Job Retention Scheme Extended
A special announcement in Parliament today from Chancellor Rishi Sunak saw the Job Retention Scheme be extended until the end of October, meaning that by the end of that period the government would have been supporting business in that way for 6 months – a level of support not seen anywhere else globally.
The scheme will remain with the same terms – employees can be furloughed, but they cannot do any work, and the government will reimburse the employer 80% of the cost, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
There was, however a mention of changes to the scheme coming into effect from the beginning of August.
The guidance states that from this date, the furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time, with employers asked to pay a percentage towards the wages of furloughed workers.
Unfortunately, this is all the information we have, so despite strong speculation that the government will cut their support level to 60% from this date, this is yet to be confirmed. This is a big step in staging people back to work, without burdening employers with a full payroll cost whilst still rebuilding their business and beginning to generate revenue again.
We eagerly anticipate more information on this, which is expected to be received at the end of this month. In the meantime, a link to the official release from today is below.
Bounce Bank Loans
These loans are now rolling into businesses bank accounts.
The government’s Bounce Back Loan scheme allows small firms and sole traders such as hairdressers, coffee shops and florists to apply for a 100% state-backed loan up to £50,000, capped at 25% of a company’s turnover, interest-free for the first 12 months.
The scheme launched on Monday morning and more than 69,000 Bounce Back Loans worth over £2bn were approved during the first 24 hours, the Chancellor confirmed.
Many of our clients report that this process is very easy (apart from Barclays Customers) and have seen a less than a 48-hour turnaround. Contrast this to the CBIL Scheme with loans taking weeks if not months to come through.
Imagine how much more entrepreneurial we would be as a country if the banks took more risk (or any risk at all for that matter). In my opinion, their no-risk approach means business is stifled – perhaps the BBL scheme is too easy but how many otherwise good businesses have ceased trading in the past because banks drag their heals over lending.
Self Employed Income Support Scheme Claims from 13th May
From tomorrow, the eligible, self-employed will be able to claim under this scheme.
Here is how to claim in 3 easy steps:
- Check you are eligible: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference
- Get your Government Gateway ID and Password Set-Up (Set up may take 5 business days) https://www.gov.uk/log-in-register-hmrc-online-services
- Log in and enter your bank details and a few bits of other relevant info in the claim form released on 13th May
A Safe Working Environment
Finally, a lot has been said about the safe return to work in the past 24 hours, the government have listed some specific guidance on this here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19
It’s well worth a read as it does go into a fair amount of detail. Here at Woolmer & Kennedy we have kept the office open but have taken these precautions to keep everyone safe:
- We have installed hand sanitizers in the office entrance and in the main office
- We have locked the front door, installed a bell and are asking visitors to book in before arriving to drop or collect records
- We are not conducting face to face meetings instead we are using Zoom and the telephone.
- We are using email much more to communicate with our customers.
- Desks are side by side facing and are at least 2m away from each other
- We make our own tea now – no more tea round 🙁
I think and hope that some businesses can carry on if we are all sensible and adopt some safe practices.