Further Economic Support Announced

In light of the deteriorating situation, the Government has announced a country-wide lockdown, which is scheduled to take place between 5 November and 2 December 2020. The measures announced to date to assist individuals and businesses are as follows:

Job Retention Support Scheme Extension

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been in place since March 2020 in order to assist employers who could not maintain their workforce because their operations have been affected by coronavirus. Use of the scheme has been substantial and continues to be so. The scheme was expected to end in October 2020, however the Government now confirmed that they would keep the scheme open to provide support during the national lockdown. The national lockdown is expected to last between 5 November and 2 December 2020.

Employees who have been on the payroll before 30 October 2020 would be eligible for this furlough extension.

The furlough can be operated on a flexible basis as well as allowing for employees to be fully furloughed.

Government support will be 80% of the employees’ unpaid hours (capped at £2500 per month), with employers having to cover the employees’ worked hours, employer national insurance contributions and employer pension contributions.

Employers will have the option to top up their employees’ wages, if they wish to.

The Job Support Scheme is now expected to commence once the Job Retention Support Scheme ceased.

Business Grants

Businesses that are required to close in England due to local / national restrictions will be eligible for business grants.

– for rateable values of £15k or under, the grant value is £1,334 per month / £667 per two weeks

– for rateable values between £15k and £51k, the grant value is £2,000 per month / £1,000 per two weeks

– for rateable values of £51k or over, the grant value is £3,000 per month / £1,500 per two weeks

Our understanding is that local governments may have been provided with additional support for discretionary grants, so if you received a discretionary grant before, it may be worth contacting your local council to find out about additional support.

Mortgage holidays

The Government also confirmed that mortgage holidays that were scheduled to end at the end of October will no longer end either.

For those who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet requested a mortgage holiday, the option to request a six month payment holiday will remain open. Those who have already requested a payment holiday will be able to top up by up to six months.

The Government confirmed that taking up either of these options would not be recorded on individuals’ credit files, with further announcement expected from the FCA on 2 November 2020.

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