Aged 16-25 and an aspiring engineering entrepreneur? Could you do with some extra support? Have you heard about the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Launchpad Competition?
The aim of the Launchpad Competition is to enable an aspiring engineering entrepreneur aged 16-25 to start a new business based on their engineering innovation.
The winner will receive the JC Gammon Award, a prize of £15,000 and the support from a money-can’t-buy Membership of the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub.
The Enterprise Hub is an initiative that sees some of the UK’s leading technology entrepreneurs and engineering business leaders volunteer their time to mentor the country’s most promising engineering entrepreneurs, who in turn form a highly valuable peer-support network. The Hub also runs a year-long programme of training courses, exclusively for Hub Members.
The Government’s controversial legal aid reforms have been given the go-ahead after the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by the Law Society and practitioners groups.
This has far-reaching implications for the legal profession and whilst there is political opposition from Labour (which has pledged to reverse the position if elected) the Law Society is warning that if the plans go ahead ‘hundreds of firms’ could go out of business as a consequence of the ruling.
By way of a background, the tendering process for duty provider contracts in police stations and magistrates courts had been suspended since December while the Law Society, Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association and London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association challenged the Justice Secretary’s (Chris Grayling) plans to reduce the number of criminal legal aid contracts from around 1,600 to 527. This was re-opened following the Court of Appeal ruling.
The first shoots of spring are a good time to be thinking about the future of the family farm.
Different needs and motivations
It is common in a family farm that there is a single farm holding but a number of parties with an interest in the land, whether they be within the same generation, for example siblings, or across two or even three generations between grandparents, parents and children. Once the family concern starts crossing generations, there is a potential for aunts, uncles and cousins all possibly working in or receiving income from the same farm.
The more generations that have been or are involved in a farm, the more complicated it can be to reach agreement on the future direction of the business and therefore the options need to be considered.
In this situation, there are essentially three options:
Strong cashflow management will be even more vital for GP practices in the months ahead, warns Andrew Pow. Follow his tips to help you stay on top.
Many GP practices are under increased financial pressure as we start the 2015-16 contract year. And not just because of the Review Body’s 1.16% award:
- GMS practices with a Minimum Practice Income Guarantee (MPIG) will be in the second year of reduction
- PMS contracts in many areas will see the first wave of cuts towards a GMS funding alignment, and
- QOF achievement payments will be down significantly.
Then there are local councils – they will be into the third year of managing the public health budget and, in a sector already under financial strain, you can expect cuts in prices paid for public health services.
Britain’s farmers are feeling less optimistic about the future than they did in 2014, according to a survey conducted by MHA, the UK-wide group of accountancy and business advisory firms.
The survey, undertaken at the LAMMA 2015 show, is based on interviews with over 100 farmers from across the country.
- There is a continued desire for growth and diversification amongst the farming community, but less optimism than in 2014
- There is an increase in the number of farmers undertaking co-operative farming arrangement
- Succession planning is of great concern for 1 in 10 – noticeably higher than in 2014
The reduced optimism reflects the reduction in cereal prices in recent months, although 59% of respondents (down from 69% in 2014) still predicted overall growth, with 23% expecting moderate to high growth. This year’s survey also saw a 4% reduction to 49% among those hoping to increase acreage over the next 12 months. Concerns remain about the availability of land – and prices continue to be a barrier.
We have previously looked at Crowd Funding on this blog in relation to its growth in the debt market. Current data indicates that a total of £1.75bn has been raised in crowd funding to be invested in businesses. The amount invested in businesses just through 1 crowd funding site, CrowdCube, increased from £2m in 2012, to £12m in 2014 and it is projected to more than double to £30m in 2015. Peer to Peer funding seems to have captured the interest of investors and investees alike.
But many of the businesses raising money through this route have to provide historic trading information. This excludes start ups from this increasingly important source of finance. Equity finance, seen as the type of finance more suited for start ups, has traditionally been seen as the realm of wealthy individuals acting as “angels”. But now crowd funding is expanding into this area.
The timing seems to be right with a public more interested and engaged in business and the economy, the proliferation of technology and social media and very low interest rates offering no return for investors. Crowdcube and Seedrs are the largest and most well known names in the sector.
It is well known that food prices can fluctuate based on yields in different years or market conditions. Currently it is dairy farmers experiencing tough conditions with the price of milk falling, but meat prices can also vary, for example depending on imports of New Zealand lamb.
While many farmers experiencing falling incomes may think that they do not have tax to pay, this may not be the case due to the payment on account system which HMRC operate and depending on when the accounting year end falls.
Many farming business are run as a partnership and therefore are in a system of payments on account where the current year’s tax bill is estimated based on the previous year’s result until actual figures are prepared and adjusting payments can be made (or refunds received). If prices achieved resulted in good profits in 2013/14, a tax bill and another payment on account will be due in July 2015 to HMRC based on those good profits.
But if the situation has been different in 2014/15 as they have been in the dairy industry, a July tax bill based on the better year is the last thing many farmers want to see. By doing the accounts soon after the year end the July payment on account can be adjusted to an actual amount rather than just an estimate based on the previous successful year. In many cases this may wipe out the July payment and possibly even result in a refund.
A recent change in property valuations may mean that your business is caught under the annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED). ATED is payable by companies that own UK high value residential property and is payable every year. Take action now to safe guard your interests.
When this new charge was announced, many farmers would not fall foul as it only applied to properties valued over £2m and the farmhouses under this threshold are currently 100% relieved.
The Limits have now reduced to properties valued at more than £1m from 1 April 2015 and more than £500,000 from 1 April 2016. If a company owns a farmhouse that carries out farming commercially and with a profit seeking motive, it may be able to claim a 100% relief that will reduce the ATED charge to nil providing the conditions are met. This claim for relief must be made to HM Revenue & Customs and should not be assumed.
It is worth noting that any residential outbuildings which are owned by the company which are valued at more than the above mentioned limits will fall into the ATED charge.
Although many farming business operate through a partnership or sole trade, there are a number of businesses which may be caught by this annual tax charge. If you think this may apply to you, please contact us on email@example.com to discuss taking steps to reduce your liability.
With the end of the tax year approaching now is the time to ensure you have fully utilised the reliefs and exemptions available to you. These include:
Probably the most obvious, but often overlooked, is to use up your ISA entitlement. The cash limit increased significantly from 1 July 2014, when New ISAs (NISAs) were introduced. The NISAs allow any combination of cash and shares up to a maximum of £15,000. Prior to 1 July 2014, there was a limit of £5,940 on cash investments.
As announced in the March 2015 Budget, the rate from 6 April 2015 will be £15,240 and from this date you will be able to take out your money and put it back in within the same year, without losing your ISA tax benefits – as long as the repayment is made in the same financial year as the withdrawal. (To see this and other changes announced in the 2015 Budget click here to download our Budget Report 2015)