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!
Written Statement: Future of Business Wales from 2023
Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Economy said at the end of May:
“The Welsh Government’s Business Wales service has been a programme to help inspire individuals to become entrepreneurial and ensure micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Wales have access to appropriate and timely information, guidance and support. It has previously been supported by EU funds. As we know the UK Government has made a drastic cut in replacement EU funds for Wales. I am announcing that I have decided to fund £20.9m per annum, up until March 2025, to extend the backbone Business Wales service beyond the end of EU funding in 2023. It will also provide dedicated advice and support provision to the social enterprise sector here in Wales….”
Summer Start-up Week 2022
The Summer Start-up Week (SSUW) is an award-winning, online start-up course taking place from 20 to 24 June 2022.
Delivered by some of the brightest entrepreneurs and experts in Wales, the 5-day online course will help you nurture, develop and grow your business. With a mix of interactive workshops, panel discussions and live Q&As, covering everything from research and marketing to cashflow and funding, the course will give you the key elements needed for a successful business, freelance career or social enterprise.
You’ll develop an action plan, be supported with mentoring, and following the course, will have access to a range of quick-start guides, videos and talks, to help bring your ideas to life.
The event is free to attend for those studying or have studied at a Welsh College, University or Sixth Form and will be live streamed directly to you from the comfort of your own home.
As part of the Welsh Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee, this event is also open to under 25’s in Wales who are Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEETs).
See: Summer Startup Week
Help for Wales’ countryside following boost in tourism
Climate Change Minister, Julie James, has announced £26m to limit the carbon footprint of tourism in Wales, boost biodiversity and improve access to the countryside so all can enjoy its beauty.
The Minister explained that the funding would be used to help make tourism more sustainable and Wales’ countryside more resilient following the growth of staycations during the pandemic.
Some of the ways in which it will be used include:
- making improvements to transport and tourism facilities, particularly around visitor hotspots
- improving footpath networks with a particular focus on disability access
- funding projects that will improve Wales’ National Parks so they can better store carbon and provide better protection for wildlife
The classification of self-catering accommodation for local tax purposes
Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government has made a statement about self – catering accommodation:
“On 2 March 2022, I announced the next steps being taken by the Welsh Government, following our consultation on local taxes for second homes and self-catering accommodation. The steps form part of our plans to ensure property owners make a fair contribution to the communities where they have homes or run businesses. This work, in turn, is part of the Welsh Government’s three-pronged approach to addressing the impact that large numbers of second homes and holiday lets can have on communities and the Welsh language.
The views conveyed in the consultation, including those from respondents representing the wider tourism industry, clearly support a change to the criteria for self-catering accommodation to be classified as non-domestic. Respondents were of the view that the majority of genuine holiday accommodation businesses would be able to satisfy increased letting thresholds, and a wide range of possible alternatives was suggested. Increasing the thresholds will provide a clearer demonstration that the properties concerned are being let regularly and are making a substantial contribution to the local economy.
Following our consultation, the Welsh Government is of the view that properties let out as self-catering accommodation on an infrequent basis should be liable for council tax. Increased letting criteria will ensure that self-catering properties are classed as non-domestic, only if they are being used for business purposes for the majority of the year.
I, therefore, announced an increase to the number of days, within any 12-month period, that a self-catering property is required to be made available to let, from 140 to 252 days, and actually let, from 70 to 182 days.
A technical consultation on the draft Non-Domestic Rating (Amendment of Definition of Domestic Property) (Wales) Order 2022 (“the Order”) ran from 1 March to 12 April 2022.
The consultation sought views on the clarity and practical application of the draft legislation. I have published a summary of responses….”
Coronavirus regulations have ended in Wales
After more than 2 years of living with coronavirus regulations, these expired on May 30, 2022, when the requirement to wear a face covering in health and care settings ended.
