Furlough scheme revived as England locks down
UK chancellor extends CJRS at original 80% until December, with further local grants for businesses forced to close.
As England enters its second lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would remain open until December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.
This is more generous than the current scheme, and replaces the new Job Support Scheme, which was due to be introduced on 1 November and has now been postponed until for a month.
The government has also confirmed that it is increasing its support to the self-employed over the coming months while ensuring people get paid faster than previously planned.
To reflect the recent changes to the furlough scheme, the UK-wide Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be made more generous – with self-employed individuals receiving 80% of their average trading profits for November.
To ensure those who need support get it as soon as possible, payments will also be made more quickly with the claims window being brought forward from 14 December to 30 November.
In addition, business premises forced to close in England are to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant. Also, £1.1bn is being given to local authorities, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly.
Employers small or large, charitable or non-profit, are eligible for the extended Job Retention Scheme, which will continue for a further month.
Businesses will have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis or furlough them full-time, and will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions which, for the average claim, accounts for 5% of total employment costs.
Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:
For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.
The government is expected to set out further guidance on how these schemes will work in due course.