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Other news in brief

Other news in brief

A round up of other news this week.

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On 22 October 2020, the Chancellor announced that the Government would increase support to those adversely affected by COVID-19 through additional funding for the Job Support Scheme (JSS), Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and business grants. Our separate article provides an update on the JSS. In relation to the SEISS, the Chancellor had already announced in September that the scheme would be extended for six months, with two grants covering the periods from 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021 and 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021 respectively. On 22 October, he made a further announcement that the first grant for the three months ended 31 January 2021 will be increased from 20 percent to 40 percent of average monthly trading profits capped at £3,750 in total. The amount of the second grant, for the period ended 30 April 2021, has not yet been confirmed. Finally, it was announced that funding is to be provided to local authorities to support businesses in high alert areas which have not been legally required to close but are severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. Local authorities are to determine which businesses are eligible for grant funding in their local areas, and how funding will be allocated to businesses.

HMRC have published a consultation setting out updates to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) paper return to reflect the proposed new rules which introduce the non-UK resident SDLT surcharge from 1 April 2021. The consultation closes on 23 November 2020. The new SDLT rules themselves apply to the purchase of residential property in England and Northern Ireland by non-UK resident purchasers (as defined specifically for the purpose of this surcharge) and include some UK resident companies which are controlled by non-UK residents. The effect of the surcharge is to apply SDLT rates two percent higher than those that apply to purchases made by UK residents. The surcharge will apply to purchases of freehold and most leasehold property as well as increasing SDLT payable on rents on the grant of a new lease in excess of 21 years. Draft legislation published on 21 July 2020 clarified how the new SDLT surcharge for overseas buyers of residential property should operate, as discussed in our previous article SDLT surcharge for overseas buyers.

HM Treasury have confirmed that the Chancellor will conduct a one-year Spending Review on 25 November rather than setting out spending plans for the rest of this Parliament. The Spending Review will focus on tackling COVID-19 and the Government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’.

The First-tier Tribunal released its long-awaited decision on the ‘non-business sports’ appeals, which means that sports activities provided through local authorities’ leisure centres can now be provided free of any VAT. Solicitors from KPMG Law UK represented Chelmsford and Midlothian councils, but the ruling opens the gates for other English, Welsh and Scottish councils to recoup millions in VAT.

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