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Chancellor announces expansion of Job Support Scheme with localised lockdown furlough and cash grants for affected businesses

The Chancellor has today confirmed an expansion to the previously announced Job Support Scheme.

Businesses whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who will be unable to attend work, as well as cash grants to support fixed costs during the period of closure.  The Job Support Scheme (JSS) will now:

  • Be expanded to support businesses across the UK who will be required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions
  • See the government pay two thirds of the affected employees’ salaries to protect jobs over the coming months
  • Issue cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns, increased to up to a maximum of £3,000 per month, up from the previously announced £1,500 every three weeks, and they are eligible for payment sooner, after only two weeks of closure rather than three.

How much of employee’s salaries will the government pay?

The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.

How much will employers be required to contribute?

Under the scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and will only be asked to cover NICs and pension contributions, with the government estimating that around half of potential claims are likely not to incur employer NICs or auto-enrolment pension contributions and so will not face any employer contribution.

Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to lockdown restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.

When does the Scheme begin?

The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review in January.

When will employers start to receive the grant funding?

Payments to businesses will be made in arrears, via a HMRC claims service that will be available from early December.

What if my businesses is required to close before 1st November?

Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the CJRS.

Where in the UK does the Scheme operate?

The scheme will operate across the UK.

What about the cash grants?

The government is increasing the cash grants to businesses in England forced to close in local lockdown areas in order to financially support them with fixed costs. These grants will be linked to rateable values, with up to £3,000 per month rather than up to £1,500 every three weeks, and they are eligible for payment sooner, after only two weeks of closure rather than three.

Can we claim this if we are claiming other financial support?

The expanded measures will sit alongside the Job Support Scheme and the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus (JRB).

Where can I get further details?

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

What type of businesses can claim?

The scheme covers businesses that, as a result of restrictions set by one or more of the four governments in the UK, are legally required to close their premises. This includes businesses that are required to provide only delivery and collection services from their premises, or food and drink outdoors from their premises.

What eligibility criteria is there?

  • To be eligible employees must be employed and an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 23 September.
  • Under the JSS furlough scheme, employees will need to be furloughed for a minimum of seven consecutive days at any given time

Is my business eligible for this new lockdown grant, and for how much?

In order to receive the lockdown grant, small businesses with a rateable value of or below £15,000 will receive grants of £667 per two weeks of closure (£1,334 per month); medium sized businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 per month and £51,000 will receive grants of £1,000 per two weeks of closure (£2,000 per month); and larger businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over will receive grants of £1,500 per two weeks of closure (£3,000 per month).

The lockdown grant will also include businesses which have been forced to close on a national rather than a local basis.

As soon as further details of the claim scheme are made available we will of course keep you updated.

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