General Business Help & Support News 18.10.2021
Below is our weekly roundup of changes to government support information generally and for businesses, employers and the self-employed.
The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create jobs for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding until 17 December 2021 which covers:
- 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months
- associated employer National Insurance contributions
- minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions
Employers can spread the job start dates up until 31 March 2022. You will get funding until 30 September 2022 if a young person starts their job on 31 March 2022.
Further funding is available for training and support so that young people on the scheme can get a job in the future.
Applications to the Kickstart Scheme are closing soon.
After 17 December 2021 you will not be able to:
- apply for a new Kickstart Scheme grant
- add more jobs to an existing grant agreement
The Department for work & pensions (DWP) will process applications submitted before this time or that are already in progress.
See: Kickstart Scheme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Check which expenses are taxable if your employee works from home due to coronavirus
The HMRC guidance has been recently updated to reflect the fact that employees can no longer be furloughed using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The scheme ended on 30 September 2021.
If any of your employees are working from home due to coronavirus (COVID-19), either because your workplace has closed, or they are following advice to self-isolate, then HMRC accepts there are non-taxable types of equipment, services or supply.
For example - if you provide a mobile phone and SIM card without a restriction on private use, limited to one per employee, this is non-taxable.
Broadband - if your employee already pays for broadband, then no additional expenses can be claimed. If a broadband internet connection is needed to work from home and one was not already available, then the broadband fee can be reimbursed by you and is non-taxable. In this case, the broadband is provided for business and any private use must be limited.
Laptops, tablets, computers, and office supplies - if these are mainly used for business purposes and not significant private use, these are non-taxable.
Reimbursing expenses for office equipment your employee has bought - if your employee needs to buy home office equipment to allow them to work from home, they will need to discuss this with you in advance. If you reimburse your employee the actual costs of the purchase, then this is non-taxable provided there is no significant private use.
Employers can continue to pay their employees £6 a week to cover the additional expenses of working from home and the amount would be free of tax and national insurance. This is to cover the additional costs of electricity, heating and water whilst working from home. It has been confirmed that the amount may be paid regardless of the number of days that employees work from home.
HMRC guidance can be seen here: Check which expenses are taxable if your employee works from home due to coronavirus (COVID-19) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
If you need to discuss employee expenses or loans or are looking to develop a more resilient employee expense policy for the future please talk to us and we will be delighted to assist you.
Grants of up to £5,000 Available to Support Women Songwriters and Composers
Grants of up to £5,000 are available to support the development of outstanding women, trans and non-binary songwriters and composers of all genres and backgrounds at different stages of their career.
The funding is available to support touring, recording, promotion and marketing, community projects involving high-quality music creators, music creator residencies and live performances featuring new UK music.
The funding is being made available through the Performing Rights Society (PRS) for Music Foundation's Woman make Music Grants Programme and the closing date for applications is 18 October 2021.
See: Women Make Music. - PRS for Music Foundation (prsfoundation.com)
Advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents
Following recent lockdown changes the guidance for visa applicants and temporary residents has been updated and applicants and temporary residents are expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply to regularise their stay in the UK.
Applicants and temporary residents are allowed to access Visa and Immigration services as these are considered an essential public service. They must follow current COVID-19 rules for where they live, in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
For the full guidance see: Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Cash and other assets of a dissolved company – discretionary grant available
Guidance on how to apply for a discretionary grant where a dissolved company can be restored. (Company has been dissolved for less than six years) has been updated.
Cash and other assets of a dissolved company automatically pass to the Crown as Bona Vacantia by law under Section 1012 of the Companies Act 2006. The Bona Vacantia Division (BVD) of the Government Legal Department is responsible for this function.
The Discretionary Grant application enables sums of money to be recovered without making an application to restore the company to the Companies Register. A maximum limit of £3000 can be recovered and only one grant payment will be made in respect of each dissolved company.
All grants are discretionary. No-one has a right to a grant.
You must be one of the following in order to be eligible for a Discretionary Grant:
- Former shareholders provided all shareholders of the dissolved company apply and there are no existing creditors of the company
- Former liquidators
- Former administrators
- Former company voluntary arrangement (CVA) supervisors
For the full guidance see: Apply for a Discretionary Grant (DG2) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Mental health: a decade of change in just 2 years
Last week UK Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid spoke at the Global Mental Health Summit 2021. He commented that around 1 in 5 adults in Britain experienced some form of depression in the first 3 months of this year. That's over double the figure before the COVID-19 pandemic and almost half of adults have reported that their wellbeing has been affected.
As a result, the UK has seen more people seeking help, both here and around the world, at a time when health systems were already under the greatest of strains.
A survey by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that the pandemic disrupted mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide.
The government hosted a public consultation from 13 January 2021 to 21 April 2021 on a set of proposals to reform the Mental Health Act. They received over 1,700 responses. The report below is the government's formal response to this consultation. The Welsh response is currently being translated and will be uploaded as soon as possible.
See: Reforming the Mental Health Act: government response - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
New simplified travel system takes off
Last week the new travel system came into force with countries and territories categorised as either red or the rest of the world.
The new simplified travel system also means that eligible fully vaccinated passengers and eligible under-18s returning from over 50 countries and territories not on the red list, can do so without needing to complete a pre-departure test (PDT), a day 8 test or enter a 10-day self-isolation period, making it easier for those travelling – whether that's to see friends and family, or on business trips.
The new rules also mean that eligible fully vaccinated passengers with an approved vaccine and recognised certificate from a country not on the red list will be able to replace their day 2 test with a cheaper lateral flow test, reducing the cost of tests on arrival into England. The government aims to have this in place for when people return from half-term breaks.
Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost, which would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.
See: Travel to England from another country during coronavirus (COVID-19) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Red list of countries and territories
47 countries and territories have been removed from the red list today, Monday 11 October 2021.
This page tells you what you must do before you travel to England and after you arrive, if you have been in a red list country or territory in the 10 days before you arrive.
If you have been in or travelled through a country or territory on the red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England, you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you either:
- are a British or Irish National
- have residence rights in the UK
If you live in England, you should not travel to countries or territories on the red list.
See: Red list of countries and territories - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)