Brexit red tape – business news 25 January 2021.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Brexit red tape causing SME’s to give up on exports, redundancies, business interruption insurance, latest PMIs, Government debt, savings fears, retail numbers, covid-19, market and far more business news.

Here are CPA we want to share the business news stories we have seen that we think will affect our members and readers. Many of us are busy fighting to protect our businesses and therefore might have missed some of the news that could impact small businesses, their owners and those that sell on credit.

Small firms give up on exports over Brexit red tape

Many small businesses in the UK will give up trying to export to the EU because of the red tape introduced by Brexit, the Times reports. Any UK company selling to a customer in the EU has to pay VAT and in some cases import duty. Shipping companies are also levying new charges to cope with their additional paperwork. Richard Asquith, a vice-president at tax advisory firm Avalara, estimates that up to a 20% of the sales of some 27,000 businesses involved in e-commerce exports to the EU have been affected by the new rules. “The fear is that having been a real success story in recent years many of these firms will just conclude there is no point in doing this anymore,” Mr Asquith said.

UK exporters advised to set up EU-based companies

Advisers working for the Department for International Trade (DIT) are encouraging small businesses in the UK to set up separate companies inside the EU in order to get around extra charges, paperwork and taxes resulting from Brexit, the Observer reports. Two businesses which export to the EU described to the paper how they would now set up an operation in the Netherlands so they can supply continental customers without the additional delays and costs. The Observer says it approached the DIT for comment but it did not respond

Record redundancies planned last year

Data obtained from the Insolvency Service shows that despite the Government’s furlough scheme, British employers made plans to cut 795,000 jobs last year, a record number. More than 10,000 firms planned job cuts, however the pace of planned cuts slowed at the end of the year. Last month employers notified Government of plans to cut 23,100 job cuts, which is the lowest monthly figure for 2020, though still a third higher than December 2019. Employers must notify the Insolvency Service when they plan to cut 20 or more jobs. The number of job cuts proposed through the year was well above the 530,000 seen the last time the UK was in recession, in 2010, and higher than any year in the records which go back to 2006.

FCA tells insurers to make Covid payouts quickly

Insurers have been told by the Financial Conduct Authority not to create further obstacles for companies trying to make claims under business interruption policies after the Supreme Court this month found in favour of policyholders. The test case brought by the regulator was expected to affect up to 370,000 firms, which had bought cover from up to 60 different insurers. In a letter to insurance chief executives, Sheldon Mills, a director of the FCA, said the Supreme Court’s decision will mean more policyholders will have valid claims and some settled claims will have to be revised up.

Latest PMI figures induce double-dip fears

The latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey from IHS Markit/CIPS found a “steep slump in business activity” during January as lock-down measures continued, and warned that “a double-dip recession is on the cards”. The survey came in with an overall reading of 40.6 – the lowest for eight months. A figure below 50 implies contraction.

The slowdown has been driven by a collapse in services. The overall PMI figure for January is 40.6, bit it was 38.8 for services – the lowest reading for eight months. . Output in manufacturing also slipped, but remained above the crucial 50 score – avoiding contraction.

“A steep slump in business activity in January puts the locked down UK economy on course to contract sharply in the first quarter of 2021, meaning a double-dip recession is on the cards,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit. “Services have once again been especially hard hit, but manufacturing has seen growth almost stall, blamed on a cocktail of COVID-19 and Brexit, which has led to increasingly widespread supply delays, rising costs and falling exports.”

Government borrowing in December was third highest month on record

The UK Government borrowed £34.1bn last month, the highest December figure on record and the third-highest borrowing figure in any month since records began in 1993. Government borrowing for this financial year has now reached £270.8bn, which is £212.7bn more than a year ago, the ONS said. The independent Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated that borrowing could reach £393.5bn by the end of the financial year in March. The increase in borrowing has led to a steep increase in the national debt, which now stands at £2.13trn. The UK’s overall debt has now reached 99.4% of GDP – a level not seen since the early 1960s. Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, said the borrowing binge was the “fiscally responsible thing to do” but cautioned that “we should look to return the public finances to a more sustainable footing” once the recovery begins.

Households fear losing savings due to Covid crisis

A new survey, for Comparethemarket, has found that more than a third of UK households have not managed to save any money since the first coronavirus lock-down began last year, and more than half are worried about running out of savings. Comparethemarket found that 52% of households were spending savings and 53% were concerned they would run out of money. The same proportions said they felt less financially secure now than in previous lock-downs, while 10% of families said if lock-down restrictions continued beyond April they were worried they would not be able to pay their mortgage or rent. Laith Khalaf, an analyst at AJ Bell, commented: “It is clear that the young, the self-employed and those on lower incomes have borne the brunt of the financial damage inflicted by the pandemic. But more affluent households with steady, undisturbed income streams have found themselves awash with cash, as spending options have been severely curtailed by ongoing lock-downs.”

Calls for work placement programme to be extended

The UK Government’s Kickstart scheme, which offers paid six-month placements to 16 to 24-year-olds claiming universal credit, should be extended into 2022 in order to curb a rise in long-term unemployment for young people. The £2bn scheme launched last July pays employers £1,500 per post and then covers 100% of the minimum wage for 25 hours a week for a total of six months. The scheme is set to close to new applications at the end of the year. Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies, said: “The Government needs to extend it by at least another six months in my view – not least because the peak of long-term unemployment for young people may well be in 2022 rather than 2021.” Meanwhile, the FT reports that the Government is making it easier for small businesses to apply to the scheme.


Transport for London will need government financial support for the next two years to stay solvent, according to body’s commissioner. Andy Byford said today that “without government support, and with the chaos that Covid and the decimation on our finances that Covid has wrought, we absolutely will be needing financial support in the short term”.

Britain’s low-earners fall foul of rules on self-isolation

Studies provided to the UK Government show low earners are less likely to self-isolate after coming into contact with COVID-19, leading to calls for better financial support for this group.

Sales for 2020 show largest annual fall since records began

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that although there was a slight rise in retail sales in December (0.3%), the figure for 2020 as a whole saw sales down 1.9% making it the largest annual fall since records began in 1996. Clothing sales plummeted by more than 25% as non-essential retail was closed for much of the year due to coronavirus restrictions. But online spending surged by 46.1%, the highest annual growth in a decade. Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, said the figures proved the “importance of an online shopfront and engaging virtual shopping experience”. “Whilst the role of the physical store will remain competitive, the wider retail landscape will likely see reinvention. A new era of ‘hyper-localisation’ and ‘fast fail’ shops could herald a revived and more relevant high street longer-term,” he said.

Sunak expected to introduce incentive schemes in March

The Sunday Express talks to Darren Moore, the Group Commercial Director at TaxAssist Accountants, about what the Chancellor might do to boost the economy in his March Budget. Mr Moore doesn’t think Rishi Sunak will bring back the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, but does predict other incentives will be put in place to encourage investment, employment and consumer spend. “We don’t expect to see a reintroduction of the scheme, but we may see the Government introduce similar measures to support consumer demand in those sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, such as hospitality and the arts. We also hope to see further incentives to support employment. We have already seen the introduction of new apprenticeship schemes and these are likely to be extended and enhanced,” Mr Moore said. “Other options could include enhanced funding for training, possible reductions in payroll taxes (such as employers’ national insurance) or more direct contributions towards payroll costs for eligible businesses.”

Covid-19 general news

The UK R Rate has dropped sharply to a best estimate of between 0.8 and 1, according to latest official data, suggesting lock-down restrictions across the four nations are beginning to make their mark. The figure marks a significant fall from the previous week’s rate of reproduction of the virus, which was estimated to be somewhere between 1.2 and 1.3 for the whole of the UK, according to figures from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that “ in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears there is some evidence that the new variant” may be “associated with a higher degree of mortality.” however he added “All current evidence continues to show that both the vaccines we’re currently using remain effective against both the old variant and this new variant”

The Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez has said that Spain would progressively welcome tourists only once 70% of the population had been vaccinated which he expected by “the end of summer”. Spain reported its highly daily number of infections yet on Thursday recording 44,357 new cases.

