New government grant for small businesses: The Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)

Yesterday the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government announced that there would be £20 million in new funding to help businesses across England get back on track due to COVID-19.

Small to medium-sized business in England can receive the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) of between £1000-£5000 to be spent on professional services fees to help get business back on track.


What can I use the Small Business Grant Fund for?

The Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) can be used to buy IT equipment to help your company adapt – or to adopt the new technology your business needs to carry on trading during the pandemic.

You’ll also be able to use the Grant to contribute towards:

  • Accountants
  • Financial services
  • Human resources
  • Legal fees

Businesses will not have to pay anything towards this as it will be fully funded by the government (although it will be taxable). The SBGF will be paid to whoever was registered as the ratepayer for your business premises as of the 11th March 2020.


Which businesses are eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund?

Your business is eligible for the SBGF if it:


How can I claim the Small Business Grant Fund?

You don’t need to do anything to claim this grant: eligible businesses will be contacted by their local council with all of the details you need to apply.

The grants are being administered by the governments 38 regional growth hubs. You can find the list of local growth hubs where you can apply for the new grant here.

For more information, visit the government page.


If you’d like to discuss what this means for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Tax documents with pen

VAT rate for the hospitality industry temporarily reduced to 5%

In the Chancellor’s summer statement, it was announced that the VAT rate for the hospitality industry would be reduced from 20% to 5% on a temporary basis from the 15th July 2020 to the 12th January 2021. This change has been brought in by the government in an effort to support businesses that have been severely affected by COVID-19.


Which types of business will the reduced VAT rate apply to?

The new VAT rate will apply to hotels, holiday accommodation, hospitality and admission to certain attractions such as zoos, theatres, cinemas, museums and amusement parks.

Hotels and travel companies

For hotels and travel companies, the 5% reduced rate applies to any sleeping accommodation that occurs in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites. If 20% VAT on advanced bookings has already been accounted for, then the businesses has the option of applying the 5% rate and issuing a credit note as a refund to the customer. 

Pubs, restaurants, cafes and takeaway businesses 

For pubs, restaurants, cafes and takeaways offering hot food, the 5% reduced VAT rate will apply to food and non-alcoholic beverages sold on the premises. For takeaways, this will still apply to food and drink taken off the premises.  

However, there are some points to note for these types of business:

  • Cold drinks such as canned drinks will not be covered by the reduced rate.
  • Any private event that offers catering such as buffets or meals will not be eligible for the reduced rate.

For further guidance on this topic, you can read more on the HMRC website


Eat Out to Help Out scheme

 A new scheme has been introduced by the government to encourage people to eat out in restaurants, cafés and pubs. Diners will be able to claim a 50 per cent discount of up to £10 per head on any eat-in meal at any participating venue on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday during August 2020 (you cannot offer discounts before the 3rd August 2020). Alcoholic drinks are not included in the amount eligible for the discount. 

Companies will be reimbursed through an online scheme. To register your business or to find out more about the eligibility criteria and making a claim, just visit the government site.


If you need advice about VAT, get in contact with us and we will be happy to help.

pound coins

UK Mini-Budget 2020: Key Points from the Summer Statement

Following on from our most recent live Budget blog, this post outlines the key points from Rishi Sunak’s UK Mini-Budget 2020, which has also been described as his summer statement. The headline news for the housing market is that Chancellor Sunak has announced a temporary Stamp Duty holiday (more on this below).

This blog also highlights a number of other significant updates that were revealed during the Mini-Budget, including:

  • VAT reductions for the next months from 20% to 5%
  • The Eat Out to Help Out scheme, offering discount vouchers for restaurantgoers 
  • The Job Retention Bonus with incentives for employers to bring back furloughed workers
  • A ‘kickstart jobs scheme’ designed to support jobs for younger people
  • The Green Homes Grant (with contributions to energy-saving home improvements).


