We are in the 5th month of the year almost at the half way mark. This is a good time to review your business progress against your strategic goals.
A lot has been happening in the economy so far this year. Here are some of the business and economic changes happening which I think are important for you to know. It will help you to do your reviews of where your business is heading and how these macro economic developments will help or hinder your business.
- What is your human capital/staffing strategy? Do you use mainly part time workers? EU workers?
- Have you assessed the impact of Brexit on your business? Will you survive, thrive or take a nose dive?
- How does digitization affect your business? Have you embraced the changes that going digital is bringing?
Self employed and gig economy – House of Commons Report
The days of a job for life and is something for the history books. The era of permanent jobs lasting for two years or more is also gradually fading away. With the introduction of zero hours contracts, remote working and portfolio careers we are now living in the era of the gig economy. This is a labour market characterized by the prevalence of multiple short-term contracts or freelance work jobs on demand as opposed to permanent jobs.
The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee has published the findings of its inquiry into self-employment and the gig economy (people having temporary jobs or doing separate pieces of work, each paid separately, rather than working for a single employer).
The committee found that many employers operating in the gig economy are able to deny basic employment rights to workers who don’t have ’employee’ or ‘worker’ status, and often class their workers as self-employed so their contract doesn’t have to provide any benefits such as sick or holiday pay. The committee also found that there was nothing to prevent employers and workers opting for a self-employed contractor agreement rather than an employment contract to avoid paying tax and National Insurance contributions, which results in tax losses for the Treasury.
The committee recommended that after the general election the new Government should produce a plan for ‘equalising’ employee and self-employed National Insurance contributions and all workers should be given the employment status of ‘worker’ by default rather than self-employed.
The committee has also recommended that the new Government should review the minimum income floor in Universal Credit so that it supports and encourages entrepreneurship instead of subsidising self-employment. It has also suggested that the floor should not apply to self-employed claimants until the review has been completed.
Read more about the Work and Pensions Committee inquiry at: from Parliament UK
Brexit funding gap threatens business support
The new FSB report titled;‘Reformed Business Funding: What small firms want from Brexit’ finds that eight in ten (78%) small firms have sought business support services over the last 12 months.
The loss of EU funding dedicated to supporting small firms is a threat to economic growth and productivity, according to a report by FSB. These support services are often part or wholly funded by the EU and play a key role in supporting small firms to grow their business. FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, said: “If the next Government is serious about developing an Industrial Strategy that delivers prosperity across all areas of England, it must replace EU funding dedicated to small business support and access to finance after we leave the EU.”
For further information, go to: The Federation of Small Business (FSB)
Impact of Brexit on Agriculture
The House of Lords Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has published a report examining the impact of Brexit on the UK’s agriculture sector. The report highlights that the sector faces 3 significant challenges as a result of the UK leaving the EU. The UK is currently part of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and many farmers rely on CAP funding to sustain their business. In addition the EU is the UKs strongest agric produce trading partner with 80% of UK exports going to the EU tariff free. The EU is also a major source of seasonal and permanent labour for UK farmers. The committee has however, identified leaving the EU as an opportunity for agricultural policies to be tailored to the needs of farmers and consumers across the UK. However, it has also warned that farmers would need time and clarity from the Government to enable them to adapt to change. The committee also warns that farmers risk facing higher tariffs when exporting and increased competition from imported produce, and with restricted access to EU labour could face severe difficulties.
If you are in the agricultural industry or food industry this report would be important for you. To download the report, go to: Parliament UK
Review of Digital Single Market strategy
The European Commission has published the mid-term review of its Digital Single Market strategy. The strategy was launched in May 2015 to improve access to digital goods and services, as well as to grow the digital economy across Europe. The review sets out the progress made in implementing the strategy and identifies three main areas where further EU action is needed. In particular, the European Commission is calling for;
- further measures to address cyber security risks,
- develop the European Data Economy and,
- ensure that online platforms play a key role in supporting innovation and economic growth.
The Digital Single Market is important to everyone and especially everyone in business as this is the future.
For further information, read the EU Digital Single Market Strategy press release
About Brandstad Consulting Ltd
Brandstad Consulting Ltd provides professional business consulting and coaching services to medium sized businesses. Businesses in need of a business process review in order to improve operations have been using our services for over 10 years. Our key services are in the form of business strategic planning, building innovative business plans and business models for growth, assistance with raising finance for business expansion.
We specialise in helping organisations develop and review their business strategy to ensure continued and sustainable growth. We also develop business plans and have raised thousands of pounds for businesses from a variety of sources.
We also specialise in developing environmentally sustainable business models. Our consultants are also available to give key note talks and business workshops.
disclaimer : Views presented above is writers personal not Chamber’s