The Welsh Government will continue to recommend people take simple steps to protect their health – including wearing face coverings in health and care settings – as Wales moves beyond the emergency response to the pandemic.
Broadband schemes receive £9 million funding boost
Broadband schemes throughout Wales will receive more than £9 million worth of funding to help them deliver fast and reliable broadband to communities that need it, thanks to the Welsh Government’s Local Broadband Fund.
The fund, which was set-up to help local authorities and social enterprises address connectivity issues in their communities has already helped a number of projects across Wales with a further four projects now being awarded funding.
The money will provide better broadband access to communities in Cardiff, Newport, Vale of Glamorgan and North Wales.
Cash flow is the single most important issue right now?
Do you agree? Most of our other clients do. In this economy CASH IS KING and managing your cash flow is more important than ever.
If you are concerned about the future of the economy, then take some time to reflect on where you are and what could happen in the next few months. It is now vitally important for all businesses to plan ahead for a range of scenarios. Cash flow and business planning in these uncertain times may appear difficult but there are some practical steps you can take to minimise potential disruption to your business.
- Review your Budgets and set realistic and achievable targets for the remainder of 2022.
- Get your employees involved in a discussion of likely trading conditions and get their input on reducing costs and maintaining revenues.
- Review and flowchart the main processes in your business (e.g. Sales processing, order fulfilment, shipping etc.) and challenge the need for each step.
- Put extra effort into making sure your relationships with your customers are solid.
- Review your list of products and services and eliminate those that are unprofitable or not core products/services.
- Pull everyone together and explain the business strategy and get their buy-in.
We specialise in helping our clients manage their cash flow. We do this by preparing and updating detailed cash flow forecasts, using the latest and most powerful software. We can also help you negotiate or renegotiate overdraft facilities and find specific funding to help you grow!
Please talk to us about cash flow planning for the next few months, we can help with a template so you can do this yourself or work together to produce estimates for a variety of scenarios.
Need some inspiration?
After the Jubilee celebrations and as we return to work, hopefully ready to face new challenges, if you are looking for some new business ideas then ask us for a copy of our guide called “57 Ways to Grow Your Business”. Our publication is packed full of bright ideas for the Serious Entrepreneur and starts with the four basics of growth.
All the ideas in this guide ultimately revolve around four basic insights about growing a business:
- Increase the number of customers
- Increase the number of times each one does business with you
- Increase the average value of each transaction
- Increase your own effectiveness and efficiency
Here are some other business principles that we explore in the guide:
- What you can measure you can manage
- Build in unique core differentiators and focus on them constantly
- It’s more important to be different than it is to be better
- Cutting the price is always an option but there is usually a better way – increasing value
- Break compromises and lower the barriers to people doing business with you
- Systemise every aspect of your business
- Empower your team to make it right for every customer
- Create a clear and detailed action plan
Ask us for a copy – you never know there may be a gem or two in there for you to help you grow faster!
UK governments’ new ‘Help with the cost of living’ website
The UK government have launched a new website to help you find the support available to you to help with the cost of living.
Find out about:
- Supporting your income
- Help with your bills
- Help with childcare costs
- Housing support
- Help with transport costs
- Help finding work
For further information visit: Cost of Living Support – Get government support to help with the cost of living (campaign.gov.uk)
A summary of tax reliefs available for innovative companies
Here is a summary of information provided by HMRC on tax reliefs available for innovative companies. Please contact us if you need more information or have a look at our website.
The aim of the Patent Box is to provide an additional incentive for companies to retain and commercialise existing patents and to develop new innovative patented products:
- Corporation Tax: The Patent Box – GOV.UK
- Guidance CIRD200000 and pages following set out the qualifying criteria
- CIRD275000 includes a flowchart for the computation required.