Boris Johnson is under growing pressure from Tory MPs to reopen schools in England amid warnings that children have become the “forgotten victims” of the coronavirus pandemic. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is widely expected to confirm that there will be no return to the classroom after the Feb half-term break as ministers had hoped.

Doctors fighting Covid refuse extra shifts due to tax penalties

The Telegraph reports that doctors working overtime to fight the pandemic still face hefty tax bills due to the “tapered” annual allowance for pensions, leading many to refuse extra shifts. The NHS Pensions Scheme has previously extended a deadline to allow staff to cover tax bills using their retirement pots, known as “scheme pays”, to March 2021 for the 2018/19 tax year. But Rachael Hall, of adviser Sandringham Medical, said: “There is a clear mistake in people thinking the problem has gone away because the threshold of the taper was increased. Tapering thresholds have been extended but a £40,000 annual allowance still applies and some members will always exceed this level from one year to the next.”

Banks crack down on bounce back loan fraud

Hundreds of business accounts have been raided by banks including HSBC, Barclays, NatWest and Lloyds Banking Group after they were linked to suspected bounce back loans fraud, the Mail on Sunday reports. The National Audit Office warned last year that £26bn could be lost to loan fraud and the Treasury last week warned banks of the importance of fraud checks. A letter to one customer from HSBC, seen by the paper, revealed it had “formally terminated” a bounce back loan agreement and demanded that the customer “repay immediately all monies advanced to you.” The bank told the customer that a clause in the agreement meant it did not need permission to dip into the firm’s current account to recover some of the cash.


On Friday the FTSE 100 closed at  6,695.07, down 0.3% and the 250 Closed at 20,596.91 down 0.95%.  Asian markets however are back  into risk-on mode this morning with indexes up. Sterling is at 1.126 Euros and 1.371 US Dollars. Brent Crude is at $55.75 and Gold is at $1852.

UK equities were lower  as investors reassessed the vaccine roll-out and the likely slow pace of the lifting of C-19 restrictions. While comments in the US from President Biden  over the Covid-19 crisis and concerns over the passage of his $1.9trn stimulus package through Congress led to worries over a possible rotation in US stocks into more cyclically sensitive companies.

GBP/USD edged higher to 1.3745 last week but quickly lost momentum and retreated. Initial bias remains neutral this week first. As long as 1.3518 support holds, a further rally is expected.

Oil Prices fell as much as 2% on Friday amid fears over a demand slump in China.

High Street names interest Online retailers

ASOS confirmed that it was in exclusive discussions with the administrators of Arcadia over the acquisition of the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands. ‘The board believes this would represent a compelling opportunity to acquire strong brands that resonate well with its customer base,’ the company said.

Boohoo said it had acquired the intellectual property assets of Debenhams Retail for £55 million in cash. The group would only be ‘acquiring the brands and associated intellectual property rights – the transaction does not include Debenhams’ retail stores, stock or any financial services,’ the company said,

Electric vehicles

Electric vehicle demand grew by 43% globally in 2020 due to lower battery costs. Norway became the first country where sales of EV cars exceeded those with internal combustion engines.

The tax problems facing the Chancellor

The Sunday Times’ David Smith muses on the challenges facing the Chancellor as he wrestles with which taxes to increase and which Covid support measures to maintain beyond the March Budget. Smith says one move could be to improve investment relief alongside a plan to gradually raise the rate of corporation tax later. Rishi Sunak could also reform property taxes, which, taken together, are “messy and inefficient”. Finally, Mr Smith suggests freezing the personal allowance, bringing more people into the income tax net. Elsewhere, MP Andrew Griffith says in a piece for the Sunday Telegraph that Mr Sunak should avoid targeting reliefs enjoyed by entrepreneurs but should instead look to “tax the downstream harvest of growth” in the form of corporation tax hikes. The paper’s leader warns that a “high-tax Britain is not the solution to any of our problems” and urges Tory MPs to “see sen se and relearn to love a small state that lives within its means.”

Plan now for tax hikes, experts say

Speculation continues over whether the Chancellor will hike taxes in his March Budget to help replenish the Treasury’s coffers after the spending spree demanded by the pandemic. The Express cites Julia Rosenbloom, tax partner at Smith & Williamson, who warned in December that there could be “hefty tax rises” to come later this year. With the prospect of a wealth tax or hikes in CGT, Ms Rosenbloom urges people to plan ahead and make use of existing tax rules before they are changed.

Foreign demand remains for prime sites in the capital

International investment into commercial property in London is holding up well following an “horrific” period following the start of the pandemic with Q4 investment standing at about £5bn – roughly bang on the same number for Q4 each of the last three years, according to Mat Oakley at Savills. Kelly Cleveland, head of investment for British Land, adds that a “wall of capital” is waiting to deploy into London hinting at a rapid recovery once the Covid threat is lifted. With other sectors – retail and hospitality – remaining effectively uninvestable, offices and residential remain attractive especially given the lack of inflation of office rents due to Brexit, even if workers aren’t returning yet.

Bank of England warned over climate change investments

MPs have warned the Bank of England that it risks creating a “moral hazard” if it continues to buy bonds from companies with high emissions. Philip Dunne, who chairs the Environmental Audit Committee, has written to BoE Governor Andrew Bailey and said its rapid response to COVID-19 was “admirable”. However, he warned that the central bank’s actions were not lining up with global ambitions to limit climate change to 1.5C, as in the Paris Agreement, or the UK’s hopes to slash its emissions to “net zero” by 2050. Mr Dunne also called on the Bank to require companies getting taxpayer support through the Covid Corporate Financing Facility to publish climate-related financial disclosures. The Bank of England said in response “work to consider how best to take account of climate considerations in our corporate bond portfolio is already under way” and that climate change is a “strategic priority ”.

Don’t let Covid-19 bust your business!

It will if your cash flow dries up, either sooner or later.

The Credit Protection Association (CPA) has been assisting thousands of UK businesses to get paid since 1914. We have seen many financial crises, this one will be particularly deadly for suppliers for sometime to come.

CPA eases cash from tardy debtors – Efficiently, Effectively, Economically and Ethically. Above all tactfully, because maintenance of goodwill is paramount.

To meet the needs of creditors in the current crisis, we have designed a “critical care” package especially tailored for the situation.

  • The annual package costs start at very low rates
  • A minimum performance warranty is provided
  • Several complimentary services included

Clients instruct CPA on-line via their PC or phone, completely user-friendly. Your late paying customers are told to pay you direct (not to us).

A very recent report shows a 23% increase in the number of unpaid invoices since March 11th THIS YEAR – are you getting a build-up of late payers?

Right now, overdue accounts must be a concern and CPA has a great track record of encouraging slow-payers to pay their suppliers quickly.

It takes less than 17 minutes to see how you would benefit, do you have the time now?

No face-to-face meeting required – just call Peter Uwins, CPA’s National Sales Manager, on 020 8846 0000 (business hours) or email today.

When you see your money come in, you will be so glad you used CPA.

Do you sell on credit?

With pressures on the cash flow it is essential that you stay on top of the credit limits you grant customers and watch carefully for any late payments.

Those customers will look for the easiest option to boost their cash-flow. Don’t let it be you.

You can’t just assume your customers can and will pay you eventually, no matter how big their name is.

It is essential to have credit management systems in place to monitor and check your customers credit worthiness.

It is also best practice to use a trusted third party like CPA to make sure you are paid on time by customers, no matter how good a name they have.

About CPA

The Credit Protection Association can help!

Formed in 1914, CPA has been providing credit management services to SMEs for over 100 years.

At the Credit Protection Association, we provide first class credit information that can help you avoid being over extended to customers who are at risk. Our monitoring service can flag up warning signs long before the end, giving you the chance to adjust and reduce your exposure. We provide recommended credit limits and credit scores on a traffic light system and can help you set appropriate credit policies for your customers.

We regularly publish lists of the latest insolvencies but by then it is too late. Our credit reports however predict approximately 96% of company insolvencies long before they arrive.

Companies in trouble usually have very bad cash flow and they try to deal with it by delaying payment to their suppliers, increasing your exposure to them.

If you supply on credit, help us help you identify the risks.

Why use a third party collector?

As a third party collector, we can also get your payments prioritised over those who are not as hot on collections. When your customer receives a letter from the Credit Protection Association regarding their outstanding account, they are going to want to get that resolved as a priority. Our overdue account recovery service can get your unpaid invoices to the top of their “to do” list and get your invoice paid.

Over the years we have collected billions in overdue invoices for our customers.

Our debt recovery and credit management services give our members the financial freedom needed to grow and prosper, while our new Late Payment Compensation department could unlock hidden potential and offer the compensation needed to springboard your business to success.

You might be hesitant about contacting a debt collection agency. What are they going to be like?

Can they help your particular type of business?

There is no need for concern. CPA are courteous, helpful and very probably have had direct experience of working with your type of business.

Debt collection agencies are not all alike.

Success lies in both recovering money and keeping customers happy. The Credit Protection Association was founded in 1914 and has helped tens of thousands of UK businesses to collect outstanding payments and reduce the risk of incurring bad debt. We believe that creditors deserve to be paid for the work or goods they have supplied but we fully understand the need to maintain
the best possible relationship with customers!

At The Credit Protection Association, we provide solutions, advice and back-up in all areas relating to the supply of services or goods on account. Client-members receive everything they need from a single source to reduce debtor days and write-offs.

The Credit Protection Association has helped has assisted tens of thousands of UK businesses with their credit control requirements, since the First World War.

We are polite, firm and efficient when it comes to recovering outstanding debt.

“We have used CPA for a number of years now. The website is easy to navigate around with lots of helpful reports. The staff are always at hand and very friendly. CPA has helped us reduce our debt over the years and keep track of potential issues with our customers.”
~ CPA client in Buckinghamshire

“The service from CPA has proved to be everything that you said it would be. We have already seen a huge benefit. We have had a number of overdue accounts paid promptly and directly to us. It is also a huge weight off our mind to know that once we have passed an overdue payment over to you, you take care of everything whilst keeping us informed.
~ Credit Controller client in Warrington

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections


Ready to speak to an advisor?

For help or advice on credit management, entirely without obligation.

Call us today

0330 053 9263

CPA is passionate about late payment

The Credit Protection Association has been protecting smaller firms against poor payment practices for over 100 years.

We are extremely passionate about breaking the late payment culture that holds back the UK economy and threatens many SMEs, with cash flow difficulties being the single biggest killer of Britain’s small businesses.

If you were regularly paid late we can help. Those former customers used you to boost their own cashflow, regularly paying you late.

As a result you had extra costs, you had the distraction of having to chase payment, you had opportunity costs because your capital was tied up in their late invoices.

Under little used legislation, you are entitled to compensation for those late payments.

You put up with the PAIN – now claim the GAIN!

Now you can boost your own cash-flow.

CPA can help unearth the those hidden treasures.

We have the technology to reveal the compensation you are due and we have the extensive experience and expertise to then turn those claims into cash.

Did you know that your business is entitled to a minimum of £40 for every commercial invoice paid late to you over the past 6 years?

How many of your invoices are paid late each month – 20, 50, 100 or more?

At £40 per invoice that’s claim of £57,600, £144,000, £288,000 plus interest. The more invoices the bigger the claim! 

At £100 per invoice it’s £144,000, £360,000, £720,000 plus interest.

Discover NOW the potential value of late payment compensation hidden in your sales ledger!

