Posted: 10 / 04 / 2020

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS)

On 8th April, speaking to the Treasury Select Committee, HMRC’s chief executive Jim Harra confirmed that HMRC are currently beta testing the JRS system with the aim of going live to employers on 20 April.

We understand that HMRC are working towards the first grants being paid to employers under the JRS system before 30 April. When questioned, Harra further confirmed that HMRC are aiming for payments to be made to employers within four to six days of making the claim, and that employers would be able to make claims fourteen days in advance of running their payroll.

We have also had confirmation that directors will be eligible for the JRS. Whilst furloughed, directors cannot do any work for their employing company that could lead to revenue generation. They are however allowed to undertake their statutory duties under the Companies Act.

We have updated our detailed guide with everything we know about the JRS so far. It can be found here. If you have any questions about the JRS please get in touch. We will be assisting all of our payroll clients in making claims for their furloughed workers. If you are not a payroll client but would like help with the JRS, please let us know as soon as possible.

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Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Whilst speaking to the Treasury Select Committee on 8th April, Jim Harra also confirmed a little more detail on the SEISS.

HMRC are working on having the scheme ready by mid-May and are striving to get the money issued before June. Harra suggested that self-employed people should claim Universal Credit in the meantime. He was also asked about those self-employed people who earn just over the £50,000 profit cut off. Harra said that “the scheme is targeted at those most in need. If HMRC had more time they could have looked at a range of measures to help people just above the threshold, but it would take years to have a system that looks at household income rather than individual income”. HMRC believe that 95% of self-employed people will qualify on the current scheme.

If you are self-employed and would like help understanding what help is available then get in touch.

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Business Grants 

On the 17th March, the Chancellor announced steps to provide business grants to those businesses affected by COVID-19.

These included smaller local shops, as well as businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, which had been ordered by the Prime Minister. The two business grant funding schemes help businesses manage their cashflow by:

  • Providing grants of £10,000 to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief;
  • For businesses in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors: providing £25,000 grants per property, for each property with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000; and £10,000 per property, for each property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less.

This means that any business that has multiple locations, such as a number of pubs, should be able to get up to £25,000 per property.

You need to apply to each local council individually that you pay business rates to and if you don’t pay business rates you need to check that this is because you qualify for small business relief.

By now each business will have received the 2020/21 business rates bill and this will show what the rateable value of your property is, as well as if there are any discounts applied. You should, therefore, obtain this for each business premises straight away to review if you have a claim.

Most councils have said they are contacting local businesses where they do have a valid claim, but it’s still vital that every eligible business is proactive and contacts their council directly to ensure you have been registered with them to receive the grant. Most have online applications or online forms that you can submit your details to apply.

Find your local council

Government COVID-19 funding for frontline charities

On the 8th April, the Chancellor announced that frontline charities across the UK will receive a £750 million package of support to ensure they can continue their work during the coronavirus outbreak.

Full details are here, but in summary, this will include:

  • £360m direct from government departments which will fund organisations such as:
    • Hospices
    • St John Ambulance
    • Victims’ charities, including domestic abuse
    • Vulnerable children charities
    • Citizens Advice services
  • £370 million for smaller charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund. This will support those organisations are supporting local communities during the outbreak, including those delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice. There is currently no further guidance on who might qualify or how these grants might be accessed.
  • A commitment from the Government to match donations to the National Emergencies Trust as part of the BBC’s Big Night In fundraiser later this month – with a minimum pledge of £20 million.

COVID-19 Business Support

Our designated COVID-19 Hub provides updates, guidance and advice to support you, your business and your employees.

Whether you need to access funding to help cashflow, an injection of cash through an R&D claim or just looking for trusted advice, we’re here to help.