With the announcement that the UK will be heading into a second lockdown on Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, the government has announced changes to its economic support schemes.
As with the first lockdown, non-essential retail, leisure facilities, entertainment venues and personal care facilities, such as hairdressers, have been advised to close. However, schools, colleges and universities will remain open.
Regarding working from home, the government has advised that everyone who can work from home must do so. However, where this is not possible, for example in the construction and manufacturing sectors, people should continue to travel to work.
What financial support will be available to businesses?
Furlough scheme extended
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended until the end of April 2021, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. The scheme will be reviewed in January 2021.
Employees will not, in the main, notice any difference in their pay packet, but the scheme has become more generous for employers. Under the extended scheme, the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced as they will only need to cover pension and national insurance contributions.
The flexibility of the furlough scheme will also remain, with employers still being able to bring back employees part-time and claiming the grant for the hours that their employees are not working.
To be eligible for this extension, employees must have been on the payroll on 30 October 2020, but they do not need to have been furloughed before.
Claims for the extended scheme can be made now. You will need to submit any claims for November by 14 December 2020. Read more about how to claim here.
The Job Support Scheme
The scheme, which was scheduled to start on Sunday 1 November, has been postponed until the extension of the furlough scheme ends.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
The government has increased the third instalment of the SEISS, which will allow those eligible to claim 80% of their average trading profits for November to January. The grants will also be paid faster, with the claims window opening at the end of November rather than the middle of December.
Loan schemes and The Future Fund
Deadlines for applications for government-backed loan schemes and the Future Fund have been further extended until 31 January 2021.
Businesses required to close due to restrictions will be eligible for the following:
- For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
- For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
- For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.
Mortgage payment holidays
Mortgage payment holidays will remain available. Borrowers impacted by the coronavirus and who have not had a mortgage holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday. Those that have already started a mortgage holiday will be able to top up to six months.