Latest News

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.

New initiative will guide charities through EU funding changes

A new programme to help charities access European funding over the next two years and to replace funding after the UK leaves the EU has been launched.

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Scale+Accelerate: Employability & training | Health & wellbeing | Environment & conservation

Scale+Accelerate is a new learning programme for the leaders of well-established charities and social enterprises. Scale+Accelerate is run in partnership with the Postcode Innovation Trust, a grant-giving body funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We are currently looking for charities and social enterprises operating in the following sectors to apply:

  • Employability and training
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Environment and conservation

You’ll benefit from 10 days of learning at no cost to you, spread between February and September 2019, focused on helping you scale your organisation. Typically your turnover will be £75,000 a year or more, though we may accept applications outside this boundary. The deadline to apply is 11.59pm on Friday 30th November.
Further information

Government supports charities to go digital

Government announces £1 million funding to support programmes helping charities to improve their digital skills.

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New Funding to Help Charities Improve Digital Skills

This new funding comes as part of the Government’s commitment in its recently published Civil Society Strategy which outlined plans to help charities build their digital capabilities to benefit service-users and wider society.

A range of organisations based and working in England, including private sector organisations, charities, community-led businesses, social enterprises, mutuals, public sector organisations and community organisations, can apply.

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New ‘Social Value’ contracts to revolutionise government procurement

In a speech to the Business Services Association in central London, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, David Lidington, will announce that by summer 2019, government procurements will be required to take social and economic benefits into account in certain priority areas. These include supporting small businesses, providing employment opportunities for disadvantaged people and reducing harm to the environment. Read more

Home-based businesses lack support

Home-based businesses are underestimated and don’t have their needs met by government policy, according to research carried out by the universities of Southampton, Middlesex and Glasgow and Delft University of Technology. According to the research, business and enterprise policies such as Enterprise Zones do not benefit home-based businesses, and different ideas and policies about increasing economic growth that include home-based business are required. According to the research 59% of sole traders and 24% of small businesses in the UK are home-based.

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Self-employed vulnerable to rising business debt

Debt advice service Business Debtline has revealed that a growing number of small business owners and the self-employed are contacting them due to rising debt. Overall, 36,000 small business owners and self-employed people contacted the service in 2017 and around 49% had a debt of £10,000 or more, while 23% owed more than £30,000. Business Debtline also revealed that businesses in the construction and retail sectors contacted them the most. Irregular incomes, late payments and a lack of business management skills are the main reasons why smaller businesses get into debt.

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Tax exemption for charities to increase

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has announced a series of measures to reduce the cost and administrative burdens faced by charities as part of his 2018 Budget. From April 2019, the upper limit for trading that charities can carry out without being liable for tax will increase from £5,000 to £8,000 for charities with a turnover of under £20,000, and from £50,000 to £80,000 where turnover exceeds £200,000. In addition, the individual Gift Aid donation limit will increase to £30.

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Budget Round-up 2018

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a number of measures that will affect smaller businesses in his 2018 Budget.

Key points affecting small and medium-sized businesses and the self-employed include:

Investment and productivity

  • The Annual Investment Allowance will increase from £200,000 to £1 million for two years from January 2019.
  • A £675 million Future High Streets Fund will be set up to support the long-term transformation of high streets across England.
  • The Government will invest up to £5 million for local areas to develop proposals for University Enterprise Zones, which will promote collaboration between universities and business, and support start ups and scale ups.

Business growth and support

  • Funding for the British Business Bank’s Start-Up Loans programme will be extended to 2021.
  • The Government will work with banks, professional services providers and tech companies to help support the productivity of their small business customers.
  • A new Small Business Leadership Programme will be set up to improve management capabilities in small firms. The Government will also invest £20 million in 2019/20 to create peer-to-peer networks to support business improvement.
  • The amount that smaller employers must pay to access apprenticeship training will be halved from 10% to 5%.
  • UK Export Finance’s lending facility will increase by £2 billion over 2020/21 and 2021/22.
  • The New Enterprise Allowance will be extended from April 2019.
  • The Government has announced a pilot to support self-employed people to access work-related training.


  • Retail premises with a rateable value of up to £51,000 will have their business rates reduced by a third for two years from April 2019.
  • The income tax personal allowance will be increased to £12,500 from April 2019.
  • Changes to off-payroll working rules (IR35) will be extended to large and medium-sized organisations in the private sector from 2020.
  • The VAT registration threshold will be maintained at the current level of £85,000 until April 2022.


The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has claimed that the Chancellor has delivered his first “small-business friendly Budget” that provided much-needed business rates relief for high street retailers.

FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “Small businesses on our high streets that cannot get Small Business Rate Relief will be delighted with the significant discount for the next two years, which on average will help these businesses to the tune of almost £2,000 each.”

However, IPSE has warned that the extension to the private sector of changes to IR35 could have unintended consequences for the self-employed.

Commenting on the announcement IPSE stated: “The off-payroll rules are so complex and crude that genuinely self-employed people will be swept up by the Government’s smash-and-grab mentality and in many cases taxed out of operation.”

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has welcomed the Chancellor’s decision to increase the annual investment allowance and called it a “huge shot in the arm for businesses across the country, giving many thousands of firms renewed confidence to invest and grow.”

Plans to encourage self-employed to save for retirement

NEST Insight (which is the research arm of workplace pension scheme NEST) has announced plans to trial different ways to encourage self-employed people to save for retirement. NEST Insight will work with pension providers to develop solutions that meet the needs of low-income workers who supplement their income through self-employment, along with people who are self-employed out of choice and those who plan to remain self-employed in retirement.

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