Also in the news this week - 10 March 2017

Why hot-desking is not so hot

The trend for hot-desking continues but new research has revealed just how unpopular the practice is. A survey by Reboot Online Marketing has found that 81% of office workers polled said they would prefer to have their own desk. The findings also indicate that hot-desking does not deliver the anticipated benefits - 75% said collaboration did not improve, 66% said they didn't make valuable new contacts from sitting next to different individuals and 59% said the morale of their own team actually declined as a result of hot-desking.

£15 million funding for technology firms

Innovate UK has up to £15 million in funding to support technology-based business projects that stimulate new products and services. Four priority areas are: emerging technologies, digital, enabling capabilities and space applications. Proposals must demonstrate significant innovation, be applicable to more than one industry, sector or market and improve growth, productivity or create export opportunities for at least one SME. Businesses could get up to 70% of their project costs. There's more information on the Government website.

SMEs should speak up about late payment says CICM

From April, big businesses will have to publish their payment records on the Government website or risk hefty fines for non-compliance. The Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM), which administers the Government's Prompt Payment Code, has welcomed the move. But chief executive Philip King said more small firms should be using use the Prompt Payment Code. "We only get three or four complaints a month … this is incredibly frustrating, for when we do get contacted, we are very successful at resolving queries … and getting the money paid very quickly."

Government launches new online tool for IR35

A new online tool from HMRC - the Employment Status Service - promises to provide clarity around IR35 status. It is intended to assist public sector clients and agencies in making IR35 determinations. Anyone working in the public sector is advised to use the tool. It's completely anonymous but users can download and print the outcome. If the tool determines IR35 does not apply to a specific engagement, users can show the results to their client or agency. If IR35 does apply, tax will be deducted at source, as it is for employees. There's more information on the Government website.

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