Retiring soon? – Check your entitlement to the State Pension now!
If you are planning to claim the UK state pension you should check your national insurance (NI) record before 5 April 2023. At present, voluntary contributions can be made to plug gaps back to April 2006, but this will be curtailed from April.
National insurance (NI) contributions are made by employed and self-employed individuals based on their earnings. To qualify for the maximum ‘new state pension’ (received by those retiring on or after 6 April 2016) a person must have 35 qualifying years of NI contributions. For part payment of the ‘new state pension’ a person must have contributed for at least 10 years. For those whose NI record started before 6 April 2016, different rules may apply; the number of required years of NI contributions/credits to obtain the full state pension may be higher.
If a person has not contributed enough before reaching state pension age, they may not be able to claim state pension, or receive the full state pension amount.
To help protect state pension and other benefits it may be beneficial for people to make voluntary NI contributions to top up their contribution history, potentially increasing the amount of state pension they will receive. We recommend you take financial advice when making that decision as, amongst other factors, it requires predicting what contributions will be made before state retirement.
Normally, it is only possible to make voluntary contributions for the past six tax years. Currently there is an extension in place. Individuals can fill gaps in their NIC history from 6 April 2006 to the present date by making voluntary contributions.
From 6 April 2023, the timeframe for making voluntary contributions will revert to the normal six years. This means that in the 2023/24 tax year, it will be possible to make contributions going back to the 2017/18 tax year only.
Check when you must register for Plastic Packaging Tax
Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) was introduced on 1 April 2022. If you manufacture or import 10 or more tonnes of plastic packaging within a 12-month period you must register for PPT on GOV.UK, even if your packaging contains 30% or more recycled plastic.
You must register for Plastic Packaging Tax if you:
- expect to import into the UK or manufacture in the UK 10 tonnes or more of finished plastic packaging components in the next 30 days
- have imported into the UK or manufactured in the UK 10 tonnes or more of finished plastic packaging components since 1 April 2022
This includes non-resident taxpayers who import finished plastic packaging components into the UK on their own behalf, or manufacture finished plastic packaging components in the UK.
The importer will generally be the consignee on the importation documents, unless they provide records showing they are acting on behalf of someone who’s controlling the import, and are using the consignee to store goods on their behalf.
If you import finished packaging components using incoterms, you should make sure you and other businesses know who is responsible for accounting for Plastic Packaging Tax. The tax becomes chargeable when the goods are imported but is accounted for quarterly in arrears rather than at the time of import.
If you are a partnership or other unincorporated body
You must register if at least one partner (or person carrying out business) will manufacture or import 10 or more tonnes of finished plastic packaging components in the next 30 days or since 1 April 2022. All members will then be joint and severally liable for Plastic Packaging Tax.
If you are a member of a business group
You can register as a group. This allows for only one of the businesses to complete returns and make payments on behalf of all members of the group.
When to register
You must register for Plastic Packaging Tax within 30 days of becoming liable for it. You must pay the tax on all chargeable components from the day you’re liable to register. You may need to pay a penalty if you do not.
Guidance on working in cold and wintry weather
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have updated their guidance to make it easier to find and understand advice on how to protect workers in low temperatures. This includes guidance for working outdoors.
It also explains how you can assess the risks to workers and put controls in place to protect them.
With low temperatures and less daylight, winter can make surfaces perilous. As a result, slip and trip accidents increase significantly.
Delivering gigabit capable connections for new build developments
The Minister for Economy Vaughan Gething and the Minister for Climate Change Julie James have announced a consultation into proposals to require housing developers to ensure all new build houses be equipped with gigabit broadband capability.
This will require developers to ensure:
- all new build homes are installed with the gigabit-ready physical infrastructure for gigabit-capable connections
- a gigabit-capable connection is installed in a new build home subject to a £2,000 cost cap per dwelling
- where a gigabit-capable connection is not being installed, the next fastest broadband connection is installed without exceeding the £2,000 cost cap
Digital connectivity is increasingly important to people across Wales to keep in touch with friends and family, work from home or access public services.
When new homes are built, we want to make sure that connectivity is consistent and future proof. The Welsh Government has therefore committed to upgrade Wales’ digital and communications infrastructure.
The consultation will close on the 28 of April 2023.
Green Business Loan Scheme
The Green Business Loan Scheme is delivered in partnership with the Development Bank of Wales to help Welsh business go green.
The scheme provides:
- Access to fully funded and part funded consultancy support that helps businesses understand their own path to decarbonisation
- Discounted fixed interest rates for energy efficiency measures and low carbon heat installations
- Patient capital, with upfront capital repayment holidays and a loan term linked to project payback
If your business has been trading for two years or more you can apply for a green business loan from £1,000 up to £1.5 million. Discounted fixed interest rates are available to help make the loans more affordable.
The Green Business Loan Scheme opened for applications on the 15 February 2023 and will run for a three-year period initially.