The chancellor has just released a statement saying self-employed workers will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,500 a month to help them cope with the financial impact of coronavirus – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52053914
In this confusing worrying time, the world has been forced into a situation none of us have ever seen in our lifetimes. We know that many of you are worried about the practical impact COVID -19 is going to have on your life, so we’ve put this page together with the most up to date information. It will be updated daily to make sure the content stays relevant.
Your wellbeing is of paramount importance and should be the first thing you should focus on in times like this. We’ve compiled several support articles, guides and resources to help you and your customers feel more at ease about the current situation.
Employment and Support Allowance
You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.
Self-employment and Universal Credit
Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income or out of work.
We understand that for many staff, moving to remote working and limiting social contact may have an impact on mental wellbeing. The Government have a number of online resources to provide support for mental wellbeing that you may find useful – click here. Mind also have guidance for those who are self-isolating – click here. I’m sure you’ll also all have some ideas to share amongst your teams to help all get through these tough times – make sure you share them!
Tips for home working:
- Structure your day like you would in the office,
- Choose a dedicated working space in the house,
- Where you are able to, plan out what you will be working on ahead of time to keep you focused.
- Consider having the radio or music on low in the background.
- Make sure you take clear breaks and drink plenty of water.
- Take a short walk or run in your lunch hour (if not in self-isolation)
- Log off your laptop at the end of each day.
Staying Well When Social Distancing
The government is advising everyone to adopt social distancing measures. If you have an underlying health condition(s) or if you are aged 70 or older, you need to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.
Coronavirus Update And IR35
- A 15-minute video summarising the current position on self-isolation, return from travel abroad, sick pay, putting homeworking in place, prioritising and risk assessing employees, and business planning such as negotiating unpaid leave and redundancy;
- An update on the Government’s financial support measures introduced yesterday.
Please also note that the Government has also announced that the extension of IR35 to medium and large companies in the private sector is being postponed by a year, to 6 April 2021.
Business and financial wellbeing
Cyber Experts Step In As Criminals Seek To Exploit Coronavirus Fears
Experts from the National Cyber Security Centre have revealed a range of attacks being perpetrated online as cyber criminals seek to exploit COVID-19. Techniques seen since the start of the year include bogus emails with links claiming to have important updates, which once clicked on lead to devices being infected.
These ‘phishing’ attempts have been seen in several countries and can lead to loss of money and sensitive data.
The NCSC, a part of Government Central Head Quarters (GCHQ) created to keep the UK safe online, is urging businesses and the public to consult its online guidance, including how to spot and deal with suspicious emails as well as mitigate and defend against malware and ransomware.
Turner & Smith Accountants Digest The 20th March Prime Minister Press Conference And The Support Available
20th March Prime Minister Press Conference has gone a little further in outlining the support that the British Public, Self Employed People and Small Businesses will be receiving over the coming weeks from the government.
The previous announcements to business support had covered three points that I will clarify again:
- Business Grants of up to £10,000 for all small businesses. This is expected to come in during early April and appears to be administered through local councils as part of the Business Rates process. It is as yet unclear how or if this will mean anything to any business that does not have a business premises that is classified under the business rates scheme.
- Business Grants of up to £25,000 for small businesses within the leisure industry (notably, pubs, restaurants, cafes, theatres, etc…). This is expected to come in during early April and appears to be administered through local councils as part of the Business Rates process. It is as yet unclear how or if this will mean anything to any business that does not have a business premises that is classified under the business rates scheme.
- Government insured business loans (which allows for unsecured borrowing or borrowing for businesses without sufficient assets or credit history to normally access traditional lending), with no interest for 6 months to be made available over the coming weeks.
These are all still, even after today’s announcements, not full explained as to exactly when they will become available, how they will be calculated or indeed, how they will be claimed and paid to businesses.
However, it was explained in the latest announcement that the Loans mentioned in point 3 above should be available from Monday (23rd March), but that they will now be interest free for a full 12 month period.
