Category Archives: Covid-19

NEWS – FRIDAY 31ST JULY 2020


NEWS – FRIDAY 31ST JULY 2020

NEWS ROUNDUP

COVID-19 SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS

Rishi gave the powers to the taxman to give away and now the taxman been given the powers to taketh away. Paul Southward comments on penalties and claims. https://bit.ly/3jXIWc3

#covid19 #penalties

TAX NEWS – FRIDAY 31ST JULY 2020

IHT receipts see first dip in a decade

HMRC figures show that the money raised from inheritance tax fell for the first time in a decade last year. The 2019/20 tax year saw the Treasury pull in £5.2bn in IHT, with this £223m down on the inheritance tax take for the previous year, marking a 4% decline. HMRC said the introduction of the residence nil-rate band in the 2017/18 tax year was the main reason IHT receipts – and number of people paying the tax – fell last year. With Chancellor Rishi Sunak reportedly looking at ways to raise cash to cover the nation’s coronavirus bill, Mike Hodges of Saffery Champness suggests non-doms could become a target if IHT bands or rules are changed. He added that while those with non-domicile tax status “will likely be considered a safe target politically”, Mr Sunak “will need to be mindful to not throw the baby out with the bathwater” with such individuals providing a significant source of investment in the economy. Tom Elliot of Crowe adds that if the Treasury is considering an annual wealth tax, “this would provide the perfect opportunity to not just reform IHT but do away with it completely.”

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 9 Financial Times Daily Mail

HMRC targets wealthy in push on tax evasion

HMRC has targeted “the wealthiest and most sophisticated” tax evaders, launching 430 investigations into serious and complex evasion in 2019/20 – a 26% increase on 2018/19 and 65% up on 2017/18.

Financial Times

Paul Southward reminds you that if you or your business face an enquiry from the Taxman, you should contact him for advice and guidance.

Avoiding a bloodbath on the UK high street

The FT looks at support measures the Treasury is considering for high street retailers, noting that an online sales tax and rethink of business rates have been mooted.

Financial Times, Page: 22

EMPLOYMENT NEWS – FRIDAY 31ST JULY 2020

Furloughed staff payoffs to be based on full wage

As of today, furloughed workers losing their jobs will see redundancy pay based on their normal wages as opposed to the furlough rate. The change will apply to redundancy payments, statutory notice pay and other entitlements. Business Secretary Alok Sharma remarked: “It is important that employees receive the payments they are rightly entitled to,” continuing: “The Government is doing everything it can to protect people’s livelihoods.” This comes as experts predict that the number of people made redundant during the coronavirus crisis, which currently stands at around 150,000, will rise, especially once the furlough scheme ends in October. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady welcomed the move, saying paying people full redundancy “is the right thing to do”, but called on ministers to extend the furlough scheme, arguing: Without this, we risk an avalanche of redundancies in the autumn.”

BBC News Evening Standard

PROPERTY NEWS – FRIDAY 31ST JULY 2020

Home-working shift set to prompt office exodus

Landlords and property agents believe a mass exodus from offices may be on the cards, with the coronavirus lockdown driving a remote working revolution. A survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) has seen nine in ten agents and landlords say they expect companies to scale back on office space in the next two years, with rents set to decline as firms opt for smaller, cheaper sites. The poll shows that more than half of respondents expect more businesses to base themselves in suburban offices rather than city centres. Rics said office rents are likely to fall by between 4% to 7% in the next 12 months, while the dip in demand could see retail rents decline by up to 14%. Rics economist Tarrant Parsons comments: “The recent shift into remote working raises many questions across the office sector, with respondents expecting businesses to re-evaluate their office space requirements over the next two years.”

The Daily Telegraph

SMEs NEWS – FRIDAY 31ST JULY 2020

BT offers support to small firms

BT is to offer subsidies and bursaries to small businesses, with its Small Business Support Scheme offering a subsidy of £2,500 to fund the cost of ultrafast business connections for entrepreneurs and tech start-ups. The telecoms firm has also pledged to pay its 4,500 smaller suppliers within days of being invoiced. BT chief executive Philip Jansen, who described small businesses as “the beating heart of the UK economy”, said that as the country looks to emerge from the coronavirus crisis, the economic recovery “hinges on their survival and ability to grow.” “If small businesses fail, our wider economy will fail to rebound,” he added.

The Sun, Page: 47

INTERNATIONAL NEWS – FRIDAY 31ST JULY 2020

Scholz defends handling of Wirecard debacle at Bundestag grilling

German MPs have sought answers regarding why APAS, the watchdog for auditors in the country, had not expressed any doubts about Wirecard’s long-time auditor EY.

Financial Times

ECONOMY NEWS – FRIDAY 31ST JULY 2020

Economic revival under way

Guardian analysis suggests that Britain’s economy has begun to repair the damage from the coronavirus lockdown. Its monthly tracker of economic news shows that while the hardest-hit sectors of the economy remain under severe pressure, the easing of lockdown is enabling business activity and retail sales to return to close to pre-pandemic levels. However, Howard Davies, the chairman of NatWest Group, has warned that the recovery could stutter as government support is gradually removed. He said: “We cannot assume the spending recovery we have seen so far will persist into the autumn. There is a risk that the prospect of job losses will dampen spending.” The analysis by the Guardian focused on eight economic indicators, with its findings showing that GDP returned to growth in May, while retail sales climbed by 13.9% in June. However, the report also cites an Office for Budget Responsibility estimate that the unemployment rate, currently at 3.9% , may double before year end, while Resolution Foundation research suggests the average household has seen the biggest hit to its finances since the 1970s.

The Guardian, Page: 34

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward


NEWS – TUESDAY 14TH JULY 2020


NEWS – TUESDAY 14TH JULY 2020

NEWS ROUNDUP

TAX NEWS – TUESDAY 14TH JULY 2020

SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS UPDATES

HMRC have updated their online guidance relating to various aspects of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

The updated guidance is:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/calculate-how-much-you-can-claim-using-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/reporting-payments-in-paye-real-time-information-from-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/steps-to-take-before-calculating-your-claim-using-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

HMRC launch “Eat out to help out” registration:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hmrc-invites-hospitality-industry-to-register-for-eat-out-to-help-out

Don’t get caught by the fraudsters:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/genuine-hmrc-contact-and-recognising-phishing-emails

CORPORATE NEWS – TUESDAY 14TH JULY 2020

UK sees rise in zombie firms

Britain is now Europe’s capital for zombie businesses, accounting for a third of the region’s indebted companies kept alive by low interest rates and bailouts. Bank of America analysis shows that the proportion of UK non-financial businesses which were zombies has jumped six percentage points to 15% in the last year, the highest level in Europe. The study shows that the coronavirus crisis prompted a surge in zombie firms across Europe in Q1. Barnaby Martin, credit strategist at Bank of America, said: “Too much debt risks leaving corporates as zombies, which makes it even more challenging for economies to rebound from recessions vigorously.” He added that the increase in zombie firms “puts extra urgency on proactive fiscal policy by governments to help reduce corporate leverage in this crisis”.

