Jackson Moughal No Comments


Firstly, all my thoughts and well wishes are with you all, and hope you all keep safe and be sensible to avoid catching the Coronavirus. We have been taking a number of calls with regards to the current situation and apologises for not being able to get round to all of our clients. As a result, we have drafted the following brief note to keep you updated.

Since last week the Chancellor made announcements to help small and medium sized businesses. Many of these announcements have been extremely encouraging, however, the way to get help is still somewhat unclear.

On 20 March 2020, Boris Johnson  took the extraordinary step of ordering pubs, clubs and restaurants across the UK to close that night. This has affected a large number of our clients who operate as restaurants and take-aways but also shop-keepers and those supplying to the retail industry.

Please note, restaurants and take-aways can, for now, can remain open only if they are providing take-out food.

The Chancellor’s speech of 20 March 2020 announced an unprecedented wage-support scheme to try to prevent thousands or millions of job losses.


I am here to assist and help you to access what ever grants and loans there are available under the various Government Schemes and together we can get through these very troubling and difficult times for all our businesses.

At this moment in time, the various schemes are not accessible and when these various portals to access the schemes are available, I will contact you at that stage.


The following is a summary of what is the current position based on the Chancellors speech on 20 March 2020 and information on the GOV.UK webpages on 20 March and this includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

  1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
  2. Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  3. HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
  4. Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  5. Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  6. Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  7. the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank – https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/


The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be a government grant – employers can claim for 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

The scheme will be:

  • Backdated to March 1st March 2020
  • Claimed initially for at least three months but could be extended ‘for longer if necessary’

Who is eligible for the CJRS scheme?

All UK businesses are eligible (or in the Chancellor’s words “Any employer in the country – small or large, charitable or non-profit – will be eligible for the scheme.”)

When will you be able to make a claim under the CJRS scheme?

No date has been set as yet, but the following are indications it will not be immediate:

  • “HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.”
  • “HMRC are working night and day to get the unprecedented Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme up and running and we expect the first grants to be paid within weeks.”
  • “If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme”

What is a furloughed worker?

We understand that a furloughed workers are “workforce who remain on payroll but are temporarily not working during the coronavirus outbreak” per GOV.UK news story.

It is noted that employers will need to notify employees of this change in employment status to furloughed, but that changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.


On 18 March 2020, the Scottish Government (https://www.gov.scot/news/gbp-2-2-billion-for-business/) support relating to business rate.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has addressed the Scottish Parliament on the economic impact of COVID-19 in Scotland.

In her statement she warned that as a result of coronavirus, the Scottish economy is facing an immediate collapse in demand.

She outlined the actions being taken by the Scottish Government to support businesses including a package of measures worth £2.2 billion from 1 April:

  • a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism
  • £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief
  • £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000

Self employed

Sadly, with the exception of the VAT and 31 Jul income tax deferral payments and applying for Universal credit there is currently no income support as is the case for employees. The Government has stated that it is looking into the position with regards to the Self Employed and will make further announcements in due course.

Sources of further information

I would expect HMRC’s and the gov.uk websites will be updated to provide additional information on the CJRS scheme, Small Business Interruption Loans and grant claims for rates relief.

Once more information is available, I will contact you at that time. But for now please keep safe and follow all the Government guidance on social distancing.

PracticeWEB No Comments

Employers fret over future of economy

31% of employers expect the economy to worsen in the coming months as business confidence fell in July 2017, according to a study.

601 employers were polled by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), who also found 28% still expect the economy to improve.

40% need to take on more permanent staff to meet additional demand, while 19% said they were planning to hire new workers in the next 3 months.

Confidence in hiring and investment decisions remained at 10%, its lowest for the past 12 months.

The biggest concern among employers was the lack of skilled candidates available, particularly in the construction industry.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, said:

“Businesses are continuing to hire to meet demand, but issues like access to labour, Brexit negotiations and political uncertainty are creating nervousness. 

“The government must do more to create an environment where businesses have clarity. 

“That means clearly laying out what Brexit plans look like and how employers can keep recruiting the people they need from the EU.”

Get in touch to discuss your business concerns.

PracticeWEB No Comments

Home Office to assess EU workers

Home secretary Amber Rudd insists small businesses “will continue to attract” skilled foreign workers after the UK leaves the EU.

Ms Rudd reassured businesses there will be a transitional period when it comes to employing foreign workers in the UK after Brexit.

From March 2019, EU workers moving to the UK will have to register until a permanent post-Brexit immigration policy is implemented.

The home secretary has commissioned the migration advisory committee to consider the economic impact of EU workers in a bid to shape an evidence-based future migration policy.

Mike Cherry, chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“Skills and labour from the EU play an important role in many small businesses, with 1 in 5 small employers having EU workers.

“The migration advisory committee needs to engage with the small business community to address the concerns of small employers and the self-employed.”

However, the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) said businesses “urgently” need to know what any transitional period would look like after Brexit.

Josh Hardie, deputy director-general at the CBI, added:

“Given the importance of mobile skills and labour for the UK economy, firms will want the review to move at pace and include the views of all sectors.”

Contact us to discuss how Brexit may affect you. 

PracticeWEB No Comments

Flexible working set to increase

Almost two thirds (65%) of private sector employers think flexible working will increase over the next 5 years, according to Aviva.

The study of 500 employers and 2,000 employees found 51% of businesses said flexible working increases productivity and 68% said it improved staff satisfaction.

Of those who currently work flexibly, 37% were happier at work and 34% were able to manage their responsibilities outside of work more effectively.

Flexible working also improved retention and recruitment with 63% of workers more likely to stay with an employer who offers flexible benefits.36% saw flexible working as a key factor when considering a new job.

Flexible working options most valued by workers:

  • working from home (23%)
  • working longer hours over shorter number of days (22%)
  • working flexible hours across the week (19%).

Gareth Hemming, director of SME insurance at Aviva, said:

“Businesses may need to rethink the way their employees work and should consider the benefits flexible working could bring in meeting business goals. 

“It can also support employees looking to manage their work-life balance better as they juggle work with busy lives, looking after family young and old, managing health or even wanting more time to pursue other interests.” 

Talk to us about how flexible working can benefit your business.

PracticeWEB No Comments

SME confidence falls for first time in a year

Confidence among small businesses fell for the first time since the EU referendum back in June 2016, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The latest quarterly Small Business Index dropped 5 points, down from +20 in Q1 2017 to +15 in Q2. 

Operating costs for SMEs also increased sharply to 66% in Q2, up from 53% in the same period last year.

52% saw the domestic economy as a threat to expansion plans, while concerns over consumer demand (30%), labour costs (24%) and tax burdens (17%) were also raised.

Further findings:

  • SMEs in East Midlands (+35), Wales (+31) and London (+25) had the highest confidence, while enterprises in Yorkshire (+14), the North West (+9) and Scotland (-4) were the least confident
  • small firms in communication (+43) and manufacturing (+36) were the most confident in Q2, compared to those in arts (-4) and retail (-9).

Mike Cherry, national chairman at FSB, said:

“Small businesses were feeling more pessimistic even before the general election. Now alongside increasing inflationary pressure, a business rates revaluation and rising labour costs, they have a whole new wave of political uncertainty to contend with.

“For decades we’ve heard governments discuss the need to create a balanced economy. It’s time for meaningful action. 

“Too many small businesses, particularly in the North, are being held back by derisory investment in infrastructure, connectivity and skills.”

Contact us to discuss your business.