UNSURPRISINGLY, it appears that Somerset businesses are in this difficult trading position for the long-haul.

The Government’s announcement in early November that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) now has a five-month extension until March 31, 2021, indicates it’s going to be a tough winter.

Somerset employers can now make claims for the extended CJRS, which will operate as the previous scheme did. An employer can make their claim in anticipation of an imminent payroll run, at the point they run their payroll or afterwards. While this is undoubtedly a welcome measure in protecting business costs and supporting employees' livelihoods, CRJS is still only a sticking plaster providing short-term cover and cannot begin to replace the benefits of a healthy trading position that companies enjoyed prior to the onset of the pandemic.

To help boost and support Somerset businesses, the Government also announced Bounce Back Loan Scheme top-ups are available for eligible businesses who can now 'top-up' their existing loans if they previously borrowed less than 25% of their turnover.

With the UK’s departure from the EU on January 1 rapidly approaching, further materials from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to support business preparedness have been issued and made available. HMRC has written to all VAT-registered businesses trading with the EU and/or the rest of the world, highlighting actions they need to take to continue from the beginning of January.

There are now less than two months left to get ready for new rules around moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Trader Support Service is a free online information service which may be a useful and full details can be found on the HM Government UK Transition webpage.


CEO, Somerset Chamber of Commerce