Mel's COVID-19 Update: 9th 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 (9th September 2020).
Please read below important updates from the government for businesses due to COVID-19.
1. HMRC Data
The latest statistics from HMRC about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), and the VAT payments deferral scheme show that:
The CJRS total number of furloughed employees was 9.6 million with 1.2 million employers using the scheme and the total number of claims made is £34.4 billion. The scheme runs until 31 October. Please contact us about estimating, collecting data on employees or HMRC compliance and rules, we have the tools and are happy to help you with these claims.
The SEISS data shows that Tranche 1 claims totalled 2.7 million people and this totalled £7.8 billion.
Tranche 2 Claims opened on Monday 17 August and if you need assistance please contact us.
The VAT payments deferral scheme was launched on 20 March 2020. Statistics show that on the three filing dates ending 7 April, May, June approximately 40% of all businesses eligible for the deferment did so. The total amount of deferred VAT amounted to £27.5 billion.
Clearly these are vast sums and if you have taken advantage of Government support, it is now essential to plan for their ending and a return to running your business without them. Please talk to us about planning forward and taking actions, we have considerable experience in helping our clients adjust, repurpose and pivot into new areas. We also help many of our clients with cash flow planning which will be critical as we enter the latter part of the year.
2. The Government’s Actuary Department ( GAD) Kickstart for Film & TV Productions
The Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) has helped to deliver a project which is providing £500m to the UK film and TV industries adversely affected by COVID-19.
The new ‘Film and TV Production Restart Scheme’, set up with the help of modelling and actuarial expertise provided by GAD, is set to help jumpstart productions.
The UK’s film and TV production sectors support more than 180,000 jobs and contribute more than £12 billion a year to the economy. However, the coronavirus global pandemic has led to severe problems for all aspects of production.
The extensive effects of lockdown and social distancing meant domestic production and filming projects were not able to get adequate insurance, so filming was halted or could not begin.
In this 2-month long project, GAD worked with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to create a compensation fund which complements commercially available insurance schemes so that cover is complete.
3. Guidance On Making Wills Using Video Conferencing
The Government is introducing legislation to allow people to use video-conferencing technology for the witnessing of wills being made.
The legislation recognises that:
- An increasing number of people have sought to make wills during the Covid 19 pandemic, but for people shielding or self-isolating it is extremely challenging to follow the normal legalities of making a will - namely it being witnessed by two people.
- In response to this the law (the Wills Act 1837) will be amended to state that whilst this legislation is in force, the ‘presence’ of those making and witnessing wills includes a virtual presence, via video-link, as an alternative to physical presence.
The legislation will apply to wills made since 31 January 2020, the date of the first registered COVID-19 case in England and Wales, except:
- cases where a Grant of Probate has already been issued in respect of the deceased person
- the application is already in the process of being administered
The legislation will apply to wills made up to two years from when the legislation comes into force (so until 31 January 2022), however this can be shortened or extended if deemed necessary, in line with the approach adopted for other coronavirus legislative measures. The advice remains that where people can make wills in the conventional way they should continue to do so.
4. The Kickstart Scheme Launches In November!
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched the Kickstart Scheme, designed to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.
The £2 billion Kickstart Scheme is designed to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country.
The 6-month placements are open to those aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. They will be available across a range of different sectors in England, Scotland and Wales. The first placements are likely to be available from November.
Employers will receive funding for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions.
There will also be extra funding to support young people to build their experience and help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart funded job. If you are an employer looking to create jobs placements for young people, you can apply for funding as part of the scheme.
Who can apply
You can submit your application online.
If you are applying for 30 or more job placements, you can apply directly.
If you are applying for less than 30 job placements, you must apply through a representative of a group of employers. They can submit an application on your behalf, using other employers to create 30 or more job placements in one application.
What you need to provide during the application
You will need:
- the Companies House reference number or Charity Commission number
- the organisation address and contact details
- details of the job placements and their location
- supporting information to show that the job placements are new jobs and meet the Kickstart Scheme criteria
- information about the support the organisation can give to develop employability skills of young people
After you have applied
Your application will be reviewed to check it meets the requirements of the Kickstart Scheme. It will then go to a panel for consideration. This is not a competitive process, but Kickstart will only provide funding when the job placements meet the criteria.
