Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s extended support for businesses announced

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has cancelled the Autumn budget and will announce measures to extend and replace financial support for businesses in Parliament.

He described the furlough scheme as being the wrong type of support for where the economy and businesses are now – and said the government needs to be supporting people in viable jobs which provide genuine support, rather than extending the furlough scheme.

The next phase of support announced is as follows:-

Jobs Support Scheme.  

The government will directly support the wages of people in work, where businesses keep employees in a job but on shorter hours.  The key principles of this scheme are:-

  • Employees must work at least a third of their normal hours and be paid those wages by their employer.  The government and employer will pay the remaining 2/3rds of the wages (for the rest of their normal hours) equally between them.  This means employees working 33% of their hours will receive 77% of their pay, and employers will be paying 55% of the wages, with the government paying 22%.
  • To target the firms who need it the most – All SMEs eligible.  Larger businesses which are struggling as a result of the Coronavirus may be eligible.
  • It will be open to employers across the UK even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme
  • It will run for 6 months starting in November.
  • Businesses can claim for this and the Jobs Retention Bonus.

Self-Employment support scheme

The Self Employment support scheme will be extended ‘on similar terms’ to the previous 2 rounds of support.

Bounce Back Loans

The terms of the Bounce bank and Coronavirus Business Support Loans will become ‘Pay as you grow’, meaning that:

  • Loan repayment terms can be extended for 6 to 10 years, businesses can opt to pay interest only, or can freeze payments for up to 6 months if in real trouble
  • Government guarantee on loans will be extended for up to 10 years
  • The deadline of all loan schemes will be extended to the end of this year
  • A new loan programme is being developed to start in January

VAT bills

Businesses which deferred their VAT bill payments to March next year can spread their bill over 11 smaller interest free payments.

Hospitality & Tourism

The VAT rate for hospitality and tourism businesses will no longer increase back to 20% in January and will instead remain at 5% until March 31st 2021.

NHS COVID-19 App launches

The NHS COVID-19 app launches nationwide today to help control COVID-19 transmission alongside national and local contact tracing. 

Features of the app include contact tracing using Bluetooth, risk alerts based on postcode district, QR check-in at venues, symptom checker and test booking – with user privacy and data security at its heart.  

Businesses are now required by law to display the official NHS QR code posters from today so people can check-in at different premises with the app.  This can be as well as or instead of your existing contact tracing system in place. 

People across England and Wales are being urged to download the NHS COVID-19 app to help control the spread of coronavirus and protect themselves and their loved ones as case numbers rise.

Clarification on restrictions on drive-thru premises

The Council have sought and provided clarification on whether drive-thru businesses need to close between 22:00 and 05:00 as with other hospitality businesses.  Their understanding is that they are not captured by this restriction and can trade after 10pm, the other parts of the operation at the premises such as sit in restaurant areas will need to close.

You can find more information on the restrictions for businesses on the Council website https://www.blackburn.gov.uk/coronavirus/support-business

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