More support announced as Omicron impacts on business

Additional support will be available for businesses who have been impacted by the Omicron variant of Covid, the chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced.

Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will now be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises.

And more than £100 million discretionary funding will be made available for local authorities to support other businesses

The government will also cover the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences for small and medium-sized employers.

At what is often their most profitable time of year, many pubs and restaurants have seen cancellations and reduced footfall as people have responded to the rise in cases ahead of Christmas.

Trade body Hospitality UK has reported that many businesses have lost 40-60 per cent of their December trade.

Around 200,000 businesses will be eligible for business grants which will be administered by local authorities and will be available in the coming weeks.

Announcing the moves, Rishi Sunak said: “We recognise that the spread of the Omicron variant means businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors are facing huge uncertainty, at a crucial time.”

To support other businesses impacted by Omicron – such as those who supply the hospitality and leisure sectors – the government is also giving a more than £100m boost to the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund for local authorities in England.

They will have discretion to allocate this funding to businesses most in need. The ARG top up will be prioritised for those local authorities that have distributed the most of their existing allocation. This is on top of the £250m of previously allocated funding that remains with local authorities.

As increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases means more workers taking time off work, the government is also reintroducing the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS).

The SSPRS will help small and medium-sized employers – those with fewer than 250 employees – by reimbursing them for the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for Covid-related absences, for up to two weeks per employee.

Firms are now eligible, and they will be able to make claims retrospectively from mid-January.

The Treasury says the additional measures will reinforce the existing package of business support.

That includes business rates relief meaning that most businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors will see a 75 per cent reduction in their business rates bill across the entire financial year and a new 50 per cent capped business rates relief next financial year.

There is also a 12.5 per cent reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and tourism to support the cash flow and viability of around 150,000 businesses which will continue until the end of March.

The £1.5bn Covid Additional Relief Fund exists for businesses that have not previously had business rates support.

And businesses will be protected from eviction if they are behind on rent on their premises, thanks to the moratorium that remains in place until March.

There is also access to finance for SMEs through the Recovery Loan Scheme to June.

And Bounce Back Loan repayment flexibility means borrowers having the option to take a six-month repayment holiday, three six-month interest-only periods or extend their loan to 10 years, which almost halves the monthly payment.

HMRC also stands ready to support any business impacted by the coronavirus pandemic through its Time to Pay arrangement.

The chancellor has asked HMRC to offer businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in particular the option of a short delay, and payment in instalments, on a case-by-case basis, as part of this.

It has also been announced that £30m further will be made available through the Culture Recovery Fund, enabling more cultural organisations in England to apply for support during the winter.

Pensions Regulator says there is more work to do

Automatic enrolment has led to “an explosion” in the number of people saving into a workplace pension, according to The Pensions Regulator (TPR).

It says that thanks to the combined efforts of government, the pensions industry and employers across the country, more than 10 million people are now newly saving or saving more because of automatic enrolment.

And recent research from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) shows that despite the financial pressures caused by the pandemic, staff have continued to save for their retirement and pensions contributions have remained steady.

However, Mel Charles, TPR director of automatic enrolment, says: “With such success even through tough times, it would be easy to say that our work is done. However, while we have come a long way, we know there is more to do to ensure this pension revolution continues to provide better retirements for savers.

“Some warning signs remain. We know for example that while the number of women saving into a pension is equal to the number of men, women are not saving as much.

“We also know that there are fewer people from some ethnic minority groups who are saving and that some workers with multiple jobs are missing out on the opportunity to save.”

TPR says it is also continuing to keep a close eye on the ‘gig economy’ which is set to grow further as the UK emerges from the pandemic and businesses recover.

Mr Charles says: “We are calling on all employers in the gig economy to step up and do the right thing for their staff. We want to see employers in all sectors comply with their responsibilities voluntarily and promptly.

“We work to ensure all savers are protected – no matter what sector they work in and we will take enforcement action to ensure staff receive the pensions they are entitled to.”

He adds: “Operationally, on the ground we continue to work to ensure employers know about their duties and have the support and information they need to comply.

“And we continue to take enforcement action where necessary to ensure eligible staff do not miss out on the pensions they are due.

“Employers also have more to do. It’s crucial they continue to meet their ongoing duties, so staff receive the pensions they are entitled to. These include ensuring pensions contributions are up to date and completing re-enrolment responsibilities.

“Re-enrolment is important because it gives staff who opted out a fresh opportunity to start saving.

“Indications are that often, when staff who originally opted out of their pension are re-enrolled by their employer, they take advantage of the new opportunity to start saving.”

Since the start of automatic enrolment, more than one million employers have successfully completed their re-declaration of compliance showing that they have met their re-enrolment responsibility towards their staff.

Mr Charles says: “Re-enrolment must be carried out by employers every three years within the three months either side of their original duties start date.

“Once employers have done this, they must complete their re-declaration of compliance. We will write to employers to remind them about their ongoing duties and there is an online step by step guide for employers.

“Employers must check their systems and processes are up to date to ensure staff are re-assessed and put into a pension if they are eligible.

“Re-enrolment also gives employers a prompt to check that they are paying the right amount to their chosen pension scheme on behalf of individual members of staff.

“Employers should leave plenty of time to complete their re-enrolment responsibilities, so they do not risk a fine.

“Employers who fail to complete re-enrolment on time will be issued with a compliance notice. This will set a deadline for action. Failing to comply will lead to a fixed or escalating penalty notice.”

He adds: “We know many employers are navigating challenging times and our goal is to support them by being clear about their duties. However, as we work to put the saver at the heart of all we do as a regulator, we will act where necessary to protect staff.”

• To discuss any aspect of this report please get in touch by calling me on 01772 430000

IR35 reforms are having an impact

As we approach IR35 reform’s first year anniversary in April 2022, a national survey of mid-sized businesses has discovered that nearly one in five are still not confident in their firm’s compliance.

That figure comes on top of recent research from The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE).

It reported that “more than a third of contractors in the UK have left self-employment since the changes to IR35, either moving into permanent employment, retiring, working overseas or simply not working”.

The research also found that of those who remain, more than a third again are now working through unregulated umbrella companies and another third are working through engagements deemed ‘inside IR35’.

A report in September this year, less than six months after the roll out, said that HMRC had confirmed it had started writing letters to companies requesting details of their compliance procedures.

The new rules are intended to tighten non-compliance with off-payroll working regulations and they shift responsibility for determining the tax status of contractors from the workers to the end users.

They allow HMRC to tax sole traders as employees if it deems their working arrangements are akin to regular staff.

It says they are designed to ensure individuals working like employees, but through their own limited company (often known as a ‘personal service company’ or ‘PSC’), or other intermediary, pay broadly the same Income Tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) as individuals who are directly employed.

Here is a reminder of what the new rules mean:

If you contract for a medium or large-sized non-public sector organisation

From April 6, 2021 your client has been responsible for deciding your employment status for tax for the services you provide them. They should have provided you with a ‘Status Determination Statement’ if the rules apply, setting out and explaining their decision.

If your client determines that your contract is inside the off-payroll working rules and so you are a deemed employee for tax purposes then your client, or the agency who pays your fees, is also responsible for deducting Income Tax and NICs before they pay you.

You still need to submit a tax return, but relief is available on the tax already paid.

For the tax year 2020 to 2021, your limited company or other intermediary will remain responsible for operating the off-payroll working rules and accounting for and paying the relevant Income Tax and NICs.

If you contract for a public authority

Your client was already responsible for determining your employment status for tax and they continued to be responsible. They must provide you with a ‘Status Determination Statement’ setting out their decision about whether the off-payroll working rules apply.

If you contract for a small non-public sector organisation

Your limited company or other intermediary remains responsible for determining whether your contract is inside the off-payroll working rules, and accounting for and paying the relevant Income Tax and NICs.

If you are not sure if your client is small, you have the right to request information from them about the size of their organisation.

Clients cannot apply a blanket status assessment across all contractors. And they must take reasonable care when making a decision about whether the off-payroll working rules apply.

Continuing to work through a limited company

The changes do not affect whether you can work through your own limited company, generally known as a ‘personal service company’, or ‘PSC’. This is still possible.

Contractors are not all self-employed

Your employment status, whether you are employed or self-employed, is not a matter of choice. It depends upon the terms and conditions of a particular engagement and your actual working practices.
The fact that you supply your services through your own limited company is not necessarily relevant to whether you are employed or self-employed.

The off-payroll working rules only apply to individuals who are working like employees under the current employment status tests, and do not apply to the self-employed.

For example, if you work predominantly for the same client, at their premises and following their policies and procedures, you cannot send a substitute to work on your behalf and would require permission to seek additional work elsewhere then you are more likely to resemble an employee.

• To discuss any issues relating to IR35, please contact me on 01772 430000

Capital Gains Tax rise ‘put on hold’

Rishi Sunak has shelved a proposal to hike Capital Gains Tax (CGT) to help him plug the post-Covid hole in his finances, according to a report on the Independent website.

Its report said that the chancellor had pointed to the “burden” such a proposal would place on tax collectors.

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) had recommended changes to CGT to bring it to the same levels as income tax, after being asked by the chancellor to carry out a review of the system.

The OTS had also proposed lowering the annual allowance on the tax – a levy on any profit made when selling an asset – but this suggestion has also been put on ice, according to the Independent.

The online newspaper said that Treasury minister Lucy Frazer had told the OTS: “These reforms would involve a number of wider policy trade-offs and so careful thought must be given to the impact that they would have on taxpayers, as well as any additional administrative burden on HMRC.”

CGT is charged at 10 per cent for basic rate taxpayers and 20 per cent for higher and additional rate taxpayers, with rates of 18 per cent and 28 per cent on residential property.

Income tax is charged at a basic rate of 20 per cent, rising to 40 per cent and 45 per cent for higher and additional taxpayers.

There had been speculation that Mr Sunak would move to address that difference in levels in his Autumn Budget, but the event passed without an announcement.

At the time business was still assessing the impact of the September announcement that National insurance contributions and dividend tax rates will increase by 1.25 per cent from April 2022, with the projected £12bn annual income ringfenced to pay for health and social care.

That followed the chancellor’s March announcement of an increase in Corporation Tax from 2023, with a new rate of 25 per cent. It came with plans to create a ‘Small Profits Rate’, for companies with profits of less than £50,000, which will be kept at the current 19 per cent level.

• To discuss any aspect of this report, or any tax issue, please get in touch by calling me on 01772 430000

On a tightrope

Chancellor Rishi Sunak looked to pull off delicate balancing act when he stood up to deliver his Autumn Budget.

While trying to aid the economy’s post-pandemic recovery he was also grappling with the deficit and the highest figure of government borrowing since the end of the Second World War.

Then there was the growing spectre of inflation and its impact, along with soaring energy prices.

Add to that was the pressure to support the government’s green agenda, with the COP26 meeting in Glasgow looming.

The government also remained committed to its “high wage, high skill, high productivity” mantra.

So how did Mr Sunak do in pulling off his tightrope act?

Hard-pressed businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will welcome the new 50 per cent business rates discount, along with the Small Business Rates Relief.

But really this is only a sticking plaster, it will only last for a year and it doesn’t tackle the bigger issue.

There is widespread agreement that the current business rate system really isn’t fit for purpose and some real change and different thinking is needed.

The chancellor has shown what that different thinking can deliver, with the overhaul of the alcohol duty system he announced, including the ‘draught relief’, which will deliver a 3p permanent cut in the cost of a pint.

While that and the freeze in alcohol duty announced delivered good news for pubs that have been under massive pressure, even before Covid struck, the raising of the national living wage will give the hospitality industry and other sectors another challenge to face.

The increase is welcome news for families, however for some smaller businesses it will add to their pressures and the fear is it could have an impact on job creation moving forward.

The national living wage is to go up to £9.50 an hour from next April, a 6.6 per cent increase from £8.91, which applies to workers aged 23 and over. For those aged 21 to 22, the minimum will go up from £8.36 to £9.18.

In other announcements, the scrapping of a rise in fuel duty is good news for businesses, including hard-pressed SMEs.

And, as predicted, any changes to income tax or movement or national insurance were not on the Rishi Sunak agenda.

Business is still assessing the impact of the September announcement that National Insurance contributions and dividend tax rates will increase by 1.25 per cent from April 2022, with the projected £12bn annual income ringfenced to pay for health and social care.

That followed the chancellor’s March announcement of an increase in Corporation Tax from 2023, with a new rate of 25 per cent. It came with plans to create a ‘Small Profits Rate’, for companies with profits of less than £50,000, which will be kept at the current 19 per cent level.

There was a warning for asset holders, as the chancellor expects to raise £985m from freezing inheritance tax bands, £990m from freezing the pension lifetime allowance, and an extra £65m from freezing the annual exemption on capital gains tax (CGT) in the next five years.

And the deadline for reporting and paying CGT after selling UK residential property has risen from 30 days to 60 days after completion.

• To discuss any issues raised for you by the Autumn Budget please call me on 01772 430000.

Getting a Boost

Thousands of businesses have accessed support from Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub, a recent report has revealed.

Boost helps business owners and leaders across the county to find the right support for their business.

It also delivers several funded programmes for start-up, established and fast-growing businesses.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, Boost also reconfigured its support to help businesses to deal with the effects of the pandemic.

From January 2019 to the end of June 2020, more than 2,770 businesses accessed Boost’s services and support for the first time. They were a diverse group and not just repeat users.

Boost helped to support an increase in employment numbers in 567 supported enterprises.

Significant support of 12 hours or more was given to more than 500 businesses. More than 700 enterprises received information, diagnostic and brokerage support.

There were 1,225 referrals to wider business support agencies, reflecting Boost’s central role as a Growth Hub.

And it’s not just about existing business. Boost helped 176 potential entrepreneurs to be enterprise ready, and 127 new enterprises were supported.

The #AskForHelp campaign, which Boost launched on day one of the Covid lockdown attracted more than 5,000 businesses in the county.

The aim of the campaign was to help businesses to manage the effects of the Covid pandemic on areas of business including finances, cash flow, staff, remote working, supply chain issues and diversifying into new markets.

Around 320 businesses also benefitted from last year’s Peer Networks programme, which brought together groups of 8-11 business leaders to discuss common challenges, share opportunities and create powerful long-term networks in a structured way.

And more than 100 businesses have already registered for Peer Networks this year, which is again led by Boost.

Peer Networks, which is being funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is available to businesses more than a year old, with five or more employees, a turnover of more than £100,000 and a passion to grow.

Boost is working with 18 private sector organisations to facilitate the cohort groups. They will cover a wide range of different topics and issues.

The facilitating organisations will also provide specific one-to-one mentoring or coaching to help each participant develop and grow their business.

For more information on Boost and its support programmes, visit

Taxing times for the chancellor

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has a delicate balancing act to perform when he stands up to give his Autumn Budget speech on October 27.

While trying to aid the economy’s post-pandemic recovery he must grapple with the deficit and the highest figure of government borrowing since the end of the Second World War.

Then there is the growing spectre of inflation and its impact along with soaring energy prices.

On top of all that is the pressure to support the government’s green agenda, with the COP26 meeting in Glasgow in November and recent announcements by the Prime Minister.

The government is also committed to its “high wage, high skill, high productivity” mantra.

And with calls for more action on the national minimum wage, which increased in the March Budget, we may see another rise for workers aged 23 and over.

There have been reports it could increase by as much as five per cent from its current £8.91 an hour rate.

When it comes to the green agenda and the drive towards net zero, options open to the chancellor include increasing tax incentives for businesses to support their move to zero emission vehicle fleets and measures to make green capital investments more attractive.

Despite the chancellor’s publicly stated desire to cut taxes it is very unlikely that we will see that happen in this Budget. At the same time an increase in income tax or movement or national insurance is not seen to be on the agenda.

Business is still assessing the impact of the September announcement that National insurance contributions and dividend tax rates will increase by 1.25 per cent from April 2022, with the projected £12bn annual income ringfenced to pay for health and social care.

That followed the chancellor’s March announcement of an increase in Corporation Tax from 2023, with a new rate of 25 per cent. It came with plans to create a ‘Small Profits Rate’, for companies with profits of less than £50,000, which will be kept at the current 19 per cent level.

There is speculation that Capital Gains Tax could rise on October 27, with rates aligned more with income tax rates.

However, Inheritance Tax rates are set to remain unchanged and with the soaring cost of fuel and recent shortages at the pumps, a fuel duty increase is also seen as unlikely.

Any increase on alcohol duty would have a detrimental impact on the hospitality industry, one of the worst impacted by the pandemic, as it looks towards its recovery.

There have been reports of a possible simplification of the alcohol tax system which could lead to a cut in the price of beer and wine, something that would be widely welcomed in the industry.

Businesses would like to see some movement on Business Rates, which are having a dramatic impact on the high street, with retailers in particular calling for action. It may be the chancellor feels he has to make some move, especially to aid smaller ventures. The same goes for support for business growth.

The Federation of Small Businesses is calling for more focus on helping employers create new jobs and deliver skills. It wants to see more being done to tackle employment costs, including increasing the Employment Allowance.

Family business takes the plaudits

Congratulations to NutreeLife. The fast-growing family company that specialises in plant-based protein foods was named ‘Small Business of the Year’ in the 2021 Be Inspired Business Awards (BiBAs).

Co-founders Patrick Mroczak and Adam Hodgkinson, with staff members, received their prestigious award at a prize giving ceremony held at Blackpool Tower. They were one of 18 businesses honoured at the event.

Patrick described it as a “cracking night”. He said: “We had a super time with our staff, and we are honoured to have won this prestigious award.”

It is NutreeLife’s second major success in the BiBAs. It won the best new business at the 2019 awards.

The business has also seen its turnover soar since its move into new purpose-built manufacturing premises in 2020.

It made the move from Preston to the Dakota Business Park in Burscough, investing £1.5m in new equipment on its journey to future growth.

NutreeLife, which has a 71-strong workforce, makes high quality protein bars, snacks and burger mixes that are high in protein and low in sugars. Its clients include a number of major UK brands.

With support from WNJ, the business has also been able to invest heavily in the Research and Development work that is central to its success.

WNJ has advised NutreeLife on its successful applications for R&D tax relief, which supports businesses in all sectors working on innovative projects in science and technology.

It can be claimed by a range of companies that seek to research or develop an advance in their field. It can even be claimed on unsuccessful projects.

The company was created to “make great nutrition accessible for all” and its founders Patrick and managing director Adam Hodgkinson have years of experience and dedication in the food, nutrition and beverage industry.

They set out to establish NutreeLife after recognising a gap in the market for a vegan and ‘free-from’ range of protein supplements.

• To discuss how WNJ can help support your business please contact me on 01772 430000.

Government delays digital tax reforms

Businesses will have an extra year to prepare for the digitalisation of Income Tax, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced.

The government says the delay is a recognition of the challenges faced by many UK businesses as the country emerges from the pandemic and it has “listened to stakeholder feedback”.

As a result, it will introduce Making Tax Digital (MTD) for Income Tax Self Assessment (ITSA) a year later than planned, in the tax year beginning in April 2024.

It says that later start for MTD for ITSA gives those required to join more time to prepare and for HMRC to deliver “a robust service”, with additional time for customer testing in the pilot.

The MTD programme was scheduled to make 4.3 million self-employed people and small businesses keep digital records and report their income to HM Revenue & Customs every quarter rather than annually from April 2023.

Announcing the delay, Lucy Frazer, financial secretary to the Treasury, said: The digital tax system we are building will be more efficient, make it easier for customers to get tax right, and bring wider benefits in increased productivity.

“But we recognise that, as we emerge from the pandemic, it’s critical that everyone has enough time to prepare for the change, which is why we’re giving people an extra year to do so.

“We remain firmly committed to Making Tax Digital and building a tax system fit for the 21st century.”

MTD for Income Tax will now be mandated for businesses and landlords with a business income over £10,000 per annum in the tax year beginning in April 2024.

General partnerships will not be required to join MTD for ITSA until the tax year beginning in April 2025, while the date other types of partnerships will be required to join will be confirmed in the future.

In March 2021, the government announced a new, fairer system of penalties for the late filing and late payment of tax for ITSA.

