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Furlough Changes and ONS Economy Figures

Welcome to our round up of the latest business and Covid-19 news for our clients. Please contact us if you want to talk about how these updates affect your business. We are here to support you through these tough times.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released its latest indicators for the UK economy and society. The percentage of businesses currently trading has increased gradually from 71% in early January 2021 to 75% in late March 2021, according to the latest figures.

See: Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy and society – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

The main points from the latest ONS figures on the impact on output in the UK economy in February 2021 shows that:

  • Monthly gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.4% in February 2021 but remains 7.8% below its February 2020 level.
  • The most significant contributor to the rise in GDP was a month-on-month rise of 0.2% in services in February 2021, but this sector remains 8.8% below its February 2020 level.
  • Monthly production grew by 1.0% in February 2021 but remains 3.5% below its February 2020 level.
  • Monthly manufacturing grew by 1.3% but remains 4.2% below its February 2020 level.
  • Monthly construction grew by 1.6% but remains 4.3% below its February 2020 level.

Hopefully with lockdown easing we will see an increase in business activity over the next few months. Please contact us if you need assistance with reopening, finance and planning ahead.

There is a lot of positive news surrounding the UK vaccination programme including recent analysis that vaccines have prevented more than 10,400 deaths in older adults in England and that more than 32 million people have had the first and nearly 8 million have had their second dose. The next stage of the programme is underway with the target of all UK adults offered a first dose by the end of July.

COVID-19 GOVERNMENT SUPPORT NEWS

Below is our weekly roundup of changes to government support information generally and for businesses, employers and the self-employed.

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) 

Calculations

Government guidance on calculating how much you have to pay your furloughed employees for hours on furlough and how much you can claim back has been updated with new maximum wage tables and claim dates.

See: Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Find examples to help you calculate your employees’ wages

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.

See:  Find examples to help you calculate your employees’ wages – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Section on employee transfers under TUPE and on a change in ownership has been updated.

See: Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Steps to take before calculating your claim

The section about employee reference dates added and changes made throughout the page to include employee reference dates.

See: Steps to take before calculating your claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Penalties for not telling HMRC about CJRS overpayments – CC/FS48.

If you have received a grant but were not eligible or you have been overpaid, find out what penalties you may have to pay if you do not tell HMRC.

See:  Penalties for not telling HMRC about Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant overpayments – CC/FS48 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Update

This guidance has been updated with information about the fourth SEISS grant. The online service to claim the fourth grant will be available from late April 2021. If you are eligible based on your tax returns, HMRC will contact you in mid-April to give you a date that you can make your claim from. It will be given to you either by email, letter or within the online service. You must make your claim on or before 1 June 2021.

See: Claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

How HMRC works out trading profits and non-trading income for the SEISS

HMRC look at your trading profits and non-trading income on your Self-Assessment tax returns to check if you meet the eligibility criteria for the fourth grant. They also use your average trading profits to work out how much grant you will get.

See:  How HMRC works out trading profits and non-trading income for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If you need help in claiming the fourth SEISS grant please contact us. We have access to accurate calculators to work out your likely claim amount.

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