The Chancellor has announced the next stage of the Winter Economy Plan, designed to give extra support for UK businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions.
The main points of the next stage are:
- Where businesses have been forced to close for at least seven days, the government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries up to £2100 per month.
- The previously announced scheme of cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns will be increased up to a maximum of £3,000 per month.
Under the expanded Winter Economy Plan, firms whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work.
The government will support eligible businesses who have been subjected to restrictions due to COVID 19, and whose employees have been off work for at least seven consecutive days.
The government will pay two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month. Employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and only asked to cover national insurance (NICS) and pension contributions.
The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review in January. Payments to businesses will be made in arrears, via a HMRC claims service that will be available from early December. Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the CJRS (the original furlough scheme). Businesses do not have utilised the previous CJRS scheme in order use this new scheme.
In addition to the ‘furlough mark two’ outlined above, the government is increasing the cash grants to businesses in England forced to shut in local lockdowns to support with their fixed costs. These grants will be linked to rateable values.
Businesses with a rateable value of £15k or less will be eligible for £1300 per month, those with a rateable value between £15k and £51k will get £2000 per month and those whose premises have a rateable value over £51k will receive £3000 per month in two fortnightly instalments.
These latest measures will sit alongside the original Job Support Scheme, which is designed to support businesses facing a low demand over the winter months, by contributing to the wages of workers on shorter hours, and the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus which encourages employers to keep staff on payroll.