Weekly Digest – 20 January 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

UK Seals Border, Requires Negative COVID-19 Tests for Arrivals

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all travel corridors – routes that don’t require self-isolation upon return – are closed from 4am on 18 January. This means that all those arriving in the UK must quarantine for 10 days unless they choose to pay to take a coronavirus test five days into their quarantine.

Johnson also added that all those entering the UK must have proof of a negative coronavirus test from the previous 72 hours. These rules would be in place until at least mid-February.

Over 4 Million People Receive First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine

The NHS vaccinated a total of 4.06 million people between 8 December and 17 January, including more than half of those aged 80 and over and more than half of elderly care home residents. This is more than double the number of vaccinations, per person per day, than any European country.

The vaccination programme continues to expand, as 10 large-scale vaccination centres came on stream in England on 19 January 2021.

Moving Goods Between the UK and the EU: Getting an EORI Number

From 1 January 2021, you need an EORI number in order to move goods between the UK and the EU. An EU EORI number is needed if your business will be making custom declarations of getting a customs decision in the EU.

If you already have an EORI number, check if it starts with GB. If not, you need to apply for a new one.

Here are the requirements you need for your application:

  • VAT number and effective date of registration – these are on your VAT registration certificate
  • National Insurance number – if you’re an individual or a sole trader
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • Business start date and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code – these are in the Companies House register
  • Government Gateway user ID and password

More information can be found here. Alternatively, you may get in touch with us so we can assist you on your concerns.

UK Government Helps More Than 57,000 Businesses in Wales

Businesses in Wales have benefitted from more than 55,000 loans worth more than £1.5 billion under the Bounce Back Loans Scheme, and £503 million worth of loans under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. More than 57,000 loans have supported businesses across all sectors to protect jobs, with the retail and construction sectors benefiting the most.

Similarly, 97,000 people in Wales benefitted from the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, with an average claim of £2,400.

Prime Minister and Chancellor Launch New Business Council

The Build Back Better Council will bring together a broad range of business leaders from across the whole British economy to work in partnership with the government to unlock investment, boost job creation, promote Global Britain and level up the whole of the UK.

It will have 30 members representing industries from retail and hospitality, to finance, science and technology. It will be co-chaired by the Prime Minister and Chancellor, with the Business Secretary as a standing member, and other Cabinet Ministers attending as required.

£4.6 Billion in New Lockdown Grants

Businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring. A £594 million discretionary fund was also made available to support other impacted businesses.

This follows the Prime Minister’s announcement that these businesses will be closed until at least February half-term in order to help control the virus. The one-off top-ups will be granted to closed businesses as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

The grant is expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties across the UK. More details can be found here or you can contact us if you have any questions or require assistance.

Government Loan Schemes Extended

Further extension of all the Government’s current coronavirus business loan schemes have been announced in December. This means applications for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Coronavirus Future Fund have all been extended to 31st March 2020.

Flick us a message if you need our expert assistance on your applications and so we can help you evaluate your options.

Hospitality and Tourism VAT Extension

The reduced rate of VAT (5%) that was previously introduced will still be applicable to food and non-alcoholic beverages from pubs, bars, cafes, and restaurants, accommodation, and attractions in the UK until 31st March 2021.

Building Digital Resilience in 2021

Digital resilience gained momentum in 2020, as businesses across industries increased their adoption of digital tools and systems to maintain certain levels of activity amid the pandemic. In this Forbes article, different ways to boost digital resilience were shared including:

  • Build a pipeline of digital initiatives– You can leverage what your business already has or capture and develop new ideas from various sources. Many companies have digital pilots already in place which were previously considered “nice to have”, but upon careful consideration were deemed essential in times of crisis.
  • Invest in a core digital infrastructure– Integrate new digital initiatives with existing IT rules, systems, and capabilities. Keep in mind that digital transformation is an end-to-end process closely tied with back-end business processes and systems.
  • Design for privacy and security– At the height of the pandemic in 2020, over 18 million scam emails per day were spotted by Google. Businesses can be prime targets for attacks such as phishing or malware. You will never predict when you’ll be hit by a cybersecurity crisis, so design an effective cyber resilience plan to mitigate risks.
  • Increase visibility into your supply chain– Digital supply chain management leads to faster response time, working capital reductions, and increases in product availability. While digital supply chains may mean different things to each business, end-to-end visibility of inventory and control can be helpful during a crisis.

Have you yet to embark on your digital transformation? It’s time to get started. If you want to get rid of your traditional spreadsheets and move the accounting side of your business into the cloud, get in touch with us. Aside from making your financial data more accessible and protected, cloud accounting also streamlines processes and can get things done faster.

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

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