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8 trades industry predictions for 2022

3-minute read

Catriona Smith

13 December 2021

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Small businesses and self-employed tradespeople have had a tough year, but what might 2022 bring for your business?

Read on for our predictions based on Simply Business research and the latest trends in the trades.

Top trades predictions for 2022

1. Supply chain problems and rising costs

A few months back, Simply Business research revealed that the ongoing shortages in supplies and skills have caused tradespeople to lose out on £3.5 billion in total.

With 70 per cent of tradespeople saying they think it’ll take over a year for the sector to recover from these challenges, we expect this theme to continue throughout 2022.

Here are some of the challenges tradespeople told us about in October 2021:

  • 83 per cent experienced rising costs for materials
  • 87 per cent have been forced to delay projects
  • over a quarter have had to delay projects by four to eight weeks

2. Expansion of low emissions zones

Back in October we reported on the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone with a goal of reducing emissions and improving air quality in the city.

This is a trend set to continue, and one to be aware of if you drive for work.

Other cities planning on introducing clean air zones in 2022 include:

  • Aberdeen
  • Bristol
  • Dundee
  • Edinburgh
  • Newcastle
  • Manchester
  • Oxford

You won’t have to pay the charges if your vehicle meets the emissions standards, though. The government already offers grants for buying new low emissions cars and vans, and we expect to see more incentives like this as the UK strives to meet its climate targets.

Read our guide to electric vehicles to find out more.

Are you considering getting an electric car or van for your business? Let us know in the poll or leave a comment below.

3. Moving towards a cashless society?

The shift to cashless payments was accelerated by the pandemic, but there’s been widespread concern that this could cut off vulnerable customers in society.

Campaigns from Which? and Telegraph Money aimed to highlight the problems with going completely cashless, and the cashless debate is likely to continue in 2022.

Is cash still important to your business? Read our analysis of the cashless society and vote in our poll.

4. Raising awareness of tool theft

Unfortunately tool theft remains a very real problem for people working in the trades. In October, we reported the news that over a quarter of van drivers have had tools stolen in the last 12 months, where the cost of replacement tools and forced downtime can hit hard.

Before the pandemic we were raising awareness and actively lobbying the government to do more to tackle this crime epidemic with our stamp out tool theft campaign.

As thieves continue to target tradespeople, we have more to say on this issue. Keep your eyes peeled for a tool theft update in 2022.

5. Incentives for hiring apprentices

Apprentices are ready and willing to learn, and can be a great way to fill a skills gap in your business.

A government scheme that gives companies a £3,000 incentive to hire new apprentices is set to end in January 2022. So for apprentices starting between 1 October 2021 and 31 January 2022, applications open on 11 January 2022 and close on 15 May 2022.

With that in mind, we’re expecting a few more businesses to take on new apprentices at the start of the year.

Are you planning on hiring any apprentices in 2022? Let us know in the comments below.

6. New driving laws

We’ve seen quite a few new driving laws come into effect this year, so it’s worth making sure you’re up to speed.

  • smart motorways – with a change to the Highway Code it's now illegal to drive in a lane with an X in it
  • UK car sticker replaces GB for driving in Europe – the GB sticker is no longer valid for driving in Europe following Brexit. If you have GB on your number plate you’ll need to get a new one, or add a UK logo to your bumper
  • all new cars to have speed limiters fitted – from July 2022 it'll be compulsory for all new cars to have speed limiters fitted

7. Optimism for recovery from Covid-19 crisis

In summer 2021, we reported on the impact of Covid-19 on small businesses as restrictions began to ease.

Speaking to tradespeople, one of hardest hit groups, we uncovered that they expect to lose £18,039 each on average because of restrictions. That being said, they were quietly confident about recovery – and 80 per cent of trades business owners expect to continue their business.

While the pandemic has shown just how unpredictable and uncertain the world can be, it’s clear small businesses are vital to the UK’s economy. That’s why we’ll continue to champion the self-employed.

8. Tax changes on the horizon

Tax has been a hot topic as the government looks for ways to pay for the cost of the pandemic. Here are a couple of tax changes we know are being introduced in 2022:

  • the amount you can earn tax-free is frozen at £12,570 (until 2025-2026)
  • National Insurance and dividend tax rates increase by 1.25 per cent from April 2022

Remember, you’ll need to file your tax return by 31 January. Check out our Self Assessment resources to make the process as smooth as possible.

What are your predictions for 2022? Let us know in the comments below.

Photograph 1: zzzdim/

Photograph 2: Lightfield Studios/

Photograph 3: Jevanto Productions/

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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