With so many different government schemes having been announced for different areas of the economy and various parts of the UK, we’ve unpicked the details to explain what government financial support is available to businesses and how to claim it.
Available to businesses in all areas of the UK
- Job Support Scheme
- Job Retention Bonus
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme.
Available to businesses in areas within Tier 3 (Very High) lockdown or who have legally been required to close.
- Expansion of Job Support Scheme
- Local restrictions Support Grant scheme.
Available to businesses in all areas of the UK
Job Support Scheme
The government recently announced the Job Support Scheme (JSS) to protect jobs where businesses remain open but are facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19.
Under JSS the government will contribute towards the wages of your employees if they are working fewer than normal hours due to decreased demand. You will continue to pay the wages for the hours your staff work. Employees must work at least 33% of their usual hours. For the hours not worked, you and the government will pay a third each of their usual wages (the government contribution is capped at £697.92 per month). This scheme is available to any employee who was on the payroll prior to 23 September 2020.
Job Retention Bonus
Further guidance for the Job Retention Bonus is now available. It includes information about how you can check if your employees are eligible and when you can claim the bonus.
You’ll be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every eligible employee you 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. We’ll 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.
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.
You will continue to pay your 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.
The caps are proportional to the hours not worked. For example, if your employee is furloughed for half their usual hours in October, you are entitled to claim 60% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to £937.50 (half of £1,875 cap). You must still pay your employee at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they don’t work, so for someone only working half their usual hours you’d need to pay them up to £1,250 (half of £2,500 cap), funding the remaining portion yourself. For help with calculations, search ‘Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ on GOV.UK.
You’ll also continue to pay your 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.
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 arrangements with HMRC if you need more tailored support.
Available to businesses in areas within Tier 3 (Very High) lockdown or who have legally been required to close
Expansion of Job Support Scheme
The government announced on 9 October an expansion of the JSS, to provide temporary support to businesses whose premises have been legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions.
Under this expansion, affected businesses will receive grants towards the wages of employees who have been instructed to and cease work. This will cover businesses that, as a result of restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK, are legally required to close their premises, or to provide only delivery and collection services from their premises.
The government will pay two thirds of employees’ usual wages, up to a maximum of £2,100 per month. You will not be required to contribute towards wages, but do need to cover employer National Insurance and pension contributions.
Under the scheme, employees will need to be furloughed for a minimum of seven consecutive days at any given time and the payments to employers will be made monthly in arrears.
You can apply for the JSS including the new expansion even if you haven’t previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). JSS is available for six months, from 1 November, with payment of grants in arrears from early December. The scheme will be reviewed in January.
Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme
In addition to the expansion of the JSS, the government is making the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme more generous so that businesses in England can receive up to £3,000 per month, and are eligible for payment sooner, after only two weeks of closure rather than three. This could benefit hundreds of thousands of businesses, including restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, bowling alleys and many more.
The government is now making this scheme more generous so that businesses receive up to £3,000 per month, rather than up to £1,500 per three weeks, and they are eligible for payment sooner, after only two weeks of closure rather than three.
- Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will receive grants of £667 per two weeks of closure (£1,334 per month).
- Properties with a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive grants of £1,000 per two weeks of closure (£2,000 per month).
- Properties with an rateable value of £51,000 or over will receive grants of £1500 per two weeks of closure (£3,000 per month).
The government is also extending the scheme to include businesses which have been forced to close on a national rather than a local basis.
As always, we are here to help with any queries you may have about the support available and how you can apply. You can reach us on 01423 222710 or email us: