|Chancellor Rishi Sunak has just announced the following as an additional range of support for businesses and their workers:
- The Government will pay wages up to 80% or £2,500 per month per person, by way of grants through HMRC, if the employee is furloughed rather than laid off. UPDATE: this can include 80% of the salary as well as Employers National Insurance and Auto Enrolment costs, subject to the upper limit of £2,500.
- These grants can be obtained by any employer. Employers can of course top up these amounts.
- These grants can be backdated to 1st March 2020 and will be available for at least 3 months, maybe longer if necessary. There is ‘no limit on the funding’ available for this from the Government.
- These grants are available for any employee who was on the payroll at the 29th February 2020, regardless of whether they have been laid off since then.
- HMRC is working to get the first of these grants available by the end of April.
- The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans will be available from Monday of next week (though as yet there are still no more details!).
- The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans were launched as being interest free for 6 months. This as been extended to 12 months.
- The next VAT bill for every business will be deferred, so the earliest anyone will have to pay any more VAT will be the end of June. All VAT payments must be brought up to date by the end of the financial year, i.e. by 5th April 2021.
- For workers who have already been laid off, Universal Credit and Working Tax credits have been increased by £1,000 per year each.
- Self Employed people can now access Universal Credit at the same rate as SSP is available for employees.
- The next Payment on Account for Self Employed people has been deferred to January 2021.
- Additional benefits have been made available for renters.
Of particular note is point 4. Our understanding is that if you have laid off staff members since 29th February, according to the CBI representative who was interviewed after the announcements, you can still claim apply for the grant on their behalf and effectively bring them back onto your payroll.
The goal here is to enable businesses to retain good people, and start to build again. We are waiting for confirmation of this one, but thought it worth highlighting.
The Chancellor spoke between 5.15 and 5.40pm this afternoon, so these announcements are very new, and as yet this is all the detail we have, but hopefully it will give far more peace of mind than we had just an hour ago.
As soon as we hear more details around the process of obtaining these funds, we will of course let you know.
The guidance around the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was updated on the 4th April 2020. You can see it here.
Please keep an eye on the following links to stay up to date (at present these do not reflect the new announcements).
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Coronavirus Guidance for Employees, Employers and Businesses
COVID-19: Guidance for employers and Businesses
Tax Helpline to Support Businesses affected by Coronavirus
NHS Coronavirus Information Page