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Here at SEE Ahead we like to trawl the internet, subscribe to newsletters and keep abreast of all the latest business news that affects our sector. Anything we find of interest we post here.

HMRC introduces 2-Step Verification for business taxpayers

Since 1 September 2017, all business taxpayers are now required by HMRC to use its 2-Step Verification (2SV) service to access their online tax accounts. 2SV provides an extra layer of security when logging in to HMRC’s online services by requiring users to enter an automated code that HMRC has sent to their mobile phone or landline. The Association of Accounting Technicians is encouraging all firms to identify any online HMRC tax accounts they hold, as well as how employees who need access to their accounts will receive the 2SV code.

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Charities lack access to accountancy support

A report by the Charity Finance Group has revealed a widening gap between the number of charities that need financial and accountancy support and the number of providers able to deliver it. Demand for charity support has gone up significantly between 2013 and 2017, while the number of accountancy and support service providers has fallen. According to the report, most support providers are small organisations that have faced funding cuts and, as a result, lack the necessary resources to help charities keep up-to-date with legislative changes in areas such as tax.

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HMRC forum to answer small firms’ tax queries

HMRC has launched its online tax forum for small business owners and the self-employed following a pilot which took place in March 2017. The Small Business Online Forum will help small firms access support to answer their tax questions. It will also provide advice about registering with HMRC, business expenses, hiring employees, exporting, completing tax returns and tax credits. The forum will be complemented by a web chat service which will provide direct tax support to individual business owners.

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DCMS announces new Data Protection Bill

DCMS has published a statement of intent to strengthen UK data protection law through a new Data Protection Bill. The new legislation will give individuals greater control over their personal data, including a new right to require social media platforms to delete information they posted in their childhood. The legislation will bring the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into UK law, and repeal the Data Protection Act 1998. This will help prepare for Brexit by ensuring that data protection standards are aligned after the UK leaves the EU. The bill will be introduced in Parliament later this year. More information


First Steps Enterprise Fund Invites Applications from Across England

Social Investment Business Foundation and Asda Foundation have joined together once again to provide a £300,000 pilot fund to support community organisation based and working in England.

The First Steps Enterprise Fund is making a loan-grant package available for small community-led charities and social enterprises based and working in communities in England who are looking for their first loan to help them grow their services and become more sustainable.

A loan-grant package of up to £30,000 (90% loan and 10% grant) is available. A package of up to £50,000 will be considered in exceptional cases.

The loan element is charged at 5% (fixed) to be repaid over a period of four years with an optional capital holiday for the first year.

Proposals must be able to explain how their project addresses the needs of the community and how it will tackle underlying issues to deliver benefits to the community.

Particular preference is being given to organisations that work in the following areas:

  • Older people.
  • Health and wellbeing.
  • Employment for young people.

Expressions of Interest are currently being accepted from organisations that have been operating for at least one year.

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£30m SASC loan revamped after low take up

Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) has relaunched and renamed its £30m Third Sector Loan Fund (TSLF) as the Third Sector Investment Fund after consultation with social ventures following low take up of the offering. More information

Brexit could limit charity funding

Brexit will limit funding opportunities for the charity sector, according to research by charity think tank NPC. More than half (53%) of charity chief executives and trustees expect Brexit to have a negative impact on their funding opportunities. Nevertheless, 63% of charity trustees believe leaving the EU will have no effect on demand for their services, while 10% think it will increase demand. In addition, 52% of respondents plan to partner with more charities to deliver services and offset the loss of funding.

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Social enterprise turnover up by 61 per cent on average in 2016

UK social enterprises increased their turnover by an average of 61 per cent last year, according to a new survey undertaken by NatWest. Further information

Start ups reminded of auto-enrolment duties

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has issued an alert to remind new business owners about their pension duties. All new business start ups from October 2017 will have instant automatic enrolment duties once they take on a member of staff. TPR has launched a new online resource centre with advice, guidance and tools to help start ups comply with their auto-enrolment duties. Charles Counsell, Executive Director of Automatic Enrolment, said: “From October, as soon as you take on staff you will have duties towards them. Anyone setting up a business and taking on staff will need to work automatic enrolment into their plans.”

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ZHC and temporary workers unaware of rights

Citizens Advice has called for the Government to ensure that all workers are aware of their holiday entitlements, after discovering that half of zero-hours contract (ZHC) workers and two in five temporary workers do not know that they are entitled to paid holiday. Although some employers are themselves unaware of holiday entitlements for ZHC and temporary workers, others are deliberately misleading workers and exploiting their confusion. Citizens Advice has also backed the introduction of a legal definition of ‘self-employment’ in order to prevent employers from restricting workers’ access to holiday, sick pay and the minimum wage.

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