Coronavirus/COVID-19: Update 2 April 2020 – GWA Requesting More Government Support
No new business support interventions have been announced by either the UK or Scottish governments in the last 24 hours.
We have spent a lot of time reviewing the economic measures that have been introduced. In spite of this support being the most far-reaching in living memory, we are very aware that there are businesses and individuals who still fall outside the scope of these measures and are in danger of being “left behind”.
It is therefore our intention to highlight these concerns and apply pressure to key individuals and business organisations. These include our local MP’s on both side of the border, the Institute of Chartered Accountants England & Wales, Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland, our contacts at the Bank of England as well as other local business groups and federations.
Those Falling Outside Government Measures
Areas of concern we will be highlighting:
- the lack of support for those who have become self-employed since 5 April 2019
- clarity on whether the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) considers capital allowances. In order to claim SEISS requires 50% of an individual’s income to come from their self-employment, but for those who have invested in their business and made use of capital allowances their annual income income figure will have been distorted
- clarification as to whether SEISS in relation to agriculture is based on actual profits or farmer’s averaged profits
- most company directors of owner managed businesses (including thousands of tradespeople and contractors), draw their salary through their company – not always for tax reasons alone. These directors, if furloughed, would receive a monthly payment of only £575, most likely disproportionate to the profits made within their business and the income they take from it
- Furnished Holiday Lettings (FHL) income is not reported on the ‘trading pages’ of a self-assessment tax return and therefore will not count towards the taxable income threshold required for SEISS. FHL’s contribute as much to the economy as other small businesses and should not be treated differently
- there is no parity in relation to the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants funding across the UK eg. provision in England is different to that in Scotland
- seasonal businesses eg. in the tourism industry may have been shut for the last 4-5 months. The Job Retention Scheme is based on continual employment and therefore will not compensate those who survive on purely seasonal income. When ‘lockdown’ ends the holiday season will likely be over and business will effectively have to wait 12 months before ‘restarting’ – compensation for three months loss of profits will not save them.
You Can Add Your Help
We have said in our previous updates that GWA will stand side by side with our clients through these historic times. We do believe these areas need addressing hence our decision to raise our concerns as widely as possible.
If you are affected by any of the areas we have highlighted above, our lobbying will be made more effective if you too could contact your local MP’s office to express your concerns.
We also act for a number of professional’s and would be grateful if you could get in touch with your own institutes and federations to request that they also lobby the government on your behalf.
Our hope is that if the government receive consistent, sustained and high-level pressure they will review the measures that are in place and extend them to assist those individuals and businesses that run a serious risk of being left behind.
Finally, a reminder that the partners and all our team are receiving emails at their usual GWA address or you can call us on the usual phone numbers. Don’t struggle alone, we are here to help.
Everyone at GWA remains fully committed to supporting the well-being of our clients at this difficult time. We would like to thank you in turn for your continued support.
Information correct as of 2 April 2020