Our latest updates from this week…

As you’ll see below, we’ve rounded up this week’s news, which has been dominated by the Budget as we get closer to the biggest date in the Chancellor’s diary.

Those headlines include calls for ‘well targeted’ extensions to Covid support measures, plus some recent commentary from both the Chancellor and the Prime Minister ahead of Monday’s roadmap.

We’ve also summarised the rest of the week’s talking points, including IR35 updates and the new £20m SME Brexit support fund.

Please make sure you scroll all the way down to see this week’s updates in full!

Thank you!


Make sure you don’t miss…

SME Brexit support

UK announces £20m SME Brexit support fund to help with rule changes

The fund aims to help SMEs with changes to trade rules with the European Union and prepare for the implementation of import controls which come into force from April and July.

Businesses who trade only with the EU and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes will be encouraged to apply for grants of up to £2,000 for each trader to pay for practical support including training and professional advice to ensure they can continue trading effectively.

It also means companies do not have to complete new import declarations for up to six months, unless they are moving controlled goods.

IFS urges Rishi Sunak not to raise taxes in March Budget

The influential institute said the chancellor should extend the furlough scheme, temporary VAT cut for hospitality and tourism businesses and business rates holiday, but also set a firm date for them to end.

IFS director Paul Johnson said the chancellor will need to “strike a balance between continuing support for jobs and businesses harmed by lockdowns” and “weaning the economy off blanket support which will impede necessary economic adjustment”.

The March Budget should announce ‘well targeted’ extensions to current emergency Covid support measures and avoid any tax rises, according to one of the UK’s largest economics think tanks.

HMRC releases IR35 ‘compliance principles’

The principles outline ways HMRC will support firms and when it will intervene, with the changes to the off-payroll working rules set to come into force on April 6, 2021.

IR35 is HMRC’s attempt to determine whether a non-payroll worker is a contractor or essentially a disguised employee.

The off-payroll working rules have been in place since 2000 and are designed to ensure that an individual who works like an employee, but through their own limited company such as personal service company, pays broadly the same income tax and national insurance contributions as other employees.

However, the changes to the off-payroll working rules, set to come in on 6 April 2021, mean that the responsibility for determining whether the rules apply will shift from the individual’s PSC, to the client organisation engaging them.

Budget will provide fresh Covid rescue package with tax rises deferred

Rishi Sunak’s March budget will be a fresh Covid rescue package that will defer plans for significant tax increases as the Chancellor throws his weight behind a cautious approach to reopening the economy, government sources have confirmed.

Boris Johnson signalled on Wednesday that the government would take a slow path towards reopening hospitality, which could mean pubs and restaurants are not able to serve customers without restrictions on groups until June or July. Even then, venues are likely to need to continue to have social distancing measures in place.

The budget will now be dominated by measures to protect jobs and shore up support for shuttered sectors. With the vaccination programme proceeding rapidly, Sunak had hoped to be able to focus on rebuilding the economy for the long term and helping businesses to expand and take on more workers.

Rishi Sunak to extend business rates relief and furlough

The Chancellor is expected to announce in the Budget that the year-long business rates holiday for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will continue beyond the previous end-date of March 31.

Sunak will instead issue his final report on a review of business rates, which will consider a potential online sales tax to help boost high-street retailers, in the autumn.


Other support measures, including the furlough scheme, will also be extended into the summer before being phased out.

The extension, first reported by the Financial Times, will come as a fillip to struggling businesses across the country.

Get In Touch

Due to the fast moving nature of the current Covid-19 pandemic, we are endeavouring to cover as much of the critical news as possible. If you are self-employed or run a business and need assistance and advice on how the recent announcements could make a difference to you or your business, feel free to get in touch with the experts at Morgan Reach. Our business growth experts at Morgan Reach will guide you through what support is available for you or your business as well as the latest news that may affect you.