General Business Help & Support News 08.11.2021

Below is our weekly roundup of changes to government support information generally and for businesses, employers and the self-employed.

COP26 – UN Climate change conference

The UK is hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow until the 12 November 2021.

Climate change is probably the world's most pressing problem. It is widely accepted governments must take more cuts in warming gases if we are to prevent higher global temperature rises. The summit in Glasgow is where change may happen. We need to look at the promises made by the world's larger economies and whether poorer countries get help to make changes. 

Decisions made at the COP26 conference will impact all of our lives in the future and most importantly, the future of our planet.

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The COP26 summit brings parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Cop26 website is: HOME - UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) at the SEC – Glasgow 2021 (ukcop26.org)

The COP26 Green Zone is open to the public at the Glasgow Science Centre. There are a wide range of events, including workshops, art exhibitions and installations, as well as presentations, demonstrations of technology and musical performances.

Youth groups, civil society, academia, artists, and businesses from across the UK and all over the world are taking part. With over 100 exhibitors, 200 events and 11 sponsors taking over the space, there are opportunities to listen, learn and celebrate climate action.

COP26 Green Zone events with a business focus are listed on the website listed below.

See: Green Zone Programme of Events - UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) at the SEC – Glasgow 2021 (ukcop26.org)

Make a late Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claim

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ended on 30 September 2021. 14 October 2021 was the last date to make a claim for September.

For claim periods from 1 November 2020, HMRC may accept late claims or amendments if you have:

  1. Taken reasonable care to try and claim on time.
  2. A reasonable excuse.
  3. Claimed as soon as your reasonable excuse no longer applies.

A reasonable excuse could include:

  • your partner or another close relative died shortly before the claim deadline
  • you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your claim
  • you had a serious or life-threatening illness, including coronavirus (COVID-19) related illnesses, which prevented you from making your claim (and no one else could claim for you)
  • a period of self-isolation prevented you from making your claim (and no one else could make the claim for you)
  • your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online claim
  • service issues with HMRC online services prevented you from making your claim
  • a fire, flood or theft prevented you them from making your claim
  • postal delays that you could not have predicted prevented you from making your claim
  • delays related to a disability you have prevented you from making your claim
  • an HMRC error prevented you from making your claim

As soon as you are ready to make a late claim or amendment, you need to:

  1. Check if you have a reasonable excuse.
  2. Make sure you have all the information you need to process your claim.
  3. Contact HMRC using the helpline to check with an advisor if you can claim.

If your reasonable excuse is accepted, the advisor will process your claim over the phone.

See: Make a late Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claim - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Travel update: all countries removed from the UK’s red list

From 4.00am today, the remaining 7 destinations on the red list; Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela have been removed.

Passengers returning to England from these destinations are no longer be required to enter hotel quarantine. The red list and quarantine hotel policy remains in place and will continue to act as a crucial line of defence against the importation of variants of concern. The government will review the red list every 3 weeks and will impose restrictions should there be a need to do so to protect public health.

Delta is now the dominant variant in most countries around the world. This means the risk of known variants entering the UK has reduced and the government has removed these 7 destinations from the red list, with decisions informed by UK Health Security Agency’s (UKHSA) assessment. The data for all countries and territories will be kept under review, including the emergence of new variants, and the government will not hesitate to take action where the epidemiological picture changes.

Eligible travellers with appropriate proof of vaccination from over 30 further countries and territories, including Argentina, Tanzania and Cambodia, will also qualify under the fully vaccinated rules for travel to the UK. This brings the total number of countries and territories covered by the inbound vaccination policy to over 135.

See: Travel update: all countries removed from the UK’s red list - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Approved COVID-19 vaccines and countries with approved COVID-19 proof of vaccination

What you need to do when you travel to England depends on whether you qualify as fully vaccinated or not. To qualify under the fully vaccinated rules for travel to England, you must have been fully vaccinated with a full course of an approved vaccine under:

  • the UK or UK overseas vaccination programme
  • the United Nations vaccine programme for staff and volunteers
  • an approved programme in one of the countries or territories listed on the website listed on the website below. 

You can still travel to England if you do not qualify as fully vaccinated but you must follow different rules. There are also different rules if you have been in a red list country or territory in the last 10 days and you may not be allowed to enter England.

See: Approved COVID-19 vaccines and countries with approved COVID-19 proof of vaccination - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Free face coverings to transport operators scheme

The provision of free face coverings for all transport operators between 21 April 2021 and 31 December 2021, to be used as a contingency supply for passengers and workers.

To protect public health and facilitate passenger compliance with face coverings guidance, the government is providing free face coverings to transport operators, which are to be used as a contingency supply by passengers and transport workers. The purpose of this scheme is to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The scheme has been extended to 31 December 2021.

See: Free face coverings to transport operators scheme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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