25th November 2015

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UK Autumn Statement & Scottish Budget Date Matt Sisson

This lunchtime the Chancellor will announce the results of the spending review as part of his Autumn Statement, which will outline significant cuts to funding for government departments. The statement is likely to add further clarity to the future structural and funding direction of the university system, following the recent teaching Green Paper and last week’s Nurse review of UK research. There’s a running live blog of the review on the BBC website, and other informed speculation in advance of the actual statement itself. As usual we’ll report more as it becomes clearer over the coming days.

In related news, the Scottish government has announced that its budget will be published on Wednesday 16 December.

Confirmed – Universities DO NOT need to comply with ESOS Emma Keenan

We have today received formal notification from the Environment agency that they will only enforce application of the ESOS scheme for HEIs that self-declare as private sector and are sufficiently large to trigger qualification.  They have confirmed that they will update their ESOS compliance guidance to reflect this position when they next amend their documentation. We will publish that as soon as we receive it.

Do get in touch if you have any further queries.

Liaison Offices in India Amanda Darley

PwC has made us aware of an increasing risk of Liaison (Representative) Offices in India due to BEPS Action 7 (Permanent Establishments) creating a Permanent Establishment there. This is because while the current position regarding Liaison Offices in India is not entirely clear, the BEPS Action means that there is likely to be an increased scrutiny of Liaison Offices of non-residents in India. This could have a significant impact on those which perform activities which are integral to the business and are NOT auxiliary or preparatory in nature. 

FRS102 Webinars Siobhain Clarke

The first of two FRS102 webinars took place this week and the presentation slides and webex recording are now available. During the presentation, reference was made to the BUFDG Briefing on Endowments and Donations,  along with the BUFDG training materials available here.

A further webinar on more general aspects of FRS102 is scheduled for Friday 22nd January 2016, to be presented by Clare Partridge of KMPG and Miles Hedges of the Open University.  You can register your interest here and help shape the agenda for this event by emailing Siobhain with any topics you would like to see addressed.

HMRC U-turn: NHS visa surcharge NOT a taxable benefit Amanda Darley

Advisory firms are reporting that HMRC has changed its view on the treatment of NHS surcharges paid by employers on behalf of employees for tax and NICs purposes. As the surcharge is payable upfront as part of the visa process, HMRC has now decided that the costs of the NHS surcharge can be attached to the visa costs and treated as a travel facility just like airfares, train fares, etc.

So where the surcharge can be attributed to a specific journey into the UK from overseas, a deduction will be appropriate for the employee and this can be extended to the accompanying or visiting spouse, civil partner and children. Such costs are therefore disregarded for both Class 1 and Class 1A NICs. But if there is no actual journey associated with the surcharge, e.g. it relates to an extension of the visa to allow the employee to stay in the UK, any cost of the surcharge met by the employer will be treated as general earnings and liable to tax and NICs.

Investment in estates pays off Matt Sisson

Universities’ estates spend in 2013/14 was a record £2.5bn, up 25% on the year before, according to the annual Estates Statistics Report published by the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE). Figures in the report show record levels of estate quality and functional suitability, with almost 80% of estates (by area) in condition bands A and B, up from just over 65% a decade before. The report also shows a continuing decrease in scope 1&2 carbon emissions per m2, following a peak in 2009/10, and increased space utilisation.

Click here to read a THE article covering the report, and here to read the AUDE press release.

Payroll and Expenses Group Meetings Siobhain Clarke

The autumn round of PEG meetings, hosted by KPMG has just concluded.  The meetings were well attended and provoked a lot of discussion on the range of issues facing Payroll teams at the moment. In case you were unable to attend the slides are available to download here.

Some of the topics discussed include removal of dispensations, payrolling benefits, updates on USS changes, auto-enrolment – re-enrolment, abolition of NI contracted-out rates, global mobility issues, HMRC consultation exercises, and the Scottish rate of income tax. Useful resources shared include:

  • Minutes of the National PEG meeting available here
  • KPMG guidance document on the abolition of dispensations
  • USS for the future – for details of working groups, log into the employers section with your institution ID and password.
  • HMRC Guide 490: Employee Travel available here

Dates for spring 2016 meetings are currently being scheduled and will be available shortly.

Northern Ireland inquiry into reduced rate VAT - university holiday lets? Amanda Darley

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee is seeking written submissions to help inform its inquiry into whether the introduction of a reduced VAT rate could promote growth in Northern Ireland's tourism and hospitality sector. This could potentially apply to letting student accommodation to tourists etc. during vacations, where this activity might currently be treated as standard rated. The inquiry appears to be at an early stage as it poses seven questions but has not set out any specific proposals. If you would like to contribute to the inquiry, submissions should be less than 3,000 words and should be submitted by 11th December via the parliament.uk website.

The key to improving performance? Siobhain Clarke

‘Informal learning’ is the unofficial, impromptu way people learn how to do their job. It can involve a variety of opportunities from asking a colleague how to do something, watching an online video, participating in a webinar or posting a question on a discussion board. It’s often overlooked, but this useful infographic by GoodPractice helps to highlight the benefits and remind us of the 70:20:10 principles of learning that suggests:

  • 70% of learning happens through on the job real life assignments
  • 20% of learning comes from feedback, our networks and relationships we build with others
  • 10% of learning should come from formal training, courses and workshops 

The BUFDG website can help you maximise your informal learning with its range of user guides, networking groups, training materials, courses, e-learning, and information resources. Why not take a closer look at our Learning webpages!

Job of the Week Matt Sisson

Our Job of the Week is for a Deputy Payroll Manager at University College London. The successful candidate "will provide leadership, direction and day to day management of the Payroll Services team and will actively contribute to the development of HR Information Systems & strategic HR processes". The deadline for applications is the 29th November. All the other vacancies are listed on the BUFDG jobs page.