ADDITIONAL COVID SUPPORT ROUND UP

Updated: Sep 9

If you were looking for the headline support policies like Local Authority Grants, Furlough, Self - Employed Income Support Scheme and Furlough they are covered here in our Covid Support Hub.


Here we focus on some of the less high profile support measures including :-


RATES HOLIDAY FOR RETAIL, HOSPITALITY & LEISURE


RENTERS AND COMMERCIAL TENANCIES


STATUTORY SICK PAY


UP TO 10K FINE FOR FIRMS WHO STOP SELF-ISOLATION


£500 SELF ISOLATION PAYMENT FOR THOSE ON LOW INCOME


HOLIDAY ENTITLEMENT AND PAY DURING COVID19


CORONAVIRUS AND CLAIMING BENEFITS


BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE AND COVID 19


LINKS TO GOV.UK FOR ALL FORMS OF BUSINESS SUPPORT

BUSINESS RATES HOLIDAY



The existing holiday on business rates has been extended to June 2021 for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Business rates for the remainder of the financial year 2021/22 will then discounted be discounted by 66%.



PAYING TAX: TIME TO PAY SERVICE :



If you’re struggling to pay your tax bill on time, or you’re experiencing financial difficulties you can contact HMRC’s Time to Pay service


V.A.T. :-


RETAIL & HOSPITALITY VAT CUT EXTENSION


Extension on the temporary 15% VAT cut to 5% for the tourism and hospitality sectors ends on September 30, 2021 and will then move to an interim rate of 2.5% until March 31, 2022




COMMERCIAL TENANCIES


The government will legislate to ringfence rent debt accrued during the pandemic by businesses affected by enforced closures and set out a process of binding arbitration to be undertaken between landlords and tenants.


This is to be used as a last resort, after bilateral negotiations have been undertaken and only where landlords and tenants cannot otherwise come to a resolution. Ahead of the system being put in place, we will publish the principles which we will seek to put into legislation in a revised Code of Practice, to allow landlords and tenants time to negotiate on that basis.


Section 82 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, which prevents landlords of commercial properties from being able to evict tenants for the non-payment of rent, will continue until 25 March 2022, unless legislation is passed ahead of this, in order to provide sufficient time for this new process to be put in place.


The guidance is clear both landlords and tenants should continue to work together to agree rent payment options if businesses are struggling. In June, the government published a Code of Practice to support these discussions.


Further information


Contact form


General enquiries: If you are a member of the public 030 3444 0000


STATUTORY SICK PAY


The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is now live.


Claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to your employees due to coronavirus


You can now claim for employees who are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus



The scheme will allow small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.


Contents

  1. Who can use the scheme

  2. Get ready to claim

  3. Records you must keep

  4. Other help you can get


To use the online service you will need the Government Gateway user ID you got when you registered for PAYE Online.


If you did not register online you will need to enrol for the PAYE Online service.

Find your lost Government Gateway user ID if you do not have it.


If you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for you, they will be able to claim on your behalf.


The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the SSP paid to current or former employees.


What you can claim


The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks SSP starting from the first qualifying day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they:

  • have coronavirus symptoms

  • are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms

  • are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus

  • are shielding and have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks

  • have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery for up to 14 days

You can make more than one claim per employee, but you cannot claim for more than 2 weeks in total.


You can claim from the first qualifying day your employee is off work if the period of sickness started on or after:

  • 13 March 2020 – if your employee had coronavirus or the symptoms or is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms

  • 16 April 2020 – if your employee was shielding because of coronavirus

  • 28 May 2020 – if your employee has been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus

  • 26 August 2020 – if your employee has been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery

Most people are asked to self-isolate for 3 days before surgery. In this case, the day of surgery will be the 4th day of their period of incapacity for work. You cannot claim repayment of SSP for the day of surgery or any other days when the absence is not due to coronavirus.


A ‘qualifying day’ is a day an employee usually works on. The weekly rate was £94.25 before 6 April 2020 and is now £95.85. If you’re an employer who pays more than the weekly rate of SSP you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.


If an employee has returned to the UK


From 8 June 2020, some people entering or returning to the UK will be required to quarantine for 14 days. If an employee is unable to work during this period, they will not qualify for SSP unless they also meet one of the above criteria.


The weekly rate was £94.25 before 6 April 2020 and is now £95.85. If you’re an employer who pays more than the weekly rate of SSP you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.



Use the SSP calculator to work out the actual amount.

UP TO 10K FINE FOR FIRMS WHO STOP SELF-ISOLATION


Business owners who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work can be fined up to £10,000 from 28 September.



People will be required by law to self-isolate from 28 September, supported by payment of £500, for those on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result.


