General Overview:

Businesses in Scotland will benefit from both the £13 billion UK wide measures and an additional £2.3 billion of measures from Scottish Government. For Perth and Kinross based businesses, this package of support continues to include the following key measures.

  • 100% rates relief for properties in the retail, hospitality, leisure and airport sectors.
  • 1.6% rates relief for all non-domestic properties across Scotland. effectively freezing the poundage rate next year
  • Various options for furloughed workers to be paid through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
  • Reclaim SSP for employees who are sick or self-isolating due to the coronavirus
  • SEE ALSO : Other Financial Help for government backed loan schemes and industry specific funds.

Details and links to apply

Financial Help from Government

Expected to start in autumn 2020, the Kickstart scheme will see the UK Government funding cover 100% of the minimum wage for 25 hours a week with employers also able to top up wages.

The kickstart scheme will directly pay employers to create new jobs for any 16 to 24-year-old at risk of long-term unemployment. Strict criteria will mean that companies who take part in the scheme will have to prove that the jobs they are making available to applicants are new, are not replacing any already existing jobs and are ‘above and beyond any jobs they were expecting to create’.

Applications for the scheme are expected to open in August 2020, with more information to follow in due course.

An “eat out to help out discount” to encourage consumers to spend at restaurants and cafes will mean that meals eaten at any participating businesses, from Mondays to Wednesdays in August, will be 50% off up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone, including children.

The aim of the scheme is to incentivise customers to eat out on quieter days of the week by supporting restaurants and other eating establishment in offering a discount which they can then claim back from the government.

Find out how to register on GOV.UK.

Establishments that are eligible

Eligible establishments are those in which food is sold for immediate on-premises consumption. This could include:

  • restaurants
  • cafés
  • public houses that serve food
  • hotel restaurants
  • restaurants and cafes within tourist attractions, holiday sites and leisure facilities
  • dining rooms within members’ clubs
  • workplace and school canteens

Expenditure that is eligible for the discount

The discount can be applied to food and/or non-alcoholic drink purchased for immediate consumption on premises, up to a maximum discount of £10 per diner (inclusive of VAT).

This includes soft drinks and/or packaged snacks, as long as they are for immediate consumption on the premises. There is no minimum spend requirement.

Expenditure that is ineligible for the discount

The discount cannot be applied to the following items:

  • alcoholic drinks
  • tobacco products
  • food or drink that is to be consumed off premises
  • food or drink that is sold as part of a private party, event or function taking place within an eligible establishment

When you register for the scheme, it is expected that you will offer it during the whole of your opening hours on all the eligible days that you are open and on all qualifying sales of food or drink. You can only offer the discount on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Find out how to register on GOV.UK.

The government made an announcement on 8 July 2020 allowing VAT registered businesses to apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to:

  • hospitality
  • hotel and holiday accommodation
  • admissions to certain attractions

The temporary reduced rate will apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.

These changes are being brought in as an urgent response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to support businesses severely affected by forced closures and social distancing measures.Hospitality

If you supply food and non-alcoholic beverages for consumption on your premises, for example, a restaurant, café or pub, you’re currently required to charge VAT at the standard rate of 20%. However, when you make these supplies between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021 you will only need to charge 5%.

You will also be able to charge the reduced rate of VAT on your supplies of hot takeaway food and hot takeaway non-alcoholic drinks.

More information about how these changes apply to your business can be found in Catering, takeaway food (VAT Notice 709/1).

Hotel and holiday accommodation

You will also benefit from the temporary reduced rate if you:

  • supply sleeping accommodation in a hotel or similar establishment
  • make certain supplies of holiday accommodation
  • charge fees for caravan pitches and associated facilities
  • charge fees for tent pitches or camping facilities

More information about how these changes apply to your business can be found in Hotels and holiday accommodation (VAT Notice 709/3).

Admission to certain attractions

If you charge a fee for admission to certain attractions where the supplies are currently standard rated, you will only need to charge the reduced rate of VAT between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.

However, if the fee you charge for admission is currently exempt that will take precedence and your supplies will not qualify for the reduced rate. More information about how these changes apply to your business can be found in VAT: Admission charges to attractions.

