Furlough scheme extended to March 2021

The government has extended the official furlough scheme by a further five months to March 2021.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak made the announcement, confirming that, as before, employees will receive 80 per cent of their current salaries for hours not worked. Employers will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions for staff on furlough, but this will be reviewed in January.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will also be increased, with a third grant covering the period from November 2020 to January 2021 calculated at 80 per cent of average trading profits for self-employed workers, up to a maximum of £7,500. Previous grants were calculated at 55 per cent of trading profits.

On top of existing support, such as:

  • reduced VAT for hospitality, accommodation and attractions
  • business rates relief for hospitality, retail, leisure and nurseries
  • extensive tax deferrals for general tax, VAT and self-assessed Income Tax,
  • a moratorium on eviction for commercial tenants,
  • the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme,

The government also announced:

  • cash grants of up to £3,000 per month for businesses which are closed,
  • £1.1 billion for local authorities to distribute to support businesses,
  • the extension of existing government-backed loan schemes and the Future Fund to the end of January, and an ability to top-up Bounce Back Loans.

The Chancellor said: ”I’ve always said I would do whatever it takes to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK – and that has meant adapting our support as the path of the virus has changed. It’s clear the economic effects are much longer lasting for businesses than the duration of any restrictions, which is why we have decided to go further with our support.”

It is hoped that the measures will give businesses and workers some certainty over the winter months, protect millions of jobs across the country and give businesses time to get back on their feet.

For more details about the announcements, read the government factsheet, visit our regularly updated coronavirus support pages, or get in touch with Think Sandwell to find out what support we can give you and your business in these challenging times.