As we find ourselves in another national lockdown, the government has increased support by introducing £4.6b towards new lockdown grants to support businesses. This update covers the details of these new grants together with some recent updates across the government’s other COVID-19 business support measures.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
The CJRS has now been extended to operate until 30 April 2021. The main features are covered in our update of 6 November 2020. However, the following changes have taken place:
- The period for which the government will pay 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked is extended till the end of April 2021.
- Employers continue to be required to pay wages, National Insurance Contributions (NIC) and pensions for hours worked, and NIC and pensions for hours not worked.
- From February 2021, HMRC will publish information about employers who claim for periods starting on or after 1 December 2020. This measure will be undertaken to deter fraudulent claims, and the following information will be published on GOV.UK:
- the employer name
- an indication of the value of the claim within a banded range
- the company number for companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)
- From February 2021 HMRC will be improving the information available to furloughed employees by including details of claims made for them, for claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020 in their Personal Tax Account on GOV.UK.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
Our update of 6 November contains details of the Third Grant for self-employed people.
- The online service to claim this grant is now open and can be accessed at
- Eligible individuals must make their claim for the Third Grant on or before Friday, 29 January 2021.
The Government has already announced that there will be a fourth SEISS grant covering February 2021 to April 2021. Further details, including the level, of the Fourth Grant has not yet been provided by the government but we will provide an update once the details become available.
Business Support Grants
On 5 January 2021, the Chancellor announced one-off top up grants for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
- These grants will be available to any UK business in these sectors, which is legally required to close and which cannot operate effectively remotely.
- The grants will be given on a “per-property” basis.
- Grant amounts will be available as illustrated in the table below:
|Rateable value of business premises||Amount of one-off top up grant|
|£15,000 or under||£4,000|
|£15,001 - £51,000||£6,000|
Businesses will be required to apply to their Local Authority as with previous grants that are linked to business premises.
The government is to provide an additional £594m to Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations in order to support other business, affected by the restrictions, and which are not eligible for the one-off top up grants. Businesses will need to apply to their Local Authorities for this support.
Our update of 3 November covers the grants available under the LRSG from 1 November 2020 until 30 April 2020. Applications need to be made with Local Authorities.
On 31 October 2020 the government had announced that Local Authorities in England will receive funding of £1.1bn, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, when the relevant Local Authority first entered tier 3 restrictions or when widespread national restrictions were imposed.
- This funding has been made available to Local Authorities to enable them to make one-off payments to support businesses more broadly.
- The ARG is only available to businesses that do not directly pay business rates or those businesses that do not have to legally close but which are impacted by the restrictions.
- Local Authorities have been given the freedom to determine the eligibility criteria for the ARG and we advise that you check with your Local Authority to see if your business can benefit from the help.
Grant income received by a business is taxable. The ARG will need to be included as income in the tax return of the business. Only businesses which make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax.
Guarantee loan schemes
The government has further extended the application window for the following loans to the end of March 2021.
- Bounce Back Loan Scheme,
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and
- Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
The Future Fund will now close for new applications as originally intended on 31 January 2021.
More details of these schemes can be found in previous updates.
The government has also announced that more loan support will be available beyond March 2021, through a successor loan scheme. Details of this successor loan scheme are yet to be published by the government.
If you wish to discuss any of the key points and receive advice on how best to manage the next steps, then please contact us. We understand the difficulties that businesses face during this challenging time, and we can offer guidance to you, your business and your employees.