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Do I still need to pay instalments of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) while the development site is closed?

Payments of the Community Infrastructure Levy (“CIL”) are tied to commencement of development, and where an instalment policy is in place, the instalments are usually tied to periods of time following commencement rather than build out rates. Therefore where a development has commenced, payments of CIL are likely to fall due in respect of a site notwithstanding that the site may have temporarily closed or build out rates have slowed.

New regulations now in force, provide some additional relief for those developers with an annual turnover of £45 million or less. Such relief will allow the Council to defer payments, disapply late interest charges, and refund late interest charges that have already been levied since 21 March 2020.

For those developers that cannot benefit from the new provisions, unless a Council has adopted an exceptional circumstances relief policy the regulations do not provide for any relief to be provided in instances where payment of CIL will create viability issues. Most Councils have not adopted such a policy, and in those circumstances the CIL liability will remain due in accordance with the payment schedule on the demand notice.

Councils are at liberty to amend their instalment policies in accordance with their own internal procedures, and the Government is encouraging Councils to explore this option to provide some relief to developers. However this will only assist in respect of any prospective instalments where the development commences after the new instalment policy has been adopted.

For those developers whose annual turnover exceeds £45 million, the Government seems to be taking the view that such developers can afford their CIL liabilities regardless of the current climate. The only concession the Government has proposed is to encourage Councils to make use of the existing discretion they have in respect of the imposition of surcharges for late payments.

Related FAQs

Reductions in working hours

Another obvious cost cutting measure is to reduce working hours, either temporarily or permanently. Again, it should be done fairly, either across the board or by selecting teams/individuals based on objective business reasons. Imposing without agreement would create significant risk, therefore would require fair selection and consultation.

What are my potential liabilities if a customer, supplier or other visitor contracts Covid-19 on my premises?

As an occupier of premises, you owe a duty of care to your visitors to take reasonable care to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using your premises.

It is therefore essential that you are taking reasonable steps and strictly adhering to up-to-date Government advice in all aspects of your business to avoid any potential liability.

Failure to follow Government advice could leave you vulnerable to claims for compensation for pain and suffering should a visitor on your premises contract Covid-19.

However, each case will be fact-specific and it would be very difficult for a visitor to establish that they contracted Covid-19 specifically from those premises (as opposed to being exposed to the virus anywhere else).

If someone suggests that they are going to make a claim make sure that you report matters to your insurer or insurance broker immediately.

Retraining and redeploying

If the business has areas requiring an increased workforce whilst others require a reduced workforce, staff can be retrained and redeployed across the organisation or even across a wider group of companies. This will not reduce the wage bill but will avoid the need for redundancies. Making fundamental changes to an employee’s role and duties will require their agreement following a fair selection and consultation process.

What criteria will HMRC use to assess applications for furlough from publicly funded organisations?

The government released further clarification on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on 4 April. The wording referred to concerning public sector organisations and organisations receiving public funding remains the same.

The revised guidance does provide a helpful insight into how HMRC will deal with applications made to it for assistance under the scheme. It appears that there won’t be a particularly forensic approach adopted by HMRC. The guidance says you can furlough staff if you cannot maintain your current workforce because your operations have been severely affected by coronavirus.

It goes on to say that all employers are eligible to claim under the scheme and the government recognises different businesses/organisations will face different impacts from coronavirus. The need to demonstrate the impact of coronavirus on your business/organisation is not one of the criteria businesses/organisations are going to need to satisfy, so the government does not appear to intend to set a specific test to determine if a business/organisation is “severely impacted by coronavirus”. It is hoped that this should provide additional comfort to publicly funded organisations facing significant restrictions to their operations during the Covid-19 crisis.

Can a sponsor cut the salary or hours of a Tier 2 visa holder?

Yes but the sponsor must report this on the Sponsor Management System within 10 working days and must follow normal employment law principles.

If this results in the sponsored worker’s falling below the minimum required salary the usual position is that they cannot continued to be sponsored. However the government has implemented a concession for sponsors who have ceased trading or temporarily reduced trading which allows the salary to be reduced to 80% of the figure stated on the Certificate of Sponsorship or £2,500 per month, whichever is lower.