The Daily Telegraph

Fund manager knew Wirecard was ‘dodgy’

Fund manager Thomas Brown, of the Miton European Opportunities fund, has admitted that he held shares in Wirecard in his portfolio despite knowing the company was “dodgy”. He said he had been “stupid” to trust the firm’s accounts as he “knew that Wirecard was dodgy” and “a little bit murky in what they were doing.” He blamed the firm’s auditors, EY, for not verifying that Wirecard’s cash existed and himself for trusting the auditor. EY said there are “clear indications that there has been a large-scale international fraud … expertly designed to circumvent all the checks and balances.”

The Daily Telegraph

Output increases

Business output across UK services and manufacturing increased significantly in June, with BDO analysis showing both sectors benefited from the continued lifting of lockdown restrictions. BDO’s Services Output Index rose by 11.20 points to 64.73 in June, its largest increase on record. This mirrors the jump seen in May’s Manufacturing Index, which rose from 69.55 to 80.47. Overall, BDO’s Output Index rose by 11.16 points to 66.50 in June, with this still below the 95 level that represents positive growth.

Yorkshire Post, Business, Page: 3

Quiz suspends supplier

Fashion firm Quiz has pledged to launch a “full review” of its auditing processes after it was revealed that workers were being offered as little as £3 an hour to make its clothes. Quiz says it has suspended one of its suppliers which had used a sub-contractor “in direct contravention of a previous instruction from Quiz”.

The Times, Page: 35

FINANCIAL SERVICES NEWS – TUESDAY 14TH JULY 2020

Market abuse amid the pandemic

Writing in City AM, Duff & Phelps’ Nick Bayley looks at abuse in capital markets, with a Duff & Phelps survey having recently found that 32% of industry professionals thought that the risk had increased “significantly” during the coronavirus pandemic, while 55% thought the risk had increased at least “marginally”. He says that despite the difficulties and an unorthodox working situation brought about by the lockdown, the industry’s ability to tackle these challenges has been “robust”, with 78% of the poll’s respondents saying their firm’s market surveillance arrangements were coping well.

City AM

London leads Europe in follow-on fundraising

Data from EY shows that London markets have seen their busiest six months for follow-on fundraising in a decade, with more than £21bn of funds raised in H1. Of all the funds amassed in Europe in Q2, 40% was raised in London. In a combined measure of IPO and follow-on activity since the start of the year, London came behind only NYSE and the Nasdaq, and Hong Kong. EY’s Scott McCubbin commented: “Whilst IPO activity has been almost extinguished by COVID-19, in what is historically the busiest quarter of the year, the markets were focussed on supporting fundraising by existing issuers to shore-up finances to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.”

City AM

SMEs NEWS – TUESDAY 14TH JULY 2020

Small businesses could see 1.4m job losses

Small business may be forced to cut 1.4m jobs unless ministers move to rescue the economy, according to a survey by computing company Sage. The study found that more than three-fifths of SMEs have launched redundancies or are planning to do so amid the coronavirus crisis, with 15% saying they expect to collapse if there is a second wave of COVID-19 cases. Around half said they could go bust if revenue drops by a fifth between now and September. The poll of 2,000 firms saw 65% say management jobs were most likely to be targeted, while 79% do not expect to be making the same profits they did before the pandemic by year-end. Sage managing director Sabby Gill, who described the findings of the report as “gut wrenching”, noted that businesses are embracing the digital revolution as a result of the pandemic, adding that small firms could be encouraged to invest in technology with tax breaks and other support.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3

PROPERTY NEWS – TUESDAY 14TH JULY 2020

Nationwide to restart 90% mortgages

Nationwide is to restart mortgage lending to first-time buyers with a 10% deposit, saying the stamp duty tax break introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak had helped restore confidence in the property sector. The building society restricted its mortgages in June, citing fears that falling house prices could leave high-mortgage borrowers in negative equity, with only customers holding a 15% deposit having been able to apply for loans. It has now said it will resume lending to first-time buyers with a 10% deposit as of July 20. Following Nationwide’s announcement, Coventry Building Society said it would offer 90% mortgages on a trial basis, while Platform, part of the Co-operative Bank, will now also offer 90% loans.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 5

EMPLOYMENT NEWS – TUESDAY 14TH JULY 2020

BoE governor ‘very worried about jobs’

Bank of England (BoE) governor Andrew Bailey has said that while the economy is showing signs of recovery from the coronavirus crisis, he remains concerned about unemployment. He told an event organised by Speakers for Schools: “We are seeing the economy come back now somewhat, because obviously the restrictions are beginning to be lifted … But there’s a long way to go, we are very worried about jobs, as are a lot of people.” “We think it is likely that more activity will return, but more jobs will not return necessarily immediately,” he added.

City AM The Daily Telegraph

ECONOMY NEWS – TUESDAY 14TH JULY 2020

OBR boss proposes debt write-off

Richard Hughes, the new head of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), says a broad write-off of toxic coronavirus debt may be the only way to save the economy. He has suggested making repayments on £45bn of taxpayer-backed loans earnings-contingent, saying they could be linked to companies’ revenue, with anything owed after a set timeframe cancelled. Speaking to MPs on the Treasury Select Committee, Mr Hughes said: “The longer the crisis goes on for, the more likely it becomes that Government-guaranteed loans become less of a facilitator of the recovery and more of a burden, because firms have built up large stocks of debt which they will struggle to write off.” He added: “The more that debt is a burden on companies, the less they will invest.” Edwin Morgan, of the Institute of Directors, commented: “Our figures suggest corporate debt could cast a shadow over investment plans for some time.” “We’ve called for a student loan-style system, by which firms pay back as they recover,” he added.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1

Retailers see sales rise in June

Retailers saw the biggest monthly sales jump since May 2018 in June after a number of high street stores reopened, with the British Retail Consortium-KPMG retail sales monitor revealing a 3.4% increase. This represents the first growth since the lockdown was introduced and marks an improvement on an average decline of 6.4% recorded over the previous three months. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “June finally saw a return to growth in total sales, primarily driven by online as a result of lockdown measures being eased and pent-up demand being released.” She added that retail “is not out of the woods yet”, warning that the pandemic “continues to pose huge challenges to the industry, with ongoing store closures and job losses.” Paul Martin, head of retail at KPMG, said: “Retailers won’t be picking up where they left off and months of reduced or no sales will threaten the survival of many.”

The Guardian, Page: 33 Financial Times, Page: 2 The Times, Page: 38 The Independent, Page: 52 The I, Page: 43 Daily Express, Page: 44 The Sun, Page: 43

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward


CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS UPDATE (29.05.2020)


CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS UPDATE (29.05.2020)

On Friday 29th May 2020 the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced more details about the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and we’ve outlined these below for you.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Chancellor has announced three changes to the job retention scheme:

  1. From 1st July 2020, the scheme will be made more flexible to enable employers to bring previously furloughed employees back part time and still receive a grant for the time when they are not working.
  2. From 1st August 2020, employers will have to start contributing to the wage costs of paying their furloughed staff and this employer contribution will gradually increase in September and October.
  3. The scheme will close to new entrants from 30th June.
  1. Part time furloughing

From 1st July 2020, businesses using the scheme will have the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part time – with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages for any of their normal hours they do not work up until the end of August. This flexibility comes a month earlier than previously announced to help people get back to work.

Employers will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, and will be responsible for paying their wages in full while working. This means that employees can work as much or as little as the business needs, with no minimum time that they can furlough staff for.

Any working hours arrangement agreed between a business and their employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, they will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week. They can choose to make claims for longer periods such as on monthly or two weekly cycles if preferred. Employers will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked.

If employees are unable to return to work, or employers do not have work for them to do, they can remain on furlough and the employer can continue to claim the grant for their full hours under the existing rules.

  1. Employer contributions

From August, the government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be slowly tapered.

  • in June and July, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICs) and pension contributions for the hours the employee doesn’t work – employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work
  • in August, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 but employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs that they would have incurred if the employee had not been furloughed
  • in September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • in October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • the cap on the furlough grant will be proportional to the hours not worked.

Many smaller employers have some or all of their employer NIC bills covered by the Employment Allowance so will not be significantly impacted by that part of the tapering of the government contribution.

Around a quarter of CJRS monthly claims relate to wages that are below the threshold where employer NICs and auto enrolment contributions are due, and so no employer contribution will be required for these furloughed employees in August.

  1. Important dates

It’s important to note that the scheme will close to new entrants from 30th June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30th June.

This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10th June for the current three-week furlough period to be completed by 30th June. Employers will have until 31st July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30th June.

Guidance and support

Further support for employers and agents on how to calculate claims with this extra flexibility will be available by 12th June, including webinars and detailed online guidance. For information about how to claim, go to GOV.UK and search ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’. Please do not call us for more information, everything you need to know about this scheme will be published online on GOV.UK.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Chancellor also announced plans to extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) for those people whose trade continues to be, or is newly, adversely affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus). Eligible self-employed people will be able to claim a second and final SEISS grant in August; this will be a taxable grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits for three months, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £6,570 in total.

The eligibility criteria for the second grant will be the same as for the first grant. People do not need to have claimed the first grant to claim the second grant: for example, their business may have been adversely affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus) more recently.

Claims for the first SEISS grant, which opened on 13th May, must be made no later than 13th July. Eligible self-employed people must make a claim before that date to receive the first SEISS grant (a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total). So far, we’ve seen over 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion.

It’s really important to note that as with the first SEISS grant, the eligible individual must make the claim themselves. If you attempt to make a claim on behalf of your client, this will trigger a fraud alert and will result in significant delays to payment. However, you can help to prepare your clients by ensuring they have the relevant information ready. The claims process is simple: we will calculate the amount of self-employment support individuals will receive, they don’t need to do this themselves.

More information about the second SEISS grant will be available on GOV.UK on 12th June.

In the meantime, please help us reach those self-employed people who could benefit from a SEISS grant now, by encouraging anyone you think might be eligible for the first grant but hasn’t yet made a claim to do so before 13th July.

Protect yourself from scams

Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Search ‘scams’ on GOV.‌‌UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.

Return to the KSK recent news pages to keep up to date with the latest developments.


NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020


NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

NEWS ROUNDUP

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS UPDATE

Following the range of updates over the last several weeks, we have now rounded up the latest information from the government on specific schemes where additional detail was released. This update covers measures discussed on 4 May.  Download here: –

C-19 Business Support Update

BUSINESS UPDATE NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

KSK Latest Business Update publication now available

Download:

Business Update

EMPLOYMENT NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

Hiring activity plummets to 22-year low

Data from KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found hiring activity fell at the sharpest rate in 22 years last month with the survey also finding a record drop in overall vacancies and a steep rise in the availability of candidates. The REC is calling for the lifting of government support to be tapered to prevent more redundancies. James Stewart, vice-chair at KPMG, said: “The pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the UK jobs market with a record drop in vacancies and recruitment plans frozen. We estimate as many as 13m jobs are highly affected by the lockdown, just over a third of all jobs. It’s an unprecedented situation for UK business, and resilience, then recovery, is key to navigating through the crisis. All eyes will be on the forthcoming announcement on easing restrictions so confidence can start to rebuild.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3 Daily Mail, Page: 70 The Times, Page: 46 Yorkshire Post, Page: 6

CORPORATE NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

Clarks brings in Big Four firms for potential restructuring

Shoe retailer Clarks has brought in Deloitte to advise the company on a potential restructuring, raising concerns of more store closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Fellow Big Four firms KPMG and PwC will be advising the family shareholders and the syndicate of Clarks’ lenders, respectively. Last year, the retailer warned that it was under “significant stress” following a sharp decline in sales, and that it would make a “meaningful” number of store closures. These problems have been further compacted by the lockdown measures. A spokeswoman for Clarks said: “Our leadership team is currently reviewing all options to protect our business, our people and the Clarks brand for future long-term growth. It is our policy not to comment on specific commercial appointments.”

The Times, Page: 45

Debenhams to close five stores after lockdown ends

Debenhams has confirmed that another five stores will not be re-opening after lockdown restrictions are lifted. In a statement the retailer said: “We can confirm that despite our best efforts, we have been unable to agree terms with Hammerson on our five stores in its shopping centres, and so they will not be reopening.” Debenhams fell into administration for the second time in a year last month, with FRP Advisory brought in to help get the business in the best possible position for when restrictions are lifted.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2 The Guardian, Page: 29

Uber to axe 3,700 staff

Uber has announced plans to cut 3,700 full-time staff with the company saying the reductions will come from its customer support and recruiting teams. The firm saw demand for its taxi services fall by more than 60% in coronavirus hotspots during March.

The Times, Page: 49

Nuffield Southampton Theatres enters administration

Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST) has entered administration as a result of the financial impact caused by coronavirus. Buyers are being sought by joint administrators Greg Palfrey and Steve Adshead, from the south coast office of Smith & Williamson.

The Guardian

Top investor calls for dismissal of Wirecard chief Markus Braun

Shareholders are calling for the dismissal of Wirecard CEO Markus Braun following KPMG’s special audit into its accounting and business practices. The probe found no evidence of fraud but raised questions about accounting methods and the existence of certain sales and clients.

Financial Times Financial Times

Companies are dangerously drunk on debt

The FT features a column urging changes in debt taxation, bonus rules and pensions to address “the iniquities of the current system,” which remains vulnerable to future crises.

Financial Times

SMEs NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

Small firms secure £2bn in bounce-back loans in first 24 hours

Small businesses have secured more than 69,000 government-backed loans worth in excess of £2bn in the first 24 hours of the scheme’s launch. The number represents 53% of the 130,000 applications lodged by businesses trying to access cheap funding through the Bounce-Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), which launched on Monday morning as part of the government’s response to the COVID-19 lockdown. The government-backed loans are worth up to £50,000, capped at 25% of a firm’s turnover, at an interest rate of 2.5%. Mike Cherry, the national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said despite a “promising start” for the bounce-back scheme, some firms were still reporting difficulties. He said: “Many of the most vulnerable business owners – particularly sole traders – only have personal banks accounts and, as a result, are being told they cannot access a bounce-back loan. It’s vital that they are helped to secure the finance on which many will depend to make it through this incredibly challenging time”. It is also reported that if a business does not have an account with one of the accredited lenders they face a long wait. Mr Cherry added that alternative lenders should be signed up rapidly to improve the reach of the scheme.

The Guardian, Page: 27 Daily Mail, Page: 70 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3 Financial Times, Page: 2

We need less than a week to restart, small businesses say

A survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) reveals that Britain’s smallest businesses would need less than a week’s notice to restart operations. Only 3% of businesses said they would need more than three weeks’ notice to get back up and running once lockdown restrictions are eased, the BCC’s coronavirus business impact tracker found. Elsewhere, a poll of members by the Institute of Directors found just 49% of firms believed that they could “operate viably at pre-lockdown levels” while maintaining social distancing rules. “Social distancing presents an unprecedented challenge for firms and some may be simply unable to make it work,” said the IoD’s Jonathan Geldart.

The Independent, Page: 55 The Times, Page: 47 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3

PROPERTY NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

Business rates revaluation postponed in light of pandemic

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed that a business rates revaluation has been postponed, as the government seeks to provide more clarity to businesses affected by coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, remarked: “Delaying is a pragmatic move at such a demanding time for businesses. It is vital that the revaluation occurs afresh after the crisis to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on commercial property costs,” while Gerry Biddle, business rates lead at Deloitte, added: “Property values as at 1st April 2019 will no longer be used and businesses will likely benefit from a recalculation at a later date.”

Financial Times, Page: 3 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 7 The I, Page: 43 Yorkshire Post, Business, Page: 3

PENSIONS NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

House moves behind £19.4bn in lost pensions

Research by the Association of British insurers (ABI) suggests there are about 1.6m pension pots worth £19.4bn which are going unclaimed due to savers failing to contact their pension provider when they move house.

FT Adviser

ECONOMY NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

Eurozone contraction threatens single market

The European Commission has predicted a 7.7% slump in GDP across the eurozone this year with recovery not expected until the end of 2021. Economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni warned that the divergence in the depth of the recession across different countries would pose “a threat to the single market and the euro area.” The forecasts came as a purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey of businesses revealed that activity in the eurozone collapsed to the lowest level on record in April. The composite PMI fell to an unprecedented 13.6, down from March’s previous record low of 29.7. Britain, which remains in the single market and customs union until the end of the year, is forecast to contract by 8.3%. France will be hit almost as hard, with a forecast contraction of 8.2%, while Germany is set to suffer a predicted fall of 6.5%. Southern states are expected to see contractions closer to 10%.

The Daily Telegraph The Times, Page: 47 The Guardian, Page: 27

Business demands clarity on easing lockdown

Business leaders are calling for comprehensive forward guidance from the government on what restrictions could be lifted and when as bosses grow increasingly impatient for a clear route out of the lockdown. Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said businesses “know government may have to pause or change the process based on new scientific advice, but need some guidance in order to plan effectively for restart.” Meanwhile, MakeUK, the manufacturers’ trade body, has published a plan for the sector’s recovery which includes extending support while demand is gradually lifted back to pre-crisis levels. Elsewhere, Jonathan Athow, Office for National Statistics deputy national statistician for economic statistics, has said the UK economy will face a “significant decline” in the first half of the year.

The Daily Telegraph The Daily Telegraph Financial Times

REGULATION NEWS – THURSDAY 7TH MAY 2020

Brussels plans new anti-money laundering authority

The EU is to consult on plans to create a new anti-money laundering enforcement body as Brussels seeks to ramp up Europe’s response to a wave of money-laundering scandals.

Financial Times

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward


GOVERNMENT SUPPORT LINKS


GOVERNMENT SUPPORT LINKS

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

29th April 2020

Here are links to the government support links giving the latest guidance:

FUNDING AND SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES

This links to the main finance support, covering:

  • Paying your employees
  • Paying sick pay
  • Paying tax
  • Business rates relief
  • Business support grants
  • Support for the self-employed
  • Support for small and medium-sized businesses
  • Support for large businesses

Here: financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT LINKS

SELF-EMPLOYED PEOPLE AND SOLE TRADERS

  • Claim a grant:

claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

  • Universal credit:

self-employment-and-universal-credit

  • If you cannot pay your tax bill on time:

difficulties-paying-hmrc

  • Continuing working -safe social distancing:

social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance

  • Relaxation for Drivers’ hours:

covid-19-guidance-on-drivers-hours-relaxations

  • Negotiating a mortgage payment holiday:

mortgages-coronavirus-consumers

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT LINKS

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES

  • General guidance and safeguarding employees:

guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19

  • Claiming wages through the Job Retention Scheme

claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

  • Social distancing in the workplace:

social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance

  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Guidance:

employers-sick-pay

  • Claim back SSP:

claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

  • Guidance if employee needs time off:

what-to-do-if-an-employee-needs-time-off-work-to-look-after-someone

  • Working from home – employee expenses:

check-which-expenses-are-taxable-if-your-employee-works-from-home-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

