Coronavirus News Update
The Prime Minister has announced further changes to lockdown measures in England from Saturday 4 July 2020. This will include allowing people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’ where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, provided that mitigation measures are in place to reduce the risk of transmission. The Government is publishing guidance for businesses, and the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) is already reviewing the Site Operating Procedures which will be updated to reflect the new requirements.
The Cabinet Office has released a new Procurement Policy Note, PPN 04/20 ‐ Recovery and Transition from COVID‐19, which extends the relief available to public sector suppliers under PPN 02/20 ‐ Supplier Relief due to COVID‐19 until 31 October 2020. PPN 04/20 applies to all contracting authorities, including central Government departments, executive agencies, non‐departmental public bodies, local authorities, NHS bodies and the wider public sector, which must ‘continue to pay suppliers as quickly as possible, on receipt of invoices or in accordance with pre‐agreed milestone dates, to maintain cash flow and protect jobs’.
The Scottish Government has also issued a new Scottish Procurement Policy Note, SPPN 8/2020 ‐ Recovery and Transition from COVID‐19. It will come into effect on 1 July and is supplementary to SPPN 5/2020 ‐ Supplier Relief, which has been extended beyond its initial expiry date of 30 June although the new expiry date is not specified.
The VAT payment deferral period will end on 30 June 2020. Any VAT payments deferred between 20 March and 30 June should be paid in full on or before 31 March 2021. For VAT payments due from 1 July, companies should make sure they are ready by:
- Setting up cancelled direct debits in enough time for HMRC to take payment
- Ensuring VAT returns are submitted as normal and on time
- Paying the VAT in full on payments due after 30 June.
The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme allows employers with fewer than 250 employees to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus‐related SSP. Employers can claim for periods of sickness covering up to two weeks starting on or after:
- 13 March 2020 ‐ if their employee(s) had coronavirus or symptoms, or was self‐isolating because someone they live with had symptoms
- 16 April 2020 ‐ if their employee(s) was shielding because of coronavirus
- 28 May 2020 ‐ if their employee(s) has been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they have come into contact with someone with coronavirus.
The Government has published guidance on submitting a claim via the online service and there is currently no indication when the scheme will close.
CITB is continually reviewing training provision in light of coronavirus and following positive feedback, has confirmed that the remote delivery of Site Safety Plus courses will continue until at least 31 December 2020.