Research and Development Tax credits (R&D), (including Advanced Assurance)
Research and Development (R&D) tax relief (or credit) is a company tax relief that may reduce a company’s tax bill or in some instances involve a payment of credit by HMRC to the company. It is based on the company’s expenditure on R&D:
- Corporation Tax: Research and Development tax relief – GOV.UK
- CIRD80000 and pages following set out the qualifying criteria
- CIRD100000 includes a flowchart for the computation required and further information.
Creatives Tax Reliefs (Film, Animation, High End TV, Children’s TV, Video Games, Theatre, Orchestra, and Museums and Galleries)
These are a group of eight reliefs that allow qualifying companies to claim a larger deduction for certain expenses. The company will receive a reduction in their Corporation Tax liability, or in some circumstances a payable tax credit.
Venture Capital Schemes (EIS, SEIS, VCT)
The schemes are intended to incentivise investment in smaller, higher risk, unquoted trading companies that would otherwise struggle to access finance for growth by providing a range of income tax and capital gains tax reliefs to individual investors:
- Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)
- Venture Capital Trust (VCT)
- Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)
HMRC urges businesses to move to new customs IT platform now to continue trading
HMRC is urging businesses to move to its new customs IT platform now to continue trading and is writing to businesses to support them with the changes.
The letters and emails include further information about making the move to the UK’s single customs platform – the Customs Declaration Service – and sets out the steps businesses must take now to ensure they can continue trading. They also signpost to online resources to support businesses through the process.
Whether you make your own declarations or use an intermediary, HMRC is urging you to act now to plan and make your move to the Customs Declaration Service. It can take some time to complete the preparation needed and the sooner you start, the easier it will be.
The Customs Declaration Service supports making import and export declarations when moving goods into and out of the UK. It is a resilient, reliable and adaptable IT platform, which replaces the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) and is the first step of the UK border transformation.
The CHIEF system is closing for import declarations after 30 September 2022. After 31 March 2023, the ability to make exports declarations will end and the CHIEF service will close.
SBRI Fusion Industry Challenges: phase one
This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).
Organisations can apply for a share of £2 million to develop solutions to encourage innovation in the fusion industry through the use of:
- novel and innovative heating and cooling systems
- manufacturing and technologies
To lead a project, you can:
- be an organisation of any size
- work alone or with other organisations as subcontractors
Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only.
The competition closes on Wednesday 22 June 2022 at 11am.
Meeting Net Zero with the Power of Place
Innovate UK KTN publishes interactive report ‘Meeting Net Zero with the Power of Place’ on how location data can help us fight against climate change.
The report, which comprises videos, case studies, as well as written commentary, explores the vast potential of geospatial data, innovation inclusive growth, collaboration, system thinking and cultural change in dealing with global challenges.
Cross-sector examples include:
- Energy – Geospatial data has the potential to uncover suitable sites for greener energy generation such as solar, wind and wave power; the locations for such sites are predicated by earth observation data on geography, natural climates, and prevailing weather conditions.
- Nature – Satellite cameras allow for real-time monitoring of deforestation around the world. Global Forest Watch monitors 600 million hectares of forest at any one time and has alerted authorities of illegal mining and logging in protected areas of the Amazon.
- Built Environment – British geospatial companies are working with Homes England and Welsh Government to help urban planners create more resilient urban environments, that factor in sustainability and net zero.
- Transport – 4G and 5G cellular data can help plan the installation of EV charge points by tracking popular routes, particularly as coverage extends into rural areas.
New app to counter malicious approaches online
An innovative app, allowing users of social media and professional networking sites, to better identify the hallmarks of fake profiles used by foreign spies and other malicious actors, and take steps to report and remove them, has been launched.
In the last year, over 10,000 UK nationals from across society have been targeted on sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. The use of fake profiles on social media and professional networking sites is occurring at scale. In the first half of last year alone, LinkedIn stopped 11.6m fake accounts at registration.
The new app is part of the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure’s (CPNI) ‘Think Before You Link’ campaign. It has been developed with behavioural scientists to include features such as a profile reviewer, which will help individuals identify potentially fake profiles and report anything they deem suspicious.
