01392 288555

CLICK HERE to read our Summer Budget Welfare Summary.


If you have any questions regarding the summary please contact Steven Fitzgerald on 01392 288555 or steven.fitzgerald@thomaswestcott.co.uk


CLICK HERE to read our 'easy to understand' Summer Budget Summary.


If you have any questions regarding the summary please contact Michael Marsh on 01392 288555 or Michael.marsh@thomaswestcott.co.uk



The new Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme opened on the 1st July 2015.  CS replaces Environmental Stewardship, the English Woodland Grant Scheme and Catchment Sensitive Farming.

Countryside Stewardship comprises of three elements:

• Mid Tier – multi-year agreements for environmental improvements in the wider countryside
• Higher Tier – multi-year agreements for environmentally significant sites such as SSSIs, common land and woodlands
• Capital Grants – a range of one to two year grants for hedgerows and boundaries, improving water quality, and woodland management plans and tree health.

Unlike Environmental Stewardship, CS is competitive and applications will be scored based on the environmental priorities for your area.  This will depend upon which National Character Area (NCA) you are in.  If you would like to know what the statement of priorities are for your area then please contact us.  Only the highest scoring applications will be selected for CS.

If you are already in an Environmental Stewardship scheme that expires after 2015 then you will not be invited to apply for CS until the year of expiry, but for those whose schemes expire this year, or those not already in Environmental Stewardship then you can apply this year.  The deadline for application is 30th September 2015 and the agreement would start on 1st January 2016.  If you find you are unsuccessful this year you can apply again next year.

If you have any queries regarding Countryside Stewardship or you would like help with an application then please do not hesitate to contact Sally Nicholls on 01237 472 725.

1 August 2015

  • Payment of corporation tax liabilities for periods ended 31 October 2014 if not liable to pay by instalments.
  • Outstanding 2013/14 self-assessment tax returns now subject to a penalty of £300 or 5% of tax due whichever is higher (in addition to previous late filing penalties).

2 August 2015

  • Filing date for form P46(Car) for quarter ended 5 July 2015.

Read more ...

Head of our Manufacturing & Technology specialist team, Chris Hill, recently participated in a regional round table discussion on R&D Tax Credits, organised by Insider.

Whilst R&D Tax Credits have been available to businesses that innovate and develop new products and services since 2001, recent figures suggest that only 15% of activity that would qualify to benefit from this tax incentive is actually subject to a claim for tax credits.

Read more about the discussion here

Thomas Westcott specialist charity team has recently concluded a series of workshops for charity trustees held at 5 locations across Devon.

The workshops were attended by over 50 charity trustees with numbers being restricted at each venue to offer the opportunity for discussion in a more intimate environment.

Topics discussed included the new Charities SORPs and Trustees reports, revisions to annual returns and audit requirements, charities and trading, charity structure, gift aid and good governance.

Opportunities were provided during each session and at the end to raise any particular questions trustees may have had and to share experiences.

Comments from attendees:

"A very interesting and informative workshop - Thank you"

"A most useful evening"

"Very interesting, Good to focus on issues which can be missed"


Feedback from the workshops will be used to develop the Thomas Westcott Annual Charity Seminar taking place on 4th November at Westpoint, Exeter.

To book a place at our November seminar please email events@thomaswestcott.co.uk


It’s not uncommon for directors of owner managed businesses to draw funds from the company by way of a dividend with either no salary or a very low one. The benefit? You pay less tax and this is a good thing, right? But, what happens when the company starts to struggle and enters into an insolvency event?

Drawings are treated as loans from a Company. In practice, a director may draw a regular amount each month, later declaring a dividend at the year-end or at interim periods.

To declare a legal dividend, there MUST be distributable profits in the Company. Board minutes approving the dividend, dividend counterfoils and interim/annual accounts need to be produced each time a dividend is declared. Without this paperwork, you may be at risk!


If you are thinking about or planning an expansion of your business, you should always ask yourself, is there any grant funding available to support me in this? Even in these times where public spending is being cut back significantly, there are still a number of sources of grants available to businesses willing to invest to create jobs and improve profitability.

Grant funding can, however, be a little confusing at times. There are potentially a myriad of sources of grant monies, but their availability may be restricted to a particular time frame or to a specific geographical area.

What types of grant are available?

Grant funding generally takes two forms – capital grants and revenue grants.

Capital grants are used to fund expenditure on equipment, buildings, plant and machinery, as part of a project to safeguard or create jobs. These tend to be the larger projects and funding will be set as a percentage of the overall project spend. The grant may be advanced in instalments, linked to a period over which the expenditure takes place or any jobs are created.


Every business needs an accurate business plan which balances the optimism of a sales team with the prudence of the finance department and needs of a production team. An inaccurate business plan can have major consequences for a business: strains on cash flow, unhappy funders when the actual results bear no resemblance to the plan, incorrect stock pricing and purchasing, an inappropriate staffing model, and ultimately an underperforming business.

So how do you achieve a business plan that is balanced and credible? 

The key is to make sure all departments have input in what should be a fully integrated business plan, with a profit and loss account, balance sheet and cash flow. Too often we see business plans which are centred on overly optimistic turnover estimates, underestimated costs, and certainly not integrated with the cash flow. Taking the time to get it right, based on well considered assumptions will pay dividends both in the medium and long term.


Thomas Westcott were main sponsors of the first Otter Valley Festival that was held on Saturday 30th May, the event was organised by the Rotary Club of Otter Valley and was raising money for Hospiscare and Rotary charities.

The day was a great success with many activities to get involved with including a sponsored cycle ride.

Well done to the Thomas Westcott cycling team who entered the cycle event. The 25 mile event had a Thomas Westcott 1st and 2nd (Stuart Carrington and Michael Marsh respectively) and the 11 mile event had 2nd place going to Edmund Carrington.