With the introduction of the latest national lockdown in early 2021 and many devolved nations going into their own lockdowns prior to Christmas the Treasury were forced to act in order to prop up businesses and support them until the lockdown can be safely eased now that the vaccine drive is underway. The furlough scheme, initially introduced last year to support businesses through the first lockdown, whereby the government would cover 80% of an employees wages with the employer only having to pay national insurance and pension contributions which was, with optimism, eased towards Autumn. It had to quickly made a comeback as we saw the first signs of a second wave, and that’s when a short-term extension to the furlough scheme was announced leading into the New Year.
Now we have seen the Chancellor announce that this latest extension to the furlough scheme has now been extended to April 2021. By which time we hopefully anticipate a final easing of lockdown as all of the vulnerable people in the UK by then will potentially have been fully vaccinated. They have also confirmed that the eligibility criteria for the loan will remain the same and the contribution levels will also remain the same as that in the last lockdown last Spring.
We have yet to see what will happen beyond then however the annual budget meeting will be held on March 3rd this year so we can expect a further update then. Although there are rumours that certain schemes such as support for jobs could extend beyond April. However, this latest extension has been welcomed by industries across the UK, particularly those whose trade was hindered or even halted initially by the introduction of the tiered scheme and now the national lockdown.
This extension also applies to the following schemes allowing businesses to take advantage of these loan and grant schemes if they haven’t already:-
- Bounce back loan scheme
- Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme
- Coronavirus large business interruption loan scheme
And for those businesses who were covered under their business interruption insurance schemes, you can check out our blog here where we cover the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court that ruled in favour of businesses forcing insurers to begin the process of paying out.
If you want to know more about the current schemes available to support businesses and which may be applicable to help your businesses survive these unprecedented times why not get in touch with a member of our team here at D&K Accounting and we can run through what options are available to you.