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Cool Ventures May 2015 Newsletter
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
Vincent Van Gogh

Business Advice
The implications of DVLA changes to driving Licences
European Funding
Click and Collect Locker planning permission
2015 Tax changes
New legislation
Consumer Credit changes
Google Search changes
Business Growth Loans
Self Employed NI changes
Under 21 year olds exempt from NI
HMRC Training online
HMRC Webinars


SMEs not seeking expert advice

The survey of more than 1,500 business owners shows that just 13% turn to financial advisers for support, while 9% use legal advisers and 6% go to insurance providers.

The top 3 obstacles faced by business owners when setting up their business are:

  • financial administration (32%)
  • marketing and sales (31%)
  • legal employer obligations (30%).

Many businesses have little or no expertise in these areas. Three quarters of survey respondents knew little about marketing or bookkeeping while 85% did not understand their legal obligations as an employer.

This lack of marketing, legal and financial knowledge can often continue to affect SMEs beyond their initial starting period. The top 3 problems for established business owners are:

  • marketing and sales (26%)
  • getting financial help (18%)
  • legal employer obligations (18%).

Angus Eaton, managing director of commercial lines at Aviva, said:

"Making the time to balance the management of day to day customer, employee and supplier demands with protection against nasty surprises is a perpetual challenge for any business. Great advice helps.

"Whether it's getting hands-on help with bookkeeping, or getting to grips with the legal obligations associated with being an employer, there is a wealth of advice and material designed to support SMEs along every step of the way."

If you are thinking of starting a business or would like more advice when running one, we can probably help, and may even be able to find some government or local authority funding to offset your costs!  Give us a call on 01225 580850 or drop us an email on for more information.

From 8 June 2015 the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence will be abolished

From 8 June DVLA will stop issuing the paper counterpart and those that currently exist will no longer be valid.
If your business or organisation conducts checks on driving licences for customers or employees then you need to be aware of the change. Read the InsideDVLA blog for further information.
Driving licence holders can get more information on DVLA’s campaign page on GOV.UK.

ERDF 2014-2020 programme

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014-2020 programme for England has been approved by the European Commission. Local partners such as LEPs (Local Enterprise Partnerships) were meant to decide how the ERDF programme should be delivered in their local areas but this didn't comply with European Union rules. Instead local partners, such as local authorities, will now determine the priorities of projects to ensure they benefit their local area. The ERDF programme, the European Social Fund (ESF) and part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development are also being combined into a single local growth programme. This will be called the 'European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme'.

Calls are now open for ERDF projects, which can be accessed at:

If you would like help applying for these funds, please get in touch by email to or call 01225 580850

High street planning permission changes

Retailers in the UK will no longer need planning permission to install 'click and collect' lockers for online shoppers, under new measures announced by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The measures, which will be introduced on 15th April 2015, will encourage more shoppers to visit their local high street. Other planning changes include allowing shops, bank premises and estate agents to change use to become cinemas and gyms and allowing shops, restaurants and bank premises to change use between each of these three categories without requiring planning permission. For example, shop premises could be changed to a restaurant without the need for permission.

Find out more about the changes at:

Tax changes from 1 April

Corporation tax

All companies will now pay a main rate of corporation tax of 20% on profits of £300,000 and under. Corporation tax will effectively become a single rate as the main rate is reduced to the current small companies rate of 20%.


The threshold for compulsory VAT registration is increasing from £81,000 to £82,000. The turnover limit for when businesses can deregister from VAT also is rising from £79,000 to £80,000.


Three new Acts become law

The Consumer Rights Act 2015, the Deregulation Act 2015 and the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 all received Royal Assent on 26th March 2015. The three new pieces of legislation will introduce the following important regulatory changes:

  • The Consumer Rights Act will revoke the Sales of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, simplifying and clarifying the provisions of consumer protection. The new Act will provide a simple, modern framework of consumer rights, particularly in relation to the supply of digital content. The Act will come into force on the 1st October 2015. Guidance is expected to be available before the end of April 2015, giving traders six months to prepare for the necessary changes. For further information, go to
  • The Deregulation Act 2015 will reduce the burden of excessive red tape on a range of business types including driving instructors, taxis and private hire vehicles and establishments that sell alcohol. The Act also exempts self-employed workers in low-risk industries from workplace health and safety legislation. The Act will come into force later this year. For further details, go to
  • The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (the Small Business Act 2015) will improve access to business finance by increasing the availability of investment for small firms to help them grow. An independent Small Business Appeals Champion will be introduced for all non-economic regulators to ensure that small firms can easily challenge a regulatory requirement if they feel it is unfair and minimises their ability to grow. The public procurement process will also be changed to ensure that small firms have access to public sector contracts and procurement processes in general. The Act will come into force later this year. For further details, go to

New exemptions for providers of consumer credit

New consumer credit exemptions have been introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Previously firms offering consumer credit were only exempt from the requirement to apply for FCA authorisation if they provided credit agreements that were repaid within a maximum of four instalments over the course of a year. This has now been increased to 12 instalments. Firms must still meet additional criteria to remain exempt from authorisation, such as only providing credit for a fixed amount and not adding any charges or interest. Firms which meet all of the criteria may still require authorisation from the FCA if they carry out other credit-related activities. The new exemptions were introduced on 18th March 2015 and only apply to credit agreements made on or after that date.

