Ban on evictions extended by two months

Renters across England and Wales will receive greater protection after the government extended the suspension of new evictions until 23 August.

 

The Ministry of Housing published the following press release 5 June 2020:

Millions of renters across England and Wales will receive greater protection after the government extended the suspension of new evictions until 23 August.

The extension announced by the Housing Secretary today (5 June 2020) takes the moratorium on evictions to a total of five months to ensure that renters continue to have certainty and security.

Ministers are also working with the judiciary, legal representatives and the advice sector on arrangements, including new rules, which will mean that courts are better able to address the need for appropriate protection of all parties, including those shielding from coronavirus. This is to ensure that judges have all the information necessary to make just decisions and that the most vulnerable tenants can get the help they need.

Where tenants do experience financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic, the government is clear that landlords and tenants should work together and exhaust all possible options – such as flexible payment plans which take into account a tenant’s individual circumstances – to ensure cases only end up in court as an absolute last resort.

Over the coming weeks, the government is taking careful steps to ease lockdown measures, alongside decisive steps already taken to unlock the housing market so people can move if they need to – for example where they may need to move for work or for family reasons.

While the government is taking unprecedented action to protect tenants and landlords during these times, the ultimate ambition is to transition out of these measures at the end of August to allow the market to operate while ensuring people have appropriate access to justice.

The package of announcements on this topic include:

  • The introduction of emergency legislation so landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a 3 month period which will remain in place until at least September;
  • Extending mortgage payment holdings to include landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to the pandemic;
  • Supporting businesses to continue to pay their staff through the furlough scheme, as well as strengthening the welfare safety net with a nearly £7 billion boost to the welfare system and increasing Local Housing Allowance;
  • Delivering £180 million in Discretionary Housing Payments to councils across the country to support renters with housing costs in the private and social rented sectors;

 

· Guidance which helps landlords and tenants to work together to resolve issues at the earliest opportunity.Renters across England and Wales will receive greater protection after the government extended the suspension of new evictions until 23 August.

 

The Ministry of Housing published the following press release 5 June 2020:

Millions of renters across England and Wales will receive greater protection after the government extended the suspension of new evictions until 23 August.

The extension announced by the Housing Secretary today (5 June 2020) takes the moratorium on evictions to a total of five months to ensure that renters continue to have certainty and security.

Ministers are also working with the judiciary, legal representatives and the advice sector on arrangements, including new rules, which will mean that courts are better able to address the need for appropriate protection of all parties, including those shielding from coronavirus. This is to ensure that judges have all the information necessary to make just decisions and that the most vulnerable tenants can get the help they need.

Where tenants do experience financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic, the government is clear that landlords and tenants should work together and exhaust all possible options – such as flexible payment plans which take into account a tenant’s individual circumstances – to ensure cases only end up in court as an absolute last resort.

Over the coming weeks, the government is taking careful steps to ease lockdown measures, alongside decisive steps already taken to unlock the housing market so people can move if they need to – for example where they may need to move for work or for family reasons.

While the government is taking unprecedented action to protect tenants and landlords during these times, the ultimate ambition is to transition out of these measures at the end of August to allow the market to operate while ensuring people have appropriate access to justice.

The package of announcements on this topic include:

  • The introduction of emergency legislation so landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a 3 month period which will remain in place until at least September;
  • Extending mortgage payment holdings to include landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to the pandemic;
  • Supporting businesses to continue to pay their staff through the furlough scheme, as well as strengthening the welfare safety net with a nearly £7 billion boost to the welfare system and increasing Local Housing Allowance;
  • Delivering £180 million in Discretionary Housing Payments to councils across the country to support renters with housing costs in the private and social rented sectors;
  • Guidance which helps landlords and tenants to work together to resolve issues at the earliest opportunity.

Furlough scheme changes clarified

HMRC released more information on the up-coming changes to the furlough scheme (CJRS) last week. A summary of two of the issues are set out below.

Have you over-claimed?

If you have made an error when making a claim under the CJRS and as a result you have received too much money, you must pay this back to HMRC.

Somewhat belatedly, HMRC have updated the application system so you can tell them if you have over-claimed in a previous claim – when you apply you will be asked if you need to reduce the amount to take account of a previous error. Your new claim amount will be reduced to reflect this. You should then keep a record of this adjustment for six years.

If you have made an error in a CJRS claim and do not plan to submit further claims, HMRC are working on a process that will allow you to let them know about your error and pay back any amounts that you have over-claimed.

Further guidance on this topic will be issued at a later date.

Why the 10th June is an important date

The CJRS will close to any employee who has not been formally furloughed for three weeks by the 30th June 2020.

Effectively, this means that you must add employees by 10th June to qualify them for the CJRS. HMRC’s notes on this topic confirm:

So, if you intend to furlough an employee who hasn’t been furloughed before, you will need to agree that with them and start their period of furlough on or before 10 June – this is the last day on which someone who has never been furloughed before can start a period of furlough and qualify for the scheme – this ensures the minimum three-week period is complete by 30 J‌un‌e.

CJRS will close 31 October 2020

As we have previously reported, the furlough scheme will close – no further claims after this date – on 31 October 2020.

Of all the announcements on this scheme, this is one that demands our attention.

We suggest that you start planning your options regarding staffing levels sooner rather than later. If you need help preparing the required “what-if” analysis, please call.

October may seem to be a distant spot on your calendar, but ground-rush principals apply. Consider your options sooner rather than later.

Re-opening retail businesses from June 2020

A time-table has been announced for the re-opening of thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres in England once they are COVID secure.

The Prime Minister’s announcement published 25 May 2020 says:

  • outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. As with garden centres, the risk of transmission of the virus is lower in these outdoor and more open spaces. Car showrooms often have significant outdoor space and it is generally easier to apply social distancing
  • all other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, all furniture stores, books, and electronics, tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be expected to be able to reopen from 15 June if the government’s 5 tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines, giving them 3 weeks to prepare

Shops like supermarkets and pharmacies have been trading responsibly throughout the pandemic. Building on this and in line with the government’s roadmap, reopening non-essential retail is the next step towards restoring people’s livelihoods, restarting the UK’s economy, and ensuring vital public services like the NHS continue to be funded.

Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.

The government is taking action to help businesses re-open and protect their staff and customers, including:

  • publishing updated COVID-secure guidelines for people who work in or run shops, branches, and stores, after consultation with businesses, union leaders, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive
  • working with local authorities to continue to carry out spot checks and follow up on concerns by members of the public

The updated guidance considers the best practice demonstrated by the many retailers which have been allowed to remain open and have applied social distancing measures in store. Measures that shops should consider include:

  • placing a poster in their windows to demonstrate awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures
  • storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out on the shop floor
  • placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas
  • frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals, for example

The vast majority of businesses will want to do everything possible to protect their staff and customers, but tough powers are in place to enforce action if they do not, including fines and jail sentences of up to 2 years.

As per the roadmap, hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, and the hospitality sector, remain closed, because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher where long periods of person to person contact is required.

Self-employed grants claim process now open

Since 13 May 2020, it has been possible to use online processes, accessed via the gov.uk website, to:

  • Clarify if you are eligible to apply for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, and
  • Lodge your claim. Payment should usually be in your bank account within 6 days.

Are you eligible?

By entering your unique tax reference number and National Insurance number you will be advised if you are eligible to make a claim and when you should do this. The link to this facility is on page https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference

However, there have been comments in the press that HMRC has had problems with the complex calculations involved in making this decision. If you were expecting to receive a payment under this scheme and are advised that none is available, you should challenge the outcome with HMRC.

Register your claim

If a claim is eligible you will be directed to register your claim by using your personal Government Gateway ID and password.

You will also need:

  • UK bank details (only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted) including:
  • bank account number
  • sort code
  • name on the account
  • your address linked to your bank account

Finally, you will be asked to confirm that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.

Note: claims for the first quarter to 31 May 2020 will close 13 July 2020

SEISS extended for final three-month period

It was announced 29 May that the SEISS would be extended for a further three-month period to 31 August 2020. Applications for this period will be opened late August 2020. The amount that can be claimed for June-August 2020 will be limited to 70% of eligible earnings capped at a maximum grant of £6,570.

Trade Credit Insurance update

Trade Credit Insurance provides cover to hundreds of thousands of business to business transactions, particularly in non-service sectors, such as manufacturing and construction. It covers suppliers selling goods against the company they are selling to, defaulting on payment and giving businesses the confidence to trade with one another.

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 guarantee will be 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.

Self-employed grants claim process now open

Since 13 May 2020, it has been possible to use online processes, accessed via the gov.uk website, to:

  • Clarify if you are eligible to apply for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, and
  • Lodge your claim. Payment should usually be in your bank account within 6 days.

Are you eligible?

By entering your unique tax reference number and National Insurance number you will be advised if you are eligible to make a claim and when you should do this. The link to this facility is on page https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference

However, there have been comments in the press that HMRC has had problems with the complex calculations involved in making this decision. If you were expecting to receive a payment under this scheme and are advised that none is available, you should challenge the outcome with HMRC.

Register your claim

If a claim is eligible you will be directed to register your claim by using your personal Government Gateway ID and password.

You will also need:

  • UK bank details (only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted) including:
  • bank account number
  • sort code
  • name on the account
  • your address linked to your bank account

Finally, you will be asked to confirm that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.

Note: claims for the first quarter to 31 May 2020 will close 13 July 2020

SEISS extended for final three-month period

It was announced 29 May that the SEISS would be extended for a further three-month period to 31 August 2020. Applications for this period will be opened late August 2020. The amount that can be claimed for June-August 2020 will be limited to 70% of eligible earnings capped at a maximum grant of £6,570.

Calculating holiday pay for workers without fixed hours

Government guidelines on this topic advise:

The amount of pay that a worker receives for the holiday they take depends on the number of hours they work and how they are paid for those hours. The principle is that pay received by a worker while they are on holiday should reflect what they would have earned if they had been at work and working.

A worker continues to accrue holiday entitlement while they are on sick leave, maternity leave, parental leave, adoption leave and other types of statutory leave. A worker may request holiday at the same time they are on sick leave.

The majority of the UK’s workforce are full-time workers on fixed hours and fixed pay. For these workers, typically on a fixed monthly salary, if they take a week’s holiday, they will receive the same pay at the end of the month as they normally receive.

The situation becomes more complicated when a worker does not work fixed or regular hours and so does not receive the same amount of pay each week, month or other pay period.

In these circumstances an employer should normally look back at a worker’s previous 52 paid weeks (known as the holiday pay reference period) to calculate what that worker should be paid for a week’s leave.

If a worker has not been in employment for long enough to build up 52 weeks’ worth of pay data, their employer should use the number of complete weeks of data they have. For example, if a worker has been with their employer for 26 complete weeks, that is what the employer should use.

If a worker takes leave before they have been in their job a complete week, then the employer has no data to use for the reference period. In this case the reference period is not used. Instead the employer should pay the worker an amount which fairly represents their pay for the length of time the worker is on leave. In working out what is fair, the employer should consider:

  • the worker’s pay for the job
  • the pay already received by the worker (if any)
  • what other workers doing a comparable role for the employer (or for other employers) are paid

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

On 12 May 2020, the Chancellor confirmed that this scheme will be extended until 31 October 2020. On the 29th May he confirmed the details of how the scheme would be changed to a flexible arrangement from 1 July 2020.

Until 1 September 2020, claims for time not worked will continue to be based on 80% of furloughed person’s salary up to the £2,500 maximum. For September this reduces to 70% capped at £2,187.50 and a further reduction in October to 60% capped at £1,875.

From 1 July 2020, employers can bring back furloughed staff part-time. Employers will be responsible for paying for this part-time work.

From 1 August 2020, employers will be required to pay for any employers' NIC and pension costs. From 1 September employers will be asked to contribute 10% of the CJRS wage costs for time not worked and from 1 October this contribution will increase to 20%.

The scheme will now close 31 October 2020.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

On 12 May 2020, the Chancellor confirmed that this scheme will be extended until 31 October 2020. On the 29th May he confirmed the details of how the scheme would be changed to a flexible arrangement from 1 July 2020.

Until 1 September 2020, claims for time not worked will continue to be based on 80% of furloughed person’s salary up to the £2,500 maximum. For September this reduces to 70% capped at £2,187.50 and a further reduction in October to 60% capped at £1,875.

From 1 July 2020, employers can bring back furloughed staff part-time. Employers will be responsible for paying for this part-time work.

From 1 August 2020, employers will be required to pay for any employers' NIC and pension costs. From 1 September employers will be asked to contribute 10% of the CJRS wage costs for time not worked and from 1 October this contribution will increase to 20%.

The scheme will now close 31 October 2020.

Tax Diary June/July 2020

1 June 2020 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 31 August 2019.

19 June 2020 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 June 2020. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 June 2020)

19 June 2020 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 June 2020.

19 June 2020 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 June 2020 is payable by today.

1 July 2020 – Due date for Corporation Tax due for the year ended 30 September 2019.

6 July 2020 – Complete and submit forms P11D return of benefits and expenses and P11D(b) return of Class 1A NICs.

19 July 2020 – Pay Class 1A NICs (by the 22 July 2020 if paid electronically).

19 July 2020 – PAYE and NIC deductions due for month ended 5 July 2020. (If you pay your tax electronically the due date is 22 July 2020)

19 July 2020 – Filing deadline for the CIS300 monthly return for the month ended 5 July 2020.

19 July 2020 – CIS tax deducted for the month ended 5 July 2020 is payable by today