Coronavirus: Workers offered regular COVID-19 tests will not face increased tax bill, Treasury confirms | Politics News

Workers offered regular coronavirus tests by their employers will not face an increased tax bill, the Treasury has confirmed.

The move comes after former cabinet minister Mel Stride, now the chair of the House of Commons Treasury committee, wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to urge him to look into the matter.

Mr Stride noted how HMRC guidance published earlier this week stated that COVID-19 testing kits – or tests carried out by a third party – which have been purchased by employers for their staff are treated as a taxable benefit in kind on the employee.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been urged to ‘look into this matter as soon as possible’

The Tory MP warned many key workers could be faced with the “perverse incentive of avoiding employer-sponsored tests in order to reduce their tax bill”.

The Treasury has now confirmed to Sky News that it will introduce an

Read More

Coronavirus: The seven things to watch out for in Sunak’s stimulus statement | Business News

Over the past few months millions of us have been directly affected by the unprecedented coronavirus support schemes unleashed by the Treasury.

Now, as the COVID-19 lockdown is eased and Britain attempts to return to some form of normality, Number 11 is preparing another round of measures to stimulate the economy. So what should we expect and look out for from the Chancellor? Here are seven key things to bear in mind.

:: It is not a ‘fiscal event’

What the IFS expects in Sunak statement

The Treasury is very keen to emphasise this point – perhaps because speculation has grown and grown about the scale of the thing.

In the past couple of weeks there have been all sorts of stories about possible measures in the papers – everything from VAT cuts to stamp duty holidays.

Now, it’s not out of the question we get some measures along those

Read More

Governments urged to scale back pandemic-related wage subsidies

Governments need to start scaling back emergency wage subsidy schemes introduced to cushion their economies from the coronavirus pandemic, in order to encourage workers to move out of shrinking sectors, the OECD has said.

The coronavirus crisis has pushed up unemployment across the organisation’s member countries to 8.4 per cent, with 54.5m people out of work, figures for May showed.

Even in an optimistic scenario in which the virus recedes and remains under control, unemployment across OECD members will reach 9.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, exceeding all peaks since the Great Depression, the Paris-based group said on Tuesday.

Average employment is set to be up to 5 per cent lower than in 2019, and will remain below pre-crisis levels by the end of 2021, it forecast in its annual employment outlook.

“In three months, Covid-19 wiped out 10 years of [job] gains since 2010,” said

Read More

Wary optimism on high street as town centres face an uncertain future

Southwold is a gorgeous English seaside resort. Perched on the eastern edge of the British Isles, holidaymakers flock here in their thousands — many to second homes away from London. Reflecting the palpable wealth of those who shop here, its high street has few chains, almost no empty shops and plenty of upmarket pubs and cafés.

England, including Southwold, has been shutdown since March. When the lockdown was mostly eased last weekend, it was hard to spot the difference with an ordinary summer’s day. The heart of this town is more than just retail: the high street is the core of a small community where people gather for socialising as much as shopping — a mix other small towns need to emulate.

Most of Southwold’s outlets are trading prosperously again. Emily, who serves coffee from Harris and James near the beach, says the town has developed a new rhythm. “It’s

Read More