24/03/2021

COVID-19 Business Update – 24 March 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

New UK Government COVID-19 Testing Site Opened in Dumbarton

The UK Government has announced the opening of a new testing centre at Risk Street Car Park 1 in Dumbarton, as part of the largest network of diagnostic testing facilities created in British history.

People should only be tested if they experience coronavirus symptoms. Tests must be booked in advance at NHS Inform or by calling 0800 028 2816.

UK Plans Vaccinations for Children Starting August

Children in the UK will start getting vaccinated for COVID-19 as early as August, as the government pushes for maximum national immunity from the coronavirus, according to The Telegraph.

The government is still waiting on the results of the child vaccine study being conducted by Oxford University on the vaccine it developed in partnership with AstraZeneca before giving the rollout a greenlight.

Extra £7 Billion Given to NHS and Social Care for COVID-19 Response and Recovery

The government announced another £7 billion funding round for health services to support the next phase of the NHS response to the pandemic, taking the total package of support for COVID-19 health services to £92 billion.

£6.6 billion will go to the ongoing NHS response, continuing funding for the hospital discharge programme, infection control measures, long COVID services, and NHS staff support services. Meanwhile, £341 million will be used for infection control measures and rapid testing in adult social care services.

UK Unemployment Declines for the First Time Since the Pandemic Started

The UK’s jobless rate dropped to 5% in the three months to January, showing signs of improvement since the pandemic started a year ago. With over 5 million people on the furlough scheme, jobs have been protected, cushioning the blow from COVID-19.

Ban on Commercial Evictions Extended to 30 June

Business owners are being given further support after the government extended the ban on commercial evictions to 30 June. Meanwhile, the bailiff-enforced eviction ban was also extended to 31 May to protect residential tenants.

These extensions should help those badly hit by the pandemic, such as bars and restaurants. Doors are expected to fully reopen for the hospitality industry no earlier than 17 May.

With around 49% of hospitality workers and 36% of retail workers currently renting, the new measures will protect jobs as businesses reopen and many more renters can return to work.

Job Retention Scheme Extended Until End of September

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021. It will remain unchanged until the end of June, and a phased reduction in the level of funding will be implemented from 1 July 2021.

Currently, employers can claim grants equal to 80% of a furloughed employee’s reference pay. Grants for each worker are capped at £2,500 per month.

For claims starting 1 July 2021, the grant will be reduced to 70% of the reference salary and capped at £2,187.50 per month. It will be further reduced to 60% of the reference salary with a cap of £1,875 starting 1 August 2021.

You can read more about it here.

Pavement Licences Extended to Help High Streets Recover

Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP announced that he intends to extend pavement licences for a further 12 months to help the hospitality industry recover once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve customers outdoors from no earlier than 12 April. The extension of provisions around pavement licences, which will be subject to parliamentary approval, will make it easier and cheaper for pubs, restaurants and cafes to serve people outside.

Further details can be found here.

Guidance on the Reopening of Businesses

England is still in a national lockdown. However, the government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ which will serve as a roadmap out of the current restrictions. You can check out the step-by-step plan here.

New Online VAT Deferral Payment Scheme

Businesses that deferred VAT payments last year can join the new online VAT Deferral Payment Scheme to pay it in smaller monthly instalments.

To take advantage of this new payment scheme, businesses will need to have deferred VAT payments between March and June 2020 under the VAT Payment Deferral Scheme. These businesses will be given the option to pay their deferred VAT in 2 to 11 equal monthly instalments starting in March, April, May, or June 2021, with no interest.

The new scheme will be open until 21 June 2021. Further details can be found here.

Changes to the Construction Industry Scheme Effective April 2021

On November 2020, the government published draft legislation making changed to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) to ensure that rules apply fairly to everyone who is liable and HMRC can act quickly when rules are being broken.

You can read more about these changes here. You can also get in touch with us if you have any questions.

£20 Million SME Brexit Support Fund Launched

A £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund has been announced to help businesses adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU.

Traders will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to pay for practical support for importing and exporting. This fund will help businesses prepare for the implementation of import controls that will take effect from April and July.

