Also as announced in the budget is that the SEISS scheme is being extended until September 2021. The guidance on the fourth grant has been published with the details. The grant will be set at 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500. It will take into account 2019 to 2020 tax returns and will be open to those who became self-employed in the 2019/20 tax year. The rest of the eligibility criteria remain unchanged. The online claims service for the fourth grant will be available from late April 2021 until 31 May 2021 and will be followed by a fifth and final grant.
The UK Government has also announced changes to the time and circumstances when a 100% tax charge may arise in relation to Self-Employment Income Support Scheme payments. It enables HMRC to recover grants where an individual was entitled to the grant at the time of claim but subsequently ceases to be entitled to all or part of the grant. It also extends the Treasury’s regulation making powers in relation to charges if a person is not entitled to a coronavirus support payment, to bring the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme within scope of the legislation.
The details of the extension to the CJRS have been published.
One important change is that, for periods starting on or after 1 May 2021, you can claim for employees who were employed on 2 March 2021, as long as you have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee. You do not need to have previously claimed for an employee before the 2 March 2021 to claim for periods from starting on or after 1 May 2021.
General Economics of the UK - Of course underlying all this is the unprecedented level of UK National Debt.
VAT - 5% rate extended for another six months followed by a 12.5% rate for a further six months
UK Furlough - To be extended until the end of September at the 80% rate until July. Although from July, the government will introduce an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours of 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September.
100% exemption from Business Rates for tourism business in England until the end of June, with a 2/3s discount for the remaining 9 months (up to the value of £2m for closed businesses), we await a similar announcement from the Welsh Government?
SEISS - Self Employed whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more will continue to receive the full 80% grant.
Contactless Payment - From today, the maximum amount that can be paid through contactless payment will be raised from £45 to £100.
Extended Loss Carry Back
Super Investment Tax Deduction - To encourage investment, from 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2023, companies investing in qualifying new plant and machinery assets will benefit from a 130% first-year capital allowance. This upfront super-deduction will allow companies to cut their tax bill by up to 25p for every £1 they invest.
Air Passenger Duty - APD rates will increase in line with RPI from April 2022
Alcohol Duty - No increases this year
Fuel Duty - No increases this year
Infrastructure Bank - A UK Infrastructure Bank will be established in Leeds with £12bn.
Help to Grow: Management - The government will offer a new UK-wide management programme to upskill 30,000 SMEs in the UK over three years. The programme will be over 12 weeks, and 90% subsidised by government.
As of the 1st March, the law around where people can smoke in Wales is changing. This means that hospital grounds, school grounds, public playgrounds, and outdoor care settings for children will be required to be smoke-free. It will be an offence to smoke in a smoke-free area and anyone caught breaking the law could face a £100 fine. The legislation will also make changes in the tourism sector. There are currently exemptions that allow smoking in self-contained holiday and temporary accommodation (cottages, caravans, chalets and Airbnb etc.) and for hotels, guesthouses, inns, hostels and members’ clubs to have smoking bedrooms. The new legislation keeps these exemptions, but only for a limited time (until 1 March 2022). It also requires that designated smoking bedrooms in place in hotels etc. before 1 March 2022, meet certain conditions.
Therefore, from 1 March 2022 all types of self-contained holiday and temporary accommodation and all hotels, guest houses and inns etc will be required to be smoke-free. We have provided 12 months to enable businesses to phase out any smoking accommodation and convert it to become smoke-free. Further information on the changes is available on the Welsh Government website.
If you have any questions on the introduction of the legislation or its requirements, please contact the tobacco policy team on TobaccoPolicy@gov.wales.
The Mark Drakeford, has announced that, following the latest review, Wales will remain at Alert Level 4. However, in terms of reopening he announced the following changes:
The next review will take place in three weeks’ time.
The ONS has published a report on the impact of the Pandemic on the tourism industry bringing together a range of data and information over different time periods:
The ONS report released (12/02/21) shows the economic impact of coronavirus on different sectors of the UK economy, but also how the tourism and hospitality sectors have borne much of the brunt of this fall in GDP by contracting by the following percentages compared to February 2020.
This shows tourism-related sectors were amongst the most impacted sectors of the UK economy. Others suffering a similar contraction of this magnitude being Rail Transport (-64%) and Domestic Staff (-50.8%). These figures highlight the need for the budget to focus on supporting and helping rebuild these sectors of the economy.
The main item on the agenda at the Cross Party Group for Tourism (04/02/2021) was possible date/s for the tourism sector to reopen in Wales. None were given. Instead, the Welsh Government reiterated that they are unable to give specific date/s as any decisions to reopen will be based on a number of unknown factors e.g infection rates, vaccination rates, hospital admissions etc etc. The CPG members were pointed toward the Coronavirus Control Plan for Wales (https://gov.wales/coronavirus-control-plan-wales ) released in January. Whilst it does provide a clear set of criteria for entering or exiting an alert level and what restrictions are associated with each alert level it is a Coronavirus Control Plan, not a Tourism re-opening schedule.
The change in attitudes, expectations and needs of our visitors was discussed. As we re-open, whenever the health agenda allows, we will without doubt be moving into a much changed economic and social landscape. Will public transport be able to operate at much lower densities; do we have the infrastructure to support electric vehicles; do some of our customers need to be convinced to return after the negative vibes shed by the discontented? So whilst we are not out of the woods yet and we are all keen to emerge as quickly as possible, we need to be exceptionally and arguably better prepared than at the end of the last lock-down.
Much of the Welsh population is supported by tourism, that importance still needs to be acknowledged, particularly politically. The WTA will also need an assurance from the next Welsh Government that they will continue with a dedicated Tourism Minister.
So what do we want? A plan that addresses the above, is easy to engage with, understand and one that comes with the necessary resources to do the job. A plan was outlined by Visit Wales at the meeting, further details to follow. So in the meantime we urge all businesses to use the coronavirus control plan and the PHW data to start to plan ahead for when we are able to re-open our businesses. Whenever that is?
The ONS’s latest survey on the social impacts of coronavirus and perceptions of the future has found that:
An emergency bill to ensure the next Senedd election can happen safely, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, has been introduced before the Senedd by the Welsh Government. The Welsh Elections (Coronavirus) Bill introduces a range of measures to make it easier for those affected by the pandemic to vote. While it is the policy of the Welsh Government to hold the election on 6 May 2021 as intended, if the public heath situation allows, it also makes it possible to delay polling day if it is not safe to hold the election at that time. Read the announcement in full on Gov.Wales. Watch that space!!