The Government is providing unprecedented levels of support to tackle COVID-19. A COVID-19 Response Fund has been provided, to fund pressures in the NHS, support local authorities to manage pressures on social care and support vulnerable people, and to help deal with pressures on other public services.
November 2020 Update
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Chancellor has confirmed that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be extended until the end of March 2021. The scheme will operate on the same terms as the previous scheme and mirror the levels of support available under the scheme in August – this means that the Government will pay 80 per cent of wages up to a cap of £2,500 for hours not worked. Employers will not have to make any contribution to their employees’ wages for the hours not worked – they will only be asked to cover National Insurance and Employer pension contributions, which for the average claim accounts for just 5 per cent of total employment costs (or £70 per employee per month). Claims can be made from next week and as previously, paid within 6 working days.
There will be no gap in support between the previously announced end date of CJRS and this extension.
How will it work?
- Employers will have flexibility to ask their employees to work on a part-time basis and furlough them for the rest of their usual working hours, or furlough them full-time. Employers will have to cover their wages for any hours they work as well as all employer National Insurance and employer pension contributions.
- Employers will be able to claim either shortly before, during or after running their payroll. There will be a short period initially when the online claims service will be closed while we update the system, and employers will be able to claim in arrears for that period.
How to check if employees are eligible:
- Employers can claim for employees who were on their PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020. Employers must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.
- If employees were on an employer’s payroll on 23 September 2020 (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 23 September) and were made redundant or stopped working for them afterwards, they can also qualify for the scheme if the employer re-employs them.
- Neither the employer or employee needs to have previously used the CJRS.
What employers need to do now:
- Check if their employees are eligible for the scheme, based on the information above.
- Agree working hours with their employees, so employees know if they are furloughed fully or part-time during November.
- Keep the records that support the amount of CJRS grant they claim, in case HMRC need to check it. Employers can view, print or download copies of their previously submitted claims by logging onto their CJRS service online.
- GO to GOV.UK for more information.
Support for the self-employed
The Government has also announced that we will provide more generous support to the self-employed and will pay that support more quickly. We are increasing the support to the self-employed from 40 per cent of trading profits to 80 per cent for November. As SEISS grants are calculated over 3 months, this increases the total level of the grant from 40 per cent to 55 per cent of trading profits for November to January and the maximum grant will increase to £5,160.
This provides broadly equivalent support to the self-employed as we are providing to employees through the Government contribution in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in November and then the Job Support Scheme in the two subsequent months. HMRC will pay this more generous grant sooner than planned and in good time for Christmas – the window for claiming a grant will open on 30 November, two weeks earlier than previously announced.
Who is eligible? To be eligible for the scheme, self-employed individuals - including members of partnerships - must:
- have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme first and second grant (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
- intend to continue to trade and either:
- are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
- were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus
Mortgage payment holidays
Mortgage payment holidays will continue to be available for homeowners. Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six-month holiday and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to a maximum of six months without this being recorded on their credit file. The FCA will announce further details on the scheme, including how customers can continue to apply for this support.
You could get Universal Credit if:
- you have less than £16,000 in savings
- you or your partner is under State Pension age
- If you’re already getting tax credits, they will stop when you or your partner applies for Universal Credit.
You might be able to get Universal Credit at the same time as New Style JSA. Depending on your circumstances, Universal Credit can include additional amounts for things like rent or the costs of raising children.
Find out more or apply for Universal Credit at: https://www.gov.uk/how-to-claim-universal-credit.
The Government have also previously strengthened the safety net for those who need it – increasing Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by £1,000 a year – a cash injection of nearly £7 billion in the welfare system. We are increasing the Universal Credit standard allowance, for 12 months (until March 2021), by £1,000 a year. We will also increase Working Tax Credit by the same amount for 12 months. Together these measures will benefit over 4 million of our most vulnerable households.
The Government have also suspended the minimum income floor for twelve months – meaning self-employed people can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate that is equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.
Support for local businesses in England
Throughout the crisis, we have provided support for businesses. We have confirmed that businesses which are forced to close due to the new restrictions will receive up to £3,000 per month – this is worth over £1 billion a month under the new national restrictions and will benefit over 600,000 businesses. Businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors that have been suffering from reduced demand for a while due to local restrictions will receive back dated grants at 70 per cent of the value of closed grants (up to £2,100 per month) for this period. We are also providing one off funding of £1.1 billion to local authorities to support businesses more broadly over the coming months, who are a key part of our local economies.
Loan extensions: We have announced that we plan to extend our loan schemes – the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Future Fund – to the end of January. We will also adjust the Bounce Back Loan Scheme rules to allow those businesses who have taken out less than their maximum (i.e. less than 25 per cent of their turnover) to top-up their existing loan giving businesses greater flexibility and support. Businesses will be able to take up this option from next week; they can make use of this option once.
The new Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on Sunday 1st November, has now been postponed.
More funding for English Local Authorities to support their local healthcare response
Up to £500 million will be provided to local councils for local public health initiatives, such as additional contact tracing, testing for hard-to-reach groups and communications. The Contain Outbreak Management Fund has already supported several English Upper Tier Local Authorities to fund local public health initiatives. Where necessary, they will have this funding topped up to a maximum of £8 per head of population. If they have not received any to date, they will be entitled to the full £8 per head.
We are also providing additional funding to local authorities to support the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable now that revised guidance is in place nationally. Funding will be provided of up to £14.60 per Clinically Extremely Vulnerable person for the 28-day period that the restrictions are in force. We will review this funding after the 28-day period should the strictest guidance remain in place in any one area once the initial 28-day period is over.
Alongside our £200 billion package of support committed since March, these announcements will give businesses the support and flexibility to adjust and plan over the coming months.
Additional helpful information:
The Government have made a number of changes to benefits and sick pay. The following two organisations provide detailed support and advice about your money in light of coronavirus and new Government measures.
- This up-to-date guide from the Money Advice Service is easy to follow and filled with good advice about sick pay and changes to claiming your benefits during this challenging time. Please visit: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you for more information.
- The advice and benefits and grants calculators at Turn2Us are useful to get support if the coronavirus has had a negative impact on your finances. Please visit: https://www.turn2us.org.uk/get-support/Benefits-and-Coronavirus for more information.
An update on scams
Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic Government messages as a way of appearing authentic. Search 'scams' on GOV.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to email@example.com and texts to 60599.