Temporary Stamp Duty holiday

Chancellor Sunik announced a Stamp Duty holiday. Homebuyers will be exempt from paying the Stamp Duty for a property with a value of up to £500,000. This change is only temporary, however,  and Stamp Duty will return to normal as of the 31st March 2021.

VAT temporarily reduced to 5%

VAT is to be reduced for the next 6 months from 20% to 5%. This will apply to a range of goods and services, including restaurants, cafes, pubs, tourist attractions, zoos, attractions, B&Bs and many more. The reduced rate will be introduced on Wednesday 15th July 2020 and will remain until the 12th January 2021.

Eat Out to Help Out

Eat Out to Help Out restaurant discount vouchers will be given to everyone in the UK to use at any participating businesses throughout the whole of August. These vouchers can be used from Monday to Wednesday each week and will entitle you to 50% off your bill up to a maximum of £10 per head. 

Businesses will then claim the funds back through a government website, which will be opened from Monday 13th July (check back then for more details, including the URL for the site). Sunak has stated that the funds will be paid directly into hospitality companies’ bank accounts within 5 workings days.

Job Retention Bonus

In order to encourage businesses to bring back their furloughed employees, the Chancellor announced the Job Retention Bonus. This scheme will reward employers with a bonus of £1000 for each furloughed employee who is brought back to work and employed up until at least January 2021.

‘Kickstart jobs scheme’

To support jobs for younger people, the government announced a ‘kickstart jobs scheme,’ which will help fund six-month work placements for young workers aged between 16 and 24 years old. Employers can apply for the scheme from August 2020 – check back here then for more information.

The Green Homes Grant

Homeowners and landlords will be able to apply for the Green Homes Grant, which is designed to make homes more energy-efficient and is expected to launch in September 2020. Vouchers of up to £5,000 will be issued – and low-income households could get contributions of up to £10,000 for improvements such as wall and loft insulations, energy-saving boilers, and double or triple glazing.


Hopefully this post has provided you with all of the information you needed about the UK Mini-Budget 2020. If you’ve got any questions about the issues raised in the summer statement or how we can help your business, we’re always here to help – just get in touch.

grey calculator

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Update

On the 29th May 2020, the Chancellor announced more details about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (also referred to as the furlough scheme). This post outlines the changes that will be put into place starting from the 1st July 2020, as well as further changes that are planned for the coming months.

Macbook, phone, coffee, and paper pad on a wooden desk

HMRC Self-Employment Income Support Opens on 13th May

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) opens on the 13th of May 2020. This new scheme is designed to provide income support for self-employed workers who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Read on to find out if you’re eligible, how much you could claim, and how to apply.

Coronavirus: Support For The Self-Employed

The outbreak of coronavirus COVID 19 is having a significant impact on self-employed people across Derby, Nottingham and the wider United Kingdom.

The UK Government has announced some measures to support the self-employed at this time. You can find a list of support that is currently available below, with links to official government resources. 

Coronavirus: Small Business Grants, Loans & Advice

The outbreak of coronavirus COVID 19 is having a significant impact on businesses across Derby, Nottingham and the wider East Midlands area due to the disruption caused by social distancing measures.
The UK Government has announced several funding options to support businesses at this difficult time. You can find a list of available business loans and grants below, with links to official government resources. 

coins stacked up in a pile

UK Budget 2020: The Key Points

On 11th March 2020, Rishi Sunak announced the new UK budget. He presented several announcements that are set to affect businesses, the self-employed, and working families. Here is a summary of the main points from the latest budget.

Laptop, notebook, and glasses on a desk

Planning for the New Tax Year

As we near the end of the tax year, it is important if you are self-employed to start planning for the new tax year. This guide explains when the tax year ends and provides a year-end tax planning checklist.

We have provided a summary for the main 2020/2021 tax year changes to help guide you through the main changes that will come in to force. Taking action at the start of the tax year may give you an advantage. Here’s what you need to know about the 2020/2021 tax year.