The Flat Rate Scheme

If you are a small business and use the use the Flat Rate Scheme to simplify your VAT calculations you should be aware that certain percentages have been reduced in line with the introduction of the temporary reduced rate of VAT. More information can be found in VAT Flat Rate Scheme.

The Tour Operators Margin Scheme

If you are a business that buys in and resells travel, accommodation and certain other services, and you act in your own name, you may operate the Tour Operators Margin Scheme to simplify your calculations.

Further information about how the introduction of the temporary reduced rate of VAT will affect your calculations can be found in Tour Operators Margin Scheme (VAT Notice 709/5).

Accounting for supplies that straddle the temporary reduced rate

In most cases, you will simply account for VAT at 5% for supplies made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021. However, there may be situations where you receive payments or issue invoices before 15 July 2020 for supplies that take place on or after 15 July 2020.

More information about this can be found on Gov.uk >>>

Businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to Coronavirus will now get support from the government.

Delivered through a temporary reinsurance agreement with insurers currently operating in the market the government will work with businesses and the industry on the full details of the scheme to ensure firms are supported and risk is appropriately shared between the government and insurers.

Trade Credit Insurance provides cover to hundreds of thousands of business to business transactions, particularly in non-service sectors, such as manufacturing and construction. As of April 2020 there was over £171 billion business activity insured, covering transactions between around 13000 suppliers and 650,000 buyers

It insures suppliers selling goods against the company they are selling to defaulting on payment, giving businesses the confidence to trade with one another but due to Coronavirus and businesses struggling to pay bills, they risk having credit insurance withdrawn, or premiums increasing to unaffordable levels.

To prevent this from happening, 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. 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 guarantees will cover trading by domestic firms and exporting firms and the intent is for agreements to be in place with insurers by end of this month.

The guarantee will be temporary and targeted to cover CV-19 economic challenges, and will provisionally last until the end of the year. It will be followed by a review of the TCI market to ensure it can continue to support businesses in future. Further details will be announced in due course.

Fund is now closed

  • If you made an application in the past 10 working days, prior to the fund closing on the 10th July at 5pm, and have not yet heard the outcome, please be assured that this will be processed and we will contact you in due course. If we require further information to process your application, we will contact you and you must provide this by the date specified, otherwise we will consider you to have withdrawn your application.
  • If you previously applied for a grant but we requested further information from you in order to assess your application, then you must provide this by 5pm on Friday 31st July, otherwise we will consider you to have withdrawn your application.
  • If you previously applied for a grant but were considered ineligible, you may request an internal review of your case. Requests for an internal review received after 5pm on Friday July 31st will not be considered.
  • If you made an application prior to the past 10 working days and have not been advised of the outcome, you should contact us on SelfEmployedGrant@pkc.gov.uk

The following benefits will happen automatically for all eligible businesses. You do not need to apply.

  • 100% rates relief for properties in the retail, hospitality, leisure and airport sectors.
  • 1.6% rates relief for all non-domestic properties across Scotland, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year.

HMRC has announced that both VAT and Income Tax Self-Assessment payments can be deferred under the following conditions. HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities. See HMRC support for businesses page here >>>

Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments can be deferred for 3 months

  • The deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.
  • This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
  • Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period.
  • Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period.
  • VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Self-employed Income Tax payments due in July 2020 will be deferred to January 2021

  • For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.
  • This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
  • No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

Please note that the closing date of 10th July 2020 has now passed, and applications can no longer be accepted for grants under the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

Processing of Outstanding Applications;

The following arrangements are in place for the administration and processing of any outstanding application:

  • If you made an application in the 10 working days leading up to the 10th July and have not yet heard the outcome, please be assured that this will be processed by the local authority who will contact you in due course. If the local authority requires further information to process your application, they will contact you and you must provide this by the date specified, otherwise the local authority will consider you to have withdrawn your application.
  • If you previously applied to the local authority but they requested further information from you in order to assess your application, then you must provide this by 5pm on Friday 31st July, otherwise the local authority will consider you to have withdrawn your application.
  • If you previously applied for a grant but were considered ineligible, you may request an internal review of your case. Requests for an internal review received after 5pm on Friday July 31st will not be considered.
  • If you previously applied to your local authority but your application was dependant on the views of the relevant Assessor (for example to determine if the premises should be included in the Non-Domestic Rates Valuation Roll), this may be delayed until the Assessor is able to make a site visit. In such cases, where possible, the local authority will endeavour to process your application using other evidence to support their decision.
  • If you made an application prior to 30th June 2020 and have not been advised of the outcome, you should contact your local authority at localtaxes@pkc.gov.uk or on 01738 477430.
  • Applications received after 5pm on Friday, 10th July will not be considered.

