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!
New plan to get more people in Wales into work
A new Welsh Government plan to help more people in Wales to find and stay in work has been unveiled by Economy Minister Vaughan Gething.
The new plan for employability and skills sets out the actions Ministers will take to deliver the Young Persons Guarantee, support people furthest away from the labour market to find work – and focus on improving labour market outcomes for disabled people, Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic people, women, and those with low skills.
It also sets out measures to help people stay in work, through raising skills levels and preventing people from not taking up work or falling out of employment because of a health condition.
See: Minister unveils new plan to get more people in Wales into work | GOV.WALES
Welsh Government incentives for businesses to recruit disabled apprentices increased and extended by a further year
Businesses recruiting full time disabled apprentices over the next year can expect to receive an additional incentive of £2,000, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has announced.
The Welsh Government Employer Incentive Scheme for disabled apprentices, which was designed to encourage employers to get first-hand experience of the benefits of recruiting disabled people, is being extended from 1 April 2022 until the end of March 2023 and increased by £500.
The commitment supports the Welsh Government’s new employability plan, Stronger, Fairer, Greener Wales: A Plan for Employability and Skills, published earlier this week, which prioritises supporting those people who are furthest from the labour market.
The existing Apprenticeship Employer Incentive Scheme, which has formed a key part of Welsh Government’s COVID Commitment to support businesses and workers to recover from the impacts of coronavirus, is also being extended to 31 March, 2022.
The incentive scheme, which has already seen more than 6,100 new apprentices recruited since August 2020, had been due to close on 28 February 2022.
See: Welsh Government incentives for businesses to recruit disabled apprentices increased and extended by a further year | GOV.WALES
The Wales Business Awards 2022
Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid has opened entries for the Wales Business Awards 2022, providing SME businesses across the country with the opportunity to compete for one of Wales’ most prestigious accolades.
The nomination process has been simplified this year and introduces video entries across the range of categories below:
- Digital business of the year
- Global business of the year
- Green business of the year
- Innovative business of the year
- Young Entrepreneur of the year
- Workplace wellbeing award
- Customer Commitment & Excellence award
- Employee engagement award
- CSR campaign of the year
- Diversity & Inclusion award
Entries will close on 1 April 2022.
See: Wales Business Awards 2022 (cw-seswm.com)
The Future Skills Agenda in South West Wales
Since Business Wales last published the Employment and Skills Plan for the South West Wales region there has been a huge change in the way people work; the types of jobs on offer and more importantly perhaps the skills now required by industry to drive forward their businesses in a post pandemic world. The turbulent times that many have faced over the last two years has meant that new skills have been identified as a key requirement for businesses and it is therefore more important than ever that we ensure that we are delivering the right skills in our colleges and universities; through our apprenticeship provision and through the vocational offer in schools.
Have Your Say on the Future Skills Agenda in South West Wales – Employer Skills Survey 2022
Your involvement in the Employment and Skills Plan for 2022-2025 is key to ensuring that we inform Welsh Government what skills are required in South West Wales and where their funding needs to be allocated in order to fulfil the skills demands identified.
The link to the short on line questionnaire below will take you no longer than 8 minutes to complete, but it could make a huge difference to the skills landscape of the region. We want to exceed our target of engagement this year and we would like to hear from at least 2000 businesses about what you would like to see happen on skills development in our region.
To be part of changing the skills landscape, complete the survey!
Please pass on the survey to your business contacts and encourage them to participate and voice their opinions on skills in South West Wales.
Please use the following link to complete the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/7LMCTBR
For the full article see: News | Business Wales (gov.wales)
How To Create a Marketing Plan
Successful businesses all have two things in common – a thorough understanding of customer needs, and they have a total dedication to their customers.
This involves the process of knowing:
- Who their customers are;
- Their customers’ perception of the company and their needs; and
- How to attract them back time and time again!
The logic is that you gather information about your business and get an insight into the way customers and prospective customers think and make ‘buy’ decisions. So, take a day out to work on your marketing plan and set some targets.
At the end of a marketing day, you should be in a position to:
- Have gathered information about existing and potential customers needs and wants
- Have facilitated a discussion about the marketing position the company should be in
- Know the unique selling points that this business has and how to take advantage of these
- Understand how to differentiate the business from competitors
- Produce a marketing plan
A marketing plan sets out how you are going to put your growth strategy into practice. The marketing plan ensures that everyone in the business knows what you are trying to do and what they need to do to make it happen.
The key areas to consider are:
- Include your targets or objectives for the next 12 months. What are you trying to achieve?
- Outline a budget and any deadlines which will help you focus on your priorities and commitment to achieving them.
- Focus on communicating with existing and potential customers – set out when and how you will do this (to maintain customer awareness).
