Tuesday 29th September 2020 @ 2pm
I hope you are well and managing business in the “new normal”. Unfortunately, as we learnt yesterday, we are now entering further restrictions Nationally and it is possible that
Redbridge will have some sort of further local lockdown in the near future.
This makes it even more important to belong to a business support network where we can network with each other for business and to gain ideas to help promote our own businesses.
We know how important it is to maintain turnover and profit, particularly in the current climate which is challenging for many. We have therefore included in our next meeting a presentation from Kim Wheatley of Asentiv, talking about business referrals and networking. We also have Aleksandra Mielnikow-Rudnicka, Access & Progression Officer at London School of Management Education talking about apprentice opportunities and the new Government Kickstart scheme which may provide you with a useful extra pair of hands at reduced cost.
As usual we will have online networking, Q & A’s and members and guests can raise questions or subjects for discussion. If afterwards you would like someone’s direct contact details, simply reply to this email and we will affect an introduction for you.
I hope to see you on Tuesday
Join the Zoom Meeting
Support for jobs
- Job Retention Bonus – businesses will receive a £1,000 bonus for every furloughed employee who is still working at their company as of 31st January 2021
- Kickstart Scheme – designed to help 16-24 year olds. Those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, will be eligible. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week – and employers will be able to top this wage up.
- Apprenticeships, skills and training
- Businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the Government already provides for new 16-18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.
- A £111 million investment to triple the scale of traineeships in 2020-21 ensuring more young people have access to high quality training.
- £17 million of funding to triple the number of sector-based work academy placements in 2020-21
- Nearly £900 million to double the number of work coaches to 27,000;
- Over a quarter of a million more young people to benefit from an extra £32 million investment in the National Careers Service.
Infrastructure spending and decarbonisation
- £8.8bn in spending on infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects
- £3bn for green investment package
- £2bn Green Homes Grant – homeowners and landlords in England can claim vouchers for green improvements e.g. loft, wall and floor insulation
- £1bn for retrofitting public buildings
- £5.8bn on shovel-ready construction projects
- £1.5 billion for hospital maintenance and upgrades
- £100 million for our local roads network
- over £1 billion to start to rebuild schools in the worst condition in England, plus £760 million this year for key maintenance work on schools and FE colleges
- £1 billion for local projects to boost local economic recovery in the places that need it most
- £142 million for court maintenance to repair around 100 courts across England.
Support for hospitality and leisure
- New discount scheme for restaurants, cafes and pubs – 50% off, up to £10, sit down meals throughout August
- VAT cut for most tourism and hospitality-related activities, from 20% to 5%. This will run for six months, starting next Wednesday (15th)
Support for housing
- Stamp Duty threshold raised from £125,000 to £500,000, running until 31st March 2021, effective immediately
When people are in the lead, communities thrive
|As lockdown measures begin to ease, business’ owners need to start planning now for the impact on their cash flow and reserves.
Whilst Government have provided short term fixes for business, the real pain is likely to be felt once lockdown has been lifted and we all return to work. There are six key dates over the next year that need to be considered and planned for very carefully.
|1. 21st September 2020
For most businesses, the lockdown itself will not be the worst period for cash flow, instead it will be when things start up and running again. As the new working capital cycle begins, there will be certain commitments, and the reserves you would normally rely on have already been depleted.
If we assume that most businesses are going to get back to some sort of ‘normal’ in June or July, the peak effect of the working capital rebuild is probably going to hit in September. Therefore, the last week of September is a key date that businesses should start planning for now.
2. 1st October 2020 and 1st January 2021
Most companies have December or March year-ends, 1 October this year and 1 January next year are key dates as they are when Corporation Tax payments are due. The crisis hadn’t kicked in back in December and was only just taking hold in March, so profits were probably higher at year end than now and the tax bill will be higher accordingly.
The lockdown may have depleted the cash generated in your last financial year meaning it is no longer there to pay the tax due. For December year-ends, who have just gone through the September working capital peak, cash could be particularly tight when Corporation Tax falls due.
3. 7th November 2020
For businesses with a March/June/September/December VAT stagger, 7th November is the due date for the VAT on the September quarter. The September quarter is likely to be the first quarter with a significant liability from returning to normal trading.
Bearing in mind that this payment is going to be following hot on the heels of the September working capital peak and potentially the October Corporation Tax payment, the VAT payment will need to be planned for.”
Whilst it may be possible to spread the payment with a Time To Pay arrangement with HMRC, or short-term borrowing, these tactics are potentially dangerous to enter into.
