Winter Economy Plan

Chancellor Rishi Sunak today delivered a statement setting out plans to help workers and businesses hit by new coronavirus restrictions. With plans for an Autumn 2020 Budget cancelled, the Chancellor announced his Winter Economy Plan. In it he outlined how the various government support schemes to help businesses through the coronavirus restrictions will be extended or remodeled.

Job Support Scheme

As now anticipated, the introduction of the new Job Support Scheme (JSS) will come into effect on 1 November after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ends. Under JSS, which will last for six months, employees who work at least 33% of their hours will be paid for two thirds of the hours they do not work, shared equally between the employer and the government.

The result is that an employee working 33% of their normal hours will receive 77% of their pay: 55% paid by the employer and 22% paid by government.

Other measures

  • The self-employed grant is extended on similar terms to the JSS. A grant will be available to those eligible for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and will cover 20% of monthly profits for the period from November 2020 to January 2021. A further grant to cover February 2021 to April 2021 may become available, depending on circumstances. [22/10/2020 UPDATE]: In his third economic statement within the last month, the Chancellor confirmed more generous terms for the remaining SEISS grants. The level of the third grant will be based on 40% of average trading profits, rather than the previously announced 20%, and will be capped at £3,750. The level of the fourth grant is to be kept under review and announced in due course. [Subsequent UPDATE]: The Chancellor confirmed once again even more generous terms for the remaining SEISS grants. The level of the third grant will be based on 80% of average trading profits, rather than the previously announced 20% then 40%, and will be capped at £7,500.
  • Businesses that deferred a quarterly VAT payment during the lockdown previously had to pay this back by 31 March 2021 – now they will be able to spread this over 11 months during 2021/22. Businesses will need to opt in, but all are eligible.
  • Individuals who deferred their July 2020 self-assessment tax liabilities till January 2021 will now not need to pay that till January 2022. Taxpayers with up to £30,000 of Self-Assessment liabilities due, including liabilities that will become due in January 2021, will be able to use HMRC’s self-service Time to Pay facility to secure a plan to pay over an additional 12 months. Any Self-Assessment taxpayer not able to pay their tax bill on time, including those who cannot use the online service, can continue to use HMRC’s Time to Pay Self-Assessment helpline to agree a payment plan.
  • The VAT reduction to 5% for the hospitality sector will be extended from 12 January 2021 to 31 March 2021.
  • The extension of Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) loans from six to ten years.
  • BBLS loans will become known as “Pay as You Grow” – businesses will enjoy a flexible repayment system which will include interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays.
  • Applications for new loans under BBLS, CBILS, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Future Fund remain open till the end of November 2020.

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