  • Apprenticeships during the coronavirus outbreak:

coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response

  • Advice for Tier 2, 4 and 5 sponsors:

coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-tier-2-4-and-5-sponsors

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT LINKS

MANAGING YOUR BUSINESS DURING CORONAVIRUS

  • Cleaning your workplace safely:

covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings

  • Hand hygiene posters:

hand-hygiene/resources/

  • Temporary relaxation of rules to help businesses:

rules-that-have-been-relaxed-to-help-businesses-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic

  • Construction sites and safe working:

remediation-and-covid-19-building-safety-update-27-march-2020

  • Farmers, landowners and rural businesses:

information-for-farmers-landowners-and-rural-businesses

  • Food businesses:

guidance-for-food-businesses

  • Freight transport industry:

covid-19-guidance-on-freight-transport

  • Medical and Healthcare industry:

mhra-guidance-on-coronavirus-covid-19

  • Shipping and seaports businesses:

shipping-and-sea-ports-guidance

  • Supported accommodation, residential care and home care:

residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance

  • Transport businesses:

guidance-for-staff-in-the-transport-sector

  • Avoiding and supporting scammers:

report-suspicious-emails-websites-phishing

BUSINESS CLOSURES

  • Businesses that must close:

further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance

  • Staying safe and continuing in business:

guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19

  • Holiday accommodation:

covid-19-advice-for-accommodation-providers

  • Closed businesses and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:

claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

CAN YOUR BUSINESS PROVIDE HELP?

  • Offer the help of your business:

coronavirus-support-from-business

All the links are correct at the time of publication, please reporting missing / broken links to Paul Southward.

If you need any further help or guidance on any of the matters above contact Paul Southward or your usual KSK contact.

Paul Southward's News Roundup

Download PDF Copy:

Here


NEWS – TUESDAY 28TH APRIL 2020


NEWS – TUESDAY 28TH APRIL 2020

NEWS ROUNDUP

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS

FINANCE NEWS – TUESDAY 28TH APRIL 2020

Rishi Sunak launches bounce back loan scheme for small firms

The Chancellor has launched a new loan scheme for Britain’s smallest firms following intense lobbying over fears millions of businesses would never recover from the coronavirus lockdown. The new “Business Bounce Back” loans will be 100% guaranteed by the taxpayer and will provide firms with up to 25% of their turnover up to £50,000 with no interest payable in the first year. Rishi Sunak has come under fire for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) designed for SMEs after businesses complained that lenders were complicating credit decisions. Under CBILS, firms with turnover of up to £50m are allowed to apply for loans of up to £5m with 80% of the debt backed by the government. Small firms applying under the new scheme need to fill out just a “simple, quick, standard form”, Mr Sunak said, while banks will not need to perform any “forward looking tests of businesses viability”. Yesterday, the Bank of England said banks should rely “on judgement in the absence of financial forecast information” when making credit decisions. Banking body UK Finance responded by saying that lenders “will only ask businesses [applying for CBILS-backed lending] for information and data they might reasonably be able to provide at speed.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1 Financial Times, Page: 2 The Times, Page: 2 City AM Daily Express, Page: 6 The Independent, Page: 10 Daily Mail, Page: 14 The Guardian, Page: 27

TAX NEWS – TUESDAY 28TH APRIL 2020

Tax avoidance – should we punish past misdemeanours in the middle of a pandemic?

Following a call from leading clergyman for companies based in tax havens to be denied government help during the coronavirus pandemic, Labour MP Peter Kyle pressed the Chancellor to push such companies to adjust their behaviour once the crisis is over. In response, Rishi Sunak said simply that it was important that businesses “act responsibility”, but did not set out any plans to bar tax-avoiding firms from state bailouts. Elsewhere, Margaret Hodge, another Labour MP and former head of parliament’s public accounts committee, says multinationals that avoid paying tax in the UK should be made to repay their loans before paying dividends. Singling out Starbucks, Virgin Active, Arcadia and The Range, Dame Margaret suggests in a piece for the Times that the government require companies to demonstrate they make a “fair contribution to the public coffers by paying their tax” before they can benefit from state aid. “The law-abiding taxpayer will settle for nothing less.” Finally, the Telegraph’s Matthew Lynn asserts that such arguments are moot considering if the companies are not helped they will be paying no further taxes anyway. Lending to them regardless of their past behaviour now means the government can influence how they are run in the future. In the middle of the worst recession in history, “we need to make sure that each bailout remains a purely economic decision. Everything else can wait for later.”

The Guardian, Page: 12 The Times, Page: 8 The Times The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 4

Tax avoidance products in decline

According to a survey of market onlookers, advising consultants and tax specialists, the majority now believe tax avoidance practices are far less widespread. The respondents to the survey suggested that the regulation and political actions taken during the last decade had significantly reduced the options available to make tax avoidance possible. Rachael Griffin, tax and financial planning expert at Quilter, said: “People are now more likely to steer clear of schemes that skirt close to the boundaries of what is acceptable for fear that it may be challenged at a later date.”

International Adviser

CORPORATE NEWS – TUESDAY 28TH APRIL 2020

Private equity firms seek rule change to gain aid access

The British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association is working with the Treasury and the British Business Bank, along with its counterparts in Europe, to persuade Brussels to adjust EU laws preventing companies deemed to be in financial distress from being bailed out by taxpayers. The “undertaking in difficulty” provisions mean a firm applying to the government’s Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) would be turned down if its accumulated losses exceed 50% of its share capital. Private equity firms typically load the buyout target with debt, sometimes secured from low-tax countries, reducing corporation tax while accumulated losses can also offset future liabilities. They say the European Commission should amend the scheme so businesses that were “funded primarily by debt, are investing heavily to grow and are otherwise performing well (save for the current crisis)” could apply.

The Times, Page: 39

NMC Health to quit London Stock Exchange

Private hospital firm NMC Health has revealed plans to quit the London Stock Exchange after issues with its finances led to a two-month share suspension. Richard Fleming, joint administrator of NMC Health and managing director of turnaround firm Alvarez & Marsal, commented: “We are working at pace to ensure continuity of patient care, stability for staff and suppliers and financial security for NMC’s operating companies.”

The Daily Telegraph The Times, Page: 41

EMPLOYMENT NEWS – TUESDAY 28TH APRIL 2020

HMRC moves to combat double counting furloughed workers

The accuracy of data on furloughed workers has been questioned after HMRC said it would end daily reporting and move to a weekly update on the numbers. The move aims to avoid double counting those workers who have more than one job and so could show up several times. Figures suggest that more than 4m people are now relying on the scheme, which covers 80% of employees’ wages up to £2,500 a month. Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, commented: “While double-counting may be affecting the overall number of individuals affected, it’s still valuable to be able to put a figure on how many jobs are being protected by the scheme. Gauging which sectors are engaging most with the system can help our understanding of the current impact on the economy.” Meanwhile, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak is discussing with business groups and unions how to phase out the job retention scheme to avoid a surge in unemployment when it ends.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1 Financial Times, Page: 1

INDUSTRY NEWS – TUESDAY 28TH APRIL 2020

Coronavirus should not be an excuse to slow audit reform

The FT’s Lombard says it is more important than ever that audit reform goes ahead, with a stable number of mid-tier firms vital for a competitive well-functioning market going forward.

