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What if I have missed the January deadline for submitting my 2018/2019 tax return?

You had until 23 April 2020 to submit your return in order to be considered for eligibility.

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What is the guidance in relation to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards during the Covid-19 pandemic?

The Department of Health & Social Care has published guidance for hospitals, care homes and supervisory bodies on the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) during the coronavirus pandemic.

In many scenarios created or affected by the pandemic, decision makers in hospitals and care homes will need to decide:

  • if new arrangements constitute a ‘deprivation of liberty’ (most will not), and
  • if the new measures do amount to a deprivation of liberty, whether a new DoLS authorisation will be required (in most cases it will not be).

If a new authorisation is required, decision makers should follow their usual DoLS processes, including those for urgent authorisations.

A summary of the key points to be taken from the guidance is outlined below:

Use of the MCA and DoLS due to Covid-19

  • During the pandemic, the principles of the MCA and the safeguards provided by DoLS still apply.
  • It may be necessary to change the usual care and treatment arrangements, for example to provide treatment for people with Covid-19, to move them to a new hospital or care home to better utilise resources or to protect them from becoming infected.
  • All decision makers are responsible for implementing the emergency Government health advice  and any decision made under the MCA must be made in relation to a particular individual, it cannot be made in relation to groups of people.

Best interest decisions

  • In many cases, a best interests decision will be sufficient to provide the necessary care and treatment for a person who lacks the capacity to consent to the care and/or treatment arrangements during this emergency period.
  • If an individual has made a valid and applicable advance decision to refuse the treatment in question, then the relevant treatment, even for Covid-19, cannot be provided.

Delivering life-saving treatment

  • Where life-saving treatment is being provided in care homes or hospitals, including for the treatment of Covid-19, then the person will not be deprived of liberty as long as the treatment is the same as would normally be given to any person without a mental disorder.
  • The DoLS will therefore not apply to the vast majority of patients who need life-saving treatment who lack the mental capacity to consent to that treatment, including treatment to prevent the deterioration of a person with Covid-19.

The full guidance can be found here.

Are any suppliers exempt from this?

Small suppliers (defined by reference to certain financial indicators) are temporarily exempt from these new restrictions until 30th March 2021 in order to account for the difficulties to small suppliers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are also certain industries that are exempt from these restrictions (for example financial services).  The Secretary of State may also create further exemptions framed by reference to kinds of company, supplier, contract, goods or services or in any other way.

Is my business covered by insurance for notifiable diseases?

Unfortunately, losses caused by pandemics are not often covered expressly under standard policies, as the risk has been difficult for insurers to price and understand.

Even where additional cover in respect of notifiable diseases has been purchased, it typically will not include Covid-19 within the range of diseases covered by the policy. If the policy includes a list of notifiable diseases, and which does not include Covid-19, it is very unlikely that cover will be available for pandemic-relates losses.

The most common types of covers that could be afforded by insurance policies for coronavirus-related losses and liabilities are traditional business interruption insurance, contingent business interruption insurance, liability insurance, as well as cancellation and abandonment insurance.

There is a court order in place in relation to access to my child. What should I do?

If there is a court order then this should be complied with, unless you are unable to do so because the parent with whom the child lives is self-isolating, the other parent is self-isolating or the children are showing symptoms of the virus. If you are unable to comply with the court order, the other parent should be notified immediately in writing and proposals put forward for how they can see and speak to their children by telephone, FaceTime, Zoom or some other method.

If any necessary variations to the arrangements cannot be agreed then you should contact us for legal advice.

Can I ask my employees to travel for work during the national lockdown?

As above, people must not leave their home unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ and travelling should be limited to their local area. Employees may leave their home and local area to travel for work if they cannot reasonably work from home. You should attempt to reduce the number of journeys they make.