Welcome to the latest news on Government support measures announced recently and as part of the Winter Economy Plan.
The latest guidance is outlined below, however we are still awaiting details of some of the new supports issued and we will keep you up to date when these are known
1) Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – changes from 1 October
From 1 October, HMRC will pay 60% of usual wages up to a cap of £1,875 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work.
Employers will continue to pay furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. You will need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant yourself.
You will also continue to pay furloughed employees’ National Insurance and pension contributions from your own funds.
The scheme closes on 31 October and you will need to make any final claims on or before 30 November. You will not be able to submit or add to any claims after 30 November.
2) Job Retention Bonus
Guidance for the Job Retention Bonus is now available. Businesses will be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every eligible employee furloughed and claimed for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and kept continuously employed until at least 31 January 2021. You do not have to pay this money to your employee.
To be eligible, employees must earn at least £1,560 between 6 November 2020 and 5 February 2021 and have received earnings in the November, December and January tax months. Employees must also not be serving a contractual or statutory notice period for you on 31 January 2021.
You will be able to claim the bonus from 15 February until 31 March once you have submitted PAYE information for the period up to 5 February 2021. HMRC will let you know how you can make a claim when further guidance is published by the end of January.
You can still claim the Job Retention Bonus if you make a claim for the same employees through the Job Support Scheme, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria for both.
Further information can be found on GOV.UK by searching ‘Job Retention Bonus Guidance’.
What you need to do now
If you intend to claim the Job Retention Bonus, you must:
keep your PAYE submissions up-to-date and on time, with Real Time Information (RTI) reporting for all employees, including reporting the leaving date for any employees that stop working for you in the month they leave or the next Full Payment Submission
use the irregular payment pattern indicator in RTI for any employees not paid regularly
provide any employee data for past CJRS claims that HMRC has requested
make sure all your CJRS claims have been accurately submitted and you have told HMRC about any changes needed (for example if you have received too much or too little).
3) Job Support Scheme expanded to firms required to close due to COVID-19 restrictions
The government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions, the Chancellor announced on 9 October.
Under the expansion, firms whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work The Government’s aim is to protect jobs and enable businesses to reopen quickly once restrictions are lifted.
The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.
Under the scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages but will be required to cover NICS and pension contributions.
Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.
The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January. In line with the rest of the JSS, payments to businesses will be made in arrears, via a HMRC claims service that will be available from early December. Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the CJRS.
The scheme is UK wide and the UK Government will work with the devolved administrations to ensure the scheme operates across all four nations.
4) Coronavirus Local Lockdown restrictions support grant (LRSG)
In addition to expansion of the JSS, the government is increasing the cash grants to businesses in England shut in local lockdowns to support with fixed costs. These grants will be linked to rateable values, with up to £3,000 per month payable every two weeks, compared to the up to £1,500 every three weeks which was available previously.
The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) supports businesses that were open as usual, providing services in person to customers from their business premises, but which were then required to close for at least 3 weeks due to temporary COVID-19 local lockdown restrictions imposed by government.
It is for businesses that pay business rates on their premises. Local councils may at their discretion also provide funding for businesses that don’t pay business rates.
Your business may be eligible if it:
occupies property on which it pays business rates
is in a local lockdown area and has been required to close because of the formal publication of local restrictions guidance that resulted in a first full day of closure on or after 9 September. This funding is not retrospective
has been required to close for at least 3 weeks because of the lockdown
has been unable to provide its usual in-person customer service from its premises
For example, this could include non-essential retail, personal services or cafes/restaurants that operate primarily as an in-person venue, but which have been forced to close those services and provide a takeaway-only service instead.
Eligible businesses will get one grant for each property liable for business rates within the lockdown zone.
Businesses that are required to close but do not pay business rates may be eligible for funding at the discretion of the local council, as may businesses not required to close but which are severely impacted.
You may receive a grant at the discretion of your local council if:
Your business is required to close but you do not pay business rates
If your business is not required to close, but has been severely affected, for example as a result of customer businesses being closed
Your local council will publish details of discretionary funding on their website.
businesses which are able to continue to operate during the lockdown because they do not depend on providing direct in-person services from their premises
businesses that have chosen to close, but have not been required to close as part of a local lockdown
businesses that are still subject to national closures such as nightclubs
businesses that have reached the state aid limit
How to apply Visit your local council’s website to find out how to apply.
5) Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
Applications for the second grant under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme are now closed.
However, the scheme is being extended from 1 November. The grant extension is for self-employed individuals who are were eligible for the initial Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and are actively continuing to trade but are facing reduced demand due to coronavirus (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 a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. HMRC will provide a taxable grant covering 20 per cent of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £1,875 in total.
HMRC are providing broadly the same level of support for the self-employed as is being provided for employees through the Job Support scheme.
The second grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April. HMRC will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course.
The grants are subject to Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions.
6) VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme
If you deferred VAT payments that were due between 20 March and 30 June 2020, then these payments need to be made to HMRC by 31 March 2021.
You can use the VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme to spread these payments over equal instalments up to 31 March 2022. Alternatively, you can make payments as normal by 31 March 2021, or make Time to Pay arrangement with HMRC if you need more tailored support.
More information on the VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme will be available in the coming months.