There will be fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will start at £1,000 – bringing this in line with the penalty for breaking quarantine after international travel - but could increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for the most egregious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating.


Steps will be taken to make sure that people are complying with the rules, these include:

  • NHS Test and Trace call handlers making regular contact with those self-isolating, with the ability to escalate any suspicion of non-compliance to Local Authorities and local police;

  • Using police resources to check compliance in highest incidence areas and in high-risk groups, based on local intelligence;

  • Investigating and prosecuting high-profile and egregious cases of non-compliance; and

  • Acting on instances where third parties have identified others who have tested positive, but are not self-isolating.



£500 SELF ISOLATION PAYMENT


If you’re asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and you’re on a low income, unable to work from home and will lose income as a result, you may be entitled to a payment of £500 from your local authority under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

The scheme will run until 31 January 2021.


Eligibility


If you have been told to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020, you’re under a legal obligation to do so, and could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment if you live in England and meet all the following criteria:

  • you have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive

  • you’re employed or self-employed

  • you’re unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating

  • you’re currently receiving at least one of the following:

  • Universal Credit

  • Working Tax Credit

  • income-based Employment and Support Allowance

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

  • Income Support

  • Housing Benefit

  • Pension Credit


If you do not fulfil the above criteria for the Test and Trace Support Payment, you could be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment if you live in England and meet the following criteria:

  • you have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive

  • you are employed or self-employed

  • you are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating

  • you are not currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit

  • you are on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while you are self-isolating

If you’re eligible for either the Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment, you will receive the £500 payment on top of any benefits and Statutory Sick Pay that you currently receive.


HOLIDAY ENTITLEMENT AND PAY DURING COVID19



Contents

  1. Holiday entitlement

  2. Taking holiday

  3. Holiday pay

  4. Carrying annual leave into future leave years

  5. Furloughed agency workers

  6. More information


This guidance outlines how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the coronavirus pandemic. It is designed to help employers understand their legal obligations, in terms of workers who:


This guidance should not be treated as legal advice. Employers and workers should always check individual contracts and if necessary seek independent legal advice.


OPTION TO TAX LAND AND BUILDINGS


Check above for the temporary changes to the time limit and rules for notifying an option to tax land and buildings.

CORONAVIRUS AND CLAIMING BENEFITS


WORKING TAX CREDIT


If you’re part of a working household that receives tax credits, you may be eligible for a new one-off payment of £500. The new payment is being introduced to provide extra support when the temporary increase in Working Tax Credit ends as planned on 5 April 2021.


You do not need to apply for the new payment. HMRC will contact you by text message or letter in April to confirm you are eligible. You do not need to contact HMRC.

This includes those who, on 2 March 2021, receive:

  • Working Tax Credit payments

  • both Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit payments

  • Child Tax Credit payments and are eligible for Working Tax Credit but do not get a payment because their income is too high

If you are eligible, you should receive your payment by 23 April 2021.


Redundancy :- finding work and benefits

Universal credit eligibility checker

New Style Employment and Support Allowance: detailed guide



TAX CREDITS,CHILD BENEFIT & GUARDIAN'S ALLOWANCE


Reduced income? Check if you could get child benefit


The Government has confirmed that people who are unable to work their normal hours because of coronavirus (COVID-19) will still receive their usual tax credits payments.


Those working reduced hours due to coronavirus or those being furloughed by their employer will not have their tax credits payments affected if they are still employed or self-employed.


Further information can be found here.


The Government is uprating Child Benefit, other tax credits rates and thresholds, and Guardian’s Allowance by 1.7% with effect from 6 April 2020. Child Benefit rises to £21.05 per week (from £20.70 per week) for the eldest/only child, and to £13.95 (from £13.70) for other children.


The government has announced that Working Tax Credits (WTC) payments will be increased from 6 April 2020, WTC payments will be increased by £1,045 to £3,040 per year from 6 April 2020 until 5 April 2021.


NEW RATES AND CALCULATORS


The amount a claimant or household will benefit from will depend on their circumstances, including their level of household income. But the increase could mean up to an extra £20 each week.


Due to COVID-19, there are new temporary guidelines in place if your circumstances change as a direct result of COVID-19.


· If your working hours have been temporarily impacted due to these exceptional circumstances and are expected to last 8 weeks or more, you do not have to contact the Tax Credit Office and your payments will continue as normal.


· Further guidance will be provided by the Tax Credit Office after 8 weeks.


· However, it is important to know that if you have any change in circumstances that have not been a direct impact of COVID-19 then you must as normal contact the Tax Credit Office and notify them within the 30 days of the change.


Help Line 0345 300 3900


The normal guidance when receiving W.T.C. is that you must notify the Tax Credit Office within 30 days if you have a change in circumstance such as:


Losing a job

Having a child

Start working less than 16 hours a week


INSURANCE AND COVID 19


BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE


Use the FCA policy checker and policyholder frequently asked questions (FAQs) to find out if your insurance policy may cover business interruption losses caused by coronavirus (Covid-19) as a result of the FCA’s test case and what you can do next.



THE SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT


On 15 January 2021, the Supreme Court handed down its judgment on the issues on appeal from the High Court. Its judgment relates to the High Court’s interpretation of common clauses in 13 out of the 21 business interruption policies in the representative sample. The judgment also considers whether the prevalence of coronavirus in or near the business was the effective ‘cause’ of losses.


The Supreme Court judgment is complex, runs to 112 pages and deals with many issues. A summary of the key points is below. Our legal team at Herbert Smith Freehills have published a bulletin summarising the judgment on their website, which may be referred to for further detail.


The FCA argued for policyholders that the ‘disease’ and ‘prevention of access’ clauses in the representative sample of 21 policy types provide cover in the circumstances of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, and that the trigger for cover caused policyholders’ losses.

The High Court’s judgment last September said that most of the disease clauses and certain prevention of access clauses (12 policy types from the sample of 21, issued by six insurers) provide cover and that the pandemic and the Government and public response caused the business interruption losses. The six insurers appealed those conclusions for 11 of the policy types, but the Supreme Court has dismissed those appeals, for different reasons from those of the High Court.


On the FCA’s appeal, the Supreme Court ruled that cover may be available for partial closure of premises (as well as full closure) and for mandatory closure orders that were not legally binding; that valid claims should not be reduced because the loss would have resulted in any event from the pandemic; and that two additional policy types from insurer QBE provide cover. This will mean that more policyholders will have valid claims and some pay-outs will be higher.

The judgment is legally binding on the eight insurers that agreed to be parties to the test case. Those insurers are:

  • Arch Insurance (UK) Ltd

  • Argenta Syndicate Management Ltd

  • Ecclesiastical Insurance Office Plc

  • MS Amlin Underwriting Ltd

  • Hiscox Insurance Company Ltd

  • QBE UK Ltd

  • Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Plc

  • Zurich Insurance Plc

The judgment also provides authoritative guidance for the interpretation of similar policy wordings and claims. It can be taken into account in other court cases, including in Scotland and Northern Ireland, by the Financial Ombudsman and by the FCA in looking at whether insurers are handling claims fairly. The judgment does not determine how much is payable under individual policies, but provides the basis for doing so.


THE HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT


The High Court handed down its judgement on 15 September 2020. Large parts of the High Court’s judgment (and the associated declarations) are superseded by the judgment of the Supreme Court. But certain parts of the High Court’s judgment were not appealed and therefore have a status similar to that of the Supreme Court’s judgment as described above.


FCA GUIDANCE


We have published the following guidance and statements of particular importance to policyholders:

  • Draft guidance for policyholders on how to prove the presence of coronavirus, which is a condition in certain types of policy. We will issue finalised guidance as soon as possible once the consultation period ends.

  • A list of policies with claims that may be affected by the test case (last updated 15 July 2020 – this does not reflect the outcomes of the test case).

  • Statements on considerations that should be taken into account when applying deductions of government support received by policyholders (see under the heading 'Government support' in the FCA's Dear CEO letter dated 18 September 2020).

SIGN UP FOR UPDATES

Sign up to receive email updates on BI insurance and the test case.



TRADE CREDIT INSURANCE BACKDATED TO APRIL 1 2020


Trade Credit Insurance, which provides essential cover to hundreds of thousands of business-to-business transactions, will receive up to £10 billion of government guarantees.

  • measures will support thousands of businesses by protecting against customer defaults or payment delays

  • scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020, and available insurers operating in the UK market

  • to protect businesses that the private credit market cannot insure,export credit insurance is also available from UK Export Finance to cover UK exports to 180 countries.

The guarantees will support supply chains and help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic to trade with confidence, safe in the knowledge that they will be protected if a customer defaults or delays on payment.

OTHER GOV.UK LINKS


Gov.uk Content


Paying your employees

Paying sick pay

Paying tax

Business rates relief

Business support grant funds

Support for the self-employed

Support for small and medium-sized businesses

Support for businesses during local lockdowns

(COVID-19): information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses

Support for large businesses

Redundancy:- finding work and benefits

Universal credit eligibility checker



We're here to help you through this together, so the T+G support blog is updated every day.


For further guidance call 01995 600 600, or email our support team at covid19@tagac.co.uk

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