A (hopefully) useful summary of the announcements this week, in relation to the recent Coronavirus crisis. The unprecedented Corona Job retention scheme will hopefully give employers slightly less to worry about in the coming months, assisting them to retain their most valuable asset – their people.
So many hours go into recruiting and training our people, they earn us money, they develop relationships with our clients, they become part of the fabric of our companies and play a massive part in the success of an SME. Thank goodness there is now a way of being able to protect them following the announcements today.
All businesses will be eligible to contact HMRC to apply for a grant for 80% of wages for employees who are not working, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. This will be backdated to 1 March 2020 and will be open initially for 3 months, with extensions promised if necessary. Employers can of course top this up further if they choose to. The Chancellor said that there will be ‘no limit’ on the scheme.
Loans for businesses will be available from Monday the 23rd March 2020
The Chancellor announced that the coronavirus business interruption scheme will now be interest-free for 12 months, rather than 6 months as previously planned.
VAT breaks for business
In order to provide further cash flow support, the Chancellor said that he will defer the next quarter of VAT payments until the end of June.
Universal Credit allowance to be raised
The Universal Credit standard allowance is to be raised by £1,000 a year for the next 12 months. The working tax credit basic element is also to be raised by the same amount.
Support for self-employed
Self-employed workers will be able to access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay for employees.
SSP will increase from £94.25/ week to £95.85/ week from 6th April 2020 and will be payable from Day 1 instead of Day 4 for affected individuals including those who are not ill, but are unable to work because they have been advised to self-isolate as per Government guidance.
Those advised to self-isolate for COVID-19 will soon be able to obtain an alternative to the fit note to cover this by contacting NHS111 rather than visiting a doctor. This can be used by employees where employers require evidence.