Following the Government’s recent announcements for the plan to ease the lockdown, the team are beginning to return to working from the office with hygiene and social distancing measures in place.

Please continue to contact us on the office number 020 8554 2135 or by email . If you have direct contact details for your Manager, please feel free to contact them as usual.

Talk to us today to find out how we can assist you.

We have put together a summary of the latest government assistance measures as of 22 May 2020. For more information click on the links below:

1. Plan for easing the lockdown restrictions

• Step one  began on 11 May. This includes encouraging people back to their workplaces if they cannot work from home. The public will also be allowed ‘unlimited exercise’ and can rest and sit outside or play sports with members of their household. The prime minister also said that people ‘could drive to other destinations’ in terms of exercise locations although other restrictions remain in place.
• Step two will commence, ‘at the earliest’, from 1 June. Some school years may return on this date. The government also hopes that some of the shops which are currently subject to closure will be allowed to reopen.
• Step three will begin, ‘at the earliest’, from 4 July. The government hopes that some parts of the hospitality industry and other ‘public places’ will be able to reopen ‘provided they are safe and enforce social distancing’.

2. Business Support

Coronavirus (Covid-19) support is available to businesses

• Loans, tax relief and cash grants are available. To apply, you should talk to your bank or one of the accredited finance providers.
• Employers can apply for staff to get up to 80% pay if they can’t work, subject currently to a £2500 limit, extended to October 2020
• Self employed people can receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least 3 months

3. Additional Government resources to support your business
Business support helpline
Contact the government’s business support helpline for free advice
Phone: 0800 998 1098
Webchat: talk to an adviser using the webchat
Phoneline and webchat open Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm

4. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The scheme runs from 1 March 2020 until 31 October 2020 – the scheme will change after 31 July.

From August, employers currently using the scheme will have more flexibility to bring their furloughed employees back to work part time while still receiving support from the scheme.

This revised scheme will run for three months from August through to the end of October. Employers will be asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month. More specific details and information around its implementation will be made available by the end of May.

5. Support for self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme
The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This is a temporary scheme and may be extended.

Claim a grant through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

6. Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay reclaim
The online service to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available from 26 May 2020.

7. Rules that have been relaxed to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic
These are some of the rules government has temporarily relaxed:
• Annual leave: Workers will be allowed to carry over leave into the next 2 years.
• Business rates revaluation postponed: Revaluation of business rates will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for firms affected by the impacts of coronavirus.
• Childcare funding: Councils will be able to move around government funding for free childcare entitlements to make sure sufficient childcare places are available for vulnerable children and those of critical workers.
• Companies House: Enforcement process has been relaxed, including temporarily pausing the strike off process to prevent companies being dissolved.
• Energy supply: Guidance from Ofgem on how to manage this.
• Eviction protection for commercial tenants: A ban on eviction for businesses who cannot pay their rent.
• Filing accounts and annual statements: 3-month extension from Companies House.
• Hotel accommodation for key workers: Letter to hotel chief executives allowing them to offer accommodation to support key workers and vulnerable people.
• MOTs suspended: vehicle owners have been given a 6-month exemption.
• Off-payroll working rules (IR35): The new rules have been delayed by 12 months.
• Pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways: Pubs and restaurants will not need planning permission.
• Right-to-work checks: Temporary adjustments will make it easier for employers to carry out.
• Statutory Residence Test: Temporary changes for those coming to the country to work on COVID-19 related activity.
• Tax cuts to reduce PPE cost: PPE purchased by care homes, businesses, charities and individuals to protect against coronavirus will be free from VAT for a 3 month period.
• Taxable expenses: Find out what is taxable while employees are working from home.

We continue to monitor the Government announcements for updates.

We would encourage any of our clients who feel any of the Governments support options will be of benefit to please get in touch with us.

This information is provided in good faith and without any financial liability attached. Please take professional advice for your particular circumstances before acting. Although we have taken relevant care in producing this guidance, we will not be held liable for any losses whatsoever as result of anyone acting on this information.

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