Welcome to the December 2020 'Need to Know' update. You'll find the latest key information on SEISS, reaction to the new pub fund, extended shopping hours, new competition rules for tech giants and the new telecoms law.
Claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
If you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) you may be eligible to claim the grant.
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended for a third time.
To make a claim for the third grant your business must have had a new or continuing impact from coronavirus between 1 November 2020 and 29 January 2021, which you reasonably believe will have a significant reduction in your profits.
The third taxable grant is worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.
The online service to claim the third grant is open. Make your claim from the date HMRC will give you either by email, letter or within the service. If you’re eligible, you must make your claim for the third grant on or before 29 January 2021.
The grant does not need to be repaid if you’re eligible, but will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance and must be reported on your 2020 to 2021 Self Assessment tax return.
Meanwhile, FSB is calling on the government to introduce a Directors Income Support Scheme to help company directors who have so far been left out of government support.
To see if you are eligible, click here https://bit.ly/33w0Ls4
Shopping hours in England extended for December and January
Retailers will be able to extend their daily opening hours from Monday to Saturday in the run up to Christmas and through January.
In a much-needed boost for the high street, retailers will be able to extend their daily opening hours from Monday to Saturday in the run up to Christmas and through January, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced.
From Wednesday 2 December, as England returned to a system of tiered restrictions, all non-essential retail across England will be able to reopen, and planning rules limiting opening hours will be eased to allow shops to be open for longer Monday to Saturday.
While being a boost to business, these measures will help ease transport pressures and make socially distanced shopping easier by giving people greater flexibility to choose when they shop and avoid peak times.
The majority of shop owners have already made their premises Covid-secure. Allowing retailers to extend their opening hours from Monday to Saturday will mean an even safer shopping experience in the run up to Christmas and through the January sales, when shops are usually much busier.
This builds on the extra government support to help businesses and protect jobs. Including an extension of the furlough scheme at 80% until the end of March, grants of up to £3,000 for premises that must close, and £1.1 billion for councils to enable them to support businesses in their area.
To read more click here: https://bit.ly/2JxZM3A
New competition regime for tech giants to ensure businesses are fairly treated
A dedicated Digital Markets Unit will be set up to introduce and enforce a new code to govern the behaviour of platforms that currently dominate the market, such as Google and Facebook.
Tech giants will be subject to a new regime to give consumers more choice and control over their data, help small businesses thrive, and ensure news outlets are not forced out by their bigger rivals.
A dedicated Digital Markets Unit, which will be set up within the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), will work closely with regulators including Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office to introduce and enforce a new code to govern the behaviour of platforms that currently dominate the market, such as Google and Facebook, to ensure consumers and small businesses aren’t disadvantaged.
The new code will set clear expectations for platforms that have considerable market power - known as strategic market status - over what represents acceptable behaviour when interacting with competitors and users.
Under the new code, platforms including those funded by digital advertising could be required to be more transparent about the services they provide and how they are using consumers’ data, give consumers a choice over whether to receive personalised advertising, and prevented from placing restrictions on their customers that make it hard for them to use rival platforms.
Read more here: https://bit.ly/37pjp6f
New telecoms security law to protect UK from cyber threats
Telecoms companies in the UK must follow tougher security rules or face fines of up to ten per cent of turnover, under a proposed new law.
The Telecommunications (Security) Bill aims to give the government unprecedented new powers to boost the security standards of the UK’s telecoms networks and remove the threat of high risk vendors.
The Government says the Bill will strengthen the security framework for technology used in 5G and full fibre networks including the electronic equipment and software at phone mast sites and in telephone exchanges which handle internet traffic and telephone calls.
The Bill will also provide the Government with new national security powers to issue directions to public telecoms providers in order to manage the risk of high risk vendors. While they are already banned from the most sensitive ‘core’ parts of the network, the Bill will allow the Government to impose controls on telecoms providers’ use of goods, services or facilities supplied by high risk vendors.
Companies which fall short of the new duties or do not follow directions on the use of high risk vendors could face heavy fines of up to ten per cent of turnover or, in the case of a continuing contravention, £100,000 per day. Ofcom will be given the duty of monitoring and assessing the security of telecoms providers.
In July, following advice from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the government announced new controls on the use of Huawei 5G equipment - including a ban on the purchase of new Huawei equipment from the end of this year and a commitment to remove all Huawei equipment from 5G networks by 2027. The Bill creates the powers that will allow the government to enshrine those decisions in law and manage risks from other high risk vendors in the future.
Read more here: https://bit.ly/3lmqbP6