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Small business news roundup-02nd July 2021

HMRC to go easy on small business strangled with Covid debt

Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, says HMRC will not press businesses to pay overdue tax immediately if they are struggling with coronavirus-related debt.

With the UK at the final stages of lockdown, small businesses fear they cannot pay overdue debt and tax due to the Covid lockdown.

HMRC have confirmed that they will be taking it easy on small businesses who cannot pay their tax. This comes at a good time, with the furlough scheme reducing and Bounce Back Loans repayments starting.

Its one thing for the business secretary to say this but it will be interesting to see if the message filters down HMRC.

For the full story, click here.

Vauxhall owner: Government must back battery gigafactories to drive electric future

The government must back its commitment to electric vehicles with financial support for new battery gigafactories and manufacturers considering where to build the next generation of cars and vans, Vauxhall’s parent company has told Sky News.

New “rules-of-origin” regulations agreed as part of the Brexit deal mean that batteries will have to be produced in the UK or Europe by 2027 if British cars are to avoid damaging tariffs.

For the full story, click here.

Covid: UK’s furlough scheme starts to wind down

Employers will have to shoulder more of the costs of furlough as the government starts to wind down its flagship job support scheme.

From the 1st of July, staff will still receive 80% of their wages; however, employers will need to pay 10% of these wages for the first time since March 2020.

From the 1st of August, employer’s contribution will rise again to 20%, as a way of easing out of furlough.

For the full story, click here.

Property experts explain whether you should buy a house now or wait until next year

With house prices rising and the stamp duty holiday introduced last year, the average cost of homes is at a new record high of £336,073.

Experts, however, have stated that there are early signs of the market slowing down.

Should you buy now or wait until 2022?

Of course, no one can predict how the property market will fluctuate over the next few months or if prices will continue to increase or fall.

For the full story, click here.

It’s Landlord Month @ Woolmer & Kennedy

This month we will focus our blogs on all things to do with Landlords! Whether you are a new or experienced landlord, we have a topic you are bound to find interesting.

Click here for our latest landlord blog.

Small business news roundup-25th June 2021

UK Covid LIVE: PM to announce on Monday if lockdown can lift on July 5 as Hancock says data ‘looking encouraging’

 With everyone hoping that Freedom Day is not far away, an announcement from Boris Johnson on Monday will determine if the final restrictions can be lifted earlier than the pushed back date of 19th July.

 For the full story, click here.

How to win a £25,000 Business Boost grant for your small firm

Simply Business has launched a £25,000 Business Boost grant for 2021. This grant competition could help you start or grow your small business.

To enter, you’ll need to fill out a form on the competition website detailing why you think you deserve the grant. Judges will be focusing on:

  • Your story
  • A big dream
  • Positive social impact
  • Innovation

Terms – You must not have a turnover of over £500,000 or received and private grants exceeding £50,000.

The closing date for this competition is September 17, 2021.

For more information click here. 

Brexit puts more than third of UK small businesses at risk of closure

More than two fifths of UK SMEs claim that Brexit will or already has resulted in redundancies.

With the new rules impacting many small businesses, the government has announced a grant of up to £2,000 for training and professional advice relating to imports and exports. This scheme however is not widely known by small business! If you know anyone with a small business make sure to let them know.

SME Brexit Support Fund – Click here.

Applications will close on 30 June 2021 or earlier if all funding is allocated before this date.

SME are the lifeline of the UK economy, so providing support in these confusing times is needed right now.

For the full story, click here. 

HSBC offers sub-1% mortgage as interest rate war intensifies

HSBC are the latest bank to offer a mortgage deal with an interest rate less than 1%. This comes as banks are fighting for customers, with the stamp duty combined with big deposits saved during the Covid lockdown demand for mortgages are high.

HSBC suggests if you are looking to get onto the property ladder then now is the perfect time with the lowest rate offered for a while.

For the full story, click here. 

Act now to save your cash from inflation by DITCHING easy-access accounts paying terrible rates

Many savers are being urged to act to safeguard their money from inflation. Last week it emerged that inflation, the rate at which prices are increasing, had soared to 2.1 per cent — up from 0.5 per cent this time last year.

