Last updated: 27 March 2020 – 08:30
The Government’s advice and support with regard to Covid-19 is constantly changing,.
The below information is correct as of the time above.
Further updates will be published as news articles here
Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme
On 26 March 2020, the Chancellor announced the launch of the new Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
– Find out more
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19 is a new illness which affects the lungs and airways. It’s caused by a family of viruses, known as Coronavirus. There presently is no known treatment, however research to develop a cure is currently ongoing.
- Read more: NHS Website
Support for your Income
NEW: Covid-19 Self-employment Income Support Scheme
On 26 March 2020, the Chancellor announced the new scheme.
If you are Employed (as well as Self Employed)
If you are employed and unable to work due to Covid-19, or are self isolating, you will be eligible for sick pay. The amount you receive depends on your employer.
Your contract will explain how much sick pay is paid, how long it lasts, and any rules which they may have around claiming this.
Your employer cannot pay less than Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). If they pay more than the SSP amount, it is sometimes known as ‘company’, ‘contractual’ or ‘occupational’ sick pay.
- More info: ACAS Website
If you are employed (i.e. receive a salary or paid by the hour by an employer), you are eligible to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you are unable to work because you are self-isolating in line with Government advice. SSP is usually only provided from day 4, however the Government has changed the rules to allow this to be paid from day 1.
If you are only Self Employed (UPDATED 20/3/20)
18/3 update: Slimming World Supporting Consultants
We’re aware that Slimming World has offered to support consultants at this time, therefore ESA / SSP may not be available to consultants. We’re currently trying to clarify this with HMRC but it’s unlikely we will have any firm answer soon as they are swamped with queries.
The Chancellor has now confirmed that Self Employed individuals who are on sick leave can access Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) which was previously only for employed persons.
SSP is £94.25 per week, for a maximum of 28 weeks.
The Government advised you can claim for this through Universal Credit, however it may take several days until the system is up and running.
On 13 March 2020, the UK Government announced a range of support available for small businesses and those who are self employed, including access to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The information from the UK Government is: Those who are not eligible for SSP, for example the self-employed or people earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week, can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA): for the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to government advice, ensuring self-employed claimants will receive support people will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront without the current requirement to attend a jobcentre if they are advised to self-isolate contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be payable, at a rate of £73.10 a week if you are over 25, for eligible people affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating in line with advice from Day 1 of sickness, rather than Day 8.
- Read More: UK Government Website
Support from Slimming World
On 17 March 2020, Slimming World confirmed that they would support consultants for the next three weeks from the point when your group closes.
For three weeks from the point you have to close your group, we will support you to half of what you would have earned on w/c 2nd March.
We’ll confirm exactly how this will work in a separate message. One of the ways we can do that is to suspend your Direct Debit collections.Slimming World
Information around this is expected to follow from Slimming World, however you can calculate the amount which you may expect to receive by reviewing your monthly PFS document and checking the figure in the Retained Earnings column.
From the guidance issued to date, we would expect the amount to be half of this figure
Slimming World are expected to update consultants directly in the next few days.
18/3: ESA and Slimming World Support – We’re currently trying to clarify if the ESA amount can be claimed with the Slimming World Support or if this would be ineligible as a result. As soon as we have confirmation, we will let you know. ESA is only currently available if you are self-isolating.
Universal Credit (20/3/20)
20/3/20: The Chancellor confirmed that the minimum income floor has been removed, meaning that self-employed are now treated the same as employed for Universal Credit.
Previously, they took into consideration any monies which were over the previous 12 months.
For guidance on if you are eligible, and how to claim, check the Government website
Support for your Outgoings and Bills
If you are going to struggle with payments of your mortgage, the UK Government has worked with banks to arrange help with mortgage repayments at this time.
Most UK Banks and Building Societies have agreed with the Government to allow a 3-month ‘repayment holiday’.
To arrange this, contact your bank directly for further information and details of support available to you.
Important: You must contact your lender and ‘request help’ for this to be active – do not simply assume the bank will provide this holiday period, as this may impact your credit and put your mortgage at risk.
Credit Card Repayments
A number of banks are offering support for holders of credit cards, such as increases to credit limits and offering payment holidays.
As with mortgages, please contact your lender for support and they will advise if they can assist.
Fixed-term savings – removal of fees
If you have a fixed-term savings account, most banks will allow you to access your savings instantly, without any fees or penalties being applied to interest.
Contact your provider for assistance with this.
The Government currently has not yet announced any support which would help renters, although has hinted that there may be support in the near future.
If you’re renting your current home, speak with your landlord directly to discuss options with them. If they are a private landlord, they may offer to suspend your payments. If they have a ‘buy to let mortgage’, they can ask their lender to suspend payments (as listed above under mortgages) and therefore could pass this saving onto you.
Council Tax, Electricity and Gas
Currently no announcement has been made on support available towards these bills. However if you are struggling, contact your provider and discuss if there are any options available to you.
Support for your Business
Closure of Groups – Virtual Options
Although your group may have closed, there’s a number of virtual options which are available to you. One key one is your active Facebook Group.
You may find that people have a spare hour available (e.g. during your usual group time!) – you may wish to setup a ‘Facebook Live’ chat within your group or on your page. This can be a great way to keep everyone engaged and unbeat at this time.