More details can be found here.

Ongoing COVID-19 Business Support From the Government

After almost a year of lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions, many firms in the UK are still in need of business support to stay afloat. Below is a comprehensive list of government support programmes that are available to your small business.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Deadline: 31 March 2021

  • Loans of between £2,000 and £50,000, up to 25% of turnover
  • The government guarantees 100% of the loan with no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year
  • You can now apply for a top-up if you initially didn’t borrow the full amount available

More information can be found here.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Deadline: 31 March 2021

  • Offers access to loans of up to £5m
  • 80% of the loan is guaranteed by the government.
  • Government pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months
  • Available for businesses with annual turnover of up to £45m

More information can be found here.

Business Rates Holiday

Deadline: 6 April 2021

Businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-2021 tax year.

More information can be found here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Deadline: 30 April 2021

  • 80% of employees’ monthly salary covered for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500
  • Employers will have flexibility to use the scheme for employees for any amount of time or shift pattern, furloughing employees on either a full-time or part-time basis
  • No employer contribution for hours not worked, employers only have to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions

More information can be found here.

New Deadlines for Job Retention Scheme Claims
Use this list of monthly deadlines to help you submit before it’s too late.

14 April 2021– Final date to submit claims for March 2021 by 11:59pm
14 May 2021– Final date to submit claims for April 2021 by 11:59pm

Corporation tax filing extension

Deadline: Apply for the extension before your normal filing deadline

You can apply for a three-month corporation tax extension to the deadline of filing your accounts, as long as your deadline falls between 27 June 2020 to 5 April 2021.

More information can be found here.

Kickstart Scheme grant

Deadline: Not specified

  • Provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit
  • Covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage) for 25 hours a week for a total of six months
  • Also covers National Insurance contributions
  • Employers can spread the start date of the job placements until the end of December 2021

More information can be found here.

Self-employed Income Support Scheme

Deadline: Online claims service for the fourth grant will be available from late April 2021 until 31 May 2021.

  • The fourth grant will be calculated at 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits and will be paid out in a single instalment capped at £7,500 in total.
  • The fifth and final grant covering May to September can be claimed from late July. The amount will be determined by how much your turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021.
  • The fifth grant will be worth 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500, for those with a turnover reduction of 30% or more.
  • For those with a turnover reduction of less than 30%, the fifth grant will be equivalent to 30% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850.

More information can be found here.

Statutory Sick Pay refund

Deadline: Not specified

  • Companies with fewer than 250 employees can apply for a full refund for staff who take statutory sick leave due to Covid-19
  • You must set up PAYE in your business by 28 February 2020

More information can be found here.

Top-up grant for retail, hospitality and leisure

Deadline: Not specified

  • A one-off top-up grant has been allocated for the struggling retail, hospitality, and leisure industries
  • The grant is available to rateable businesses:
    – Small businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 and under will receive £4,000
    – Medium businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will get £6,000

More information can be found here.

Flick us a message if you need our expert assistance on your applications and so we can help you evaluate your options.

Understanding Contribution Margin and Why You Need It

When you run a business, you obviously would like to know how profitable it is. You can check your profit margin to understand by how much your revenue exceeds costs.

However, if you’d like to dig deeper and learn how a certain product contributes to your profit, you have to look at the contribution margin.

When you create a product or deliver a service and deduct the variable cost of offering it, the leftover revenue becomes the contribution margin.

So simply put,

Contribution margin= revenue – variable costs

By knowing the contribution margins, you can decide whether to add or subtract a product line, how to price it, and how to structure sales commissions.

If a product’s contribution margin is negative, it means your company is losing money producing it. Your course of action could be to discontinue the product or increase its price. Meanwhile, if a product has a positive contribution margin, you would want to keep it.

However, the first step in calculating for the contribution margin is to use your income statement and identify all your fixed and variable costs. This is not as straightforward as it sounds because it’s not always clear which ones fall into each category.

So if you want to save time and ensure that you get the contribution margins right, get in touch with us so we can help you make informed business decisions.

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