This means that anyone with large amounts of money held in easy-access accounts will lose out.

High inflation rates means that the value of your money saved is can be falling faster than the any interest you’re making on it. Top Tip – Take the time to look around for the best interest rates before committing to one bank.

For the full story, click here.

Small business news roundup-18th June 2021

UK jobs market showing signs of recovery

With the increase in vaccinations and more businesses reopening, the job market is now showing signs of recovering – unemployment rates are falling and the number of job vacancies is rising.

This however doesn’t apply to the younger generation where unemployment in hospitality remains high.

Reports suggest that the furlough scheme has successfully aided the economy is adding jobs back to pre-covid levels.

For the full story, click here.

Small business calls for support extension to match reopening delay

Small business associations have called for support to be extended to match any delay in reopening due to current lockdown restrictions.

With the final easing of lockdown extended for another four weeks, the worry for businesses needing more help is looming.

From the 1st July, businesses are set to contribute 10% of staff wages to ease out of furlough. Aside from this, lifting the ban on evictions and debt collections from commercial tenants is due to go ahead on June 30th.

Concerns grow as already vulnerable businesses, particularly in industries that have not opened up again fully, could close if no further help is given.

For the full story, click here. 

Furlough will NOT be extended: Rishi Sunak rejects pleas from businesses and says the help scheme will begin to be phased out from July 1 – even though Freedom Day is to be delayed

Demands from businesses to extend the furlough scheme were rejected by Rishi Sunak last night – despite the delay to ending lockdown.

With the current furlough scheme set to start winding down from the 1st July 2021, the hospitality industry believe as many as 200,000 jobs were at risk.

Trade body UKHospitality has called for Mr Sunak to keep the full relief in place for a further three months until the start of October.

For the full story, click here. 

COVID-19: Ban on commercial evictions introduced during the pandemic extended until March 2022

The moratorium was introduced in April 2020 to help struggling businesses through the pandemic and has since been extended twice.

Chief secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Barclay, said the moratorium for business tenants will not expire at the end of this month as planned, and will instead continue until 25 March 2022 – two years after it was introduced.

For the full story, click here. 

UK in talks to build battery ‘gigafactories’ for electric cars

With the push to reach the 2030 goal of removing new sales of petrol and diesel cars, there is a need for an increase in battery factories.

The UK government has held talks with six manufacturers about building “gigafactory” electric car battery plants, as part of its efforts to improve the prospects of the British automotive industry.

Many car brands are in talks with different firms to agree a deal. A spokesperson for Ford said a decision on battery sourcing would be made closer to the new model’s launch in 2023.

For the full story, click here. 

Small business news roundup-28th May 2021

Small businesses selling into EU face £180m in extra red tape costs

For the first time small businesses that sell into the Europe will be required to register for VAT.

The new EU One-Stop-Shop rules, which will be introduced on July 1, are designed to stop an estimated €7bn in annual VAT fraud by non-EU e-commerce sellers, mainly located in China, according to Alavera.

UK e-commerce sellers will now have three options when trading into the EU:

  • Register for VAT in the country where they sell most of their goods, which the European Commission estimates will cost €8,000
  • Subcontract VAT to selling platforms such as Amazon or eBay
  • Ask your postal service to handle VAT

For the full story, click here. 

Building projects hit by lack of supplies and price rises

 The Construction Leadership Council has warned that cement, some electrical components, timber, steel and paints are all in short supply.

This is due to the high demand that is set to continue. Many people who would normally go on holiday people are opting to decorate their homes and gardens.

Another factor is climate change with warmer winters in Scandinavia affecting timber production and colder winter in Texas affecting production of chemicals, plastics and polymer prices are impacted.

For the full story, click here.

How to win £20,000 in TV advertising with Sky Media’s SME100 scheme

Sky Media’s SME100 is back, offering TV advertising worth £20,000 to small businesses across the UK.

The 100 winning businesses will also get free 12-month superfast broadband and digital phone package.

When the winners are chosen they will be put in touch with local creative agencies to design a TV campaigns.

Is my business suitable:

Your business needs to be a small business that has been running for a year in the UK and have no more than 50 full time employees.

