At the time of writing, the UK is deep within its second national lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Times remain incredibly tough for many families and businesses out there, despite positive news emerging about successful vaccination trials. Certainly, if you’re a business owner, you’re probably still worried about what the future holds.
There will forever be debates about whether or not the government is doing enough to help every corner of the economy, but look hard enough, and you’ll discover that there is some form of support available for many scenarios.
The latest round of government-backed grants are a good example of this. And to save you trawling through their website to find the information you need, we’ve summarised the most important updates, below.
Please bear in mind that these details are correct at the time of publishing, but are subject to change, so remember to check the government’s website for the most up-to-date advice.
An extension to the self-employment income support grant
The government is making two additional grants available for self-employed workers in the UK. Both are available for three months, covering the following periods:
- November 2020 – January 2021
- February 2021 – April 2021
You can claim these grants if you’re either an individual sole trade or a member of a partnership. However, to qualify, you’ll need to have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
You’ll also need to declare that you intend to continue trading but have been impacted by coronavirus (this applies whether you’ve completely downed tools or have simply experienced reduced demand).
This six-month extension is for a grant which is calculated at 80% of three months’ average monthly trading profits. This is an increase from the previous 55% and is paid out in a single instalment of up to £7,500.
You’ll be able to claim the grant from 30th November, and further details can be found here.
Business rates grants
The government has introduced a Local Restrictions Support Grant, which is available to rate-paying businesses that have been forced to close under lockdown guidelines.
The grant is based on your premise’s rateable value and is paid every four weeks while the restrictions are in place.
The amount you can claim is bracketed as follows:
- Rateable value up to £15,000 = £1,334 grant
- Rateable value of £15,001 to £50,999 = £2,000 grant
- Rateable value of £51,000 and over = £3,000 grant
These grants will be particularly useful for hospitality businesses and those operating in retail. However, it’s important to note that they’ll be distributed by local authorities, therefore we recommend checking your own local council’s website for further details.
Furlough is back – until March 2021
When the second lockdown was announced for November, it was clear the government would have to do something about the furlough scheme (or Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as it is officially known) which was due to end.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak actually went further than most people expected with this, by extending the furlough scheme until March 2021 (although it will be reviewed in January 2021, too).
It replaces the Job Support Scheme, but the Jobs Retention Bonus has been retained, and will be paid out in February.
The furlough rules remain pretty much unchanged. To be eligible, employees need to stop working completely for the hours being claimed, for which the government will stump up 80% of their usual salary. The maximum is still £2,500 per month, and employers must continue to pay National Insurance and pension contributions for the hours not worked.
Sunak has hinted that further retention incentives may arrive at some stage, but it’s best to grab what you can now if you intend to furlough employees. Full details can be found here.
We hope the above proves helpful for your business, but if you have any questions about the latest round of grants and coronavirus support for businesses, just get in touch with the team at Trinity. We understand this is a tricky time for many businesses, and we’re here to support you.