Coronavirus: Information and resources for members
Additional resources such as links to webinars or useful blogs are also posted on the Practice Points COVID-19 thread on CA Connect.
Information for employers
UK government advice for employers and business
Additional resources such as links to webinars or useful blogs are also posted on the Practice Points COVID-19 thread on CA Connect
Guidance to assist employers and businesses in providing advice to staff on the prevention of spread of respiratory infections; what to do if someone with suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in a workplace setting; and advice for the certification of absence from work resulting from COVID-19.
FAQs for employers (Brodies)
A helpful set of FAQ relating to employer obligations
Employers’ Health and Safety Obligations
Coronavirus is having an impact on many industries. But what should UK businesses be doing to ensure they comply with health and safety obligations to employees and members of the public? This blog from Brodies includes some helpful and practical actions to take to mitigate these risks.
This factsheet from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development provides an overview of the current coronavirus situation. It explains what the virus is and gives advice on how employers should respond to the threat and support employees by being prepared, looking after employees’ health and safety, precautions for employees returning from travel, and developing flexible resourcing plans.
UK government advice on staying at home
UK government guidance for people with confirmed or possible COVID-19 infection.
ACAS advice for employers and employees
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) advice for employers and employees. This advice is being reviewed daily.
Information for clients
In addition to the information below, the links under the information for employers may also be of assistance to clients and businesses more generally.
The UK government’s action plan which provides a guide to what can be expected across the UK. The plan includes sections covering:
- What is known about the virus and the diseases it causes
- How the UK prepares for infectious disease outbreaks
- The government’s response to the current coronavirus outbreak
- Responsibilities for pandemic preparedness and response
- Expert advice and guidance
Health Protection Scotland guidance
A collection of resources containing information and advice on COVID-19.
FSB advice and guidance on businesses reducing the risks of disruption from the COVID-19 virus.
A helpline providing businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on COVID-19. The helpline is open Monday to Friday, between 8.30am and 5.30pm. The helpline can be used to discuss the measures announced by the Scottish Government to limit the impact of COVID-19, namely:
- a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism from 1 April 2020
- £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief
- £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000
- 1.6% relief for all properties, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year.
In addition, the Scottish Government has announced a number of other measures designed to assist businesses during the coronavirus outbreak including:
- urging local authorities to relax planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate temporarily as takeaways
- extending the go live date for the deposit return scheme to July 2022
- halting the introduction of the Visitor Levy Bill.
How the banks are responding to coronovirus (Brodies)
An article looking at what the reaction has been so far in the banking market to provide support to businesses and individuals. Measures include:
- payment holidays on mortgage and loan repayments
- temporary increases tor credit card limits
- access to cash in fixed savings accounts with no early closure charges
- scrapping fees on credit card cash advances and increasing cash withdrawal limits
- waiving fees on missed credit card payments
- allowing customers to deposit larger cheques online through digital scanning
Information about the package of measures to support businesses affected by COVID-19. Measures announced by the UK government (updated to 20 March 2020) include:
- Employers with fewer than 250 employees being able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay for employees unable to work because of coronavirus. This refund will be for up to 2 weeks per employee.
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which will allow employers to apply to HMRC for a grant covering up to 80% of employee costs (up to £2500 per employee per month) for employees who are furloughed and kept on payroll, rather than being laid off. This is backdated to 1 March 2020 and will last for an initial 3-month period
- Business Rates retail discount of 100% for one year and expanded to the leisure and hospitality sectors.
- VAT payments up to June 2020 deferred, to be repaid by the end of 2020/21 financial year.
- One-off grants of up to £25,000 per property for businesses in the retail, hospitality and retail sectors, to help meet their ongoing business costs. For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000. For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.
- One-off grants of £10,000 to businesses eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief (RRR) to help meet their ongoing business costs.
- A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts, interest free for an initial 12-month period. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.
- Corporate Financing Facility from the Bank of England which will buy short-term debt from larger companies.
- Self-employed persons will be able to access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.
- Self-assessment payments due in July 2020 will be deferred until January 2021.
- All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.
Please note some of these measures do not apply to businesses in Scotland.
The Chartered Governance Institute (ICSA) have issued guidance on holding AGMs during the current coronavirus environment.
Getting your money back for cancelled events (Brodies)
An article looking at the right to a refund of tickets if events are cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.
Social enterprises, charities and community groups funding from Social Investment Scotland
Social Investment Scotland has provided an update on financial and other support available to the sector.
Guidance looking at charity-specific concerns that OSCR have become aware of due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Charity Commission E&W guidance
Filing charity annual returns during the coronavirus pandemic (E&W)
The Charities Commission guidance to charities that are due to submit an Annual Return but are unable to do so.
Support from charitable foundations
More than 30 grantmakers have signed a statement promising to support charities during the coronavirus emergency.
Guidance from the Association of Charitable Foundations
Some consideration of the impact on the causes that foundations support such as organisations facing problems over delivering their services with workers and volunteers off sick, in self-isolation, unable to work in some locations or looking after kids off school or ill relatives.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Article from Civil Society News on charity eligibility for the Business Interruption Loan Scheme announced in the Budget.
Information for Practice
In addition to the information below, the links under the information for employers and information for clients may also be of assistance and relevant to practice generally.
Working from home requires a different way of working for staff, and different techniques to manage staff. The ICAS Audit and Practice monitoring team who work predominately out of the office provide their top tips.
Incapacity - 10 tips to keep your practice going
Advice from ICAS Practice Support on steps which practices can take to mitigate periods of partner incapacity.
What if client’s blame you for their losses? (Brodies)
When times are tough, businesses and individuals feeling the pinch will try to recoup any losses wherever possible – including from their professional advisers. This blog from Brodies includes some helpful and practical actions to take to mitigate these risks.
Information on Companies House operations and filing arrangements. You can also sign up to receive further updates in this dynamic situation.
Companies House office closures
Details of Companies House public access arrangements, document delivery arrangements and same day service availability.
ICO guidance for data controllers
The Information Commissioners Office have issued guidance through a series of FAQ for data controllers around data protection and the coronavirus.
Guidance issued by FRC for auditors (ICAS)
Article highlighting guidance for auditors issued by the FRC and providing additional commentary from ICAS for our member firms.
Considerations for group auditors (ICAEW)
ICAEW has produced a guide designed for UK group auditors with component auditors based in China or other jurisdictions impacted by COVID-19. It offers practical considerations in relation to the work of component auditors to address the requirements in ISAs (UK). It may also be relevant for group auditors in other jurisdictions with similar requirements.
A new HMRC helpline has been launched to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to COVID-19. HMRC will explore:
- agreeing an instalment arrangement
- suspending debt collection proceedings
- cancelling penalties and interest due to administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately
The Insolvency Service has issued a COVID-19 Dear IP.
Dear Trustee - PTD additional guidance
The Accountant in Bankruptcy has issued a further Dear Trustee letter relating to additional PTD contingencies.
Accountant in Bankruptcy contingency arrangements for IPs and money advisers
The Accountant in Bankruptcy has issued a Dear Trustee letter outlining contingency arrangements relating to Bankruptcy, PTD and DAS.
Scottish Court business changes
The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service haa implemented a programme of changes to court business, which will provide a sustainable response during this outbreak.