The information below has been provided to us by the Department for Work & Pensions
The latest round up of information relating to the COVID 19 pandemic.
To support businesses and employers HMRC are offering live webinars on a variety of COVID-19 related topics (link is external) such as: Job Retention Scheme, Job Retention Scheme - How to make a claim, Self-employment Income Support Scheme and Statutory Sick Pay rebate scheme. They also have links to support and step by step guides on their YouTube channel.
HMRC Help and Support
HMRC produce a bi-monthly Employer Bulletin - The April edition is available here (link is external) and includes headlines on the Job Retention Scheme, Statutory Sick pay Rebate, Deferral of VAT payments, support to employees and tax consequences and benefits and tax credit updates
Touchbase are producing special editions, that are currently being issued on a weekly basis, so that employers and partners can get updates on DWP announcements. These are being emailed out to subscribers and are not being published on GOV.UK. Here is the latest edition - Coronavirus Special - 01 May 2020
Furloughed Workers - Parental Leave
Furloughed workers planning to take paid parental or adoption leave (link is external) will be entitled to pay based on their usual earnings rather than a furloughed pay rate. The statutory instrument laid in Parliament will ensure workers whose period of family-related pay begins on or after 25 April will be assessed on their usual, full pay.
Pension Credit Online – Service went live on 6th May
‘Apply for Pension Credit’ service will be available for customers to claim Pension Credit online on 6th May 2020. Gov.uk and telephony messaging will be changed to tell customers that there is an alternative way to claim Pension Credit.
Pension Credit being available to apply online news article –
Furloughing of workers across UK businesses: 23 March 2020 to 5 April 2020 (ONS monthly digest)
Analysis of Wave 2 of the Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey (BICS). This complements the analysis of BICS by focusing on the workforce furloughed across responding businesses.
More than 135,000 new claims were made to Universal Credit on 30 and 31 March 2020. People who claimed on these two days will receive payments on 6th May .
Eligibility for government childcare offers protected
Self-employed invited to get ready to make their claims for coronavirus (COVID-19) support
Tax credits customers will continue to receive payments even if working fewer hours due to COVID-19
Update 04/05/20 New Bounce Back Loans to launch today: News Story: Britain’s small businesses will be able to apply for quick and easy-to access loans of up to £50,000 from today – with the cash expected to land within days.
Customers Stranded Abroad and Unable to Return to the UK
A number of DWP customers are stranded abroad because their return travel arrangements have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus restrictions currently in place.
Guidance is available for individuals in receipt of benefits who are unable to return to the UK (link is external). This also links to guidance on financial support (link is external) whilst staying abroad during coronavirus.
Guidance is available on the reimbursement of childcare costs (link is external) for individuals already claiming UC. Childcare costs that have been paid for and reported, for childcare that has been provided, will be reimbursed as part of the UC claim as normal. Any childcare costs that have been paid for and are intend to be reported, for childcare that has been provided, will also be reimbursed as part of the claim as normal. Whilst the government’s response to coronavirus is in place, only critical workers will be able to access UC childcare. Further detailed guidance is available here
Support for Bereavement Services - Wales
Cruse Bereavement Care Cymru (link is external) has been awarded extra funding of £72,000 from the Welsh Government to help it respond to an expected increase in demand over the coming months. The additional funding will help to recruit and train new volunteers and provide further training for existing volunteers to increase the numbers of people they can support.
Council Tax Reduction Scheme - Wales
The scheme already supports 300,000 low-income households with their council tax bills (link is external) but with many more people facing financial hardship due to the coronavirus crisis people are being urged to check if they are now eligible for help.
Lifeline Support Scheme - Scotland
The £100 million package (link is external) of additional grant support for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and newly self-employed people opened on the 30 April. These include a hardship fund for the newly self-employed, a fund for small and micro enterprises in the creative, tourism and hospitality sectors and funds for viable SMEs crucial to the Scottish economy which are vulnerable.
Digital Innovations to Support Vulnerable People
People who may be particularly vulnerable or isolated during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including new parents, the homeless, unpaid carers, young people and cancer patients, could soon benefit from a range of innovative digital solutions (link is external) selected as part of the TechForce19 challenge.
New Platform for Defence Personnel
A new platform (link is external) has been launched with online tools to help defence personnel to take a more proactive approach to their mental health and mental fitness. HeadFIT (link is external), designed specifically for the Defence community, provides 24/7 access to self-help tools that can enhance mood, drive and confidence, and help Defence people manage the stresses of everyday life.
Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) - England
BIDs are set to receive £6.1 million (link is external) to help cover their day to day costs for the next 3 months, in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This funding comes on top of the government’s comprehensive package of support for business and workers.