DWP aims to respond to applications within 1 month.
If your application is successful
If your application meets the requirements of the scheme, you will receive a letter with a grant agreement. This agreement will include what your company has agreed to provide, and how much funding you will receive from the Kickstart Scheme.
Kickstart employers guide
5. UK: Kickstart Scheme Employer Contacts
If you need help with the Kickstart Scheme Process, The Department of work and pensions (DWP) has listed local employer contacts regionally. \
You can email:
- your local employer contact if you are located in a specific region
- the national employer contact if you are located across several regions
Please include the following information in your email:
- email subject
- company name
- main contact
- preferred contact information (for example phone or email)
- your postcode
- town or city of your proposed job placements
You will receive a telephone call from your local employer contact or the national contact within 2 working days.
6. The Eat Out To Help Out Scheme Which Gave Diners Up To 50% Off Their Bill Ended On The 31st August
More than 83,000 business took part serving 64 million meals. That’s a staggering average of 771 meals per participating restaurant!
Several chains and restaurants have pledged to offer some form of discount into September. A full list can be found on the BBC website which outlines the discounts regionally: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53923027
7. Child Trust Funds
18-year olds now get a chance to access their Child Trust funds! Children born from September 2002 were given vouchers by the Government. The government initially put £250 into the tax-free account during a child's first year, then added another £250 when he or she reached the age of seven. For lower-income families, the payment was £500. with access to the money at 18. Parents, family and friends could also contribute to the account, up to set limits. The scheme was ended in January 2011.
8. Sending Forms To Companies House During The Coronavirus Outbreak
Companies House have developed a service to upload certain forms digitally, instead of sending them on paper. This new service will not be available for Companies House documents you can already send online.
You must use their existing online services to:
- file accounts
- file confirmation statements
- make changes to a company
- close a company
The new service allows an upload of insolvency, changes of constitution, Scottish limited and qualifying partnerships.
You must complete the document in advance. Save it to the device you are using in a PDF format so that it is ready to upload.
9. Providing Apprenticeships During The Coronavirus Outbreak
The revised document sets out guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations in response to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).
It outlines the changes that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is making to the apprenticeship programme during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. If you have or are thinking about taking on apprentices please click here for more info.
10. Guidance For Landlords, Tenants & Local Authorities
This updated guidance provides advice to landlords and tenants on the provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020, and further advice for landlords, tenants and local authorities more broadly about their rights and responsibilities during the COVID-19 outbreak. It covers rent, mortgage payments and possession proceedings, court action, repairs, maintenance and health and safety.
11. Contract Cancellations & Refunds Due To Coronavirus
There are a wide range of contracts that have been affected due to the pandemic.
The statement outlined below replaces what was published by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on 30 April 2020. The CMA’s view remains that a consumer will generally be entitled to a refund when they have paid money in advance for services or goods that cannot be provided because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As the circumstances and public health measures relating to the pandemic have developed over time, CMA have updated the statement to cover additional issues. This now covers contracts that cannot go ahead due to lockdown laws, limited exceptions to full refunds, ongoing contracts, non-refundable payments and fees, credits and rebooking and payments for future services.
It also outlines contracts that are partially affected by lockdown laws, changing terms in existing contracts during the pandemic, terms in new contracts which relate to the coronavirus and cancellation relating to Government guidance and cancellation under the standard terms and conditions of a contract.
This does sound a heavy read! but it is important you are aware the guidance exists and the relationship between businesses and customers. If you have any issues with contracts entered into and need expert advice please talk to us and we can recommend a local solicitor to help.
12. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Is Changing
From 1 September, businesses that have put staff on furlough will have to pay 10% of their wages. This will rise to 20% the following month, before the scheme ends on 31 October.
If you have any questions on the above topics discussed, please do not hesitate to contact me.