Opportunities for Your Success

Latest Business News and Opportunities to Drive Innovation and Growth

Welcome to our round up of the latest business news for our clients. Please contact us if you want to talk about how these updates affect your business. We are here to support you!

Innovative Approaches for Value Creation:

Recognising the paramount importance of innovation in value creation, both at the company level and for the broader UK economy, the development and dissemination of novel ideas, processes, and technologies stands as a pivotal driver of economic growth and productivity. Moreover, innovation has emerged as a critical catalyst for steering the economy towards a sustainable, low-carbon future, away from fossil fuel-dependent business practices.

Numerous factors influence a company’s inclination and capacity for innovation, including the availability of skills and capital, as well as government policies like tax incentives. However, none are as pivotal as the company’s internal culture, capabilities, and operational systems, all of which fall under the umbrella of its governance. Companies that foster an environment conducive to innovation are best positioned to seize emerging opportunities.

Our most innovative clients exhibit several key attributes:

• They allocate resources towards endeavours with uncertain outcomes, where gauging commercial returns proves challenging, and the risk of setbacks is higher than the norm.

• They draw upon company-specific expertise, often of a highly specialised nature.

• They cultivate a culture that champions adaptability, experimentation, and a high degree of individual autonomy in decision-making.

• They embrace a longer-term investment horizon compared to many other business activities.

The Research and Development (R&D) process involves taking an idea and refining it into a fully realised product or procedure. R&D tax credits, a government-backed incentive, aim to stimulate innovation across diverse industries. This presents an opportunity to offset your corporation tax liability or receive a refund from HMRC based on the hours and relevant costs allocated to Research & Development. SMEs can potentially reclaim up to 33% of the expenses associated with R&D.

For those seeking long-term financing to bolster innovation efforts, it’s imperative to ensure your management accounts are up to date, provide detailed lists of debtors and creditors, and potentially furnish up-to-date projections before experts evaluate your application.

Reach out to us regarding R&D tax credits and long-term financing. Our independent tax experts boast extensive experience and a track record of success in business advisory spanning a wide spectrum of sectors.

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UK Manufacturing Surges to Eighth Position in Global Rankings:

The UK’s manufacturing sector has achieved an impressive rise in global rankings, now standing at eighth place, surpassing France, based on the latest official data analysed by Make UK. The annual report, ‘Manufacturing – The Facts’, offers a comprehensive overview of manufacturing’s economic impact, encompassing exports, sectoral breakdowns, international comparisons, and salary levels. In 2021, the assessed year for global comparisons, UK manufacturing output amounted to approximately $272 billion, outperforming France’s $262 billion but trailing behind Italy’s $314 billion.

To provide context, China leads as the largest manufacturing nation at $4.9 trillion, followed by the United States at $2.5 trillion and Japan at $995 billion. Germany, ranking fourth globally, maintains its position as the largest European manufacturing country with a value of $803 billion.

Make UK emphasises that while this upward trajectory in the rankings is positive, it’s crucial to note that this marks only the third occasion since 2002 that the UK has surpassed France. This achievement cannot be solely attributed to a post-Brexit surge or any specific factor. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data for 2022, UK manufacturing output stands at £224 billion.

Make UK contends that if the Government commits to its goal of a manufacturing target constituting 15% of GDP (which, by their estimates, would inject an additional £142 billion into the UK economy), the sector could aim to rival Italy, which holds the seventh spot. Given that numerous competitor nations have their own versions of an Industrial Strategy, Make UK reiterates its call for a comprehensive, forward-looking, and robust strategy that could catalyse the realization of this 15% aspiration.

Contrary to widespread belief, the analysis by Make UK reveals that manufacturing jobs offer higher remuneration compared to both services and the overall economy. Official data indicates that the average salary in the manufacturing sector for 2022 was £36,488, surpassing the figures for the overall economy (£33,402) and services (£32,676).

The North West region retains its position as the UK’s leading manufacturing hub, boasting an output value of £28.2 billion and employing 314,000 individuals. This sector accounts for nearly 15% of the North West’s economic output and 8% of regional employment.

See: UK-Manufacturing-The-Facts-2023 | Make UK

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Changes in fire safety regulations

Starting from October 1, 2023, new fire safety regulations will be enforced. This mandates that numerous businesses and property owners review their operations to ensure compliance with the updated guidelines.

The key modifications include:

• Mandating all businesses, regardless of size or number of employees, to comprehensively document a fire risk assessment and outline fire safety protocols.

• Implementing heightened requirements for collaboration and synchronization among Responsible Persons, particularly in multi-tenant buildings or those where the occupier and owner are not the same.

• Requiring that residential buildings with two or more domestic units furnish residents with comprehensive information on fire risks and the associated safety measures in place to safeguard them.

See: New fire safety guidance comes into force on 1 October 2023 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Start-up loans for new businesses

Start-Up Loans offer a personalised financial solution tailored to kickstart new businesses, particularly catering to entrepreneurs facing challenges in obtaining funding from conventional lenders. Since its inception in 2012 by the government and facilitated through the state-owned British Business Bank, this initiative has provided over 100,000 small enterprises with essential funding to amplify their operations, fostering economic growth and benefiting local communities.

