This update is written and posted on 6 November 2020 and is likely to quickly become out of date. We will endeavour to update information as it becomes available.
Previous updates and other useful information can be found at our WEBSITE.
We waited until the end of this week before sending our next update, following the one issued on Sunday morning reporting The Government’s announcement on Saturday evening regarding a second national lockdown in England.
It was clear that the decision for the lock down was made quickly, and therefore The Treasury needed to catch up.
As ever, matters moved quickly with initial announcements on Monday, and then enhanced/updated announcements by The Chancellor in a speech to The House of Commons yesterday.
Below is a summary of the up to date Government business support measures, as they stand at Friday 6th November.
- The job retention scheme extended until 31 March 2021;
- Self-employed income support grant at 80% of average profits - up to £7,500;
- Job Retention Bonus, the £1,000 one-off payment – scrapped (for now);
- CBILS loan & bounce bank loan schemes extended to 31 January 2021.
Job Retention Scheme (aka Furlough Scheme)
Per the Government announcement on Saturday night, the furlough scheme, (which was due to close that evening), has been extended. At the time of the announcement it was for a further month. The Chancellor announced yesterday (some feel due to pressure, for example from the Scottish Government), that the furlough scheme has been extended to 31 March 2021.
In summary, per Sunday’s update, the furlough scheme which is now available is basically the same as what was available in August:
- The scheme is available to all employers across the UK, even if they haven't used the scheme before, or the employee hasn’t been furloughed before;
- Throughout the period the scheme will operate the government will pay grants of 80% of employees’ wages up to £2,500 per month. The employer will cover national insurance contributions and pension costs;
- Flexible working, so an employee can continue working, the employer covering the full cost of any hours worked and the government making up 80% of the hours not worked;
- Eligibility criteria remains the same, other than employees eligible for furlough throughout November must have been on the payroll before 30 October 2020;
- Businesses can re-employ staff who were made redundant after 23 September 2020, bringing them back onto the scheme. (A number of employers (including some of our clients) made decisions on employee numbers based on the scheme ending 30 October).
The Chancellor did state that the scheme will be reviewedat some point in January 2021, so still some uncertainty.
The extension of the scheme does mean that the Job Retention Bonus, the £1,000 one-off payment to employers that had retained previously-furloughed staff until the end of January 2021, is to be scrapped. The Chancellor advised a new “retention incentive” would be deployed at an “appropriate time”.
Self Employed Income Support Scheme (“SEISS”)
The next SEISS grant covering 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021 will be at 80% of average profits up to a maximum of £2,500pm (or £7,500 in total). (Which is an increase on the announcement made on Monday).
To be eligible for the grant self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:
- Have been previously eligible for the grant (although you do not have to have claimed the previous grants), which means those who had trading profits of more than £50k in 2019 are still not eligible for grant.
- Declare that they intend to continue to trade and either;
- are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus; or
- were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus.
This grant will be available from 30 November 2020.
Currently HMRC’s website has not been updated to reflect the new grant, expected to be updated mid-November. As with the previous grants, we will contact clients who we believe may be able to claim.
Government Backed Loan Schemes
The Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), together with the Future Fund have been extended to 31 January 2021. (They were due to close 30 November)
If you already have a Bounce Back Loan but didn't take out the maximum amount available, you can now top that up to the £50k limit. Alternatively, you can roll your BBLS in to a CBILS.
Details regarding grants available for businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions and the mortgage payment holiday extension can be found in our last update, click HEREfor full details.
Be alert to a HMRC scam
A call from an automated system claiming to be HMRC is doing the rounds, including two members of the Harbour Key team receiving calls. The call advises that you owe money to Inland Revenue and that failure to pay would result in arrest. If you receive any calls of this type, or advising that you are entitled to HMRC support, put the phone down straight away and do not follow any instructions given to you.
HMRC Clawback of SEISS grants
People who received the SEISS grant are being asked to confirm if they stopped trading, so HMRC can check if they were eligible in the first place. The SEISS eligibility review is the first step in HMRC’s clamp down on people who should not have received the grant. HMRC has already sent 24,000 emails to claimants on its database to ask if they’ve ceased trading.
When the SEISS grant was announced, HMRC only had information from 2018/19 tax returns. This meant claimants were able to receive the grant without HMRC knowing if they continued to trade beyond 5 April 2019. In many cases ineligible claimants overlooked the requirement to trade in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 tax years and beyond. Individuals that claimed the SEISS grant before 22 July have until 20 November 2020 to confirm their trading status to HMRC, while those that claimed on or after 22 July 2020 have 90 days from they date their received the grant.
As ever, matters are still developing (as can be seen with the JSS with three announcements over the last four weeks) and we will endeavour to keep you up to date, flag to you opportunities and signpost to the key details as best as we can via our updates. A summary of the Government’s support schemes can be found at our website, including a list of non-Government funding opportunities, which we update regularly and can be found HERE.
We know that this is a very difficult time for all businesses and some difficult decisions are having to be made. We have spoken to hopefully all of you and if not, we would like you to know that we are here ready to help if you need us to provide advice, deal with queries, or just be a business sounding board.
It's vital that everyone follows the guidelines & remember:
#Hands #Face #Space