Last Updated: 6 January 2020
Update: 6 January 2020
England has now entered a third national lockdown.
We are aware of the continued difficulty this and previous measures have caused for professionals and businesses in the interior design and architecture sector, and would like to stress that we will continue to do what we can to support you through this next period.
The PM’s address to the nation can be found on gov.uk here, and further guidance for the lockdown here. The chancellor has also just announced £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to further support businesses and help protect jobs.
Click here for all government advice and official guidance to support businesses and employees through coronavirus.
Update: 26 November 2020
The full list of local restriction tiers by area from Wednesday 2 December 2020 is available here.
Decisions on which area goes into which tier are primarily based on 5 key epidemiological indicators: case detection rates in all age groups; case detection rates in the over-60s; the rate at which cases are rising or falling; positivity rate, and; pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.
The changes to the tiers are as follows:
Find out more information on tiers, including information for businesses and venues. The government will review the allocations every 14 days, with the first review complete by the end of 16 December.
On 25 November 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the spending review. The government will provide billions of pounds in the fight against coronavirus, and invest in the UK’s recovery. Headlines for businesses are:
To view the chancellor’s speech, click here, and for further details on the spending review, click here.
Update: 25 November 2020
The Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Boris Johnson gave a statement to the House of Commons on Monday 23 November 2020 outlining the Government’s Winter Covid-19 plan. The COVID-19 Winter Plan sets out how national restrictions will be lifted in England on 2 December, with England moving back into a regional, tiered approach.
On 2 December, across all of England, regardless of tier:
Everyone who can work from home should do so. Where people cannot do so – including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing – they should continue to travel to their workplace.
A summary of local restrictions, including what you can and cannot do in each tier, is available here, including information for businesses and venues.
On Thursday 26 November the government will announce which areas are in which tier. The new rules will come into effect from the beginning of Wednesday 2 December.
The PM’s statement can be found here. Winter Plan summary is here.
Local restriction tiers: What you need to know: Guidance that sets out the local restriction tier system that will be in place from Wednesday 2 December, including what you can and cannot do in each tier is available here.
Pay VAT deferred: You can pay now or get ready to opt in to the VAT deferral new payment scheme. If you deferred VAT between 20 March and 30 June 2020 and still have payments to make, you can:
Check how you can pay your deferred VAT.
If you want to opt in to the new payment scheme: You cannot opt in yet. The online opt in process will be available in early 2021. You must opt in yourself; your agent cannot do this for you.
Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make up to 11 smaller monthly instalments, interest free. All instalments must be paid by the end of March 2022. For more on the opt in paying system check here
Consensus statement emphasises importance of covid-19-secure workplace: Public Health England (PHE), Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) have issued a consensus statement on the best approach to reduce occupational risk for workers including those of ethnic minority groups. Further details here.
Countries, territories or regions added to the travel corridor list
Test to Release: England introduces testing strategy for international arrivals: Testing strategy for passengers arriving into England will be introduced from 15 December 2020.
For more information on the strategy click here
Update: 12 November 2020
Update: 8 November 2020
The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on Thursday 5 November 2020, the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), also known as the ‘furlough scheme’, to the 31 March 2021. For claim periods running to January 2021, employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The policy will be reviewed in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more. The Job Support Scheme is postponed.
For more information, click here.
Check to see the updates on:
For information on claiming for wages through the scheme click here.
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant extension, that provides critical support to the self-employed in the form of grants, has been extended and made available for 3-month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021. The grants will increase from 55% to 80% of average profits – up to £7,500. For more information about the scheme click here.
Guidance to clarify the eligibility conditions for Universal Credit and New Style Employment and Support Allowance, to add Pension Credit, New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance and the Test and Trace Support Payment as other financial help that can be claimed, is available here.
The government are investing £134 million in UK businesses to support innovative green businesses during the coronavirus pandemic and to encourage a green recovery. For more information, click here.
Update: 4 November 2020
To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. These include:
Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open. Essential retail should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect. Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed. Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law.
Going to work: To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home must do so. Where people cannot do so (for instance people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing) they should continue to travel to work/attend their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting vital sectors and employers.
In light of the increased restrictions the UK government is introducing additional economic and business support measures:
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, also known as the furlough scheme, has been extended to December 2020. Check to find:
The Job Support Scheme will not be introduced until after Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension: The grant is being extended from 1 November 2020. The grant will be increased from the previously announced level of 40% of trading profits to 80% for November 2020. Find out if you are eligible and how much you can get.
Business Grants: Business premises forced to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:
Business grant policy is fully devolved. Devolved Administrations will receive Barnett consequentials which they could use to establish similar schemes.
Loan schemes: application deadlines extended to January 31 2021: The application deadlines for the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Future Fund have been extended until 31 January 2021.
Update: 12 October 2020
On the 12 October the Prime Minister announced how the government will further simplify and standardise local rules by introducing a three tiered system of local COVID Alert Levels in England. There are different restrictions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
See the list of local COVID alert levels by area. A postcode checker is also available.
More information on local COVID alert levels in England is available, alongside guidance on the restrictions in place which includes information for businesses and venues, and going to work:
Test and Trace Support Payment scheme: claiming financial support: If you have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020, you’re under a legal obligation to do so, and could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment. This guidance sets out who can claim support and explains how to apply.
New hotline launched to report COVID fraudsters: A new hotline has been launched to stop fraudsters illegally targeting COVID stimulus schemes. In an initiative between government and the independent charity Crimestoppers, the public can now call a new COVID Fraud Hotline (0800 587 5030) anonymously and free of charge to report suspected fraudulent activity.
Updates to the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF): The CCFF provides temporary direct support to investment grade firms with short-term cash-flow problems and is designed to ensure that firms accessing government backed CCFF financing are able to repay. To ensure the CCFF continues to meet its objectives, the Treasury has introduced a new access review process. More here.
Defer your Self Assessment payment on account due to coronavirus: You had the option to defer your second payment on account if you were: registered in the UK for Self Assessment and finding it difficult to make that payment by 31 July 2020 due to the impact of coronavirus. Check what you need to do if, after 31 July 2020, you chose to defer your second payment on account for the 2019 to 2020 tax year.
Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace: Guidance has been updated to add further clarification on the venues in scope of the policy. Guidance has also been added for hospitality venues on how to verify whether an individual has checked in on the NHS COVID-19 app.
The Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to support businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions.
In addition to expansion of the JSS, the government is increasing the cash grants to businesses in England shut in local lockdowns to support with fixed costs. These grants will be linked to rateable values, with up to £3,000 per month payable every two weeks, compared to the up to £1,500 every three weeks which was available previously.
The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will benefit from a £1.3 billion increase to their guaranteed funding for 2020-21 – allowing them to continue their response to Covid-19 including through similar measures if they wish.
A new Global Travel Taskforce to support the travel industry and the safe recovery of international travel has been launched. The taskforce will consider further how government can support the sector to meet these challenges posed by COVID-19 to international travel. Work will begin with industry on how to safely reduce self-isolation period with testing. The taskforce will also consider a wide range of other measures to support the travel sector including developing a global framework to make travelling easier.
Job Retention Bonus: Further information has been published on how businesses can claim the government’s Job Retention Bonus. Check your eligibility and find out how to apply.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant extension: The grant is being extended from 1 November 2020. Find out here if you are eligible and how much you can get. Guidance is available on how HMRC will work out your trading profits and non-trading income if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus. A video on how to claim the second grant step-by-step is also available.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: 30 November 2020 is the last day you can submit claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020. After this date you will not be able to submit any further claims or add to existing claims. More here.
Cyber safety guide to help small businesses work securely online: The National Cyber Security Centre’s re-launched Small Business Guide sets out five key areas for businesses to help improve their cyber security. The new-look guidance arrives at a time when many organisations have moved their operations online due to the coronavirus pandemic. It highlights accessible and actionable steps to take which have little to no cost. There is also guidance that helps small to medium sized organisations prepare their response to and plan their recovery from a cyber incident.
