Once more I bring you some information, useful links and answers to some of the more frequent questions I am receiving in my virtual postbag.
As ever, if there are questions you have that you cannot find answers to online, do drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
The scheme has been prepared ahead of the anticipated schedule, and will be open for applications on 13 May, with funds reaching people within 6 working days.
THIS webpage explains the eligibility criteria, how it will be calculated in various situations and what the process will be and what information you will need to make your claim.
There is an online tool HERE where you can test if you will be eligible. You will need your unique taxpayer reference to use the tool. If it says you are not eligible, and you believe you ought to meet the criteria, there is a mechanism to ask HMRC to review that decision once you have used the tool.
Help for B&Bs
I have been inundated with concerned emails from B&B owners who have found they were ineligible for the grant scheme established to assist tourism businesses, because they pay council tax on their properties rather than business rates.
I have spent some time pushing colleagues to design a method of ensuring these businesses can also receive help. I am pleased to say my colleagues have listened, and Business Secretary Alok Sharma has announced an additional £617 million to enable local authorities to use their discretion to help business such as B&Bs. There will be more information issued later this week about funding allocations to each council and the criteria they should use, but you can read more about the announcement HERE.
Household waste recycling centres
You may have seen the news that household waste recycling centres have re-opened across Northumberland. That is great news, but there will be restrictions in place, which you can read HERE. Please ensure you only attend if you cannot safely store your waste at home.
Bulky waste collections are also available to book once more. You can find out more about that HERE.
Vaccines and international co-operation
Putting my International Development hat on for a moment, you may have seen that the UK is lead the Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Conference yesterday. It is vital we view finding a vaccine as a shared endeavour, where we work together globally to find a solution. You can find out more about that HERE.
Track and Trace
Part of ensuring we can meet the five tests for enabling us to lift restrictions, is to establish a comprehensive track and trace system. It will include a new app you may have heard about. You can find out more about the plans HERE.
I will update you all again once there are further developments.