Louise Ross lives and breathes management accounting, as she is both a CIMA member and employed as a technical specialist by CIMA. She sincerely believes management accounting to be 'the interesting bit' of accounting. Granted, her experience of other areas is limited to a few years in the lower reaches of public sector audit - two decades ago!
Help for businesses affected by riots
Like many people in England I’ve passed burnt out shops on my way to work this week, with ash still floating gently in the air, and broken glass crunching beneath my feet. Despite seeing the damage at first hand in my South London neighbourhood and watching the television coverage of the disturbances in other areas, I can’t quite believe what has happened.
Napoleon disparaged Britain as a “nation of shopkeepers”, and certainly we’re a nation for whom shopping is an important leisure activity (probably part of the problem). Although many high street chains were badly hit, it’s the small independent stores I feel sorriest for. They are the real lifeblood of a community, and what makes any high street different from the high street in the next borough.
Yesterday Vince Cable, Business Secretary, announced a package of measures to help local businesses (not just retailers) affected by the riots. These measures include financial assistance under a new £20 million High Street Support scheme for clear-up, replacement of equipment or costs of temporary accommodation. Damaged businesses can also get some relief from business rates; with seriously damaged premises being taken off the valuation list so that they do not incur council tax or business rates while they are unoccupiable.
The relatively small sum seems to assume that most businesses will be able to claim from their insurers. Uninsured businesses can claim compensation from their Police Authority under the Riot Damages Act (claims must be made within 42 days, the claim form will be available shortly on the DirectGov site).
BIS is working with other agencies to provide support relating to banking, tax and employment issues. The British Bankers Association has advised that businesses will receive sympathetic treatment and additional financial support such as short term finance for repairs and to replace stock; and repayment holidays until insurance claims are paid. HMRC may agree deferred payment of tax liabilities, and offer advice on what to do if records have been lost or destroyed – contact HMRC on its dedicated civil disorder help line. Companies House will agree extensions for late filing of accounts or other documents from affected businesses. And ACAS have given advice about the legal position regarding disruption to work, or layoffs and short-time working.
Small businesses contribute significantly to the nation’s economy; and local entrepreneurs add so much to their communities. I hope that this help will encourage retailers and other local businesses to rebuild, and the local community to offer ongoing custom to sustain these businesses in the future.