OK, OK, I forgot to mention something in my last blog.
I went through some of the rules concerning the fourth round of the SEISS grant - the one applicable to self employed people.
But what I omitted to mention is that the claim process is open now but must be made on or before 1st June. To make the claim see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme
Like it or loathe it, for employers, furlough is still with us, and is now extended to 30th September. The rules have changed so many times since first introduced a year ago that it is worth refreshing what they are now:-
- For May and June it remains at 80% of usual pay, if the employer wants to make up the 20% they can, at their own cost
- For July, the amount that can be claimed from HMRC is 70%, with the employer obliged to make up at least 10%
- For August and September the amount that can be claimed from HMRC is 60%, the employer being obliged to make up 20%.
- Part time furlough is fine
Unlike early iterations of the scheme, the employers National Insurance charge and pensions are costs of the employer and cannot be included in the furlough claim.
By the time we get to the end of the scheme almost every month will have had a different basis of calculation - which explains why in our household the 'f-word' isn't what you might ordinarily expect it to be.
Moving on, what are my positives ?
1. I've never had to make a sales call like this
Now, I know Rihanna (name changed - or more to the point forgotten) was only doing her job. But...
She rang me from a software company, an online package that I quite liked using but wasn't good value for money and which I cancelled the subscription for a year or so ago.
Her patter was something along the lines of, 'I notice that you left us, was it the cost ?'. I answered 'yes'. Her response was 'we have a better pricing package now'. Being a rocket scientist I asked a really difficult question, 'So what does it cost now ?'. Her answer was 'I don't know'.
I asked how long the contract terms was for. She didn't know
I asked whether there was minimum number of licences/clients needed. She didn't know that either.
She said she could get a consultant to call me back, could we schedule a call ? I said yes but that this week wasn't great. Unfortunately she only had access to the booking diary for a day this week. The call, incidentally, was at 16.50 on Wednesday...
I hope they haven't spent lots on this campaign. I remain an ex-customer !
2. Georgina is able to reopen
A year on, Georgina (name changed), who operates a beauty parlour, had run out of cash. Closed down in first lockdown, allowed to reopen, then shut, closed for this year so far she was on her uppers. Desperate to reopen she didn't know how she could afford the new safety features, perspex and PPE, extra cleaning etc.
However, she spoke to her trusted accountant who suggested that she look at the new Restart Grants, available for non essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, personal care and gym businesses. They are administered by the local council, more information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-a-coronavirus-restart-grant
Georgina will be all ready to reopen now, financially battered and bruised by the last 12 months but at least able to start rebuilding her life.
3. I don't shop at Sainsburys
It's a long established fact that Chartered Accountants are really boring people. In fact, it's considered unethical to be interesting.
But, much as my favourite sport is watching paint dry, I've never been tempted to do what Gareth Wild of Bromley has spent the last six years doing.
To cut a long story short he catalogued every space in his local Sainsbury's car park and then made himself a challenge that he would park in each of them. Why ? I guess why not ?
It's taken him six (yes, six) years but he has finally achieved it - see https://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent/news/i-spent-six-years-parking-in-every-bay-of-a-sainsburys-car-246280/
What's next ? Well according to the radio interview I heard (Yes, a radio interview), there is a new Lidl opened in the area and that presents a new challenge...
In related news, a good friend of mine had his car damaged on his local supermarket carpark. He took it to the body shop for repair. I asked why he'd chosen that particular garage. His answer was that it was wreck a mended.
On that note, stay safe and stay positive.
Gareth Wild's plan. Yes, really