Mel's COVID-19 Update: 17th September 2020
During COVID-19 I want to ensure that everyone is as up to date as possible with regards to Government changes and support that impacts businesses. Please note that this update is correct as of the date of sending (17th September 2020).
BOUNCE-BACK PLANS LAUNCHED FOR CONSUMER AND RETAIL INDUSTRY
A ‘bounce-back’ plan of trade measures for the consumer and retail industry has been announced by the Department for International Trade (DIT) to help support businesses impacted by Coronavirus. These are:
- New measures to help boost exports and increase British retail firms’ readiness to sell overseas
- New plans include creation of a Consumer and Retail Export Academy to help businesses export, via a digital learning syllabus
DIT say “The new measures will offer immediate support to businesses by ensuring specialists provide advice on online retail and international marketplaces. The launch of a new Consumer and Retail Export Academy will provide businesses with the critical knowledge, skills and networks needed to increase exports. The plan will also outline long-term support for the sector as new export opportunities arise from trade deals being negotiated with the US, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.”
Further details are expected, and we will bring you the facts of the support when we receive them.
BUSINESS RECOVERY GRANTS - UPDATE
In July, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government announced £20 million new government grants to help smaller and medium sized businesses recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Thousands of smaller businesses in England could benefit from £20 million of government funding to help them recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The funding will be available from Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and the level of funding per LEP can be seen here:
SME’s will have access to grants of between £1,000 - £5,000 to help them access new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track.
To apply and find out more, please locate and contact your local area Growth Hub. You can do this by following the link below and clicking on the LEP in your area - going direct to them.
CJRS – HMRC MAKES CHANGES TO CALCULATIONS FOR CLAIMS
HMRC has updated its guidance on how to perform usual hours calculations where employees come off furlough or flexible furlough partway through a claim period. The change affects claims made from 14 September.
HMRC has made changes for claims made from 14 September 2020. HMRC has added a new subheading:
“Calculating the number of working and furloughed hours for an employee that comes off furlough or flexible furlough partway through a claim period.”
The guidance states:
“If your employee stops being furloughed or flexibly furloughed partway through a claim period, when calculating the number of furloughed hours you can claim for, make sure you:
- only calculate the employee’s usual hours up to the last day of furlough, instead of to the end of the claim period
- do not include any working hours after the last day of furlough.
HMRC has stated that employers do not need to amend claims made prior to 14 September, but they should use this calculation for any claims from 14 September 2020, for an employee who stops being furloughed or flexibly furloughed partway through a claim period.
If we are making your claims we will make the calculation adjustments for post 14 September claims and if you are doing your own claims please see the web link below.
STATUTORY SICK PAY (SSP) PAID TO EMPLOYEES DUE TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
From 26 August 2020 you can claim for employees who have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery.
This scheme is for employers. You can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP if:
- you have already paid your employee’s sick pay (use the SSP calculator to work out how much to pay)
- you are claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
- you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
- you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes
Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim. But you can ask them to give you either:
- an isolation note from NHS 111 – if they are self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
- the NHS or GP letter telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks because they are at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus
The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:
- full-time employees
- part-time employees
- employees on agency contracts
- employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
- fixed term contracts (until the date their contract ends)
We will let you know when the scheme will end.
PAYING CJRS GRANTS BACK
Find out how to pay all or some of your grant back if you have over claimed, or if you do not need the grant and want to make a voluntary repayment.
If you have claimed too much through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, or you would like to make a voluntary repayment because you do not want or need the grant to pay your employees’ wages, tax and National Insurance and pension contributions, you can either:
- correct it in your next claim (your new claim will be reduced, and you will need to keep a record of the adjustment for 6 years)
- get a payment reference number and pay HMRC back within 30 days (only if you are not making another claim)
TRANSPORT TECH START-UPS TO RECEIVE FUNDING OF OVER £1 MILLION
The Department of Transport (DoT) has announced that Talented transport tech start-ups to receive funding boost of over £1 million.
Innovative transport start-ups with a focus on decarbonisation or COVID-19 recovery can bid for a share of over £1 million (£1,010,000) in Department for Transport funding from 14 September 2020.
Transport-Technology Research and Innovation Grants (T-TRIG), which is now in its 11th round of funding, is open to entrepreneurs and innovators pioneering new ways of creating a better transport system. Over 60% of grants so far have been awarded to SMEs and 30% to universities.
T-TRIG brings together talented start-ups and policymakers at the earliest stages of innovation and by issuing targeted investments of up to £30,000 for each project, the fund aims to help budding entrepreneurs and academics propel their ideas to market quicker.
Also announced at the roundtable a separate £500,000 competition to fund the development of products or services that would improve the ability for disabled people to use the transport network. Bids for the Accessibility-Technology Research Innovation Grant (A-TRIG) will be open until the end of November.
KICKSTART: NEW £300 FUNDING PER EMPLOYEE FOR EMPLOYER REPRESENTATIVES
You can use the Kickstart Scheme to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The job placements should support the participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme.
Funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.
Funding is available following a successful application process. Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. If you are unable to offer this many job placements, you can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number.
If you are a representative applying on behalf of a group of employers, you can get £300 of funding for each job placement to support with the associated administrative costs of bringing together these employers.
Kickstart is not an apprenticeship, but participants may move on to an apprenticeship at any time during, or after their job placement.
The Kickstart Scheme is available in England, Scotland and Wales.