As we move into winter months and the Covid-19 infection rate continues to increase, with Government announcements and measures to prevent the spread increasing, we thought it appropriate to cover some of the recent announcements in this month’s newsletter. As you are aware, we had been separating Covid updates from the monthly newsletter, but with announcements made on Friday afternoon and some key deadlines approaching, we thought it important to flag these immediately via the newsletter.
In respect of the Harbour Key team, we are continuing to work from the office with the majority of the team in, although some continue to work from home. We have processes and procedures in place to maintain a Covid-safe workspace, however our offices remain closed for all but the most urgent of client meetings.
Since our September newsletter, the Chancellor announced a package of measures that he hopes will continue to protect jobs and help businesses through the winter months ahead, called hisWinter Economy plan. In this announcement he gave details of the replacement to the Job Retention Scheme (aka furlough scheme), an extension of the self-employed support scheme and extended the Government loan scheme & tax payment deferral measures. Full details of this announcement can be found in ourBusiness Forward newsletter
However, with the infection rate continuing to increasing, on Friday afternoon the Chancellor announced further support to those areas where strict tight lockdown measures are likely to be introduced, such as the closure of hospitality businesses. These can be summarised as:
- The expansion of the Job Support Scheme (only announced a couple of weeks ago) to be expanded to support businesses across the UK required to legally close their business due to coronavirus restrictions. The Government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries;
- Cash grants for businesses in England required to close in local lockdowns to increase to up to £3,000 per month (currently £1,500).
Neither the Job Support Scheme, nor what we call the expanded Job Support Scheme will take effect until 1 November, and with a number of schemes having similar names circulating, together with different conditions, different start dates etc, we have provided a short summary at the link below to help understand what is available and when, including more details on Friday’s announcement.
To check whether you are eligible for the coronavirus Local Restrictions Support Grant follow this link
Self Employed Income Support Scheme
- For the self-employed, as part of the Winter Economy support measures, a third grant has been announced covering the period from 1 November 2020 to April 2021 and will include two additional lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period. The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. HMRC will provide a taxable grant covering 20% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £1,875 in total. However, the more key immediate date is 19th October 2020 - The second grant, worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, is available if the business was affected after 14 July 2020. Applications are open until 19 October. If you fail to submit your application by this date you will have missed out on the second grant, if you are eligible. Details on qualifying conditions and how to claim can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme.
The Green Recovery Challenge Fund
- The government has announced grants from 50k to £5 million are now available to help build back a greener economy from the coronavirus pandemic. The £40 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund, part of the government’s wider green economic recovery, jobs and skills package, brings forward funding for environmental charities and their partners to start work on projects across England to restore nature and tackle climate change.
All projects must contribute to at least oneof the following themes of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund:
- nature conservation and restoration;
- nature-based solutions, particularly focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation such as through tree planting and restoring peatland; and,
- connecting people with nature.
- Projects will be favoured that create or retain jobs, creating opportunities and benefits for all ages, including young people. The fund is open to environmental charities and partnerships that include at least one environmental charity. More details can be found at here.
More Possible Powers for HMRC
- Measures proposed in the next Finance Bill could see HMRC given powers to issue financial institutions notices which force them to provide information about people’s assets. The change, still being debated, will make it easier for HMRC to share information with foreign tax authorities, supporting efforts to tackle tax evasion. Under the current regime, either consent is provided by the individual or a tax tribunal must approve the request. The proposed new powers, which would cover banks, investment advisers, fund managers, insurance companies and credit card issuers, could come into force in 2021.
Leaving the EU
- With everything else that is going on, we don’t want to add to businesses’ and individuals’ stress levels, but you will be aware, the UK has left the EU and we are nearing the end of the transition period. This means that from the 1 January 2021 trade with the EU and the rest of the world will change. For some individuals, we are already hearing about problems they are now encountering, with British expats living in EU countries receiving letters from their UK banks telling them their UK current accounts and credit cards will be closed after Brexit, due to financial passport rules coming to an end on 31 December.
- We know there is a lot going on and everyone is living on a week to week basis with the pandemic, however we would urge businesses to take action to prepare for 1 January 2021.You can use the straightforward Government checker tool to identify the specific steps you need to take to be ready.You can also sign up to receive regular Business Readiness Transition Bulletin providing information on major announcements and recently published guidance.
Our very own Emily raised over £500 for British Red Cross and the amazing work they do to help refugees seeking safety. Since September Emily clocked up 302 miles in her spare time, she virtually travelled the journey a refugee might be forced to take just to reach safety, this is the same as walking from London to Paris! Well done Emily, we are very proud of you.
Many congratulations to Cordell Ray CEO of #CCP charity for being recognised in the Queens Birthday Honours List with an MBE. Well deserved recognition for years of hard work and dedication over the years.
It's vital that everyone follows the guidelines & remember:
#Hands #Face #Space
We know that this is a very difficult time for all businesses, with constant change and some difficult decisions having to be made. Should you wish to speak with us about a specific matter, or just to be a sounding board or for a chat, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 01452 713277