- Outline how you are going to reach new customers and by what methods (social media, website, newsletter, mailings, calls, signage, events).
- Build a schedule of marketing activities.
Do you know of anyone starting a business?
Then ask us about our comprehensive guide to the financial, tax and accounting considerations of starting a business, “The New Business Kit” which we offer free to start ups or those who have recently made the jump into business ownership.
The guide helps start-ups think about:
- Selecting a legal entity;
- Registering with the tax authorities;
- Accounting and bookkeeping;
- Value Added Tax;
- Payroll taxes and pensions;
- Income and corporation tax;
- Cash planning and forecasting;
- Selecting professional advisers; and
- Digital accounting systems.
In addition there is a section of useful names, addresses and telephone numbers. Just ask – it is free!
What is Peer to Peer (P2P) lending?
P2P is a relatively new concept which bypasses the banks to allow businesses to borrow money directly from ordinary people. Businesses get the funding they need, and lenders get a better rate than they would leaving their money in the bank. In between the borrower and the lender stands the P2P platform which handles the collection and distribution of loans and repayments.
P2P is very bespoke. The idea is to assess what the business needs first rather than attempting to fit them into a ‘product’. Consequently, an early informal chat through is often the best way to progress. Our P2P experts will guide you through the funding process, advising you every step of the way and their knowledge of the market and the lending platforms is unrivalled.
Our P2P experts have been involved in advising businesses on the raising of funds via P2P platforms since its emergence. They have even advised some newly emerging platforms on how to construct their lending guidelines and how they should treat new borrowers.
Please talk to us about financing options – we can introduce you to an expert!
HMRC asking employers to justify NIC increase on payslips
From 2023/24 there will be a separate 1.25% deduction on employee payslips for the Health and Social Care Levy announced by the Prime Minister last September. However, for 2022/23 there will be a 1.25% increase in the rate of national insurance contributions.
HMRC is asking employers, where appropriate, to include the following message on payslips:
‘1.25% uplift in NICs, funds NHS, health & social care’.
Note, this is not obligatory.
Should you consider a Salary Sacrifice Arrangement to reduce tax and NICs?
With the increases in National Insurance Contributions (NIC) from 6 April 2022 many employees and their employees are considering changing their entitlement to their contractual salary for either tax free benefits in kind such as additional contributions into their pension, or benefits in kind that have a low tax and NIC charge such as an electric company car. This needs to be done with care and requires a change to the Contract of Employment.
From 6 April 2017 where a benefit is given as part of optional remuneration arrangement (salary sacrifice), the rules for valuing the amount of the benefit treated as earnings from the employee’s employment has changed.
Where a benefit is given under optional remuneration arrangements, the general rule is value of the benefit treated as earnings from the employment is the greater of the amount of:
- salary or cash pay given up by the employee in return for the benefit
- the benefit treated as earnings from the employment under the normal rules, ignoring any amount made good, as outlined in HMRC booklet 480
The 5 exceptions to this rule are:-
- employer pension contributions;
- employer-provided pension advice;
- employer-supported childcare and provision of workplace nurseries; and
- cycles and cyclist’s safety equipment
- Ultra – Low (< 75g) CO2 emission cars
Many employers have started offering zero or low emission cars as an alternative to additional or reduced salary entitlement. The normal optional remuneration arrangement rules do not apply to cars with CO2 emissions of 75 grams per kilometre (km) or less. Cars with CO2 emissions of 75 grams/km or less continue to be taxed on the cash equivalent of the benefit worked out under the normal rules without having to make a comparison with the salary foregone.
An employee is given an electric car which is available for their private use under an optional remuneration arrangement in which the employee gives up salary of £150 per month, or £1,800 per year. The car has zero CO2 emissions and has a list price of £40,000 and a cash equivalent value of £800 (£40,000 x 2%). The relevant amount to be treated as earnings from the employment is the £800 cash benefit because its CO2 emissions are no more than 75 grams.
Ukraine: what you can do to help
Many want to do their bit to support those who have been forced to flee their homes because of the invasion. Here is how you can help #StandWithUkraine.
If you want to donate money, there are a number of charities providing humanitarian relief in Ukraine. See: Donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal
The UK Government will match public donations to this appeal pound-for-pound up to £25 million.
Donating essential supplies
One of the best ways to help is by donating cash through trusted charities and aid organisations, rather than donating goods. Cash can be transferred quickly to areas where it is needed, and individuals and aid organisations can use it to buy what is most needed. Unsolicited donations of goods, although well-meant, can obstruct supply chains and delay more urgent life-saving assistance from getting through.
Organisations across the UK are gathering essential supplies, such as clothes, first aid and sanitary products. Many charities and community groups will have lists of items they need.
