Coronavirus information: HERE IS THE LATEST
The Chancellor has provided further information on how the government are going to help businesses across the UK.
This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:
- A coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
- Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments.
- Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs.
- 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England.
- Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief.
- Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank.
- A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans.
- The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme.
More detailed information is available online on the government’s website.
Here are some relevant snippets from the package which may affect your business…
AN IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR VAT AND INCOME TAX PAYMENTS
The announcement of Deferring VAT and Income Tax Payments for 3 months has been designed to help local small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic.
As a small business, you don’t need to apply to defer your VAT as it is automatic offer so no VAT payments at all for 3 months. You will also be given until the end of 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.
SICKNESS AT WORK, WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS?
Part of this package includes the allowance of small and medium sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. There are some eligibility criteria which we have taken from the government’s website:
- Any refund covers up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19.
- Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020.
- Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19.
- employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website.
- eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force.
- the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.
It is important to make sure your employee follows the guidelines on self-isolation from the government. However, if you feel that your employees are not being completely honest then it is worth directing them to obtain an isolation note from NHS 111 online.
Coronavirus information: What should I do?
Public health experts have been giving out lots of advice to try and stop the spread of the virus.
We will be providing regular updates in our Noble News pages so keep checking back regularly for the latest updates.
We have summarised the latest government advice including symptoms; how to stay safe and what to do if you have to self-isolate below!
1: WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:
- a high temperature
- a new continuous cough.
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.
If you or someone you live with is displaying these symptoms, you should stay at home for 14 days fromt he day the first person got symptoms. This is really important to help protect others in your community while you are infectious.
DO NOT GO TO A GP SURGERY, PHARMACY OR HOSPITAL.
Contact NHS 111 to tell them you are staying home. Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you are staying home.
2: HOW TO STAY WELL
The government have issued the following advice:
- Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and hot water. If you are out, use an antibacterial hand gel.
- Wash your hands before you eat and avoid touching your face including your eyes.
- Frequently clean disinfect objects and services that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products.
- Catch your coughs and sneezes in a tissue or cough into your elbow.
- If you are at work, clean your work station regularly with your standard cleaning products.
- Avoid social gatherings and ensure your time in supermarkets and other high footfall areas is minimal.
- Do not visit a relative or friend who is self-isolating for any reason.
- Wherever possible, stay more than 2 metres away from others.
3: SOCIAL DISTANCING AND SELF-ISOLATION
Everybody in the UK has been asked to stop non-essential contact with other people and avoid all unnecessary travel. This is none as social distancing.
The government wants you to:
- Work from home if that is possible.
- Stop unnecessary travel.
- Avoid all social venues including pubs; clubs and theatres.
- Stay at home if someone you live with has a cough or temperature for 14 days.
The government have also asked vulnerable people or those displaying the symptoms of coronavirus (see above) to self-isolate.
Self-isolating literally means cutting yourself off from the rest of the world.
This is particularly important for vulnerable people. The government have now defined a vulnerable person as:
- aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
- chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
- those who are pregnant.
Understandably, you may feel social distancing or self-isolation difficult especially if you are elderly. Equally, if you have an elderly member of your family who is in self-isolation, make sure you stay in touch over the phone, by post or online. Build regular contact into your routine and make sure you are looking after there mental wellbeing as well as organising their essentials like food and medicines. The NHS has a website called Every Mind Matters which has some clear advice on how you can help others.
4: GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYEES; EMPLOYERS AND BUSINESSES
The government have published a number of reports to help guide you through this pandemic if you are worried about your job; your business or how to help your employers.
If you would like some further advice on the key challenges facing your business during Coronavirus (COVID-19), then get in touch with our Director, David Noble today on 01268 762430.