COVID-19 Economy Update 16th September

16 September 2020
covid support schemes

The main economic news today is that the UK inflation rate fell to 0.2% as the Eat Out to Help Out scheme reduced restaurant prices. There is also speculation that the Government is looking at a new jobs scheme to replace the coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS). If there are any announcements we will keep you informed. With Brexit looming the Government has stated that the new freight management system will be ready 1 January.  The “Smart Freight system” ensures that trucks are carrying the correct documentation before they travel to ports. The new system is designed to reduce delays and to better manage traffic into Dover and prevent queues of lorries building up along the M2 and M20 motorways.

There are a number of changes to the CJRS including a new calculation from 14 September.

From 26 August 2020 you can claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for employees who have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery. Further HMRC guidance on paying back CJRS grants made in error are given. Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, cinemas and other venues across England and Wales are being urged to download QR codes to prepare for public rollout of new app.

It looks like we are in for a lot of changes to how we do things between now and the end of the year and our role is to support you through these and ensure your business takes actions to manage the changes.

Please talk to us about how we can help you plan forward. We are with you all the way!

 

CJRS – HMRC MAKES CHANGES TO CALCULATIONS FOR CLAIMS

HMRC has updated its guidance on how to perform usual hours calculations where employees come off furlough or flexible furlough partway through a claim period. The change affects claims made from 14 September.

HMRC has made changes for claims made from 14 September 2020. HMRC has added a new subheading:

“Calculating the number of working and furloughed hours for an employee that comes off furlough or flexible furlough partway through a claim period.”

The guidance states:

“If your employee stops being furloughed or flexibly furloughed partway through a claim period, when calculating the number of furloughed hours you can claim for, make sure you:

  • only calculate the employee’s usual hours up to the last day of furlough, instead of to the end of the claim period
  • do not include any working hours after the last day of furlough.”


HMRC has stated that employers do not need to amend claims made prior to 14 September, but they should use this calculation for any claims from 14 September 2020, for an employee who stops being furloughed or flexibly furloughed partway through a claim period.

If we are making your claims we will make the calculation adjustments for post 14 September claims and if you are doing your own claims please see the web link below.

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/calculate-how-much-you-can-claim-using-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#work-out-80-of-your-employees-usual-wage

 

STATUTORY SICK PAY (SSP) PAID TO EMPLOYEES DUE TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

From 26 August 2020 you can claim for employees who have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery.

This scheme is for employers. You can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP if:

  • you have already paid your employee’s sick pay (use the SSP calculator to work out how much to pay)
  • you are claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes


Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim. But you can ask them to give you either:

  • an isolation note from NHS 111 – if they are self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • the NHS or GP letter telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks because they are at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus


The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
  • fixed term contracts (until the date their contract ends)

We will let you know when the scheme will end.

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19?utm_source=3318f794-f03b-41c0-b9bc-57864faeb0d8&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate#history

 

PAYING CJRS GRANTS BACK

Find out how to pay all or some of your grant back if you have over claimed, or if you do not need the grant and want to make a voluntary repayment.

If you have claimed too much through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, or you would like to make a voluntary repayment because you do not want or need the grant to pay your employees’ wages, tax and National Insurance and pension contributions, you can either:

  • correct it in your next claim (your new claim will be reduced, and you will need to keep a record of the adjustment for 6 years)
  • get a payment reference number and pay HMRC back within 30 days (only if you are not making another claim)


For more information see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pay-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-grants-back?utm_source=50f01dbe-d6f1-42e9-aab0-5e9602b71e90&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

 

TRANSPORT TECH START-UPS TO RECEIVE FUNDING OF OVER £1 MILLION

economic newsThe Department of Transport (DoT) has announced that Talented transport tech start-ups to receive funding boost of over £1 million.

Innovative transport start-ups with a focus on decarbonisation or COVID-19 recovery can bid for a share of over £1 million (£1,010,000) in Department for Transport funding from 14 September 2020.

Transport-Technology Research and Innovation Grants (T-TRIG), which is now in its 11th round of funding, is open to entrepreneurs and innovators pioneering new ways of creating a better transport system. Over 60% of grants so far have been awarded to SMEs and 30% to universities.

