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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin - 26 November 2020

This bulletin is issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and provides the latest information for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19). All coronavirus business support information can be found at gov.uk/business-support


Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, sets out England’s new coronavirus tier system

The full list of local restriction tiers by area from Wednesday 2 December 2020 is available here

Decisions on which area goes into which tier are primarily based on 5 key epidemiological indicators: case detection rates in all age groups; case detection rates in the over-60s; the rate at which cases are rising or falling; positivity rate, and; pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.  

The changes to the tiers are as follows: 

  • in tier 1, the government will reinforce the importance that, where people can work from home, they should do so 
  • in tier 2, hospitality settings that serve alcohol must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals 
  • in tier 3, hospitality will close except for delivery, drive-through and takeaway, hotels and other accommodation providers must close (except for specific exemptions, such as people staying for work purposes, where people are attending a funeral, or where they cannot return home) and indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, theatres and bowling allies must also close. Elite sport will be played without spectators. Organised outdoor sport can resume, but the Government will advise against higher risk contact sports 

Find out more information on tiers, including information for businesses and venues. The government will review the allocations every 14 days, with the first review complete by the end of 16 December. 

Spending Review to fight virus, and invest in UK’s recovery

Yesterday, 25 November 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the spending review. The government will provide billions of pounds in the fight against coronavirus, and invest in the UK’s recovery. Headlines for businesses are: 

  • National Infrastructure Strategy: The £4bn Levelling Up Fund, to transform the UK’s infrastructure network, is based around three objectives: economic recovery; levelling up and strengthening the Union; and meeting the UK’s net zero emissions target by 2050. This will be enabled by clear support for private investment and through a comprehensive set of reforms to the way infrastructure is delivered. 
  • Business rates multiplier: The business rates multiplier will be frozen in 2021-22, saving businesses in England £575 million over the next five years. 
  • Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee: £375m skills package to help adults without A-Level or equivalent qualifications access free, fully funded further education courses. 
  • Kickstart Scheme: £1.6bn for the Kickstart scheme which is designed to help young people (16 – 24 year olds) claiming universal credit find work placements. 
  • Restart Scheme: £2.9bn for the three year Restart Scheme, to help more than one million people who have been unemployed for over a year, find new work. 
  • National Living Wage: The National Living wage is being increased by 2.2%, to £8.91 an hour. This rate is being extended to those aged 23 and over. 

To view the chancellor’s speech, click here, and for further details on the spending review, click here

The UK Transition: Time is Running Out

With just 36 days to go until the UK’s new start: 

Watch  sector specific webinars  on demand here 

For the latest transition information direct to your inbox, sign up to the Transition Readiness Business Bulletin here.

New Guidance

UK-wide Christmas arrangements agreed by the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations: The joint arrangements for an easing of social restriction that will allow friends and loved ones to reunite over the Christmas period is here. Each Christmas bubble can meet at home, at a place of worship or an outdoor public place, but existing, more restrictive rules on hospitality and meeting in other venues will be maintained throughout this period. 

How your trading conditions affect your eligibility for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: This guide applies to businesses if they have been impacted by reduced demand, activity, or capacity due to coronavirus.

Find out what we mean by reduced demand or temporary closure – and read examples of how this could affect business eligibility here

Updated Guidance .

Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: This page has been updated with information for the third grant of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. If you are self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been impacted by coronavirus, find out if you can use this scheme to claim a grant here 

Claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: You must make your claim between 30 November 2020 and 29 January 2021. If you are eligible to claim for the third grant of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, check for updated information. 

How HMRC works out trading profits and non-trading income for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: Find out how HMRC will work out your trading profits and non-trading income if you are self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been impacted by coronavirus here 

How your circumstances affect eligibility for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: Find out examples of how your circumstances can affect your eligibility for the scheme here 

Working safely during Coronavirus -Find out how to make your workplace COVID-secure: Check the 14 guides to determine which one affects your type of work here 

Travel

“Testing to release” for international travel: minimum standards for testing: This updated guidance is for private providers of ‘Testing to Release for International Travel’. From 15 December, international arrivals will be able to opt-in to ‘Testing to Release’ Click to check for the minimum standard 

Other useful links

Some aspects of business support are devolved. Specific information for businesses and employers in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is available. In England, Growth Hubs can advise on local and UK Government business support. You can also find helpful business case studies and other useful information on the Coronavirus Business Support Blog.