As we re-enter lockdown, we urge all companies to check the following links to see whether they are eligible for Government support. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. Equally if you have any feedback on any of the Government schemes that you think would be useful for us to build into our ongoing conversations with Government, please let us know.
The following measures are detailed below:
- Job Retention Scheme
- Self Employed Income Support Scheme
- Business Grants
- Kickstart Scheme
- Apprenticeships and Training Schemes
- VAT and Tax Deferral
- Job Retention Scheme
- Loan Schemes
- Workplace safety
- Further guidance and information
Job Retention Scheme
The furlough scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021.
Employers can claim 80% of an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, up to £2,500. Employers will not need to cover any salary costs, but must pay National Insurance and pension contributions. Furloughed employees must have been employed on or before 30 October 2020.
Furloughed employees are able to return to work on a part-time basis through ‘flexible furlough’. They will continue to receive 80% of wages up to £2,500 p/m through a combination of government support and employer contribution. Employers will need to pay employees for the days worked (e.g. 2 p/w) and government will subsidise the remaining amount.
You can claim for this scheme here.
Self Employed Income Support Scheme
On 5 November the Chancellor announced an extension to the SEISS for self-employed individuals who are currently eligible for the SEISS and are actively continuing to trade but are facing reduced demand due to COVID-19.
The extension will provide two grants and will last for six months from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period.
The first grant will cover 3 months’ worth of profits from the start of November until the end of January. It will be worth 80% of average monthly profits and will capped at £7,500 in total. Claims must be made by 29 January 2021.
Details about the level of funding and application deadline for the second grant, covering February to April 2021, are not yet available.
You can claim here.
Nearly £2bn has been made available to Local Authorities and Devolved Administrations to support businesses impacted by the crisis, excluding hospitality, retail and tourism (who are eligible for different grants). These are to be distributed at the discretion of the respective Devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; and local authorities in England.
Employers who create 30 new positions for 16-24 year-olds on Universal Credit will be able to claim back funding equal to 25 hours of minimum wage per week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrollment contributions. You can apply for the scheme here.
Apprenticeships and Training
Between 1 August 2020 and 31 March 2021, companies hiring apprentices aged 16-24 will be eligible for a £2000 bonus, or £1500 for apprentices over 25. Employers will also receive £1000 to take on trainees. You can claim until 30 April 2021, here.
The Education and Skills Funding Agency has taken a number of steps to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus crisis on apprenticeships, including allowing the modification of assessments, extending assessment time frames, and support for apprentices made redundant. More information can be found here.
VAT and Tax Deferral
Businesses who chose to defer their VAT bills in spring can pay the full amount in March 2021, or pay back the sum in 11 interest-free payments during the 2021-22 financial year. More information about how to opt-in to the payment scheme can be found here.
Self-assessment taxpayers will be eligible for a separate additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.
Government loan schemes, including CBILS, large CBILS and Bounce Back Loans, are still open for applications until 31 March.
On 24 September the Chancellor announced a Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system for firms repaying Bounce Back Loans. This includes extending the length of the loan from six years to ten, and offering interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays.
You can see more details about the different loan schemes here.
Workplace Specific Guidance
BEIS have issued workplace specific guidance for businesses on safe operating procedures. The guidance for offices can be found here, all other workplaces, here. All employees who can continue to work from home are asked to do so.
Further information and resource pages
Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland
Department for International Trade & UK Export Finance
Department for Health information on COVID-19
Covid-19 Business Support
Covid-19 Business Support Finder Tool
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Guidance for Employers and Businesses
HMRC COVID-19 helpline regarding tax issues: 08000 241222 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)
Business Support Helpline: 0300 456 3565 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)