T-TRIG brings together talented start-ups and policymakers at the earliest stages of innovation and by issuing targeted investments of up to £30,000 for each project, the fund aims to help budding entrepreneurs and academics propel their ideas to market quicker.

Also announced at the roundtable a separate £500,000 competition to fund the development of products or services that would improve the ability for disabled people to use the transport network. Bids for the Accessibility-Technology Research Innovation Grant (A-TRIG) will be open until the end of November.

For more information see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/talented-transport-tech-start-ups-to-receive-funding-boost-of-over-1-million?utm_source=5ac21294-fc0b-47a0-8f92-c1bd64dfb48d&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

 

MAINTAINING RECORDS OF STAFF, CUSTOMERS AND VISITORS TO SUPPORT NHS TEST AND TRACE

The Government has updated its requirements to collect details and maintain records of staff, customers and visitors in the following industry sectors:

  • hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
  • tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks
  • close contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors
  • facilities provided by local authorities, including town halls and civic centres for events, community centres, libraries and children’s centres
  • places of worship, including use for events and other community activities

This guidance applies to any establishment that provides an on-site service and to any events that take place on its premises. It does not apply where services are taken off site immediately, for example, a food or drink outlet which only provides takeaways. If a business offers a mixture of a sit-in and takeaway service, contact information only needs to be collected for customers who are dining in.

This guidance does not apply to drop-off deliveries made by suppliers or contractors.


Information to collect

The following information should be collected by the venue, where possible:

  • staff
  • the names of staff who work at the premises
  • a contact phone number for each member of staff
  • the dates and times that staff are at work
  • customers and visitors
  • the name of the customer or visitor. If there is more than one person, then you can record the name of the ‘lead member’ of the group and the number of people in the group
  • a contact phone number for each customer or visitor, or for the lead member of a group of people
  • date of visit, arrival time and, where possible, departure time
  • if a customer will interact with only one member of staff (e.g. a hairdresser), the name of the assigned staff member should be recorded alongside the name of the customer

No additional data should be collected for this purpose. In England, people who check-in with the official NHS QR poster do not have to provide their contact details as part of the staff, customer and visitor logs.

 

BUSINESSES URGED TO PREPARE FOR NHS COVID-19 APP

Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, cinemas and other venues across England and Wales are being urged to download QR codes to prepare for public rollout of new app.

The NHS COVID-19 app is currently being trialled and will launch on Thursday 24 September in England and Wales, including QR check-in at venues

QR codes will be an important way for NHS Test and Trace in England and NHS Test, Trace, Protect in Wales to contact multiple people if coronavirus outbreaks are identified in venues

Businesses across England and Wales like pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas are being urged to ensure they have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in.

 

KICKSTART: NEW £300 FUNDING PER EMPLOYEE FOR EMPLOYER REPRESENTATIVES

You can use the Kickstart Scheme to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The job placements should support the participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme.

Funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.

Funding is available following a successful application process. Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. If you are unable to offer this many job placements, you can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number.

If you are a representative applying on behalf of a group of employers, you can get £300 of funding for each job placement to support with the associated administrative costs of bringing together these employers.

Kickstart is not an apprenticeship, but participants may move on to an apprenticeship at any time during, or after their job placement.

The Kickstart Scheme is available in England, Scotland and Wales.


DRIVING TESTS – NEW GUIDANCE ON THE REOPENING OF TESTS

Car driving tests have restarted in England, Wales and Scotland.

There’s separate guidance for Northern Ireland.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will contact you if your test is affected by a local lockdown.

Guidance includes not arriving more than 5 minutes before the appointment time, wearing a face covering, making sure the inside of the vehicle is cleaned prior to the test.

 

WORKING SAFELY DURING CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

This guidance has been updated to include 14 guides to cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. Priority actions are outlined at the top of each guide.

 

PACKAGE OF SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS WHO HAVE TO DEFER THEIR STUDIES

The Government has produced details on a range of opportunities to gain new skills, undertake work placements, additional learning and career development support.

This document is for students who had planned to start higher education this year but who have had to defer until next year.

The package of support provides opportunities to:

  • gain new skills
  • undertake work placements in the public, private and voluntary sectors
  • undertake additional learning
  • get career development support

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