This information has been updated, please see our latest blog here.
Well, what a weekend that was. Lockdown 2.0 is a few days away and the range of support available to businesses is being updated. While the past few months has taught us that the guidance can and probably will change frequently, here is what we currently know:
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Firstly, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which due to end on 31 October 2020 has been extended until December. The exact end date is yet unconfirmed, but we expect this to tie in with the end of this current lockdown period. The rules are similar to the scheme as we already know it, with employees guaranteed to receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.
The scheme will remain flexible, allowing employees to work part of their usual hours, and receive furlough pay for those not worked. The scheme is more generous than in October with HMRC contributing the full 80% of the employee’s furlough pay, compared to just 60% in October. The employer will however remain responsible for National Insurance and pension contributions.
Eligible employees are those who are on the employers PAYE scheme, with the relevant RTI submission having been made to HMRC before midnight on 30 October 2020. Employees do not need to have been furloughed previously to be eligible for this extended period.
Further announcements are expected from the government once the necessary updates are made to the portal to allow applications for November to be made.
The Job Support Scheme previously announced has been deferred until this extended furlough scheme ends.
Local authority grants
Business premises in England forced to close are eligible for grants of up to £3,000 per month, depending on the rateable value as follows:
- 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.
Additional funding is also being provided to Local Authorities for on-off payments to support businesses more broadly.
We expect it to take a little while for Local Authorities to announce their plans to roll this out to local businesses.
Business support loans
The Bounce Back Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, both of which were due to close for applications on 30 November 2020 have been extended to 31 January 2021. However, it is understood that lenders are very busy and businesses who are thinking about applying may want to consider doing so sooner rather than later to avoid unexpected delays.
Mortgage holidays for individuals
Expected to end on 31 October, mortgage holidays are expected to be extended for individuals, allowing them to pause repayments for up to six months. For those who have already requested a payment holiday, it is proposed that this can be extended up to six months in total. Under the current proposals, individuals will have until 31 January 2021 to make these requests.
The FCA are currently working with lenders to agree this extended support and further announcement are expected once agreed.