Update: 2 October 2020
The grant extension is for self-employed individuals who are currently eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and are actively continuing to trade but are facing reduced demand due to coronavirus. Find out more on who can claim and what the grant extension covers here. HMRC will provide full details about claiming in due course.
Businesses who deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 will now have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period. Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free. You will need to opt-in to the scheme, and for those who do, this means that your VAT liabilities due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 do not need to be paid in full until the end of March 2022. Those that can pay their deferred VAT can still do so by 31 March 2021. More information on the scheme will be available on GOV.UK in the coming months.
Local restrictions – businesses and venues
A list of areas with additional local restrictions is available here.
Update: 18 September 2020
In these locations:
Hospitality venues in England are now legally required to enforce the rule of 6 or face a fine of up to £4,000. Designated businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues, will also be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace. From Thursday 24 September these sectors will be required to display official NHS QR code posters at their venue entrances to help support contact tracing. Organisations can find out more about NHS QR codes and how to generate them on the NHS COVID-19 app website. Official NHS QR posters can be generated online.
Guidance on the closure of certain businesses and venues in England as part of further social distancing measures has been updated to reflect changes in rules about social contact, and requirements for certain businesses and venues to collect data for test and trace.
Find someone to apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant on your behalf: A list of Kickstart gateways in England, Scotland and Wales who can apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant on behalf of a group of employers is now available.
Government extends support to stop business evictions this year: Commercial tenants will be protected from the risk of eviction until the end of 2020 helping businesses to protect jobs. Find out more here.
Government sets out comprehensive support for renters this winter: Renters affected by coronavirus will continue to be supported over autumn and winter through comprehensive measures. Emergency legislation has increased notice periods to 6 months until at least the end of March 2021, evictions will not be enforced in local lockdown areas and there will be a truce on enforcement over Christmas. Find out more here.
Transport-Technology Research and Innovation Grants: Innovative transport start-ups with a focus on decarbonisation or COVID-19 recovery can bid for a share of over £1 million in Department for Transport funding. The latest round of Transport Technology Research and Innovation Grant funding is open to entrepreneurs and innovators looking to create a better transport system. More here.
Local restrictions – businesses and venues:
Leicester: The following businesses and venues can now reopen in Leicester City: casinos; skating rinks; bowling alleys; indoor play areas, including soft play areas; and exhibition centres and conference halls for external attendees. Guidance has also changed to advise the following settings and activities can now reopen or restart in Leicester: indoor performances; close contact services, which are any treatments on the face such as eyebrow threading or make-up application; and wedding receptions and celebrations, including for up to 30 people in the form of a sit-down meal. More here.
North East of England: Hospitality venues must only sell food and drink for consumption on the premises if it is served to customers sitting at a table. They may also sell food and drink for consumption off the premises. Hospitality for food and drink must close from 22:00 to 05:00 each day. More here.
Singapore and Thailand will be added to the England travel corridor list at 4am Saturday 19 September 2020. If you arrive in England from Singapore or Thailand after 4am 19 September 2020 you may not need to self-isolate.
French Polynesia, Hungary, Reunion and mainland Portugal (not including Madeira and the Azores) have been removed from the travel corridor list. Guadeloupe and Slovenia will be removed from the travel corridor list at 4am on Saturday 19 September. If you arrive in England from these countries and territories you will need to self-isolate. The FCDO advises against all non-essential travel to these countries and territories.
The travel corridor list of countries and territories from where you can travel to England and may not have to self-isolate is available here. Countries and territories can be taken off or added to this travel corridor list at any time.
Update: 9 September 2020
Venues required by law to record contact details
Premises and venues across England must have a system in place to record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff in the latest move to break the chains of transmission of coronavirus. Further details can be found here
Coronavirus (COVID-19): testing guidance for employers
Some employers may want to introduce their own internal testing programmes outside of the NHS Test and Trace service. This guidance will help them ensure that their testing programmes are as reliable and effective as possible. Further details can be found here
Companies House resumes voluntary strike off process
Temporary measures to suspend voluntary strike off action will be lifted from today (10 September 2020). Further details can be found here
Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on the phased return of sport and recreation
Guidance for providers of outdoor sport facilities, personal trainers and coaches, the public, elite athletes on the phased return of sport and recreation has been updated. Further details can be found here
North of England: local restrictions
Find out here what you can and cannot do if you live, work or travel in areas of the north of England.
Portugal (not including Madeira and the Azores), Hungary, French Polynesia and Réunion are no longer on the travel advice exemptions list, following the latest assessment of COVID-19 risks. People arriving in England from these destinations from 4am Saturday 12 September 2020 will need to self-isolate for 2 weeks. Further details can be found here. The FCDO advises against all non-essential travel to these countries and territories.
Sweden has been added to the travel advice exemptions list.
Read our guidance before planning any travel
Update: 21 August 2020
Austria, Croatia and Trinidad and Tobago will be removed from the travel corridor list from 4am Saturday 22 August. People returning will need to self-isolate for two weeks. Portugal is to be added to the travel corridor list at 4am Saturday 22 August. Find out more here.
The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy (the Integrated Review) will define the Government’s vision for the UK’s role in the world over the next decade. Its goal is to set the long-term strategic aims of our international policy and national security, rooted in our national interests, so that our activity overseas delivers for the British people. The Review will cover all aspects of international and national security policy, such as defence, diplomacy, development and national resilience. In doing so, it will re-examine the UK’s priorities and objectives in light of the UK’s departure from the European Union and at a time when the global landscape is changing rapidly, including as a result of Covid-19. It will set the direction for a strong recovery at home and abroad, recognising that the two are closely linked. Please find further details along with the “call for evidence” questions, a response template and email address to return the evidence to Government – here.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Find out what you need to do if you’ve claimed too much or not enough from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This has been updated to include a phone number – please see details here.
Leicester lockdown: businesses reopening from 19 August
The following businesses and venues can re-open in Leicester City from 19 August: outdoor pools, outdoor theatres, opera and music venues, recreational cricket, nail bars and salons, tanning booths and salons, spas and beauty salons, massage parlours, tattoo parlours, and body and skin piercing services. Indoor swimming pools, casinos, bowling, indoor play centres, indoor fitness/sports and dance studios must remain closed. Current rules for gatherings in private homes and gardens will remain in place. Find the full update here.
Update: 19 August 2020
To support apprentices who have been made redundant, or who are at risk of redundancy, Government is introducing the Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices (ReSSA).
ReSSA will provide clear, accessible advice and guidance to individuals on the impact of redundancy, their options and next steps. We will also help redundant apprentices to identify new apprenticeship and employment opportunities, and, where they are eligible, complete their current apprenticeship.
The service is made up of three main elements:
If someone has been made redundant or think they might be made redundant in the future, they can use the service to get free advice, access local and national support, and find new opportunities. For more information they should visit Facing redundancy during your apprenticeship or call 0800 150 400 to speak to an adviser.
If an employer would like to recruit a redundant apprentice or offer new apprenticeship opportunities, they should visit Hiring an apprentice who has been made redundant or call 08000 150 600 to find out more.
If you’re eligible for the second and final grant, and your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020, you can make a claim on or before 19 October 2020. You can claim for the second grant even if you did not make a claim for the first grant. If you have different circumstances it can affect your eligibility. If you’re self-employed or member of a partnership, find out how your circumstances can affect your eligibility for the scheme. Please see here to understand how HMRC works out trading and non-trading income for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.
Self-isolating after returning to the UK: Guidance for Employers
A person’s employment rights will depend on their employment status and specific circumstances. Please check the Guidance on returning to the UK. In summary:
Further information can be found here.
Public encouraged to register for COVID-19 vaccine trials
Over 100,000 people have volunteered to take part in COVID-19 vaccine trials, helping to speed up efforts to discover a safe and effective vaccine. UK researchers urge more volunteers across all groups to sign-up, especially the over 65s and those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. Find out more about registering here.
Examples to help calculate your employees’ wages if claiming through the Job Retention Scheme
Check examples to help you calculate your employee’s wages, National Insurance contributions and pension contributions if you’re claiming through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for September and October. Find details here.
