Newcastle-based craft baker Ian Thomson has been appointed chairman of the steering group for the proposed bakery arm of the National Skills Academy, replacing outgoing chair Dave Brooks, former MD of Finsbury Foods. Funding for the academy’s pilot foundation course, due to launch in March, has also been agreed. Thomson runs a wholesale bakery and shop in Westerhope.

== Jamie deal for Meg ==

Online cake company Meg Rivers has secured a deal to supply traybakes to Jamie Oliver’s new Jme-branded line of food, homeware and gifts. Launched just before Christmas, the range is sold via the celebrity chef’s website. Meg Rivers began supplying the range with Chistmas puddings and cakes, before moving on to flapjacks and ginger and chocolate brownies from January.

== Waste commitment ==

Bakery companies United Biscuits and Warburtons are among dozens of food retailers and manufacturers that have now signed the Courtauld Commitment, to help encourage consumers to reduce food packaging. The initiative, led by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), aims to cut food waste by 155,000 tonnes per year (compared to 2008). WRAP has identified that bakery products account for 20% of total food waste.

== Tax deferral ==

HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) recently-launched Business Payment Support Service (BPSS) has already enabled 25,000 businesses to delay paying more than £429m worth of tax, according to the government. Launched in November 2008, the service allows firms to pay their HMRC taxes through timetables they can afford. For details call the BPSS on 0845 302 1435.

== NSA chair named ==