Charities with experience of responding to disasters are best placed to reach victims on the ground.
Apply to be a sponsor
The government has launched a new sponsorship scheme to make sure that Ukrainians who have been forced to flee their homes have a route to safety.
The scheme will match people, charities, businesses and community groups to Ukrainians who do not have family ties to the UK.
Details of the scheme and how you can apply can be found at https://homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk/
The Small Business Sustainability Basics Programme
Small Business Britain is launching “The Sustainability Basics programme”, in partnership with Oxford Brookes Business School, to help small businesses make the most of the opportunities of sustainability.
This free programme (and community of like-minded businesses) will give each entrepreneur the basics they need to supercharge their sustainability planning, reduce their impact on the planet, and turn their sustainability plans into fantastic commercial advantage.
This programme will be delivered over six weeks entirely via digital channels.
Webinars are recorded and available for catch up on a dedicated page on the Small Business Britain website.
All sessions begin at 11am and the modules include:
- 21 March 2022: Sustainability is Good for Business
- 28 March 2022: Starting at the Beginning: Energy and Transport
- 4 April 2022: Where You Are & What You Do
- 25 Apr 2022: A Team Effort: Working With & Adapting Your Supply Chain
- 3 May 2022: Offsetting: The Good, The Bad & Making a Plan
- 9 May 2022: Sustainability for You
See: Small Business Britain | Champion. Inspire. Accelerate.
Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP) in the Netherlands: Women in Innovation Agri-Tech
Opportunity for innovative UK female business leaders to collaborate with the Netherlands on Agri-Tech solutions. Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, has opened another GBIP to give up to 15 innovative female-led businesses a chance to explore the Agri-Tech opportunities with the Netherlands.
The programme is structured around three main phases:
- Getting ready for the market – you’ll get a chance to attend a pre-activity briefing workshop to build knowledge and understanding of the market and potential opportunities.
- Visiting the market – you’ll get a chance to explore the innovation opportunities with the Netherlands first-hand, over the course of five days, through meetings with key companies and research organisations, and matchmaking with potential collaborators and partners.
- Exploiting the market – you’ll get an opportunity to attend an exploitation workshop and get one-to-one support from a designated Innovate UK EDGE innovation and growth specialist for the duration of the offering, including developing an action plan to capitalise on the opportunities identified.
The Netherlands horticulture sector is the second biggest agriculture exporter in the world, known for its modernised farming methods and innovative and sustainable farming practices. This Women in Innovation Agri-Tech programme seeks to strengthen ties between the Netherlands and the UK through female entrepreneurs leading the way in this sector.
The areas of interest for the programme are focused around:
- horticultural production
- precision / robotic farming
- livestock improvement / genomics
- novel foods
- food waste streams
- net zero
See: Global Business Innovation Programme with the Netherlands: Women in Innovation Agri-Tech | Newable Events
UK and Japan forge closer links on telecoms
The UK and Japan will strengthen their cooperation on efforts to diversify the technology used in telecoms networks.
- Two nations agree to closer cooperation to solve global telecoms supply chain issues
- Includes commitment to more information sharing on innovative ways to build networks
- Will support R&D collaboration on future tech such as Open RAN and 6G
The UK Minister for Digital Infrastructure Julia Lopez and Japan’s Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Yuji Sasaki met in London on Friday morning. They agreed several joint initiatives to support efforts to reduce the global overreliance on a small number of suppliers to build and maintain telecoms networks.
Both nations committed to greater information sharing on their respective policy approaches seeking to build a more competitive and diverse global market for telecoms equipment, including for 5G and future wireless networks.
Further commitments include deeper cooperation on research and development, particularly on open and interoperable network technologies such as Open RAN, which allow telecom providers to mix and match technical equipment from different suppliers within a network.
The Japanese and UK governments also agreed to share information and facilitate joint efforts between industry and academia in both countries to develop future communications technologies such as 6G.
See: UK and Japan forge closer links on telecoms – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
IPO launches call for views on designs system
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) are carrying out a call for views as part of a review of the designs system to make sure it remains fit for the future.
The designs system enables rights holders to protect designs and enforce their rights. The IPO are seeking views and evidence from users of the system so that they can ensure the UK’s designs framework works for the businesses, consumers and professionals that use it. This will help them better understand how they can make the most of new opportunities and flexibilities now that the UK has left the EU.
The call for views seeks a wide range of evidence on three main areas:
- new opportunities
- future framework
- better regulation
The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 25 March 2022.
For further information visit GOV.UK
Finding and choosing a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test provider
The lists of and information about private test providers, to help you get private COVID-19 tests have been updated.
See: Finding and choosing a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test provider – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)