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Cost of living information for business

Businesses are facing many challenges.

An uncertain economic outlook, cost of living crisis, and war in Ukraine is leading to a number of issues, including rising energy costs, inflation, supply chain disruption, and staff recruitment and retention issues.

It can be hard to know how to move your business forward when you're dealing with so many challenges at once. Acting quickly, keeping on top of financial commitments, and controlling costs can be a good place to start.

This page offers guidance to help you build business resilience and access the support you need at this challenging time.

Details of recent government announcements on energy cuts, the mini budget, and income tax will also be added here.

'Mini budget' announcement

The government set out its latest growth plan in the 'mini budget' announced on 23 September 2022. Key headlines for business are:

  1. Corporation Tax will stay at 19% for now, and revert to 25% in April 2023 (announced on 14 October 2022).
  2. Investment Zones will be established in England. Investment Zones will benefit from lower tax, simplified planning regulations, and increased growth opportunities. The government is currently in discussions with 38 council and combined authority areas (including Tees Valley Combined Authority) about Investment Zones.
  3. Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) - the allowance available on the purchase of most plant and machinery - will stay at £1 million per annum indefinitely, rather than decreasing to £200,000.
  4. The planned VAT-free shopping for overseas visitors is no longer going ahead (announced on 17 October 2022).

More information and fact sheets can be found on The Growth Plan 2022.

You can find out more on GOV.UK about tax reliefs and allowances available from HMRC if you run a business, employ people, or are self-employed.

Energy and energy-efficiency

The government has announced an energy bill relief scheme to provide relief for non-domestic customers. Discounts will be applied to your energy usage between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2023. Your supplier will automatically apply the discount, you do not need to contact us.

You might benefit from changing suppliers to get a better price, so use comparison sites to find the best deals. You can also speak to your supplier to see if your business could save by using more electricity outside peak periods.

Energy-efficiency measures in your business can reduce costs now, and help you invest in more efficient clean technologies for the future. The SME energy-efficiency scheme offers SMEs in the Tees Valley a fully-funded energy-efficiency audit, grants, and expert independent advice.

Citizens Advice also offer useful tips and information on what to do if your small business can't afford its energy bills.

Large companies may qualify for the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS).

Cost of living

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) finance hub offers practical guides and tips on managing business finance and guidance on the cost of doing business crisis.

British Business Bank also provides guidance on how businesses can tackle the cost of living.

Finance and cashflow

Looking for payment plan options and relevant financial support is useful to help manage business cashflow.

The British Business Bank's Recovery Loan Scheme helps UK businesses to access finance to help investment and growth.

Accountancy and business support firm Azets UK has provided a financial defence toolkit to support your business through the expected economic downturn.

Commercial property

Consider your rent and rates for the commercial property you operate from. Speak to your landlord about your rent and the council's rates team as soon as possible if you’re having difficulties.

You may be able to get a payment plan in place for your rent, and your business may be eligible for small business rates relief. Find out more about business rates payment and discounts.

Insolvency support

If you're worried about insolvency, specialist support can help you understand what it means. Cash flow problems don't always result in insolvency - get professional support from your accountancy firm and professional business services.

You can find out more on The Insolvency Service website.

Market research and new markets

Diversifying your offer into new markets can help you to build business resilience. The Business and IP Centre can help you to use market research tools (including GrantFinder), and provide face-to-face business support. To make an appointment at Middlesbrough's Central Library, visit the Business & IP Centre Tees Valley website.

The Department of International Trade provides funded guidance, events, and overseas trips to help you increase sales and enter new markets.

Business support

If you're a Middlesbrough-based business and you'd like to speak to an officer in more detail about your business circumstances, email for an appointment with our Business Recovery and Support Officer.