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National Living Wage to rise from April 2024

The National Living Wage (NLW) will rise to at least £11 an hour from April 2024, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has confirmed.

The Chancellor confirmed the increase in a speech to the Conservative Party conference and said the rise will benefit two million low paid workers. People aged 23 and over are eligible for the NLW. The Treasury stated that as a result of successive increases, a full-time worker on the NLW will be more than £9,000 better off than they would have been in 2010.


SMEs 'struggling to access finance'

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are struggling to access finance and working capital, according to a report published by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). The ACCA's data showed that small firms are struggling to access finance for a range of reasons, including rising interest rates. 57% of firms reported that borrowing in order to manage cashflow has proven more difficult over the last quarter when compared to the previous 12 months.


The importance of employee information – from a payroll and HR perspective

Earlier this year the government announced steep penalty increases for employing illegal workers, with the upper cap tripling to £60,000. The ICO can also apply substantial fines for data breaches – it’s more important than ever for employers to be clear about their responsibilities. JCHR, our combined payroll and HR service, looks at employee information – what do we need as a minimum for payroll purposes, and for ‘right to work’ evidence purposes.

How can employers ensure that they have the right information on file, and what should they do if they find critical information is missing?

Do not rely upon HMRC VAT inspections to prove good compliance

A recent High Court VAT decision indicated that businesses cannot rely upon historic HMRC VAT enquiries or inspections as a green light that everything is ok.


It is often wrongly assumed that a HMRC enquiry, whether performed remotely by email or face-to-face, where no assessment is issued or ruling given, can be relied upon to demonstrate that the VAT returns submitted were accurate. 


Labour Party to remove the VAT exemption from independent school fees

The Labour Party has reaffirmed its commitment to remove the VAT exemption from independent school fees if elected at the next general election.The UK’s VAT treatment of different education providers is complex.

Independent schools which are charities or not-for-profit bodies, unable to distribute profit, are currently classified as an ‘eligible body’ so that school fees and other closely related supplies are VAT exempt. The Labour Party, rather than challenging charitable status of independent schools, has said it that it would simply remove that ‘eligible body’ status. School fees would become VAT standard rate rather than VAT exempt, which is likely to cause fees to increase. Of course, the Labour Party will need to win the next general election to implement its proposals.

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James Cowper Kreston is a leading firm of accountants and business advisers, with offices across the South of England. We deliver focused, innovative advice to a diverse range of businesses and individuals helping our clients to maximise their potential.


If you would like to discuss any of the topics raised within this newsletter please email us on or call us on 01635 35255.


James Cowper Kreston


The information in this newsletter must not be relied on as giving sufficient advice in any specific case.


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