Welcome to your weekly digest of need-to-know business news, brought to you by Countingup.

1. Final Self-Employed Income Support Scheme deadline approaches 

The deadline for applications for the fifth and final Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant is September 30th. If you want to claim, you need to act now.

Why does this matter?

If you were eligible to claim under the fourth SEISS grant, you should also be eligible to claim under the fifth. This time the grant will pay up to three months of average trading profits, although it covers the five-month period of 1 May to 30 September. You may be able to claim up to a maximum of £7,500.

What do I need to do?

If you think you’re eligible, claim through your Government Gateway account as with previous grants. The eligibility criteria are the same as for the fourth grant. Remember that the SEISS grants are taxable, and make sure you factor this into your budgeting.

Further reading:

What COVID-19 business support is still available?
COVID grants for small businesses

2. Nearly one in five small businesses are facing insolvency

Almost 17% of small and medium-sized businesses in the UK are at risk of collapse as the government phases out pandemic-related financial support.

Why does this matter?

Research from Euler Hermes, based on responses from more than half a million businesses across Europe, found that small British businesses are at much greater risk than their European counterparts. While UK business insolvencies remained low during the pandemic, the phasing out of state support puts hundreds of thousands in danger. The research identified manufacturers and suppliers in the car industry, along with SMEs in the energy and construction sectors, as those at most acute risk. Supply chain disruption has compounded existing problems. 

What do I need to do?

Businesses in high-risk sectors need to plan for an extended period of downturn, and must also consider how they will make any necessary repayments on their pandemic-related government support. Read last week’s issue for more on what to do if you can’t repay your COVID loans.

3. UK Brexit border checks delayed 

New checks on goods entering the UK from the EU will be delayed until next year in an effort to ease the deepening supply chain crisis.

Why does this matter?

Supply chain issues are impacting self-employed people and SMEs in almost every industry. Pressures including Brexit, Covid, serious labour shortages in the haulage industry, and skyrocketing raw material and shipping costs have combined to produce the most serious supply chain crisis in living memory. 

The government has announced it will delay the imposition of new, stricter checks on goods entering the UK from the EU in the hope that it can plug gaps on supermarket shelves ahead of Christmas.

What do I need to do?

Trade and construction workers in particular need to be prepared for continuing price volatility. Haulage workers, meanwhile, can take action now to capitalise on the staffing crisis. The government has also announced the relaxation of testing for HGV drivers, making it easier for new haulage professionals to enter the industry.

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