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Weekly Bulletin No. 820

Tuesday 14th July 


Extended Vunerable Period - Thursday 16th July





An archive of previous communications and guidance regarding measures put in place as a result of Covid-19 are also available. However, if you have any additional queries please do continue to contact the Helpdesk on 01223 (7)65999 or at



CUFS extended Vulnerable Period -  Thursday 16th July

The CUFS system will be unavailable during an extended vulnerable period from 5am and 9am on Thursday 16th July. This time will be used for system maintenance.

Issued by Lesley Dent – Finance System Group



The merger of Sigma Aldrich, Millipore and Merck Chemicals - resumption of ordering with the new merged supplier

As of the 1st July the following suppliers have merged into a new legal entity: MERCK LIFE SCIENCE UK LTD (No: 429375).

  • Sigma Aldrich Co Ltd
  • Millipore (UK) Ltd
  • Merck Chemicals Ltd

The supplier has completed all necessary configuration to support their merged business and orders can now resume with the newly merged entity. Orders can no longer be raised with the previous entities (bullet-listed above).

If you have any questions, please contact the Procurement Services Team via:


An update on the AirProducts refund procedures

AIR PRODUCTS PLC (No: 60198) had introduced a surcharge of £13 per transaction against University orders. This charge should not have been applied. The supplier has accepted that they will need to issue refunds for these charges to all affected departments.

The supplier has confirmed that departments should no longer see these charges applied against any further orders. Should a department continue to see these charges applied to their orders, please contact We are continuing to work with the supplier to finalise when and how these charges will be reimbursed.


Launch of new Procurement Services website - delay for final improvements

The release of the new Procurement Services website has been delayed until next week to allow more time for a few final improvements, checks and updates - including additional refreshed information and guidance, particularly around sustainability and the Whole Life Costing model.

We apologise for any inconvenience this delay causes.


Marketplace unavailable – Thursday 16th July 2020

Please be advised of an upcoming period of maintenance scheduled to take place on the Marketplace from 6:00pm to 8:00 pm Thursday 16th July 2020. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.


All issued by : Matthew Kidd, Procurement Systems, Reporting & Communications Manager




Year end for new users

Please would all those who viewed the video presentations, and/or, attended the Q&A session on last week, complete this survey. We really value your feedback particularly at this time when working virtually is new to so many. Many thanks.  

Issued by Christine Rogerson, Finance Training


Extended zero-rating for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

HMRC have announced an extension to the temporary zero-rate for the supply of PPE which now runs until 31 October 2020. Products covered by the zero rate include:

  • disposable gloves
  • disposable plastic aprons
  • disposable fluid-resistant coveralls or gowns
  • surgical masks – including fluid-resistant type IIR surgical masks
  • filtering face piece respirators
  • eye and face protection – including single or reusable full face visors or goggles

Please refer to our previous guidance on zero-rating PPE in issue 23 of the Covid-19 Finance Departmental Guidance.


Government ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme

Any department wishing to consider using this scheme should approach the VAT Team.  You will still need to account for VAT based on the full amount of the value of the meal and consideration needs to be given to records and processes.

If you would like advice on the above or any other VAT matters, please do not hesitate to contact the University Tax Team at .


Guidance on the temporary reduced rate of VAT for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions

Last week, the Government announced that it would introduce a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT for certain supplies of hospitality, hotel / holiday accommodation and admissions to certain attractions, with effect from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021. 

The reduced rate will apply to the following.


  • food and non-alcoholic beverages sold for on-premises consumption, for example, in restaurants, cafes and pubs
  • hot takeaway food and hot takeaway non-alcoholic beverages
  • supplies of food and drink from vending machines on-premises in canteens and restaurant type areas (but not those in separate areas).

   It will not apply to:

  • alcoholic drinks (nor it would seem mixers supplied with an alcoholic drink);

  • the sale of standard rated food items (e.g. confectionery, crisps, bottled water and soft drinks) when purchased for consumption off premises; and

  • catering services

admission charges to certain attractions



  • museums
  • botanical gardens
  • exhibitions
  • theatres
  • concerts
  • zoos
  • cinemas
  • similar cultural events and facilities

 It does not apply to admission to sporting events or sporting facilities, such as gyms.

hotel and holiday accommodation

  • sleeping accommodation in hotels or similar establishments, holiday accommodation, pitch fees for caravans and tents, and associated facilities
  • where the university lets out its student accommodation for a purpose that is not ancillary to education, the temporary reduced rate may apply.

What are the next steps?

This is the first time there has been a mid-week and mid-month VAT rate change. You will need to consider:

  • What will the reduced VAT rate cover in your department? Food and drink outlets (now there are four potential VAT liabilities: exempt, 20%, 5% and 0%), attractions and (non-student) sleeping accommodation. Identify where charges are made for these supplies.
  • Pricing - Will you change the price of food, non-alcoholic drinks and admission rates and pass the savings onto consumers OR charge the current price and take the benefit of the VAT saving? What do existing T&Cs say? Till systems, price lists shown on premises or on the internet may need to be updated.
  • Updates to accounting systems, point of sales systems and processes 
    CUFS already has VAT codings ‘RR5.0%’ for reduced rated purchases in the UK and LR - Lower rate 5% for sales in CUFS, which can be used for this temporary rate change.

    As this is a temporary change, there are no plans to change the default tax code associated with any suppliers or customers therefore, please remember to update the code when processing relevant transactions. In AR, departments may need to update template memo lines used on sales invoices and set up a new receivable activity linked to the lower rate tax code for miscellaneous receipts. Further guidance on how to do this is available here. 

    Where departments have affected listings on the online store please contact the eSales team via so they may update the system accordingly.

  • Tills and any Electronic Point of Sale equipment should be updated to reflect the VAT guidance provided here.

Other considerations 

There will need to be careful consideration to the VAT treatment of promotions, bundled supplies, vouchers, transitional rules (pre and post VAT rate change), tax points, refunds and other relevant areas.
  • Attractions
    Entry to our museums is free of charge.  However, events or exhibitions that are charged for may be impacted. Admission charges (e.g. the Botanic Garden) and membership schemes (e.g. annual admission), online cultural events and promotions (e.g. a bundled offer of admission and alcohol) will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Supplies of food/drink sold at attractions is impacted by the change of VAT rate.  Sales of souvenirs are not affected.
  • Existing VAT exemption
    Supplies that are ancillary to the supply of education (such as student accommodation and catering) are not affected by these changes. In addition, where the cultural exemption already applies, it is not affected. 
  • Accounting for supplies that straddle the temporary reduced rate
    In most cases, VAT will be due at 5% for relevant supplies made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021. However, there may be situations where we receive payments or issue invoices before 15 July 2020 for supplies that take place on or after 15 July 2020, e.g. annual membership for admission.  There are special rules about the VAT accounting for this. You may receive queries about whether you will refund the VAT difference for the proportion of the annual admission from 15 July 2020.  You have a choice about whether to do this or not. More information about this can be found in sections 30.7.4 to 30.9.2 of VAT guide (VAT Notice 700).

Where is clarification needed?

The guidance around conference facilities and catering services is contradictory and needs further clarification.  In addition, services of bundled supplies, promotions and online events are being explored. In the interim, please contact the University Tax Team at for further advice on these or any of the items above.

All issued by Angela Fearnside, Deputy VAT Manager










Vulnerable Periods

Some systems may be unavailable between 6.00am to 9.00am Tuesdays and Thursdays. Users will be notified of planned vulnerable periods here and in the latest bulletin.