Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year!
We would like to wish you a healthy and happy festive season and look forward to working with you in 2023.
Senedd says no to single-use plastics
Wales will become the first part of the UK to legislate against a thorough list of single-use plastics, as the Senedd approves legislation to ban selling unnecessary, disposable products to consumers.
The new law is a key step in reducing the flow of damaging plastic waste into the Welsh environment and is being introduced following consultation with the public and other stakeholders.
Taking effect in autumn 2023, it will give local authorities the power to enforce the offence of supplying or offering to supply the commonly littered items – even when they are free.
Wales is currently ranked as the world’s third best domestic recycler and the new law demonstrates how the Welsh Government is continuing to take ambitious steps to tackle the climate and nature emergencies.
See: Wales at the forefront of UK action as Senedd says no to single-use plastics | Business Wales (gov.wales)
£460m in rates support to help businesses struggling with cost rises
All businesses in Wales will benefit from new rates support from the Welsh Government to help with the effects of rising costs.
A package of support worth more than £460 million over the next two financial years will be announced in the Welsh Government’s upcoming draft Budget.
The package will provide a boost to businesses across Wales which are struggling to cope with the impacts of high inflation and surging energy costs. It operates in addition to permanent relief schemes from the Welsh Government which are already providing £240 million of relief to ratepayers across Wales this year.
The non-domestic rates multiplier has been frozen for 2023-24, at a cost of more than £200 million over the next 2 years. This ensures there will again be no inflationary increase in the amount of rates businesses and other ratepayers are paying.
A further £113 million will be provided over the next two years to provide transitional relief for all ratepayers whose bills increase by more than £300 following the UK-wide revaluation exercise, which takes effect on 1 April 2023.
Another £140 million will support businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors. Eligible ratepayers will receive 75% non-domestic rates relief for 2023 24, a rise from the 50% relief provided in 2022-23.
For further information please select the following links:
- £460m in rates support to help businesses struggling with cost rises | GOV.WALES
- Written Statement: Non-domestic rates support for 2023-24 (12 December 2022) | GOV.WALES
See: Cost of doing business | Business Wales (gov.wales)
Looking for some new year business ideas?
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, and
- 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!
Post-Brexit reform of financial services announced
Andrew Griffith, the UK City of London minister, has stated the UK government’s intent to revamp the regulation of the investment and insurance sectors.
Earlier this month he unveiled over 30 reforms “to unlock investment and turbocharge growth in towns and cities across the UK”.
Last week the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, set out plans to repeal and replace EU retained laws governing financial services. This will establish a new regulatory framework for the UK with the aim of making it more agile, less costly, and more responsive to emerging trends.
These plans included a commitment to make substantial legislative progress over the course of 2023 on repealing and replacing EU-era rules governing insurers’ balance sheets. This is expected to unlock over £100 billion of private investment for productive assets such as UK infrastructure.
The work to repeal, and where appropriate replace, retained EU law governing the sector has been guided by industry and split into two initial tranches. These will focus on delivering reform to areas which provide the most significant boost to UK growth and competitiveness, and the government will set out further detail on future tranches over time.
These announcements deliver the next chapter in the government’s plan for a UK financial services sector that is open, sustainable, and technologically advanced; one that is globally competitive and acts in the interests of communities and citizens.
As announced in the Autumn Statement, the government will look to announce changes to EU regulations in four other high growth industries by the end of next year, including digital technology, life sciences, green industries, and advanced manufacturing.
See: Edinburgh Reforms hail next chapter for UK Financial Services – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Tax Year Basis for Unincorporated Businesses – Amending Estimates
From tax year 2024/25 unincorporated businesses will be required to compute their profits on the new ‘tax year’ basis, i.e. those arising between 6 April and 5 April. Many businesses are considering changing their accounting period end to align with the tax year, but those that choose not to will need to apportion their profits and may need to estimate some of the figures in order to meet the 31 January filing deadline.
For example, a business with a 31 December accounting year end would need to include nine months of the profits from the year ended 31 December 2024 and three months from the year ended 31 December 2025 in 2024/25. The results for the year ended 31 December 2025 are unlikely to have been finalised by the 2024/25 filing deadline of 31 January 2026. This will require an estimate of those profits/losses and use that as the basis for the 2024/25 tax return submission.
HMRC’s guidance on provisional figures currently requires businesses to make amendments to provide final figures ‘without delay’. HMRC have now announced that this condition will be relaxed before the start of the basis period transition year in 2023/24.
Earlier this year HMRC consulted on a number of options on how to deal with provisional figures. The government have decided that they will allow businesses to amend provisional figures by the normal time limit for making amendments. For the 2024/25 tax year this would be on or before 31 January 2027, the same filing date as the 2025/26 return.
In order to avoid this additional complexity, unincorporated businesses should consider amending their accounting date to 31 March or 5 April. The timing of the change is critical, and it will generally be better to do this to 31 March or 5 April 2024 due to the ability to spread additional profits arising over 5 tax years.
Please contact us to discuss the full implications of changing your business year end.
