General Business Help & Support News England - 27.08.2021

COVID-19 GOVERNMENT SUPPORT NEWS

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


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) update

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021. For claims relating to August and September 2021, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a maximum cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee is on furlough.

Claims for furlough days in August 2021 must be made by 14 September 2021.

Claims for September must be submitted by 14 October 2021 and any amendments must be made by 28 October 2021.

Please talk to us if you have any questions regarding the CJRS.

See: Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) update

HMRC has released guidance entitled “Check if you need to change your Self-Assessment return for SEISS”:

You need to check your Self-Assessment return if you have:

  • already submitted your 2020 to 2021 Self-Assessment tax return online
  • claimed a SEISS grant before 6 April 2021

HMRC may have made an adjustment to your return if:

  • the amount of the SEISS payments put in the SEISS box does not match HMRC records
  • there was no SEISS amount entered
  • you did not submit a Self-Employment or partnership page (SA103 or SA104) and received SEISS payments

Payments from the first, second and third SEISS grants (received on or before 5 April 2021) should have been included on your 2020 to 2021 return in the box for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grants. These can be found:

  • on page 2 of the ‘other tax adjustments’ section, within the Self Employment (full) page (SA103F) – this is Box 70.1 on the paper return
  • in the ‘other tax adjustments’ section of the Self Employment (short) page (SA103S) – this is Box 27.1 on the paper return
  • on page 2 of the ‘trading or professional profits’ section of the partnership page (SA104) – this is Box 9.1 on the paper return
  • at section 3.10A of the SA200 tax return

HMRC are correcting returns where SEISS grants have been reported incorrectly.

If HMRC have corrected your return, you must check whether you used the correct boxes or not.

Please contact us if you need help in completing your Self-assessment return. 

Reimagine Grants

The closing date for applications is today, 23 August 2021.

The Reimagine project grants aim to help organisations such as UK public museums, galleries, historic houses, archives and libraries, agencies, and festivals as they reimagine their activities following the pandemic. They offer support to build expertise, capacity and connections within and outside the sector.

These grants are not intended to provide ‘emergency’ or ‘recovery’ funding and the scheme is designed to exist within and address the present, challenging environment, and to prepare organisations for the future. The project offers grants of £5,000 up to £50,000. 

The aim is to fund projects that meet both aims and address at least one of the priority areas for support:

  • collections
  • digital
  • engagement
  • workforce

See: Reimagine grants - Art Fund

Government-backed insurance scheme to give support to events industry

The live events sector is set to get a boost with a government-backed insurance scheme worth over £750 million, which will help them plan events with confidence through to next year, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced last week.

 As the economy reopens with the lifting of Covid restrictions, getting the right kind of insurance is acting as a barrier for some events organisers so the government has partnered with Lloyd’s to deliver the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme as part of the Plan for Jobs. The scheme will see the government act as a ‘reinsurer’ – stepping in with a guarantee to make sure insurers can offer the products events companies need.

See: Government-backed insurance scheme to give boost to events industry - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

DVLA Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Find out the date of applications DVLA are processing and how to access their online services.

DVLA are currently operating with reduced staffing levels on site due to ongoing industrial action by members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and some social distancing measures remaining in place to ensure the safety of staff.

Industrial action has been taking place since April and PCS is targeting a variety of areas within DVLA designed to have maximum negative impact on members of the public. This means that there are continuing delays with paper applications and in reaching our contact centre. There are no delays for those applying online.

Currently, paper applications, including where further information has been required from you after an online application, are likely to take 6 to 10 weeks to process. There may be additional delays in processing more complex transactions, for example, if medical investigations are needed as part of your driving licence application.

An online application will usually mean DVLA can print and dispatch your licence or documents within 5 days of you applying online

See: DVLA Coronavirus (COVID-19) update - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Access to Work: factsheet for customers

This factsheet offers guidance about the Access to Work Scheme and how it can help overcome barriers to starting or keeping a job if you have a disability or long term health condition.

Access to Work is a publicly funded employment support programme that aims to help more disabled people start or stay in work. It can provide practical and financial support if you have a disability or long term physical or mental health condition.

An Access to Work grant can pay for practical support to help you:

  • start working
  • stay in work
  • move into self-employment or start a business

How much you get depends on your circumstances. The money does not have to be paid back and will not affect your other benefits. The full details can be accessed on the webpage below.

See: Access to Work: factsheet for customers - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Being a deputy or attorney during the coronavirus outbreak

On 16 August the government changed the rules on self-isolation. If you are fully vaccinated or under 18 and 6 months you’re not required to self-isolate if you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19.

During the coronavirus pandemic, your role and responsibilities as a deputy or attorney remain the same. However, you should refer to the Step 4 guidance on social distancing and how to stay safe.

See: Being a deputy or attorney during the coronavirus outbreak - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Claiming financial support under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme

The guidance has been updated to reflect the impact that exemption from self-isolation will have on eligibility for the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme.

The £500 Test and Trace Support Payment is for people on low incomes who have to self-isolate because they have:

  • tested positive for COVID-19; or
  • been notified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and, from 16 August, they are not exempt from self-isolation. The guidance sets out who is exempt.

You may be eligible if you are employed or self-employed, cannot work from home, and will lose income as a result. The parent or guardian of a child or young person who is self-isolating may also be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment.

If you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, you are legally required to do so. If you have been notified by the NHS COVID-19 app to self-isolate and you apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment, you will also be legally required to self-isolate.

See Claiming financial support under the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

The guidance has been updated for shops, branches, and close contact services to say that people who are fully vaccinated or aged under 18 and 6 months no longer need to self-isolate if they have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

These guides cover a range of different types of work. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.

There is different guidance for:

See: Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) - Guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Coming to the UK for seasonal agricultural work on English farms

There is updated guidance on self-isolation rules for vaccinated workers in the advice for seasonal agricultural workers coming to England to pick fruit and vegetables on farms, and their employers.

See: Coming to the UK for seasonal agricultural work on English farms - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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