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Setting up a business involves complying with a range of legal requirements. Find out which ones apply to you and your new enterprise.

What particular regulations do specific types of business (such as a hotel, or a printer, or a taxi firm) need to follow? We explain some of the key legal issues to consider for 200 types of business.

While poor governance can bring serious legal consequences, the law can also protect business owners and managers and help to prevent conflict.

Whether you want to raise finance, join forces with someone else, buy or sell a business, it pays to be aware of the legal implications.

From pay, hours and time off to discipline, grievance and hiring and firing employees, find out about your legal responsibilities as an employer.

Marketing matters. Marketing drives sales for businesses of all sizes by ensuring that customers think of their brand when they want to buy.

Commercial disputes can prove time-consuming, stressful and expensive, but having robust legal agreements can help to prevent them from occurring.

Whether your business owns or rents premises, your legal liabilities can be substantial. Commercial property law is complex, but you can avoid common pitfalls.

With information and sound advice, living up to your legal responsibilities to safeguard your employees, customers and visitors need not be difficult or costly.

As information technology continues to evolve, legislation must also change. It affects everything from data protection and online selling to internet policies for employees.

Intellectual property (IP) isn't solely relevant to larger businesses or those involved in developing innovative new products: all products have IP.

Knowing how and when you plan to sell or relinquish control of your business can help you to make better decisions and achieve the best possible outcome.

From bereavement, wills, inheritance, separation and divorce to selling a house, personal injury and traffic offences, learn more about your personal legal rights.

Small firms are struggling despite support schemes

4 May 2021

More than a quarter of UK SMEs say they need additional support from the government to stay afloat.

Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance has polled more than 1,000 senior business decision-makers at UK SMEs across a range of sectors, asking how the support from the government during the pandemic has impacted their business.

A third say their business would not have survived without state support. Even so, over a quarter (27%) of SMEs said they require additional government support in order to stay in business.

Businesses in the East Midlands (39%), Wales (37%) and Scotland (33%) were most in need of additional support, while SMEs in the North East of England required the least. More than half of senior decision-makers in the hospitality sector said they needed more state help in order to survive. Nearly a third of manufacturing businesses (30%) and retailers (29%) said the same.

Those sectors most in need of additional government support are:

  • Hospitality and leisure (54%);
  • Manufacturing (30%);
  • Retail (29%);
  • Marketing (27%);
  • Construction (25%).

The findings also show that 23% of those polled have had to let employees go as a result of the pandemic. Nearly a third of businesses in London and the South East have had to make redundancies because of coronavirus, more than any other region in the UK. Firms in Yorkshire (13%) saw the fewest number of redundancies as a result of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the latest Quarterly Recruitment Outlook from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC ) shows an increase in the percentage of firms expecting workforce growth.

The survey of over 5,900 UK businesses found that:

  • 27% of firms expect their workforce to grow in the next three months, up from 19% in Q4 2020;
  • The proportion of firms expecting a decrease in their workforce dropped from 14% to 9% between Q4 2020 and Q1 2021;
  • 40% of firms tried to recruit in Q1, down compared to the pre-pandemic 2019 average of 55%;
  • 63% of those who attempted to recruit reported difficulty finding staff.

However, the picture varies significantly by sector. Only 20% of hotels and catering firms tried to recruit in the first quarter of this year, while retail and wholesaling also lagged at 34%. On a more positive note, 50% of manufacturers and 54% of construction firms attempted to recruit in Q1.

Written by Rachel Miller.

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