Lockdown Part 2: Latest Government Business Supports

20th Nov 2020
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Stay ahead of the latest COVID-19 financial supports for businesses announced at the end of last month.

Know what schemes apply to your clients

Amidst continuing coronavirus uncertainty, the government has unveiled a raft of new measures to help cushion the blow of the second pandemic lockdown. These measures were unveiled by Boris Johnson on the 31st October.

The COVID-19 situation is constantly evolving and life tough for businesses across the country. With the economy taking a massive hit, many of your own clients are likely to be struggling, making it more important than ever to be aware of the latest government supports available.

Note that at the time of writing, England remains in a full lockdown with all non-essential shops and businesses closed until 2nd December. The devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have set their own restrictions and financial assistance, so if any of your clients are located in the UK but outside of England, further information can be found on:

Key updates

The government’s most recent announcements on business support during the pandemic include:

An extension to furlough

Known as the furlough scheme, the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was due to end at the beginning of this month. However, it is now being extended until the 31st March 2021. It will also now remain open for applications until December, with furloughed employees receiving 80% of their current salary. The maximum any employee can receive is £2,500 per month.

What does furlough now mean for employers?

Over recent months, companies have been required to top up the pay of furloughed employees by 20%, with the government contributing 60%. Now, the entire 80% will be made up by the state, with the employer only needing to cover National Insurance contributions and pensions. This makes it more generous for employers as they don’t need to pay so much out of their own pockets.

Employers will initially have to submit their wage claim to the government, which will then be refunded. However, after that they can be paid upfront instead.

If your clients are grappling with the CJRS and what it means for them, all the relevant information can be found in the government’s policy paper Extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The SEISS scheme for the self-employed is also continuing

Two further grant payments are now being offered to cover November 2020 to January 2021, and February 2021 to April 2021 for those who are eligible self-employed.

The next round of applications is set to open on 30th November, covering the first period. The application date for the February to April 2021 period is yet to be announced.

Payments are capped at £7,500. This consists of 80% of three months' worth of average monthly trading profits, to a maximum of £2,500 a month. Find out more.

Local Restrictions Support Grant (for closed businesses)

The tiered system of regional coronavirus restrictions are likely to come back into force once this latest lockdown period ends. Businesses that find themselves in the highest threat level areas (tier 3) may be forced again to close if they’re not deemed essential. If this is the case, they may be eligible for a Local Restrictions Support Grant.

Administered by local councils, businesses can receive a cash grant for every 14 day period they are closed.

For a business to qualify it must be based in England and be required to close due solely to coronavirus restrictions. It must also occupy a property on which it pays business rates.

Closure time must be a minimum of 14 days, where they’ve been unable to receive customers in-person.

Find out more and how businesses can apply on the government's Local Restrictions Support Grant page.

The Additional Restrictions Grant

Again administered by local councils, the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) offers support to businesses that have been forced to close but that do not directly pay business rates. Businesses which have not closed but have still been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can also apply. Examples of such businesses would be those in the travel, events and leisure sectors for instance.

Local councils have the power to decide which businesses to target and will determine the amount of funding available. They will also set their own criteria around eligibility.

Find out more and how to apply on the Additional Restrictions Support Grant page of the Gov.uk website.

Further supports for businesses

COVID-19 has certainly been the biggest thing to happen to businesses in 2021, but business support has been around in various forms for decades.

In conjunction with the latest COVID-19 assistance from the government, it’s also well worth having a firm grasp on the other types of funding available.

What’s on offer?

The best port of call is the Business Support pages of the government website. Many grants and other types of financial assistance are offered via local authorities too.

Don’t forget there’s also continued government backing aimed at innovative companies looking to carry out research and development projects. These include R&D Grants and R&D Tax Credits. Each of these can generate tens of thousands of pounds of funding for innovative activities which no doubt your clients could benefit from.

R&D Grants specifically are administered by a number of different bodies, including Innovate UK. Run in a competition format, there are various opportunities to apply for funding throughout the year, with only the highest quality applicants “winning” the cash. R&D Tax Credits however work slightly differently in that they reduce the Corporation Tax a company needs to pay (or a cash credit for those making a loss). As long as the company is based in the UK and has undertaken a project that involves experimental technological and/or scientific research, then it may well be eligible.

To find out more and how your clients can apply, see our R&D Grants and R&D Tax Credits pages.

Work with our team

At Myriad Associates we deal only with the field of R&D funding and tax relief. After nearly two decades in business we’ve worked with a huge range of companies and accountancy firms alike to deliver a professional, streamlined R&D funding service.

We are market-leading experts in this very niche area of company accountancy, and can work alongside you and your client in devising an accurate, fully optimised claim. Generous referral fees are of course on offer too.

Call the team today on 0207 118 6045 or use our contact page - we look forward to working with you.