Category Archives: Covid-19




As reported earlier the chancellor set out his much-awaited plans in the continuing struggle against the coronavirus pandemic and the effect that lockdown restrictions are having on businesses and individuals.

We await publication of full details of the latest proposals which are expected to be made available later today.

Check back on the KSK website for further information once the finer details have been revealed.

Meanwhile here is a summary of what Rishi Sunak had to say.

We are now entering a new phase of living with this current crisis, with a warning that lockdown restrictions are going to be with us for at least the next six months.

Rishi acknowledged that people are afraid and exhausted by the ebb and flow of the seemingly ever-changing government restrictions and rules that are having an impact on all our personal and working lives.

Despite this Rishi reassured us that there are reasons to be optimistic, for this I fear we may have some time to wait.

A whopping £12bn has been spent by the government on “Test and Trace” that has finally been launched today, I do hope that this proves to be money well spent.

Rishi then went on to outline what his plans were to protect jobs and the economy: –


A new Jobs Support Scheme will be launched for employees working and being paid for at least a third of their normal hours.  The government and employers will jointly increase their wages to cover two-thirds of their lost pay and the employee will keep their job.

Larger businesses must show that they have been adversely affected during the crisis.  Employers who have not previously used the furlough scheme will be eligible.

The new scheme will run for 6 months from November.

The existing grant for the self-employed will be similarly extended.

Bounce Back loan terms may be extended from six to ten years, reducing the outgoing payments to ease cashflow.

Payments can be made on an “interest only” payment and there will be options to suspend repayments for up to six months, credit ratings will be unaffected.

The government guarantee on Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans will be extended to 10 years and a new successor loan guarantee programme will be announced in January.

The temporary reduction of VAT from 20% to 5% on hospitality and tourism will now continue until 31st March 2021.

So has Rishi served a palatable dish of measures?  We will have to wait and see, meanwhile check back on for full details of the measures later.

Contact Paul Southward.





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.

#covid19 #penalties


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


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


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


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


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


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






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

The updated guidance is:

HMRC launch “Eat out to help out” registration:

Don’t get caught by the fraudsters:


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


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


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


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


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


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



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 and texts to 60599.

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




29th April 2020

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


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



  • Claim a grant:


  • Universal credit:


  • If you cannot pay your tax bill on time:


  • Continuing working -safe social distancing:


  • Relaxation for Drivers’ hours:


  • Negotiating a mortgage payment holiday:




  • General guidance and safeguarding employees:


  • Claiming wages through the Job Retention Scheme


  • Social distancing in the workplace:


  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Guidance:


  • Claim back SSP:


  • Guidance if employee needs time off:


  • Working from home – employee expenses:


  • Apprenticeships during the coronavirus outbreak:


  • Advice for Tier 2, 4 and 5 sponsors:




  • Cleaning your workplace safely:


  • Hand hygiene posters:


  • Temporary relaxation of rules to help businesses:


  • Construction sites and safe working:


  • Farmers, landowners and rural businesses:


  • Food businesses:


  • Freight transport industry:


  • Medical and Healthcare industry:


  • Shipping and seaports businesses:


  • Supported accommodation, residential care and home care:


  • Transport businesses:


  • Avoiding and supporting scammers:



  • Businesses that must close:


  • Staying safe and continuing in business:


  • Holiday accommodation:


  • Closed businesses and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:



  • Offer the help of your 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

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Government launches Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp


Government launches Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

The UK Government has today launched a GOV.UK Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp.

The new free to use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19), and will further reduce the burden on NHS services.

This will help combat the spread of coronavirus misinformation in the UK, as well as helping ensure people stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

The GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow the British public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus direct from government.

The service will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting.

The service will also allow the government to send messages to all opted-in users if required.

To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

A set of menu options is then presented which the user can choose from and then be sent relevant guidance from GOV.UK pages as well as links to GOV.UK for further information.

Prof Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director, Public Health England, said:

“This service will help us ensure the public has a trusted source for the right information about coronavirus, updated with the latest public health guidance and providing assurance that they are not misled by any of the false information circulating.”

Matt Idema, Chief Operating Officer, WhatsApp, said:

“At difficult times like these, people are using WhatsApp more than ever to connect with and support their friends, family and communities. We are pleased to be able to provide the UK Government with the communications tools to help them answer the public’s questions about the virus with reliable, timely health advice, in order to keep people safe.”

Other recent Government communications include:

“Earlier this week the government texted people across the UK to inform them of the new rules announced by the Prime Minister on 23 March 2020. Details here –Here:

“The Government has also sent text messages to the vulnerable as part of the shielding package announced by the Prime Minister on 22 March 2020. Details here – Click Here: