Weekly Digest – 9 September 2021

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

£36 Billion Investment to Reform NHS and Social Care

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to increase taxes to fund health care and reforms to the country’s social-care system. From April 2022, the government wants to introduce a new 1.25% health- and social-care levy on earned income across England. Tax rates on shareholder dividends will also increase by the same amount, and it will start as an increase on the existing National Insurance rate. It will become a separate tax on earned income in 2023.

The increased taxes will raise a record £36 billion which will be invested in the health and care system over the next three years. The Prime Minister pledges to tackle Covid backlogs, reform adult social care, and bring the health and social care system closer together on a long term, sustainable footing.

The NHS’ capacity will increase to 110% of planned activity levels by 2023/24, offering more appointments, treatments, and operations.

PMI Survey: Economic Recovery Slows Further in August

The UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic lost more momentum in August due to staff shortages and supply chain issues that affected the country’s services sector. The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 55.0 in August, down from 59.6 in July.

Small Energy Suppliers Go Out of Business as Prices Increase

Small energy suppliers in the UK are going out of business as natural gas and power prices reach record highs across Europe. Because they have limited capability to hedge power and gas prices, these domestic suppliers are vulnerable when prices suddenly increase. This means they end up selling at lower prices than they have to pay in the market.

COVID Local Support Grant Extended

The government’s COVID Local Support Grant has been extended until September, bringing it in line with the end date for furlough and other COVID-related support. The funding is ring-fenced so that 80% is used to support families with bills for food, key utilities and other essentials.

Cash Boost For Apprentices

Employers of all sizes in England can apply for additional funding to help them take on new apprentices. The boost to the apprenticeship incentive scheme has been available to claim from 1 June. Businesses can apply to claim £3000 for each new apprentice hired as a new employee from 1 April until 30 September.

Debt Respite Scheme ‘Breathing Space’

Under the debt respite scheme called Breathing Space, those facing financial difficulties will be given 60 days to get their finances back on track, with most interest and penalty charges frozen, and enforcement action halted.

Professional debt advice will also be provided. Recognising the link between debt problems and mental health issues, these protections will be available for those in mental health crisis treatment for the full duration of their crisis treatment plus another 30 days.

Please get in touch with us if you need any help with your cashflow. We are here to help.

Recovery Loan Scheme

The government’s Recovery Loan Scheme helps companies access loans of £25,000 up to a maximum of £10 million. The loans will include 80% government guarantee and interest rate cap of 14.99%.

This is in addition to the extended furlough until 30 September and the New Restart Grants scheme.

Job Retention Scheme Running Until End of September

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will run until 30 September 2021. It will remain unchanged until the end of June, and a phased reduction in the level of funding will be implemented from 1 July 2021.

Currently, employers can claim grants equal to 80% of a furloughed employee’s reference pay. Grants for each worker are capped at £2,500 per month.

For claims starting 1 July 2021, the grant will be reduced to 70% of the reference salary and capped at £2,187.50 per month. It will be further reduced to 60% of the reference salary with a cap of £1,875 starting 1 August 2021.

You can read more about it here.

SME Brexit Support Fund

A £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund has been announced to help businesses adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.

Traders will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to pay for practical support for importing and exporting. This fund will help businesses prepare for the implementation of import controls that will take effect from April and July.

More details can be found here.

Kickstart Scheme Grant

  • Provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit
  • Covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage) for 25 hours a week for a total of six months
  • Also covers National Insurance contributions
  • Employers can spread the start date of the job placements until the end of December 2021

More information can be found here.

4 Easy Ways to Provide More Value for Your Customers

Customers choose you over your competitors because you provide the most value. As competitors find ways to make their offerings more appealing than yours, you should also implement some strategies to provide even greater value than you already do and retain customers. This Forbes article shares some tips on how you can achieve this.

  • Become a niche authority. Establish yourself as an authority in your niche and provide solutions or insights to their pain points through blogs and social media posts.
  • Ask customers for feedback. Obtain honest feedback from customers to discover how you can add even greater value and improve customer experience.
  • Proactively customise your offerings. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t always work. Understand what each client needs and tailor your services accordingly.
  • Reward loyalty. If you want to gain repeat customers, find ways to reward their loyalty. Provide incentives and devise a rewards system.

As you try to make your customers happier, your business becomes more memorable and valuable for them. Therefore, it’s a win-win situation!

Need more focused business advice? Get in touch with us today and we can talk about your situation.

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