Access Alternative Finance Options
Business Rates Consultation
Creative England loans
Creative England Equity Programme
National Minimum Wage Increases
Somer Valley Enterprise Zone
Business Growth Loans
End of Paper Based Self Assessment
Alcohol Registration Scheme
HMRC PAYE Tools
HMRC Employer Bulletin
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has issued a warning to intellectual property owners about unsolicited reminders offering to renew or register their patent, trade mark or registered design for a fee. Although the IPO is the only body that can issue reminders about UK IP rights, several intellectual property owners have been misled by 'official-looking' reminders. Anyone who has received a misleading reminder should contact the IPO at 'firstname.lastname@example.org'.
The warning is available in full at:
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced a two-year plan to increase take-up of research and development (R&D) tax relief among small firms. Measures will focus primarily on increasing awareness and making it easier for firms to apply for this type of tax relief. For example, HMRC will publish improved guidance to help increase firms' understanding of R&D tax relief and provide business certainty through the Advance Assurance scheme. Under the Advance Assurance scheme, which will launch in November 2015, HMRC will assure eligible firms that their first three years of R&D tax relief claims will be allowed "without enquiry".
Read more about the plan at:
A recently released report has suggested that the alternative finance market could have lent over £5 billion to UK firms. It has also estimated that the sector is lending on average over £200 million a month. The alternative finance market, which was worth £267 million in 2012 and had risen to £1.74 billion in 2014.
Creative England Re-launches Business Loans Scheme with Increased Maximum Loans of £2 Million
Creative England is supporting creative digital businesses to finance growth through the provision of interest free loans.
The Business Loans scheme aims to help fuel the growth of the fastest growing sector in the UK economy, financing business expansion and new projects which will lead to the creation of new, high-quality jobs. The main objective of the scheme is to promote economic growth by providing secured interest free loans.
Loans of between £50,000 and £200,000 per application are available. A small arrangement fee of 5% of the loan value will be charged to cover assessment, due diligence, and legal and administration costs. The loan will be interest free for three years with very low repayments for the first 12 months, followed by equal repayments for 24 months.
Established digital companies based in the English regions outside of Greater London may apply. Examples of what is meant by ‘digital’: digital media and web (eg creative software development, digital media, web design, digital content), games (eg gaming and app development), e-commerce and software solutions.
Applicant companies should aspire to grow through their proposed activity and evidence of their capacity to support, nurture and exploit this growth potential will be essential to making a successful bid. Applicants will need to demonstrate both a clear route to market and their ability to realise the growth potential of the proposed activity in terms of job creation.
The following costs constitute eligible expenditure for Creative England Business Loans:
- Labour costs.
- External specialist costs.
- Capital equipment and materials costs where these assets are used solely for the project.
- Other costs: costs of production costs not covered above.
Examples of eligible projects may include the development of a mobile healthcare application, the development of a new game for tablet or mobile, or e-government content linked to a new service delivery model.
Applications are once again being accepted by Expression of Interest, on a rolling basis.
See the website for more details.
The Department for Business (BIS) has published guidance for employers about how zero-hours contracts should be used appropriately. The guidance provides examples of best practice, such as clearly advertising that a job role will be under a zero-hours contract and that the hours will not be guaranteed. It also states that late cancellation of work is unacceptable except in "truly unavoidable" circumstances. Suggested alternatives to zero-hours contracts outlined in the guidance include offering existing staff overtime, recruiting a part-time employee or using temporary staff from an agency.
For further information regarding the guidance, go to:
Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents. The Government intends to bring forward legislation to enable it to introduce a more flexible shared parental leave and pay policy by 2018. The announcement follows the publication of evidence indicating that almost two million grandparents have given up work or taken time off to care for grandchildren. More than 50% of mothers rely on grandparents for childcare, and over 60% of working grandparents with grandchildren under the age of 16 provide some childcare. More details regarding the plans are expected in the first half of 2016.
For further information, go to:
Creative England’s Equity Investment Programme is supporting creative digital companies to finance business growth.
Investments will help fuel the growth of the fastest growing sector in the UK economy, financing business expansion and new products which will lead to the creation of new, high-quality jobs.
How much is available?
Investments of up to £250k are available for companies looking to invest in new products, services,
jobs or markets. Creative England is looking to make investment of around 20% of the total
investment raise. However, if you have an attractive investment opportunity that sits outside of
these parameters please speak to a member of our team.
Who can apply?
Prior to registering your interest in the fund you will be taken through an eligibility checker
which will ensure that the fund is right for your business.
All established businesses within the Digital Creative sector are welcome to apply as long as
they meet the eligibility criteria.
Each company can only make one application for investment unless authorised to reapply.
Your company should aspire to grow through your proposed activity and evidence of your
capacity to support, nurture and exploit this growth potential will be essential to making a
compelling bid. You will need to demonstrate both a clear route to market and your ability
to realise the growth potential of your proposed activity in terms of jobs creation.
See http://www.creativeengland.co.uk/business/equity-investment-programme for more information or contact us.
Changes to National Minimum Wage
Changes to National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates came into effect on 1st October 2015. The NMW rate for workers aged 21 or over increased from £6.50 to £6.70; for 18 to 20-year-olds, it increased from £5.13 to £5.30; and for those aged 16 and 17, it increased from £3.79 to £3.87. The NMW rate for apprentices rose by 20%, from £2.73 to £3.30, which is the largest ever increase and exceeds the 3% rise proposed by the Low Pay Commission.
Read more about the changes at:
The new rates are detailed at:
An ICM survey of 5,000 UK small and medium-sized firms has revealed that 23% of firms would consider newer forms of business finance such as peer-to-peer lending or crowd funding. The survey also found that 73% of smaller firms would consider investing their own money to help grow their business, 63% would consider a business loan, and 59% would consider a business overdraft. On average, 16% of smaller firms would also consider selling equity in their firm to raise additional funds.
Get in touch to discuss how you can raise finance
The Department for Communities and Local Government has launched a consultation on proposals to improve the appeals system for business rates. A straightforward three-stage appeals process has been proposed, and the consultation is open until 4th January 2015.
Marcus Jones, Minister for Local Government, said: "The business rates appeals process has been in a decades-long deadlock, hampered by some unscrupulous agents making speculative appeals - sometimes for businesses unaware this is being done on their behalf."
For more information, go to:
Somer Valley set to benefit from Enterprise Zone status
The Somer Valley is set to benefit from Enterprise Zone status, which will be a major boost to Bath & North East Somerset Council’s plans for regeneration, investment and growth in the area.
Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “This is very good news. We don’t have all the details yet but we know that this will provide a real boost to the economy of the Somer Valley, including opportunities for business to relocate and grow, bringing investment and jobs.
“The Somer Valley Enterprise Zone will make the most of the opportunities for linking the area’s economy to this flourishing hi-tech business environment in Bath and Bristol. This is likely to include investment in superfast broadband to unlock the full economic potential of the area. The success of the bid is down to the excellent joint working and the partnerships fostered through the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.”