The launch of the app comes as increased espionage by state actors persistently threatens the UK and is increasingly conducted online.
Faraday Battery Challenge Round 5
The Faraday Battery Challenge, part of UK Research and Innovation, and delivered by Innovate UK (IUK), is looking for projects that will deliver innovative developments in sustainable propulsion battery technologies.
The competition will invest up to £25 million, subject to business case approval. This will support technologies with the potential to enter the automotive market within the next decade.
The competition aims to move UK battery innovations from technological potential towards commercial capability. Additional aims are to develop and secure material and manufacturing supply chains for battery technologies in the UK.
It is designed to support the research and development of the most promising, innovative and sustainable battery technologies for the propulsion of electric vehicles in the automotive sector.
Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility
The Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility competition is providing grants to help roll out commercial use self-driving vehicles across the UK from 2025, delivering convenience for consumers and making journeys safer, greener and more reliable.
The competition will help bring together companies and investors so that sustainable business models be rolled out nationally and exported globally.
Types of self-driving vehicles that could be deployed include delivery vans, passenger buses, shuttles, and pods, as well as vehicles that move people and luggage at airports and containers at shipping ports.
Innovate UK (IUK), part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) to invest up to £41.5 million in innovation projects across two competition strands, which will both close to applications at 11:00 on 20 July 2022.
Clean Maritime Demonstration competition: round 2
The Department for Transport is working with Innovate UK (IUK), part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest £12 million in innovative feasibility studies and pre-deployment projects.
This competition is part of a suite of interventions by the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE). UK SHORE aims to transform the UK into a global leader in the design and manufacturing of clean maritime technology.
The Clean Maritime Demonstration Round 2 competition has two strands.
Funding is available in strand 1 to develop feasibility studies for pre-deployment testing for innovative clean maritime technology demonstrations.
Find out more about strand 1 of the Clean Maritime Demonstration competition.
Funding is available in strand 2 for agile technology demonstrations and pre-deployment testing of clean maritime technologies.
Find out more about strand 2 of the Clean Maritime Demonstration competition.
Both strands opened for applications on Wednesday 25 May 2022 and close on Wednesday 13 July 2022 at 11:00am.
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.
Points based system welcomes high skilled graduates to UK
The world’s top graduates in subjects such as science, engineering and medical research will be able to bring their skills to the UK following the launch of a new visa route targeting graduates from prestigious universities such as Harvard, MIT, the Karolinska Institute and Kyoto University.
From engineering to cyber security to advanced medical research, the UK will be able to welcome talented individuals to drive both economic growth as well as technological and medical advances. The race to attract the brightest and best international talent is fierce and inviting talented individuals from international universities will complement the pool of high achieving graduates from UK universities.
Live Events Reinsurance Scheme supports over £400 million of investment and paves way for busy summer events season
Nearly three million people are expected to have attended events supported by the Government’s Live Events Reinsurance Scheme by the end of the summer.
The scheme, which closes in September, has paved the way for a busy summer events season, giving event organisers the confidence to invest in future events – safe in the knowledge they can insure against the most severe coronavirus-related risk, providing job security and boosting the economy.
The Government acted as a reinsurer and guaranteed to make sure insurers offered products to event companies. Prominent insurers in the Lloyd’s Market including Munich Re, Beazley, Arch, Dale Underwriting Partners, Hiscox and Ark are carriers of the scheme.
The scheme has already provided well over £100 million worth of cover – supporting more than £400 million of investment and protecting almost 15,000 jobs, keeping the economy moving and driving growth across the country.
Events supported across the UK include national set-piece events such as Wimbledon, The BRIT Awards, Birmingham’s Spring Fair and the London Art Fair. It has also supported important community events such as the Shaftesbury Book Fair, the Cardiff Half Marathon and the Gloucester Quays Christmas Outdoor Ice Rink.