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.


MPs call for loan charge deferral

The Loan Charge All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) is calling on the government to defer the loan charge for a year because people facing it may be unable to access support for self-employed people during the coronavirus pandemic. The MPs point out that the financial assistance offered is only available to those who have already submitted (or who can now quickly finalise and submit) their 2018/19 tax return by April 23, but people facing the loan charge have been told that their tax return does not need to be finalised until September 30, 2020.

Yorkshire Post, Business, Page: 1


Employers warned by HMRC on furloughing staff

HMRC is urging workers to report their employers if they are still being asked to work after being furloughed. Chief executive Jim Harra stated: “Employees must be completely furloughed by their employer, that means they should not engage in any work for that employer whilst they are on furlough.” He explained that firms who break the rules “will not be entitled to furlough payments, so if we know that in advance obviously we wouldn’t pay them,” continuing: “Otherwise, afterwards we would seek to recover the money from them and depending on the nature of the behaviour, if it amounted to knowingly trying to defraud us then we would take criminal action against employers.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1 Financial Times, Page: 3 The Times, Page: 8 Daily Express, Page: 4

Hospitality workers hit by service charge exclusion in support scheme

Hospitality workers could receive only half their pay under the government’s coronavirus job support scheme, with HMRC advising that service charges would not be included in the initiative.

Financial Times


FCA eases rules to speed up company capital raising

The Financial Conduct Authority has announced a number of temporary measures to help listed companies raise cash quickly during the coronavirus crisis. Since lockdown measures prevent more than two people meeting, it’s harder to obtain shareholder approval for a transaction under current rules. Now, companies with a premium listing can ask for permission not to hold a general meeting to approve a capital raising. Companies will need written undertakings from shareholders that they would support the transaction if a meeting were to be held. Christopher Woolard, interim chief executive of the FCA, said: “Our aim is to help companies to raise money quickly and effectively, while ensuring they respect the needs of investors, both current and future. We think this package strikes that balance”.

City AM Evening Standard


Tesco defends £900m dividend

Tesco has defended its decision to hand investors a £900m dividend while accepting a business rates holiday worth £585m from the government’s emergency coronavirus support package. CEO Dave Lewis said the cash payout was “reflective of last year’s performance and the strength of the business” and that 220,000 small investors stand to benefit. “We looked at whether the business needs more liquidity even in the most stressed scenario and it was decided we do not,” he said. Mr Lewis also argued that the coronavirus outbreak will add £925m to costs as the grocery giant hires more staff, pays sick workers and fits stores with protective equipment and screens.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1 The Times, Page: 34 Financial Times, Page: 12 The Guardian, Page: 29 Daily Mirror, Page: 8 The Independent, Page: 53 Daily Mail, Page: 72

NMC Health succumbs to administration

NMC Health could enter administration as early as today after the private hospitals company failed to halt an application brought by a major creditor, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, to place it into the insolvency process.

The Times, Page: 43


Emergency bank lending increases, but criticisms remain

The Treasury yesterday announced that 2,500 loans for business had been approved via the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS), up from the 2,022 figure revealed on Monday. UK Finance will soon start to publish regular updates on the scheme, the government added. UK banks have now lent £453m through the CBILS, but many businesses are complaining of a slow response from banks. Mike Cherry, national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “We’re hearing reports that – despite these being ’emergency’ loans – the application process for securing them is still very demanding. Of course lending can only be made to viable businesses, but banks need to understand that time is of the essence.”

City AM Financial Times, Page: 3

UK start-ups call for changes to virus stimulus package

Some of the UK’s biggest tech start-ups, including Deliveroo and Citymapper, have written to Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, telling him that the government’s coronavirus stimulus package remains inaccessible. They say they cannot qualify for the corporate finance loans on offer but are too big for small business relief. They call on Mr Sunak to set up a meeting between Treasury officials and the firms to thrash out a way to support them during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bloomberg The Times, Page: 8

Morgan: Bring fintechs in to help administer CBILS

Writing in the Times, Nicky Morgan suggests the UK’s fintech finance providers should be brought in to help get the government’s coronavirus business interruption loans scheme (CBILS) distributed more quickly to small businesses. Baroness Morgan says fintechs will “operate at speed”, require less paperwork and could well value companies differently. “When the virus crisis is over, fintech will be one of the ways in which the UK is able to retain a leading role in the global financial system. Now would be a good time to demonstrate the sector’s reach and abilities.”

The Times, Page: 40


Rics urges stamp duty holiday

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) is urging the government to introduce an emergency stamp duty holiday to help revitalise the housing market after it came to a standstill as the COVID-19 crisis gripped the nation. Hew Edgar, of Rics, said: “The Government will need to start considering medium and long-term measures that could assist a post-pandemic housing market. As we start to emerge from this crisis, however, it is likely that the finances of potential homebuyers will be under strain, and the burden of stamp duty could put buyers off.” Edgar continues: “For those who can afford to move they may lack confidence in the market, adding to the slowdown. A stamp duty holiday could be one of the ways to reactivate the housing market quickly as a short-term measure.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1


Few guarantees for financial services

Alex Newman in Investors Chronicle says that active fund managers whose profit margins were already struggling have been hit hard by the recent market turmoil. He singles out Jupiter Fund Management and Standard Life Aberdeen as being among the worst hit. He adds: “While it’s hard to know what Brewin Dolphin and St. James’s Place might say in a trading update, wealth managers’ silence to date highlights the sector’s limited capacity for self-help or remedial action in a crisis.”

Investors Chronicle


EU considers stronger reporting rules for climate and pandemic risks

The European Commission is mulling the idea of introducing stronger reporting regulations that would require listed companies, investors, banks and insurers to disclose risks associated with climate, biodiversity loss and pandemics. A draft consultation document says the COVID-19 epidemic is showing more clearly the risks associated with human activity and biodiversity loss.

Business Green Reuters

SEC urges thorough coronavirus disclosures by US companies

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has urged corporates to disclose as much as possible about potential future performance to help the country in its fight against the coronavirus.

Financial Times


Eurozone’s two biggest economies sink into historic recessions

Both Germany and France are seeing steep declines in their economies, with the former expected to have shrunk by 10% by June, while French GDP is expected to have fallen by 6% since the beginning of the year. In the UK, KPMG said output fell 4% in the first quarter and will shrink by another 11% between April and June. Meanwhile, the World Trade Organization has said that global trade is expected to plummet by up to 32% due to the COVID-19 crisis, far faster than the 12% decline seen in 2009.

Financial Times The Guardian The Times Daily Mail, Page: 73 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3

Contact Paul Southward.

Paul Southward's News Roundup