Job Retention Scheme
By asking parliamentary questions, I have uncovered hidden HMRC figures that show over 11,000 companies were denied furlough because the UK government changed the goalposts for PAYE tax returns.
Now, I am urging UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak to act to fix this ridiculous loophole:
THE UK Chancellor is under pressure to act after HMRC revealed that staff at over 11,000 companies have been deemed ineligible for the UK Job Retention Scheme – despite their employer using the same PAYE tax procedures as they had done in previous years.
This decision means companies have been unable to claim funding to furlough staff, despite many of them suffering a major loss of income during the pandemic.
In response to questioning from SNP MP Kirsten Oswald MP, it has been revealed that HMRC records confirm that over 12,000 companies submitted annual tax returns for PAYE staff between March 19, 2020, and April 19, 2020, the last date for submitting returns.
An incredible 11,300 of these companies have been deemed ineligible for furlough payments despite HMRC confirming to the Treasury that they had submitted similar annual PAYE tax returns the previous tax year.
In previous tax years, companies were able to submit their annual tax return by the middle of April.
The Chancellor imposed March 19 as a cut-off date for access to the Job Retention Scheme, leaving companies who submitted their tax return after this date excluded from the scheme.
Oswald expressed dismay at the Chancellor’s decision to move the goalposts on submitting an annual PAYE return.
This decision penalises workers whose companies don’t have the resources to make furlough payments.
Oswald, SNP deputy Westminster leader, said: “This callous Tory Government has shown time and again that when it moves the goalposts, it’s hard-working ordinary people who suffer.
“Despite thousands of businesses following the same procedures year after year, in the middle of a global pandemic the Tory Government has decided to leave hard-working employees high and dry, some of them getting no income at all. It has long been known that the UK Government coronavirus schemes left millions of freelancers and self-employed workers forgotten, HMRC has confirmed that the Treasury has left thousands of legitimate companies without a penny in wage support. The Tory Government’s inflexibility on this has been shameful. It’s time they did the right thing and apologised for this fiasco and backdate furlough payments for these workers who have done nothing wrong.”