Access to Work: new factsheet
Factsheet about Access to Work and how it can help overcome barriers to starting or keeping a job if an employee has a disability or long term health condition. The claiming process during coronavirus guidance has been updated. Find more information here. The Access to Work guide for employers can be found here.
Update: 14 August 2020
Close contact services to reopen in England from 15 August
Close contact services that includes hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers can reopen in England from 15 August 2020. All services, including those in the highest risk zone, can resume from 15 August 2020. The high-risk zone is considered the area in front of the face where splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth may be present. This includes treatments like eyebrow threading and make-up application.
This does not apply to businesses based in regions that are in a local lockdown. See the updated guidance for further information.
Performances allowed indoors and outdoors (with a limited socially distanced audience indoors)
Stage Four of the five step roadmap permits performances indoors and outdoors (but with a limited socially-distanced audience indoors). Socially distanced indoor and outdoor performances can take place in line with this guidance, though we encourage organisations to continue to work outdoors wherever possible. In addition, musicians, dancers and actors, and the technical and operational teams that support performing arts production, can resume training, rehearsals and recorded performances where organisations wish and are able to. See the updated guidance for further information.
Dance studios can also reopen and should follow guidance for providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities.
Additional businesses and venues will be permitted to reopen from 15 August in England
The following businesses can reopen and activities can resume provided they follow the Covid-19 Secure guidelines:
Find out more here.
The piloting of a small number of sporting events to test the safe return of spectators will resume from August 15 with a view to reopening competition venues for sports fans, with social distancing measures in place from 1 October. This will commence with the final of the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre during 15-16 August, as described in the Prime Minister’s announcement on 13 August, with a full pilot programme to follow.
Venues that host marriages and civil ceremonies in England can now have up to 30 people attend a marriage or civil partnership, where this can be safely accommodated with social distancing in a COVID-19 secure venue. This maximum number includes all those at the ceremony, including the couple, witnesses, officiants and guests. It also includes any third-party suppliers, such as photographers or security, but does not include staff employed by the venue or any third party catering staff. All parties should adhere to social distancing guidelines. 2 metres or 1 metre with risk mitigation (where 2 metres is not viable), are acceptable. Find out more here.
A new email address has been created by the Department of Health and Social Care for any queries that businesses and business representative bodies may have on local lockdown in their area: [email protected]
France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba to be removed from the exempt list for arrivals from 4am Saturday 15 August 2020. If you arrive in England from the above countries or territories before 4am 15 August you may not need to self-isolate. Read the rules about when you need to self-isolate and for how long.
The £2 billion Green Homes Grant will part fund improvements of over 600,000 homes, supporting over 100,000 jobs in green construction. The scheme will cover green home improvements that could help families save up to £600 a year on their energy bills.
To take part and offer their services through the scheme, all tradespeople must register with TrustMark. Find out more and sign up here.
Update: 11 August 2020
The Recovery Advice for Business scheme is supported by the government and hosted on the Enterprise Nation website. It will give small firms access to free, one-to-one advice with an expert adviser to help them through the coronavirus pandemic and to prepare for long-term recovery.
Advice offered will include bespoke, specialist assistance from accountancy, legal, and advertising to marketing, recruitment and digital to help businesses adapt to difficult circumstances and to bounce back as the UK economy recovers.
Business experts, supported by the UK’s major professional and trade bodies, have rallied behind the government-backed initiative, with thousands of expert advisers already on hand and ready to do their bit to help small businesses recover and rebuild.
Advice will focus on key areas:
As part of the UK government’s commitment to supporting businesses and self-employed through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, HMRC have developed new webinars on the following topics.
Log in to SBIDPro to register
North of England: Local restrictions
An outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been identified in parts of Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, Preston, and West Yorkshire. The UK government and relevant local authorities are acting together to control the spread of the virus.
Brunei and Malaysia added to travel corridor list
From 4am on Tuesday 11 August 2020, passengers arriving to England from these destinations will no longer need to self-isolate, so long as they haven’t been in, or transited through, any other non-exempt countries in the 14 days preceding their arrival. More information can be found here.
Andorra, Belgium and The Bahamas have been removed from travel corridors list
People arriving in England from Andorra, Belgium and The Bahamas will need to self-isolate for 2 weeks as the countries are removed from the travel exemptions list. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also updated its travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to Andorra, Belgium and The Bahamas.
Employer guide to results for regulated qualifications: summer 2020
A new guide for employers about qualification results in England this summer is available.
Supported living services during coronavirus
New guidance for providers of supported living settings is available.
Companies House to resume the compulsory strike off process
From 10 October 2020, Companies House will resume the process to strike off companies they believe are no longer carrying on business or in operation. From this date, they will resume the process to remove a company from the register if there’s reasonable cause to believe it’s no longer carrying on business or in operation. Find out more here.
Hotels and other guest accommodation
Working safely during coronavirus guidance has been updated to include guidance on local restrictions for accommodation providers.
Overtime and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Guidance on calculating how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been updated with a new section on how to calculate your claim for fixed pay employees who have worked enough overtime (in the tax year 2019 to 2020) to have a significant impact on the amount you need to claim.
Update: 6 August 2020
Two new leadership programmes to help small business leaders grow their companies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic have been launched:
From Saturday 1 August, shielding guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable was paused across England. This means those who have been shielding over the course of the pandemic will no longer be advised to do so, and can begin to go back to work as long as the sites are COVID-secure. The easing of restrictions will not apply for those currently shielding in: Blackburn with Darwen; Blaby and Charnwood; Luton; Leicester City; Wigston; and Oadby. Find out more here.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Guidance has been updated with new information on the maximum number of employees you can claim for.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: Guidance has been updated with details about how to ask HMRC to verify if having a new child affected your eligibility for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships has been updated, including information on post-ceremony receptions. Wedding receptions or parties should not currently be taking place and any celebration after the ceremony should follow the broader social distancing guidance of involving no more than 2 households in any location or, if outdoors, up to 6 people from different households. The government’s roadmap to reopening in England, set out the ambition of allowing small wedding receptions when it is safe to do so. This remains the ambition, but it is not expected that such a change would take place until at least 15 August, at the earliest.
North of England local restrictions:
Update: 31 July 2020
The Prime Minister has announced that until 15 August at the earliest, casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and remaining close contact services must remain closed, and that indoor performances will not resume. Pilots of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres will not take place and wedding receptions of up to 30 people will also not be permitted. Data on the prevalence of the virus in the community in England will continue to be carefully reviewed in order to move forward with the intention to open up these higher risk settings as soon as possible.
The government is introducing a new Job Retention Bonus to provide additional support to employers who keep on their furloughed employees in meaningful employment, after the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends on 31 October 2020. The Job Retention Bonus is a one-off payment to employers of £1,000 for every employee who they previously claimed for under the scheme, and who remains continuously employed through to 31 January 2021. Eligible employees must earn at least £520 a month on average between the 1 November 2020 and 31 January 2021. Employers will be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus after they have filed PAYE for January and payments will be made to employers from February 2021.
Find out more information about the Job Retention Bonus here. Full guidance will be published by the end of September.
North of England – Local restrictions: An outbreak of coronavirus has been identified in parts of Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, and West Yorkshire. The government and relevant local authorities are acting together to control the spread of the virus and local restrictions are in place. Businesses and workplaces should continue as before in these areas.
Leicester – Local restrictions: Restrictions on businesses and venues will be lifted for the Borough of Oadby and Wigston and additional businesses and venues will be able to re-open in Leicester City from 3 August. More information is available here.
Luton – Local restrictions: Temporary measures to prevent further spread of coronavirus in Luton will be lifted from 1 August. This means that national guidance and restrictions for England will now apply in Luton from 1 August, including the changes implemented elsewhere on 25 July permitting the reopening of indoor gyms, pools, and sports and leisure facilities. More information is available here.
Information on all areas with additional local restrictions is available here
Face coverings to be required in additional indoor settings: From 8 August the requirement to wear a face covering will be extended to other indoor settings where people are likely to come into contact with others they do not normally meet, such as museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship.
Working from home guidance: From 1 August employers will have more discretion over how employees can work safely – whether by continuing to work from home or attending a Covid Secure workplace.
Self-isolation period extended to 10 days: The UK’s Chief Medical Officers have extended the self-isolation period to 10 days for those in the community who have coronavirus symptoms or a positive test result. More information is available here.
Luxembourg has been removed from the list of countries covered by the travel corridor exemption and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all but essential travel to Luxembourg. If you arrive in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland from Luxembourg on or after 31 July 2020 you will need to self-isolate. More information is available here.
Health and care workers to self-isolate on return to UK from high-risk countries. Registered health and care professionals travelling to the UK from high-risk countries will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Health and care professionals returning from a country which has a travel corridor to the UK will not be required to self-isolate on return.
New law to ensure furloughed employees receive full redundancy payments: Furloughed employees who are then made redundant will receive redundancy pay based on their normal wage, under new laws which come into force on 31 July. The changes will also apply to statutory notice pay and other entitlements. Further details can be found here.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Guidance: New guidance has been published for those who have claimed too much or not enough from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
A new guide on Personal Protective Equipment guide for community and social care settings has been published. It shows which PPE to wear depending on where and how you are working; and how to work safely using your PPE and safer working practices to protect staff and residents.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: Guidance has been updated with information for those who have made a claim in error, have been overpaid or would like to make a voluntary repayment.
The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme guidance has been updated to include information on hospitality and golf packages, and hotel and restaurant services.
Reminder – UK Internal Market Consultation: The UK government are consulting on new measures to protect internal trade within the UK when powers return from the EU in January 2021. Measures will protect the UK’s economy by preventing new burdens on cross-UK business and provide certainty to support coronavirus recovery. A consultation is open until 13 August, sourcing views from businesses across all 4 nations of the UK. You can find and respond to the consultation here.
Update: 29 July 2020
New guidance for businesses and organisations on how to recognise, contain and report incidents of coronavirus has been published. COVID-19 early outbreak management information has been created to make sure that people who run businesses or organisations:
Action cards have been developed to cover a range of businesses and organisations to provide specific advice on the issues each type of organisation may face now lockdown restrictions have been eased. The cards are designed to be printed or downloaded to keep on hand in your business or organisation. Find out more here.
Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines have been added to the exempt list.
Update: 24 July 2020
Face coverings must be worn in additional enclosed public spaces from 24 July in England. In England you must wear a face covering by law in the following settings:
It will be compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops. Face coverings are not required in hospitality settings, including restaurants with table service, bars, and pubs. They are also not required in entertainment venues (such as cinemas or casinos), visitor attractions (such as heritage sites or museums), exercise and sports venues (such as gyms).
Face coverings are not mandatory for anyone under the age of 11 or those with disabilities or certain health conditions.
Shops, supermarkets and other premises where face coverings are required are encouraged to take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law and could refuse entry to anyone who does not have a valid exemption. Transport operators can deny access to their public transport services if a passenger is not wearing a face covering, or direct them to wear one or leave a service if they are not wearing a face covering.
Most comprehensive flu programme in UK history will be rolled out this winter
Eligible groups are urged to get their free vaccine every year. However with COVID-19 still in circulation, this year’s campaign will be particularly vital to protect the most vulnerable and reduce the number of people needing flu treatment from the NHS.
From Tuesday 28 July 2020, passengers will not need to self-isolate when arriving in England from Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines. ‘Travel corridor’ countries continue to be reviewed to monitor the situation there, to justify their exemption; and will be removed immediately should the public health situation change for the worse. Find out more here.
Companies House phone line has reopened
Their telephone contact line has reopened on 0303 123 4500 and enquiries can be emailed to [email protected]. Find out more here.
Working in vehicles guidance has been updated
Updates include the change in working from home, when to wear face coverings and work related travel. Find out more here.
Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020 notice
The notice to display to show you have made your workplace COVID-secure has been updated to reflect the change in guidance of working from home. Find the notice here.
Update: 15 July 2020
The Government has announced that face coverings will be mandatory from 24 July when shopping. This is to protect those who work in shops and to give people more confidence to shop safely. Those who do not wear a face covering in shops will face a fine of up to £100. Shops can refuse entry to someone not wearing a face covering and can call the police if someone fails to comply. You can make face-coverings at home. The key thing is it should cover the mouth and nose. Further guidance for business will be available on GOV.UK soon
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS): A number of updates have been made to guidance on the CJRS:
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
The scheme is now closed for the first grant. The scheme allows you to claim a second and final taxable grant. You can make a claim for the second grant if you are eligible, even if you did not make a claim for the first grant. Find out more here.
A number of updates have been made to the scheme guidance:
Working safely during coronavirus
Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus outbreak
Guidance has been updated to confirm that from 13 July 2020 providers can welcome back 19+ apprentices into educational settings, that the flexibility to suspend level 2 functional skills for level 2 apprentices has been extended, and to provide more information on support for redundant apprentices.
The UK has left the EU, and the transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020. Business need to act now to get ready for new rules that will come into force from 1 January 2021.
The UK Government has launched a major new Transition public information campaign called “The UK’s new start: let’s get going” to give everyone the facts that they will need to be ready for 1 January 2021. A straightforward checker tool at gov.uk/transition will quickly identify the specific steps any business or individual needs to take to be ready.
The government has also announced:
Further details on the new points-based immigration system from 1 January 2021
Update: 13 July 2020
If your business is reopening soon, you can use our guidance finder to help you find the information most relevant to you. Find guidance for your business. This guidance applies to England, except for Leicester. See separate guidance for Leicester
The Recovery Advice for Business scheme supported by the government gives small firms access to free, one-to-one advice with an expert adviser to help them through the coronavirus pandemic and to prepare for long-term recovery. Thousands of expert professional and business services advisers are on hand to offer free advice, until 31st December. Small and medium sized businesses can sign up, take the diagnostic tool and access support. Advice will focus on key areas:
Find out more here or get started today at enterprisenation.com/freesupport
Job Retention Bonus
The Job Retention Bonus is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers that have used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31 January 2021. The bonus will provide additional support to retain employees. To be eligible, employees will need to:
Employers will be able to claim the bonus from February 2021. More information about this scheme will be available by 31 July and full guidance will be published in the Autumn
Information for businesses in Scotland
The Scottish Government published Phase 3 of its route map through and out of the crisis on 9 July. Find more information here.
Open consultation – Plastic Packaging Tax
At the March Budget, the government announced key decisions on the design of the Plastic Packaging Tax ahead of its commencement in April 2022. This included extending the scope of the tax to plastic packaging which has been filled before being imported into the UK (i.e. bottles which are filled with liquid). The tax will impact a wide range of industries including retail, construction and manufacturing. You can find out more information about how the tax might affect you in the consultation document. As a result of COVID-19 the consultation period has been extended by 3 months, with a new closing date of 20 August 2020. Read the consultation document and submit a response here.
How to treat certain expenses and benefits provided to employees during coronavirus
Information about ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) tests’ has been added here. If you’re providing testing kits to your employees, outside of the government’s national testing scheme, either directly or by purchasing tests that are carried out by a third party, no Income Tax or Class 1A National Insurance contributions will be due.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Reminder of key dates
Update: 9 July 2020
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, presented his ‘Plan for Jobs’ to Parliament on Wednesday 8 July 2020, to outline how the government will boost job creation in the UK. The plan includes:
To encourage people to safely return to eating out at restaurants, the Government has introduced a new Eat Out to Help Out discount. The scheme will support over 129,000 businesses in the hospitality industry. Diners can get 50% off meals and non-alcoholic drinks, up to £10 per person, at participating restaurants, bars and cafes when they eat in. The scheme is valid all day every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during August. Participating restaurants and establishments will be reimbursed for the discount they pass onto customers. Detailed guidance and registration details for restaurants and establishments will be published on 9 July and restaurants and outlets can register for the scheme from Monday 13 July.
MHRA warns that “temperature screening” products are not a reliable way to detect if people have the virus.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has issued a warning that thermal cameras and other such “temperature screening” products, some of which make direct claims to screen for COVID-19, are not a reliable way to detect if people have the virus.
Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020: notice
A notice to display to show you have made your workplace COVID-secure is available and has been updated to reflect the change in the 2m social distancing rule. Find the notice here.
Test and Trace: Keeping a record of staff, customers and visitors
The opening up of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. Organisations in certain sectors should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of customers and visitors for 21 days. Find out more here. This privacy notice describes how the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will process personal data from venues and establishments to support contact tracing.
Leicester: Closing certain businesses and safe travel guidance
A list of businesses and premises expected to close in Leicester from 4 July 2020 is available here. Safer travel guidance for passengers in areas under local lockdown is available here.
Exemptions to the global advice against non-essential travel
On 4 July the travel advice changed, with exemptions for travelling to certain countries and territories that no longer pose a high risk for British travellers. View the list of exempted destinations. UK Government continues to advise against non-essential international travel, except to countries and territories listed. Find out more here.
Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities
Guidance for those managing community centres, village halls and other community facilities on safely re-opening multi-purpose buildings. The update includes details on multi-use communal facilities can now open. Find out more here.
Sending your forms to Companies House during the coronavirus outbreak
As an emergency response to coronavirus Companies House developed a temporary online service to upload a number of completed forms and send them to Companies House digitally. The “upload a document” service will now allow users to upload more form types, including Scottish limited and qualifying partnerships, articles and resolutions. Find out more here.
Draft planning guidance to support the Business and Planning Bill
The Business and Planning Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on Thursday 25 June 2020. This draft guidance has been prepared to be read alongside a number of the planning measures set out in the Bill. The guidance has been updated with information on the extension of certain planning permissions. Find out more here.
Find out about taxable expenses and benefits when they are paid to employees because of coronavirus and how to report them to HMRC. The guidance has been updated to include information about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), find out more here.
Defer your Self Assessment payment on account
More information about the July 2020 payment on account deferment has been added here.
HM Treasury extends tax cut to PPE costs
The temporary removal of VAT on PPE has been extended until the end of October. Find out more here.
Updated Job retention scheme and furloughing video
A video has been updated on the extension to the job retention scheme and furloughing. Watch videos and register for the free webinars to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus here.
Update: 3 July 2020
All businesses and venues in England can reopen from 4 July, except for those detailed here or those impacted by the Leicestershire coronavirus lockdown. New and updated guidance for re-opening safely is available for a number of sectors:
Travel Corridor Exemption list: 14 day isolation lifted for lower risk countries
Passengers returning to or visiting England, from countries or territories detailed in the travel corridor exemption list, will no longer need to self-isolate on arrival. This comes into effect on 10 July 2020. All passengers, except those on a small list of exemptions, will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in the UK. Find out more here. To receive specific foreign travel advice, sign up to email updates here. Information for travel into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be published in due course by the Devolved Administrations.
Local measures to deal with the coronavirus outbreak
Decisions about measures to tackle local COVID-19 outbreaks will generally be made at a local level, supported by the work of the Joint Biosecurity Centre, Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace. The Government will work with local leaders and communities to ensure affected areas have the support they need. Information on local measures will be available from councils and Business Growth Hubs in the areas affected.
Information on the Leicestershire coronavirus lockdown is available here.
CMA and trade bodies’ joint statement against price gouging
The Competition and Market Authority (CMA) and various trade associations have issued a joint warning as they remain concerned that some retailers have been raising prices unfairly.
Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act
Guidance for private companies and other company types and information on how the measures introduced will affect your filings at Companies House is now available.
Coronavirus job retention scheme and flexible furlough
Businesses can now bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis. Find out more here.
Guidance on the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been updated with new examples for how a business could be adversely affected by coronavirus and with information on how different circumstances affect the scheme.
What to do if you’re self-employed and getting less work or no work
Guidance for people who are self-employed and getting less work or no work because of coronavirus has been updated to include information on interviews and assessments. Find out more here.
Scheme end: Deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus
The VAT payments deferral scheme ended on 30 June 2020 as previously set out. More information is available here.
Update: 30 June 2020
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made a speech on the economy in Dudley, announcing a “New Deal” which puts jobs and infrastructure at the centre of the government’s economic growth strategy.
The Prime Minister announced the bringing forward of £5bn of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and the economic recovery. In the Autumn the government will also publish a National Infrastructure Strategy which will set a clear direction on core economic infrastructure, including energy networks, road and rail, flood defences and waste. UK Government also intends to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and will carry out a review to look at how best to improve road, rail, air and sea links between our four nations to create a more connected kingdom. Find more here.
The Health Secretary announced in Parliament on 29 June 2020, that given the growing outbreak of coronavirus in Leicester, Leicester-specific measures will apply to the city of Leicester, and the surrounding conurbation, including for example, Oadby, Birstall and Glenfield.
These local measures will be kept under review and will not be kept in place any longer than is necessary. UK government will review whether any measures can be eased in 2 weeks’ time. More information is available here.
Employers in England that want to reopen their business have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site. Use this guidance to help you carry out a risk assessment and make sensible adjustments to the site and workforce. If you do not carry out a risk assessment, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or your local council can issue an enforcement notice. Employees can use this guidance to check what their workplace needs to do to keep people safe. This guidance is only for businesses that are allowed to reopen in England.
Employee return-to-work tool
The Government has developed a tool to help employees in England easily assess if they can return to work. The tool guides employees through questions that may influence their ability to go back to work safely. Employers can share this tool with employees to aid discussion on how employees can return to work safely. Find out more here.
Government unveils £200 million package to help innovative businesses bounce back
The Sustainable Innovation Fund will help companies across all parts of the UK recovering from the impact of coronavirus keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive. The Sustainable Innovation Fund will help power the UK’s economic recovery and develop new sustainable opportunities for businesses in any sector following the coronavirus pandemic, while helping the UK meet its ambitions to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. Businesses can apply for support through the Sustainable Innovation Fund by visiting the Innovate UK website from Monday 29 June. Find out more here.
More firms can now benefit from the Future Fund
Changes to the Future Fund’s eligibility criteria will mean that UK companies who have participated in highly selective accelerator programmes and were required, as part of that programme, to have parent companies outside of the UK will now be able to apply for investment. Find out more here.
Support for university research and innovation during coronavirus
Research jobs and ground-breaking projects impacted by coronavirus to be protected by 2 new government support packages: A new research funding scheme opens this autumn to cover up to 80% of a university’s income losses from a decline in international students; and around £280 million in government funding will be made available to enable universities to continue their cutting-edge work, such as research into antibiotics resistance and the effects of coronavirus on society. Find out more here.
Mandatory MOT testing to be reintroduced from 1 August
Mandatory MOT testing is to be reintroduced from 1 August 2020. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, drivers were granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing in March. However, as restrictions are eased when safe to do so, all drivers whose car, motorcycle or van is due for an MOT test from 1 August will be required to get a test certificate to continue driving their vehicle. Find out more here.
Keep Britain Tidy
Please have rubbish facilities available if you offer disposable items from your business. If you are outdoors meeting friends, please don’t leave your litter behind. Bin it, or if the bin is full, take it home with you. This will help reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading. Find out more here.
Coronavirus job retention scheme: video with details on flexible furloughing
Watch a video on the coronavirus job retention scheme with information on flexible furloughing and watch other videos about the support available to help deal with the economic impact of coronavirus. Find out more here.
Advice for food businesses in response to the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.
Updated guidance includes a new section on prevention of infection and a revised section on management of outbreaks including contact details for health protection teams. Find out more here.
Guidance has been updated as you no longer need to apply for an export licence to export personal protective equipment (PPE). Find out more here.
Safer travel guidance for operators and passengers
Safer travel guidance for passengers and operators in England has been updated with information on social distancing.
Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020
The measures introduced by the Act will relieve the burden on businesses during the coronavirus outbreak and allow them to focus all their efforts on continuing to operate. Find out more here.
Please see details on the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill Webinars below:
Update: 26 June 2020
More pubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to serve customers outdoors in plans announced by the government.