As one of the first measures announced by the UK Government to support businesses, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) funding for furlouged employees has been accessed for circa 9 million workers.

In his Summer statement, the chancellor announced a series of updates to the CJRS which are now underway.

From 1 July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for the hours not worked.

From 1 August 2020, the level of grant will be reduced each month.To be eligible for the grant employers must pay furloughed employees 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the time they are being furloughed.

The timetable for changes to the scheme is set out below. Wage caps are proportional to the hours an employee is furloughed. For example, an employee is entitled to 60% of the £2,500 cap if they are placed on furlough for 60% of their usual hours:

June and July: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything.

August: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.

September: The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.

October: The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 23% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.

The furlough scheme will wind down flexibly and gradually until 31st October with a jobs retention bonus to help wind down the scheme: businesses will be paid £1,000 to retain furloughed staff.  More details to come.

We advise that you read all the available guidance on GOV.UK before you apply. CJRS is now part of the Chancellor’s Plan For Jobs.

HMRC: Changes To The Job Retention Scheme

We know that keeping up with the various changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and ensuring that you’re using flexible furloughing to support your business is a job in itself.  HMRC are offering all businesses a webinar entitled ‘Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and flexible furloughing’ for the latest information, including:  

  • overview of changes to the scheme, including how you can now bring previously furloughed employees back to work to suit the needs of your business
  • introduction to flexible furloughing and how it works
  • example of how to work out the wages of flexibly furloughed employees
  • information on key dates and claims periods
  • overview of upcoming changes to the scheme in August, September and October as the level of the grant is slowly reduced and employers will be asked to contribute towards the cost of furloughed employees’ wages.

If you would like to join, click through to choose a date and time.

The Scottish Government has brought forward legislation to allow small and medium sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  • This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible
  • The size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020 
  • Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
  • If your employee needs a sick note due to coronavirus please ask them not to don’t contact their GP or NHS 24. They can download an isolation note directly from NHS Inform here

All UK based businesses are eligible and a rebate scheme is currently being developed. Further details will be provided in due course once the legislation has been passed.

Please note, this scheme is now closed to new claims for the first grant.

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) supports self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships). This scheme allows you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. Claim a grant through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

Created to support those who work for themselves who are now experiencing financial difficulty, the scheme’s aims are to bring parity across the lives of all working people during this difficult time.

The scheme has now been extended. If you were eligible for the first grant and can confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020, you’ll be able to make a claim for a second and final grant from 17 August 2020.

The final taxable grant will be worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

How the grant works

If you receive the grant you can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment including voluntary work, or duties as a military reservist.

The grant does not need to be repaid but will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance.

Access the scheme

  • For information on how to access the scheme, please click over onto the Business Support pages of the gov.uk website here.
  • There is also a really useful frequently asked questions page here.
  • Newly Self Employed and Micro Businesses:  This fund closed on 10th July.

Other Benefits for Self Employed

  • If you are sick or if you have been advised to self-isolate. You will be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from day one instead of day eight.  Payments have been raised so that the self-employed receive the same amount as someone on statutory sick pay. This is currently £94.25 a week. You can make a claim for new style Employment and Support Allowance on the Government’s website. You’ll need to fill in a NSESAF1 claim form to apply for “New Style” ESA.
  • Claiming Universal Credit top ‘Top Up’ your income.  The minimum income floor (MIF) applies to those who’ve been self-employed for more than 12 months. The MIF assumes that self-employed people work 35 hours a week and earn the minimum wage. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) compares their real earnings with the MIF to work out their Universal Credit award. For full details go to the Self-employment and Universal Credit page on the Gov.uk website.

The Scottish Government have set up a business support helpline (0300 303 0660) for all business support enquiries in Scotland and request that businesses needing guidance contact them in the first instance on this number. Additional advice is available here >>>

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