With case numbers rising and local lockdowns introduced in several areas across the UK, the Coronavirus crisis continues to wreak havoc with not only our health, but also jobs, wellbeing and the wider economy.

 

Addressing the House of Commons today (September 24th), Chancellor Rishi Sunak said, “Our task is to move to the next stage of our economic plan, nurturing the recovery by protecting jobs through the difficult winter months.

 

“The primary goal of our economic policy remains unchanged, but the way we achieve that must evolve.”

 

With that, and the ever-changing circumstances surrounding the pandemic and looming lockdowns in mind, the usual Autumn Budget has been scrapped for a more flexible approach, starting with today’s Winter Economy Plan announcement.

 

Here’s everything you need to know from the latest update:

 

Jobs Support Scheme

 

One of the main concerns for employers throughout the crisis has been paying staff wages, with fears heightening as the end of the furlough scheme looms. To combat this, a new Jobs Support Scheme has been established to protect viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months.

 

The new scheme will run for six months starting in November and is designed to keep employees attached to the workforce. Employers will continue to pay the wages for the hours staff work. For hours not worked, the Government and employer will each pay one third of their equivalent salary.

 

Employees must be working at least 33% of their usual hours and the level of grant will be calculated based on the employee’s usual salary.

 

Further guidance on the scheme, and how to apply, will be published in due course.

 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Grant

 

When lockdown was originally introduced in March, many self-employed workers were left with no idea where their next paycheque would come from. Over 2.6 million individuals have since been supported through the SEISS scheme, which has provided more than £13 billion through two consecutive grants.

 

This scheme has now been extended, providing much relief for those who are working on reduced demand due to the Covid-19 outbreak. An initial taxable grant will be given to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January 2021.

 

An additional second grant has also been planned to cover the period from February 2021, though this will likely be adjusted depending on circumstances.

 

Pay as you Grow Scheme

 

As part of his plans the Chancellor also unveiled a new Pay as you Grow scheme, which will lift the burden on more than a million businesses who took out a Bounce Back Loan earlier in the pandemic. The flexible repayment system includes lengthening the loan from six years to ten, cutting monthly repayment by nearly half, and offering interest-only periods and payment holidays.

 

In addition, applications for the government’s Coronavirus loan schemes – the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Future Fund – have now been extended until the end of November.

 

Tax update and deferrals

 

Latest lockdown measures such as 10pm closing times are set to have a great impact on the hospitality industry, which was already struggling to recover from the initial lockdown measures and closures.

 

In a move to support the struggling sector, the temporary VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality industries has today been extended to the end of March 2021. In addition, businesses who deferred their VAT bills will be offered the chance to pay back smaller, interest-free instalments through the New Payment Scheme.

 

If you would like to discuss how any of the latest announcements will affect your business, call our team on 01642 244090.