These measures will give an immediate and much needed boost to many businesses, whilst supporting them to successfully reopen over the summer. Find more here.
Find out how to pay all or some of your grant back if you’ve overclaimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. You can:
Driving lessons, theory tests and driving tests to restart in England
Driving lessons and theory tests will restart on Saturday 4 July 2020 in England, and car driving tests will restart from Wednesday 22 July 2020. Find out more here.
Applying for a moratorium under the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020
How to apply for breathing space to consider a rescue plan for your company, under measures to support companies and other types of business in financial difficulty. The directors must file for or apply to court for a moratorium. It will give the company 20 business days to consider rescue options. Find out more here.
Working safely in heritage locations guidance
This guidance is relevant to those who operate or work in heritage attractions. Find out more here.
Vehicles guidance update
The vehicles guidance has been updated to include details on amending the 2m social distancing rule and details on support bubbles. Find out more here.
Update: 22 June 2020
From Saturday 4 July 2020, all businesses and venues in England can reopen, except for a small number of ‘Close proximity’ venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools, water parks, bowling alleys and spas, which will need to remain closed for now. The UK Government is continuing to work with these sectors to establish taskforces to help them to become COVID Secure and reopen as soon as possible.
Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers and accommodation sites will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines. Some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, if they can do so safely – this includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades.
COVID Secure guides cover a range of different types of work:
From 4 July 2020, newly updated guidance recommends that you keep two metres away from people as a precaution or one metre when you can mitigate the risk by taking other precautions. Find the updated guidance and further details on mitigating risks here.
New plans to get Britain building in coronavirus recovery
New measures to help the construction industry boost building and return to work safely have been announced. Planning permission deadlines will be extended, planning appeals will be sped up and builders will be allowed more flexible working hours following agreement with their local council. You can find more information here.
The Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport have contributed to guidance on partner websites
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: step by step guide for employers
This guide has been updated with more information about flexible furlough and overpayments.
A new code provides support to shops and local firms planning their future recovery with their landlord.
An amendment to the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill has been tabled which will extend the temporary ban on the use of statutory demands and winding-up petitions where a company cannot pay its bills due to coronavirus until 30 September. Find out more here.
Public Procurement Review Service (PPRS) allows suppliers to anonymously raise concerns they have about public sector buying and prompt payment and it’s free to use. It is one of a range of measures designed to make Government easier to work with, levelling the playing field for those who want to supply to Government. The work of PPRS can lead to live procurements being adjusted, outstanding payments made for work completed, with recommendations being made to Contracting Authorities leading to improvements in the way government sources goods and services in the future.
Find more information here.
Download a template if you’re claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Complete a template with the details of the employees you’re claiming for and upload this template when you claim (for claims on or after 1 July 2020). Find the template here.
Coronavirus: MOTs for lorries, buses and trailers
You can book a lorry, bus or trailer annual test (MOT) from 4 July 2020 – the deadline to get the test done depends on when the MOT was originally due. The update includes that lorry, bus or trailer annual tests (MOTs) will restart from 4 July 2020 but vehicles in June, July and August will be issued 3-month exemptions. This applies in Wales, England and Scotland. Find out more here.
Find out which employees you can put on furlough and claim for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Updated to include information about exceptions for military reservists. Find out more here.
Update: 19 June 2020
The UK Government has developed a tool to help businesses in England to reopen safely during coronavirus. This tool encourages businesses to carry out a risk assessment and helps to identify the workplace adjustments that they should make. Employers have the legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site, such as customers and visitors. This tool will help businesses to easily find out what they should do. Employees can also use this tool to check what their workplace needs to do to keep people safe. The tool can be found here.
Deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
There have been temporary changes to VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 to help businesses manage their cash flow. The update includes information regarding the end of the VAT deferral period. Find more information here.
Help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
Watch videos and register for the free webinars to learn more about the support available to help businesses deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus. UK Government’s YouTube video about how to make a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claim has been updated. Find more information here.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): impact on HM Land Registry’s services
HM Land Registry has issued an update on how they are delivering their services during the coronavirus outbreak. Latest change covers how conveyancers can request an application to be expedited and added a new section titled: ‘Cancellation dates on expedited applications’. Find more information here.
Update: 15 June 2020
All non-essential retail shops (high street retailers, department stores, book shops, electronics retailers, tailors, auction houses, photography studios, indoor markets, and shops selling clothes, shoes and toys) can reopen in England from Monday 15 June, provided they follow guidelines to keep staff and customers as safe as possible. Please refer to the Working safely during coronavirus: Shops and Branches guidance for further details or watch the webinar on working safely in shops and branches during coronavirus.
From Monday 15 June, it is mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport in England (bus, coach, train, tram, ferry and aircrafts). This is to help reduce the risk of transmission when social distancing is not always possible.
Guidance remains to work from home if you can and avoid public transport where possible. Find out more here.
Find out more about how the amount of grant available through Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing.
HMRC are running a webinar to be held on Thursday 18 June 9:45am-10:45am and Friday 19 June 11:45am-12:45pm. It provides an overview of the changes to the scheme, how employers will be affected, flexible furloughing, key dates and support available. Sign up here.
On 13 May the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced a series of measures to support house building during the COVID-19 pandemic, including flexible working hours to construction sites in order to support social distancing requirements.
Transmission licence exemptions for offshore wind farm generators affected by COVID-19
This consultation seeks views on a proposed exemption order for wind farm generators in tender rounds 5 and 6 of the offshore transmission owner (OFTO) regime, who have been affected by COVID-19. The order will extend the commissioning period to account for the impacts of COVID-19. Find out more here.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer aviation guidance for operators
Safer travel and working principles for airports and aviation operators. Update includes the new requirements for passengers to wear face coverings. Find out more here. For guidance for passengers, find out more here.
How different circumstances affect the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
If you’re self-employed or member of a partnership, find out how your circumstances can affect your eligibility for the scheme. The update includes examples added, to show when the ‘adversely affected’ criteria for the first and second grants will be met. Find out more here.
Update: 11 June 2020
The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill is said to be the ‘biggest change to the UK’s insolvency and restructuring framework for almost twenty years’. In line with this, the Bill rapidly passed through the House of Commons in one day on 3 June, and was debated in the House of Lords on 9 June.
Advice on staying secure during COVID-19
Guidance from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure for businesses and insolvency office holders on managing security risks during the pandemic. The CPNI has drawn together important security considerations for businesses in financial distress, including those in insolvency or administration, either directly or as a third party.
Zoos, safari parks and open-air cinemas in England can reopen from Monday 15 June 2020
The Prime Minister announced at the No10 Covid-19 press conference briefing on 10 June 2020, that provided visitor numbers are managed and safeguards put in place to facilitate social distancing, zoos, safari parks and open-air cinemas in England can open from the 15 June 2020, though indoor areas such as reptile houses remain closed. You can view the Prime Minister’s statement here.
Guidance on Working Safely Outdoors can be found here and a recent Government webinar on the topic can be watched again here.
Coronarvirus (COVID-19) Guidance: Information for NI Businesses & Employers
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for businesses and employers in Northern Ireland. Updated guidance has been reflected. Find out more here.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for individuals and businesses in Wales
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for businesses and employers in Wales. Updated information on the Job Retention Scheme and details about business closures in Wales. Find out more here.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for people receiving direct payments money to pay for care and support
Advice for people who buy care and support through a direct payment, as well as local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and those who provide care and support. Updates include updated guidance and additional documents. Find out more here.
Update: 10 June 2020
Shops in England selling non-essential goods will be able to reopen from Monday 15 June. Non-essential retail will need to continue following UK government guidelines to keep staff and customers safe. Businesses should display a downloadable notice to inform customers and staff they have followed COVID secure guidance.
Retailers will need to take certain steps to protect customers and staff, including limiting the number of customers allowed inside at one time, placing protective coverings on large items such as sofas which may be touched by passing shoppers, and frequently checking and cleaning objects and surfaces. Find out more here.
People on paternity and maternity leave who return to work in the coming months will be eligible for the government’s furlough scheme even after 10 June cut-off date. This will only apply where they work for an employer who has previously furloughed employees. This applies to people on adoption leave, shared parental leave, and parental bereavement leave. Find out more here.
