The Timber Trade Federation

The Timber Trade Federation has been the voice of the UK’s timber trade for more than a century. Since it was founded in 1892, it has worked to help its industry prosper, without compromising the need for environmental responsibility, recognising that sustainability is at the heart of the timber trade. As a member-based organisation – it currently has around 250 on its rolls – the Read more…

SMEs get £70 million funding boost

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are set to receive a £70 million lending boost as part of government action to increase the availability of finance. Three new lenders – Market Invoice, URICA and Beechbrook Capital – will share more than £30 million of government funding to offer SMEs alternatives to traditional bank lending. They have committed to attracting additional funding from private sector investors, with Read more…

HMRC plans home visits service

A home visit from the taxman could become a reality for some taxpayers under a new service to be piloted by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). HMRC is planning to shut down its Enquiry Centre network in 2014 and provide face-to-face support when required to an estimated 1.5 million taxpayers who need extra help with their tax affairs. Announcing the move on 14 March, HMRC Read more…

Adopting “Cloud Technology”: What are the considerations for SMEs?

“The Cloud” continues to be the buzzword that generates passionate discussion amongst the business community; from debate on how the adoption of new technology can improve business processes, to the concern that surrounds data security and the potential cost of adoption. As with all investments in new technology, your decision to implement must make strategic sense. New technology should provide you with the technical expertise to Read more…

Businesses face VAT crackdown

Up to 50,000 businesses that have failed to submit VAT returns have been warned that their tax affairs could soon come under close scrutiny. More than 600,000 businesses submit VAT returns each month but a new campaign will see many of those attracting greater attention from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) from 28 February. The VAT Outstanding Returns campaign, announced on 9 January, is aimed Read more…

Extra help for young entrepreneurs

Thousands more young entrepreneurs are now eligible for government loans to help turn their business ideas into reality.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced on 3 January that funding for the government’s Start-Up loans scheme would be increased by £30 million to £110 million over three years.

The scheme, previously open to 18 to 24-year-olds, has also been opened up to more young entrepreneurs, with the upper age limit raised to 30.

Start-Up Loans provide range of support to get business ideas off the ground, including access to a business mentor as well as funding in the region of £2,500.

Read more…

Green Deal gives green light to energy saving

More than ten per cent of businesses are already planning to take advantage of a new scheme encouraging investment in energy-saving measures, according to research. The Green Deal, launched by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on 28 January, offers businesses and households the opportunity to pay for work to reduce their energy costs via their electricity bills. Under the initiative, a Green Deal assessor will Read more…

New measures set to reduce employment tribunals

Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson has announced plans to reduce the number of workplace disputes reaching an employment tribunal. The plans, which were published on 17 January, include: introducing a 12-month pay cap on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal. There are no plans to change the overall limit of the cap, which currently stands at £72,300 developing government guidance on the issues that should Read more…

Get it right on reference numbers, HMRC says

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced that it is contacting some customers if they have sent a payment without a reference number or with an incorrect one.

HMRC said 22 January that it might be phoning or writing to customers who had sent it a payment by:

  • Bacs Direct Credit
  • Faster Payments by online or telephone banking
  • CHAPS

    Read more…

New measures set to reduce employment tribunals

Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson has announced plans to reduce the number of workplace disputes reaching an employment tribunal.

The plans, which were published on 17 January, include:

  • introducing a 12-month pay cap on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal. There are no plans to change the overall limit of the cap, which currently stands at £72,300
  • developing government guidance on the issues that should be considered when deciding and negotiating the level of a financial settlement in settlement agreements. Employment relations body Acas is also drafting a new Code of Practice on settlement agreements for employers and employees at the government’s request
  • making template letters available to encourage the use of settlement agreements. Read more…