Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a second national lockdown for England to prevent a “medical and moral disaster” for the NHS. Pubs, restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops will close for four weeks from Thursday 4 November, he said. Schools, colleges and universities will stay open.

On 7 August and 15 September, the Chancellor categorically ruled out an extension of the furlough scheme beyond 31 October. On 24 September, the Job Support Scheme (JSS) was introduced to replace furlough as of 1 November. On the 22nd October changes were made to the JSS which left us scrambling to get things ready and then on Saturday 31st October the JSS was ditched for a month (at least). Its no surprise if you’re feeling a bit confused!

So, here’s what we know so far…

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until December
  • The CJRS will ensure employees receive 80% of their salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500
  • Businesses will have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis or furlough them full-time. Employers will be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions
  • Employers are able to choose to top up employee wages above the grant at their own expense if they wish
  • Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS
  • To be eligible to be claimed for under this extension, employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 30th October 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment for that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 30th October 2020
  • The Government will confirm shortly when claims can first be made in respect of employee wage costs during November. But there will be no gap in eligibility for support between the previously announced end-date of CJRS and this extension
  • Employees can be on any type of contract- zero hours, fixed term etc.
  • Businesses will be paid upfront to cover wages costs

Mortgage payment holidays

Mortgage payment holidays will no longer end 31 October. Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday. Those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.

The FCA will announce further information today and we will update you when we have seen it.

Business Grants

Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.

There will no doubt be further guidance released by the government in the coming weeks. Rest assured we will keep you fully informed of the new measures as we get further details.

Finally, if you have questions or need some advice please get in contact. We are here to support you!