The VAT man is one not to get on the wrong side of and if there is one thing that will push businesses into insolvency more than any other, it’s getting behind on their VAT.
4. 31st January 2021
The end of January is the payment date for income tax. While this is a personal liability, not a company one, for many owner-managers, all income comes from the business, so there is usually a knock-on effect.
Since the government made it possible to defer the 31 July 2020 payment on account, the amount that will be due on 31 January 2021 will potentially be that much higher.
We should all set our 31 July 2020 payment to one side so we have it ready, but if you have reduced your drawings to protect the company, that may not have been possible, so you may need to draw money from the company to pay the tax due, causing more issues with cash flow.
Whilst you could potentially agree a Time To Pay arrangement with HMRC, you are only spreading the debt and causing more stress to on-going cash flow.
The January 2021 payment will be based on your income to 5 April 2020, which was again pre-crisis and may well be higher than your current income for the tax year 5 April 2021.
It may, therefore, be possible to reduce the payment on account that needs to be made on 31 January alongside the 2019/20 final payment.
Get your tax return done as soon as possible so that you know what the amount is. Remember any Grants received from Government are taxable as income, so allow for that in your calculations.
5. 31st March 2021
One of the first things the Chancellor announced was that VAT that was due during lockdown did not need to be paid until the 31st March 2021, so this is a significant date. Given the various stress on businesses’ cash flow that have already had a significant impact, this has the potential to be one of the most critical dates of the COVID-19 crisis.
It is essential to confront the realities of the situation now and as it’s more than nine months away, you have time to plan, put money aside or arrange facilities to fund it. The worst thing you can do, as a business owner, is to put your head in the sand and ignore this potential issue that’s coming towards you.
Other dates to keep in mind are rent quarter days; traditionally in the UK, quarterly rent is payable in March, June, September and December.
If your business pays rent quarterly, then three of these quarter days closely coincide with the key dates we have identified at the end of September 2020, December 2020 and March 2021.
6. 1st May 2021
The final date to be aware of is the year anniversary of the CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme) and BBLS (Bounce Back Loan Scheme). These started to be advanced in April and May 2020, mostly with twelve-month repayment holidays, so most repayments will start around 1st May 2021.
The CBILS loans are assessed for affordability, often assuming a return to 2019 trading levels by the time the loan payments commence while the BBLS loans were issued with no checks on affordability at all!
Due to the significant impact on the economy, it’s quite likely that 2019 sales levels will not return as quickly as hoped and that, combined with the aforementioned pressure on cash flow, many businesses could find themselves unable to repay their loan which could result in a second wave of business failures over the course of summer.
Those businesses that are prepared to confront the brutal facts of their current reality will be the ones that prevail in the long term.
The dates above are key; start thinking about how you might navigate through a series of ‘pinch points’ from a cash flow perspective and lay your plans now.
If at all possible, take advantage of the CBILS or BBLS loans now to cover your cashflow later, rather than deferring VAT and Tax payments and having to apply for loans when the business is in distress, which are unlikely to be granted at that point.
By planning now you will have longer to pay the debt back and more certainty in your financial planning, allowing you to concentrate on rebuilding the business and that vital cash flow.
The key to business resilience will be to address these challenges head-on and it all starts with planning now.
There is a Zoom meeting on Tuesday 26th May @ 11am where we can address any concerns or ideas that you have concerning the above – That invite has and will further be sent under separate cover.
Malicious email attachments, false government grant phone calls and CEO impersonation scams are among a raft of scams undermining businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The increasing risk has led National Trading Standards to launch Businesses Against Scams – a free online training tool to protect businesses, employees and customers from costly scams.
With remote working and many businesses having to stop or diversify their trading practices, criminals are seizing the opportunity to target employees who are isolated from colleagues. Scams include criminals impersonating government officials or a senior member of the business in order to put pressure on employees to give out sensitive information or make payments.
Criminals will also try and gain access to businesses devices and networks, and everything stored on them. They can do this by:
- Sending emails with malicious attachments;
- Exploiting vulnerabilities in your operating systems if they are not up-to-date;
- Trying to get you to click links or visit malicious websites.
Once they have access to your device and your data, they may try to steal your data or extract money from you by getting you to pay a ransom.
At a time when businesses are already facing challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the proliferation of related scams are adding further strain on businesses. This includes scams directly targeting businesses – such as tax refund frauds – which can lead to significant financial losses for businesses.
