COVID-19: THE LATEST
For all the latest news and updates, visit our Covid-19 hub.
The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a toolkit for employers to help ensure employees get reliable information about COVID-19 vaccines.
Access the toolkit to get materials for you to run internal awareness campaigns, including key messages, posters, fact sheets and videos providing accurate, up-to-date information.
If you are a UK business which trades with Europe, keep track of the latest changes and developments via FSB's transition hub.
NEWS & OPPORTUNITIES
New mask and travel rules in England
To tackle the omicron variant of Covid, new rules on mask-wearing on public transport and in some business premises in England have come into effect. There are also new requirements for anyone arriving into the UK as of 30 November to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after arrival, and to self-isolate until the result is received. FSB's advice page on face coverings has been updated, as has the Government's site (and its poster for display in businesses). FSB National Chair Mike Cherry said: "Small businesses across England want to play their part in reducing the transmission of Covid - many have already spent thousands on making their premises safer. We are asking the public to respect small businesses' house rules, and to wear masks where required, unless exempt."
The Health & Safety Executive has updated a raft of its guidance for English businesses on how best to ventilate workplaces, including through use of CO2 monitors, in vehicles, and on how to balance ventilation with keeping people warm at work.
Taxation of Covid grants and payments
HMRC is reminding businesses that grants and payments from the Government's Covid support schemes are taxable - more information can be found here. Any business which has already submitted its tax return without accounting for the tax due on these schemes will need to submit an amended return. HMRC has said that it will support customers who need help declaring their grants, or who are concerned about their ability to pay any tax due. In addition, Companies House is reminding all businesses to file their accounts early and online to avoid delays.
Customs changes on 1 January
It's under a month until full customs controls are introduced, the Government is reminding traders. It says: "You should consider before 1 January 2022 how you are going to submit your customs declarations and pay any duties that are due." The Government has published the Customs and Excise Border Procedures Regulations, which aim to "allow customs procedures to continue to operate efficiently and [to] help facilitate the movement of goods between Great Britain and the European Union once staged customs controls have ended."
HMRC seeking views on tax
HMRC has published a raft of new consultation responses and calls for evidence through its tax administration and maintenance policy paper. Of particular note are the call for evidence on modernising tax debt collection from non-paying businesses (along with the agency's policy paper on its approach to tax fraud), its responses to the consultation on the design of Making Tax Digital for Corporation Tax and on supporting a 21st century tax system, and its research on the customer experience in claiming Research and Development tax reliefs.
Call for views on trade
The Government is seeking views on the creation of a UK Single Trade Window, aimed at making it easier for businesses to trade by lodging "standardised information and documents with a single entry point to fulfil all import, export, and transit related regulatory requirements", as defined by the World Trade Organisation. If you would like to share your views, you are encouraged to contact [email protected].
Late payments survey
The Small Business Commissioner is looking for views and experiences of late and poor payment practices - via this survey.
Listings rule changes
The Financial Conduct Authority has announced changes to the rules on listing companies on stock markets, which it says are intended to "respond to the changing nature of companies looking to list while maintaining high standards for UK public markets". The changes come into effect today (3 December).
SSP deadline approaching
The COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay rebate scheme ended on 30 September, but if you have any absences eligible for payments from before that date for which you have not yet claimed, you have until 31 December to do so.
Income Tax Self-Assessment consultation
The Government is seeking views for a new consultation on reforming Income Tax Self-Assessment registration for the self-employed and landlords.
Age assurance consultation
The Information Commissioner's Office is looking for responses from small businesses to its Call for Evidence on the use of age assurance, "including details on existing or proposed age estimation approaches, novel approaches to age assurance, systems where data protection by design has been applied and the type of economic impact of age assurance approaches". It would welcome responses by 9 December.
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