National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW)

Following the recommendations of the independent Low Pay Commission, the government will increase the NLW for individuals aged 23 and over by 6.6% from 1 April 2022. The government has also accepted the recommendations for the other NMW rates to be increased.

From 1 April 2022, the hourly rates of NLW and NMW will be:

  • £9.50 for those 23 years old and over
  • £9.18 for 21-22 year olds
  • £6.83 for 18-20 year olds
  • £4.81 for 16-17 year olds
  • £4.81 apprentice rate for apprentices under 19, and those 19 and over in their first year of apprenticeship.

Please do not hesitate to get in contact with us if you have any queries with regards to the new minimum wage or any other payroll queries.


Against a backdrop of rising inflation, Chancellor Rishi Sunak presented his first Spring Statement on Wednesday 23 March 2022.

In his Spring Statement, the Chancellor announced a cut in fuel duty for petrol and diesel as he sought to ease the impact of rising prices for households and businesses.

The Chancellor will lift the starting thresholds for National Insurance contributions (NICs). He also pledged a cut to income tax in 2024. However, the Health and Social Care Levy will still be implemented in April 2022.

For businesses, there is an increase to the Employment Allowance, as well as relief from business rates on a range of green technologies and help with training and the adoption of digital technology.

Click here to read our summary of the Spring Statement 2022.

Six tax tactics to deploy before financial year-end

With the end of the tax year a fortnight away, it may seem too late to think about making your finances more tax efficient. But there’s still time to employ some effective tax tactics, says Jason Hollands, managing director at investing platform Bestinvest

With a five-year freeze to many allowances announced at the last Spring Budget, it’s important that households use their tax exemptions efficiently and comprehensively.

Here we look at six steps you can still implement before 5 April which will help to reduce tax liability and protect wealth.

1.           Use your annual pensions allowances

Jason Hollands, managing director at investing platform Bestinvest, says: ‘Nothing beats pensions when it comes to tax perks, with contributions attracting tax relief at your marginal income tax rate. This means a 40% income taxpayer can get £10,000 of pension at a net cost of just £6,000, once the tax reliefs are factored in.

‘If you have not hit your annual £40,000 pension contribution allowance, then consider using any spare funds to take advantage of the generous tax reliefs on offer. But keep an eye on your lifetime allowance too.’

You can also carry forward unused annual allowances from the last three tax years, to add an even larger lump sum into your pot – although the total contribution over the tax year is still subject to the limit that it cannot exceed your annual gross earnings.

Currently you are about to lose the option of using unused allowance from the tax year 2018-19. It may be that you maxed out the allowances in the following two tax years – so is it worth using this allowance before it disappears for good?

2.           Use – or lose – your Individual Savings Account (ISA) allowances

Up to £20,000 per adult can be subscribed to an ISA before midnight on 5 April, with all returns generated within it sheltered from future taxation. Hollands stresses: ‘If you are unsure of where to invest, you can fund your ISA initially with cash between now and then to use up any of the allowance that remains. Investments do not have to be purchased before then.’

Payments into a Lifetime ISA (LISA) – available to those under 40 – come out of your overall ISA allowance. But the generous government top-up means that for some savers – like those building up a deposit to purchase their first home – using up the annual £4,000 limit may well be worthwhile.

3.           Start saving for children

‘Early saving at or soon after the birth of a child is a powerful tool that can generate big pots by the time they reach adulthood,’ says Hollands. The Junior ISA allowance is a generous £9,000 a year. Moreover, even those who are not paying tax are entitled to tax relief on pension contributions of £2,880 a year (which the top-up takes to £3,600), the so-called ‘basic amount’. This means a pension with tax benefits can be opened for a child of any age – or indeed a non-earning spouse.

4.           Be strategic with capital gains

Regular disposals of investments each year to take advantage of the annual capital gains tax (CGT) exemption can protect you against a hefty future CGT bill when you come to dispose of an investment, the profits on which might take you over the annual £12,300 allowance.

This tactic can also be used to transfer investments that are held outside an ISA into one by the process called ‘Bed and ISA’.  But take action quickly as funds will need to be sold down to cash and moved into the ISA before 5 April and this can take a few days to clear.

Equally it might be beneficial to crystallise some losses by making a disposal of poorly performing assets to bring the year’s overall capital gains down below the annual allowance.

If you are married or in a civil partnership, then inter-spousal transfers can be used to make sure both partners’ allowances are used optimally. When shares, for instance, are transferred from one spouse to another, it is assumed they are given at cost value and therefore do not trigger a tax liability. The CGT allowance for that year of the spouse who receives the transfer then comes into play.

