Cost of Doing Business
Rising Business Costs
You can find out the latest support and news on business support by subscribing to the Ashford Business Newsletter here.
The last year has seen the cost of doing business rise rapidly, due to a number of causes including energy prices and high inflation. There are a number of resources out there to help your business navigate these difficult times.
Our partners at the Kent & Medway Growth Hub are there to answer all your business questions and provide expert support and guidance. You can contact them Mondays-Fridays 09:00-17:30 on 03333 602300 or use the Ask Phil widget on this page.
The Federation of Small Businesses has a range of campaigns and resources to support small businesses.
The British Business Bank has produced a guide to increasing your business resilience, covering everything from energy efficiency to investing in technology included to help make your business more innovative and resilient.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales website has insights, analysis and resources including on energy prices, inflation, supply chain disruption and staff recruitment & retention.
You may be able to get Universal Credit if you’re on a low income or need help with your living costs, including if you're working part time or are self-employed.
The existing Energy Bill Relief Scheme currently provides a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic consumers, and will come to an end on 31 March 2023.
A new Energy Bill Discount Scheme will run from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024. Eligible non-domestic consumers will receive a per-unit discount to their energy bills, subject to a maximum discount. The relative discount will be applied if wholesale prices are above a certain price threshold.
As with the original scheme, suppliers will automatically apply reductions to the bills of all eligible non-domestic customers, although certain energy-intensive businesses can apply for a higher level of support.
As energy prices continue to rise, many businesses will need extra support this winter. Ofgem have produced a guide for businesses to answer common questions and signpost relevant support & guidance.
The Government have launched the UK Business Climate Hub. No matter how small your business, what industry or part of the UK you’re in, looking at your carbon emissions could make a real difference – to the planet, to your customers and to your running costs! Even the smallest businesses produce carbon emissions – it could be through your building, your vehicles or your suppliers.
Reducing your energy requirements can help slash costs. Low Carbon Kent can help you through access to finance, performance assessments, environmental audits and more.
The South East New Energy (SENE) aims to help businesses decarbonise their operations through free audits and grants towards investment in energy projects.
Loans and Finance
The Recovery Loan Scheme provides continued access to finance, providing support to recover and grow. Once received, the finance can be used for any legitimate business purpose. Term loans and overdrafts are available between £25,001 and £10 million per business. Invoice finance and asset finance is available between £1,000 and £10 million per business.
The British Business Bank has produced a four step guide to making your own cashflow forecast. You use a cash flow forecast to predict the cash that’s going out of your business and coming back in over a specific period.
Good Business Pays has launched a new initiative to encourage larger businesses to pay their small suppliers as fast as possible to help them maintain their cash flow and combat the rising cost of doing business.
The Wait Off campaign is backed by the Small Business Commissioner and leaders from some of the UK’s biggest business groups including the CBI, FSB and British Chambers of Commerce.
The Confederation of British Industry have a resource page with help on supporting your employees, including on wellbeing provision, financial support and different ways of working.
Jobcentre Plus has a range of recruitment services that can help you as an employer. You could get:
- recruitment advice, including support with your vacancies
- help setting up work trials to give you the opportunity to try out potential recruits
- advice about offering work experience and apprenticeships, including using the sector-based work academy programme
- support if you employ someone with a disability (Access to Work)
- advice and guidance on employing someone with a disability or health condition
You can reach Ashford JobCentre Plus on 0800 1690190.
Ashford College can work with you on job placements and apprenticeships. Their Industry Liaison Officers will be happy to discuss collaboration that will benefit your business and local young people.
Debt advice and support
If your business is having difficulties due to debt, there are resources available to you and organisations you can contact who may be able to help. Be aware that although some organisations may offer free advice, their aim is to sign you, as a debtor, up to an individual, partnership or company voluntary arrangement. Such organisations may receive a commission from this and so their advice isn’t always impartial.
The British Business Bank has a resource hub on debt support including independent advisors, debt charities, and forums to talk with other business owners.
Business Debtline is a charity that gives free and independent debt advice over the phone and online.
Individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities will be able to access HMRC support to agree a bespoke 'time to pay' arrangement.
The Insolvency Service has launched a new online information hub to support company directors.
The hub hosts guidance and information on a range of business themes commonly faced by companies and aims to help company directors to push their business forward by being more aware of potential pitfalls.
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) regularly updates the rateable values of all business and other non-domestic properties in England and Wales. This is called a revaluation. The next revaluation will come into effect on 1 April 2023.