Scottish Textile News
In these challenging times for Scottish fashion and textile businesses, Textiles Scotland, as part of UKFT, is in touch with its international tradeshows and some of the key showrooms to identify which shows will take place, when and where. DIT tradeshow grants are confirmed for shows scheduled to take place in June and early July and we expect to receive the rest of the grant programme for the period running from July to March 2021 very shortly. If shows are postponed we shall ask DIT to carry these events over into the second half of the year and DIT have said that they will work with us on this flexibly.
A number of fashion weeks (i.e the catwalk or runway shows) scheduled in June and July have either announced, or are believed likely to announce, that they may either postpone or reschedule. This does not necessarily mean that the tradeshows and showrooms around them will do the same but we expect to begin to hear the early plans for tradeshows such as Pitti Uomo and the Paris menswear and pre-collections shows as early as mid-April. As soon as we have precise and accurate information, we shall let you know.
In the meantime, a number of showrooms have put details of their collections online for buyers to see, even if they cannot travel. These can be traced via www.modemonline.com which lists most of the key international showrooms, with a link to those which have a virtual showroom campaign. In addition, Playologie (an established platform for predominantly womenswear and childrenswear brands) has offered to extend its established online showroom platform free of charge to up to 300 brands for the foreseeable future at https://www.iloveplaytime.com/hello/playologie/special-announcement/ .
We realise that buyers are being extremely cautious as most stores are closed and many are carrying excessive stock at the moment but, looking to the future and the promise of better times to come, it is important to know which resources are available to help once things begin to go back to some form of normality. Based on the information we are receiving, some brands are still managing to make good sales to their B2C consumers online but many retailers have all but forgotten about collections for spring and early summer, especially anything which needs to be shown in a party environment! On the other hand, we are seeing reports of increased demand online for loungewear and athleisure categories which are very popular at the moment.
Textiles Scotland and UKFT will tell you about any other similar offers we become aware of to help you to build and rebuild your business. We are already working on a regeneration plan to submit to government to support the industry in time for when life begins to return, so that we can help the industry to anticipate and adapt to the new reality when it is here.
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Detailed guidance for businesses on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Government has published guidance for businesses and workers on how to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Under the scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of your employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
You will be able to use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and the 3% minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. The scheme is expected to be up and running by the end of April.
Who can claim?
Any UK organisation with employees can apply.
You must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 28 February 2020 and have a UK bank account.
Employees you can claim for
Furloughed employees must have been on your PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020, and can be on any type of contract.
The scheme also covers employees who were made redundant since 28 February 2020, if they are rehired by their employer.
To be eligible for the subsidy, when on furlough, an employee can not undertake work for or on behalf of the organisation. This includes providing services or generating revenue.
While on furlough, the employee’s wage will be subject to usual income tax and other deductions.
If an employee is working, but on reduced hours, or for reduced pay, they will not be eligible for this scheme and you will have to continue paying the employee.
Work out what you can claim
You will receive a grant from HMRC to cover the lower of 80% of an employee’s regular wage or £2,500 per month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage. Fees, commission and bonuses should not be included.
At a minimum, employers must pay their employee the lower of 80% of their regular wage or £2,500 per month. An employer can also choose to top up an employee’s salary beyond this – but you are not obliged to.
Further guidance will be published shortly on how to calculate claims for Employer National Insurance Contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions.
Employees whose pay varies
If the employee has been employed for a full twelve months prior to the claim, you can claim for the higher of either:
If the employee has been employed for less than a year, you can claim for an average of their monthly earnings since they started work.
If the employee only started in February 2020, use a pro-rata for their earnings so far to claim.
Employer National Insurance and Pension Contributions
All employers remain liable for associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on behalf of their furloughed employees.
Top up option
You can choose to provide top-up salary in addition to the grant but you are not obliged to. Employer National Insurance Contributions and automatic enrolment contribution on any additional top-up salary will not be funded through this scheme. Nor will any voluntary automatic enrolment contributions above the minimum mandatory employer contribution of 3% of income.
