Weekly Digest – 2 September 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s update.

Finance Minister Considers Tax Hikes to Fix the Hole in Public Finances

As the UK’s public debt surpassed 2 trillion pounds, pushed up by emergency spending on coronavirus job retention scheme, tax cuts for businesses and consumers, and dining-out subsidy, British finance minister Rishi Sunak is considering tax increases to help plug the hole in public finances left by the pandemic.

Changes may range from a sharp increase in corporation tax, cutting of incentives for private pension contributions, and increase in capital gains tax rates. These tax hikes could raise an additional 20 to 30 billion pounds a year.

We understand that tax compliance can be complicated. We stay on top of changes in tax laws and reporting requirements so you don’t have to worry. If you need some guidance, please get in touch.

‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Scheme Fuels UK Economic Recovery in August

The UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19 gained momentum in August, as retail spending returned to pre-crisis levels and consumers took advantage of the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme.

However, the country plunged into the deepest recession on record in the three months to June, as companies made job cuts faster than during the 2008 global financial crisis. This comes after the announcement that the UK government is preparing to remove its job retention scheme this autumn.

Experts believe that continued support from the government might be necessary to prevent mass unemployment which can lead to long-term damage to the economy.

If you are struggling to keep your business afloat, don’t hesitate to contact us for consultation to see how we can get your business back on track.

UK Will Pay Low-Income Residents to Self-Isolate Due to COVID-19

The UK government will pay £130 to residents who test positive for COVID-19 for their 10-day isolation period. Meanwhile, other members of their household who also need to self-isolate for 14 days will receive £182.

This will be available to those on welfare payments known as Universal Credit or Working Tax Credits. It will be trialed initially in Blackburn, Pendle, and Oldham, which have higher COVID-19 cases.

What funding is available for your business?

With two-thirds of UK companies completely operational, but many still in a state of financial distress, the government continues to provide support for business recovery.

To cover the impact of the crisis, there are grants made available by the government such as the £1.25b Future Fund and R&D rescue package for fast growth businesses and smaller businesses with a Research & Development focus. The UK government has recently expanded this rescue package for start-ups.

If your business has been severely hit by COVID-19 and you need more support, the government is giving businesses access to financial support through various initiatives such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, where you can get up to £50,000 no-interest loans for the first 12 months.

The Business Interruption Loan Scheme offers a maximum loan of £5 million made available through commercial banks, lenders have provided £12.2 billion worth of facilities to 55,674 companies.

You can also claim for 80% of your employee’s wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions if you have put them on furlough because of COVID-19 under the Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended until the end of October. You can check your eligibility here.

With all the financial assistance schemes available for businesses, it can be difficult to assess which one is suitable for your business. Get in touch if you need some help.

How to Know Which New Product Ideas to Pursue

Last week, we talked about ways to come up with fresh ideas to bring in more money into your business or identify a profitable niche for a new business.

Now that you have a list of new product ideas, the next logical step is to determine which of these are worth pursuing. Check out this Forbes article that discusses ways to determine if your customers want your new product and how to make sure you’re investing your time wisely.

If you need guidance in boosting your profitability, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for expert business advice tailored specifically to your business

Taking Time Off From Work During the Pandemic

With the extended periods of lockdown and working from home, days become indistinguishable from one another and the line between work and life starts to blur. As people tend to work longer days, not to mention the fact that we are still in the middle of a pandemic, managing stress levels has become more important than ever.

So what does taking some time off from work during a pandemic look like? This Forbes article shared some steps to take a work-free vacation, including:

  • Truly disconnect from work by setting an out of office message on your email and turning off notifications that will tempt you to work.
  • Prepare for your time off by figuring out what must be done ahead of time and which ones can wait until you get back.
  • Sometimes, you can only disconnect from work 90% of the time. So establish boundaries by setting a specific time frame you’ll allow yourself to address urgent issues and check in on critical projects during your vacation.
  • If you live in an area with strict social restrictions, you’ll need to get creative on how you’ll spend your time off. Staying at home doesn’t mean boring- spend quality time with your family, try out new activities, or meet with your friends virtually.

Regardless of how you spend your vacation, the important thing is to use this time to rest, relax, and recharge your body and mind. Do this, and you’ll get back to work feeling refreshed.

Avoiding COVID-19 Online Scams

Recently, there has been a significant increase in COVID-19-related online scams that steal your personal data, impersonate authorities, offer fraudulent medical goods and services, and make fake requests for charitable donations. Below are some tips from Google Safety Center to keep you from falling victim to these scams.

  • Know how scammers may reach you– Aside from emails, they may also use text messages, automated calls, and malicious websites.
  • Check trusted sources directly– Scammers may pose as trusted and authoritative sources. So directly visit reliable sources instead to get the latest factual information.
  • Be cautious of requests for personal or financial information, pause and evaluate before sharing– Do not provide confidential information such as logins, bank details, and addresses to suspicious or unverified sources. Donate directly through non-profits.
  • Double-check links and email addresses before clicking– Fake links imitate established websites by adding extra random letters and numbers or words, so be extra careful and check before you click.
  • Search to see if it’s been reported– Copy and paste the email address, phone number, or suspicious portion of the message on your search engine to check if it has already been reported.
  • Add an extra layer of security to your account– Add two-factor authentications to your accounts for extra protection online.

If you encounter phishing pages, you can report it here. For malicious software, you can report the site here.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.

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