Coronavirus Support - The Latest Update

Business Rates Relief

Today, the chanceller has announced an extension to Business Rates Relief. Estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls that have closed as a result of Covid-19 measures to restrict the spread of the virus will be now be exempted from business rates in 2020-21.

Eligible businesses will be rebilled by their local authority and the new bill will give them the discount of 100%.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Whilst we still await detailed guidance, the chancellor Rishi Sunak did comment on the scheme at Treasury Questions in the House of Commons yesterday:

  • There will be no option to “part furlough” employees that have seen a reduction in hours – “furloughed employees” must refrain from working for the business in any way whilst the business is reimbursed
  • Depending on their status (this status check was not clarified), zero-hours workers will be included in the scheme – this could be formed through the use of an average wage calculation.
  • The decision to “furlough” must come from the employer – employees cannot elect for this treatment even if through childcare commitments due to the Coronavirus, being high risk and in isolation for 12, or even contracting the virus themselves stops them from working.

Self Employed

More measures for the self-employed are expected to be announced shortly, but implementation is not expected until the end of April until the earliest. The Chancellor explained that as 90% of employment is through PAYE, the implementation of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is to be prioritised.

VAT – Cancellation of Direct Debits

As we sent out yesterday, businesses are able to defer VAT payments due between March 20 and June 30. For businesses paying by Direct Debit, these payments must be cancelled through the gateway. Click here for a step by step guide on how.

New Technology Challenge – Funding of up to £25,000 Available

The government has announced new technology challenge with funding of up to £25,000 for companies that come up with a new digital support solution for the public staying at home due to coronavirus.

The programme is looking for digital solutions that can be launched in the next few weeks, and could include:

  • Providing remote social care – for example, by locating and matching qualified carers to those in need
  • Optimising the volunteer sector – for example, by developing tools to recruit, train and coordinate local volunteers into clinical and non-clinical workers
  • Improving mental health support – for example, by making it easier to discover and deliver mental health services and support
  • Any other solutions to ease pressures on services and people during this time

This technology will supplement existing support for those who may be most affected by staying at home for long periods of time.

For more information on the programme and how to apply, visit here

Summary

We understand your concerns surrounding the schemes and of course wish to assist where we can. We would like to make all clients aware we are experiencing a signficant amount of queries, in light of this we do request that queries and concerns are emailed to us in advance. If a phonecall is neccesary to answer them, we will organise a time that suits you.

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