5.           Consider other tax-incentivised investments

Subscriptions to venture capital trust (VCT) new share issues offer 30% income tax relief on the amount invested (capped at £200,000), which can be offset against your income tax liability during the tax year of purchase. To keep the relief, you must then hold the shares for at least five years. Any dividends or capital growth on the investment are also tax free.

Many higher earners who hit their pension allowances have turned to VCTs, which also often offer high tax-free dividends. Their popularity is likely to grow with personal and pension allowances frozen until April 2026, plus dividend tax increases coming in the new tax year.

Hollands says that ‘it is important to understand that VCTs are high risk investments which target small, early-stage and illiquid companies. While VCTs are not suitable for most investors they can be useful for high earners with substantial portfolios who are already maximising use of ISAs and pensions and who understand the risks’.

Many VCT offers have already closed for this tax year and with capacity in each offer strictly limited, those interest in VCT investing should not delay. For details on which VCT offers are still available visit

6.           Gifts to reduce inheritance tax liability

There are a number of tax-free financial gifts that you can make each year. These leave your estate immediately so there will not be any inheritance tax to pay. These include:

  • gifts to a civil partner, husband or wife (if their permanent home is in the UK);
  • up to £3,000 in gifts each tax year. This can be carried over for one year giving a total of £6,000;
  • an unlimited number of gifts up to £250 per person; and
  • wedding gifts to a child of up to £5,000, to a grandchild or great-grandchild of up to £2,500 or to anybody else of up to £1,000.

The gifting rule noted above allows married couples and civil partners to transfer assets such as cash and investments between them, without giving rise to any tax liabilities, creating numerous opportunities to maximise the use of two sets of tax allowances.


The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS) closed on 17‌‌‌ ‌March‌‌‌ ‌2022.

The SSPRS was reintroduced by the government on 21 December 2021 for employers with fewer than 250 employees.

The maximum claim per employee is two weeks at the statutory sick pay (SSP) rate of £96.35 per week (£192.70 in total), which is the rate for 2021/22 (£99.35 2022/23). The employer’s claim is also capped at the number of employees in its PAYE scheme on 30 November 2021.

In a statement, the government said:

‘You have until 24‌‌‌ ‌March‌‌‌ ‌2022 to submit any new claims for absence periods up to 17‌‌‌ ‌March‌‌‌ ‌2022, or to amend claims you have already submitted.

‘You will no longer be able to claim back SSP for your employees’ coronavirus-related absences or self-isolation that occur after‌‌‌ ‌17‌‌‌ ‌March‌‌‌ ‌2022. 

‘From 25 March we will return to the normal SSP rules, which means you can revert to paying SSP from the fourth qualifying day your employee is off work regardless of the reason for their sickness absence.’

Internet link: GOV.UK


HMRC has revealed that more than one million taxpayers filed their late tax returns in February – taking advantage of the extra time to complete their self assessment without facing a penalty.

About 12.2 million taxpayers were expected to file a return for the 2020/21 tax year and more than 11.3 million submitted their returns by 28 February.

The deadline for submitting tax returns was 31 January but, this year, HMRC gave customers an extra month to complete it. If customers filed their returns in February, they would avoid a late filing penalty.

HMRC has given customers until 1 April to pay their outstanding tax bill or set up a Time to Pay arrangement to avoid receiving a late payment penalty. Interest has been applied to all outstanding balances since 1 February.

Lucy Frazer, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

‘[The] stats show how vital the extra month was in supporting the cash flows of more than a million self-employed people and businesses across the UK, helping to ensure their survival as we recover from the pandemic.’

Internet link: HMRC press release


Businesses are being encouraged to apply for remaining coronavirus (COVID-19) grant funding from local authorities.

Hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses can still apply for one-off cash grants of up to £6,000 through the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme.

The funding is made up of £556 million available through the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG) scheme and a further £294 million through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme.

The OHLG scheme provides businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors with one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premise.

To provide further support to other businesses, the ARG scheme provides councils with funding they can allocate at their discretion to businesses most in need, such as personal care businesses and supply firms.

Paul Scully, the Minister for Small Business, said:

‘We’re working to get our economy running on all cylinders again so we can focus on making the UK the best place in the world to work and do business, creating jobs along the way.

‘Eligible businesses should apply as soon as possible for the grants available to help them put the pandemic behind them and get on a sounder footing.’

Internet link: GOV.UK