Latest on government support for businesses affected by coronavirus restrictions

With new coronavirus restrictions on hospitality and other businesses, chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled measures to help companies deal with the impact. This post is being updated with the latest details.

Job Support Scheme changes

On 22 October, Sunak said the government’s Job Support Scheme, which replaces the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme when it ends in October, is being changed.

When it was originally announced, employers were required to pay a third of their employees’ wages for hours not worked, and employees had to be working a minimum 33% of their normal hours.

The employer contribution to unworked hours has now been reduced to 5%, and the minimum hours requirement cut to 20%. That means those working one day a week will now be eligible. 

The government will provide up to 61.67% of wages for hours not worked, up to £1541.75 per month.

An RTI submission notifying payment to HMRC must have been made for each employee on or before 23 September. Payments to employers will be made monthly in arrears with the first payments made in December.

The scheme is open to businesses across the UK and will remain open for six months, with a review in January.

The Job Support Scheme will start on 1 November.

Grants for businesses

Businesses in England forced to close due to local lockdown measures in tier three very high alert level areas can access grants once they have been closed for a minimum two weeks.

Small businesses with a rateable value of or below £15,000 can claim £1,300 per month; medium sized businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 can claim £2,000 per month; and larger businesses can claim £3,000. The payments will be made in fortnightly installments.

The grants will be distributed by local authorities

On 22 October, Sunak announced that businesses in tier two high-alert level areas which are not legally closed, but severely impacted by the restrictions on socialising can also access grants as follows:

  • Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under: Grants of £934 per month.
  • Properties with a rateable value of between £15,000-£51,000: Grants of £1,400 per month.
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51,000: Grants of £2,100 per month.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The third grant for self-employed people through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme will be increased to cover 40% of three months’ average trading profits, up from the previously announced 20%.

Grants will be paid in two instalments each covering three months. The first grant of up to £3,750 will cover November 2020 until January 2021.

Self-employed individuals must have been previously eligible for the first and second SEISS grant to qualify for the third grant. That means the chancellor has not responded to the very strong campaigning by groups like Excluded UK and Forgotten Ltd to address the gaps in small business support.

Published by Dan Martin

Spotty socks lover and grammar fanatic

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