Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family have all had a great time during the festivities! Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help you have a great start into the new year.
UK Resists Another Lockdown
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that England can withstand a surge in COVID-19 cases without shutting down the economy, betting that a vaccine booster drive and caution among the population would be enough to constrain the latest wave.
The Prime Minister said he was sticking to the Plan B introduced before Christmas, which included the wearing of face coverings on public transport and in shops.
More Support to Keep Pupils in the Classroom
An additional 7,000 air cleaning units will be provided to early years, schools, and colleges to improve ventilation in teaching spaces and protect face-to-face education. The advice on face coverings in classrooms will be in place until the 26 January.
Government Takes Action to Mitigate Workforce Disruption
The Prime Minister has tasked ministers to develop contingency plans for workplace absences and other disruption caused by the surge in Omicron cases. A number of steps have already been taken to minimise potential workforce or supply chain disruptions, including:
- reducing the isolation period from 10 to 7 days with 2 negative tests
- introducing daily contact testing to prevent widespread need for self-isolation
- investing over £462 million to support workforce recruitment and retention in the adult social care sector
- using digital staff passports for NHS staff
- extending the Infection Control Fund until March 2022
- boosting the numbers of HGV drivers
- asking qualified teachers who are no longer in the profession to sign-up to temporarily fill absences and support schools
- adding care worker roles to the Shortage Occupation List to bolster our social care workforce
- working to speed up the registration of overseas nurses
New Laws to Strengthen National Security
The National Security and Investment (NSI) Act came into effect on 4 January 2022. This means the government will be able to scrutinise and intervene in certain acquisitions made by anyone, including businesses and investors, that could harm the UK’s national security.
The government has published comprehensive guidance to help businesses and investors to understand their obligations under the new rules.
£1 Billion Support for UK Businesses Impacted by Omicron
The government is providing one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England. More than £100 million discretionary funding will be made available for local authorities to support other businesses.
The government will also cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences for small and medium-sized employers across the UK. To enable more cultural organisations to apply for support during the winter, further funding amounting to £30 million will be made available through the Culture Recovery Fund.
Deadline Extension for Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Scheme
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed that it is proposing a 12-month extension to the non-domestic RHI’s application deadline, moving the date from 31 March 2022 to 31 March 2023.
Also set to be extended are the second and third allocations of the scheme’s tariff guarantee, which will allow organisations to secure a fixed tariff before their installation is commissioned and accredited.
New Laws and Code of Practice to Resolve Commercial Rent Debts
From 25 March 2022, new laws introduced in the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill, will establish a legally-binding arbitration process for commercial landlords and tenants who have not yet reached an agreement, following the principles in the Code of Practice.
The new laws will be implemented in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland will have the power to introduce similar legislation. The Commercial Rent Bill will apply to commercial rent debts related to the mandated closure of certain businesses such as pubs, gyms and restaurants during the pandemic.
Cold Weather Payment Scheme
From 1 November 2021, households have become eligible for the Cold Weather Payment scheme which involves a weekly reduction on their energy bills.
You can receive this payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over seven consecutive days. Eligible individuals will get £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather between 1 November 1 and 31 March 2022.
£500 Million Plan for Jobs Expansion
Workers leaving the furlough scheme and unemployed individuals over 50 years old will be supported back into work as part of more than £500m expansion of the government’s Plan for Jobs. People earning the lowest wages will also benefit and existing schemes targeting young people will be extended into next year as part of the new package.
Starting in April 2022, the Government is enhancing its programme of support for workers on Universal Credit.
5 Ways to Beat Inflation
Business owners will encounter a lot of opportunities and face hurdles in 2022. One of the greatest challenges is likely to be inflation due to the increase in national debt, among other factors. This Forbes article shares some tips on how entrepreneurs can fight back.
- Do more with less. Many have improved their financial discipline due to the pandemic. Continue to cut waste and find more ways to do more with less. After cutting waste, focus on building high-margin products and services.
- Seek more low-cost financing and cut financing costs. Government financing can be a great source of cheap financing for business.
- Raise more internal financing. Improve your cash flow.
- Use smart driver-focused sales. One of the biggest problems in business is getting sales and spending too much to get it. Learn how to sell more with less.
- Make your strategy finance-smart. Evaluate the financial impact of your business strategy and adjust if necessary.
Need more personalised business advice? Get in touch with us today so we can discuss your specific concerns.
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