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COVID-19: The Latest Government Announcements

In the last couple of days there has been a multitude of government announcements concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. In our latest support blog we’ll be condensing these down for you – from the announcements regarding HMRC updates to the CJRS, MOTs and digital innovations to supply route and apprenticeship news.

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Guidance for UK Businesses Trading Internationally

UKEF Finance and Insurance Support for Exporters are now on a separate page on the GOV.UK site, which can be viewed here

Providing Apprenticeships During the Coronavirus Outbreak

The government guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations about changes to apprenticeships has received an update on the government site. There is also updated information on furloughed apprentices, end-point assessment, functional skills apprentices and qualification certification that can be viewed here

Digital Innovations Tested to Support Vulnerable People During COVID-19 Outbreak

It has been announced that new parents, unpaid carers, the homeless, young people and cancer patients could now benefit from digital solutions as part of the TechForce19 challenge. To find out more about this exciting development, head to the government website here

Vital Routes for Supplies and People Kept Open Through Coronavirus Support Package

Government pledges support for freight services to protect flow of goods between the UK, mainland Europe and Northern Ireland

  • UK, Ireland and France also agree joint commitment to protecting freight during pandemic
  • light rail systems in Sheffield, Manchester, West Midlands, Nottingham and Tyne and Wear also set to receive support
  • thousands of volunteers from transport sector are put on standby to support frontline services as new ‘Transport Support Unit’ established, alongside hundreds of government vehicles from the transport network

See here for more information. 

HMRC Update of CJRC

Wages for furloughed employees are now being paid through, six working days after the claims portal opened. Payments for claims made on Monday 20 April will be in employers’ bank accounts by tomorrow (28 April).

If you have already made a claim, do not worry if you have not received the payment yet – it takes six working days from when you claimed. Please do not call HMRC to chase payments as they will not be able to update you before the six working days have ended.

You do not need to do anything to receive payment – it will automatically be sent to the bank account you nominated in your claim. Please retain all records and calculations for your claims in case HMRC need to contact you about them in future, as they continue to check claims made through the scheme.

If you have not yet made a claim, you can still claim online for a grant for 80% of your furloughed employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee, per month. You will receive the funds six working days after you claim, provided your claim matches records that HMRC hold for your PAYE scheme.

Please read all the available guidance before you apply. To find this, follow the link. Please continue to keep your furloughed employees informed and ask them not to contact HMRC directly – as they will not be able to provide them with any information.

A Word About Scams

Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages such as ‘Stay at home’ and ‘Stay home, stay safe’, as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Do not give out private information or reply to text messages, and do not download attachments or click on links in texts or emails you were not expecting.

You can forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.

MOT Extension of Six Months

Your car, van or motorcycle’s MOT expiry date will be extended by 6 months if it is due on or after 30 March 2020 – but you must keep your vehicle safe to drive.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has confirmed that MOT expiry dates will be extended by 6 months for all MOTs due on or after 30 March 2020. This includes vehicles that are due their first MOT test and applies to cars, motorcycles, light vans, and other light vehicles.

Your vehicle’s MOT expiry date will be automatically extended by 6 months if it is eligible. This will be done about 7 days before it is due to expire.

This means that:

  • your vehicle will still have a valid MOT certificate for an extra 6 months
  • you can still tax your vehicle – you might need to wait to do this until later in the month if both your MOT and vehicle tax run out this month 
  • your insurance will still be valid
  • your vehicle’s record will be updated so the police can see you have a valid MOT
  • You will not get a new paper MOT certificate with the new expiry date on it.

The Department for Transport is working with insurers and the police to make sure people are not unfairly penalised for not being able to get a MOT. If you are not using your car, you can also register your vehicle as off the road by obtaining a statutory off-road notification (SORN). 

This will allow you to obtain a refund of any remaining full months of road fund tax previously paid.

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