To apply for the SME100 scheme and see the promotional terms and conditions please visit: www.adsmartfromsky.co.uk/sme100

For the full story, click here.

Global’ fair tax’ deal on a knife-edge, says UK Treasury source

A global tax deal that would impose a minimum 15% tax on the profits of major international tech companies is on a “knife edge” ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall next month, as the UK government pushes for a deal.

The deal aims to prevent around 100 major corporations such as Google, Apple and Amazon from shifting their vast profits to tax havens such as Bermuda or the Cayman Islands or low-tax jurisdictions such as Ireland.

For the full story, click here. 

Small business news roundup-21st May 2021

Some small business owners still haven’t received their Restart Grant

A number of business owners haven’t yet received their restart grant despite being launched at the beginning of April.

This grant was set to help non-essential businesses, who were forced to close, reopen after lockdown.

What can I do if I haven’t received my Restart Grant?

If you still have not received your grant, the best thing to do is contact your local authority. Visit their website first as it may give an explanation as to why there has been a delay. A couple of councils have said that Government pre-payment verifications are slowing the process down.

For the full story, click here. 

SMEs forecast to create 1.2m jobs in Britain over the coming year

With the vaccine rollout providing optimistic data, the UK expects to be hiring over 1.2m staff over the next year.

With many people working from home throughout the pandemic, businesses are opting for new technology as a way of carrying out everyday tasks.

There is expected to be a focus on ways of working and employee wellness. Having the flexibility to work from home means more people can work anywhere.

For the full story, click here.

UK inflation rate more than doubles in April

The annual UK inflation rate more than doubled in April, as a rise in energy and clothing costs drove prices higher.

The jump to 1.5% in April from 0.7% in March, means consumer prices are rising at their fastest rate since March 2020 at the outset of the pandemic.

Reports suggest that The Bank of England predict UK inflation will head above it’s 2 % target at the end of 2021 to 2.5%, this however will drop off again to 2% in 2022 and 2023.

For the full story, click here.

6.5m households in UK plan to buy an electric car by 2030

Ofgem data points to consumer shift as ban on sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles approaches.

Reports suggest that 1 in 4 households intend to buy an electric car before the ban on sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles come into place 2030.

With many concerns around the costs of buying an electric car, research from Bloomberg NEF found that the cost will likely come down before the ban in 2030 to make it more affordable for consumers.

For the tax effects of an Electric Car – Check out the following factsheets:

Company car – is it time to go electric 2021 

How should i own my car 2021

For the full story, click here. 

New powers to tackle unfit directors of dissolved companies

New legislation has been passed to target company directors dissolving their businesses as a way of avoiding repayments of Government backed loans.

The Insolvency Service will have powers to investigate directors of companies that have been dissolved, closing a legal loophole and acting as a strong deterrent against the misuse of the dissolution process.

If the Insolvency service finds the director to be using the insolvency wrongly, directors can face sanctions including a ban of up to 15 years.

For the full story, click here. 

Small business news roundup-14th May 2021

Small business owners who duck out of repaying Covid debt face ban

With many loans being provided over the course of the pandemic for businesses who are suffering, the reality of paying these back is in full force.

Reports now suggest that if small business owners do not repay their debt, they could be banned from being company directors.

This ban could last 15 years if they are thought to be abusing the system and avoiding repayments.

For the full story, click here.

Renter evictions ban to finish at end of May

With the covid restrictions easing so is the help for renters in the UK, since the start of the first lockdown.

Even though the eviction ban is set to end in May The Ministry of Housing said renters will continue to be supported as national coronavirus restrictions ease. The eviction notice period will decrease from six to four months from June 1. Which is still longer than pre covid amount of just two months.

For the full story, click here.

Commercial leases will be covered from evictions until 30th of June, with an option for the government to extend if needed.

Booming UK economy to outpace US, says Haldane

The UK economy is set to grow at its fastest pace since the Second World War, overtaking the US, according to Bank of England economist Andy Haldane.

The low covid infection rates and the vaccine rollout has both contributed to the surge in customer spending.

Haldane suggested that although the inflation levels are rising this could turn into a bust if spending is not consistent.

