Author Archives: Peggy Nightingale

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We’re calling on the government to introduce measures that provide further support to SMEs

The government believes it has done a good job supporting many businesses throughout the Covid-19 crisis, and for many this is indeed so, but we now need greater clarity to help SMEs survive the deluge of debt so many will face in early 2021.

One of the biggest issues facing SMEs in 2021 is the “wall of Debt” , that of how debt deferred in 2020 – such as VAT and income tax – is going to be treated by the government and their agencies

On top of this many SMEs have borrowed via bounce back loans and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), which have 12-month repayment holidays, and so payments will start in the Spring of 2021.

Without clarity many businesses will understandably be taking drastic action now in order to minimise the risk of being unable to pay the likes of deferred Income Tax, VAT and their Bounce-back loans at the time due. The most likely impact will be higher redundancies than might be necessary.

And this is why we are calling on the government to take action now to introduce measures to address this worry and to provide support that goes further.

Together with our colleagues at the UK200Group we have produced a paper (a copy is available below) which details recommendations on several financial problems affecting SMEs as a result of Covid-19.

This paper has been sent to, and is currently being considered by, the government.

Measures being recommended include:

  • Consolidate certain debts into a single business support loan owed to HMRC.
  • Establish a threshold for loans repayments based on a criterion such as: average profits of the last 3 years, size of business and size of loan.

We are encouraging SMEs to get behind our proposals by writing to their local MP to encourage them to support the introduction of the measures. We have produced a template letter that SMEs can use.  This is available to download below.

Here to Help

In this year of uncertainty your business will be facing some unique challenges.  With so many changes to taxation and grants and with other measures having been introduced, it can be confusing to keep on top of your entitlements and indeed, obligations. 

Please do get in touch if you would like to receive some guidance or advice that is specific to your business and your circumstances.


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Final version on our coronavirus support guide

We have pleasure in presenting our final version of our coronavirus guide. We have highlighted the new sections in red, these being sections 1, 5, 8, 9 and 14.


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Helpful Guide to the Summer Economic Statement – What’s New

The Chancellor has introduced a series of measures focused in some key areas that have been hard hit due to Covid-19. 

In what the Chancellor referred to as ‘Phase 2’ of the Government’s response, Rishi Sunak announced a number of measures of support including:

  • A Job Retention Bonus;
  • A Kickstart Jobs Scheme;
  • Trainee and Apprentice Bonus Schemes;
  • Green Homes Grants;
  • A Stamp Duty Cut;
  • A VAT Reduction for the hospitality and tourism sector; and
  • An ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Scheme.

Phase 2 is all about bridging the gap as we move from the severe and sudden impact of Covid-19 that lead to lockdown and look to transition back to a ‘new normal’.  Phase 3, which will focus on ‘Rebuilding’ is due to come in the Autumn Budget.

With this ‘Summer Economic Statement’ and measures, the Chancellor is looking to:

  • support, create and protect jobs (thus helping businesses and individuals);
  • boost the property market;
  • encourage energy efficiency in homes; and
  • support the ailing hospitality and tourism industry.

The measures introduced today are broadly welcome.  Anything that can help protect, create and support jobs, plus specific measures to help some sectors and to encourage energy efficiency are clearly positive.  However, there is no doubt that these measures will not go far enough for some.

Only time will tell whether these measures will have the desired impact and whether they will inject activity in the areas they are targeting.

The measures also pose some questions, including:

  • Will the hospitality sector pass on the VAT reduction to the end consumer?
  • Will consumers feel safe enough to visit hospitality and leisure attractions to benefit from the 50% discount offered in the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme?
  • Is it too late for those staff that have already been made redundant or for those businesses that cannot continue to trade due to the devastating impact already?

The impact of these measures will affect many SMEs.  If you have furloughed staff, whilst the promise of a £1,000 bonus may not be enough for you to keep on all your furloughed staff, where the case is marginal, this bonus may be enough to tip the balance in favour of keeping the jobs.

How these changes affect you will vary from business to business and person to person.  We want to help you get through these tough times and benefit from the support that is available to you.

That is why we are offering a free initial business review to SMEs to help you navigate through these coming months.  The review comes in the form of a 30-minute remote consultation.

We have also produced a helpful guide that summarises the key schemes.  You can download your copy here :

Please do get in touch if you would like to book your consultation or for any further guidance or advice that is specific to your business and your circumstances.


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The Rt Honorable Rishi Sunak MP’s Summer Economic Statement

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak today set out a ‘Plan for Jobs’ that will spur the UK’s recovery from the Coronavirus outbreak.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/rishis-plan-for-jobs-will-help-britain-bounce-back

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Poll undertaken by The Martlet Partnership shows that 13% of SMEs are concerned they cannot survive and 48% are not in good shape

According to the latest poll of SMEs conducted by The Martlet Partnership in conjunction with the UK200Group, 13% of SMEs believe they cannot survive the current crisis and a further 48% have ‘written off’ this year and say they are not in good shape. 1.5% of SMEs say they have to close.

The poll was conducted amongst 432 SMEs across the UK in the third week of June and asked them what the future looks like for their business. One third of respondents indicated that business is pretty much as usual.

The same question was asked of SMEs in April, at which time their outlook was far more pessimistic.

Commenting on the poll results, David Macdonald from The Martlet Partnership said; “The poll highlights the remarkable resilience of SMEs in the UK. Despite everything that has been thrown at them in recent months, they are doing everything they can to be positive about the future.

