With the announcement of a second England-wide lockdown beginning Thursday, November 5, 2020, many UK businesses are in an unavoidable position of closure. Government financial support changed rapidly and at the last minute to help this lockdown period. Helen distils the latest advice and guidance on financial support.

Allow me to go Martin Lewis on you and wrap up what we know and the latest advice as efficiently as I can!

Check out the video in full here:

Last weekend’s big Government announcement means we are now back in a lockdown scenario across England. There has been a lot of information that has come out over the last couple of days in terms of business and personal financial support which I wanted to wrap up for you here.

At the time of writing (November 5, 2020) this information is correct but we are still awaiting further detailed guidance from Government.

For the latest up-to-date information please visit HMRC.gov.uk


Furlough Scheme Extended

The furlough scheme was due to come to an end on October 31, 2020 and replaced with the Job Support scheme but that has been postponed for now. UPDATE Nov 5, 2020: Rishi Sunak has just announced that furlough will now be extended until March 2021 but will be reviewed in January.

The furlough contribution from the Government will be 80% of your employee wages, capped at a maximum of £2,500 per month. This applies to both full furlough and flexi furlough. As far aas we are aware, at this moment in time furlough will work on exactly the same terms as before and employers will be asked to cover National Insurance and pension contributions.

In order to be eligible, employees will have needed to be on the payroll as at 23:59pm on Oct 30th 2020.

On the new furlough extension, if you were made redundant but were on the payroll before 23rd September 2020, at your employer’s discretion you can be re-hired and be put on the furlough scheme.

We now know that we can make claims for furlough on 11th November. There is also a deadline on claiming so for November furlough, the deadline is December 14th.


New Grants Available Based on Rateable Value for Businesses Forced to Close

For businesses that have been forced to closed, new grants will be based on rateable value. This is for businesses who have properties and have rates to pay on that property. If you qualify for small business relief you will still be eligible for a grant whether you pay rates or not. This is NOT the rent you pay to your landlord. This is your rateable value which can be found in the top right-hand corner in most cases of the rates bill that you will get from your local authority.

The grant values are believed to be as follows:

  • If your rateable value is less than £15,000, you will receive £1334 per month
  • If your rateable value is between £15,001 and £51,000 you will receive £2000 per month
  • If your rateable value is above £51,001 you will receive £3000 per month

At this point, I can’t see a cap on that £51,001 rateable value and above. At this point, it does not look like there is a ceiling, but I must exercise caution when outlining this update as detailed guidance is still being sought.


Discretionary Grants for Impacted Businesses

There is word that discretionary grants will be available to businesses that may still be open, but may have been greatly impacted and are not eligible for other grants. For example, your business might be part of the supply chain for hospitality venues that have closed. You may work in food or drink and even though you are able to stay open, your key customers have had to close. These discretionary grants may also be available for those businesses without properties and therefore not eligible for the grants based on rateable value. These discretionary grants are thin on the ground on the latest details but we suspect you will need to make an application to your local authority website. You may also seek out your local growth hub to find out about specific regional help available.


Government-Backed Loans Deadlines Extended

The Government-backed CBILs, Bounceback and the Future Fund loans were due to finish on November 30th but that deadline has been extended until January 31st. You are now able to apply for any of these loans that have been available throughout this year if you haven’t already done so. The bounceback loan was based on up to 25% of your annual turnover up to a maximum of £50,000. If you didn’t take the full 25% limit, you can apply to receive the top-up amount to take it up to 25% in total from Monday, November 9 2020.


Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Increased to 80% for November, December and January

In September 2020 it was announced that there would be two further SEISS grants available to cover the period from November to January and February to April 2021. Until November 5 2020, the next SEISS grant was going to work out to 55% of trading profits for the three month period of November (80% trading profits) December (40% of trading profits) and January (40% of trading profits). UPDATE Nov 5, 2020: Rishi Sunak has just announced that SEISS grants will be 80% of trading profits for November, December and January.

The claim period to claim this next SEISS has been brought forward to November 30th. There will be more info on how to do that over the next few weeks. SEISS applications for this next grant will be able to go in from the end of this month. Even if you have not made a claim in the last two SEISS grant rounds, if your business has been affected adversely, please still see if you are eligible to apply when applications open. Please be aware that the percentage of trading profits for the grant between Feb and April 2021 is yet to be decided.


September VAT Payments Due by November 7th

Those of you that have September VAT payments due by 7th of November, if it was me personally if you haven’t already paid that VAT I would sit on that for a few days. The September quarter is a common period for VAT returns, and while we haven’t seen anything confirmed yet, we might see a deferment for that September VAT payment as I would imagine people are pushing for it. If you are conscious about cashflow in your business, pick up the phone, speak to HMRC if your business has been forced to close and you want to keep that cash. Call them and have a conversation as soon as you can. HMRC are not there to be feared, they’re all everyday people and I’ve always found HMRC staff to be very helpful and accommodating. Here are the details for making a query online, speaking to an advisor on an online chat or calling direct.


Mortgage Holidays Extended

For your personal finances, all mortgage holidays due to end on 31st October have been extended for another 6 months. Most banks will ask you to declare how the pandemic has impacted your finances before allowing a mortgage holiday period. The Financial Conduct Authority is releasing announcements on this all the time. For the latest click here.


Universal Credit Amended Criteria Extended

At the beginning of the pandemic, the government changed the criteria to make Universal credit more accessible and to help those who had fallen through the cracks in the available financial support. The criteria for those able to claim Universal Credit was due to change in the middle of November, it has now been announced that the criteria will remain the same as it has since March 2020 until at least April 2021.


If there is anything we can do to support you right now and help you get through the next few weeks, please do get in touch. You may benefit from taking advantage of our Healthcheck package so we can really help you get clear on your business finances over these next few weeks.