Ministers to review late payments to small businesses
Earlier this month, the business secretary Grant Schnapps announced a government review into tackling late payments for small businesses, while also urging large companies to pay their smaller suppliers promptly.
Small businesses routinely suffer from late payments from businesses they supply, which can lead to cash flow problems, putting their firms at risk and preventing them from growing. The majority of small businesses do not have large balance sheets and cannot accommodate long payment terms or delays to receiving payment within their cash flow cycle. Significant time and resources are spent on chasing late payments.
The Payment and Cash Flow review will scrutinise existing payment practices and the measures in place to make sure small firms are not ripped off by their larger clients – with over £23.4 billion currently owed in outstanding invoices to UK businesses.
The review will consider the progress made in specific sectors of the economy in combatting late payment and will also include an in-depth examination of current payment reporting regulations and the Prompt Payment Code.
In addition, the statutory review of the Small Business Commissioner will help to ensure that the UK has the right arrangements in place to support small businesses.
If you are concerned about the future of your cash flows, then take some time to reflect on where you are and what could happen in the next few months. It is now vitally important for all businesses to plan ahead for a range of scenarios. Cash flow and business planning in these uncertain times may appear difficult but there are some practical steps you can take to minimise potential disruption to your business.
- Review your Budgets and set realistic and achievable targets for 2023.
- Get your employees involved in a discussion of likely trading conditions and get their input on reducing costs and maintaining revenues.
- Review and flowchart the main processes in your business (e.g. Sales processing, order fulfilment, shipping etc.) and challenge the need for each step.
- Put extra effort into making sure your relationships with your customers are solid.
- Review your list of products and services and eliminate those that are unprofitable or not core products/services.
- Pull everyone together to explain the business strategy and get their buy-in.
We specialise in helping our clients manage their cash flow. We do this by preparing and updating detailed cash flow forecasts, using the latest and most powerful software. We can also help you negotiate or renegotiate overdraft facilities and find specific funding to help you grow!
Please talk to us about cash flow planning for the next few months, we can help with a template so you can do this yourself or work together to produce estimates for a variety of scenarios.
Employees to be able to request flexible working on day one of employment
Millions of employees will be able to request flexible working from day one of their employment, under new government plans to make flexible working the default.
Flexible working doesn’t just mean a combination of working from home and in the office – it can mean employees making use of job-sharing, flexitime, and working compressed, annualised, or staggered hours.
The new measures will give employees greater access to flexibility over where, when, and how they work, and the government hopes will lead to happier, more productive staff. Flexible working has been found to help employees balance their work and home life, especially supporting those who have commitments or responsibilities such as caring for children or vulnerable people.
Last week’s announcement came alongside new laws coming into effect that will allow Britain’s lowest paid workers to work more flexibly and boost their income through extra work.
The measures the government is committing to will:
- remove the 26-week qualifying period before employees can request flexible working, making it a day-one right;
- require employers to consult with their employees, as a means of exploring the available options, before rejecting a flexible working request;
- allow employees to make 2 flexible working requests in any 12-month period;
- require employers to respond to requests within 2 months, down from 3; and
- remove the requirement for employees to set out how the effects of their flexible working request might be dealt with by their employer.
The day one right to request flexible working will be delivered through secondary legislation, with the other policies being introduced in the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill.
The government will also commit to non-legislative action: developing guidance to raise awareness and understanding of how to make and administer temporary requests for flexible working; and launching a call for evidence to better understand how informal flexible working operates in practice.
Plan around expected Royal Mail strike action
Businesses that use Royal Mail’s services are urged to plan ahead as strike action is expected to take place this winter.
If you use Royal Mail to deliver your goods you should be aware of planned industrial action that is due to take place on:
- Wednesday 14 December 2022
- Thursday 15 December 2022
Royal Mail’s services will be affected by delays to mail posted the day before, during, or in the days after any strike action.
Launch of consultations related to the Business, Public and Third Sector Recycling Regulations
The Welsh Government is seeking views on enforcement tools to encourage compliance with proposed regulations that will increase the quality and quantity of recycling from non-domestic premises.
Comments should be submitted before the 15 February 2023.
In addition, the Welsh Government is seeking views on whether the code of practice provides sufficient guidance on how to meet the separation requirements for the forthcoming non-domestic recycling regulations.
New law that ‘transforms the rented sector in Wales’ comes into force
The biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades has come into force, attempting to bring greater transparency and consistency to renting a home.
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will attempt to improve how homes in Wales are rented, managed and lived in.
It replaces various, complex pieces of existing legislation and case law and introduces one clear legal framework, providing contract-holders in Wales with greater security than in any other part of the UK.
Some of the main changes introduced include:
- All landlords being required to provide a written copy of the occupation contract to the tenant (this sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties);
- ‘No-fault’ notice periods increasing from two months to six months for new tenants, and for existing tenants from Thursday, June 1. It will no longer be possible to issue a notice in the first six months, meaning all contract-holders will have a minimum 12 months of security at the start of their tenancy;
- A strengthened duty on landlords, to ensure the property they rent is fit for human habitation, including the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and regular electrical safety testing;
- Addressing the practice of ‘retaliatory eviction’ (whereby a landlord serves notice on a tenant because they ask for repairs or complain about poor conditions); and
- The introduction of a consistent approach across sectors to eviction where antisocial behaviour and domestic violence, occurs.