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)

April claims

Employers can now submit CJRS claims for periods in April. These must be made by Friday 14 May.

You can claim before, during or after you process your payroll. If you can, it’s best to make a claim once you are sure of the exact number of hours your employees will work so you do not have to amend your claim later.

If you haven’t submitted your claim for March, but believe that you have a reasonable excuse for missing the 14 April deadline, check if you can make a late claim by searching ‘claim for wages’ on GOV.UK. Remember to keep records that support the amount of CJRS grants you claim, in case HMRC needs to check them.

You must pay the associated employee tax and National Insurance contributions to HMRC. If you do not do that, you will need to repay the whole of the CJRS grant to HMRC.

The UK Government will continue to pay 80% of your furloughed employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, to the end of June.

In July, CJRS grants will cover 70% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,187.50. In August and September, this will then reduce to 60% of employees’ usual wages, up to a cap of £1,875.

You will need to pay the difference from July, so that you continue to pay your furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work during this time, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

CJRS eligibility from May

If you have employees who have previously been ineligible for the CJRS, as they were not on your payroll on 30 October 2020, they may be eligible for periods from 1 May 2021 onwards.

From May you will be able to claim for eligible employees who were on your PAYE payroll on 2 March 2021. This means you must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021, notifying HMRC of earnings for that employee.

You and your employees do not need to have benefitted from the scheme before to make a claim, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. For more information on eligibility, search ‘check if you can claim for your employees’ wages’ on GOV.UK.

Please contact us for help in submitting your claims, we will continue to support our clients in processing claims until the end of the scheme.


Paying back VAT deferred due to coronavirus

Information has been added on penalties or interest that may be charged if you do not pay in full, or make an arrangement to pay, and how you may still be able to avoid these charges.

The webpage below details how to pay VAT payments deferred between 20 March and 30 June 2020. You can pay now or join the VAT deferral new payment scheme.

If you deferred VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 you can:

  • pay the deferred VAT in full now
  • join the VAT deferral new payment scheme – the online service is open between 23 February 2021 and 21 June 2021
  • contact HMRC on 0800 024 1222 by 30 June 2021 if you need extra help to pay

You may be charged a 5% penalty or interest if you do not pay in full or make an arrangement to pay by 30 June 2021.

Pay your deferred VAT in full

If you were unable to pay in full by 31 March 2021, you may still be able to avoid being charged penalties or interest by either:

  • joining the new payment scheme by 21 June 2021
  • paying your deferred VAT in full by 30 June 2021

Join the VAT deferral new payment scheme

The VAT deferral new payment scheme is open from 23 February 2021 up to and including 21 June 2021.

The new scheme lets you:

  • pay your deferred VAT in equal instalments, interest free
  • choose the number of instalments, from 2 to 11 (depending on when you join)

Instalment options available to you

When you decide to join the scheme will determine the maximum number of instalments that are available to you.

The following table sets out the monthly joining deadlines (to allow for Direct Debit processing) and the corresponding number of maximum instalments (including the first payment):

If you join byNumber of instalments available to you
19 March 202111
21 April 202110
19 May 20219
21 June 20218

How to join

Before joining, you must:

  • have your VAT registration number
  • create your own Government Gateway account (if you do not already have one)
  • submit any outstanding VAT returns from the last 4 years – otherwise you’ll not be able to join the scheme
  • correct errors on your VAT returns as soon as possible
  • make sure you know how much you owe, including the amount you originally deferred and how much you may have already paid

To use the online service, you must:

  • join the scheme yourself, your agent cannot do this for you
  • still have deferred VAT to pay
  • be up to date with your VAT returns
  • join by 21 June 2021
  • pay the first instalment when you join
  • pay your instalments by Direct Debit (if you want to use the scheme but cannot pay by Direct Debit, there’s an alternative entry route for you)

Join the scheme now

See: Pay VAT deferred due to coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)

A YouTube video about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme and a webinar for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) – fourth grant, have been added to the government guidance.

See: Help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Download a template if you’re claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Complete a template with the details of the employees you’re claiming for and upload this when you claim (for claims on or after 1 July 2020). Templates are in XLS, CSV, ODS, and XLSX formats.

See: Download a template if you’re claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Staying COVID-secure notice

The government has provided businesses with a notice to display to show you have made your workplace COVID-secure.

See: Staying COVID-19 Secure notice (publishing.service.gov.uk)

The Red list travel ban countries has been updated to include India.

The countries from which entry to the UK is banned – ‘red list’ countries has been updated.

See: Coronavirus (COVID-19): red list travel ban countries – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

International road haulage: HGV driver documents

The guidance to check which documents you need to carry if you are the driver or a passenger in a lorry or other heavy goods vehicle (HGV) that crosses international borders has been updated to state you no longer need a Kent Access Permit (KAP) to enter Kent.

See:  International road haulage: HGV driver documents – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Private providers of coronavirus testing

The lists of, and information about, approved suppliers of private testing kits for coronavirus (COVID-19) has been updated.

See: Private providers of coronavirus testing – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Providers of day 2 and day 8 coronavirus testing for international arrivals

Information on the 2 tests you must book, pay for and take, during your mandatory 10-day quarantine period after arriving in England, including how to book.

See: Providers of day 2 and day 8 coronavirus testing for international arrivals – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

European Structural and Investment Funds: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

A series of documents and updates regarding the 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Programme and the response to COVID-19.

The Q&A has been updated to provide clarity to a number of existing questions. See the dates next to the questions for updates.

See: European Structural and Investment Funds: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Right to work checks

The guidance for employers carrying out right to work checks during the coronavirus pandemic has been updated as the temporary adjustments introduced because of coronavirus end on 16 May 2021.

The following temporary changes were made on 30 March 2020 and remain in place until 16 May 2021.

  • checks can currently be carried out over video calls
  • job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
  • employers should use the Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents

Checks continue to be necessary and you must continue to check the prescribed documents set out in right to work checks: an employer’s guide or use the online right to work checking service. It remains an offence to knowingly employ anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK.

See: Coronavirus (COVID-19): right to work checks – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

There is added information to confirm all apprentices in higher education can return to in-person teaching and learning no earlier than 17 May. There is an amended date in the functional skills qualification section and out-of-date information on the exam support service has been removed.

See: Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Welcome Back Fund – England

Guidance to help local authorities and partners to deliver activities supported through the Welcome Back Fund. This funding builds on the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund announced in May 2020.

The Welcome Back Fund is providing councils across England a share of £56 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to support the safe return to high streets and help build back better, from the pandemic. This funding builds on the £50 million Reopening High Street Safely Fund (RHSSF) allocated to councils in 2020 and forms part of the wider support government is providing to communities and businesses.

This guidance builds on and replaces the previously published RHSSF guidance. The purpose of this guidance is to provide details of the activities that can be supported through the Fund and an overview of how it will be administered, as well as key ERDF contractual requirements.

See: New raft of measures to prepare our high streets and seaside resorts for summer – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – England

These 14 guides cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. Priority actions are outlined at the top of each guide. New guidance has been provided for:

  • Heritage locations – Updated to reflect Step 2 of the roadmap
  • Performing arts – Updated to reflect Step 2 of the roadmap.

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

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