COVID19 – IS THE ‘SECOND SPIKE’ COMING?

The Government is taking further measures to stem the recent rise in the number of coronavirus cases, which does not look like a gradual move upwards but a more obvious spike. The rate of positive tests has increased amongst younger people and appears consistent across the country.

There are several local restrictions because of Covid-19 and the Government is now reducing the number of social gatherings in England from 30 to 6 commencing 14 September. The law change will ban larger groups meeting anywhere socially indoors or outdoors although it will not apply to schools, workplaces or Covid-secure weddings, funerals and organised team sports.

The death rate remains low and we all hope this surge has a very different outcome to the last one. Like many businesses we have taken steps to maintain social distancing and protect our employees and clients and think that now it is a good time for all of us to reiterate these and make sure everyone is protected as best they can.

The Government has produced a series of guides for working safety and these are available for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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

Scotland: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-returning-to-work/

Wales: https://gov.wales/keep-wales-safe-work

Northern Ireland: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-workplace-safety-guidance-and-priority-sector-list-published

BREXIT – WILL THE UK AND THE EU REACH A DEAL?

Brexit is in the news daily and as we watch the negotiations unfold and the political “twists and turns” happening it is important to note the transitional UK EU arrangement ends regardless of a “deal or no deal” on the 31 December.

The Government is set to unveil its post-Brexit trading law on how it intends to police UK trade between different parts of the country today. This has already caused much comment over elements which could allow minsters to modify the UK’s existing exit agreement with the EU.

We are not here to comment on the politics or the negotiations but remind businesses that the key date to note for any new deal is the 15 October by when the UK wants a summit with the EU to agree terms. This would allow time for the deal to be ratified by both parties. This timeline may move!

What we can say is that over the next few months we will keep all our clients up to date with the latest news and provide practical guidance on what steps to take before and after the 31 December 2020.

The Government has produced a personalised list of actions for you, your family and your business to help prepare for Brexit. See: https://www.gov.uk/transition

 

 

 

 

THE LATEST INDICATORS FOR THE UK ECONOMY AND SOCIETY

Early experimental data on the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the UK economy and society show that:

  • Over half (54%) of businesses that had not permanently ceased trading said they were owed outstanding invoice payments as a result of the pandemic.
  • Less than half of all businesses had cash reserves to last six months.
  • On the 23 August 11% of the entire UK workforce were Furloughed.
  • There was a continuing trend of reduced home working according to the latest Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN), with 20% of working adults exclusively working from home.
  • Between 21 and 28 August, total online job adverts remained around 55% of their 2019 average for a fourth consecutive week.
  • In the week commencing 24 August, overall footfall increased to over three-quarters of its value the same day a year ago for the first time since lockdown began.

Note: The Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS) is voluntary and currently unweighted, so it may only reflect the characteristics of those who responded. Results presented are experimental.

See: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronavirustheukeconomyandsocietyfasterindicators/3september2020

Please talk to us about using digital bookkeeping to automate invoicing and collection. We are Cloud Accounting specialists and we can help you move your business into the Digital era – essential in the new working from home environment.

It is very clear from the survey that cash flow planning is absolutely necessary right now and we can help you plan forward and make better business decisions.

We have some great planning tools – just ask!

 

 

KICKSTART – CHECK IF YOU CAN APPLY FOR A GRANT AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF A GROUP OF EMPLOYERS THROUGH THE KICKSTART SCHEME AND FIND INFORMATION ABOUT HOW TO JOIN A REPRESENTITIVE GROUP.

If you are considering becoming a representative for a group of employers, check what information you need to provide to apply for a grant through the Kickstart Scheme. If you are looking to join a group of employers see the link below on where to find employer contacts.

A Kickstart Scheme application must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. If a single employer cannot provide this many job placements, they can:

  • join a group of other employers, nominating a representative for the group to submit the application
  • register their interest with existing representatives, such as local authorities, chambers of commerce or trade bodies

Finding a representative:

You can contact your local or national Kickstart Scheme employer contact for help getting a representative, See: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/kickstart-scheme-employer-contacts/kickstart-scheme-employer-contacts

GUIDANCE FOR FOOD BUSINESSES

The Government has issued guidance which is intended for all workplaces involved in the manufacturing, processing, warehousing, picking, packaging, retailing and service of food.

This also includes important information about the risk of community dissemination of coronavirus from circumstances or activities related to the workplace such as transportation and accommodation arrangements.

This guidance is of general nature and is intended to be compatible with the relevant health and safety legislation, please note that if there appears to be a conflict between this guidance and the relevant health and safety legislation, the latter shall prevail.

See:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-food-businesses/guidance-for-food-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19

WEDDING SERVICES: CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS

There is now a statement setting out the Competition and Markets Authority’s views on how the law operates in relation to contracts for wedding services affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

See:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wedding-services-coronavirus-covid-19-cancellations-and-refunds?utm_source=a01f2644-e26f-40a4-aaf0-53fb977de806&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

DOWNLOAD A TEMPLATE IF YOU’RE CLAIMING FOR 100 OR MORE EMPLOYEES THROUGH THE CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME

HMRC has updated its template with the details of the employees you are claiming for and upload this when you claim (for claims on or after 1 July 2020).

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/download-a-template-if-youre-claiming-for-100-or-more-employees-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme?utm_source=9145b1ea-507d-4338-953f-f79222ea7e27&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

If you are claiming for less than 100 employees please talk to us in advance of making any claims.

See our flexible furlough collection spreadsheet:

You may have read recently about statistics on false claims and errors made with up to £3.5billion lost to the Government. We are here to help you minimise any errors with claims and deal with HMRC on your behalf. Please contact us if you have any concerns over past or present claims.

 

INFORMATION FOR FARMERS, LANDOWNERS AND RURAL BUSINESSES

The Government has updated the latest information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Fund to support dairy farmers: The application deadline for the Dairy Response Fund is extended to midnight on 11 September 2020. This gives eligible farmers more time to apply for a single payment from the fund.

Read this page for regular updates:

See:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-farmers-landowners-and-rural-businesses?utm_source=edc33406-6c6b-45f8-911e-a2d0a43c7525&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

 

BOUNCE-BACK PLANS LAUNCHED FOR CONSUMER AND RETAIL INDUSTRY

A ‘bounce-back’ plan of trade measures for the consumer and retail industry has been announced by the Department for International Trade (DIT) to help support businesses impacted by Coronavirus. These are:

  • New measures to help boost exports and increase British retail firms’ readiness to sell overseas
  • New plans include creation of a Consumer and Retail Export Academy to help businesses export, via a digital learning syllabus

DIT say “The new measures will offer immediate support to businesses by ensuring specialists provide advice on online retail and international marketplaces. The launch of a new Consumer and Retail Export Academy will provide businesses with the critical knowledge, skills and networks needed to increase exports. The plan will also outline long-term support for the sector as new export opportunities arise from trade deals being negotiated with the US, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.”

Further details are expected, and we will bring you the facts of the support when we receive them.

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/bounce-back-plans-launched-for-consumer-and-retail-industry?utm_source=5ed9f0f5-098d-46e5-bdbe-6daf4655d88e&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate