Weekly Digest – 22 September 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Guidance to Help Businesses Navigate Trade Between UK Nations Released

New guidance has been published to help businesses and enforcement authorities navigate trade between all 4 nations of the UK. The system is set out in the UK Internal Market Act 2020 to protect businesses and jobs by ensuring there are no barriers to trade across the United Kingdom.

The Office for the Internal Market which will support the smooth running of trade between England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland has also been established by the Competition and Markets Authority.

Government’s COVID plans for winter

The government announced plans for controlling the coronavirus over the winter months. Should a new variant emerge or the NHS show signs of becoming overwhelmed, mandatory masks and vaccine passports may be implemented.

Vaccination Begins for 12 to 15 Year Olds

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to healthy 12 to 15-year-olds has begun in England and Scotland.

Invites are also being sent out in Wales this week, while teen vaccinations will likely start from October in Northern Ireland. Furthermore, booster shots are being offer to those above 50 years old, health and social workers, and vulnerable people. This is part of the drive to get more people protected ahead of winter.

Government Borrowing in August Falls Less Than Expected

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), borrowing hit £20.5 billion in August, down from £26 billion in the previous year. This figure was the second highest August borrowing since 1993.

Furthermore, it is above a consensus of analysts, who had predicted that public sector net borrowing would come in at £15.6 billion for the month.

COVID Local Support Grant Extended

The government’s COVID Local Support Grant has been extended until September, bringing it in line with the end date for furlough and other COVID-related support. The funding is ring-fenced so that 80% is used to support families with bills for food, key utilities and other essentials.

Cash Boost For Apprentices

Employers of all sizes in England can apply for additional funding to help them take on new apprentices. The boost to the apprenticeship incentive scheme has been available to claim from 1 June. Businesses can apply to claim £3000 for each new apprentice hired as a new employee from 1 April until 30 September.

Recovery Loan Scheme

The government’s Recovery Loan Scheme helps companies access loans of £25,000 up to a maximum of £10 million. The loans will include 80% government guarantee and interest rate cap of 14.99%.

This is in addition to the extended furlough until 30 September and the New Restart Grants scheme.

Job Retention Scheme Running Until End of September

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will run until 30 September 2021. It will remain unchanged until the end of June, and a phased reduction in the level of funding will be implemented from 1 July 2021.

Currently, employers can claim grants equal to 80% of a furloughed employee’s reference pay. Grants for each worker are capped at £2,500 per month.

For claims starting 1 July 2021, the grant will be reduced to 70% of the reference salary and capped at £2,187.50 per month. It will be further reduced to 60% of the reference salary with a cap of £1,875 starting 1 August 2021.

You can read more about it here.

SME Brexit Support Fund

A £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund has been announced to help businesses adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.

Traders will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to pay for practical support for importing and exporting. This fund will help businesses prepare for the implementation of import controls that will take effect from April and July.

More details can be found here.

Kickstart Scheme Grant

  • Provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit
  • Covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage) for 25 hours a week for a total of six months
  • Also covers National Insurance contributions
  • Employers can spread the start date of the job placements until the end of December 2021

More information can be found here.

Tips for First-Time Business Owners

First-time founders often waste time and resources during the early stages of building their business because of the knowledge gap on how to efficiently start a company. In this Forbes article, seven tips have been shared for the successful launching and running of a business.

  • Create an online presence. Build brand trust by having a beautifully designed website and polished online presence that potential customers, investors, and staff can visit.
  • Find an organisation system that works for you. Have one place to store all your information, manage to-do lists, stay aligned on big-picture ideas, manage data, plan out product and content calendars, among other things, so you can run your business more efficiently.
  • Stay on top of your finances. You’ll become a more strategic business owner when you keep your finances on track and understand your cash flow.
  • Learn to block your time. Scheduling your time is key– block out hours of your time on your calendar to focus on certain projects.
  • Don’t skimp on HR and payroll. Ensure your HR and payroll are taken care of so you can have peace of mind. It’s recommended to invest in a platform that can help keep these aspects of your business running smoothly.
  • Remember that you don’t have to start from scratch. Helpful templates and resources are available everywhere– you don’t have to start everything from scratch.
  • Keep confidential information confidential. Limit who has access to proprietary information.

Your most precious resource is your time. So if you want to find more ways to save time and focus on building a thriving business, get in touch with our advisors today!

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