Job Retention Bonus policy paper published
The government has published further guidance on how the forthcoming Job Retention Bonus Scheme will operate. The scheme will enable eligible employers to claim £1,000 for each eligible employee in respect of whom they have previously made a valid claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and who remains in continuous employment until at least 31 January 2021 following the closure of the CJRS on 31 October 2020.
The policy paper indicates that the one-off bonus payment is intended ... read more
£50m extra funding for Customs Intermediary Grant Scheme
Over the past few months, HMRC has unveiled a package of measures to accelerate the growth of the UK's customs intermediary sector. These announcements included £50 million of new funding to support businesses with recruitment, training and supplying IT equipment to handle customs declarations as the transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020.
The application process for the £50 million of additional funding opened on 29 July 2020. HMRC, which is running the scheme, is encouraging ... read more
£20m in new grants for small businesses
£20 million worth of new government grants have been released to help small and medium sized businesses across England recover from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. These grants will provide businesses between £1,000 and £5,000 to help them access new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice.
Commenting on the announcement, the minister for regional growth and local government, Simon Clarke MP, said:
'We have always said that we would ... read more
Advice for early years sector
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a COVID-19 taskforce back in March 2020 to identify any commercial practices that adversely affect consumers and to consider appropriate responses to help businesses comply with the law and protect consumers' rights.
One of the areas where the CMA received reports of unfair practices concerned the early years sector (nurseries and childcare providers). The main areas of concern related to payments and cancellations in the context of COVID-19 ... read more
Renewing your MOT
Vehicle owners with a MOT expiry date between 30 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 were given a 6 month extension. This measure was designed to help motorists as the Coronavirus pandemic began to take hold. Mandatory MOT tests for car, motorcycle and van owners in England, Scotland and Wales were reintroduced from 1 August 2020. This means that any driver whose vehicle is due for an MOT test from 1 August 2020 is required to get a test certificate as normal in order to continue driving their ... read more
Government u-turn on lockdown changes
Lockdown changes - in England - that were due to come into effect on 1 August 2020, have been delayed until at least 15 August. The last-minute announcement by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, followed worries of a rise in COVID cases and means that casinos, bowling alleys and ice skating rinks will remain closed in England for the time being.
The government has also paused pilot schemes to trial opening indoor events such as the gradual reopening of indoor theatres and other live performance ... read more
State Aid rules relaxed for CBILS loans
The government has announced that more small businesses will benefit from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Under the scheme, borrowers can apply for up to £5 million in finance in the form of loans, overdrafts, invoice finance, and/or asset finance. The government will guarantee lenders 80% of the loan value, as well as covering the first 12 months of interest payments and fees.
Under EU State Aid rules, small firms that were classed as 'undertakings in difficulty' ... read more
Intellectual Property Office service update
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has ended its 'interrupted days' provisions and is now working to its usual deadlines. The IPO introduced extended deadlines, known as interrupted days, on 24 March 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. An 'interrupted day' is defined as a day in which the normal course of business at the IPO is not possible. This meant that most deadlines for patents, supplementary protection certificates, trademarks, designs and applications for these rights, ... read more
More support for film and other creative industries
A new £500 million scheme to kickstart film and television production struggling to secure insurance for COVID-related costs has been launched. This scheme will help TV and film productions that have been halted or delayed by a lack of insurance to get back up and running. The funding will be available to all productions made by companies where at least half of the production budget is spent in the UK and is estimated to cover more than 70% of the film and TV production market to the end of the ... read more
There are businesses that have benefitted from the current COVID disruption. Particularly, those that can deliver goods and services online.
There are far more that have not benefitted.
Before COVID-19 reared its disruptive head businesses were exhorted to make profits. This was the way most firms created surplus cash-flow and value in their businesses.
Since the initial, national lock-down - March 2020 - profitability has been the experience of the few rather than the many.
Government ... read more
Unless the Chancellor comes up with replacement funding for the furlough scheme, and there is no sign that this will happen, those businesses that have maintained their workforce by furloughing staff will face difficult choices when the present Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme closes down at the end of October.
Do we keep staff on in the hope that business will improve? Or is this so unlikely that laying staff off is the only sensible alternative?
Much will depend on the market sector in which ... read more
New redundancy protections for furloughed employees
The government has unveiled an important new law that will protect furloughed workers who are made redundant. This will ensure that any employee who was furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will receive their full basic statutory redundancy entitlement. This amount will be based on their normal wages, rather than the reduced furlough rate. The legislation came into effect on 31 July 2020.
Employees are normally entitled to statutory redundancy pay if they have been ... read more
Changes to tax treatment of termination payments
The government has published draft clauses for insertion into a new Finance Bill 2020-21, to be introduced into Parliament in the Autumn. These include changes which will affect employers who make termination payments.
The part of a termination payment which is treated as being a payment in respect of the employee’s notice period and subject to income tax and NICs is called the “post-employment notice pay” (PENP). The provisions will provide an alternative PENP calculation where an ... read more
How elastic is demand for your products?
Many will remember the empty shelves in supermarkets when lock-down commenced March 2020. In particular, the absence of toilet rolls…
Compare this with supplies of TVs and other luxury goods where there was no noticeable absence of supply.
These examples point to a basic economic theory; that a product with few substitutes (toilet rolls) and where demand is constant, is inelastic.
Products where there is no immediate, compelling need, chocolates or a new iPad, are said to be elastic from a ... read more
£50 bike repair voucher scheme launched
The government has launched a new scheme - open to anyone in England - with a bike in need of repair. The Fix your Bike Voucher Scheme is a new initiative that has been championed by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to help fix old bikes by offering a £50 bike repair voucher towards the total cost of repairs needed. The scheme hopes to provide an alternative to using public transport, reduce short car journeys and keep more people fitter whilst using a socially distanced form of ... read more
Business rates review
The government has confirmed that the next business rates revaluation in England will be postponed until April 2023. The government has previously announced that the revaluation that was due in 2021 would be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic but no date had been announced. The revaluation in April 2023 will be based on property values on 1 April 2021.
The new revaluation date means that business rates will be based on property rental values that better reflect the impact of the pandemic. ... read more
Beware £5,000 company fine
As well as filing accounts with Companies House, there is an important requirement to check that the information Companies House has about your company is correct every year. This is facilitated by the filing of an annual company confirmation statement. The confirmation statement was introduced in June 2016 and replaced the annual return. You could be subject to a fine of up to £5,000 for failing to send a confirmation statement. Companies House can also prosecute a company and its officers for ... read more
Customs declarations for exporters of goods from 1 January 2021
The Brexit transition period is due to end 31 December 2020. The UK and EU have agreed there will not be any further extensions, although with the COVID-19 outbreak nothing appears certain. As things currently stand, no formal trade deal has been reached with the EU. Consequently, it seems likely that the process for exporting goods to the EU will change from 1 January 2021.
Current guidance published by HMRC states that from 1 January 2021, businesses will need to make customs declarations ... read more