Financial Support for Businesses during Coronavirus from Monty Accounting – 13 June 2020 update

“Stand by your employees, stand by your workers, because we will stand by you.” (The Prime Minister, 16 March 2020).

Information from Monty Accounting

Since mid March 2020, Monty Accounting in Hungerford has been providing regularly updated information about the government assistance which has been offered to businesses of all kinds as a result of CV-19. In the early weeks, the official websites were very basic and the policies were being changed almost on a daily basis: some interpretation was therefore called for, which Charlotte and Tim provided.

They now believe that the official government website is sufficiently comprehensive, so advise that you refer in the first instance to that.

If you have any questions a result of studying this or if you need any help with planning for what might be on the horizon, please contact Charlotte or Tim at Monty Accounting.

Updates will continue to be provided to highlight and explain new developments which they feel are worth drawing attention to. These will appear under the dated pale-blue headings below. The lack of any such update does not imply that the above-mentioned government website has not been changed.

For other advice about Coronavirus on the Penny Post website, please click here.

13 June 2020

Yesterday evening the Government published the guidance on how to calculate flexible furlough – and it is very complicated.

Essentially, it works in the way that we have set out on our previous updates: if you bring someone back on less hours than they normally work you can claim the ‘non-worked’ hours as furlough.  So if someone normally works 40 hours and they come back to work for 20 hours then you can claim 50% of their normal furlough amount.

Pretty straightforward, you might think – but the devil is in the detail and how you calculate average hours for hourly paid staff is pretty tricky stuff.

Additionally, claim periods can no longer span a month: so if you have a weekly payroll that splits over the month end, this will be split into separate claims.  So from July you will see a bigger disconnect between the furlough you are paying out to staff, compared to the claims coming in (although it will all add up in the end). And pensions are a sod to work out under flexible furlough. And ERs NI. And…

What does all this mean  (other than a miserable time for payroll departments)?

Above all, it is still a great scheme for businesses and employees.  Bring your employees back as you need them – in all cases, employees will be better off financially for working than not working under this scheme. From September and October the amount you can claim for furlough falls to 70% and 60% with the business making up the difference.

Remember for hourly staff coming back to work, many of whom have not worked this tax year, their pay may need to be adjusted for minimum wage increases (although this makes no difference to their furlough payments if on either full time or flexible furlough).

Some links to the the guidance can be found here and also here.

30 May 2020

On Friday 29 May, the Chancellor gave more (but not all) details on how the CJRS is changing.  The three main points to come out of the announcement were:

  • Furlough will soon be closed for ‘new’ employees
  • you will be able to bring back staff part time and still get some furlough grant (‘flexible furlough’)
  • employers will have to start paying towards furlough

Old scheme closes

From 1st July, if you have not claimed CJRS for an employee previously, you will not be able to claim going forward.  The Government are closing the old Furlough scheme from 30 June and the new, shiny, CJRS 2.0 emerges from 1 July. To reiterate – if you have not claimed on old furlough, you will be locked out of new furlough.

Your last claims for CJRS 1 will have to run for the period to 30 June.  If an employee is to be on that claim they need to have been furloughed for at least 3 weeks.  Therefore you will not be able to claim future CJRS grants for any employee who is not on furlough by 10 June 2020.

Flexible furlough

Information around this is still a bit sketchy, we were expecting this to be announced fully yesterday but the Government have stated that full details on how flexible furlough will work will not be published until 12 June 2020.

To summarise what we know so far:

  • Flexible furlough will be available from 1 July (one month earlier than previously announced).
  • You can bring back employee for less than their normal hours – you pay them for the hours worked
  • CJRS can be claimed for normal hours not worked and paid to the employee
  • Employers will still need to make contributions to CJRS amounts (we think – this point is not clear – the wording suggests this, but it is not explicit and part time work may indeed contribute toward the contributions companies need to make)

On the face of it, this is great as it allows a lot of flexibility with your workforce.  There are a lot of technical questions this does not answer (from an administrative perspective, it will be an absolute nightmare) and it would be better if it were available immediately (especially for those of you gearing up your takeaway operations) but overall it is a welcome update.

Contributions

Employers will need to start contributing to the scheme from 1 September. This will initially 10% be of the employee’s salary and will rise to 20% on 1 October.

The Government have said that Ers NI/Pension, which kicks in from August, is around 5% of costs.  If you have mainly full-time employees this will be the case, if you have lots of part-timers this will be a bit lower. If we do your furlough calculations and you want to know what the above will look like in terms of pounds and pence, drop us a line and we can get you some indicative figures.

Further information

The government has published an update paper on the subject which you can see here.

7 May 2020

More information on the ‘Bounce-back Loans’ (see below) was announced today. The information below remains, but the interest rate has been set at 2.5%.  Also, you are allowed to make early repayment without fees. Essentially there does not seem to be much of a downside to these loans (as far as loans go).

One important clarification has come through: you need to declare whether you are a business in difficulty.  Full definition of what this means is on the BBB website  but essentially if you have been making losses for a number of years there is a high probability you fall into this category.

If you ARE a business in difficulty, you can still apply for the loan but just need to further confirm that you do not breach state aid levels. Again, for everyone on this mailing list it is unlikely you will breach the state aid levels, but check the guidance on the above link.

Guidance is available on the BBB website

27 April 2020

The government announced today the soundbite-friendly ‘Bounce-back Loans’. Think of these as mini-Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes (CBILSs) –  or maybe a bit like everyone thought, and hoped, CBILSs would work when first announced.

  • 100% guaranteed by the government
  • Loans from £2k to £50k  (max 25% of sales)
  • No forecasts needed
  • No real checks whatsoever needed (based on what has been published: expecting to see this change slightly in the next few days).
  • Very quick to fill out and get money (two-page form, online, and money to you in days)

Guidance (which is currently very very light) is available here. The loans will be available from Monday 4 May through the CBILS banks. In other respects it is very much like CBILS.

  • No interest for the first 12 months
  • No arrangement fee
  • Nothing to pay in year one, up to six- year term

You can’t apply if you already have a CBILS loan (but if you have CBILS below £50k, you can swap it over).

This was the movement on CBILS we were expecting to see from government, although the limit is a little bit lower than we would have liked.  This will be a very good option for a lot of businesses. On the other hand, this may actually be unhelpful if you were planning on your next round of landlord negotiations for the June quarter as now liquid funds are readily available. Still, good news on the whole.

Tourism Businesses

Tourism South East advice for tourism businesses.

Information from local councils

West Berkshire Council (see in particular this page) ~ Wiltshire CouncilSwindon CouncilVale of White Horse CouncilSouth & Vale Business Support.

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