Imminent: The Government is expected to announce assistance for 5 million self-employed and freelance workers.
Prime Minister’s Daily update – 25th March
PM Boris Johnson thanked the majority of people for following the advice to wherever possible stay at home as it is “important that we take right measures at right time; the NHS has limited resources; that is why we need to delay the spread and stay at home.”
He went on to thanked all who are “keeping this country going and to NHS volunteers – 405,000 people have already responded to the call and are crucial to the fight – the equivalent of the population of Coventry!”
Their core policy is “stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
He announced that his government were “addressing the complicated steps to assist the self-employed” and “announcements to be made tomorrow.”
On the subject of tests, he said they are crucial and we need more of it including anti-body tests: “We are working hard to get the technology right – it has to be right and we need to be confident of the results.”
3.5m testing kits could be available as early as next week.
Off licences have been added to the list of retailers who are allowed to remain open
Further expansion of business rate discount
HM Treasury has announced that estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls that have closed as a result of coronavirus measures to restrict the spread of the virus will now be exempted from business rates in 2020-21. This is part of the business rates holiday introduced from 1 April 2020.
Eligible businesses will be rebilled by their council and the new bill will give them the discount of 100%. If businesses have made payments in the meantime, they will be refunded by their council. Councils will be fully compensated.
More information on the announcement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-estate-agents-lettings-agencies-and-bingo-halls-to-pay-no-business-rates-this-coming-financial-year
Extension to filing of company accounts
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Companies House announced that businesses will be able to apply for a 3-month extension for filing their accounts.
Deferred VAT payments:
HMRC have updated their guidance and are now advising companies to cancel direct debits. So if you would like to defer payment for your March 2020 return then please cancel your direct debit with HMRC directly through your bank. Direct debits can be set up again at a later date. Please note, currently the deferral of payments only applies to this next quarter, for any returns after this you will need to pay them by the due date as normal unless HMRC issue any updated guidance which we will keep you up to date with. HMRC have updated their guidance at the below link which is being updated on a regular basis. Apologies for any confusion, as mentioned this has been updated since our discussion yesterday. Further information can be found HERE
Grants administered by Stockport Council:
Stockport Council are expecting to receive the funding from the government from 1st April and the council have preparations in place to process the payments as soon as the funds are made available.
Cash grants of £10,000 (rateable value of up to £15,000) and £25,000 (rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000) are being administered by the Local Authorities so no application is required. Guidance on the scheme is being issued to the Local Authorities. Stockport Council has a section on its website where businesses qualifying for SBRR can upload their company VAT and Bank Account details: Stockport Council Grant scheme: https://www.stockport.gov.uk/business-rates-support-measures
The Government’s new website for all support measures https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/
Launch of Stockport Jobs Match
As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, some sectors have seen a huge surge in demand for their goods and services leaving them with an immediate shortage of staff.
Stockport Council has launched a FREE job matching website to help support employers with vacancies and individuals across the Stockport borough who are looking for work.
The service, Stockport Jobs Match, will help to connect employers who have urgent temporary or permanent vacancies with applicants who are immediately available and in need of employment.
There is also a call for temporary staff to cover priority functions due to sickness.
The Stockport Jobs Match service is a free to use resource for both individuals and businesses. The website will also help signpost individuals to available support services and information. www.stockport-jobsmatch.co.uk
How are you doing?
If you are a business owner, Totally Stockport and Stockport Council are also keen to find out what your needs are at this difficult time so they can provide the most appropriate advice and support.
To help them understand more, visit www.bidsurvey.com and help them to help you.
Advice for accommodation providers
Guidance and advice for those providing hotel and other accommodation in the UK has been published. Businesses providing holiday accommodation should now take steps to close for commercial use as quickly as is safely possible.
Hotels and other accommodation providers should be able to remain open if:
- They are part of the response to support key workers or vulnerable groups
- There is a specific need for some or all of the site to remain open (for example they are housing people who have been flooded out of their homes, being used by public services to provide emergency accommodation or are not able to return to their primary residence).
- If businesses are providing rooms to support homeless people, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies.
- They are a holiday park or caravan park and are the primary residence of people living there.
More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-advice-for-accommodation-providers
People can travel to and from work but only where the work they do absolutely cannot be done from home.
Currently, work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms.
No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.
Where work does continue, it is important that tradespeople follow Public Health guidelines and maintain a two-metre distance from any household occupants to ensure everyone’s safety.
The Public Health guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people
Further guidance on going to work can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others
In any case where an employer or employee is unclear about their rights around the Coronavirus issue. For instance, a worker maybe unhappy that their employer is insisting they should be in work and they didn’t think this was in line with the national guidance, in terms of their job role or the business not being essential or a key worker role. Anyone with any such issues or who needs clarity on the current guidance, can refer to the ACAS website – (for employers and employees) – https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
In circumstances where a local planning authority is unable to consider a permitted development prior approval application within the deemed consent period, the authority can, if necessary, seek to agree an extended approval date with the applicant. Authorities will endeavour to continue to provide the best service possible in these stretching times and prioritise decision-making to ensure the planning system continues to function.
The Planning Inspectorate has also published guidance in response to the spread of coronavirus on how it will continue to carry out its duties: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-planning-inspectorate-guidance
The Department for Transport has today announced that vehicle owners will be granted a 6 month exemption from MOT testing, enabling them to continue to travel to work where this absolutely cannot be done from home, or shop for necessities. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vehicle-owners-to-be-granted-mot-exemption-in-battle-against-coronavirus
Stay at Home, Save Lives
The nationwide Stay at Home, Save Lives campaign has launched to give the most up to date Coronavirus information; detailing the only reasons that someone can leave their home, with the key message of ‘Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives’. The materials created include assets across print, social, digital, TV and radio. Please find the latest assets at PHE’s campaign resource centre to amplify here: https://bit.ly/StayAtHomeToolkit
Government – Business Support: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
Government – Financial Support:
Government – Business Support:
Bank of England – Financial Support:
Stockport Council Grant scheme:
Gov.uk: Maintaining Educational Provision:
UK Lockdown – Further businesses to close and exceptions:
Business Growth Hub:
Food & Drink – advice and guidance:
Health – updates from NHS
Health – Shielding the most vulnerable
Recruitment: – DWP and Universal Credit
Retail: An update form British Retail Consortium
Retail: Ocado update to all customers
Customers will be limited to one delivery per 7 day period, and some large items won’t be available to maximise the number of deliveries each van can make. They are still not accepting new customers.
Useful information for the Self-Employed: