Since March more measures to support businesses and self-employed during the COVID-19 crisis has been announced by the Government. Below you’ll find a quick summary of the latest updates, how they may affect you and how to access them.
1. Job Retention Scheme
Extra support has been announced for employers and furloughed employees in the form of a 4-month extension to the Job Retention Scheme.
The government has confirmed the scheme will now continue until October, with furloughed employees continuing to get 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500.
Another update to the scheme includes allowing furloughed employees back to work on a part-time basis from August. However, employers will be asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries. More details are expected at end of the May.
Read about the Job Retention Scheme in full.
2. Bounce Back loans
If you’re one of the businesses that’s losing revenue or experiencing problems with cash flow due to COVID-19, then you may be considering a bounce back loan. The good news is, the scheme is now open for applications and you can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 for up to six years. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there are no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. The government has also said it will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.
3. Small Business grants
When the measures were first announced additional funding was made available to businesses already paying little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) or tapered relief. Since then, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (aka BEIS) has created a toolkit with regional graphics and messaging to help all eligible businesses in England access it. There’s also now a new discretionary fund, which will help small businesses with any ongoing fixed property related costs.
3. HMRC Tax credits
The government has now confirmed anyone receiving tax credits will still receive payments, something that will come as good news for all those working fewer hours or furloughed due to COVID-19.
Read more on HMRC tax credits.
4. HMRC Self-employment eligibility tool
If you’re hoping to be eligible for the new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, you’ll be pleased to hear HMRC started contacting customers who may eligible this week. The scheme is for those who are self-employed and have lost income due to COVID-19. You can claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your average trading profits. That’s up to a maximum of £7,500, equivalent to three months’ profits.
5. Department for Education (DfE) Skills Toolkit
A new online platform is now available that gives people easy access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses, which were developed in consultation with top businesses and education experts. The aim is to help individuals of all levels (introductory to advanced) build up skills, progress in work and boost job prospects.
Interested? You don’t need to be furloughed or out of work to access the toolkit. It’s open to everyone wanting to learn new skills or upgrade their CV. See the full DfE Skills Toolkit.