For the full story, click here. 

eBay launches small business loan

eBay are launching into the same-day small business loan market, offering finance anywhere between £500 to £1m.

eBay have set up the same day loan service to help it’s 300,000 small business users to bounce back from the pandemic.

Here is the link for setting up your business loan.

For the full story, click here.

Small business news roundup-07th May 2021

2020 named ‘Year of the Start-up’ with record 770,000 UK businesses created

A huge 770,000 new businesses were created in 2020, with the majority of these being online businesses.

Starting a business is an exciting time but the learning curve can be huge, fortunately we are here to offer a helping hand and support.

Here are some of our key tools that can help if you have just started a business:

For the full story, click here.

No full-time return to the office for over a million

 Almost all of the 50 UK’s biggest employers questioned by the BBC have said they do not plan to bring staff back to the office full-time.

Some 43 of the firms said they would embrace a mix of home and office working, with staff encouraged to work from home two to three days a week.

With the shift in working style, many businesses that rely on the footfall from office workers are worried business will drop off.

For the full story, click here.

UK economy set to grow at fastest rate in more than 70 years

The UK economy will enjoy its fastest growth in more than 70 years in 2021 as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, according to the Bank of England.

The economy is expected to expand by 7.25% this year, with extra government spending helping to limit job losses.

Even with this level of growth it is thought that this will only return the economy back to pre-covid numbers.

For the full story, click here.

SMEs plan to invest in the coming months as restrictions ease

SMEs intend to invest £150,000, on average, in the near future as lockdown easing sparks a growth in optimism.

A survey suggests 61% of SME businesses are planning to increase their work force in the coming months to support the new shopping boom.

Although there is success on the horizon SME businesses are still in debt from COVID loans issued last year.

The survey suggested that 39% of businesses don’t know how much they owe or how they are going to pay it back, admitting they need cash flow support.

To learn more why investing in your business is a great idea at the moment read our blog: Is it a bird is it a plane no it’s super deduction.  

For the full story, click here.

Small business news roundup-30th April 2021

150 UK small business grants to apply for right now – UPDATED

 Are you a small business in need of some funding?

  1. The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme

Under the Youth Can Do It scheme, The Prince’s Trust is working with 18-30-year-olds to help them develop their businesses. The programme is divided into four sections: Info session, Workshop, Build your business, Launch. There is no ‘business grant’ as such available, but you can secure funding through the programme.

  1. Government apprenticeships

The Government website has lots of information about apprenticeships, as well as how to register and use the apprenticeship service.

  1. Innovate UK Smart Grants programme

Innovate UK Smart Grants helps organisations to deliver ambitious R&D innovations that can have significant potential for impact on the UK economy.

The current round of funding is open until 26 May 2021.

4. Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme

Gigabit vouchers can be used by small businesses to go towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband connections. SMEs can claim £3,500 against the cost of connection. Find out if you are eligible by using the postcode checker on the website.

  1. Other Innovate UK funding opportunities

Innovate UK runs a host of other competitions in more niche areas. These include:

  • SBRI competition: Improving hip fracture outcomes using data, phase 1
  • Commercialising Quantum Technologies: Feasibility studies round 2
  • ISCF TFI: large collaborative R&D projects
  • SBRI: Improving multimorbidity acute care using data analytics, phase 1
  • Eureka Eurostars 2: round 15
  • ATF: moving the UK automotive sector to zero emissions
  • Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2020 to 2021, round 5
  • African agriculture knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2020 to 2021, round 5

Here are the top five grants you can apply for.

For the full list of grants available to you, click here.

Shopping trips set to fuel economic rebound

With the lockdown over and more restrictions easing, popping to the shops is becoming more of a pastime again.

The EY Item Club said the economy had “proven to be more resilient than seemed possible”.

For the full story, click here. 

Small firms lost millions of pounds on unexpected contract renewals in 2020

Research shows that many businesses lost a huge sum of money due to the auto-renewals on their contract services.

Most companies provide a reminder when a contract is due to be auto renewed, allowing you to pause or continue with the service.  However, this was not the case for many small businesses in 2020, who did not receive any communication with the services.

Reports suggest some businesses do not state they are in a rolling contract, so are unaware of the costs when due.