Chat about non-scale victories. Have you tried a new recipe? How did you make it, and what did the family think? Have you been able to create a body magic haven in your kitchen, or been juggling those toilet rolls? Have a think outside the box and how you can support people virtually through your Facebook group – and they’ll keep engaged along the way!
A lot of people are turning to Facebook at this time for information (whether it’s accurate or not..) and this can provide a great opportunity for you to complete some business administration ready for when your group reopens.
Have a cleanup of your Facebook page, get sharing some fab videos from YouTube or Instagram, and comment away – if a member has shared a recipe, have a conversation going in your Facebook group!
Tax and Accounting… (oh yes!)
You know we’d mention this, and this period can be a great opportunity to catchup on everything accounting wise. Grab your laptop and use our spreadsheets to get your business up to date. You’ll then be ready next month for the year-end, and able to submit your tax return as soon as the window opens.
Remember: As soon as you’ve submitted your tax return after April, you can then spread payments over the year. This could be essential if you have a larger than expected tax bill.
Payments on Account (HMRC)
On 21 March 2020, the chancellor confirmed that any Payments on Account which were due for payment on 31 July 2020 are now deferred until 31 January 2021.
Payments to HMRC (Tax)
If you are due to pay HMRC in the coming weeks or months, contact them directly if you need help.
HMRC may be able to review your tax responsibilities and support you with deferred repayments.
20/3/20: The Chancellor has confirmed that any VAT payment for the next quarter has been deferred, therefore if you were due to pay any VAT in the next quarter, this has been suspended.
There are a number of support options for Limited Companies, including payment of salaries (up to a 80% cap), deferrment of VAT and grant funding / business rates relief.
Full information is on the Government Website
Malgra Network Information
New 2020/21 Spreadsheet
We were expecting to release our new 2020/21 Tax Spreadsheet for consultants w/c 23 March 2020, however this has now been suspended whilst we review how to log any benefits (ESA) or Slimming World Support during this time.
MalgraBooks Clients: Pay Monthly
If you are a MalgraBooks Client, and currently pay monthly for your subscription, you can defer payments for 3 months. Please contact our support team directly through your portal and they will be happy to set this up for you.
New 2020/21 Accounts Book
We have been informed there is a delay on the publication of this book, therefore these will now be delayed and not dispatched as planned at the end of the month. We’ll update anyone who has pre-ordered the new book as soon as we have further information.
Live Chat/Help and Support
As you’ll understand, we’re currently receiving a higher volume of queries than usual, therefore there will be a minor delay to any responses to queries. Thank you for your patience at this time.
Other key announcements
Schools Closure from 19 March 2020
On 18 March 2020, the UK Government confirmed that schools would be ‘closed until further notice’ from Friday 19 March 2020.
Some schools will remain open with a skeleton staff to provide support for children of key workers (such as emergency services, council staff and delivery drivers).
Free School Meals are currently under review and the Government is due to announce how they will support parents in this situation
Key Workers Listing (20 March 2020)
The UK Government has released the Key Workers Listing for support when schools close.
Although ‘Slimming World Consultant’ is not on the list, if you are employed (part time or full time) in another role, and it appears on the list, you may be able to access support.
The official listing is being updated, and is available on the UK Government website.
A number of transport services (buses, trains and metro) are due to be reduced. Some services may be running a ‘Sunday’ or ‘Holiday’ service.
Check details with your local operator
Nutrition and Hydration
We appreciate that having this topic when creating documents for a Slimming World audience may seem odd, but it’s one obvious thing that you may not think of.
Although you may be required to remain at home, or reduce social interaction, your nutrition and hydration is important.
Ensure you keep healthy with a range of food. If you try a new (SW!) recipe, add it to social media and your groups’ Facebook group, encourage discussion with your members!
National Trust Properties (Free access)
The National Trust has announced it will open all of its gardens and parklands for free during the outbreak.
All indoor sites, such as cafes, houses and shops, are closed – however several thousand acres of countryside are open for exploring.
It could be a great excuse to go walking with the family, a picnic outside and can be a massive boost for your mental health and wellbeing.
If you find yourself in the house a lot more than you would before, your body may start to miss out on a lot of activity. A Slimming World Consultant can walk a lot of steps during a typical group, not including lifting and moving your interest table and SW Kit!
Try and include some form of activity in your day. There’s a lot of non-equipment based exercises (like walking, gardening and cleaning) but if you feel more energetic, try one of the fitness videos on Youtube. Joe Wicks has a range of videos, Lloyds Pharmacy has some easy bed-based exercises (not what you think..) or how about a retro blast to the best selling 1980’s workout from Jane Fonda?
Sleep is very important, and where you can, try and ensure you get your usual sleeping pattern fixed. An extra hour in bed may be possible, and can boost your mood.
Try to switch off from the news networks, facebook and local groups – leave the mobile away from your bedside and try and have some chill down before bedtime.
Keep chatting with colleagues, friends and family when you can.
The majority of people have access to Facetime or Facebook Messenger for a quick virtual chat – or failing that, the telephone is always around.
Feel free to post in our Facebook group with any ideas you may have!