Just at a time when many business owners are struggling to make ends meet, fraudsters will be working on ways to intercept grant payments, which might even involve making fraudulent applications in the organisation’s name.
What can they do to guard against this?
A sharp rise in fraud is expected and often follows periods of uncertainty and economic shocks. Scammers are adept at preying on the financial vulnerability that many businesses and individuals experience at such times and can be incredibly creative when it comes to finding new ways to access their money.
Changes to Government policy and the announcement of a new grant-based support scheme are also likely to peek the fraudsters’ interest.
In the last couple of weeks, the Chancellor has introduced a £350bn Business Support Package, providing cash payments, tax concessions and wage grants to businesses that are experiencing hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sustainability was the buzz word of 2019 and would have continued to increase in prominence in 2020.
However, the global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) will bring progress to a halt, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Emily Salter, Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Making changes to materials, logistics and production processes to improve the sustainability of products and operations will slow, as sustainability is no longer top of retailers’ and consumers’ agendas. This is due to long-term adjustments being costly and many non-food retailers will be financially unstable as they emerge from this crisis after a significant period of low or no sales.”
Sustainability and single-use plastic will be less important to many consumers in the short term where hygiene and cleanliness is more of a priority to prevent the spread of the virus. Prior to the outbreak, shopping habits were starting to shift – 74% of nationally
It’s fair to say that 2020 isn’t panning out the way most UK SMEs thought it would. First we had the political uncertainty of Brexit (remember Brexit?) and now we are in the midst of COVID-19, with no firm knowledge on how it will end.
In such unprecedented times, many businesses may be feeling unsure about their external communications. Owners might have pressed pause on their production, had to adapt their output, or could be carrying on as before – and some will be unsure on how to approach the media, if at all. Is it appropriate? Will it be effective? Do the old rules of PR remain?
The short answer to all of the above is yes. With considerations.
Look at your channels
If you have a story at the moment, then look at the media titles that will reach your audience. They may still be pushing forward with
Following the Chancellor’s announcement of the VAT holiday Alison Horner, indirect tax partner at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, says companies still need to be wary of procedural pitfalls
“All businesses with a UK VAT registration are automatically eligible for the VAT deferral for return periods ending in February, March and April, and there is no need to apply to qualify. While this provides very welcome respite for many companies, with a revised payment deadline of March 2021, they must ensure they manage their cashflow appropriately over the next year to account for payment, and that of the upcoming tax year too. It is a deferral and the money owed will still need to be paid next year. Businesses that pay by direct debit should cancel this now – as HMRC will not automatically defer any payments made.
“Large businesses within the payments on account scheme appear to be able to defer