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In July, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, made a major overhaul of the departments responsible for business. The new department overseeing business matters is the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This is quite a mouthful. Its acronym is BEIS. It has been created by merging the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
However not all the responsibilities of BIS have moved to BEIS. Apprenticeships have been transferred to the Department for Education. BIS also lost its responsibility for trade and investment policy to a newly-created Department for International Trade.
The business responsibilities of the new department are summarised by BEIS as 'developing and delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy and leading the government's relationship with business'. The interests of small business are being looked after by a Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, Margot James. A key area for her will be to persuade large companies to follow the Prompt Payment code which encourages companies to pay invoices within 30 days. On the horizon is a new statutory duty on large businesses to report on payment practices for financial years starting after 6 April 2017.
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On 5 November, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that as part of the new national lockdown the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of March 2021.
The government has increased the support available to self-employed workers and extended its emergency business loan schemes.
As always, the wellbeing of our staff and clients remains our priority and is at the forefront of our mind when considering our response to the current coronavirus situation. At present our office remains open during normal working hours however we are discouraging face to face contact and are moving to telephone/ e-mail communication wherever possible in an effort to protect ourselves and our clients.
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Please be assured that we will be continuing to offer the best service and advice during this difficult period.
We will continue to closely monitor government advice on the situation and act accordingly.