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2020 predictions for tradespeople: what key issues will affect your business next year?

3-minute read

2020 predictions for tradespeople: what key issues will affect your business next year?
Lauren Hellicar

Lauren Hellicar

19 December 2019

The last few years of political and economic turbulence have made life difficult for hard-working tradespeople trying to run a successful business – so how's it looking for 2020?

We've looked into what could affect your business, giving you our predictions on the issues that'll affect tradespeople into the new year and beyond.

Tool theft isn’t going away

You’ve most likely heard about the Simply Business campaign to Stamp Out Tool Theft. It’s a crime epidemic that’s been spreading across the UK for years, destroying hard-working people’s businesses – and it's not showing any signs of slowing down.

We decided enough was enough and that more needs to be done to help tradespeople. Taking our campaign into the streets, we drove a massive billboard to Parliament’s front door to get the government to take notice.

Unfortunately the snap election was called and the government closed our petition ahead of voting, but that doesn’t mean the problem has gone away – or that we’ve given up the fight.

We’ll be back with renewed enthusiasm very soon, backing British tradespeople on tool theft. Watch this space.

New van emissions laws

If you drive a diesel van or car for your trade, you’ll need to keep the latest RDE2 (Real Driving Emissions Step 2) standards on your radar. The rules set a maximum permitted level of NOx emissions. Your vehicle will need to meet the Euro 6 emissions standard in real-world driving conditions and in the laboratory.

Any vehicle that doesn’t meet the new standard will be subject to a one-band increase in Vehicle Excise Duty – for the first payment only, and it’ll usually be included in the cost of the vehicle.

RDE1 was the first step, which applied to all new vehicle models from September 2018 and to all new registrations from September 2019. From January 2020 RDE2 applies to all new models, and extends to all new registrations from January 2021.

Your driving licence if there’s a no-deal Brexit

If there’s a no-deal Brexit, your UK driving licence won’t be valid in EU countries. You’ll need to visit the Post Office, or contact the RAC or AA, to get an international permit.

To apply, you’ll need your full valid UK driving licence, a passport photo and the £5.50 application fee. If your licence is one of the older paper ones, you’ll also need your passport as photo ID.

The government’s website has guidance on driving in the EU after Brexit.

Clamping down on late-payers

In their manifesto, the Conservatives pledged to "support start-ups and small businesses via government procurement, and commit to paying them on time."

The manifesto also included a promise to "clamp down on late payment more broadly and strengthen the powers of the Small Business Commissioner to support small businesses that are exploited by their larger partners."

Back in May we reported that 50,000 small businesses fold due to late payments each year. Let's hope whatever measures the government puts in place will go some way to reversing this staggering figure.

If you’re in the process of taking the first steps to try and recoup late payments, you can download our late payment letter template and read our tips.

How much tax will you pay in 2020?

Simplifying the tax system and making it fairer was a key Conservative pledge to voters during their 2019 UK general election campaign. Their goal is to “redesign the tax system so that it boosts growth, wages and investment”. But how will they make it happen?

They’re placing a "triple lock" on taxes, which means they won’t raise income tax, National Insurance or VAT rates. The plan is that "the first £12,500 you earn is completely free of tax".

They’ve also said they’ll keep Corporation Tax at 19 per cent while increasing the Employment Allowance for small businesses.

Raising the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 next year, they claim, will cut tax for 31 million workers.

And back in May we reported on a proposal for a new voluntary tax called the Simple Consolidated Tax, which would replace the current range of levies and taxes that small businesses face.

It had support from small businesses as well as Sajid Javid, who was Home Secretary at the time. Now he's Chancellor, will he consider this proposal in future reviews of the tax system?

What's happening with Brexit?

The UK is currently scheduled to leave the EU on 31 January and the government should give clarity on how we'll leave, as soon as possible. After that, there's a transition period scheduled to end on 31 December 2020.

This means the government will spend the year negotiating a trade deal. In the meantime, small business owners should keep an eye on developments as they happen.

How do you think Brexit will affect your business? Let us know in the comments below.

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