Read more about the exemptions at:

Google search criteria updated

On 21st April 2015, Google updated the criteria it uses for searches that are carried out on mobile devices. The updated criteria favour mobile-friendly websites and rank them more highly in search results. The criteria used by Google to assess whether a website is mobile-friendly include the size of the text, the amount of space between the links and whether the content can fit across a mobile screen. Google has developed a Mobile-Friendly Test which can be used to assess if a website is mobile-friendly.

For further information about the search changes, go to:

Business Growth Loans

Business growth funding is available for South West micro, small and medium sized businesses with growth potential supported with Regional Growth Fund and European Regional Development Fund finance. If you are a growing business but find yourself unable to secure all the funding you need, this loan could be for you.

Fill out your business details on the initial application form below and we will get back to you shortly with further information.

Regional Growth Fund

Main terms:

  • Loan amount £10,000 to £100,000
  • Maximum 3 year term
  • Interest charged 10% fixed
  • Arrangement fee of 2% of loan amount payable on loan draw down

South West Loans Fund

Main terms:

  • Maximum amount £50,000
  • Maximum 5 year term
  • Commercial rates of interest charged in line with EU guidelines (normally between 6% and 10% fixed)
  • Arrangement fee of 1% of loan amount (min. £75) payable on draw down
  • Monitoring fee of 1% of original loan (min. £75) payable per year

Loans subject to personal guarantees, further security may be requested according to commercial risk.

If you would like help with your application and business financials, we may be able to arrange support, please let us know in the initial application form below.

Eligible applicants will need to meet a number of criteria and have viable business plans. If you are are interested in accessing these funds, or  have other financing requirements, give us a call or drop us an email at

If you provide Electronically Supplied Services to private customers in other EC countries you are likely to have been impacted by an EC wide change in the place of supply rules. Until 31st December 2014 the place of supply of such services has been where the supplier belongs so, for a UK supplier, would have normally been subject to a 20% UK VAT charge.

As from 1st January 2015 the place of supply changed to where the private customer belongs and will be subject to VAT at the rate pervading in the appropriate EC country. So a sale of electronically supplied services to a German based private customer as from 1st January 2015 is subject to a 19% German VAT charge.

For UK suppliers HMRC have set up a one stop shop electronic service called MOSS through which UK businesses can account for all EC VAT charged to customers on a calendar quarter basis. Businesses affected need to register with MOSS as soon as possible thus avoiding the need to register directly in other EC countries.

Electronically supplied services include the following:

  • Website supply, web-hosting, distance maintenance of programmes and equipment
  • Supply of software and updating thereof
  • Supply of images, text and information and making available of databases
  • Supply of music, films and games, including games of chance and gambling games and of political, cultural, artistic, sporting, scientific, educational and entertainment broadcasts and events, and
  • Supply of distance teaching
If you have customers on VAT MOSS the first Return and payment are due by 20th April 2015 – unlike UK VAT Returns MOSS Returns have fixed quarterly periods ending 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 31st December – with the submission of the Return and payment of any tax due by the 20th of the following month – the first MOSS Return period runs to 31st March 2015 and therefore the first submission and payment is due by 20th April 2015.

Class 2 National Insurance Contributions – payment change

The payment of Self-employed National Insurance Contributions is changing. HMRC will be collecting Class 2 NICs via Self-Assessment for most self-employed people from April 2015.

NI Contributions for Under 21 year old employees

Since April, under 21 year old employees have been exempt from employer NI contributions.  For more information see

Brush up on your tax knowledge with HMRC Online Training

If you employ staff it is important to know how to handle PAYE tax, National Insurance, and running a payroll.

You may already be doing these things, but a short refresher course is always useful to ensure that you are doing everything right.

The free HMRC online employer training system can help.  You can learn at a pace that suits you and it will help you to identify and fill any gaps in your tax knowledge.

HMRC Webinars

HMRC’s range of webinars supports businesses - helping to make tax matters easier, quicker, and simpler to understand.

The webinars last about an hour, they are live and interactive so questions can be asked by participants.

Whether you want to find out about PAYE, Self Employment, VAT, Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) for Contractors and Subcontractors, Property Income, Record Keeping and other topics - these webinars will offer help and guidance.

Sign up to take part in HMRC June webinars– supporting businesses to get things right.

Just in case you haven’t taken part in live HMRC webinars before – this is what they need to do to join:

1.    Sign up by providing a name and email address – we will then send a link to attend.

2.    Ask questions in the text box on the screen – we will explain how during the webinar.

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Friday 5 June
SG Business Forum: Annual Breakfast Invitation

If you are a business operating in or potential investor to South Gloucestershire, you are cordially invited to the free annual Business Forum breakfast taking place between 7:30am and 9:30am on Friday 5 June 2015 at Bristol & Bath Science Park, Emersons Green, BS16 7FR.

Tuesday 9th June 2015
Venturefest 2015
 The Passenger Shed & Engine Shed, Bristol Temple Meads | @venturefestbb A one-day event showcasing Bristol and Bath’s most innovative and enterprising companies and start-ups

Wednesday 10th June
Starting in Business a free evening workshop introducing the basic skills required to start a new business

Thursday 18th and 25th June
Strategy and Business Planning Workshop a free two half day workshop showing you how to create and implement a Plan for Growth
Emersons Green

Thursday 9th and 16th July
Strategy and Business Planning Workshop a free two half day workshop showing you how to create and implement a Plan for Business Growth

Monday 13th July
An Introduction to Business a free evening workshop introducing the basic skills required to start a new business
Emersons Green
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