We advise all business owners to check all their services and subscriptions to make sure they aren’t in a rolling contract that could be costing you thousands.

For the full story, click here. 

UK heading for biggest economic boom since 1948 – Barclays chief

With the Covid restrictions easing and the vaccination programme growing, everyone is going out and spending money.

Jes Staley states “So we see – just like you’re starting to see in the US as well – quite a robust economic recovery in 2021,” Staley said. “We think that will carry through into 2022.”

Reports suggest the first quarter results have showed some promising results, with the vaccine programme being the key to success.

For the full story, click here. 

Small business news roundup-23rd April 2021

Mortgage scheme launched for 5% deposits

A new government scheme is allowing high street lenders to offer mortgages with a deposit as little as just 5%.

This is to allow more first-time buyers to secure a home and get onto the property ladder, whilst also helping people cope with the increasing house prices over the last year.

“The government is offering a partial guarantee, generally of 15%, to compensate lenders if the borrower defaults on repayments.

The guarantee is designed to give lenders the confidence to offer 95% loan-to-value mortgages – many of which were withdrawn during the Covid crisis.”

For the full story, click here. 

Bank of England to consider digital money plan

The Bank of England and the Treasury have announced they want to explore the possibility of a central bank digital currency.

“No decision has been taken on whether to have such a currency in the UK.

However, the government and the Bank want to “engage widely with stakeholders” on the benefits and practicalities of doing so.”

Reports suggest that this is a great opportunity since the use of cash in financial transactions is on the decline. The global pandemic has played a big part in the increase of card transactions.

For the full story, click here. 

London Capital and Finance: Treasury expects £120m compensation bill

Reports suggest that the government is expecting to pay £120m to bondholders of the failed investment scheme.

With the collapse of the LCF in Jan 2019, many investors were left in a loss.

The government compensation will be paid to around 8,800 people who have not yet qualified for other pay-outs.

The qualifying people will receive 80% of the money lost, capped at £68,000.

For the full story, click here. 

Government demands answers from banks on business account delays

With the pandemic impacting many businesses, the banks have been a help in trying to keep them afloat.

Many people have started up small / medium businesses over the lockdown, but many SME businesses are struggling to open new business current accounts.

The Treasury has since written to six high street banks to find out why they are making it so difficult for these businesses.

For the full story, click here. 

Small business news roundup-16th April 2021

Exports to EU partially rebound after January slump – as wider economy returns to growth

Trade levels have been affected – not only by the Brexit transition period, but also COVID restrictions.

The Office for National Statistics confirm that, although there was a 46.6% rise in EU export sales in February, they are still well down on last year.

Imports from the EU are yet to significantly rebound, with several issues hampering trade.

For the full story, click here. 

Small business confidence grows as shops reopen in England and Wales

 Monday the 12th was a significant day for all businesses, the first day non-essential shops were permitted to open since December.Small businesses are set to benefit most from the reopening, with reports suggesting they are more confident about the future than a year ago.

“The FSB is also calling for cuts to hiring costs amid redundancy fears, as well as renewed efforts to tackle late payments and innovative approaches to debt.”

For the full story, click here.

HMRC to contact self-employed claimants for grant four SEISS applications

With the fourth support scheme due to open to claims, HMRC have confirmed they will be contacting all eligible self employed by email. All claims must be made on or before 1st June 2021.

Claims for this scheme need to be made by the individual and cannot be processed by an agent or adviser.

“There is no requirement that an earlier SEISS grant has been claimed to be eligible to claim the upcoming fourth grant.

To make a claim, applicants will need the following:

  • Self-assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • National Insurance number
  • Government Gateway user ID and password
  • UK bank details including account number, sort code, name on the account and address linked to the account.

Only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted.”

For the full story, click here.

Improving digital capabilities is top priority for 60% of UK family businesses

A survey carried out on family businesses have indicated that, increasing the use of new technologies is one of the top priorities for over half of them.

“A lot of energy has been spent on survival during Covid-19 – finding a way through and planning for the future. Now businesses can get back to focusing on strengthening their workforce and operations.”

Many UK family businesses are also falling behind in prioritising sustainability in their strategies.

For the full story, click here.