20 March 2020: the Chancellor's announcement this
evening of a far-reaching package of measures allows businesses in this
country to stand by their employees at a time of national emergency.
Such direct action by Government
to keep people in employment is a really good start. It should make a
difference to how people feel and keep them working and spending. The
real battle now is for public confidence: if we can sustain that, the
economics will follow.
Much of the detail is still being worked up and we expect more
information to follow (for example on the self-employed). As soon as we
can, ICAEW will provide you with more in-depth comments to help you
navigate the support now on offer. In the meantime, please keep us
updated on the issues you are facing through this form
on our website.
Thank you to those who have already been in touch with us to share
your issues and concerns. These are providing us with valuable insights
to share in my conversations with government departments, the Bank of
England and others, as well as helping our teams to prioritise their
activities. So far, we have seen some key themes emerging around: -
Many of your comments relate to tax reliefs. On Thursday, our Head
of Tax, Frank Haskew wrote to Rt Hon Jessie Norman MP urging HMRC to
show flexibility and creativity over the coming weeks. We recommended
leveraging employers’ NICs, perhaps through the use of employment
grants, such as Coronavirus Retention Scheme, to keep people in work, a
measure similar to what was announced by the Chancellor this evening.
Administering the new loan scheme will be a huge ask for HMRC, so we are
urging them to defer - with immediate effect - any other planned, but
non-essential, changes to the tax system. This will help ensure that
chartered accountants can focus on supporting their clients through this
Prompt and easy access to funding, such as loans and grants, from as
wide a range of reputable and regulated finance providers as possible
is also a clear concern. David Petrie in our Corporate Finance Faculty
has been working closely with the British Business Bank to try to get
funds to where they’re needed (notwithstanding the limitations of the
CBILS). Access and then understanding the funding is a real issue for
businesses as I discussed with the Governor of the Bank of England
- Paying wages
The Government’s plans will help keep people in employment and on
payroll. We recognise that there are gaps and more clarity is needed and
will be making that point to Ministers.
Like many of you, I worked through 9/11 and the 2008 financial
crisis, but this is unprecedented. I know members are doing everything
they can to help their employees and clients, with many trying hard to
stay afloat themselves. Once again, I want to reassure you of our
commitment to helping our members during this crisis. Our Technical team
is working tirelessly to unpick the detail, help policymakers with
their decision making and supply the resources you urgently need at this
The situation and the information available continue to change
rapidly, but we promise to keep you informed. You can find our latest
guidance on our website. Listening to feedback, we have now created a new page
summarising the latest practical business advice to help you better support your clients.
Thank you for everything you are doing.
Tax Investigation Insurance
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