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Following the Government's announcement of a further lockdown in England on 31st October, the Job Support Scheme, designed to support employers facing lower demand or legal closure due to coronavirus restrictions, to keep their employees in work, has been placed on indefinite hold. Instead, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended until at least 31st March 2021.

The next stage of the Job Support Scheme is to help firms that “may have to close in the coming weeks or months”. The update on restrictions, which could see pubs and restaurants shut in the worst-affected areas, is due on Monday. The Chancellor announced the new financial support scheme will be a six-month plan starting on 1st November, with a three-month review point in January.

The extended scheme will see the Government pay two thirds of employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,100 per month, to protect jobs over the coming months. Employers will not be required to contribute towards employees’ wages however will be asked to cover the costs of national insurance and pension contributions. The Treasury predicts that around 50% of potential claims are not likely to incur these additional costs.

Qualifying businesses will be those which are subject to restrictions and staff will need to be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days for employers to qualify for support. The scheme will also apply to businesses required to provide delivery or collection only, together with those which operate outdoors.

In line with the rest of the Job Support Scheme, payments to businesses will be made in arrears via an HMRC claims service which will be available from early December.

The Chancellor confirmed that the extended scheme will be UK wide and that the UK Government would work with the devolved administrations to ensure the scheme operates effectively across all four nations.

Cash grants in England of up to £3,000 per month payable every two weeks are also anticipated for businesses required to close in local lockdown areas. This is an increase from the previously announced grants of £1,500 available every three weeks. These cash grants will be linked to rateable values as follows:-

 Rateable value

 Grant/month

 £15,000 and below 

 £1,300

 £15,001 to £51,000 

 £2,000

 Above £51,000

 £3,000

 

A further £1.3bn has also been added to the £12.7bn already announced in July, for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales with similar measures.

Further guidance on the scheme will be set out by HMRC in due course.

Last updated: 13th November 2020

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