Employees that have been furloughed
Employees that have been furloughed have the same rights as they did previously. That includes Statutory Sick Pay entitlement, maternity rights, other parental rights, rights against unfair dismissal and to redundancy payments.
Furlough and holiday pay
UKFT will publish details on how to deal with holiday pay very shortly.
What you’ll need to make a claim
To claim, you will need:
You will need to calculate the amount you are claiming. HMRC will retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of your claim.
You can only submit one claim at least every 3 weeks, which is the minimum length an employee can be furloughed for. Claims can be backdated to 1 March if applicable.
What to do after you’ve claimed
Once HMRC have received your claim and you are eligible for the grant, they will pay it via BACS payment to a UK bank account.
You must pay the employee all the grant you receive for their gross pay, no fees can be charged from the money that is granted.
How to inform your staff
You should discuss with your staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. UKFT aim to issue template letters to help you with this process. When you are making decisions in relation to the process, including deciding who to offer furlough to, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.
To be eligible for the subsidy you should write to their employee confirming that they have been furloughed and keep a record of this communication.
Employees hired after 28 February 2020 cannot be furloughed or claimed for in accordance with this scheme.
You do not need to place all your employees on furlough. However, those employees who you do place on furlough cannot undertake work for you.
The government has published advice for employees on the Coronavirus job retention scheme here.
Moving on and off furlough
Employees must be placed on furlough for a minimum of 3 weeks. You can place employees on furlough more than once and one period can follow straight after another, while the scheme is open. The scheme will be open for at least 3 months.
If your employee is on Statutory Sick Pay
Employees on sick leave or self-isolating should get Statutory Sick Pay but can be furloughed after this.
Employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance can be placed on furlough.
If your employee is on Maternity Leave, contractual adoption pay, paternity pay or shared parental pay
Individuals who are on or plan to take Maternity Leave must take at least 2 weeks off work (4 weeks if they work in a factory or workshop) immediately following the birth of their baby. This is a health and safety requirement. In practice, most women start their Maternity Leave before they give birth.
If your employee is eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance, the normal rules apply, and they are entitled to claim up to 39 weeks of statutory pay or allowance.
Employees who qualify for SMP, will still be eligible for 90% of their average weekly earnings in the first 6 weeks, followed by 33 weeks of pay paid at 90% of their average weekly earnings or the statutory flat rate (whichever is lower). The statutory flat rate is currently £148.68 a week, rising to £151.20 a week from April 2020.
If you offer enhanced (earnings related) contractual pay to women on Maternity Leave, this is included as wage costs that you can claim through the scheme.
The same principles apply where your employee qualifies for contractual adoption, paternity or shared parental pay.
Further details can be found here.
If Textiles Scotland members have questions or need guidance please do get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Key details of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme are as follows:
To be eligible you must
The scheme will pay the grant directly to the bank accounts of those eligible for the support. The scheme will run for an initial three months
HMRC is building the mechanism by which the grants will be paid. It is expected that the grants will start to be paid in June.
UKFT will share more detail once it becomes available. In the meantime we would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on the scheme.
The government has automatically deferred the payment of VAT to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 until April 2021. All UK businesses are eligible, and no applications are required.
Textile Scotland and UKFT associate member TC Group has advised it expects HMRC will continue to expect businesses to submit VAT returns, although payment is not required. There is no mention so far about direct debit payments. The information available at the time of writing suggests that the payment runs are automatic and, therefore, may be problematic.
TC Group advises companies to cancel direct debits for VAT with their bank to make sure no payment is taken.
Textile Scotland members with any questions, please contact email@example.com
Scottish Government has issued the following advice to Scottish businesses.
We would advise all business premises, sites and attractions to close now unless they are:
Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) sectors define those facilities, systems, sites and networks necessary for the functioning of the country. Essential services are the fundamental services that underpin daily life and ensure the country continues to function.
There are 13 designated sectors (Energy; Communications – Telecommunications, Public Broadcast, Postal Services, Internet; Government; Transport; Finance; Civil Nuclear; Defence; Chemicals; Space; Government; Health; Food; Water and Waste; Emergency Services) but not everything and everybody within a national infrastructure sector is 'critical'.