The scheme will otherwise close to new entrants from 30 June. This means that the final date by which an employer needs to agree with their employee and ensure they place them on furlough is today, 10 June. Find out more here.
Migration Advisory Committee seeks views on skills shortages
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is currently seeking evidence from business organisations and employers on what skills are currently in short supply across the UK labour market as part of a review of the shortage occupation lists. As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, alongside the main call for evidence, the MAC have created options for businesses to provide more limited evidence or to register that they would have responded in different circumstances. Find out more here.
Sending your forms to Companies House during the coronavirus outbreak
As an emergency response to coronavirus Companies House has developed a temporary online service to upload a number of completed forms and send them to Companies House digitally. Find out which documents you can upload here.
Whole home testing rolled out to all care homes in England
Every care home in England will now be offered a coronavirus test for all residents and staff, even if they have no symptoms. Find out more here. New guidance on the Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund is also available for adult social care providers. You can find it here.
Apply for the coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund
The Discretionary Grant Fund supports small and micro businesses in England that are not eligible for other grant schemes. Guidance has been updated to includes details on eligibility points. To be eligible, your business should have ongoing fixed property-related costs, and occupy property (or part of a property) with a rateable value or annual mortgage/rent payments below £51,000. Find out more here.
The Basic Payment Scheme: information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses
The Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications, Country Stewardship (CS) and Environmental Stewardship (ES) annual revenue claims, close on 15 June. To support applications, the Rural Payments helpline will be open on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 June (8:30am-2pm) on 03000 200 301. Find out more here.
Update: 8 June 2020
Business Secretary Alok Sharma is creating 5 new business-focused groups to unleash Britain’s growth potential and create jobs, as part of the government’s plans to help the economy bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. Focused on 5 key themes, each group will explore how business can work with government to deliver economic growth and jobs:
The membership of the 5 working groups will be published in due course. There will also be an opportunity for other parties and individuals interested in this initiative to share written submissions with the Business Department. We will provide further details in upcoming bulletins.
From 15 June, face coverings will be required while using public transport in England. The UK Government asks transport operators in England to make wearing face coverings a requirement of using public transport from 15 June. Bus, coach, train, tram, ferry and aircraft passengers must wear a face covering on their journey to help reduce the risk of transmission when social distancing is not always possible. More information is available here. The safer travel guidance for passengers is available here.
From the 15 June all NHS hospital staff and visitors will also be expected to wear face masks and coverings. Find out more here.
Requirements to provide public health information to passengers travelling to England
From 8 June 2020, new regulations will be in force requiring transport operators to ensure that passengers travelling to England from outside the common travel area are provided with public health information throughout the passenger journey. New guidance sets out the information that must be provided to passengers, and the manner in which it must be provided.
Suspension of evictions from social or private rented accommodation extended by 2 months
The Government has extended the suspension of new evictions in England and Wales until 23 August. Where tenants do experience financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic, the government is clear that landlords and tenants should work together and exhaust all possible options – such as flexible payment plans which take into account a tenant’s individual circumstances – to ensure cases only end up in court as an absolute last resort. More information is available here.
Higher education: reopening buildings and campuses
New guidance has been published to help providers of higher education in England to understand how to minimise risk during the coronavirus outbreak and provide services to students. You can find the guidance here.
The Universities Minister has also set out measures to support international students and the higher education sector including flexibility on visa regulations, and announcing the appointment of Sir Steve Smith as an International Education Champion to boost the numbers of international students in the UK. You can find more information here.
Introduction of the domestic reverse charge for construction services delayed until 1 March 2021
The introduction of the domestic reverse charge for construction services will be delayed for a period of 5 months from 1 October 2020 until 1 March 2021 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the construction sector. You can find more information here.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: guidance for research organisations
To support final decisions on furloughing staff before the 10 June deadline for notifications, supplementary guidance for the research sector has been published. It applies to those involved in research, including research organisations in receipt of public funding.
PPE portal for healthcare providers
Healthcare providers can order additional personal protective equipment (PPE) through the portal to top up their existing supplies for COVID-19 in an emergency. The PPE portal can be used by small social care and primary care providers. Providers who can use the service will receive an email invitation to register. Find out more here.
Payment deferral from money laundering supervision due to coronavirus
Guidance on money laundering supervision has been updated to explain that you do not need to contact HMRC if you choose to defer payment. If you’re due to renew money laundering supervision get a payment deferral for up to 6 months or deregister if you stop trading due to coronavirus. This applies to all businesses with an annual fee due between 1 May and 30 September 2020. Find out more here.
Companies House – changes to strike-off policy and late filing penalties
Companies House have updated information on strike-off policy. From 1 June 2020, there will be an exception to the suspension of strike off activity. In cases where our law enforcement partners have concluded that companies are no longer in operation following an investigation, the registrar will continue with strike off action for those companies. Find out more here.
Guidance and advice for those providing hotel and other accommodation in England.
Guidance and advice for those providing hotel and other accommodation in the UK has been updated.
Reminder: Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the coronavirus job retention scheme
The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees they have furloughed for a 3 week period prior to 30 June. This means that the final date by which an employers needs to agree with their employee and ensure they place them on furlough is 10 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June. Find out more here.
Help the government increase coronavirus (COVID-19) testing capacity
The government wants help from businesses to increase testing capacity in the UK as part of its strategy to protect the NHS and save lives. We want to hear specifically from companies who can manufacture and supply:
Update: 3 June 2020
The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill will implement reforms to the insolvency and corporate governance framework, together with temporary measures to support continued trading through the crisis. This Bill will help companies by:
You can view factsheets for more information on the Bill here.
It is more important than ever to ensure small businesses are paid on time. Many small businesses are reaching out for assistance, with disputes over delayed payments or in some cases, non-payment because of the financial hardship being experienced by all sectors during this difficult time. As many small business owners are directly or indirectly impacted by Covid-19, they will be eager to get back on their feet, so keeping on top of the business basics and maintaining cash flow by getting the money in for work carried out or goods supplied is paramount.
The Small Business Commissioner has helped small businesses recover over £7.2 million owed to them (Dec 17 – May 2020) and £500,000 specifically during the coronavirus crisis. If you’d like more information or help, visit. For further information, visit the Small Business Commissioner website.
Coronavirus: Environment Agency
The Environment Agency has provided an update to businesses and communities on its services, to support those they regulate during the coronavirus pandemic. You can find the update here.
Guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations has been updated with information on which apprentices should be prioritised in the offer of face-to-face training from 15 June, and details of the flexibility that enables apprentices to take end-point assessment ahead of receiving their calculated functional skills qualification results.
Advice for Tier 2, 4 and 5 sponsors
Advice for Tier 2, 4 and 5 visa sponsors in the UK who are sponsoring those affected by coronavirus has been updated to add information on scanned documents.
Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus outbreak
Guidance for early years and childcare providers has been updated including: in relation to the Competition and Markets Authority and insurance, on infection prevention and control, attendance section, use of community centres and before and after school clubs, a new section of safeguarding and welfare including provisions for children with SEND and a clarification on paediatric first aid certificates. Find out more here.
Farmers, landowners and rural businesses – Basic Payment Scheme (BPS): update to land change requests
The deadline to accept email requests to link land parcels to a customer’s SBI, or requests to change the land tenure of a land parcel, has been extended until midnight on 9 June. You should therefore continue to submit land change requests as quickly as possible. More information here.
Coronavirus support from Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations
Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations are providing coronavirus related support for specific sectors. The list of organisations you can speak with to get advice has been updated. Find out more information here.
Update: 1 June 2020
Information for parents and carers about the wider opening of nurseries, schools and colleges has been updated to reflect the decision, based on all the evidence, to move forward with the wider opening of education and childcare settings. You may wish to share this information with your employees. Children of critical workers, and vulnerable children who are already eligible, will continue to be offered a place, regardless of the year group they are in.
Guidance on the actions for educational and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020 has also been updated.
