Welcome to our round up of the latest business news for clients. Please contact us if you want to talk about how these updates affect your business. We are here to support you!
UK and Welsh governments reach £26 million deal to establish new Freeport in Wales
An agreement has been reached between the UK and Welsh governments to collaborate and deliver a new Freeport in Wales.
Backed by UK government funding, the Freeport will support the regeneration of communities in Wales by attracting new businesses, jobs and investment, as well as growing the Welsh economy.
Bidders must show how they will create high-quality employment opportunities offering good salaries and conditions and meet the governments’ shared climate change commitments to reach net zero by 2050.
In another landmark step in cooperation, officials from UK and Welsh governments will jointly assess the bids in a fair and transparent selection process to ensure that the best possible sites come forward and that it delivers the maximum benefits to communities across Wales.
North Wales Regional Skills Partnership – Employer Survey
The North Wales Regional Skills Partnership (RSP) is one of four regional partnerships across Wales. The RSP has been developed to inform Welsh Government’s strategic approach to the delivery of skills and employment provision by identifying skills gaps and shortages in the region, based on employer-led insight.
They are currently undertaking research to understand business skills and employment needs of the region to develop their next three-year regional Skills and Employment Plan 2022-25.
They are asking employers to share their current experience with skills and employment, including their views on future skills needed.
The aim of the research is to gain a better understanding of the support needed for businesses across North Wales in terms of skills and employment so that they can determine regional priorities and key areas for development to meet business needs.
Visit Wales Accommodation Occupancy Survey Annual Report 2021
The occupancy survey provides trend information on the demand for tourism accommodation in Wales for 2021.
The key objectives of the occupancy survey are to monitor and evaluate accommodation performance trends and to inform national and regional tourism planning and development for Visit Wales and other tourism stakeholders. In addition, the survey provides business intelligence for accommodation providers and other tourism businesses to assist with their growth and development. Benchmarking reports showing comparisons with other accommodation providers are available to all participants returning their data each month and provides insightful information for businesses.
Government investment will encourage cycle use and help Wales meet net zero
A £50 million investment to get people using cycles and out of their cars has been announced by Deputy Climate Change Minister Lee Waters.
As part of the investment announced, all local authorities will receive a minimum of £500,000, with additional allocations having been awarded based on the outcome of a competitive application process.
Writing a Business Plan for your future success!
A business plan is an essential tool, whether it is for raising finance or for putting your objectives into writing. In either event, a business plan will give you some form of direction and help you set goals, and most importantly, enable you to monitor your success!
Business plans should be as clear as possible, and since brevity aids clarity, they should also be as short as possible. A useful way of achieving this without losing any important points is to stratify the plan by confirming all details, where possible, to an appendix, leaving only the overall message in the body of the document. This will enable the reader to master the basic points of the proposal more quickly.
We have considerable experience in helping clients write plans, forecasting results and monitoring their success against goals. We would be delighted to help you and we also have access to a range of finance providers and can help your business succeed!
Don’t forget to claim the Employment Allowance
The Employment Allowance (EA) is a £5,000 allowance set against employers National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and has to be claimed each tax year if the employer qualifies. This allowance was introduced in 2014/15 and was increased to £5,000 from 2022/23. Employers make a claim for the Employment Allowance through their payroll software. They do this by completing and submitting a Real Time Information – Employer Payment Summary (EPS) to HMRC. The employer must enter “Yes” in the “Employment Allowance Indicator” field of the EPS confirming that they are eligible to claim the allowance.
Eligible employers can claim the Employment Allowance at any time during a tax year. Employers may also claim the Employment Allowance against closed tax years, provided they have not already claimed the allowance for those years. However, claims for closed tax years are limited to the four tax years falling before the current tax year.
The Employment Allowance can be claimed by most employers who pay secondary Class 1 NICs on their employees. This includes:
- businesses (includes self- employed persons, companies and partnerships who have employees)
- charities (includes private businesses that have charitable status such as schools, academies, further education colleges and universities)
- Community Amateur Sports Clubs
If two or more companies are connected with one another, or two or more charities are connected with one another, then only one of those companies/charities may claim the Employment Allowance and they must decide which company/charity claims the allowance.
For recently updated guidance on connected businesses see: –
Other Employers Excluded from claiming the Employment Allowance
Employers are not eligible to claim the Employment Allowance where their employers’ Class 1 National Insurance liabilities in the previous tax year exceeded £100,000.
Another important exclusion from EA are single director companies where the director is the sole employee of the company.
Employment Allowance counts towards the total de minimis State Aid you’re allowed to get over a 3 year period. Employers that exceed the de minimis State Aid threshold for their sector (Agriculture products for example 20,000 euros) are also excluded from claiming EA.
Please contact us if you need help with your payroll.
Check if a letter you have received from HMRC is genuine
Check a list of recent letters from HMRC to help you decide if a letter you’ve received is a scam.
- Letter OCA300 — repayment of Student Loan deductions
- Overpaid Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grants
- Research about employee experience of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Research about the digitisation of Child Benefit
- Refund of Income Tax from changes to your Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant
- Other letters you should check
If your letter is not listed here check other letters sent by HMRC
The Recovery Loan Scheme is ending soon
The Recovery Loan Scheme supports access to finance for UK businesses as they grow and recover from the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Scheme is to help businesses of any size access loans and other kinds of finance so they can recover after the pandemic and transition period. The Recovery Loan Scheme will accept applications until 30 June 2022. Up to £10 million is available per business. The actual amount offered, and the terms, are at the discretion of participating lenders.
The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender. As the borrower, you are always 100% liable for the debt. Loans are available through a network of accredited lenders, listed on the British Business Bank’s website.
Smaller firms struggle to get finance
A recent study by the Federation for small businesses (FSB) shows lending to small businesses has hit an all-time low. New findings from the quarterly Small Business Index (SBI) show successful finance applications plummeting to lowest level on record.
The FSB warns that banks “pulling up the drawbridge” to small firms will further stifle economic growth. Fewer than one in ten (9%) small firms applied for finance in Q1 2022, the lowest proportion since SBI records began. The share that saw applications approved (43%) is also at a record low. Of the few firms that did manage to secure finance, four in ten (42%) plan to use credit to manage cashflow, considerably more than the numbers planning to use funds for equipment updates (21%), expansion (19%) or recruitment (4%).
Please talk to us if you need finance – we can help!
Workplace Charging Scheme: guidance for charities and small accommodation businesses
The UK Government is now offering help to businesses with the upfront costs to install charge points.
The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a voucher-based scheme that provides eligible applicants with support towards the upfront costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints.
The scheme is available for B&Bs, campsites, small hotels, charities and any other accommodation business with less than 250 employees.
New internet phishing alert
New emails and letters appearing to be from employees of the Government Legal Department/Bona Vacantia Division are in circulation. Emails are being sent from bogus email addresses purporting to be from members of the Bona Vacantia Division. These emails are not from the @governmentlegal.gov.uk address and may ask for confirmation of personal information or provide false links or download attachments.
Do not give out private information (such as bank details or passwords), download attachments or click on any links in emails if you are not sure they are genuine.
The Inaugural UK-EU Parliamentary Partnership Assembly
Earlier this month the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Ellis, addressed the UK and EU Parliamentarians at the inaugural meeting of the UK-EU Parliamentary Partnership Assembly.
He commented that “This forum is an important part of the governance that supports the new UK-EU relationship, but it is also a link between democratic representatives and the people that we serve. I hope that the following couple of days will provide an opportunity for Parliamentarians across the English Channel to exchange ideas on how we can get the most out of our new relationship – to the benefit of course of our respective citizens and businesses.”
He also stated that the war in Ukraine has drawn the UK and EU together. That is welcome after the inevitable strains which the change in constitutional relationship brought since 2016. The EU is an essential partner in a global alliance of shared values – and we want success for the Union, and we hope the EU wants that for the UK too.
New Bill to set up UK Infrastructure Bank announced in Queen’s speech
The UK Infrastructure Bank was launched in interim form at its headquarters in Leeds in June last year. It was tasked with accelerating investment into ambitious infrastructure projects, cutting emissions and levelling up across the UK.
This Bill will complete the Bank’s set up as an operationally independent institution and give it the power to lend directly to local authorities and the Northern Ireland Executive. It will also support the Bank’s operational independence by setting out clear accountability for how it is to be run.
Since its launch, the Bank has completed five deals, including financing the UK’s largest solar farm in south Wales, investing £100 million to provide high-capacity broadband to around 500,000 properties in hard-to-reach UK premises and a further £50 million to improve digital connectivity for rural homes and businesses across Northern Ireland.
Rollout of hundreds more zero-emission HGVs
The world’s largest fleet of zero emission HGVs will take to UK roads through plans to achieve cleaner air and greener jobs, while helping to keep costs down on consumer goods. £200 million of government funding will be injected into an extensive zero emission road freight demonstrator programme, at Logistics UK’s Future Logistics Conference earlier this month.
The 3-year comparative programme will begin later this year to help decarbonise the UK’s freight industry with initial competitions for battery, electric and hydrogen fuel cell technology launching shortly.
This could see hundreds more zero-emission HGVs rolled out across the nation and save the industry money, thanks to overall running costs of green vehicles being cheaper than petrol and diesel equivalents. More efficient deliveries will in turn enable haulage companies to keep the price of goods down and protect customers from rising costs.
The transition to zero-emission trucks will also help improve air quality, create greener jobs and deliver on COP26 pledges while reducing reliance on imports of foreign oil. Eliminating fossil fuels from road freight and improving the UK’s energy supply resilience will help to protect drivers and businesses from increasing global energy prices.
Innovation Loans Future Economy competition – round 3
UK registered businesses can apply for loans for innovative projects with strong commercial potential to significantly improve the UK economy.
Innovate UK is offering up to £25 million in loans to micro, small and medium – sized enterprises (SMEs). Loans are for highly innovative late stage research and development (R&D) projects with the best potential for the future. There should be a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact.
Your project must lead to new products, processes or services that are significantly ahead of others currently available or propose an innovative use of existing products, processes or services. It can also involve a new or innovative business model.
If your business is interested in taking advantage of the government grant support available and would benefit from support and assistance from an IUK experienced organisation please get in touch with us.