The new announcements today 20th March, are summarised as follows:
- All pubs, clubs and restaurants will be required to close their doors to the public this evening as soon as possible. Only deliveries and takeaway orders are allowed to continue going forwards until further notice.
- Companies paying wages through a PAYE scheme will be entitled to receiving government support of 80% of salary of each employee that is currently unable to work or furloughed, up to a maximum of £2,500 per person per month. This scheme will be in place by the end of April but will be backdated to the 1 March and will be administered through the PAYE system. This is initially in place for three months, however no limit has been set and as such it is expected that it will continue until the current crisis and the social distancing / isolation advice subsides.
- Deferment of VAT payments to HMRC for the coming quarter. The amounts calculated per your VAT returns will still need to be submitted but an arrangement to pay the VAT for the coming quarter can be made to spread the cost over the coming months with a view to being paid by the end of the year.
- Self-Assessment payments on account that would be due by the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.
- Universal Credit / Working Tax Credit levels will be altered for Self Employed people to allow an income in line with SSP.
The following point for individuals that either claim Universal Credit or Working Tax Credits already is that the basic element value will be lifted by £1,000 for the coming year, which will hopefully see a further £83.33 per month for the coming 12 months.
Employment Law Updates
There are three new videos available to watch at on the following topics:
- How do we deal with vulnerable adults who are our employees?
- What should I do if my employee wishes to self-isolate to care for a vulnerable relative?
- How will school closures affect me and how should I act now?
Government Set To Pay 80% of Self-Employed Income
The government looks set to include the self-employed in its Covid-19 emergency measures with proposals to cover up to 80 per cent of earnings in this demographic during the pandemic.
Legal & General Have Provided Support For New Working Ways And Mental Health
Legal & General have provided a suite of documents to support new working ways and mental health during this unusual time.
How Do I Get The Government £3,000 Coronavirus Grant?
The Treasury has announced a £3,000 grant for businesses that do not pay business rates to help them survive the coronavirus pandemic – how do you apply for it?
How Do I Apply For A Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan?
How to apply for the new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme to help small business survive during the COVID-19 outbreak
Mortgages and coronavirus: information for consumers
Coronavirus: Eviction Ban And Payment Holidays
19.03.2020 – Residential Landlords Association
Payment holidays for landlords with buy-to-let mortgages have been announced today as part of a package of measures introduced by the government in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Experian Confirms Mortgage Holidays Will Not Damage
18.03.2020 – Mortgage Introducer
Credit agency, Experian has confirmed the credit scores of borrowers who take a three-month repayment holiday will not be affected – as long as lenders report it correctly.
Useful links and resources
NHS Information – Coronavirus (COVID-19)https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
UK Government Response – Coronavirus (COVID-19)https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
World Health Organization – Coronavirus (COVID-19)https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Coronavirus: Advice For Employers And Employees – Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Servicehttps://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
UK Government Websitehttps://www.gov.uk/
Tax Helpline To Support Businesses Affected By Coronavirus (COVID-19) – UK Governmenthttps://www.gov.uk/government/news/tax-helpline-to-support-businesses-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19
Bank of England Websitehttps://www.bankofengland.co.uk/
Mind, The Mental Health Charityhttps://www.mind.org.uk/
Criteria Hub from MortgageBrain – COVID-19: Lender Criteria Updatehttps://www.criteriahub.co.uk/
Confederation Of British Industry – Supporting Businesses Impacted By Coronavirushttps://www.cbi.org.uk/articles/supporting-businesses-impacted-by-the-coronavirus/
Knowledge Bank – COVID-19: Lender Criteria Updatehttps://www.yourknowledgebank.uk/covid19/welcome
Mental Health Foundationhttps://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
Which? Coronavirus Updateshttps://www.which.co.uk/news/tag/coronavirus/
Therapy For Youhttps://www.therapyforyou.co.uk/