Yesterday the Chancellor announced the latest instalment of measures to protect jobs and keep businesses afloat, as the government’s spending spree continues.
The announcements made yesterday, Friday 20 March, confirmed:
- The launch of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The scheme will be available to all businesses, regardless of the size of the entity, enabling them to retain workers on payroll by providing a grant to cover 80% of wages, backdated to 1 March 2020 and available for 3 months (which will be extended if required). The affected employees must be designated as ‘furloughed workers’ before the information can be submitted to HMRC. Furloughed workers: must have been on your PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020; must not undertake work for or on behalf of the organisation; and will be subject to usual income tax and other deductions. The grant is expected to be available before the end of April. In the meantime, HMRC are working urgently on a reimbursement platform. Full details at gov.uk.*
- Further cash flow support by deferring any VAT due on 7th April 2020 (February quarter), 7th May 2020 (March quarter) and 7th June 2020 (April quarter) to 31st March 2021.
- Deferral of 31st July 2020 self-assessment payment to 31st January 2021.
- The extension of the interest free period of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) from 6 months to 12 months. It is expected that funds will be available from Monday 23 March 2020.
- Extension of Universal Credit to the self-employed at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay for employees.
Speaking on Friday’s update, Heather Cunningham, Managing Director said: “This has been a long week for everyone, and particularly for those at the helm of business who are being forced to make difficult decisions in uncertain times. The job retention scheme will be a huge help in relieving the immediate anxieties of many employers and employees alike. Once this has been digested we are still facing a dire economic situation – and gaps in financial assistance to certain groups such as freelancers. We are strongly advising clients to make use of the HMRC helpline, and to speak to their lenders and advisors about the support available to them.”
Details of announcements from earlier in the week can be found in our earlier blog here.
If you have any concerns that you would like to discuss in more detail, please contact your usual relationship principal or call us on 0161 905 1616.
Further information available:
- HMRC’s new helpline – 0800 024 1222 (note new number)
- COVID-19: support for businesses
- COVID-19: guidance for employees
*These are the latest details, following further announcements on Thursday 26 March