Member News & Events

New grants to support businesses required to close due to local COVID-19 restrictions

The Government has announced new grants to support businesses that are required to close due to COVID-19 in high incidence areas.

The grants will be for either £1,500 or £1,000 every three weeks depending on the size of the business.  For businesses that occupy premises with a rateable value of less than £51,000 then the grant is £1,000 and for those occupying premises with a rateable value above £51,000, the grant is £1,500.

The local authorities will be responsible for distributing these grants where businesses are required to close due to the local interventions.

In addition, local authorities will be given additional funds to distribute to businesses that are not on the local rates list to support them with grants of up to £1,500.

These grants do not apply to any businesses that are still required to be closed at a national level, such as night clubs etc.

If you are affected by the local interventions and would like assistance on this then please contact your local TC adviser on 0330 088 7111.

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HMRC Kickstart Scheme Application Assistance

The Government has introduced the Kickstart Scheme to encourage employers to offer 6-month work placements for 16 to 24-year-olds who are on Universal Credit.

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to cover 25 hours per week at the relevant National Minimum Wage plus Employers National Insurance and Employers Minimum Automatic Enrolment Contributions.

Not advised in previous HMRC announcements about the scheme is the detail that employers must offer a minimum of 30 work placements or partner with other organisations to reach this level. The Kickstart Scheme can help you find organisations with whom to partner.

Kickstart is being run by the Department for Work and Pensions and is open to all employers in all industries to take part, but there are a number of qualifying criteria:

The work placements must be new opportunities and not:

  • Replace existing or planned vacancies;
  • Cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.

The work placements must be:

  • For a minimum of 25 hours per week;
  • Paid at the relevant National Minimum Wage;
  • Not require extensive training before they can start;
  • Develop the skills of the participants to support them looking for long term work.

Given our experience helping clients with previous HMRC initiatives, we know the process is not straight forward and can be time-consuming. Therefore, if you would like assistance applying for the Kickstart Scheme please contact our HR team at or call us on 0330 088 7111.

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New grants to help fund recovery for SMEs

The Government has announced £20m in funding to help SMEs in England recover from the effects of the COVID crisis.

SMEs can access grants for new technology and other equipment. The grants can also be used for professional, legal, financial and other advice to assist in their recovery.

Typically, the grants will be awarded up to a maximum of £3,000 per business, but, under certain circumstances, £5,000 may be available.

Access to the grants is now open and must be awarded by 28th February 2021. The activity the grant supports must be completed by 31st March 2021.

Growth Hubs run by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) manage the grants, and there is a strict qualifying criterion determined by each LEP. Therefore, businesses should contact their local Growth Hub to understand the requirements for their application.

Given our experience helping clients with grant applications from LEPs, we know that the process is not straight forward and can be time-consuming. Therefore, if you require assistance with your application, please contact your local TC advisor on 0330 088 7111.

For more information contact

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Professional guidance for video witnessing of Wills in England & Wales

The Covid-19 crisis has made the witnessing of Wills challenging, particularly for people who fall into a high-risk category and those who need to ensure social distancing.

The Government have recently announced that it will be introducing temporary legislation to enable people to use a video link to witness the signing of Wills virtually, where witnessing in person is not feasible. Under current rules, the witness must be physically present.

  • The new law is expected to come into force in September this year; 
  • Shall apply for Wills executed up until 31 January 2022; 
  • It is set to be made retrospective. Therefore, it will apply to anyone whose Will has been executed in this way since 31 January 2020.

As the new legislation has not yet been drafted, its scope and operation are currently unclear. We advise anyone planning to arrange the remote witnessing of a Will before September to exercise extreme caution.

Obtaining professional advice is key to ensuring the validity of the Will and reducing the risk of intervention from the courts at the same time.

All of the points above (and many others) are covered in our Private Client Review, which is free for TC clients and their family members during the period of COVID-19 restrictions.

If you haven’t already, please contact our Private Client Team at or call us on 0330 088 7111 to arrange your free consultation.

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Update on the Job Retention Bonus Scheme

Further guidance was issued recently by the Government on the Job Retention Bonus scheme that will enable employers to claim £1,000 per qualifying employee.

Further information is to be published in September but the details provided so far give details of which employees qualify, and state that employers can make the claim from February 2021.

The scheme is aimed at encouraging employers to retain employees who have returned from furlough. 

The qualifying criteria are as follows:

  • the employer has made a qualifying claim for the employee under the Job Retention Scheme;
  • the employee has been continuously employed by the employer since the most recent furlough claim through to at least 31 January 2021;
  • the employee has earned on average £520 per month for the three months ending 31st January 2021, 
  • the employee was paid in each month and their earnings have been reported to HMRC via Real Time Information; 
  • the employee is not serving a contractual or statutory notice period that commenced before 1st February 2021.

The qualifying employees can include full-time and part-time employees, officeholders, company directors and agency workers.

The Job Retention Bonus is an incentive for the employer and does not need to be passed onto the employee, but it is taxable and should be included as income on your tax return.

If you would like to understand whether you might qualify for this bonus then please contact your TC contact or our HR team on 0330 088 7111

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Summer Statement 2020: Key Announcements

The Chancellor set out new measures in his Summer Statement today aimed at reviving the economy from its COVID slump. 

At this early stage, the announcements are characteristically light in detail, but we’ve summarised the key points below:

The Chancellor confirmed that the existing furlough scheme will cease on 31st October. However,a new “Job Retention Scheme” will apply from November. The scheme will reward employers who bring back furloughed staff who are being paid a minimum of £520 per month and retained until January with a grant of £1,000 per person from the Government.