Financial Times, Page: 12

PERSONAL FINANCE NEWS – TUESDAY 28TH APRIL 2020

Car finance protection ‘could lead to financial difficulty later on’

Experts at AA Cars have said newly-introduced car finance protection will ensure drivers are “greatly reassured”. New guidelines by the Financial Conduct Authority allow for car finance policies to be frozen for up to three months. Duff & Phelps spokesperson Mike Turner urged firms to be cautious when granting payment freezes, warning that some customers could find themselves in “greater financial difficulty” at a later date.

Daily Express

ECONOMY NEWS – TUESDAY 28TH APRIL 2020

Business leaders eye cautious return to work but fear second wave

As Boris Johnson assures the country that discussions will this week take place about how the country can get back to work, the Business Secretary Alok Sharma has been working with businesses and unions on guidance covering outdoor, leisure, offices, non-food retail, factory and warehousing. The work will feed into central plans for lifting the lockdown. Some business leaders are calling for greater clarity, such as Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, who said information about the timeline was needed to help businesses prepare. Elsewhere, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said: “With social-distancing measures still in place, reopening the hospitality sector without a plan would be catastrophic.” Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary also warned against risking a second lockdown, arguing that plans to have airlines running partial services were “idiotic”.

The Daily Telegraph Financial Times The Times, Page: 8 The Guardian, Page: 1, 4

English councils plead for £10bn to cope with coronavirus

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy has said at least £10bn will be needed to help English local authorities survive the coronavirus pandemic – just £3.2bn has been offered so far.

Financial Times, Page: 3

OTHER NEWS – TUESDAY 28TH APRIL 2020

Furloughed employees urged to utilise new skills toolkit

Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, is today launching a toolkit offering furloughed workers free lessons in video calling and everyday maths. “The Skills Toolkit” will also include online lessons on how to code and use social media and have been developed by Leeds University, The Open University and the Institute for Coding. Mr Williamson urges businesses to encourage their furloughed employees to use The Skills Toolkit to “improve their knowledge, build their confidence and support their mental health”.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 5 TES

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward's News Roundup


Government launches new coronavirus business support finder tool


Government launches new coronavirus business support finder tool

22nd April 2020

A new ‘support finder’ tool will help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.

The finder tool on GOV.UK will ask business owners to fill out a simple online questionnaire, which can take minutes to complete, and they will then be directed to a list of all the financial support they may be eligible for.

To support business, workers and the self-employed during the coronavirus outbreak, government has:

  • made up to £330 billion of loans and guarantees for businesses
  • offered to pay 80 per cent of the wages of furloughed workers, up to £2,500
  • deferred the next quarter of VAT payments for firms, until the end of June – representing a £30 billion injection into the economy
  • introduced £20 billion in tax relief and cash grants to help businesses with cash flow
  • introduced the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes for both SMEs and larger businesses to make it easier to access vital financial support
  • offered to cover the cost of statutory sick pay
  • entirely removed all eligible properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector from business rates temporarily;
  • introduced the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, offering a taxable grant worth 80% of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 a month
  • deferred Self-Assessment payments due in July 2020 until 31 January 2021
  • allowed companies required to hold AGMs to do so flexibly, which may include postponing them or holding them online;
  • suspended wrongful trading provisions for company directors to remove the threat of personal liability during the pandemic; and
  • offered a 3-month extension for filing accounts to businesses hit by coronavirus.

 

The new business support finder tool can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

 

More details on support for businesses can be found on the

coronavirus business support hub.

 


NEWS – FRIDAY 17TH APRIL 2020


NEWS – FRIDAY 17TH APRIL 2020

NEWS ROUNDUP

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS

Furloughed Employees: practicalities of compliance

It is a requirement that employers confirm in writing that an employee has been designated as being furloughed, and that the employer receives agreement to this from each furloughed employee. Ideally, the employee’s consent should be recorded by them signing the appropriate documentation and returning it to be kept on record. Without such an agreement, employers may not be able to access the government funds. Some employees may not have access to printers and scanners to allow this process to completed. Employers should not assume that consent has been formally accepted and we suggest that an appropriate email should be sent for employees to return providing a record of their agreement. We can provide guidance on the wording for these emails; contact Paul Southward or your usual KSK contact.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – Fourth Version (updated 15.04.2020)

See details here:

Here:

TAX NEWS – FRIDAY 17TH APRIL 2020

CIOT president urges clarity on digital tax

Glyn Fullelove, President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, has said questions remain about who will pay the digital services tax and how much it will cost them. Mr Fullelove stated: “More clarity and greater understanding about DST is needed.” Offering that there is welcome detail aimed at assisting how to calculate revenues attributed to UK users in the Finance Bill, he says businesses “will still face significant practical difficulties in identifying the relevant components of what is within the charge to tax.” He argues that the Government must “manage expectations and the public perception of the taxation of the largest digital businesses”. Mr Fullelove adds that the Government’s commitment to a multilateral solution to taxing digital multinational companies is welcome, as is the commitment to repeal the levy “once an appropriate global solution is in place.”

Politics.co.uk

CORPORATE NEWS – FRIDAY 17TH APRIL 2020

Lockdown sees one in four firms close

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says Government measures designed to slow the spread of coronavirus has seen a quarter of businesses close down temporarily. A poll of 5,316 businesses, saw 25% say they had closed between March 23 and April 5, while 38% of those that continued to trade said that their turnover was substantially lower than normal and 17% said it was slightly lower. Over 40% said they were reducing staff levels in the short term, while almost 30% have decreased working hours. Just over a third of those surveyed said they had been unaffected by the lockdown. In the fortnight before the March 23 lockdown, almost half of firms saw a dip in income, with this rising to 90% for hotels, cafés and restaurants.

The Times, Page: 32 City AM

COVID-19 may be the final straw for struggling hospitality firms

Begbies Traynor has warned that COVID-19 may be the “final straw” for many firms in Scotland’s hospitality sector. The industry saw a sharp year-on-year increase in severe financial distress in Q1, with a 500% jump in instances of “critical” financial distress – with an 800% increase quarter-on-quarter. Across the UK as whole, “critical” distress in the sector rose by a fifth year-on-year and 37% on the quarter. Ken Pattullo of Begbies Traynor said that while government efforts to offer some support to businesses are welcome, “the reality is that this ‘sticking plaster’ approach may well simply delay the inevitable.”

