Job Retention Scheme

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

  • Read all the available guidance on GOV.UK before applying;
  • Gather all the information and the precise calculations they need before starting their application. If they have a payroll provider, they will be able to help them with this;
  • Employers can find out more in the calculation guidance where they can access a claim calculator. This will allow them to check their claim for most employees who are paid the same amount each pay period;
  • Access our simple, step-by-step guide on GOV.UK for additional help.

To receive payment by 30 April, employers will need to complete an application by 22 April.

We expect to be very busy so we would ask that employers only call us if they can’t find what they need on GOV.UK or through our webchat service – this will leave our lines open for those who need our help most.

After employers have made a claim, they should:

  • Keep a note or print-out of their claim reference number – they won’t receive a confirmation SMS or email;
  • Retain all records and calculations for their claims, in case we need to contact them;
  • Expect to receive the funds six working days after they apply, provided they claim matches records that we hold for their PAYE scheme. Employers should not contact us before this time.
  • Ask their furloughed employees not to contact us directly – we will not be able to provide them with any information on individual claims.

HMRC will check claims made through the scheme and will act to protect public money against anyone who makes a claim using dishonest or fraudulent information.

We also encourage all employers to protect their own credentials and please be aware of potential scammers and opportunist criminal activity.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Use this scheme if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership in the UK and have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The UK Government has recently updated the guidance as it include, a few points to highlight include:

  • The grant will be subject to Income Tax and National Insurance contributions but does not need to be repaid.
  • You can make a claim for Universal Credit while you wait for the grant, but any grant received will be treated as part of your self-employment income and may affect the amount of Universal Credit you get. Any Universal Credit claims for earlier periods will not be affected.
  • If you receive the grant you can continue to work or take on other employment including voluntary work.
  • If you have other employment as a director or employee which is paid through PAYE your employer may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.
  • You will need to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. HMRC will as usual use a risk based approach to compliance.
  • If you’re self-employed and have received payment for work or services in the form of a loan or other form of credit covered by the loan charge, you may be able to claim the grant, however your eligibility and average trading profits will be based on either:
    • the average of the tax years 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018
    • the tax year 2017 to 2018 if you were not self-employed in the tax year 2016 to 2017
  • If you’re a self-employed farmer claiming farmers’ averaging relief HMRC will use the amount of profit before the impact of the averaging claims to work out:
    • if you can claim the grant
    • how much grant you will receive
  • Find out how HMRC works out your total income and trading profits for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme
  • HMRC will aim to contact you by mid May 2020 if you’re eligible for the scheme and invite you to claim using the GOV.UK online service. If you’re unable to claim online an alternative way to claim will be available. We will update this page with more information soon.

Greenock Telegraph 10th April 2020

I remember at primary school part of the English curriculum was ‘interpretation’. I was given a written piece of work and the lesson included reading it and explaining, in my own words, what I had just read. During these times, it would appear the skill of interpretation is being pushed to its limits. Advice, which is blindingly obvious to many is completely missed on others. The nuances of working conditions, self isolation, social distancing and furloughing are debated and discussed at length but often interpreted differently. Whether that is to enable an easier outcome born from selfishness or a genuine lack of understanding is hard to say. The situation is not made easier by constantly changing information but as the crisis unfolds and our understanding grows then the advice will change.  

The number of people contracting COVID-19 will increase as will the number of people who will die from it. We each have a duty of care to ourselves our family and friends and to the wider community to do everything we can to stop the spread. The health professionals as always are on the frontline and there are many council workers that are continuing to do their job to ensure continuity of much needed services. Companies that are doing critical work are open but must ensure employees health is to the forefront of their working practices. Volunteers continue to provide a much-needed safety net, often for the most vulnerable people in our society. 

I would once again plead to those companies that remain open and are asking their workforce to continue, to take a long hard look at themselves and ask if they are putting profit over people. We are all being challenged by this pandemic and as individuals we must take personal responsibility for our own behaviour. There will be nothing new in that for most people, but it is worth reiterating. It’s good that we show our appreciation of the NHS staff and beyond by clapping but the best thing we can do is stop the spread. The solution is not dramatic, stay at home, only go outside for essential food or health and work reasons, stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people, wash your hands regularly and wash your hands as soon as you get home. Failure to observe these basic rules will create the sort of drama that we really don’t want to be part of.

 

Universal Basic Income (UBI) protects society

During the COVID-19 outbreak the UK and Scottish Governments have been trying to safeguard the citizens of the UK and its constituent parts. Initially physical health and wellbeing was to the fore. Washing our hands and practicing safe distancing were advised. Cleanliness and isolation were the two main tools to stop the spread. It soon became apparent that too much isolation was going to lead to mental health problems and so digital social networking was encouraged and interaction from a safe distance became a thing, whether that be singing from balconies or shouting across the street.

But as more and more businesses struggled to survive the Governments put in place measures to safeguard people’s income. The options available included applying for grants, business rates breaks, furloughing employees and so on. But because of the complexity of the workplace and the myriad of different working conditions it was obvious that there was no one size fits all solution.

The governments understood the need to keep people on the payroll and paid but people on PAYE differ from contractors, and contractors in the I.T. business differ from contractors in the creative arts. Self-employed and sole traders plough a different furrow and what about people on zero hours contracts? This complexity sparked an interest in a very basic solution that would cut across all work barriers and all income brackets. Universal Basic Income (UBI) is not a magic wand and would not solve all the issues that we are experiencing but it would have made life an awful lot easier for the vast majority of people, especially those applying for Universal Credit (UC) for the first time and it would take the pressure off the increasingly stretched UC system. UBI works on the principle that it is a safety net for society. Its aim is to provide a basic income to every citizen over the age of 16. It isn’t means tested or determined by your job status. It is a guarantee that you can keep a roof over your head and food on the table. In the long run, it allows people to make choices about work or study. It empowers individuals to plan long term and fulfil their potential, safe in the knowledge that if they slip or fall then they will be falling back on their UBI and won’t starve or be made homeless.

The difficulties that we have experienced in trying to help people who now find themselves in a precarious situation due to the COVID-19 crisis have highlighted the complexity of both the employment place and the social security system. But it has also shown that major changes can be made when there is the political will to do so. Nobody could have foreseen the far-reaching affect that COVID-19 would have but we would be foolish to think that something similar could never happen again. We should be taking this opportunity to start building that safety net. We should be creating a platform that allows the UK government to pay each citizen a monthly sum of money. At this stage the amount isn’t important. All we are doing is creating a system that can be utilised to pay money to everyone regardless of status or income. Then in times of trouble the amount can be increased. Once in place we can start looking at this platform as a way to provide a UBI and we can dismantle large chunks of the existing cumbersome and complicated system. It is not a solution without complexities, but it is a solution that destigmatises poverty, gives comfort to everyone and relieves the anxiety that far too many people experience on a daily basis. If any good is to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic maybe it will be driven by the fact that it made us all feel vulnerable, for some people it may be the first time in their life they have felt that way. UBI protects society, it replaces precarious finances and provides a basis on which we can grow and importantly rely on in times of crisis whether they be national or individual.

Ronnie Cowan MP

Member of Parliament for Inverclyde