Many of you might have already seen late last week; as we hinted in a newsletter towards the back end of 2020, that the Supreme Court found largely in favour of small firms receiving payments from business interruption insurance policies.
It is suggested that insurance companies will contact those companies impacted by this ruling but we also suggest that should you have any doubts whatsoever then you too contact your insurance company directly.
For a more detailed review of the ruling click here for the BBC news article following the events of last week.
Yesterday the Scottish and English governments announced national lockdowns with schools being closed. The net result being all of England and Scotland must stay at home except for a handful of permitted reasons.
We’re not going to go over the full announcement but more details about this can be found here if you wish to seek clarification.
Instead, we wish to focus on what we know thus far in terms of support and how we will be adapting to support you.
Help for businesses No extra help, beyond what was announced before Christmas, has been announced for businesses who either cannot trade or have their trade severely disrupted. But this still means there are grants available from your local authority if you have been forced to close. And the furlough and self-employed grant schemes are still running across Jan to April 2021.
What does this mean for you and your business?
Find out whether these lockdown announcements mean you can trade for the next 6-7 weeks though internally we recommend you look to the end of February given the time lags repeatedly being mentioned with respect to these measures and the vaccines.
Review your resourcing requirements but also how many of your staff will now have childcare duties.
Rethink your business plan, cash flow plan and also revisit your contingency plans
How we will be helping you through these times?
All our team will be working tirelessly as they have already and there will be no break in support from our end so we will be here for you as we have from the start.
We will continue to monitor updates and share these with you as soon as feasibly possible to assist you through these times.
We will be running two drop-in sessions every week for the duration of this lockdown just for you to have a chat and we can run through anything you wish to alongside other business owners from:
5pm until 6pm every Tuesday (jump on here as the link will be the same each week); and
8am until 9am every Thursday (jump on here as the link will be the same each week).
Of course, if there is a growing need in any particular areas, we will address this as we did the first time round and look to assist where we can.
Also, please note that regardless of any extension with regards to the self-assessment filing deadline we will continue to work towards getting all tax returns submitted by 31 January 2021 for those that submitted their information on time to us as we see any delay as just being moving the problem.
Summary We have been here before and stood alongside you and are still alongside you today in order to help you the best we can come out the other side.
Let us work together and stick together and never forget the mental health strain of this all so if you ever need to talk please reach out to us and we will be there for you and that includes calling the team or me on my mobile number if you need to.
We practice what we preach and have got ourselves well and truly prepared for the real storm that awaits as we face up to the challenges that lie ahead and are in a position to support you as needed.
We do now have three new members of the team that I’m sure you will all hear from in due course but also wanted to highlight some of the other changes that we are implementing over the coming weeks and months off the back of what we have learnt from lockdown and where we will be investing further in terms of time and resources:
We will; within our newsletters, be making our content more operational as well as financial based to assist you with the new challenges you are likely to face.
We will be issuing not just one newsletter per month, but as many as we see fit depending on announcements made to keep you as well-informed and up to date as possible.
Appreciating that not everybody will love the reading our newsletters and some would prefer something more interactive, we are currently considering the idea of fortnightly ‘huddles’ where we will have a dedicated hour for clients to join us and ask us whatever questions they wish.
We will maintain the idea of running webinars and are currently looking to run maybe one a month that will either be ran by us or an external expert from outside our field.
We will continue to update our resources page on our website; which can be found here for those that have not yet visited this, so if you miss anything you can go back and take a look at a time convenient to you.
Yes we have not started blogging as well to share our personal views and experiences as well so these too can be found on our resources page with one of favourites being the increasing importance of data.
We are in the process of fully rebuilding our website to again make this of more value and ‘future-proof’ for us and clients going forward.
We are also having some full customer-relationship software built to further tailor the content and support provided to you as clients and potential clients.
We are introducing new service offerings that we have already been providing during lockdown that we consider will be needed more than ever with one of these being the role of helping be your bank manager. In the current climate, not everybody has a dedicated bank manager, but for those that do; including us, it has been invaluable and we will help breach this gap so we can support you when it comes to accessing finance.
In addition to our dedicated resources page, we have built out dedicated communication channels for specific support that include the following:
email@example.com – if you have any training needs or suggestions about content that you would like then please use this e-mail address. Specific queries about your data within Xero should continue to be fed back directly to your client manager for a quicker and more tailored response.
firstname.lastname@example.org – should have any funding needs or questions then feel free to send them here and these can be picked up by our dedicated funding team.
email@example.com – we would ask that should you have any general comments, suggestions or even just improvements you would like for us to consider implementing, please feel free to share them here as we want to keep moving forward and improving so that we can do the same with our clients.
What I want to leave you with; at the bottom of this section, is that I remain cautiously optimistic about the future. We must acknowledge that we are all at a crossroad or junction in our business journeys, and those that are looking optimistically ahead have taken similar actions to those above but tailored to their own businesses.
Have you done enough to prepare for what lies ahead?
Returning to work
One of our clients has kindly shared some recent work that they have been working on that might be of use for those returning to their usual place of work soon.
Feel free to contact Paul directly.
As the financial landscape right before us changes so rapidly, we have been chatting with mortgage brokers about what this means for those about to renew their mortgage this year and we are all in agreement that if this applies to you, then chat to your mortgage/financial advisor as soon as possible just to make sure you are prepared.
As of today we thought we would provide you with the latest Government update but please note there is a scheduled further update planned for tomorrow and we continue to await further detail behind some of those proposals outlined below:
The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.
This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:
a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
I’m a sole trader or have employees that are struggling so what options are available to me?
HMRC have a dedicated page in respect of this there now where you may be entitled to the Universal credit. For more information click here.
Client’s who have already benefited from above
We have already had a client call the HMRC helpline number and be offered the opportunity to postpone the payment of their VAT liability for three months; even though they acknowledged that they could pay this but wanted to be cautious. They were also advised that over and beyond this postponement they could thereafter agree a 12 to 24 month interest-free payment plan; depending on the size of the liability.
A client of a client has been able to access £60k extremely quickly from their bank without any fees or charges and been given an initial 6 month interest-free window. This same loan was even 80% backed by the Government. Naturally some banks are moving faster than others but this is consistent with the assistance we are told should be forthcoming from mainstream banks.
Please be warned that this advice is changing daily but take above as an indication of wheels slowly getting in motion.
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