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Need To Know: Your Business Updates for June 2019


Welcome to the June 2019 'Need to Know' update. You'll find the latest key information on intellectual property, IR35 reforms, Open Banking and copyright.

IR35 reforms lead to increasing concerns 

FSB is urging the Government to postpone extension of public sector employment rules concerning contractors, warning that implementing changes prematurely will disrupt the UK’s four million-strong self-employed community, thereby risking a significant drop in economic output. 

IR35 – also known as ‘off-payroll’ – rules allow HMRC to tax a self-employed person as though they were an employee if it deems their working arrangement to be akin to regular staff. In April 2017, responsibility for deciding whether IR35 should apply to self-employed workers shifted from contractor to employer in the public sector. From April 2020, the same change is set to take effect in the private sector.   

In its submission to the Government’s consultation on the move, which closed this week, FSB argues that – taken alongside Brexit, the implementation of Making Tax Digital, a rising National Living Wage, increasing employer pension contributions and higher business rates – extension of public sector IR35 rules to the private sector in less than a year’s time risks a substantial shock to growth. 

The move will mean a fresh burden for businesses and could cause some to hold fire on appointing sole traders for fear of making an incorrect off-payroll assessment. 

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Claim that Government funding scheme is at risk
A Government initiative to help with funding for small businesses is at risk of failure, claims the boss of a leading challenger lender.

Iwoca CEO Christoph Rieche, said the Bank Referral Scheme (BRS) had “failed to make any meaningful impact”.

In a letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond he added: “The BRS scheme remains one of the Government’s potentially most transformational initiatives when it comes to making finance available to businesses,” he said.

“However, as with many ambitious targets, it does not come without complexity and more needs to be done to overcome them.”
Under the programme, banks are required to refer businesses which have been denied loans to designated alternative finance platforms.

It was launched in late 2016 with the intention of addressing low levels of funding available to small businesses.

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Open banking revolution is behind schedule, says fintech expert
The expected transformation of Open Banking is slower and less extensive than previously predicted, the VP of Infosys Finacle has claimed.

According to the schedule, by March 2019 European banks were required to have implemented facilities so that third party providers (TPPs) could test their functionality against a simulated bank environment or “sandbox”. The 14 March deadline arrived with a significant percentage failing to comply. A survey of 442 European banks across ten countries found that fewer than six in ten (59%) had completed the work in time.

And this status was far from uniform across the EU. Banks in Germany, Belgium, Finland and Sweden managed compliance rates above 80%, the percentages for the Netherlands and the UK were 67% and 64% respectively while France, Spain, Denmark and Norway were all below 50%.

James Buckley, VP and European Director of Infosys Finacle, explained: “The open banking revolution inevitably means that banks have a lot on their plate. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) introduced in May 2018 requires them to somehow steer a course that respects GDPR’s stipulation for control and access to their data.

“It shouldn’t take much longer before the industry follows a similar path to the one that has transformed the insurance sector, where price comparison websites have forced members to be more proactive. The open banking revolution may take a little longer than anticipated – but it is undoubtedly underway.”
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Retention and disposal policy for patents and trade marks
The Intellectual Property Office has published its policy on the disposal of applications for intellectual property and trade marks.

With purely electronic processing of patent applications the accuracy and quality of electronic images is of prime importance.

BS10008 is the British Standard which governs the admissibility of electronic documents in legal proceedings.

Compliance with this standard will also mean conformance to ISO 15801, an International Standard governing the trustworthiness and reliability of electronic information.

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How to publish copyright material without approval
The Government has produced a video explaining how to get permission to copy a creative work for which the right holder(s) cannot be found – otherwise known as an orphan work.

In order to do so, you must apply for an orphan works licence. The cost of getting a licence includes an application fee and a licence fee.

The fees are calculated and displayed at the start of the online application process before you decide whether to go ahead with your application. The fee will depend on how many different works and uses you want to license.

The apply for an orphan works licence service will be unavailable between 6:45am and 5pm on Sunday 2 June 2019.

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Minimum wage review must consider spiralling costs, says FSB
Ahead of the launch of Arin Dube’s government-commissioned review of minimum wage rates, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry, said: “Over 90 per cent of small businesses have maintained pay levels or increased them over the past year. Small firms tend to be ahead of the curve on pay: six in ten were paying all employees at least the National Living Wage rate for last year prior to April.

“However for some small businesses – particular those in sectors with lower levels of pay and tight margins such as social care – wage increases do take their toll. Firms are having to cut profitability, hold back investment and put up prices to absorb them. This review must recognise that fact.

"Small businesses are also contending with rising business rates, increasing pension costs and higher input costs due to a weakened pound. For firms in the retail, hospitality and care sectors in particular, these burdens are threatening futures.

“It’s important to remember that wage increases are one of many government interventions that have collectively added £60,000 to the average small business cost of doing business since 2011.

“Therefore it is essential that increases in the NLW are affordable for smaller businesses and do not have a chilling effect on economic growth.”