CAI Members Coronavirus e-connect 27/03/2020

Now that we haven’t had any major changes to the restrictions on work, travel etc, we thought we should highlight the Governments help that may be available to your business, especially in light of the announcement regarding the self-employed yesterday:

  • Self Employed Income Support Scheme. The Government will pay self-employed workers 80% of their average monthly income over the last 3 years up to a maximum of £2500.
  • This will initially cover 3 months and is open to existing self-employed workers, who earn the majority of their income through self-employment with trading profits up to £50,000 per annum.
  • The Government believe that the system will take until June to set up, when the qualifying workers will get 3 months payment in a lump sum.
  • If you haven’t already filed a tax return for 2018/19 you now have 4 weeks from 26th March to do so.
  • In the meantime they state that businesses could be able to access funding through the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, or individuals could qualify for Universal Credit.
  • People who pay themselves salary and dividend through their own company are not covered, although 80% of the salary element could be covered under the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme below, if you’re part of the PAYE system.

You can find the details announced so far at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-gives-support-to-millions-of-self-employed-individuals

There are also a range of measures designed to support businesses, although previously announced there has been an update to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme this morning, some or all of which you may be able to access:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: HMRC will pay employers a grant worth 80% of an employee’s usual wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage.
  • Income tax and VAT payment deferral: VAT Payments can be deferred for 3 months, for VAT due between 20/03/20 and 30/06/20. Self-assessment payments on account, due 31/07/20 can be deferred to 31/01/21
  • If you currently receive Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rates Relief, you are entitled to a £10,000 grant from the Government. This will be paid by your local authority who collects Business Rates and you do not need to apply for it.
  • Loans of up to £5 million will be made available in the Business Interruption Loan Scheme

You can find out more at:

www.businesssupport.gov.uk

TrustMark has released the following on behalf of the National Trading Standards and Friends Against Scams with regards to the coronavirus and how you can access support and safeguard yourself against scams.

As a reminder, we would like to reiterate the government and NHS guidelines about maintaining good hygiene; only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work, and stay two metres away from other people outside of your household.

This is particularly important for people who are over 70 and/or have an underlying health condition.  Things such as Facebook Community Groups, WhatsApp Groups and the Nextdoor social network that send neighbourhood alerts can be great ways of staying in touch with those around you, however, it can be difficult to know who to trust.  Please be aware that not everyone out there is trustworthy and some people will take advantage of this unusual situation our society is facing.

Here are just some of the scams we are aware of, but please note that criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online:

Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus – there is no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19). Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms until you recover.

Home cleaning services

People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus – this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy.

Emails saying that you can get a refund on taxes, utilities or similar are usually bogus and they are just after your personal and bank details.

There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect you or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to take your money.

There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give you updates on the virus but instead, they lock your phone and demand a ransom.

Your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details over the phone.

People offering to do your shopping or collecting medication and asking for money upfront and then disappearing.

Tips to avoid being scammed:

Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Don’t be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door.

Take your time; don’t be rushed.

If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money up front. If someone attempts you into accepting a service they are unlikely to be genuine. Check with family and friends before accepting offers of helps if you are unsure.

If you are online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as .gov.uk or NHS.uk websites. Make sure you type the addresses in and don’t click on links in emails.

Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.

Know who you’re dealing with - if you need help, talk to someone you know or get in touch with your local Council on the numbers below.

Protect your financial information, especially from people you don’t know. Never give your bank card or PIN to a stranger.

Contact information:

If you think you’ve been scammed, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and if you need advice, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133. If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.  Contact your bank if you think you have been scammed.

To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, visit www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk and complete the free online training.

Why not become a Scam Marshal? A Scam Marshal is any resident in the UK who has been targeted by a scam and now wants to fight back and take a stand against scams. Scam Marshals do this by sharing their own experiences, helping others to report and recognise scams and sending any scam mail that they receive to the National Trading Standards Scams Team so that it can be utilised as evidence in future investigative and enforcement work. Visit www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk/ScamMarshals for more information and to sign up.

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