Weekly Digest – 29 September 2021

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

Petrol Stations Close Amid Shortage of Truck Drivers

British oil giant BP temporarily closed some of its 1,200 UK petrol stations on Friday due to a lack of unleaded and diesel grades, due to shortage of truck drivers. ExxonMobil’s Esso said a small number of its 200 Tesco Alliance retail sites had also been affected.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has mobilised the army in case it’s needed to help relieve the pressure on petrol stations across the country.

Hours-long queues of frustrated motorists are forming at the pumps each day, despite pleas from the government and the fuel companies to stay away and only buy petrol as needed. Meanwhile, the cost of a litre of petrol has risen to its highest point since September 2013.

Bank of England Warns Gas Prices Can Help Push Inflation

The Bank of England said soaring gas prices and supply chain problems may contribute to the rising inflation. The latest report by the Monetary Policy Committee said CPI inflation is now expected to be ‘slightly above’ 4% in the fourth quarter of the year.

Additionally, the bank has revised down their expectations for the recovery, with GDP still set to be 2.5% below its pre-Covid level in the third quarter of this year.

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.

Five Strategies to Gain Market Share

New businesses may find it extremely challenging to increase their market share. The success of your efforts depends on your decisions and other factors that vary from one industry to another. However, this Forbes article shares five strategies that will help you gain a bigger market share no matter what sector you’re in:

  • Define your brand. Create a recognizable brand identity to distinguish your company from others.
  • Study the competition. Dissect the market you’re about to enter and own up to determining what your direct competitors do better that you currently do.
  • Target your market. Dive deeper into defining your existing and ideal customers so you can market your business more effectively.
  • Be innovative, yet flexible. Find the right balance between sticking with what makes your services unique, while still being willing to adapt to necessary changes.
  • Connect with your customers. Directly engage with your customers to acquire feedback and assess their needs.

Need more focused business advice? Get in touch with our advisors today and let’s chat about your specific situation.

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