But the poll also highlights a stark reality, namely that SMEs are facing some very tough times. Not least due to the impending wall of debt expected next year.”

Government support, from furlough and SEISS to tax deferrals and business loans have helped SMEs to survive over the past 3-months. These schemes have injected money into businesses, have enabled businesses to pay their staff and have held off the inevitable squeeze that will follow.

David adds; “We are already seeing redundancies and businesses failing due to lack of cash. To use an analogy, we are currently in the eye of the storm. Exiting the storm will be challenging. But there are a number of steps that SMEs can take to survive this storm and build a platform to thrive in the long term.

There are 3 key areas that SMEs need to focus on: their cash, their people and their customers.”

The Martlet Partnership has produced a handy guide highlighting the Top Twenty Things SMEs need to do to safeguard their business. You can find the guide below.


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Summary of furlough changes to support our guide posted on 24 June.

In addition to our guide, Everything SMEs Need to Know about Furlough, which was posted on 24 June, we are now pleased to present a very simple quick guide below.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) helps employers cover the costs of keeping individual employees on furlough, each for periods of three weeks or more.

Currently employers can claim under the CJRS for 80% of the employee’s usual wage (up to £2,500 per month) plus the employer’s NIC on those wages and the employer’s minimum contributions to the workplace pension, but this is about to change from:

·     1 July – employees can be furloughed for flexible periods with no minimum.  

·     1 August – CJRS will not cover the employer’s NIC or pension contributions.

·     1 September – CJRS will cover 70% of usual wages capped at £2,187.50 per month, but no employer’s NIC or pension contributions.

·     1 October – CJRS will cover 60% of usual wages capped at £1,875 per month, but no employer’s NIC or pension contributions.

·     1 November – no further support will be paid for furlough periods after 31 October.

Employers must continue to pay their employees at least 80% of their usual pay for furlough periods. For periods the employee is working they must be paid in line with their agreed employment contract, at rates above or equal to the National Minimum wage or National Living Wage, according to their age.  

Employers must not change the terms and conditions of employment contracts to reduce furlough pay to the amount of CJRS grant.

To be included in a CJRS claim for furlough periods from 1 July onwards, the employee must have been furloughed for a period of at least three weeks at some point between 1 March and 30 June 2020, with a few exceptions. Claims for furlough periods to 30 June must reach HMRC by 31 July.  

An employer won’t be able to use the CJRS from 1 July if they have not already made CJRS claims for their employees for earlier periods. Also the maximum number of employees the employer can claim for in July and beyond is limited to the maximum number of employees included in claims for periods up to 30 June 2020. 

Those are the bare bones of the new flexible furlough scheme, but there is much more detail to digest on how to calculate an employee’s usual hours and usual wages. A good deal of record keeping will also be required to keep track of what hours each employee has worked, or been furloughed, within each pay period. For more detail follow the link below.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/calculate-how-much-you-can-claim-using-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

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Helpful guide for SMEs about the changes to the furlough scheme

The government has announced a number of changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – more commonly referred to as ‘furlough’. These changes start to take effect from 1 July.

To help SMEs understand the changes and how they apply to them, we have produced a handy guide – Everything SMEs need to know about Furlough.

Covering everything from what is furlough, what are the changes, how to make claims and record keeping; right through to eligibility, how to calculate claims and bringing employees back from furlough, this guide provides essential guidance to all SME businesses.

The furlough scheme has provided vital support to SMEs over the past few months.  With significant changes coming into effect from 1 July, we are receiving an increasing number of queries from SMEs who need help and guidance on the practical aspects of having employees on furlough. 

As businesses look to getting back to some form of normal and start to ‘re-open’ they are faced with some crucial decisions.  This guide has been produced to help SMEs consider the implications for their business and guide them on the choices they have. It also provides practical guidance on how they can start to bring back employees from furlough, whilst ensuring they do things correctly and understand, and continue to get, the support they are entitled to.

You can find the guide here:


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Summary Table of Government support to businesses

Please find below a helpful summary table of Government measures to businesses during the coronavirus crisis.


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UPDATED CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS SUPPORT GUIDE

Major update to our business guide regarding furlough and government grants for the self-employed .

Following further announcements from HMRC, our business support guide has been updated, in particular the following sections:

  • Grants for employers
  • Grants for the self-employed
  • Sick pay support for employers

Minor changes have been made to the following sections

  • 10 Protection for tenants – Mortgage protection
  • 13 Business rates and grants: Regional variations

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Are you self-employed or running a small limited company? Have you applied for a grant from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme?

One of the government support schemes is the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which is a scheme to provide financial assistance in the form of a grant to those that are self-employed or members of partnerships that have been adversely affected by Covid-19.

If you are self-employed, in a partnership or have a small limited company and think you may be eligible for support through SEISS, we would appreciate it if you could take a minute to complete our short survey.
The survey contains just 3 quick questions and your participation will help us understand whether the self employed are getting the support they need through the scheme.

Please click here to participate in the survey:

The survey is open until 12pm on Thursday 21st May 2020.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/5DGNSBZ

Your feedback will be used to identify and escalate the biggest issues for the self-employed to the government.

I do hope you will be able to take a moment to participate.


Contact Us

The Martlet Partnership LLP
Martlet House
E1 Yeoman Gate
Yeoman Way
Worthing
West Sussex
BN13 3QZ

Tel.: +44 (0) 1903 600555
Fax.: +44 (0) 1903 600828
E-mail: info@martletpartnership.com

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