COVID-19
Knowledgebase

Duncan & Toplis is here to help and support you through the ongoing challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. Whilst this is an anxious time for many, it’s important to know that there is help available.

We are summarising the measures, including eligibility requirements, as they are announced and all details can be found here in our COVID-19 Knowledgebase.

Other temporary coronavirus support measures

Since the beginning of lockdown, many measures have been set out in an effort to stabalise businesses against the negative impact of COVID-19; from the initial support to protect UK high streets to more recent developments for young workers and making homes more energy efficient.

 

Support for young workers

As part of the government’s Plan for Jobs, the new £2 billion Kickstart scheme will create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country.

The scheme, that will pay for six-month work placements for 16-24 year olds in receipt of universal credit and at risk of long term unemployment, opened on 2 September 2020 and will be available across a range of different sectors in England, Scotland and Wales with the first placements likely to be available from November.

There will also be extra funding to support young people to build their experience and help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart funded job.

Employers will receive funding for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions.

Full guidance for employers is available here.

There will also be a £1,000 grant per individual for employers who take on new trainees aged 16-24 in England.

In addition, there will be a £2,000 grant for employers per apprentice under 25 and £1,500 for those over 25. This will be for six months starting 1 August 2020, in England.

There was also announced a raft of additional funding for job finding services and training.

COVID-19 Knowledgebase


Green Homes grant

Up to £5,000 per household will be available to make homes more energy efficient; this will be match-funding £2 to £1 of the homeowners’ expenditure.

Up to £10,000 fully funded grants will be available for low-income households.

COVID-19 Knowledgebase


Infrastructure and decarbonisation

£1bn of grants have been made to public sector bodies to improve energy efficiency and £50m towards the social housing decarbonisation fund.

COVID-19 Knowledgebase


Commercial tenants and rent payments

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction.

These measures will mean no business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up until 30 June. This may be extended by the government.

This is not a rental holiday and tenants will still be liable for the rent.

Eligibility

All commercial tenants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are eligible.

How to apply

No application is required.

New measures to protect the UK High Street from aggressive rent collection and closure:

Statutory demands and winding up petitions issued to commercial tenants are to be temporarily voided and changes will be made to the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery, building on measures already introduced in the Coronavirus Act.

Landlords and investors are being asked to work collaboratively with High Street businesses unable to pay their bills during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The full release can be found here.

Ban on evictions for residential property

The ban on evictions for residential property continues for four weeks, taking the total ban to six months.

A new six month notice period is to be in place until at least 31 March 2021.

Once eviction hearings restart, the judiciary will carefully prioritise the most serious cases including those involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse.

COVID-19 Knowledgebase


Government Trade Credit Insurance guarantee

Businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to coronavirus will get support from the government, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen has announced.

The government will temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, ensuring the majority of insurance coverage will be maintained across the market. They will provide £10 billion worth of guarantees.

This will support supply chains and help businesses to trade with confidence as they can trust that they will be protected if a customer defaults on payment.

The scheme will be backdated to 1 April and available for nine months.

COVID-19 Knowledgebase


Regulations temporarily suspended to fast-track supplies of PPE

To help get personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitiser to NHS workers as quickly as possible, Business Secretary Alok Sharma is easing administrative requirements and barriers to imports of these essential tools, without compromising on their safety.

This includes asking the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Local Authorities to fast-track PPE through the product safety assessment process and prioritise this activity over other market surveillance activity.

Also, allowing PPE equipment providing protection against COVID-19 which lack the CE mark onto the market provided products meet essential safety requirements, and providing new guidance for local authorities and ports and borders enforcement officers on the import and safety testing of hand sanitiser.

COVID-19 Knowledgebase


Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) temporary measures

The FCA are offering a temporary payment freeze on loans and credit cards for up to three months, for consumers negatively impacted by coronavirus.

This allows customers who are negatively impacted by coronavirus, and who already have an arranged overdraft on their main personal current account, up to £500 charged at zero interest for three months.

It also ensures that all overdraft customers are no worse off on price when compared to the prices they were charged before the recent overdraft pricing changes came into force, and that consumers using any of these temporary payment freeze measures will not have their credit file affected.

Full details can be found on their website here.

COVID-19 Knowledgebase


Insurance

Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim.

Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.

On 24 March the government released further details relating to insurance claims covering notifiable disease policies, unspecified notifiable disease policies, government ordered closures and event coverage.

COVID-19 Knowledgebase


Comprehensive list of relaxed rules

The government have issued a comprehensive list of rules that have been relaxed.

This can be found here.

 

Return to COVID-19 Knowledgebase

 


Duncan & Toplis

Duncan & Toplis was established in 1925 and has 11 offices throughout the East Midlands: in Boston, Grantham, Lincoln, Loughborough, Louth, Melton Mowbray, Newark, Skegness, Sleaford, Spalding and Stamford. The group offers accountancy, tax and business advice, audit and assurance services, HR, Payroll, wealth management, IT services, legal and probate services and provides business turnaround support to SMEs. The business has 413 employees, of whom 65 are currently engaged in professional training.