Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses and individuals have benefited from a range of schemes, including furlough grants for staff unable to work, grants for the self-employed, deferral of VAT and Income Tax payments and cheap, government-backed business loans.

With the second wave of coronavirus infections upon us, the whole of England is now in a four-week lockdown, while Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have imposed local or national restrictions for some weeks now.

To help businesses that are required to close, the Chancellor has extended the existing Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) until 2 December. The CJRS has also been made more generous from 1 November, as it will now cover 80% of employees’ normal pay for the time they are not working.

The two job support schemes that are due to replace the CJRS (JSS Open and JSS Closed), will commence on 3 December 2020, unless the Government changes its mind before then.

Note that the financial support for businesses to pay their employees applies across the UK, while the lockdown rules are different in each country.

The Job Retention Bonus of £1,000 per employee will also be available to all employers across the UK. It can be claimed for each staff member who was previously furloughed, where the employer continues to pay them an average of at least £520 per month from 31 October to 31 January 2021. Where the wages are subsidised by grants paid under CJRS or JSS, the full amount the employee receives counts towards their average pay for the bonus scheme.

Employers will also be able to use the Kickstart Scheme to give young people six months’ government-paid work experience.

In addition, there are to be further grants for the self-employed. For those who qualified, the first two grants were based on 80% and 70% of previously reported average profits, but the third grant will be based on 55% of average profits. Details of the fourth grant have not yet been announced.

Further VAT and Income Tax deferrals will also be available in 2021, to help the cashflow of businesses and individuals.

Businesses that are required to close in England can also apply for cash grants from their local authority of up to £3,000 per month. Different levels of grants are available to businesses in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

If you have any questions or need more information about these measures please call our friendly team on 01803 500500.

Stay safe