UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a second national lockdown for England – with a package of support for workers and businesses.
In England pubs, restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops will have to close for four weeks from Thursday, he said.
This has come alongside a further injection of financial support to keep businesses alive and help stem job losses.
There are a mixture of measures – some UK wide and others focused on firms in England forced to close under the lockdown, but with consequences for funding for Welsh Government.
In Wales, the firebreak lockdown ends on November 9 but companies will remain impacted from the measures over the border – including the stay at home rule. There will also be a new set of national restrictions in Wales – with additional details to be released on Monday.
It means many businesses will require ongoing support in the coming weeks.
Here is how firms could benefit.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – also known as the Furlough scheme – will now remain open until December. It will be available UK wide.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak had previously rejected continuing the furlough scheme for workers in lockdown in Wales.
But after yesterday’s announcement employees will receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.
Under the extended scheme, the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced compared to the current scheme, which ended yesterday.
This means the extended furlough scheme is more generous for employers than it was in October and more generous than the Job Support Scheme which was due to replace it this month.
While hospitality and non-essential retail businesses in Wales will not be required to close after November 9 they can still benefit from the scheme. So for example if a hotel in North Wales remains closed due to any ongoing travel restrictions they can place its staff on furlough for November.
Businesses will be paid upfront to cover wages costs. There will be a short period when they need to change the legal terms of the scheme and update the system and businesses will be paid in arrears for that period.
Employers will pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work. Flexible furloughing will be allowed in addition to full-time furloughing.
To be eligible to be claimed for under this extension, employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 30th October 2020.
According to Which? the Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grants will not increase despite the extension to the furlough scheme for employees into November.
Under the current scheme self-employed workers will be able to claim 40 per cent of their previous earnings.
Business Grants (England only)
Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:
- 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.
Also, £1.1bn is being given to Local Authorities, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly.
- Business grant policy is fully devolved. Welsh Government will receive Barnett consequentials which they could use to establish similar schemes. It is hoped in Wales this will mean additional business grant funding from Welsh Government for struggling companies with existing Covid funds massively over-subscribed. This could include lockdown lost income support for larger businesses with rateable values over £51,000, which have been overlooked so far.
Mortgage payment holidays will no longer end on October 31.
Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.
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