As we come to the end of what has been an extraordinary year, the Chancellor has delivered some last-minute yuletide joy with further extensions to the furlough scheme and government-backed loans.
In fact it has been a year of monumental change, with the government providing unprecedented financial support to counteract the impact of Covid-19.
The earliest of all changes was the departure of Sajid Javid as Chancellor and the arrival of Rishi Sunak, who had just four weeks to deliver his first Budget. Since then Sunak has gone on to pay out nearly £300bn in support to businesses and individuals, most notably via the furlough scheme, business rate holidays, grants, and government-backed loans.
And he took the novel approach of buying us all dinner during August with his Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
There have been so many changes in the Covid support this year that it has been hard to keep up with them all. There were no less than four different Winter Economy Plans, on top of the March Budget, a Summer Economic Update, and a Spending Review. That is a lot to digest. We now know that the budget will be on 3 March 2021.
On the whole, the support provided by the Treasury has been relevant and timely, even though there have been problems in terms of delivery and gaps in support. The newly self-employed and company directors paid via dividends in particular have missed out, although The Treasury continues to try and find ways to help them.
The fallout from all this support could eventually result in tax rises, such as from aligning National Insurance contributions of the self-employed with those who are employed. The Chancellor has already hinted at this and there has been much speculation over the increasing Capital Gains Tax rates and the imposition of a one-off wealth tax.
But let us be positive about what lies ahead.
The arrival of a Covid vaccine will inject new vigour into the economy, although it will not be the same as it was. It will be different, creating new job opportunities and new products and delivery mechanisms.
This has been a year of massive and rapid change. Change to our lives, change to the economy and change to how businesses operate. But history shows us that we are good at dealing with change. Business will innovate, business will grab those new opportunities and the economy will prosper again. I am hopeful that the vaccine roll out can pick up the pace in the New Year and then confidence can return in our daily lives.
In the meantime, with this being the last bulletin of the year, may I and the team here at Bishop Fleming, wish you a very restful festive break. We will be back with our latest Covid newswire in the second week of January.
Finally, just to remind you that we are here to support you with your business, so if you need help in maximising the opportunities, or if you are feeling cashflow or trading pressure, please get in touch, and also check out our Business after Covid-19 Transition Hub.
Furlough and loan schemes extended
The Chancellor has donned his Father Christmas outfit and announced extensions to the furlough scheme to 30 April 2021 and government-backed loans to 31 March 2021.
Have you claimed the third grant under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme? The claim window is now open
The third grant is now available, and claims can be made up to 29 January 2021.
Check out our ever-evolving checklist of key dates and deadlines
The latest deadlines, updated for 17 December 2020 announced changes.
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