Government Update

To all our clients.

Each evening there has been a government briefing and each day has seen massive announcements by the Prime Minister, Chancellor and the NHS director. Last night was no exception. Apart from forced closures of a list of entertainment and hospitality venues the Chancellor also announced packages of support for both businesses and individuals who will be or already have been affected. As with the other announcements, however, they are main policies with little information about how they shall be rolled out or in fact in some cases claimed.

In order to assist you we have summarised this down to the following bullet points. Unfortunately, the information is sometimes incomplete and in some cases raises more questions than it answers. We would ask you to wait for us to e-mail again before contacting us to ask for additional information:

As from today all pubs, cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, theatres, gyms and leisure centres are to close.  This will mean many people are being laid off from their employment during these closures.

To assist all companies. The Government have pledged to pay up to 80% of an employee’s salary, this will be capped at £2,500 per month per individual.  It is not compulsory for the employer to top this up but it will mean that each retained worker will have a minimum pay of the lesser of 80% of their salary or £2,500. It is not clear whether the employer has to pay the other 20% or whether it is the intention that the employee should just be paid the 80%.

The above guarantee of 80% for retained workers is being called the Job Protection Scheme, payments will be backdated by HMRC from 1st of March 2020 and will run for a minimum of 3 months.  The first grants will be paid to employers within weeks and the Revenue are working around the clock to ensure that payments will be made to all before the end of April. It is also not clear how this process will work, how companies can claim it or the proof that will be required. His statement says that employers can contact HMRC but it is not sure how or in what form.
The Business Interruption Loan Schemes have been extended from 6 months interest free to 12 months interest free.   These loans are through High Street Banks and will be available from Monday.
VAT – all VAT payments have been deferred from now until the end of June for every business, small, medium or large.  You will have until the end of the financial year to catch up.
Business rates – cancelled for this year for all businesses in the hospitality industry – previously only premises with a rateable value of less than £51K were covered. He reaffirmed his commitment to offering a  £25K cash grant to “Small properties”. If you receive Small Business or Rural Relief you will receive £10K and if you are in the Retail, Hospitality, Leisure industry you will receive £25K which will be done automatically by Local government and this is just between rateable value of £15K - £51K.

         • Self-employed – the minimum income floor has been suspended and Universal Credit can be accessed at the same rate as SSP for employees.
         • Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit the standard allowance for these have been raised by £1k for the next 12 months.
         • Self-Assessment payments – no-one will be required to make the second payment on account due at the end of July 2020 the next Self-Assessment payment will be due on 31st January 2021.
         • Mortgage payments – a 3 month holiday from your mortgage payment is available if required.
         • Renters – Local housing allowance will cover 30% of the average rents in your area should you need this.

We had already decided to follow Government guidelines and had put in place steps to enable our staff to work at home. From Monday most of our staff will be working from home. All emails and telephone calls shall be answered and we shall continue to provide full services, including payrolls. Our Sheffield office shall remain manned, although the front door shall be locked. If you need to drop off documents that cannot be posted through the mail box please ring the bell.  If you need to drop anything off at our Doncaster office please contact us and we will make the arrangement for the office to be open at a time which suits.  It is still business as usual although meetings are to be kept to a minimum.

Our final message is not to take hasty actions. The Government is undertaking to try and assist all businesses to survive in these unprecedented times. If you feel that even with measures that have been announced your business cannot survive please contact us or delay any decision as further support shall probably be given over the next week or so. You have all worked hard to build your business up over the years and probably faced many difficulties over that period so please remain steadfast.

We hope that you are and your loved ones are all keeping safe and if we can be of any help with problems that you are facing please contact Hugh or I.

Kind regards