COVID-19: THE LATEST
People can now meet up outside in groups of six from any number of households, or in a group of any size from up to two households. This is part of the second step of the Government's roadmap. Non-essential retail, including hairdressers, nail salons and outdoor hospitality venues can reopen on 12 April, subject to vaccine deployment and infection rates.
From Monday, more retailers in Scotland will be allowed to re-open, while barbers and hairdressers will be allowed customers by appointment only. Further, restrictions will also be lifted on click-and-collect services. In addition, 100% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses has been confirmed in Scotland for the next financial year, but FSB is warning Scottish firms that businesses are required to apply to their council to receive this support.
Garden centres and plant nurseries are now able to operate on a click and collect basis. From 12 April, if ratified by the Executive, all of non-essential retail will be permitted to operate click and collect.
The First Minister has made a further announcement on reopening the Welsh economy, including indicative dates for tourism and hospitality businesses. FSB Wales continues to advocate on behalf of members ensuring that businesses are given the best possible support.
The transition period came to an end on December 31 2020. If you are a UK business which trades with Europe, you will need to change your procedures and complete additional paperwork. See FSB's transition hub for further advice.
NEWS & ADVICE
Small exporters halt EU sales
Three months on from the end of transition, an FSB survey found that 23 per cent of exporters have temporarily halted sales to the EU, while four per cent have already decided to stop selling into the bloc permanently. FSB National Chair Mike Cherry told the Guardian that small firms face "incredibly demanding, unfamiliar paperwork." FSB's recommendations include close monitoring of the SME Brexit Support Fund.
National Insurance holiday
FSB's recommendation for a one-year National Insurance holiday for small businesses employing Armed Forces veterans comes into force next week. The measure was supported by X-Forces Enterprise to stimulate the employment of veterans in Britain.
Changes to IR35 kick in on 6 April. Join FSB's free webinar to help your business navigate these changes at 12pm on 6 April.
Restart Grants launch
From today (April 1) firms in England in the non-essential retail sector will be eligible for a one-off grant of up to £6,000. Those in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sectors will be able to claim up to £18,000. FSB National Chair Mike Cherry said: "Local authorities urgently need to get these grants distributed, to support businesses and jobs in their local area."
Increase to the National Living Wage
The National Living Wage will increase from £8.72 to £8.91 on 1 April 2021 and will be extended to 23 and 24 year olds for the first time
Shielding advice to stop from April
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