Colors: Purple Color

Nearly half a million UK businesses are set to benefit from a tax cut worth up to £1,000 from 6 April 2022. The Employment Allowance has risen from £4,000 to £5,000 – meaning smaller firms will be able to claim up to £5,000 off their employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) bills.

Announced by the Chancellor at last month’s Spring Statement to reduce employment costs, the change takes an extra 50,000 firms out of paying NICs and the Health and Social Care Levy.

From 1 April, new legislation came into effect regarding the use of red diesel and rebated fuels, which has been used in a variety of industries often associated with agriculture and construction. The Government initially announced the changes in the 2020 budget and the legislative changes have been delivered through the Finance Bill 2021 and subsequent secondary legislation.

The background for the restriction of red diesel in certain uses is driven by two objectives.

From Monday (April 4), a new national advertising campaign will appear on television screens across Great Britain to help every household cut their energy costs by as much as £332 - cutting the average energy bill by nearly a fifth. The campaign has been launched after Utilita’s own research of 5,000 households revealed that any Government advice on cutting energy usage has failed to reach most households (84%).

A Wolverhampton shop owner found to be repeatedly selling illicit cigarettes and tobacco has been jailed for 24 weeks and told he was “selling poison to a child” by a judge.

Mohammed Sokhanvar Mahani, the proprietor of Super Mahan in Thornley Street, had pleaded guilty to a string of 12 charges, including one contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and one contrary to the Fraud Act.

Rural communities are increasingly turning to Junior ISAs invested in stocks and shares as a tax-efficient way of protecting wealth and combatting inflation. The number of new stocks-and-shares Junior ISAs opened with leading rural insurer NFU Mutual increased by nearly 10% in 2021 compared to 2020, and the rural community are investing more than the national average too.

Businesses are being urged to ensure their cyber security is up to scratch after latest figures revealed that 39 per cent of firms reported breaches or attacks in the past 12 months. Government figures released this week revealed that cyber attacks continue to pose a serious threat to all types of UK businesses, with one in five of the businesses affected reporting a sophisticated attack such as denial of service, malware or ransomware attack.

The construction industry needs to capitalise on the collaborative atmosphere created by this year’s MIPIM in order to meet the key challenges it faces, according to Andrew Carpenter, chief executive of Constructing Excellence Midlands. Speaking in the wake of this year’s event – which was attended by more than 20,000 delegates from around the world – Carpenter says that while a collaborative spirit is alive and well in Cannes, it risks being wasted if not capitalised on at home.

The Scottish Government has launched a new retail strategy, which aims to encourage fair work and improve skills in the sector. Usdaw, the trade union for retail, has been involved with the Scottish Government’s Steering Group, ensuring that the views and concerns of Scotland’s 240,000 retail workers were heard in the formulation of the strategy.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is showing its commitment to helping residents and businesses through the global energy crisis, with several initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions and slashing ever increasing energy bills.

The region had already been experiencing high levels of fuel poverty before Covid and the Ukraine crisis, and with energy prices expected to continue to rise for households in the months ahead the WMCA’s Energy Capital team has been focusing on securing government funding for new initiatives that could help lessen the impact.

Exhibiting at The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show (24-27 March) at the NEC, Birmingham on stand C133, the specialist manufacturer, which holds the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise, says it is only fitting that a Stiltz product has been chosen by the Royal Family. Stiltz is a proudly British business, and it is an honour to know The Queen can now benefit from independent access between floors today, and in the future.

Businesses in Greater Birmingham will feel “a huge sense of frustration” after the Chancellor’s Spring Statement failed to tackle deep-seated issues.

The measures announced by Rishi Sunak included a cut in fuel duty by 5p a litre until March, 2023; a reduction in the basic rate of income tax from 20p to 19p in the pound; and the point at which people start paying National Insurance will rise to £12,570 in July. But business leaders remained disappointed that the Chancellor did not go further.

On addressing needs of the poorest, Dr Aveek Bhattacharya, Chief Economist at the SMF, said: “The Spring Statement failed to measure up to the hardship in store for the poorest families, who face deep economic pain unless further action is taken. The hit to living standards is set to be on a similar scale to the worst recessions, but the Chancellor’s response was far from the adaptable ‘whatever it takes’ approach he took to the pandemic response.