FSB Newsletter - Friday 30 July 2021

News 30 Jul 2021

COVID-19: THE LATEST

For all the latest news and updates, visit our Covid-19 hub.

The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a toolkit for employers to help ensure employees get reliable information about COVID-19 vaccines.

Access the toolkit to get materials for you to run internal awareness campaigns, including key messages, posters, fact sheets and videos providing accurate, up-to-date information.

EU TRADE

If you are a UK business which trades with Europe, keep track of the latest changes and developments via FSB's transition hub.

NEWS & OPPORTUNITIES

Be ‘Recovery Ready’
FSB has launched a new #RecoveryReady hub, bringing together resources, articles, and advice for small businesses and self-employed people who want to know what their next steps should be as the economy gets back into gear, following the shock caused by the pandemic.

Furlough changes
As of Sunday 1 August, the amount that businesses which are making use of the furlough scheme will have to pay towards the wages of furloughed employees will rise to 20%, from its current level of 10%. The Government will contribute 60% of wage costs following the change, down from the current 70%. This level of employer and Government contributions will remain in place until the end of September, when the scheme closes for good.

New SEISS round
The fifth round of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) scheme has opened, and will close for applications at the end of September. Check if you are eligible, and apply here.

Growth plans survey
The Government is consulting SMEs about their business and growth plans to help shape the Help to Grow scheme. The survey can be found here, and closes on this coming Monday 2 August. The survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy would also like to speak to small businesses which have recently adopted a new technology to help shape the scheme. If you would like to speak to the Department, please get in touch with [email protected].

Flooding
Following flooding and heavy rain in parts of the UK, you may be asking yourself what your small business can do to protect itself. Our new blog lists your options, from setting up a business continuity plan to making certain you have the right insurance in place.

Hone your social media skills
Social media can be a great avenue to finding new customers – if you know how. This free FSB live webinar with Google Digital Garage will give any small business the tools it needs to make the most out of its social media presence.

T Level grants
If you are based in England, you can support T Level students by offering an industry placement (at least 315 hours or approx. 45 days) and claim £1,000 for each T Level student you host on a high-quality industry placement, as part of a new incentive scheme. You can find out more at this website, and register for this webinar on 18 August to find out more.

Disability strategy
The Government launched a new Disability Strategy this week. While elements are welcome, FSB’s response to its publication points to our disappointment that helping disabled people in the workplace is not a higher priority. Our National Chair Mike Cherry said more could be done to update existing schemes such as Kickstart, to help increase the number of disabled people in work, while the Access to Work strategy should be developed further, “so all disabled people are able to have the equipment they need as soon as they start a new job”. ACAS has also unveiled a new disability hub, bringing together resources for employers and for disabled people.

Sunak backs cash
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, took to LinkedIn to dispel news stories that the Government was considering moving to a digital currency, emphasising the continuing importance of cash, and noting that any future crypto-based Central Bank Digital Currency in the UK would have to go through a lengthy series of evaluations and consultations with stakeholders before being introduced as a complement to existing payment methods, not a replacement.

CEST webinar
HMRC is running a webinar on 4, 10, and 16 August “to help you understand how HMRC’s Check Employment Status for Tax tool, or CEST for short, can help you make robust and accurate status determinations”. Sign up here.

Fraud prevention plan
The Government’s Beating Crime Plan has some details on how different agencies will update their working practices to fight the scourge of fraud and cybercrime, which FSB found had affected nearly half of all small businesses in the two years prior to 2019, and which the Government says “represent over 50% of crime”. Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau will be moved to a new fraud and cybercrime reporting and analysis service after the current contract expires in 2022, City of London Police has said.

CCJs against businesses
County Court Judgments and rulings against businesses rose by volume in all four nations of the UK in Q2, according to Registry Trust. CCJs in England and Wales rose against both incorporated and unincorporated businesses, although the average value of each judgment fell, Registry Trust said. In Scotland, decrees against businesses rose by volume but fell sharply by average value, while in Northern Ireland, judgments against incorporated businesses rose but those against unincorporated businesses declined by volume, with decreases in average judgment value across the board, the Trust found.

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