The new penalty system for those who are mandated for MTD for ITSA will now come into effect in the tax year beginning in April 2024, and in the tax year beginning in April 2025 for all other ITSA taxpayers.

HMRC says that for many businesses, MTD is a “natural extension” of the way they already operate. In a statement it added: “Evidence shows that many businesses currently operating MTD are already experiencing wider benefits and reductions in input errors.

“Eligible businesses and landlords will have the opportunity to gain the benefits of MTD early by signing up to the pilot, which is already underway and will be gradually expanded during the 2022 to 2023 tax year, ready for larger scale testing in the 2023 to 2024 tax year.”

HMRC ads it will continue to work in close partnership with business and accountancy representative bodies and software developers to ensure taxpayers are well supported as they adopt MTD for ITSA.

MTD first launched for those with taxable turnover above the VAT threshold (£85,000 per annum) in April 2019.

Since MTD for VAT was launched in April 2019, more than 1.5 million businesses have signed up, including a number of VAT-registered businesses that have joined voluntarily.

VAT-registered businesses with taxable turnover below the threshold need to have joined MTD for their first tax return from April 2022. More than 30 per cent have already signed up voluntarily, HMRC says.

As part of the 2020 announcement, the government set out that it would be extending MTD to businesses and landlords with business and/or property income over £10,000 per annum that are liable for Income Tax from April 2023.

To align with the introduction of MTD for Income Tax in 2024, reformed penalties are being introduced for Income Tax taxpayers required to use MTD in the tax year beginning in April 2024.

For all other Income Tax taxpayers, the new penalty regime will be introduced in the tax year beginning in April 2025.

• To discuss any aspects of MTD or any tax issues please contact me on 01772 430000

Small firms call for cut to “jobs tax”

The country’s largest business group has called on policymakers to cut Employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and relaunch the SME Brexit Support Fund.

The Federation of Small Business (FBS) is urging the government to address rising input prices, lack of access to the right staff and trade disruption which it warns threaten the road to post-lockdown recovery.

The Lancashire-headquartered organisation’s Small Business Index (SBI) report lays bare the impact of rising costs and skills shortages.

Exporters are also continuing to struggle amid rising shipping fees and the loss of goods in transit.

Among the 1,500 respondents that contributed to the full Q2 2021 report, close to two thirds (64 per cent) revealed their operating costs have risen over the past year.

Four in ten (43 per cent) cited inputs such as raw materials as a contributor to the rise, an 11-percentage point increase on the same quarter in 2019. Labour (36 per cent), utilities (28 per cent) and fuel (26 per cent) were also commonly flagged.

Despite a cooling in consumer prices, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed growth in the headline rate of input prices of 9.9% last month.

Elsewhere, more than a third of small firms (37 per cent) highlighted access to appropriately skilled staff as a primary barrier to growth over the coming 12 months.

Close to seven in ten (70 per cent) of those in the construction sector cited skills shortages as a barrier.

The ONS has also revealed that there were 953,000 job vacancies in the three months to July, a record high.

The FBS study also reveals that on top of the one in five (23 per cent) small exporters that have temporarily or permanently stopped selling into the EU, a further fifth (21 per cent) are considering halting sales.

More than half (53 per cent) have had goods held indefinitely at EU border crossings since April and a similar proportion (45 per cent) have lost goods in transit.

FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said: “Small firms are emerging from lockdowns under the strain of spiralling input and shipping costs, skills shortages, new exporting paperwork, emergency debt repayments, rent accruals and business rates.

“The government should urgently move to mitigate cost pressures by reducing Employer NICs, which are serving as a jobs tax and yet another cost to think about in an environment where finding the right people is a nightmare.

“This government was elected on a manifesto that rightly promised to cut the jobs tax, and ministers must rediscover that reformist zeal if they want to unlock growth within the small business community and secure our economic recovery.”

He added: “Our exporting firms tend to be among our most innovative and profitable. Unless we can get them firing on all cylinders again – and produce more of them – we’re going to find our recovery is permanently hampered.

“Small businesses didn’t have a chance to make full use of the SME Brexit Support Fund before it closed. It should be revamped and relaunched to help our great international-facing firms access the help they need to innovate, hire and grow over the critical months ahead.”