Chancellor Increases Financial Support for Businesses

The news continues to be full of all things Coronavirus. Yesterday the Chancellor announced increased financial support for businesses and workers. As we have seen throughout the pandemic, the support offered by the Government will move, as the landscape changes. As always, we need to put a health warning on these headline announcements, as the detail will follow later and may include finer details:

  • Self Employment Income Support Grant
    • The next two grants that were announced back in September have been increased to 40%, from 20% (maximum now £3,750 instead of £1,875)
    • The two periods are November to January and February to April
    • Grants will be available to anyone who was previously eligible for the first two grants and meet the specific requirements for each of the new periods. Currently detailed guidance for eligibility for the new periods is not available
    • No specific dates have been announced for when claims can be made
  • Job Support Scheme
    • This is the scheme that replaces furlough from November onwards
    • This new scheme requires employees to be working at least some of the time and the amount required to qualify has been reduced to 20%, from 33% i.e. if you have an employee who normally works 5 days, as long as they work 1 day they will qualify for the scheme
    • The employer contribution has now been reduced, for any unworked hours. The employee will get 67% of unworked hours paid for. Of this, the Government will contribute 62% and the employer 5%. E.g. if the unworked hours amount was £1,000, the Government will contribute £620 and the employer £50 of this.
    • These are significant improvements to the scheme for employers
  • Business Grants
    • The Chancellor announced that grants would be available of up to £2,100 per month, primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector adversely impacted in high-alert areas.
    • We think this is level 2 alert areas and above

There are also some other items of news this week that you may find of interest:

  • Furlough Scheme £1,000 Cash Grants
    • The Chancellor announced some time ago that for those employees who have been furloughed and are still employed at the end of January that there would be a cash grant paid to the business for each one
    • To qualify your staff must have been furloughed, but in addition must earn on average £520 per month through the period of November to January
  • HMRC and Airbnb
    • Airbnb have agreed to provide HMRC with information about income received by landlords. Anyone receiving Airbnb income, who has not declared such income, are advised to declare any such income before HMRC contact you!
  • Working from Home Tax Relief
    • Employees who are required to work from home (for even 1 day from 6 April) can apply for tax relief on £6 per week without the need to justify the expenses.
    • Any employees who qualify for this tax advantage should contact HMRC to claim the relief. There is an HMRC micro site, but this requires the employee to have a Government Gateway ID. Alternatively they can call HMRC

This week we have sent out the invitations to join our Tax Investigation Insurance Scheme. The scheme protects you from additional accountancy fees arising from tax investigations. It also entitles you to a free legal, health and safety and HR helpline. Additionally this year the scheme will cover investigations into furlough claims and Self Employment Income Support claims, at no additional cost.  Please contact us for more information.

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Please be aware that we are reviewing our policy regards COVID 19 on, at least, a weekly basis.

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Best wishes and stay safe!