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Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

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Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Self-employed? Last chance to apply for the second SEISS grant

13 October 2020

Self-employed workers that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic have just days left to apply for the second government SEISS grant.

The deadline for claiming the second instalment of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant is 19 October. Those eligible will receive a government grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, up to £6,570.

Anyone whose self-employed business has been adversely affected by coronavirus since 14 July (with trading profits of no more than £50,000) is eligible for the scheme; payments are made within six working days.

With the UK facing a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, self-employed workers are questioning the level of government support that will be available to them over the coming months.

On 24 September, the government announced an extension of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme. However, the level of support is set to be significantly lower this time around. A taxable grant for self-employed people affected by the pandemic will cover three months' worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January 2021. It will be worth just 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875.

An additional second grant will be available for self-employed individuals to cover the period from February 2021 to the end of April but the government has yet to announce the level of support this grant will provide.

Business groups are concerned that UK freelancers are facing a very bleak winter. "It is dismaying to see the self-employed excluded yet again from the government's thinking," said Andy Chamberlain, director of policy at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE).

"Local lockdowns will affect many self-employed people just as much as employees, but as it stands they have much, much less support available to them. If a self-employed hairdresser, plumber or contractor is caught in a local lockdown and unable to work, they are entitled to just 20% of their usual earnings. And there are over a million limited company directors and newly self-employed who are not even entitled to that.

"Government must not leave the self-employed to fall through the cracks of the ever-growing patchwork of local lockdowns across the UK. It must extend the amount and the parameters of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to offer targeted support for the self-employed that matches these new measures."

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that the number of self-employed people in the UK in Q3 2020 has fallen by 240,000 compared to the same period last year. IPSE has said that the record fall, taking the number of self-employed back to 2015 levels, shows the "devastating impact of the gaps in support".

Written by Rachel Miller.

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