Keeping You Updated - Wednesday 8th April 2020

We hope you are well and have been able, in some capacity, to enjoy the mild weather we’ve been enjoying.  For any keen gardeners it will be little problem to stay close to home, for the golfers, hill-walkers and rugby fans amongst us, somewhat more challenging I’m sure. 

We wanted to take this opportunity to update you on our status and that of the financial environment at the moment, particularly areas which could be relevant to our clients. 

Meetings and Contact

Firstly, we have been trialling a number of options for video conferencing which has been very positive for the McCreas staff to be able to engage with one another.

Our aim now is to offer clients who are due a review which has been affected by the travel and social distancing restrictions a video call/or phone meeting. 

Whilst not ideal as we would always prefer to meet face to face, we are always available by email or phone at any point with a note below on the quickest way to get hold of us.   

Adviser

Administrative Support

Direct Line Number

Email Address

Douglas McCrea

Claire Dolan

0141 353 9775

claire@mccreafs.co.uk

Jonathan Campbell

Jenny Pritchard

0141 353 9776

jenny@mccreafs.co.uk

Graeme Melrose

Elaine Delaney

0141 353 5584

elaine@mccreafs.co.uk

Graeme Nichols

Yvonne Kinnear or Gillian O’Donnell

0141 572 1340 (option 1)

mortgages@mccreafs.co.uk

Grant Sneddon

Claire Young

0141 353 5583

claireY@mccreafs.co.uk

Beginning of the new Tax Year

Whilst we fully appreciate there are many other considerations at the moment, with all the news focus on the coronavirus the new tax year 2020/2021 has very quietly commenced.  A new tax year means there is the opportunity to review different areas of your financial affairs ( as well as getting any tax paperwork for 2019/20 in order).

Over the coming weeks we will highlight a few areas that people may be interested in reviewing.

We have also been in touch with a number of local solicitors and accountants that we regularly deal with to ensure they are all operating fully to provide advice and assistance to clients.  For people requiring tax and business advice ( or who just don’t want to do their own tax return) we can put you in touch with a specialist that can assist.

Wills and Power of Attorney (POA) are areas which are an important part your financial planning however many people hold off on arranging these as they don’t feel they have the time to sit down and look at these in detail. Now might be the time to look at Wills and POA, so please let us know if you need help and we can happily refer you to a good solicitor who will look after you.

Support and information for Employers and Employees around the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furloughing)

There is a great deal of information available at the moment for both Employers and Employees.  Our colleagues at Just Employment Law have provided us with a summary of the key facts we hope you find useful and which include the following:

  • Employees can be furloughed multiple times, so it will be possible to rotate furlough amongst your staff (but remember an employee must be furloughed for three consecutive weeks before you get reimbursed by the government).
  • It has now been confirmed that an employee on furlough can start a new, second job while furloughed if their main employer allows that.
  • An employee who cannot come to work because of caring responsibilities can be furloughed (school closures are given as an example of where this would be appropriate).
  • The previous guidance that employees who are “shielding” can be furloughed has now been qualified – this now seems only to be permissible where the employee cannot work from home and where their job would otherwise be at risk of redundancy.
  • Commission payments can now be included in furlough pay calculations, and will be reimbursed up to the published limits, as long as they are contractual payments rather than discretionary ones.
  • You cannot claim from HMRC for 80% of benefits in kind you continue to provide to employees, if you do continue to provide them.
  • Employers must notify their employees in writing that they have been furloughed, and keep a record of this for five years/

The government has published further guidance on how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Scheme) will operate. If you would like to read the updated guidance in full, you can do so by clicking the link here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#work-out-what-you-can-claim

Pension Contributions for Furloughed Employees

Furloughed employees during the coronavirus will continue to benefit from employer pension contributions of up to £75 per month.  The Department of work and pensions has confirmed that automatic enrolment will not be suspended during the coronavirus crisis.  This means if an employer has requested assistance from the government to cover salaries under the Coronavirus Job retention scheme, they can also claim the associated employers national insurance contributions and 3% of qualifying earnings for minimum auto-enrolment employer contributions of up to £75 per month.  More detail can be found in the attached article.

https://www.moneyage.co.uk/Furloughed-employees-to-continue-benefiting-from-employer-pension-contributions.php)

Self- Employed/Small Business Government Assistance

The official government link for Scottish businesses is:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-individuals-and-businesses-in-scotland

We appreciate many peoples employment will have been affected by the effects of the coronavirus and if you would like to discuss how this impacts on your financial affairs please get in touch.

Current Financial Markets

After several weeks of volatile trading the stockmarkets have been rising this week with the FTSE 100 share index up 3% on Monday and a further 2% on Tuesday with other European markets showing similar increases. This followed big gains in the US with the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumping 7.7% on Monday and down 0.12%overnight. The question is why are share prices rising? Analysts say it is down to signs that the spread of coronavirus might be starting to slow and markets are reacting to indications that lockdown measures in the UK. US and Europe are beginning to flatten the curve of infections and fatalities. This may however only last for so long as attention may shift to how countries exit the current containment.

Mortgage Assistance over the Coming Months

There has been a fair amount of press coverage regarding lenders restricting borrowing and removing a number of mortgage products. You can read here what we can do to help: https://www.mccreafs.co.uk/news/mortgage-assistance-over-the-coming-months/  Our mortgage department are continually reviewing any changes in the mortgage market and can be contacted to discuss any concerns or borrowing requirements you have by calling or emailing mortgages@mccreafs.co.uk

Easter Break

Whilst working from home and not having anywhere we can visit during Easter is of course limiting, it is still important for the team to have Good Friday and Easter Monday free to spend with their families and away from their PCs for a few days. Our ‘remote offices’ will be closed on these dates for calls and emails and will of course, resume as normal on Tuesday.  All our contact details can be found here : https://www.mccreafs.co.uk/contact-us/

In the meantime, all at McCreas would like to wish you a safe and peaceful Easter, albeit possibly a quieter one than usual.