News

Coronavirus/COVID-19: Update 26 March 2020

Following the Prime Ministers latest announcement, it appears that details in relation to measures to support the self-employed will be announced later today (26 March 2020). We are also expecting further guidance on any additional types of business that will be required to be close across the UK.

No additional updates or details have been provided by the UK government in relation to the existing business support measures since 24 March 2020.

The Scottish government have announced two new measures – support for the third sector and support for the seafood fishing industry.

Self-employed support – UK Wide

To date, there have been no measures announced to support self-employed individuals. The government’s priority has been focused on employees and businesses.

A proposed ‘Statutory Self-Employment Pay’ amendment to the Coronavirus Bill has now been tabled. If the amendment is accepted, it would mean government regulations allowing freelancers and those self-employed receiving guaranteed earnings of:

  • 80% of their monthly net earnings, averaged over the last three years; or,
  • £2,917 per month

whichever is the lower.

The implementation of such a measure will be complicated. Many people may have only been self-employed for less than three years, some may not have completed their first tax return. Therefore, the devil will very much be in the detail and we will aim to explain any measures announced as simply as possible.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – UK & Scotland

We are still unclear of the details of the job retention scheme. These are the plans for HMRC to reimburse 80% of the wages costs relating to ‘furloughed’ employees up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

We will let you know as soon as we have any updates, Although the facts are not yet 100% certain the following information on the ICAEW website may be of help.

 COVID-19 advice for accommodation providers – UK Wide

Businesses providing holiday accommodation (including hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites, caravan parks, boarding houses and short term lets) should now take steps to close for commercial use.

There are a number of exclusions for residents that should be allowed to remain and further guidance can be found here on the GOV.UK website.

Coronavirus support for seafood fishing industry – Scotland Only

The Scottish seafood sector is to receive an initial package of more than £5 million in financial support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

An initial payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings will be made to owners of all full time Scottish registered fishing vessels of 12 metres length and under.  Support is also being developed for the onshore processing industry and others in the shellfish growing sector.

Marine Scotland will be writing to all vessels and relevant representative Associations with more details. If you have any immediate queries you can email seafisheriesintervention@gov.scot

Further clarification of the scheme is as follows:

  • full time is defined as where a vessel has recorded landings of £20,000 or more. This is the same limit that has been applied in previous schemesvessels that are under 12 metres in length and were registered in Scotland on the 18 March 2020
  • earnings are defined as recorded landing income from sales notes from 2019. This data is submitted to Marine Scotland by buyers
  • monthly payments are based on monthly average 2019 sales income
  • wrasse catching vessels will not be included in this initial scheme
The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) – Scotland Only

In order to assist third sector organisations stabilise and manage cash flows the Scottish Government has announced a £20m Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations.

The Fund will be delivered by Firstport, Social Investment Scotland and the Corra Foundation and will provide grants between £5,000-£100,000. In addition, there will be up to a further £5m available in fully flexible, 0% interest loans starting at £50,000. There will also be additional specialist business advice from Just Enterprise to help grant recipients maximise the impact of the financial support.

To be eligible, interested organisations must be:

  • a charity, social enterprise or voluntary organisation based in Scotland and/or primarily delivering services/activities in Scottish communities
  • already delivering those products or services prior to March 2020
  • and needing funding to stabilise cashflows directly as a result of the impact of COVID-19, as opposed to pre-existing financial difficulties.

The scheme is open and details can be found here on the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) website.

We will continue to keep you informed with key updates in relation to COVID-19 developments. The latest updates will be available on the news section of the GWA website and through our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
If you have any concerns or queries please get in touch. We are here to help wherever possible.

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