The Scotsman, Page: 37

Carluccio’s administrators see interest

FRP Advisory says that while no buyer has attempted to snap up collapsed chain Carluccio’s, a number of firms have expressed an interest in its sites and other assets. Boparan Restaurant Group, which owns the Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner brands, is believed to have lodged a bid with the administrators for the brand and a significant number of its restaurants. Boparan is expected to face competition from Three Hills Capital, backer of the Byron burger chain, while Tesco is reportedly looking to acquire several of the Italian restaurant chain’s sites.

The Times, Page: 36 Financial Times, Page: 10

Jewish Chronicle rival bid sparks anger

The FT reports that a charitable trust and a consortium of political insiders, broadcasters and bankers have submitted rival bids with Begbies Traynor for the liquidated assets of the Jewish Chronicle.

Financial Times, Page: 11

Oil trader Hin Leong races to restructure billions in debt

Oil trader Hin Leong, which owes banks including HSBC, ABN Amro and Société Générale almost $4bn, is looking to restructure its finances and is being advised by PwC.

Financial Times

INDUSTRY NEWS – FRIDAY 17TH APRIL 2020

Accountant accused of ‘extremism’ by law firm chief

Martin Darroch, an accountant and chief executive of law firm Harper Macleod, has accused Bill Drysdale, who is seeking to become deputy president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, of circulating extremist political views. Mr Drysdale had posted a picture on his Twitter account showing a picture of the Westminster cabinet with adviser Dominic Cummings’ face superimposed on every person pictured except the Prime Minister, prompting Mr Darroch to ask: “Do you really think extremist posts have a place in our society, let alone our institute?”.

The Times

Insolvency: light touch, heavy cost

An FT column on a new insolvency process in Britain argues that a UK version of Chapter 11 could help reduce “extravagant fees paid to an oligopoly of services firms.”

Financial Times, Page: 24

SMEs NEWS – FRIDAY 17TH APRIL 2020

IoD calls for clarity over furloughed directors

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has called for urgent clarification on what activities directors can carry out while furloughed, saying that Government advice is “conflicting” with information from HMRC more restrictive than guidance available online. Roger Barker, head of corporate governance at the IoD, said new guidance, which appears to prevent a furloughed director, where no other director is available, from undertaking basic tasks “appears to raise a whole host of unintended consequences.” He adds that is “hard to believe the Government has thought through the implications for small companies with only one or two directors.” Mr Barker warned that directors of small companies “have largely been caught between two stools”, saying that as they “don’t fit easily into the support schemes that have established for employees and the self-employed” they need support and it i s “past time government woke up to the problem.”

The Scotsman, Page: 38

FINANCIAL SERVICES NEWS – FRIDAY 17TH APRIL 2020

PPI deadline drives climb in complaints

Figures from the Financial Conduct Authority show complaints to financial services firm jumped from 4.29m in the first six months of 2019 to 6.02m in the second half of the year. This was driven by a surge in claims for mis-sold PPI ahead of an industry-wide deadline last August. The data show that complaints related to PPI hit 3.71m in H2, marking a 75% increase on the 2.12m recorded in H1. Complaints about PPI accounted for 62% of all complaints made to financial companies during the second half of 2019, with half of these upheld. With those related to PPI stripped out, complaints hit 2.31m in the second half of 2019, compared to 2.18m in the previous six months. Issues around current accounts accounted for 10% of all complaints, while credit cards made up 6% and insurance products were the focus of 5%.

The Times, Page: 37 The Daily Telegraph

ECONOMY NEWS – FRIDAY 17TH APRIL 2020

Economy losing £2bn a day

Analysis suggests that the coronavirus lockdown has already wiped £50bn off the economy, with the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimating that the closure of schools, shops, offices and factories is costing Britain £2bn a day. This means that some £50bn has been knocked off GDP in the 25 days since the restrictions were rolled out on March 23. The sum is equivalent to 2.5% of GDP. While the OBR has suggested that economic output could slide 35% in Q2 if the lockdown stretches to three months, the Resolution Foundation think-tank has suggested that the economy could then return to near-normal levels relatively quickly – with GDP down just 3% in the medium-term – while a six-month lockdown could see a slower recovery and add an extra £1.5bn a day to the national debt.

Daily Mail, Page: 69

Credit card and home loan demand set to slide

The Bank of England (BoE) has forecast that demand for mortgages and credit card lending will decline in Q2. The BoE’s quarterly credit conditions survey, conducted shortly before the Government imposed the lockdown designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, shows that lenders were planning to scale back the availability of such loans. A net balance of -71% said that they expected demand for mortgages to rise in the coming months, while -23% anticipated that they would be issuing more loans. On unsecured lending, a net balance of -26% of lenders expect to issue more credit, while -4.9% reported greater demand. The balance of lenders expecting to increase credit to the corporate sector climbed to 28%, marking an increase of 0.8% and the highest figure since Q3 2009. Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said the survey offered “encouragement for small and medium-sized businesses”.

The Times, Page: 32

OTHER NEWS – FRIDAY 17TH APRIL 2020

Scam warning over COVID-19

With warnings that criminals may be using anxiety and uncertainty over COVID-19 to attempt to defraud people, Action Fraud has revealed that it has received 105 reports concerning crim inality involving coronavirus, while City of London police recently reported a 400% increase in coronavirus-related fraud. James Jones, head of consumer affairs at Experian, notes that some crooks are pretending to be from HMRC, advising caution over emails and other correspondence claiming to be from the taxman.

Daily Express

Contact Paul Southward

Paul Southward's News Roundup


CORONAVIRUS (COVID–19) SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS


CORONAVIRUS (COVID -19) SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – Fourth Version (updated 15.04.2020)

On 15th April the government published an update to the CJRS and the significant change to note is the qualification date is now 19th March 2020 (previously 28th February 2020).  This means you can furlough employees who were on the payroll on or before 19th March 2020 (please read on for more information).

The official launch of the online service for making claims is not yet available and the official line is that it will be available by the end of April.  Unofficially, we have seen reports that the service will be launched on Monday 20th April.

To make a claim, you must have:

  • created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020
  • enrolled for PAYE online
  • a UK bank account

You can claim for:

  • furloughed employees that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and which were notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19th March 2020
  • you must have made an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of those employees to HMRC on or before 19th March 2020
  • employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for you after that and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if you re-employ them and put them on furlough – please seek advice if you wish to consider this

Don’t forget you must keep the employees consent to be Furloughed for 5 years.

Full details of the latest update from the government can be found here:

Here:

If you have any queries please remember that we are here to offer detailed and specific guidance on all the latest aspects of Coronavirus (Covid-19) support for business.  We are still working, mostly from home, and can be reached on our usual office numbers.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID – 19) SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS


NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020


NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

NEWS ROUNDUP

CORONA VIRUS GOVERNMENT SUPPORT – LATEST

EMPLOYERS – JOB RETENTION SCHEME

It is reported that HMRC will have the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) portal ready by the 20th April. This is earlier than the end of April date that they had originally advised. To remind you, this is the portal that you will use to access the reimbursed funds that you are paying to furloughed staff.

Note: you must have a PAYE online account in order to make a claim.  Therefore: –

  • If you complete your own payroll, make sure that you have an online PAYE registration with HMRC
  • If you use a third party for your payroll, you should contact them to ensure that they are dealing with your PAYE through an online account with HMRC.

It can take up to 10 days to set up an online account if you do not have one.

Contact us if you have any queries.

CORPORATE NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

Debenhams goes into administration

Debenhams has called in administrators from FRP Advisory as the 241-year-old department store chain tries to stay on life support until the coronavirus lockdown is over. Debenhams plans to try to re-open some UK stores after the crisis but its 11 stores in Ireland are to be liquidated. Stefaan Vansteenkiste, chief executive of Debenhams, said: “In these unprecedented circumstances the appointment of the administrators will protect our business, our employees, and other important stakeholders, so that we are in a position to resume trading from our stores when Government restrictions are lifted.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3 The Times, Page: 42 The Independent, Page: 46 The Guardian, Page: 31 City AM The I, Page: 48 Daily Mirror, Page: 2

NMC Health falls into administration

Administrators from Alvarez & Marsal have taken over control of NMC Health after a High Court judge approved the appointment. NMC first came under fire from short seller Muddy Waters in December over its governance and finances and has since been forced to reveal £3.2bn in undisclosed debt. One of NMC’s major creditors, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, forced the administration after the company failed to meet its demands to shore up governance.

The Daily Telegraph Financial Times

REGULATION NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

FCA to include motor finance in rescue measures

The Financial Conduct Authority has confirmed that it will go ahead with measures consulted on last week that will help consumers with their debt. These will include temporary payment freezes on loans and credit cards for up to three months, and larger zero-interest overdrafts. The regulator’s interim chief executive, Christopher Woolard, said support would also be offered to motorists struggling with their car finance payments. The move comes after talks with the Finance and Leasing Association, whose members arrange £48bn of car financing deals a year.

The Daily Telegraph

SMEs NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

AAB urges greater coronavirus support for companies

Managing partner of Anderson Anderson & Brown (AAB), Lyn Calder, is urging the government to enact measures to help firms survive the economic damage resulting from coronavirus. She stated: “The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) will undoubtedly prove to be a lifeline for many businesses. However, depending on their financial status, all too many will not qualify under the current stipulations. For example, part of the eligibility criteria for access to CBILS requires lenders to assess whether a business is ‘viable’, which could well result in banks turning down loss-making businesses.” She also pointed out that employees who live and work in the UK but are employed by companies with no UK bank account are in a precarious position as such employers cannot claim furlough support for UK-based employees under current regulations.

Scottish Construction Now The Scotsman, Page: 32

Government ‘should help small company directors’ access funding

Jonathan Geldart, director general of the Institute of Directors, writes in the Telegraph on how small company directors can be helped to access the Government’s coronavirus business support measures more easily. He notes that many entrepreneurs “have found themselves unable to access the broader support measures for businesses. The Government’s coronavirus loan scheme has, despite good intentions from all involved, had a somewhat rocky start, and young, high-growth companies have found it particularly frustrating,” and urges an increase to reliefs available through enterprise investment schemes and venture capital trusts, as well as a cash injection for venture capital funds.

The Daily Telegraph

EMPLOYMENT NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

Business bridles at rollout of points-based immigration system

The UK government has released guidance for businesses on the new immigration points system, but trade bodies say with employers struggling to deal with the fallout from COVID-19 they are unlikely to have the capacity to plan for the changes. Tom Hadley, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said, “Now is not the right time to plough on with immigration reforms. The national effort needs to be focused on eliminating coronavirus, protecting jobs and getting the economy back on track.”

Financial Times Recruiter Staffing Industry Analysis

PROPERTY NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

Stamp duty holiday may not be enough to kickstart market

The Telegraph’s Russell Lynch looks at how a stamp duty cut could stimulate the property market, as well as the risks that the measure entails. “Agents and housebuilders have a vested interest in calling for temporary relief from a tax they detest,” writes Mr Lynch, but he then questions how useful this would actually be. He suggests that fewer people are paying stamp duty since former chancellor Philip Hammond scrapped the tax for first-time buyers on homes worth less than £300,000 in 2017, meaning the revenue generated may not make as big a difference as agents have suggested. Mr Lynch’s views are supported by Hansen Lu, a property economist with Capital Economics, who opposes the idea of a tax holiday. “It would be a big giveaway for people at the top of the market – it would be regressive,” he said.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 5

PENSIONS NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

TPR eases contribution rules

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has granted struggling companies more time to make staff pension contributions before enforcement action is taken against them. The period by which schemes must report payment failures has been extended from 90 days to 150 days. Cutting contributions for furloughed staff has also been made easier.

The Times, Page: 36

ECONOMY NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

UK economy already showing signs of trouble before coronavirus

Data from the ONS reveals that the UK economy was up just 0.1% in the three months before coronavirus restriction measures began to affect businesses. The ONS also found that just 40% of firms are confident their financial resources will allow them to continue operating through the coronavirus pandemic. EY warned that contraction of up to 5% could be seen in the UK for March, with an economic contraction of 1.3% for the first quarter increasing to a 13% contraction in the second quarter, accompanied by a 14% drop in consumer spending. EY’s chief economic adviser Howard Archer remarked: “There is no denying that there are substantial downside risks. [But] we believe the economy can start to recover in the third quarter and then see decent activity late on in 2020 and during 2021.”

The Daily Telegraph City AM

OTHER NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

Eurozone strikes emergency deal on coronavirus rescue

Eurozone finance ministers have agreed a €500bn package of measures to support economies crippled by the impact of the coronavirus. However, they failed to agree on how to pay for the longer-term economic reconstruction effort that will follow the crisis. Under the deal, member states will be able to receive credit lines from the European Stability Mechanism amounting to at least 2% of a country’s economic output. A row over shared debt obligations continues to simmer with Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte warning that if the Germans and Dutch don’t shift their position “Europe will be dead”.

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