The Chancellor has announced a further extension to the furlough scheme, which will now run to 30 April 2021.

When the first extension of the scheme was announced, we were told it would be subject to a review in January. The Chancellor has brought that decision forward in a bid to give UK businesses and employees certainty ahead of the New Year.

The extended furlough scheme will continue to mirror levels currently available under the extended CJRS:

– the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500

– employers will pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions only for the hours the employee does not work

The eligibility criteria for the scheme remains unchanged.

Deadline extended for government-backed loans

The deadline to apply for government-backed loans has been further extended to 31 March 2021. This covers bounce back loans, CBILS, CLBILS and the Future Fund. We understand that the planned successor loan programme will still go ahead to provide additional support beyond March.

Further support to be announced in Budget 2021

The Chancellor has confirmed that the Budget will take place on 3 March 2021, and will outline the next phase of the Covid-19 economic support package.

4th SEISS grant

As a reminder, a fourth instalment of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme grant will also be made available for the period 1 February 2021 until 30 April 2021. The percentage of average profits that the fourth grant will cover has not yet been announced, however given the extension of furlough it is highly likely that this will take the form of the third SEISS grant. Note that the third grant had different eligibility criteria to the first two SEISS grants. For more information and to check eligibility, visit GOV.UK.

How can we help?

We understand that these are challenging and uncertain times, and continue to be available to discuss your current situation and the financial support available. If you have new business concerns following the latest updates, or would like help navigating the support you can access, contact your usual relationship practitioner, email intouch@haroldsharp.co.uk or call us on 0161 905 1616.

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