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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 21 December 2021, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, unveiled a £1 billion COVID-19 fund, including cash grants of up to £6,000 per premises for each eligible firm.
HMRC has reminded self assessment taxpayers to declare any COVID-19 grant payments on their 2020/21 tax return.
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