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CIC Coronavirus Digest

27/03/20 - Issue 5

The latest government advice on the coronavirus (COVID-19) and updates from the construction industry. Please share with your own members.

Business Closures and Stay at Home

To reduce social contact and help stop the spread of coronavirus, the UK Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. A list of these businesses can be found here. With the exception of these organisations, the UK Government has not required any other businesses to close – it is important for business to carry on.

Where businesses continue to open, employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services. If your employees cannot work from home then they can still travel to work, provided they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating.

Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available). Where that is not possible, and there are many types of job where that will be challenging, the PHE/Chief Medical Officer Advice is that it is okay to come to work.

A list of frequently asked questions alongside the appropriate guidance can be found here.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.

You can find more information on eligibility and how to access the scheme here.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme Frequently Asked Questions

Self-employment Income Support Scheme Claim for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Guidance for employers on the coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme has now been published. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020. We expect the scheme to be up and running by the end of April. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Employers can use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. Employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.

The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020.

Support the fight against Coronavirus

The Construction Leadership Council is in touch with NHS London Hospitals Trust to help the NHS with urgently needed PPE.  A summary of the equipment required is as follows:

•            FFP3 Respirator Masks

•            Full Face Visors (disposable)

•            Full Face Visors (reusable)

•            Safety Goggles/Glasses

•            Hand Sanitiser

•            Full Body (Hazardous Material) Suits

•            Logistics/Transport support

If you are able to provide some of these essential pieces of equipment, please get in touch with Graham Watts (gwatts@cic.org.uk).

HMRC's tax helpline is changing

HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus. The tax helpline number is changing. You can now call them on 08000 241222. Opening hours are from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Calls to the old helpline number will be redirected automatically.

Coronavirus policies on construction globally

At a CLC meeting, attention was drawn to a report about coronavirus and Covid-19 policies in other countries. To read the report, please download the report below. 

CITB to suspend Levy for 3 months

CITB’s board met on Wednesday (March 25) and gave final approval to suspend the issue of its levy bills, due for payment in 2020, for an initial period of three months. The bills will subsequently be issued for the full year. The delay will provide immediate financial relief to construction employers during the coronavirus crisis. In normal times CITB assesses and sends out levy bills each April in accordance with legal requirements. CITB levy bills are usually due for payment in May, but CITB will not seek collection on the suspended bills until August, or later if possible. You can read industry response to this welcome news here.

COVID-19 Construction Industry Taskforce

An industry Task Force has been set up to work with BEIS and Government ‘to protect the current and future of the construction industry.’

 Any members or recipients with information, data and/or ideas that may be helpful to the work of this task force please contact the CIC Chief Executive on gwatts@cic.org.uk .

BEIS' Request for Business Intelligence

The Government is closely monitoring developments in relation to potential economic impacts on the UK economy and individual businesses and supply chain. We welcome information from businesses on:

•            The impacts across supply, demand and labour markets 

•            Actions being taken by firms to address these impacts 

•            Any gaps in the Government response from your perspective

Please send your intelligence to intel@beis.gov.uk.  

We are aware that individual company information may be commercially sensitive, and it will be treated accordingly.  Please note that this inbox is only for receiving intelligence only and does not provide business advice.