Scams targeting customers also undermine businesses, as criminals often impersonate businesses to defraud their customer base, causing reputational damage and potential loss of business. The emotional and mental impact on employees and business owners who have fallen victim to a scam can also be devastating and long-lasting.
The increased risk for businesses has led National Trading Standards to encourage more businesses to join Businesses Against Scams. The initiative provides free tools for businesses to help upskill and train their workforce, through free online training modules that will help staff identify and prevent potential scams. Businesses can take the training and sign up at https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/BAS.
Louise Baxter, Head of the National Trading Standards Scams Team, said:
“Criminals will use every opportunity they can to defraud innocent people. They will continue to exploit every angle of this national crisis and we want businesses to be prepared. We’ve launched Businesses Against Scams as a free tool for organisations to help them protect their business, their staff and their customers.”
Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said:
“COVID-19 has presented new opportunities for businesses to be exploited. Criminals are expert at impersonating people, businesses and the police. They spend hours researching a business for their scams, hoping an employee might let their guard down just for a moment. Business must be vigilant at all times. Never rush, act cautiously and always challenge.
“The Businesses Against Scams initiative empowers businesses and their employees to take a stand against scams by equipping them with the advice and knowledge on how to identify and prevent a scam.”
Four common scams targeting businesses include:
Government grant/tax refund scams – A business is contacted by phone, email or post by government imposters suggesting the business might qualify for a special COVID-19 government grant or a tax refund. Variations on the scheme involve contacts through text messages, social media posts and messages.
Businesses should be cautious about unexpected urgent communications offering financial assistance. Check that the information is genuine by using official government websites.
Invoice/mandate scams – A business may be contacted out of the blue by someone claiming to be from a regular supplier. They state that their bank account details have changed and will ask you to change the payment details.
Never rush a payment. Use contact details that you have used before to check that it is genuine.
CEO impersonation scams – A sophisticated scam that plays on the authority of company directors and senior managers. An employee receives a phone call or email from someone claiming to be a senior member of staff – they ask for an urgent payment to a new account and instil a sense of panic. Scammers may even hack a staff email account or use spoofing software to appear genuine.
Be cautious about unexpected urgent requests for payment and always check the request in person if possible.
Tech support scams – With more people working remotely and IT systems under pressure, criminals may impersonate well-known companies and offer to repair devices. Criminals are trying to gain computer access or get hold of passwords and login details. Once they have access, criminals can search the hard drive for valuable information.
Always be suspicious of cold callers. Genuine companies would never call out of the blue and ask for financial information.
If a business believes they have been the victim of a scam they must contact their bank immediately and report any suspicious activity to Action Fraud https://www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Businesses Against Scams is a new element of the successful Friends Against Scams initiative, run by National Trading Standards to provide free online training to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/
We are extremely proud to announce that MP Sam Tarry will be joining our expert panel on the 23rd of April 2020.
Sam Tarry is a British politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Ilford South since the 2019 general election.
- Deferring VAT and Self-Assessment payments (Speaker – Jamal Khan)
- Self-employment Income Support Scheme (Speaker – Jamal Khan)
- The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank (Speaker – Jamal Khan)
- A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans (Speaker – Jamal Khan)
- Tax planning (Speaker – Usama Awais)
- Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) (Speaker – Albert Peters)
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Speaker – Albert Peters)
- Business Assurance (MP Sam Tarry)
- 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England (Speaker – Paul Nightingale)
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief. Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 (Speaker – Paul Nightingale)
- Commercial rent protection Scheme (Speaker – Kevin Clarke)
- Energy costs and bills (Speaker – Ryan Edwards)
Please register for a place now via our Eventbrite and Zoom links below (Both registrations are required)
Event & Registration (How to register and how the event will be held)
Event platform – Zoom webinar (Zoom is a web-based video conferencing tool with a local, desktop client and a mobile app that allows users to meet online, with or without video. Attendees will require access via a laptop, desktop, handheld pad or mobile phone device to attend)
Date – 23rd April 2020
Registration starts – 5.15pm
Presentation starts – 5.30pm
Q&A starts – 6.50pm
Event finishes – 7.30pm
Format – An hour of presentations from members of the panel, followed by an hour of Q&A from attendees
Registration platform – Eventbrite/Zoom
To register, you will need to acquire a free ticket from Eventbrite and also register for the meeting through Zoom meetings. The registration process can be completed by clicking on the links below in turn;
Eventbrite Registration Link
Zoom Meeting Registration Link
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to make contact at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please share the links above so that others may also benefit from the webinar and information shared.