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It has been a month since Chancellor Rishi Sunak stepped up to the podium at Downing Street to announce an ‘unprecedented’ package of support for businesses across the UK.
The major step on March 20 was the Job Retention Scheme and we’re now expecting, and hoping, that the portal for the scheme will be going live today (Monday, April 20.)
Despite that month-long gap, which has been filled with uncertainty, it is still likely that there will be issues to iron out with the portal next week.
Issues with technology will cause frustration, as the website struggles to cope with the huge inflow of traffic during the early days.
Businesses will need to be aware of this potential delay and get in touch with their banks and employees regarding potential late or under payments for April.
The Job Retention Scheme is still developing, and the most interesting recent change is to move the date to qualify for the scheme from 28 February to 19 March. It developed further on Friday when it was extended for a further month.
However, in order to qualify employers must also have made a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying HMRC of a payment in respect of the employee on or before 19 March.
This will potentially make more employees eligible for the scheme, although will mainly impact new employees on weekly pay.
There have been warnings from business organisations such as the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce regarding businesses who may look to exploit the furlough scheme – and there will without a doubt be businesses out there looking to do that.
This includes volunteering, even if it’s in a different role, and we understand that breaching the guidance could invalidate the organisation’s claim for grants under the scheme
Away from the JRS, uptake for loans under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS) is still pitifully low.
I expressed concerns in my last blog that bureaucracy and technology could impact the delivery of both schemes and that appears to have been the case.
Timing has always been the big issue with the financial support packages and it has been disappointingly slow in reaching businesses, although this area is performing better than many.
Stay safe and stay positive!