Even where businesses are in the CNI category and judge themselves to be exempt from closure of business premises, it is imperative that they keep open only those premises or parts of premises that are truly critical or essential to the national COVID effort.
All individuals and businesses that are not being specifically required to close should consider a key set of questions– and at all times work on the precautionary basis:
If the answer to none of the above questions is yes, our advice on a precautionary basis is to close.
From 25 March 2020 businesses can apply for a 3-month extension for filing their accounts to allow for the prioritisation of managing the impact of Coronavirus.
Companies will have to apply for the 3-month extension but those citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically and immediately granted an extension. Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system which will take just 15 minutes to complete.
If you do not apply for an extension and your accounts are filed late, an automatic penalty will be imposed. The registrar has very limited discretion not to collect a penalty.
Companies that have already extended their filing deadline, or shortened their accounting reference period, may not be eligible for an extension.
Help with non-domestic rates in Scotland during coronavirus (COVID-19)
To help owners of non-domestic properties, including businesses, deal with the impact of COVID-19, the Scottish Government has made changes to non-domestic rates (business rates) for 2020-21.
The Scottish Government has introduced extra rates reliefs (discounts). It has also introduced a one-off grant for some businesses.
These reliefs will be available to non-domestic properties from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.
It will be possible to apply for the grants from 24 March 2020 and they will be available to 31 March 2021.
Extra reliefs to help with COVID-19
All non-domestic properties in Scotland will get a 1.6% rates relief. This relief effectively reverses the change in poundage for 2020-21.
You do not need to apply for this relief and it will be applied to your bill by your local council.
Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will get 100% rates relief. To get this relief, a property has to be occupied. Properties that have closed temporarily due to the government's COVID-19 advice will be treated as occupied.
The Scottish Government are working with Scotland's 32 Councils to make sure this relief is administered in the most effective way. You can check this page for updates, including information on any application process.
You can get these rates reliefs even if you already get another relief for your property.
Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value between £18,001 and up to and including £50,999 will be able to apply for a one-off grant of £25,000.
A one-off grant of £10,000 will also be available to small businesses who get:
Small Business Bonus Scheme relief
You can also get this grant if you applied for Nursery Relief, Business Growth Accelerator Relief or Disabled Relief but are eligible for the Small Business Bonus Scheme.
You can only apply for one grant – even if you own multiple properties.
Self-catering premises are not eligible for the grant funding.
Applying for a grant and getting paid
To apply, you'll need to complete an application form. You can find this form on your local council website.
The Prime Minister issued a statement this evening (23rd March) introducing three new measures.
These measures are effective immediately. The government have issued more detailed guidance on what these new measures mean and a copy of the guidance can be found here.
All clothing and textile retail stores should now close. However, the guidance does state that people can travel to and from work, ‘but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home’.
Textiles Scotland, as part of UKFT, continues to be in close dialogue with the government and will provide detailed information on issues relating to Covid-19 as and when it becomes available.
The Chancellor has announced a very significant package of financial support available to businesses to help limit the impact of the Covid-19 virus on employees.
Full details will follow shortly, but the headlines are as follows:
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
HMRC will provide grants to cover 80% of the costs of employees who are not working due to coronavirus shutdowns but who have not been laid off. The scheme will cover up to £2,500 per month for each eligible employee. The scheme will run for an initial 3 months, backdated to 1st March 2020.
The application process is being established now and it is anticipated that the grants will start to be paid by the end of April at the latest.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The interest-free element of these loans has been extended from 6 months to 12 months. These loans will be available from Monday 23rd March
Chancellor has deferred the next quarter of VAT payments so no business will pay VAT until the end of June and businesses will have until the end of the financial year to make these payments.
The government has suspended the minimum income floor meaning that the self-employed will be able to access Universal Credit in full, at the same level as Statutory Sick Pay for employees.
The government has also deferred the payment of the next self-assessment payment until January 2021.
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