It is just over a year that the first known official case of COVID-19 arrived in the UK. Sometime in the future there will be time to reflect on the Government’s response, but now is not that time.
We need to stay safe and be patient and hope that new vaccines such as Novavax, Janssen and others being pursued can be produced and rolled out quickly.
The UK continues to give first doses of the vaccine to the most vulnerable and it is hoped that by the end of this month 15 million plus people will have some level of protection. That would put the Government on track for achieving its aim of offering a first dose vaccine to everyone over 70, the extremely clinically vulnerable and frontline health and care workers. We do not see this ending the lockdown until late spring, because there is still a significant burden on the NHS. Indeed, tighter controls for the short term are happening and last week we saw the Government implement additional measures to minimise travel across international borders.
The Government has announced further action for outbound and inbound passengers to minimise travel across borders and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
The measures announced include:
For those wishing to travel out of the UK
- declaring reason for travel: anyone who does not have a valid reason for travel will be directed to return home and may face a fine – the reason for travel will be checked.
- increased police enforcement: there will be an increased police presence at ports and airports, fining those in breach of the stay-at-home regulations – anyone without valid reason for travel will be directed to return home and may face a fine.
- reviewing travel exemptions: the list of travel exemptions will be reviewed so that only the most important and exceptional reasons are included.
For those seeking to enter the UK
- managed isolation in hotels: this will be for those arriving from countries where they have imposed international travel bans and who cannot be refused entry – they will be required to isolate for 10 days without exception and more details will be provided in due course.
- police checks – police are carrying out more physical checks at addresses to make sure people are self-isolating.
No Self-Assessment late filing penalty for those who file online by 28 February
As mentioned in our recent briefing, HMRC has announced that Self Assessment taxpayers who cannot file their tax return by the 31 January 2021 deadline will not receive a late filing penalty if they file online by 28 February.
Taxpayers are still obliged to pay their bill by 31 January. Interest will be charged from 1 February on any outstanding liabilities. Anyone who cannot afford to pay their tax bill on time can apply online to spread their bill over up to 12 months. They will need to file their 2019 to 2020 tax return before setting up a time to pay arrangement, so HMRC is encouraging everyone to do this as soon as possible.
Click on the links below to view our weekly Brexit and COVID news updates:
- Rule of origin confusion
- New VAT rules applying to B2C trades in the European Union
- Changes to the Kickstart Scheme grant
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until 30 April 2021
- Ask HMRC not to publish your CJRS claim details
- Pay CJRS grants back
- Companies House (CH) pauses voluntary and compulsory strike off processes for one month
- How trading conditions affect eligibility for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
- Plan for Jobs: skills, employment and support programmes for jobseekers
- The Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme is now open – England