This is welcomed, but we await to see the details to understand which returning employees will qualify and clarification on the timeframe in which the employees need to return to work.

Training, apprenticeships and “Kick Start” Scheme
There are new schemes to support employers who create new jobs or training or apprenticeship schemes.  

Under the “Kick Start” scheme for new jobs, the Government will pay the first six months of wages and contribute towards overheads, up to £6,500 per employee. To qualify these new jobs will need to be for a minimum of 25 hours per week. 

For new traineeships and apprenticeships, employers will receive grants of £1,000 and £2,000 respectively and an additional £1,500 for apprentices over the age of 24.

Stamp Duty Land Tax
In addition to significant infrastructure spend to support the Construction Industry, Stamp Duty Land Tax on residential property is to be reduced to 0% on the first £500,000 of the purchase price until 31st March 2021. However, the 3% surcharge for additional homes will still apply to buy-to-lets and second homes, although the rates payable overall will be lower due to the increased 0% band. 

Hospitality and Tourism 
The Hospitality and Tourism sectors are to be supported with a reduction in VAT to 5% from Wednesday 15th July until 12th January 2021. This cut will apply to eat-in or hot takeaway food from restaurants, cafes and pubs, accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites, attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos.

An “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme providing a 50% discount up to £10 per head at participating restaurants on Mondays to Wednesdays will be introduced for August. The participating restaurants can claim the discount back from the Government and be paid within five working days. Restaurants can apply for the scheme from Monday 13th July.

Green Technology
A new voucher scheme of £5k per household or £10k for low-income households has been announced to create more energy-efficient homes.

We await further details on these new initiatives, and we will update you and provide guidance as more information is made available. If you would like to discuss how these initiatives could affect you, then please contact your TC adviser on 0330 088 7111.

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New Self Employed Income Support Scheme – do you qualify?

Self-employed businesses that continue to be adversely affected by Coronavirus may qualify for the new Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) three-month grant of 70% of average profits capped at £6,570.

In order to qualify for the new SEISS, your business needs to be adversely affected by the coronavirus on or after 14th July 2020.  

Therefore, if you cannot trade, your income is down, you have additional costs due to social distancing and PPE, your business may qualify for the scheme. 

You also need to meet the same broader criteria for the initial SEISS grant.

  • You have been trading in 2018/19 and submitted your tax return by 23rd April 2020;
  • Continue to trade in 2020/21;
  • Have average profits of less than £50,000 per year.

You can make a claim from 17th August and you can make a new SEISS grant claim even if you did not make claim under the initial SEISS grant.

Contact your TC adviser today on 0330 088 7111 if you would like to discuss whether you can make a claim under this new SEISS grant.

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Income Tax Deferral – from Taylorcocks

If you are due to make a payment on account of Income Tax on 31st July 2020 then you have the option to defer the payment until 31st January 2021.

You can defer the payment due on 31st July if you complete a tax return and you are struggling to make the payment due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. This is an automatic deferral, so does not need to be applied for, but you can still make the payment by 31st July if you are able to do so.

The income tax will be payable by 31st January 2021 and there will be no interest or penalties for deferring the payment, provided it is paid by 31st January 2021.It is worth remembering that on 31st January 2021 you will be paying, in addition to any deferred Income Tax, the balancing payment in relation to 2019/20 and the first payment on account for 2020/21. So if you do defer the July payment, then you could be paying a whole years tax liability at the same time.

If you are struggling to pay taxes generally then it is possible to agree on an instalment plan with HMRC to spread the payments, but there will be an interest charge for late payments.If you require any support on this, please contact your TC adviser today on 0330 088 7111.

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Furlough Scheme Update & Actions from TC Group

The Chancellor this afternoon announced changes to the Government’s furlough scheme, extending it in its current form until the end of July, with additional changes being made for August to October. As with previous announcements, today’s was lacking in solid details, and more information will follow in due course.

However, at this stage, the immediate action you as a business owner need to take is to send a letter to your furloughed staff extending their furlough leave until 31st July.  Our TC HR department can provide you with this extension letter if you have signed up for our COVID-19 HR contract.In addition to the extension of the scheme in its current form, the Chancellor has made some further announcements that will come into effect from 1st August, all of which will require further clarification before you take any action. These are: 

  • Furlough Scheme extended from the end of July until the end of October;
  • Employer contributions – The Government have confirmed that the payment to employees will continue at 80% of normal salary level but have said they will ask businesses to share the cost of this, so there are some question marks over whether business owners will be required to contribute and the level of the contribution;
  • Part-Time Furloughed Employees – This will be employees returning from furlough and working reduced hours and remaining furloughed for the remainder of the week – It is unlikely that the Government will pay the furloughed salary at the current 80% rate and so employer contributions may be required. 

Next steps:

  • Detailed guidance will be released by the end of May and we will send you a summary as soon as we have reviewed it;
  • You will then have 2 full months to review and implement your furlough strategy in line with the latest guidance and our HR team can talk you through your options and advise on the best solution for you;
  • There will be a number of options available to you that will need careful consideration including phased returns to work, reduction in working hours, short-time working, part-time furloughing or even possible redundancies.   

As previously mentioned, the furlough scheme has already changed multiple times and that will continue to happen as the Government has to adapt to the economic needs of the country. The furlough scheme is one of the UK’s main fiscal responses to COVID-19 and will become increasingly complex with each iteration particularly when combined with part-time workers and other return to work obligations that will soon be placed upon business owners. If you haven’t already we would encourage you to speak to our Head of HR Wendy McGarvey whose team of HR experts can support you with a discounted support package that will cover everything you need during this period including return-to-work advice and staff template letters that comply with the latest guidance. 

Honorary Accountants to the Chamber.

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