flooding at pultney wier

Businesses impacted by flooding between 1 December 2013 and 31 March 2014 could be eligible to apply to Bath & North East Somerset Council for Government financial support.

Help on repairs and renewals

A ‘repair and renew’ grant of up to £5,000, which will provide financial support to homeowners or businesses in order to pay for work to reduce the impact of future flooding can also be obtained from 1 April 2014. This is open to both homeowners and businesses.

Businesses interested in applying for a Repair and Renew grant should email: regeneration@bathnes.gov.uk

Help for business recovery plans

Small and medium sized businesses affected by the floods can claim funding to develop and carry out business recovery plans. The funding could cover immediate clean-up costs, materials, exceptional business costs and temporary accommodation.

Claims can be made immediately. More information is available via regeneration@bathnes.gov.uk or 01225 477 394.

Help on Council Tax and Business Rates

Businesses that have been flooded may qualify for 100% Business Rate relief for three months. More information is available via businessrates@bathnes.gov.uk or 01225 47 77 77.

Councillor Caroline Roberts (Lib-Dem, Newbridge), Cabinet Member for Transport, said, “Although this area was thankfully not as badly affected as others across the south west, the Council wants to raise awareness of the financial support available for any resident or business who was impacted during the exceptionally wet weather. Our staff are on hand to give support and advice about these flood support schemes.”
 

Employment law changes coming into effect

The rule changes affect many areas of employment law, from employment tribunals and discrimination, to everyday areas such as auto-enrolment and maternity pay.

Key changes:

  • Statutory maternity and paternity pay increased from £136.78 to £138.18
  • The time period for auto-enrolling workers increased from 1 month to 6 weeks
  • Employee complaints are now required to submit details to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)
  • Tribunal award limits are increased.

David Coulter, director of HR Heroes, urged small and medium-sized businesses to pay attention to the incoming changes:

"These rule changes are taking place in areas that affect companies each day so it's important employers are aware of them. One of the more significant changes is the fact that aggrieved employees must now enter into a conciliation process with ACAS, which should hopefully reduce the number of formal tribunal claims.

"While this is arguably good news, what's not so good is that the limit on a number of award payments has risen quite significantly, putting companies at increased financial risk."


SSP no longer reclaimable from Government as of 6th April 2014

The Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS), which allowed employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in certain circumstances, is abolished from 6th April 2014.

Under PTS employers could reclaim SSP where the SSP paid was more than 13% of the Class 1 National Insurance Contributions due for the month. As of 6th April 2014, it is no longer possible for employers to recover SSP from the government. Employers will, however, continue to be able to recover unclaimed SSP for previous years for a limited period and so should seek advice from an accountant if they believe this applies.

The reason for this change is that it was believed that the PTS gave employers an incentive not to encourage long term sick employees to return to the workplace.

The government has announced that the current PTS funding will be put towards the new Health & Work Service instead. This scheme is due to start in 2015 and is intended to help employees and employers put together plans to facilitate a return to work for employees who have been incapacitated for four weeks.

 Ministers seek views on improving the business rates system

HM Treasury and the Department for Communities and Local Government is inviting businesses and local authorities to provide their views about the administration of the business rates system in England. A new discussion paper has been published as part of a review aiming to simplify the system and make it more responsive to changes in property values. The review was announced in the 2013 Autumn Statement, and will focus on five elements of the rates system, including how property is valued, how often this is done, and how business rate bills are set. The final date for submitting responses to the discussion paper is 6th June 2014.

Read more about the discussion paper and how to submit a response at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-administration-review-discussion-paper

 

Grant scheme for childcare start ups extended

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced that the Childcare Business Grant Scheme in England that was due to end in March 2014 has been extended until 31st December 2014. The grant scheme provides grants of up to £500 to start up a nursery or childminding service, in order to cover the cost of training, equipment, insurance, criminal record checks and adaptations to premises.

Read more about the grants at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/child-care-business-scheme-extended