COVID-19: 23rd March Update II, Accountants UNW issues advice to GDPs

COVID-19: 23rd March Update II, Accountants UNW issues advice to GDPs

Accountants UNW’s Dental Business Unit has issued advice on the financial aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic as they affect general dental practitioners. They are publicised on GDPUK news by kind permission of Alan Suggett. He says he is hoping to update it regularly as news develops. The advice includes details on the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

UNW’s Dental Business Unit’s advice[i] gives potential solutions to cashflow problems which are summarised below.

  1. Business Interruption Loan Scheme
    A business loan of which 80% is guaranteed by the Government. The amount can be as little as £1,000 but as much as £5m. Applications are made through most high street banks. Unlike most loans we are told that the application process should be simple, there will probably be no arrangement fees, and the rate of interest charged after a 12-month interest free period will be reasonable.
  2. Various ways where your normal bank can help
    If you have bank loans, overdraft or finance agreements then you can ask your bank, for example, to allow you a repayment holiday. It is our impression that banks are being very cooperative and understanding with regard to these measures.
  3. Automatic deferral of 31 July 2020 income tax payment for self employed
    The second payment on account for 2019/20 which would have been due on 31 July 2020 will automatically be deferred until 31 January 2021.
  4. HMRC Time to Pay Scheme
    HMRC have had a “time to pay” scheme in existence for a number of years now. HMRC have announced that they will offer continued support for allowing “time to pay” for various taxes with an increase in HMRC resource for handling requests as this is expected to be used much more frequently because of the Virus crisis.
  5. Mortgage repayment holiday
    In relation to your personal mortgage you can approach your building society or bank for a 3-month repayment holiday. We have no experience of being hands on with this - it is an individual arrangement.
  6. Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates (rateable value less than £15,000)
    The Government will provide additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR). This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.
  7. Self-employed payments
    For self-employed people working for the practice, usually there is no obligation for the practice to continue to pay where no work is carried out. However if the BDA negotiations with NHS England come to a satisfactory conclusion, there may be a solution, or partial solution, whereby NHS practices receive sufficient funding, on a non-clawback basis, to enable practices to pay self-employed associates and others.
  8. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
    This was the big announcement that everyone had been waiting for. The headline is that the government will pay 80% of an employee’s salary up to £2,500 per month for three months. The detail is that this only applies to employees who have been “furloughed” and will be in the form of a grant payment from HMRC. HMRC will be setting up a portal for employers to submit claims and will also be publishing details of the information required.

UNW comments on the scheme: “Further clarity will hopefully be provided on what precisely what a furloughed worker is and how a business can make an employee a furloughed worker who qualifies for the payment. Furlough means leave of absence therefore it will presumably be necessary to lay-off an individual for them to become a furloughed worker. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be as easy as it might appear as unless an employment contract has lay-off provisions, reducing pay in a lay-off situation may need to be by mutual agreement. Any business going down this route will need to take employment law advice specific to their circumstances however as the issues will be relevant to so many businesses hopefully some more detailed guidance will be published.”


Avril Links
Monthly payments for UOAs
We have tried to obtain confirmation from GM Dental that they will continue to pay our monthly contractual payments.

This was their unsatisfactory and unhelpful response .
Does anyone have any more information or can anyone exert any pressure here ?
Their inability to disseminate info a week into the crisis is astonishing

Sent: 24 March 2020 15:29
To: Deborah Parker <Deborah.Parker@linksort>
Subject: RE: Forecasted pay for Dental Practices

Good Afternoon Deborah,

Thank you for your email. We understand the difficulties and pressures practices are currently under.
We are aware of your concerns regarding monthly payments. We will take note of your query and as soon as we have clarification we’ll disseminate to all practices.

Kind Regards
The Dental Team


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