Update 5th November

Another day for Major changes/releases and, in addition, developments with grants from Councils. Please see below a summary:

EXTENSION TO THE CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME
Today the Chancellor has announced that CJRS will be extended until the end of March 2021 for all parts of the UK. For claim periods running to 31 January 2021, the UK Government will pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The UK Government will review the policy in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.

JOB RETENTION BONUS

This was due to be paid in January at £1,000 per employee still retained. This will no longer be paid as the CJRS will be available at that time. An alternative retention incentive will be put in place at a later date.

SELF-EMPLOYMENT INCOME SUPPORT SCHEME (SEISS) GRANT EXTENSION
The SEISS was increased on Tuesday to 55% for the next quarter. Today the Chancellor announced that the grant is to be increased from 55% to 80% of trading profits.
This grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. The UK Government will pay a taxable grant which is based on 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500. This is similar to the grant paid in April.

The SEISS Grant Extension will last for six months in total, from 1 November 2020 to 30 April 2021. A further grant will cover February to April, as grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period. The Government will set out further details, including the level of grant for the second tranche, in due course.

Full details on checking if you are eligible for the current grant and how to claim will be published on GOV.UK week commencing 23 November. As previously mentioned it is expected that the claim gateway will be open on 30th November. 

LOCAL AUTHORITY GRANTS

We are aware that both Sheffield and Doncaster local authorities have opened their website for applications for the Lockdown Support Grant that was announced by the Chancellor. This was initially for areas under Tier 3 restrictions and was later extended to Tier 2. These are, at the moment, superceded as we have a National Lockdown. However, the LSG does take into account both schemes and hence this is split. However, the general requirements are:-

You may be eligible for a grant if you meet all of the following conditions:-
a)       You are registered for business rates, and
b)      You were trading but have been forced to close
c)       You provide services in person to customers from your premises

You can apply if either:
a)       You had to close due to Tier 3 restrictions, or
b)      You had to close because of the National Lockdown

This usually applies under Tier 3 restrictions to:-
1)      Pubs, bars and licensed premises that do not serve substantial meals
2)      Casinos, betting shops and adult gaming centres
3)      Soft play centres

In addition, you can apply if you were forced to close under the National Lockdown restrictions that came into force today. This usually applies to:
1)      Non essential retail outlets
2)      All hospitality
3)      Leisure

The size of the grant will depend on your rateable value and we understand that they are as follows, although once again this may vary with area:-

RATEABLE VALUE             FOR 4 WEEKS                     FOR 2 WEEKS
  £15,000 or less                   £1,334                                   £   667
£15,001 to £50,999              £2,000                                   £1,000
£51,000 and over                £3,000                                   £1,500


The grant is NOT available for businesses who:
1)      Are outside the scope of the localised or National restrictions, or
2)      That decide to close when not required to

We understand that a separate scheme will be announced to cover these businesses but this may vary from local authority to authority. The Government has allocated funds to authorities and the release of these funds is at their discretion

These changes to the local grants, as well as being frequent, are quite complicated and will probably vary from area to area. If anyone has practical issues when applying, please can you let us know in order that we can advise other clients in the same area.

That’s all for the moment but watch this space!

Take care and good luck during Lockdown