Cost of Living Crisis – Help for Households Campaign
The UK Government has launched its ‘Help for Households’ campaign. The campaign aims to help people through the cost of living this winter. Some of the topics include:
- Cheaper broadband and phone packages – Social tariffs are cheaper broadband and phone packages for people claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit and some other benefits. For further information please select the following link Cheaper broadband and phone packages – Ofcom
- Discounts and offers – To find out what discounts and offers are available from businesses to help with the cost of living, please select the following link Discounts and offers – Help for Households
See: Help for Households – Get government cost of living support
HSE guidance on keeping workplace temperature reasonable
As winter takes hold, you can find helpful advice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on keeping people as comfortable as possible when working in the cold.
The guidance has been refreshed to make it easier to find and understand advice on how to protect workers in both low and high temperatures.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations require employers to provide a reasonable indoor temperature in the workplace.
The guidance explains how you can assess the risks to workers and put controls in place to protect them.
There is a workplace temperature checklist to help you carry out a basic risk assessment. HSE have also updated sources of advice, including practical steps you can take in the summer months to protect workers during a heatwave.
Stay safe in the snow
The Met Office has some practical advice and information on what to do to stay safe in the snow.
When there is a snow warning in place the guidance covers:
1. What to do if you need to drive somewhere;
2. Driving safely in snow;
3. Thinking ahead and acting now so you can cope if cut off;
4. Staying safe if you are cut off; and
5. What you can do in a power cut.
See: 5 tips for staying safe in snow – Met Office.
StartUp Show 2023
Whether you are an aspiring or existing entrepreneur, the StartUp Show is a chance to not only discover everything you need to know about starting a business, but also to connect with advisers and business experts who’ll help take your enterprise to the next level.
The event takes place on 28 January 2023 at King’s College London, with early bird tickets costing £10 (register by 31 December 2022).
By registering for the event, you will receive access to the recordings captured from the Keynote stage, featuring top tips from inspirational entrepreneurs.
See: StartUp Show: The biggest start-up event in London (enterprisenation.com)
“Small Business Goes Big” – Enterprise Nation scheme
Enterprise Nation has partnered with Adobe to bring “Small Business Goes Big”. It’s a chance to pitch your small business to retail buyers, with the possibility of getting stocked. You could also win a share of £10,000 cash grants.
If you are a small business, micro-business, freelancer or sole trader, are based in the UK, have fewer than 20 employees, and operate in the following sectors then you’re eligible to apply:
- Food and drink
- Fashion and jewellery
- Health, leisure and wellbeing
To enter, you will simply create a two-minute pitch video with the free Adobe Express app. You don’t need any design or software experience.
The competition closes on 8 January 2023.
See: Small Business Goes Big | Enterprise Nation
Cyber Essentials grace period extended
Cyber Essentials has extended the certification grace period to April 2023, to coincide with the next technical requirements refresh. In January 2022, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) announced an update of the Cyber Essentials technical controls.
At the time, organisations who were looking to be assessed against the new standards were given a grace period of up to 12 months for some of the requirements. This grace period was due to end in January.
The decision has now been made to extend the grace period for a further three months until April 2023. The new deadline will coincide with the next, light touch, update to Cyber Essentials’ technical requirements.
See: About Cyber Essentials – NCSC.GOV.UK
SBRI: Net Zero heat and power upgrades for demand reduction
Apply for Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) funding to develop data driven approaches for upgrading portfolios of buildings. Innovate UK (IUK) is investing up to £5 million (across two phases) to accelerate the shift to a net zero economy, by developing and testing scalable commercial service propositions.
These must reduce bills and carbon emissions from buildings with the intention of commercialising the results beyond phase two of this competition.
Projects must take a data-driven approach to assessing and defining appropriate pathways for:
- the upgrading of building portfolios
- targeting decarbonisation
- energy demand reduction
- market demand certainty
- heat efficiency
This is phase one of a two-phase competition. For phase one, you must deliver a technical feasibility study and produce a feasibility report that:
- outlines your approach to delivering future building upgrade programmes,
- identifies a building portfolio-owning partner, and
- describes supply chain partners and outlines how this service could be commercialised more broadly after the end of the project.
For phase two, successful projects from phase one will be invited to apply for funding to test their approach. Success in the phase two competition will depend on a subsequent assessment process.
See: Competition overview – SBRI: Net Zero heat and power upgrades for demand reduction phase 1 – Innovation Funding Service (apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk)
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.
ICO revises its guidance on international data transfers
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has updated its international transfers guidance, adding:
- a new section on transfer risk assessments (TRAs)
- a downloadable TRA tool (DOC, 368K)
These updates aim to help organisations know how to protect people’s personal information when making international transfers.
Earlier this year, the ICO published the International Data Transfer Agreement (IDTA) and the Addendum to the European Union Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs).
The latest updates clarify an alternative transfer risk assessment approach to the one put forward by the European Data Protection Board.
With the guidance, and the six-question TRA tool, the ICO offers a framework to help people identify an initial risk level for categories of data and focus on whether the transfer significantly increases the risk of either privacy or other human rights breach. The ICO believes this approach captures the key risk to the people the data is about, and is also achievable.