Round up of latest COVID-19 updates, week ending 1 May

01 May 2020

On 30 April, Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP announced that the Government will be setting out a comprehensive plan next week with specific timelines outlining: 

    • How to get the economy moving
    • Get children back to school
    • How we can travel back to work and make the workplace safer
    • Continue to suppress the virus and restart the economy

    We will keep you updated on any further developments as soon as they become available.
    In the meantime, we wanted to share the key announcements, updates to guidance, webinars and training available to businesses.

    Updates to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) guidance  

    The following changes have been made to the CJRS guidance:
    Employee guidance

    • Furloughed employees who are union or non-union representatives may undertake duties and activities for the purpose of individual or collective representation of employees or other workers.
    • Confirmation that company directors paid annually are eligible to claim.
    • Employees receiving maternity allowance during a period of maternity leave should not receive furlough pay at the same time.

    Employer guidance: eligibility

    • Updated in line with changes to employee guidance.
    • CJRS grants are not classed as state aid.
    • Changed the date from 28 February to 19 March 2020 in the section on TUPE transfers and payroll consolidation.

    Employer guidance: how to calculate the grant

    • The June daily maximum wage rates have been added to the table now that the scheme has been extended.
    • Improved clarity in the employer National Insurance contributions section, confirmed the direct percentage method or tables method can be used and added new information for company directors.
    • The scheme opened for applications last week on Monday 20 April; this week the first grants have been paid. 

    Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Grants Fund (RLHGF):
    Local authorities in England are continuing to reach out to eligible businesses directly to arrange payment. The grants are of £10,000 or £25,000 and do not need to be paid back. To ensure all eligible businesses can access these funds, Government is encouraging businesses to:

    Find out more about the schemes.

    Upcoming webinars and training available
    Government departments are hosting a series of free webinars to help businesses understand the support available including:

    A new free online learning platform has been launched, ‘The Skills Toolkit’ will help people to build their skills during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond.

    Other updates:

    Business Improvement Districts will receive £6.1 million in funding to help high streets and town centres through the pandemic

    Treasury cut taxes to reduce PPE costsfrom 1 May 2020, PPE purchased by care homes, businesses, charities and individuals to protect against COVID-19 will be free from VAT for a three-month period.

    An update has been made to the information on tax on the guidance for Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

    Temporary changes have been made to the guidance on the destruction of spoilt beer, cider, wine or made-wine if you're a brewer, cider producer, winemaker or publican.

    £5.7 million government investment will protect Great Britain-Northern Ireland air passenger flights, the vital routes will be safeguarded for transporting critical workers

    HM Treasury and HMRC are setting out new timelines for tax policy consultations and other work in the light of the current COVID-19 crisis

    The social distancing guidelines have been updated to provide further clarification on the requirements of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, and additional information on clinically vulnerable people.