For over 20 years, CPA has calculated and recovered Late Payment Compensation on behalf of Clients!  

Yes, CPA can help you boost your business cash-flow.

Don’t let your bankers control you, contact CPA today.

Discover NOW the potential value of late payment compensation hidden in your sales ledger!

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections.

Read our blog here on how to crack down on the late payment culture.

Read our blog here on how to give late payers the slap they need.

The “Why” of the late payment culture.

New PM should walk the walk and back small firms over late payments

Paying late is “crack cocaine” to big business.

Late payment culture risks “spiraling out of control”

visit our late payment compensation page

See our full blog and FAQ on late payment compensation

Do you realise you could be sitting on a fortune?

Late payments often result in a cash flow crunch and leave SMEs in need of a cash injection.

If you sold B2B on credit then there may be a hidden source of capital you can call on.

If you fancy an extra bit of extra cash in your business, rather than jumping through hoops with your bank, you could look to uncover the resources from an unexpected source within your own business.

Not many are aware but there could be a hidden fortune within your business, sitting there, just waiting to be uncovered and released.

We can help you uncover the pile of gold, you didn’t even know you were sitting on.

If you trade with other businesses and were often paid late then you could be entitled to significant compensation.

Under little known and under-utilised legislation your business could be due huge amounts in compensation that you didn’t even know about.

Let’s be clear – this is not a way to weaken any customer relationships you value. It is one that identifies who’s been paying late and then recover the potentially significant sums in compensation using Late Payment Legislation from businesses where the relationship has already ended.

You can pick and choose who you want us to follow up – but once we’ve agreed which companies you’d like to pursue compensation from it’s a fast process and there’s no financial outlay to you whatsoever. My team at CPA put its expertise to work to recover the compensation due and fight late payment culture.

That compensation could provide the cash boost your business needed.

But don’t delay, that compensation evaporates if not claimed within six years of the late payment.

How can CPA help?

CPA has developed a unique technology to dig into your accounting records and discover the cash injection you are due by means of compensation. The software does all the hard work. Our software interacts over the cloud with over 300 different software packages, working directly with your accounts package, just so long as it’s stored on a computer.

We recognise that most companies do not have the resources to spend time on the identification and calculation of Late Payment Compensation. Our service can produce an Analyses within just a few days with (usually) less than 30 mins of co-operation from our clients. We work directly with over 300 accounting packages but can also work with bespoke accounts packages. Indeed, speed is essential as the oldest invoices may fall foul of the 6-year time limit.

Once the Sales Ledger Analyses is made available to clients, all that is required is that management decide which commercially sensitive ex-customers to remove from the list and return it to us.

CPA then uses its years of collection experience to explain and recover the Late Payment Compensation Claims. Clients do not handle any part of the recovery process as our team will take all communications from the companies against who the claims has been made. Often, it’s simply a case of explaining the legislation, sometimes we have to go all the way and enforce the legislation through the courts.

The result is that we are realising clients’ claims worth tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds which, of course, is pure net profit. You may also be among the recipients of “hundreds of thousands of pounds” should you elect to take advantage of our services.

We do the work, you receive the cash.

If you have supplied goods and services to businesses on credit and were regularly paid late then you could be due significant sums in late payment compensation.

We are talking to companies and unearthing claims in the hundreds of thousands from former business customers who paid them late. Large business customers who abused their power to inflict unfair and sometimes illegal payment practices.

We are helping business owners who are looking to boost the returns from their business before they retire. We are helping businesses who have lost major clients after years of loyal service to get properly compensated for systematic late payment. We are helping companies that were looking to close down, who looked insolvent and finding that cash injection they need to avoid insolvency.

Those former clients who regularly paid you late can finally be made to pay.

Ready to speak to an advisor?

For help or advice on credit management, entirely without obligation.

Call us today

0330 053 9263

The Credit Protection Association is a credit management company established in 1914. If you supply goods or services on credit then we can help you!

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections.

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The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections.