Coronavirus/COVID-19: Update 26 June 2020

The news that more businesses are able to open will come as welcome relief to many.  With funding and business support changing or coming to an end we will continue to keep you updated with the key changes.

Northumberland Local Discretionary Grant Fund Deadline

This discretionary fund was made available to all local authorities in England with the specific purpose of closing the support gap for small businesses not eligible for the Small Business Grant Funds (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Funds (RHLGF).

After reopening the scheme for specific businesses (see below) in the middle of June, Northumberland County Council (NCC) will close applications at midnight on Sunday 28 June.
Small businesses that can take advantage of this funding until that date are:

  • B&Bs or guest houses with three bed spaces and above and which pay council tax instead of business rates*
  • hotels & Pubs with a premises rateable value exceeding £51,000
  • small charities which receive charitable rates relief which would have otherwise been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief

* not including self-catering properties or Airbnb

More detail can be found on our website and also the NCC website.

Dairy Response Fund (England only)

Applications for the Dairy Response Fund opened on 18 June, with payments being made from 6 July. The funding is designed to help dairy farmers that are facing financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19.

To be eligible for this funding the following must apply:

  • you supply cows’ milk to a wholesale purchaser
  • you have had a reduction in the average price paid for your milk of 25 per cent or more in April 2020 compared to that paid in February 2020.

Applications for the fund, which is administered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), must be made by by midnight on Friday 14 August 2020.

Those eligible will be entitled to a single one-off payment of up to £10,000 to cover up to 70% of milk sale losses during April and May.

Further details on the fund and application process can be found on the GOV.UK website.  If you believe you are eligible, we would encourage you to prepare details, including milk statements to evidence your claim.  Should you need any assistance of clarification on how to claim please do get in touch.

SEISS – Guidance For Self-Employed Parents

The Government has announced that self-employed parents whose trading profits dipped in 2018/19 because they took time out to have children will be able to claim for a grant under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Previously, eligibility criteria required current trading profits to be no more than £50,000 but be more than half of total income for either the tax year 2018 to 2019 or the average of the tax years 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.  This therefore precluded many self-employed parents whose trading profits dipped in 2018/19 after the birth of a child.

The change means that mothers, fathers and those who have adopted children during those years and who took time away from trading to care for their children within the first 12 months of birth, or within 12 months of an adoption placement, will now be able to use their 2017-18, or both of their 2016-17 and 2017-18 self-assessment tax returns as proof of eligibility for SEISS.

You will still need to have traded in 2018/19 with profits making up at least half of your total income; you must also have submitted a self-assessment tax return for that year on or before 23 April 2020 and also meet the other standard eligibility criteria for support under the SEISS.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Key dates

As the CJRS moves towards its second phase, which is when employees are allowed to come back to work on a part-time basis and also when employers will start to contribute towards the schemes cost, we thought we would remind you of the key dates you need to know.

  • 30 June: CJRS closes to anyone who hasn’t been furloughed for three weeks before this date.
  • 1 July: flexible furloughing begins – businesses can bring back employees as needed. CJRS grant will cover usual hours not worked (note: flexible furloughing continues until the scheme closes
  • 31 July:  final date to submit claims for staff furloughed before 30 June
  • 1 August: employers now pay national insurance (NI) and pension contributions for furloughed employees
  • 1 September: employers now pay 10% of furloughed wages, plus NI and pension contributions
  • 1 October: employers now pay 20% of furloughed wages, plus NI and pension contributions
  • 31 October: CJRS closes

For more guidance visit our website and if you have any concerns about the scheme please do get in touch with our pay roll team.

Relaxation of Business Rules

Financial support is not the only benefit provided by government as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, there have been a number of rules that have been temporarily relaxed to make it easier for businesses to continue working through the disruption.

Details of these can be found on the GOV.UK website and include everything from annual leave to eviction protection to taxable expenses.  We would encourage you to check these rules to make sure that you do take advantage of this relief.

We are here to help and the partners and the GWA team can be found at their usual email addresses and phone numbers. As we continue towards the new normal, we know there are still challenging times ahead and we are happy to provide guidance to help us all move forward as positively and successfully as possible.

Information correct as of 26 June 2020

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