The past few weeks have been eventful. Just when the world was getting in the grip of Novel Coronavirus, Rishi Sunak came up with his budget for the financial year with various measures for tackling the epidemic. The measures undertaken for Coronavirus in the budget included:
- A £5bn emergency response fund to support the National Health Service and other public services in England
- All those advised to self-isolate will be entitled to statutory sick pay, even if they have not presented with symptoms
- Self-employed workers who are not eligible will be able to claim contributory Employment Support Allowance
- The ESA benefit will be available from day one, not after a week as before.
- £500m hardship fund for councils in England to help the most vulnerable in their areas
- Firms with fewer than 250 staff will be refunded for sick pay payments for two weeks,
- Small firms will be able to access “business interruption” loans of up to £1.2m
- Business rates are planned to be abolished for firms in retail, leisure and hospitality sectors with a rateable value below £51,000
- A £6bn NHS funding over five years to pay for the recruitment of staff & hospital upgrades
- Business rates scrapped for shops and cafes
But that was not all. Considering the seriousness of the situation, now the government has come up with a bill, which includes some emergency measures to deal with the COVID – 19 outbreak. The Bill introduces the following measures:
The legislation would allow:
- Recently-retired doctors and med students to be registered as regular healthcare professionals, in order to give a boost up to the number of NHS Staff.
- Recently retired Social Health Workers to be temporarily re-enrolled.
- Workers to be enabled to take “emergency leave” for up to four weeks, with the establishment of an allowance fund to cover the loss of earnings and expenses.
- Just a single doctor’s opinion would be valid to detain and treat patients for the disorder.
- Children’s Nurseries and Schools to stay closed by force.
- Higher use of video and audio links in courts.
- Temporary appointment of Judicial Commissioners to authorise warrants under anti-terror laws.
- Unabated power to the government to ban or restrict any events or gatherings.
- Removal of bureaucracy circumferential to funerals and cremations.
- Local councils to take over the management of deaths if the morbidity rate of COVID-19 exceeds the capacity to be managed locally.
- Mandatory for the food industry to provide information about food supplies.
The bill also postpones the local and mayoral elections to 2021. IR35 off-payroll rules were delayed till April next year to provide some relief to businesses and accountants alike.
So far the novel Coronavirus has swung the UK along with the rest of the world up and down like a roller-coaster. What lies ahead, depends upon political will and the implementations of these reforms.
We at Outbooks though, are determined to be of service even in the most testing of times. You’d be happy to know that we are still functional and managing work through our offshore centers in India. Our team is safely working from their homes and we have empowered them with proper equipment and internet connections to not allow any disturbance to work. We have also employed additional staff, just in case you need some more help in these trying times. When the government is going all in to support small business and operations, we can do so as well.
We are here to help!
For any further queries related to the pandemic or beyond – which includes your accounting needs, please feel free to contact us.