Distinguishing themselves from standard small-business bank loans, Start-Up Loans are individualised loans intended explicitly for business endeavours. Furthermore, they are unsecured, meaning there’s no requirement to leverage personal assets like your residence for collateral.

Administered by the Start-Up Loans Company, financially backed by the UK Government, these loans range from £500 to £25,000, with repayment terms spanning one to five years and a steady annual interest rate of 6%.

Upon application, you’re paired with a dedicated business adviser, offering guidance throughout the application process. If successful, your loan package may also include a year of complimentary mentoring. To be eligible for a Start-Up Loan, the following criteria must be met:

• You are 18 years of age or older.

• You are living in the UK.

• You are either launching a new business or your business is less than three years old.

• Your business is currently or will be based in the UK.

• You possess the legal right to work in the UK.

See: Start Up Loans – British Business Bank (british-business-bank.co.uk)

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Small Business Saturday – “The Tour 2023”

As November approaches, the highly anticipated Small Business Saturday UK Tour is set to make its comeback, aiming to shine a spotlight on and provide support to small businesses across the nation.

With the valued backing of BT Skills for Tomorrow, ‘The Tour’ will embark on a journey, encompassing twenty-three diverse towns and cities throughout the UK over the course of November. Its mission is to visit small businesses, recognising and celebrating their significant contributions to both the local communities and the broader UK economy.

Moreover, the initiative will present an engaging daily lineup of complimentary online activities, including workshops, webinars, mentorship sessions, and captivating entrepreneurial narratives, accessible to all small businesses.

Commencing on Monday, October 30th, ‘The Tour’ will traverse the UK for a span of five weeks, employing eco-conscious electric vehicles, including a cutting-edge, environmentally-friendly electric bike from Stirling Eco. This move not only serves to curtail emissions but also mirrors the sustainable choices many small business proprietors are adopting, underscoring their pivotal role in the collective effort towards achieving net-zero targets.

See: Small Business Saturday UK | Another year making a Big Difference!

Utilising AI solutions for enhanced productivity in key sectors

Innovate UK, a division of UK Research and Innovation, is set to invest a substantial £32 million in ground breaking innovation projects aimed at advancing and implementing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) solutions in key sectors including Transport, Construction, Agriculture, and the creative industries.

These projects have the flexibility to focus on a range of critical areas such as data-driven decision-making, streamlining administrative tasks through automation, optimising project management, developing forecast models for supply chain enhancement, improving waste management, refining intellectual property (IP) management, and enhancing design processes.

The competition is divided into two segments, catering to both individual entities and collaborative research and development (R&D) projects. For both categories, Innovate UK will provide funding for industrial research projects and experimental development projects, following the criteria outlined in the research category guidelines.

Regarding project funding, individual entities can request up to £100,000 in total grant funding. Collaborative R&D projects, on the other hand, can seek funding ranging from £700,000 to £1.2 million.

This competition officially commences on September 27, with the application deadline for both segments set for 11 am on November 8, 2023.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to participate in Innovate UK’s briefing event scheduled for September 29, 2023, to gain comprehensive insights into eligibility, the application process, and securing funding for impactful AI initiatives

See: BridgeAI Briefing Event: Collaborative AI Solutions to improve productivity in key sectors – Innovate UK KTN (ktn-uk.org)

Latest HMRC Employer webinars

Listed below are a number of live HMRC webinars that will help employers with payroll. The webinars are free and last around an hour.

Expenses and benefits for your employees – trivial benefits
Tue 31 Oct at 1:45pm

Salaried hours work and the National Minimum Wage
Tue 26 Sep at 1:00pm

Expenses and benefits for your employees – company cars, vans, and fuel
Tue 10 Oct at 11:45am

Expenses and benefits for your employees – if your employees have more than one workplace
Thu 12 Oct at 9:45am

Taxing employees’ benefits and expenses through your payroll
Mon 16 Oct at 11:45am

Employer filing obligations
Tue 17 Oct at 9:45am

Expenses and benefits for your employees – social functions and parties
Mon 23 Oct at 11:45am
Wed 1 Nov at 11:45am

Expenses and benefits for your employees – travel
Thu 2 Nov at 11:45am

Expenses and benefits for your employees – phones, internet, and homeworking
Wed 8 Nov at 1:45pm

Getting payroll information right
Mon 27 Nov at 9:45am

Student finance bill becomes law

New legislation has been enacted to revolutionise the student finance system, permitting educational institutions to establish varying fees for different courses, marking a significant shift. This change also creates opportunities for adults to pursue studies in a manner that suits their needs.

The introduction of the Lifelong Learning Entitlement (formerly the Lifelong Loan Entitlement) from 2025 ensures that all adults will have access to loans, with a value of up to £37,000 based on current fees, which can be utilised flexibly throughout their careers for upskilling or retraining. This entitlement will enable individuals to secure a student loan for full-time programs such as university degrees or Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs), as well as for select individual course modules.

See: Transformative student finance bill becomes law – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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