Guidance, designed for competition delivery partners and elite sport organisations has been published, that outlines the facilities and processes that will need to be in place, including that there will be no spectators at events, for elite athletes and professional sportsmen and women to resume competitive sport, safely behind closed doors in England, from 1 June 2020. Find out more here.
Updated guidance is also now available for the providers of outdoor sport facilities, personal trainers and coaches, the public and elite athletes, on the phased return of sport and recreation in England. Find out more here. If you are a personal trainer or coach find out what you should do to return to training safely. If you are a provider of an outdoor sport facilities find out what you need to do to reopen and the measures you should have in place.
Advice on accessing green spaces safely
New Guidance for England, on accessing green spaces safely has been published. This includes advice to land managers and landowners.
Draft legislation: Taxation of coronavirus (COVID-19) support of payments
HMRC are inviting views on the technical effectiveness of this measure, which ensures that grants within the legislation are subject to tax. These grants are treated as income where the business is within the scope of either Income Tax or Corporation Tax. Find out more here.
Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
The self-employment income support scheme has now been extended. A second and final grant will be available when the scheme opens again in August 2020. If you’re eligible and want to claim the first grant you must claim on or before 13 July 2020. Find out more here.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing
Guidance has been updated with information about how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing, what pension trustees may do whilst on furlough and the eligibility of TUPE.
From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours; employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.
The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June 2020. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3-week period prior to 30 June.
This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June 2020, in order for the current three week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.
Further guidance on flexible furloughing and how employers should calculate claims will be published on 12 June 2020.
Information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses
The latest information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses has been updated with information on farm visits and inspections starting week commencing 1 June.
Temporary relaxation of the enforcement of the driver’s hours rules: all sectors carriage of goods by road
The EU drivers’ hours relaxations ended on 31 May 2020. The GB drivers’ hours relaxation applies until Saturday 14 June 2020. Anyone driving the GB drivers’ hours rules and undertaking carriage if goods by road can use the relaxations where necessary. The relaxations are not limited to specific sectors or journeys Find out more here.
Management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings Guidance on the management of staff, patients and residents who have been exposed to COVID-19. This has been updated in light of the test and trace guidance and added guidance for risk assessment of staff in the event of PPE breaches. Find out more here.
COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities
Non-statutory guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities in the private and social rented sectors in the context of Coronavirus in England, has been updated to reflect amended regulations and changes to wider UK Government and public health advice.
Update: 29 May 2020
Self-Employment Support Scheme
The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on Friday 29 May 2020, that the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended. A copy of the factsheet for SEISS and CRJS is available here.
Those eligible will be able to claim a second and final grant in August. The grant will be worth 70 percent of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.
From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work part time. This is a month earlier than previously announced to help support people back to work. Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, so that they can decide on the best approach for them – and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.
From August 2020, the level of UK Government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work. That means that for June and July the Government will continue to pay 80% of people’s salaries. In the following months, businesses will be asked to contribute a modest share, but crucially, individuals will continue to receive that 80% of salary covering the time they are unable to work.
The scheme updates mean that the following will apply for the period people are furloughed:
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. Employees who believe they are not getting their 80% share can also report any concerns to the HMRC fraud hotline. HMRC will not hesitate to take action against those found to be abusing the scheme.
Small and micro businesses in England with fixed property costs that are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, may be eligible for the Discretionary Grants Scheme. Your local council will run an application process and decide whether to offer you a grant. You can find more information here.
Regulating the waste industry during the coronavirus pandemic
The Environment Agency is continuing to protect people and the environment during coronavirus (COVID-19). Find out more here.
£5 million funding given to mental health community projects
Community projects supporting people with their mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will benefit from their share of £5 million of additional funding. Find out more here.
Exporting personal protective equipment during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Goods exported from the European Union after midnight on Monday 25 May 2020 will no longer require an export authorisation. The export authorisation requirement for personal protective equipment expired on 25 May 2020 and will not be extended. Find out more here.
Apply for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Businesses can now borrow up to a maximum of £200 million. You can find out more here.
Temporary relaxation of the enforcement of the drivers’ hours rules: all sectors carriage of goods by road
Update on the temporary relaxations of EU and GB drivers’ hours rules
Update: 28 May 2020
From today, anyone who tests positive for coronavirus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.
People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.
If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for 7 days or until their symptoms have passed. If they test negative, they must complete the 14-day isolation period. You can find further guidance here.
There is specific guidance on the NHS test and trace service for employers, business, workers and the self-employed which can be found here.
Test and Protect in Scotland has also been launched today. Test, Trace, Protect in Wales will launch on 1 June 2020 and contact tracing in Northern Ireland is currently up and running.
French border restrictions in response to coronavirus
A summary of the border restrictions in place for travelling to the UK and to France.
Furloughed drivers and recording mobile working time
For operators and furloughed drivers on EU mobile working time rules and EU and AETR drivers’ hours and tachograph rules.
Changes to notifying an option to tax land and buildings during coronavirus (COVID-19)
HMRC have extended the time limit for notifying of a decision to opt to tax land and buildings, to 90 days from the date the decision to opt was made. This applies to decisions made between 15 February and 30 June 2020.
Update: 27 May 2020
The UK Government’s Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is now live on GOV.UK
If you’re an employer with fewer than 250 employees, you can now claim for Coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). You can also speak to your tax agent about making claims on your behalf. The repayment will cover up to two weeks of the applicable rate of SSP.
For more information about this Coronavirus support measure, you can also sign-up to HMRC’s Statutory Sick Pay Scheme Webinar.
Transport Secretary announces new measures to keep passengers safe.
Funding to protect and increase transport services, level up infrastructure and regenerate local economies after the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Find out more here.
Plans announced for London’s Covid-19 recovery
A new London Transition Board will co-ordinate London’s response as it emerges from the lockdown and begins to reopen its economy while controlling the virus. Find out more here.
Government boosts UK PPE supply with more than 100 new deals
The government has signed deals with more than 100 new suppliers from around the world as well as ramping up domestic production to help meet demand for PPE. From this week, GPs and small care homes can also register on the PPE Portal, a new online portal developed in collaboration with eBay to help primary and social care providers to order critical PPE, as it is scaled up nationally. Find out more here.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): immigration and borders
Updated to add Entering the UK and Coronavirus (COVID-19): travellers exempt from UK border rules guidance pages.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): business support grant funding – guidance for local authorities
Updated with version 2 of Local Authority Discretionary Fund guidance published – businesses who are eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) are now eligible to apply for the scheme.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers
Addition of text ‘You should be prepared to remove your face covering if asked to do so by police officers and police staff for the purposes of identification.’
Tell HMRC about an option to tax land and buildings
HMRC have extended the time limit from the date the decision to opt was made. This now applies to decisions made between 15 February and 30 June 2020. Find out more here.
Coronavirus: MOTs due from 30 March 2020
Added information about what happens if you take your vehicle for its MOT and it fails when the extension has been applied.
Update: 25 May 2020
The UK Government announced a roadmap for reopening a broader range of shops starting from next month. From 1 June 2020, it intends to allow outdoor markets to reopen, subject to all premises being made COVID-secure, as well as car showrooms, which often have significant outdoor space and where it is generally easier to apply social distancing.
From 15 June 2020, UK Government intends to allow all other retailers, ranging from shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines. You can read the full statement here.
Updated guidance for the retail sector has been published alongside this announcement, detailing the measures retailers should take to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards. You can find the guidance here.
Update: 23 May 2020
New measures, at the UK border to guard against a second wave of coronavirus infections were announced by the Home Secretary on Friday 22 May. You can view the full press notice here. These measures are due to come into effect on 8 June 2020. They include 14 days self-isolation for anyone entering the UK, bar a short list of exemptions.
The full list is available on GOV.UK and include:
The Home Office has been working closely with industry partners ahead of announcing these changes. The changes will be subject to review every three weeks, to ensure they are in line with the latest scientific evidence and remain effective and necessary.
The measures outlined by the Home Secretary include:
Government to offer antibody tests to health and social care staff
New advice for property professionals on home moving safely
Employees on furlough
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