Please remind employers in your constituency about key dates for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and actions they might need to take, to help their businesses.
- Submit your CJRS claim for periods ending on or before 30 June 2020 by 31 July 2020. This is the last date you can make those claims. If you do not make a claim by this date or before, you cannot go on to make a claim for periods starting on or after 1 July.
- From 1 August you must pay National Insurance (NI) and pensions contributions for employees, including when they are furloughed. CJRS Grants can no longer be used to cover these costs. You can submit your August claim in advance now.
- Prepare for further changes to the scheme on 1 September (when grants will be for 70% of wages) and 1 October (when grants will be for 60% of wages).
Live webinars offering more support on changes to the scheme and how they impact your constituents are available to book online.
It was early in the hours of the 19th of September 2014 when Paul John Coulter, then of the Greenock Telegraph, indulged me blubbering incoherently as I tried to explain why losing the independence referendum was so distressing. It hurt then and it hurts today.
The latest poll has Inverclyde and Scotland reversing that decision with a clear majority now supporting independence. I read with interest an account of an ex Inverclyde resident, that voted no in 2014, now saying she would vote yes. She described herself as previously a ‘no idea’. And she is not alone. A lot of people voted no because they believed that Scotland was more protected as part of a larger entity and that there would be more opportunities if we stayed together. They weren’t necessarily pro UK or anti Scotland, it was just that the status quo felt more comfortable. We are now post Brexit negotiations and in the midst of a health pandemic. Both situations have highlighted the utter shambles that is the UK Government. Complete incompetence will result in us leaving the EU with no deal and deaths from Covid19 are higher per head of population in the UK than the vast majority of other countries. Mismanagement, bad advice and a superior than though attitude has dominated the day to day approach of the UK government and the outcomes have been atrocious.
As a result, more and more people are coming to the decision that Scotland would be better going its own way. It’s not an overtly political decision, it’s just common sense. And the louder the voice of the citizens becomes the harder it will be to ignore at all levels of the UK government. As we look towards a post COVID, post Brexit world we can ensure a different outcome at the next referendum and we can create an independent Scotland.
Next time it will be tears of joy.
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when his Department plans to bring forward proposals on reform of the Gambling Act 2005. (69615)
Tabled on: 06 July 2020
The government committed in its manifesto to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. A timeline for the review and its scope will be announced in due course.
The answer was submitted on 13 Jul 2020 at 14:16.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what guidance HMRC has issued to businesses on placing employees on temporary contracts for services on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. (70441)
Tabled on: 07 July 2020
Guidance has been issued for employers with employees on temporary contracts and was most recently updated on 1 July 2020. The guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.
Further guidance has been provided for employers to calculate an employee’s usual hours, including those who are paid by reference to services performed. This can be found under the ‘work out your employee’s usual hours if they are paid per task or piece of work done’ section of the following guidance which was most recently updated on 1 July 2020: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/steps-to-take-before-calculating-your-claim-using-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.
The answer was submitted on 13 Jul 2020 at 11:58.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the UK’s cash infrastructure. (69614)
Tabled on: 06 July 2020
The Government recognises that widespread access to cash is extremely important to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK. The Government is engaging with the financial regulators, including through the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group, to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the UK’s cash infrastructure and remains committed to protecting access to cash for those who need it, while supporting digital payments.
At the March 2020 Budget, the Chancellor announced that the Government will bring forward legislation to protect access to cash. This will ensure that those who continue to rely on cash can continue to do so in the long-term.
The answer was submitted on 09 Jul 2020 at 14:07.
At a time when a significant number of older people will be relying on these services due to the coronavirus crisis and lockdown measures, the decision to scrap free BBC TV licences for most over-75s is disgraceful and will have a devastating impact.
Many older people in Inverclyde will depend heavily on TV licences as their only means of receiving crucial health updates on the coronavirus crisis and measures being brought forward. At this critical time – when we could potentially see further lockdown measures if there is a spike in coronavirus cases – it is grossly irresponsible for the UK government to simply sit on their hands.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said;
At Age UK we’re bitterly disappointed by this decision on behalf of the millions of over 75s who have had a torrid time over the last few months and for whom this must feel like another kick in the teeth, during a terrible year.
Many older people on low incomes have told us that if they have to find £150 plus a year to pay for a licence then they will have to forego some other essential, or try to survive without TV at all. We genuinely worry about the mental health of older people living on their own in this situation if they have to give up their cherished TV – for some it really is all they have and their main way of alleviating their chronic loneliness.”
That this House notes the recent publication of the report entitled Assessing the Feasibility of Citizens’ Basic Income Pilots in Scotland which presents comprehensive and detailed research into the feasibility of a citizens’ basic income pilot in Scotland; further notes that it has been developed by a successful collaboration of local government and public health bodies supported by the Scottish Government; and calls on the UK Government to work with the Scottish Government on developing a basic income pilot and to instruct HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions to co-operate with the Scottish Government as they seek to establish such a pilot scheme.
As I write this it is a very grey dreich Inverclyde morning. We are 100 days into lockdown and despite continually improving statistics, including many days without any recorded deaths due to covid19, there is still no clear exist path back to normality.
Indeed, there are many questions pertaining to what that normality will look like. But without turning this into some sugar-coated sickly-sweet Disney version of reality there have been some quite amazing accomplishments by citizens of Inverclyde during this crisis. Before Covid19 Inverclyde Community Action Response Group (ICARG) did not exist and yet through application and cooperation across local organisations they have created a powerful cohesive programme that has resulted in over 25,000 meals being funded, prepared and delivered to homes across Inverclyde. 1,000 prescriptions collected and delivered, 4,000 food boxes delivered and over 8,000 ‘keep in contact’ phone calls made. And these phone calls have gone from averaging fifteen minutes to averaging forty-five minutes. This is on top of the existing pre Covid19 services. This is additional demand that some people didn’t believe even existed. And yet we know at the grass roots it does and volunteers combined with established community workers took on the challenge and beat it.
Often, it is not just about the meal or the prescription, as highlighted by the telephone service, it’s the human contact that matters. A knock on the door to deliver food means somebody knows you exist, somebody is looking out for you, somebody cares.
Eventually, the dark clouds will roll away and when that happens, we must not forget the sense of community spirit that so many people have embraced to such great effect in these times. Inverclyde is so much better than some of the damning statistics that we read about. Sometimes we just need to believe in ourselves, believe goals can be achieved and work together.