Job Support Scheme expanded and Local Restriction Support Grants increased

coronavirus advice for employers

Further changes to these schemes were made on 22 October 2020, you can view these here

The Chancellor has today announced that the Government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) is being expanded with the aim of protecting jobs and supporting businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions.

As part of this expanded scheme, those businesses whose premises are legally required to close for a period in the forthcoming months, as part of a local or national lockdown will receive grants. These grants will help to pay staff who can no longer work.

How much financial support will the expanded Job Support Scheme offer?

Up to two-thirds of eligible employee’s salaries will be paid by the Government over the forthcoming months and cash grants for those businesses forced to close will increase up to £3,000 per month. Read on to find out further details and how to apply.

Support will be provided by the Government in the form of a grant paying approximately two-thirds of each employee’s wage (67%), caped at £2,100 per month.

Employers will be required to cover NICs and pension contributions but will not be required to contribute towards employee’s wages. The Government calculates that approximately 50% of potential claims will not incur NICs or auto-enrolment pension contributions, therefore will not be liable for any employer contributions.

Businesses can only claim whilst they are subject to closure restrictions and employees are requires to be off work for a minimum of seven days.

When will the expanded Job Support Scheme begin and how long will it last for?

Commencing on 1 November 2020, the extended Job Support Scheme will initially be available for six months and will be reviewed in January 2020. Payments to businesses will be made in arrears, which is in line with the wider Job Support Scheme.

Payments will be made via an HMRC claims service. This is anticipated to be available from early December 2020.

Prior to the 1 November 2020 date, employers of firms that had been closed due to legal restrictions are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The scheme is available UK-wide, including the devolved administrations.

Local Restriction Support Grants

The Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme has been increased, meaning that businesses in England can now receive up to £3,000 per month (increased from the previous maximum of £1,500 per three-week period). Businesses will also be eligible for payment sooner, now after two weeks of closure (previously this was after three weeks).

Devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been provided with a £1.3 billion increase in their guaranteed funding for 2020-21. These administrations may introduce similar measures if they wish.

These additional grants will sit alongside the original Job Support Scheme and the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus, which will be open to claims from 15 February 2021.

How much are businesses eligible to receive?

Grants of £667 per two weeks of closure (£1,334 per month) will be available for businesses where their property has a rateable value of £15,000 or under.

Grants of £1,000 per two weeks of closure (£2,000 per month) will be available for business where their property has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000.

Grants of £1,500 per two weeks of closure (3,000 per month) will be available for businesses where their property has a rateable value of £51,000 or over.

Exclusions to the Local Restriction Support Grant

Businesses, such as solicitors and accountants, that can continue to trade because they do not require face to face contact with clients from premises and are able to work effectively remotely are excluded.

Businesses that have chosen to close, rather than be forced to close are also excluded.

Businesses that were in administration on the date of the lockdown notice are also exempt (as are insolvent businesses, or where a striking-off notice has been made)

Other specific exclusions also apply, further information is available at gov.uk here.

How Alexander & Co can assist

Information on how the Government is helping businesses impacted by COVID-19 can be found on their website here. Additional information on the Job Retention Bonus will be uploaded to the Government’s website in due course.

For any advice or assistance, contact our dedicated team of accountants. Our accountants are here to provide you with all aspects of tax and business growth advice to help your business thrive in the current climate.

Call us on 0161 832 4841, email info@alexander.co.uk or simply fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.