s trophy. Last year, it was four-time British Rally Champion Keith Cronin who etched his name in the silverware with a runaway victory, but this time around the battle for top spot is likely to be a much closer affair.

The team behind the Voyonic Grampian Forest Rally are excited to launch this year’s rally and equally delighted to welcome back the Voyonic brand as the title sponsor.

“It’s a real honour to welcome back our returning title sponsor Voyonic Group” said Clerk of the Course Graham Provest.

“Neil [Carrington – Voyonic Group CEO] and his team have shown the event great support and we look forward to welcoming all our sponsors and guests to Banchory next month.

“Of course, we are very eager to show our appreciation to all our partners and sponsors and are in a privileged position to be welcoming nearly all of them back once again, along with new relationships this year. With backers returning for a second, third or fourth year, it shows our strong bond with partners which allows us to grow and develop new ideas like the big screen TV in the Service Park for fans and crews.“

“We can’t wait for the rally to get started, see and feel the buzz around the service park and spectator area. The forest coming alive for the day on the 12 August will make all the hard work worthwhile. We look forward to a packed event and some close times from our fantastic stages.”

Drivers from across the UK and beyond will enjoy an action-packed day in the forests of Fetteresso and Drumtochty with a central rally base at Milton of Crathes near Banchory.

The town itself will host the now traditional Ceremonial Start early on Saturday morning before crews head out onto the gravel for a spectacular day of flat-out driving. Spectators will be offered plenty of opportunity to witness the cars in action throughout the day, before returning to Milton of Crathes for the champagne finish and celebrations.

More information including spectator access maps, entry list and timings will be available on the event website closer to the event.

Regular updates will be posted on the event’s social media channels and website: www.grampianforestrally.com

St Peter Port’s New Summertime Celebration

We are delighted to announce our sponsorship of the inaugural Havelet Regatta, in support of the Guernsey Cheshire Home.

The Havelet Regatta, an exciting new event, will join St Peter Port’s calendar on Sunday 3rd September from 10am to 6pm. Supported by Voyonic and raising funds for the Guernsey Cheshire Home, the event will bring a variety of activities and attractions to the south of St Peter Port, on the land, sand and sea at Havelet Bay.

There will be a full schedule of events for families and corporate teams, including the much-anticipated office chair race, alongside all the seaside fun of a classic regatta. Events and attractions will be confirmed throughout the summer across the Havelet Regatta social media pages.

Aided by sponsors Voyonic, the event will raise money for the Guernsey Cheshire Home. Offering care and opportunity to people with serious physical disabilities, the Home does not receive direct States funding towards its running costs of around £1 million, so the Regatta aims to make a real financial difference to the Home.

In keeping with this, accessibility and inclusivity will be a cornerstone of the event, with something for everyone.

Organiser Odette Duerden explains:

“One day it struck me when watching all the activity in the bay that it would make the perfect place for a community regatta. The harbour walls encircling it make a perfect viewing platform for watching events taking place in the bay.

“My father, Francis Paul, was on the Rocquaine Regatta committee for 20 years or so and was the inventor of the infamous sand stilts. We’re so lucky to have the blessing of the current committee who are being incredibly supportive.

“We think Voyonic and the Havelet Regatta are the perfect fit, as they love and respect the sea as we do. We are enormously grateful to Voyonic who have been incredibly generous with their support.”

Neil Carrington, Chief Executive of Voyonic adds:

“Voyonic were delighted to be invited to sponsor the Havelet Regatta in support of the Cheshire Home which is a truly worthy cause. The team at Voyonic look forward to joining Barrie & Odette for a fun day out whilst raising much-needed funding for a very worthy cause.”

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Reading an article in the Press earlier this week I was once again reminded how readily people confuse two different areas of Government taxation. Whilst allowance has to be made for attention-grabbing headline writers, emotive phrases such as “tax evasion”, “tax avoidance” and “tax havens” being bandied about to then include Social Security/National Insurance in the same sentence is technically incorrect. It also needs to be kept in mind that tax avoidance is perfectly legal.

Income Tax is basically what it says, a tax on most forms of income including, amongst many other things, salary, share dividends, rental income, pensions, and other forms of income. Some income may not be taxed but generally, there is a tax liability on most forms of earnings.

Note the term liability, whilst there is a liability for an individual to pay tax it may be that because of various allowances and other rules the amount of tax actually payable can be reduced, sometimes to zero. For example, seafarers who spend more than a certain amount of time outside their country of residence may receive relief on the amount of tax that they pay on their income. Relief can be given for many reasons, too many to list here.

The eligibility to pay tax is generally related to the country of domicile or residence of the individual i.e. the country that you call home even if you live and work in two or more countries.

The revenue derived from income tax is generally used to pay for the services the government provides.

Social Security/National Insurance is a fixed amount that is deducted from your salary generally as a percentage of the total amount (less any lower or upper earnings limit that may apply before deduction).

Not only is the employee liable for social security but also the employer, again a percentage of the employee’s salary, whereas the employer is not liable to pay any income tax on the salary.

The opportunities to reduce the amount of Social Security payable are far fewer than those associated with income tax but because of social security agreements the contributions payable could well be due in a different country from that in which tax liabilities arise. It is common, particularly where seafarers are employed, for the employer’s share of the contribution not to be payable. This, however, has no adverse effect on employee social security benefit entitlements because such entitlements are based purely on the employee’s share of the contribution which generally remains payable.

Social Security/National Insurance is used by the Government to fund specific items such as healthcare, pensions and other social benefits. Therefore in summary, whilst a group of ten people working for a company, earning a similar amount may all pay different amounts of tax because of their personal situations, the social security amount that they pay will probably be the same.

The Voyonic Group is continually seeking improvement in all that we do as part of our commitment to our ISO9001 quality management system. One specific area we have been looking into for a while now has been the provision of payment services. This research started before the events in Ukraine last year which have created further challenges for those reliant upon global banking systems to move funds around the world.

With over 400 bank accounts and in excess of 5,000 payments per month in multiple currencies to over 90 jurisdictions this has always been an area of challenge for us. Following detailed research, over a lengthy period of time, the decision was taken last year to engage with a new payments provider, MarTrust Limited.

MarTrust have their foundations within the marine industry and had a head start in terms of our selection criteria by understanding the nature of our business. They also possess the platform for handling not only the volume but also the variety of payments that Voyonic make. This has been enhanced by the introduction of the MarTrust e-wallet product which brings massive flexibility to individual seafarers in terms of them being able to control their personal banking more effectively.

The roll-out of MarTrust continues within Voyonic and our goal is to ensure that all seafarers under our care are transferred onto the platform within this year.

The global banking system is constantly changing and with ever-increasing compliance requirements for understanding not only clients but individuals it is imperative that technology leads the way.

We are committed to supporting our clients in the care of the crew serving onboard their vessels and after more than 25 years in the business the team at Voyonic totally understand our role in ensuring that salaries are paid on time.