5th August 2020
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme has commenced
From today registered restaurants, cafes, bars and other eligible establishments can offer millions of customers across the UK a 50% discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks consumed on the premises, up to £10 per diner, all day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday throughout August. Participating restaurants and establishments will then be reimbursed for the discount they pass onto customers by making a claim using the new Eat Out to Help Out claims portal that will go live on GOV.UK from Friday 7 August. Further guidance on how registered establishments can claim the money back is available on GOV.UK.
Last week we also published an Eat Out to Help Out Restaurant Finder on GOV.UK which millions of people across the UK used to find the right place to eat in August from the wide variety of local restaurants, bars, cafes and other registered establishments. We’ve seen other organisations using the information to develop new search tools and interactive maps which make it even easier for people to find out which restaurants are taking part. So that these organisations continue to develop interactive alternatives that are complementary to our Restaurant Finder, we’ve published a downloadable file (in.csv format) with details of all registered outlets (for businesses with fewer than 26 outlets) on GOV.UK. Like the Restaurant Finder, the file only shows the restaurant name and address.
You can find further information about the Eat Out to Help Out scheme on GOV.UK. We have published a range of free promotional materials that restaurants can use to promote their participation in the scheme, and sent them Eat Out to Help Out stickers which we advise they stick in their windows to show customers they’re offering the discount. We hope you and the businesses and organisations you represent enjoy the benefits of this scheme and Eat Out to Help Out throughout August to support the recovery of the UK economy.
Applications open for £50m customs grant scheme
The next phase of the customs grant scheme is now open for applications. It sees a record £50 million investment as part of the measures to accelerate growth of the customs intermediary sector and help meet the increased demand it will see from traders at the end of the transition period.
Customs intermediaries – including customs brokers, freight forwarders and express parcel operators – as well as traders who complete their own declarations, are among those who can now apply for grant funding to support with recruitment, training and IT to handle customs declarations.
The grant can cover salary costs for new or redeployed staff, up to a limit of £12,000 per person and £3,000 for recruitment costs for new employees. This will help them to recruit new staff and train them up ahead of July 2021, when all traders moving goods will have to make declarations.
The grant scheme will continue to offer financial support for training costs to upskill staff and for IT that will allow greater efficiency. The grant for IT will cover expenses for increasing capacity or productivity for customs declarations, customs software, set-up costs, and related hardware.
To date HMRC has made a total investment of £34m available to support the sector, which has supported more than 20,000 training courses, nearly 15,000 units of IT and the recruitment of almost 600 new customs agents.
Grants will be issued on a first come, first served basis. Applications will close on 30 June 2021, or earlier if all funding is allocated. The grant scheme is administered by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on behalf of HMRC. For more information on the scheme and how to apply, please read the guidance on GOV.UK.
Job Retention Bonus
We have now published additional information on the new Job Retention Bonus. Announced as part of the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs, the scheme aims to provide a bonus to employers who keep on their furloughed employees at least until the end of January 2021.
The scheme allows employers to receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee, previously claimed for under Coronavirus job Retention Scheme (CJRS), who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021. Employees must earn at least £520 a month on average between the beginning of November and the end of January (a total of at least £1,560 across the three months). The employee does not have to be paid £520 in each month but must have received some earnings in each of the three calendar months.
As the scheme is designed to protect jobs, all employers are eligible including recruitment agencies and umbrella companies. Employers will not be able to claim the bonus for those who are serving a contractual or statutory notice period, that started before 1 February 2021. Furthermore, where a CJRS claim for an employee was incorrectly made, a Job Retention Bonus will not be payable. In addition, HMRC will crack down on fraud, and withhold payment of the bonus for any claims made under the CJRS that are suspected to be fraudulent until their enquiries are complete.
Further details are available on GOV.UK.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – new guidance for parents
Changes have been made to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Self-employed parents who did not submit a tax return for 2018/2019, or whose trading profits in 2018/19 were less than their other income, and were therefore ineligible for the SEISS, because they were taking time out of their trade to care for a new child, can now claim for the SEISS if they meet the other standard eligibility criteria. Either their 2017-18 or both their 2016-17 and 2017-18 self-assessment returns will be used as the basis for their eligibility and grant calculation.
We shared details of the new criteria for these newly eligible parents on [DN include date of original email] July. This brings these individuals into eligibility for the scheme. It does not affect the grant calculation for those who submitted a 2018/19 return and were already eligible.
We would like to now advise you that the online guidance has been updated with a form newly eligible parents should use to inform HMRC they meet these criteria and provide supporting information, including
- The name of their child and date of birth
- Their Child Benefit reference number
- The child’s birth certificate number
- Their receipt of Maternity Allowance.
If HMRC accepts this information, and the customer meets the revised SEISS criteria, we will provide the claimant with details of how to submit their claim for the first and/or second SEISS grant, depending on when their business was adversely affected by COVID-19, within 2 weeks of the evidence being submitted.
The information should be provided using the online form on or before 5 October 2020. The SEISS claims system will close for all claims on 19 October.
Further information about SEISS, including the eligibility criteria and the form, is available on GOV.UK.
SMS text message campaigns for the National Minimum Wage
We are reminding recipients of Working Tax Credits who recently turned 18, 21 or 25, that they are eligible to a higher minimum wage. A text message is sent to customers the month immediately following their 18, 21 or 25 birthday, advising the worker that new rates for National Minimum Wage apply and that they should ‘check their pay’ accordingly.
Working Tax Credit recipients are known to be twice as likely to be underpaid the National Minimum Wage. Failure by employers to “uprate” workers following a key birthday is a common cause of non-compliance.
These messages do not ask for any personal or financial information. You can check GOV.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact.
You can find more information on GOV.UK.
NHS Test and Trace encourages everyone with symptoms to get a free test
NHS Test and Trace launched a new campaign last week to encourage everyone to get a free test as soon as they develop symptoms and making them aware of the need to respond to the service if contacted.
As part of this, a new business plan has been published, which sets out what we plan to do and how we will do it. This is an ambitious and challenging plan which includes doubling testing capacity, making testing easily accessible to everyone, launching an app, expanding local public health teams and launching backwards contact tracing.
We have also announced the extension of the self-isolation period to 10 days for those in the community who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or a positive test result.
A new NHS Test and Trace bulletin has been developed for stakeholders to keep up to date with the latest news and guidance on a weekly basis – to subscribe click here.
23rd April 2020
Check if you can claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Find out if you’re eligible and how much you can claim to cover wages for employees on temporary leave (‘furlough’) due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme
You can 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).
Other HMRC Guidance