As England enters a second lockdown, the government has announced changes to the coronavirus business support schemes.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
One of the first coronavirus business support schemes introduced during the first lockdown is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Plans were in place to scrap this scheme and replace it with the Job Support Scheme, starting on 1st November. But this is being postponed and CRJS (known as the furlough scheme) is being continued until March 2021. This is being assessed in January, however.
The government will cover 80% of employees’ wages of up to £2,500 per month until December. Employers can choose to top up the grant to 100% of wages if they wish. They will also need to pay pension and National Insurance contributions.
Flexible furlough – where employers can bring employees back part-time and furlough them for time they do not work – will be continuing.
Employees must have been on the payroll by 30th October to be eligible for the extension. They do not need to have been on the CJRS scheme before.
Loan schemes extended
Application deadlines for two government-backed business loan schemes have been extended in light of the second lockdown.
The closing date for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has been extended to 31st January 2021. Originally, both schemes were due to close on 30th November.
Each scheme provides businesses with various sizes of government-backed loans to help them weather the pandemic.
Small businesses which have borrowed less than the maximum 25% of their turnover under BBLS will be able to apply for a top-up under the new rules. The limit of the loan continues to be £50,000.
The top-up will be available from next week and firms can only access this once.
Self-employment help doubled
There are also changes to the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) in light of the second lockdown announcement.
The SEISS taxable grant is being increased to 80% of their average profits. Applications will start from 30th November rather than mid-December, which was the original plan.
SEISS is calculated over three months and the grant will cover 80% for the months of November, December and January after a revised statement from the Chancellor on 5th November.
If you are unsure about any of the schemes, you can speak to us. Please send us an email or call 01642 927265.